Contains the full season two music list!
As composer Chad Seiter often says during Symphony of the Goddesses sessions, "the number three kind of resonates with the Zelda series". I'll agree there; the symphonic arrangements played during E3's preview session of the tour's "Second Quest" moved me to the point of crying exactly three separate times.
I'm man enough to admit it. No, I won't elaborate on that topic.
For those who've already seen the show, it's more or less redundant to even address the question of whether or not it was worth going in for a second helping. The answer of course, is "YES". If you love Zelda, or the music therein, or symphonic music in general, there's no clearer decision.
Some of the slower pieces from the show's first season have been removed in favor of exciting new content, while some favorites have been shuffled about. The Symphony of the Goddesses is as spectacular as ever; it still manages to feel fresh and new while keeping what made the first year so exciting intact. Over these last few weeks since E3 the experience has remained dear to my heart, and now that I'm back home, halfway around the world and desperately trying to regain some semblance of productivity, the gorgeous renditions of the Zelda series' finest musical moments still float back into my head from time to time. Oh, how I long for a CD collection of these masterpieces.
Of course, if you haven't seen the show at all, it's well worth an interstate trip to get the chance to see it. Heck, I've flown halfway around the world! I'll list the complete concert below for those who want to know what has changed about the show, but be warned; spoilers are aplenty.
Conductor Eimear Noone greets the audience.
Prelude: The Legend of Zelda Overture Medley
This is the opening theme played at all of the concerts, which is also the piece that was heard during E3 2011's concert.
Link's Awakening Medley
The first new piece combined the opening scenes of Link's Awakening with Mabe Village, the Ballad of the Wind Fish and the title music, then leads into an exciting rendition of Tal Tal Heights before a Wind Fish reprisal for the game's ending.
While the music plays you're treated to accompanying game footage.
Spirit Tracks Medley
The second new piece features the opening story and Chancellor Cole's theme, then moves into the final boss battle, which coincidentally was a remix of the main overworld theme.
Movement 1: Ocarina of Time Medley
The same arrangement heard in the first season of the show. It contains the overworld theme, Zelda's theme and the Ganondorf/Ganon battle music. It's followed up by:
Movement 2: Wind Waker Medley
Again, a piece from last year's concert. It starts with the music from the intro and Outset Island, Tetra's pirate ship and then a sailing movement through to Ganondorf's battle theme. On to the intermission, where the crowds did battle to buy t-shirts and posters or stock up on food in time for the second half of the show.
We'll never forget you, Marin.
Gerudo Valley Theme
Originally an encore from the first run of the concert. This is also the rendition heard on the 25th Anniversary CD that came packaged with Skyward Sword.
Movement 3: Twilight Princess Medley
Same as last year, it contains Midna's theme, the Overworld theme and Ganondorf's battle theme. Midna is still the best sidekick in the series!
Movement 4: A Link to the Past Medley
Again, this piece was heard in previous shows, and as the "finale" of the concert it is a particularly long piece at around 12 minutes. That rendition of the ending theme gets more beautiful every time I hear it. Of course, teasing this as the end of the show, some of the audience got up and started to leave the theater at this point, while others knew there was still much to come.
Link and Saria take a musical break near the merchandise booth.
Encore: Majora's Mask Medley
Originally the third encore and finale to the show, this piece has been bumped forward to build anticipation for the following finale pieces. It features the Clock Town theme, which becomes increasingly ominous and dissonant before delving into the Majora battle themes, and ending on the Oath to Order.
Encore: Dragon Roost Island
Not the small sample heard in a medley during the 25th Anniversary concert, this is an all-new rendition of the theme fleshed out into an entire piece of its own, complete with vocal accompaniment.
Encore: Ballad of the Goddesses
Finally, to round off the evening and complete the journey across the Legend of Zelda series, we return to the beginnings of the story with a beautiful new rendition of the Skyward Sword anthem. This piece also has Fi's hauntingly sorrowful farewell theme from the end of the game mixed in before a final crescendo with just a hint of the main Legend of Zelda tune we all know and love.
Even Vaati showed up to enjoy the music!
The credits roll and the show comes to a close, a magical evening befitting of the whimsy and wonder of the Zelda series and its timeless characters. It's an inspiring thing to see the Symphony of the Goddesses so successful that it continues on into a second year, allowing fans who missed out last time to catch the show, or likewise, giving those already touched by the musical enchantment the chance to relive it just one more time. Ultimately, I believe this second musical offering comes away stronger than the first, as some of the pieces removed from last year were, while still lovely, arguably slower paced than the exciting fare we've come to associate with Zelda music. Second Quest is the better of the two seasons, and I'm curious to know what changes would take place if the show were to go into a third year.
If the concert goes worldwide again and returns to Australia (hopefully Melbourne!), there's no doubt I'll make every effort to see it again, even though it'll be my fourth time in the audience. It's that good.
Photos by Kim Keller and myself. Thanks to the cosplayers who allowed us to photo them!