Reset: A Look Behind the Legend of Zelda Concert Series
Last year, Nintendo celebrated the 25th anniversary of The Legend of Zelda with three concerts that took place in Tokyo, Los Angeles, and London. More tour dates were promised, and the concerts are currently underway. The first stop on the 2012 tour was in Dallas, Texas, and I got a chance to catch up with one of the concert's producers, Jeron Moore. We chatted about how this dream project fell into his lap, what direction he hopes the Symphony of the Goddesses tour will take in the coming months, and whether there’s a return trip to the SoCal region in the cards.How exactly did the 25th Anniversary concert and the Symphony of the Goddesses tour come about?
Jeron Moore: It was really just the stars aligning. I'd been wanting to do a concert focusing exclusively on The Legend of Zelda for a very long time. As Producer for PLAY! A Video Game Symphony and consequently as a result of my friendship w/ Executive Producer Jason Michael Paul, the opportunity presented itself to pitch such a concept to Nintendo. Little did we know, Koji Kondo and his colleagues were planning something similar as a celebration in Tokyo. With our eyes set on bringing it to the global audience, we were invited to roll our efforts into theirs, resulting in the 25th Anniversary concerts performed in Tokyo, Los Angeles and London as well as the Orchestra CD that shipped w/ Skyward Sword. Symphony of the Goddesses, in a way, is an extension of that effort. They are different shows, however.What was the thought process for the selection of songs selected for the 25th Anniversary concert and the Symphony of the Goddesses tour?
JM: While the 25th Anniversary concerts featured a program hand-picked by Koji Kondo himself (a marriage of arrangements developed by both his team and ours — all approved by Kondo-san), Symphony of the Goddesses is in fact the original concept Chad Seiter and myself worked w/ Jason Paul to bring to Nintendo. We've been very honored to have Kondo-san and Aonuma-san's input as we created this new experience, unique from the 25th Anniversary shows, that personally I feel expresses the core-arch of the Zelda franchise in an exciting and compelling way.What are your thoughts on the audience reactions during the performance in Los Angeles? Apparently Aonuma was disappointed by the US audience?
JM: I’d rather not speak for Aonuma-san. I do believe he was disappointed that the US audience had posted YouTube videos from the Los Angeles performance, spoiling it for those in London that would experience it shortly thereafter. Aside from that, there's the ever-present and polarizing argument from fans on how to behave during a symphonic performance (to yell or not to yell during a piece), but you can't fault the audience for being excited. The concept of a Zelda concert is going to appeal to a lot of people, some of which have never been to an orchestral concert before. I was excited to see our audience in Dallas reserve their enthusiasm for between the pieces… it really allowed the audience to hear every nuance of the arrangements. Though when the 4th movement began, devoted to A Link to the Past, it admittedly got a little rowdy. I may have even screamed a bit (oops).Some people have expressed displeasure with the video portion of the concerts. Have you made any changes to the video component for the 2012 tour dates?
JM: We've continued to develop and tighten the video portion of the show. I'm really passionate about the visual component and how, combined with the music, the entire experience stirs the emotions. The response has been overwhelmingly positive, but I am keeping a watchful eye on criticism.There were a lot of songs covered in the concert, but there were noticeable omissions like anything from Link's Awakening. Will the upcoming 2012 tour cover a wider range of songs?
JM: Absolutely. Expect to hear music from Majora's Mask, Link's Awakening and more as the show continues to evolve. It's been designed to offer something new to repeat patrons… for instance, we'll be in Vancouver on March 14th. The next time we’re in town, there will be marked differences in the program, so if you liked the show the first time, you won’t want to miss out on coming again. It’s important for us to keep fans engaged and surprised. I’m constantly browsing the forums, too – so keep shouting out your favorites. We’re listening!Will there be a CD of the concerts on sale anytime in the future?
JM: This is something we'd like to do, but no definite plans have been made. We are absolutely aware of the demand.What other video game franchises would you like to tackle in the future?
JM: I've got a lot of ideas, but I'd rather keep those to myself! I will say that I'm a big fan of The Elder Scrolls series… But who knows? Only time will tell.Do you think Nintendo’s own soundtracks are at the level they need to be considering more recent efforts like Super Mario Galaxy and Skyward Sword?
JM: Nintendo is constantly growing and evolving. They are some of the brightest, innovative people in the industry… most importantly, their work has a lot of heart. I think this comes across in their games’ accompanying soundtracks. Whether Nintendo is recording w/ a live orchestra or using electronics to produce music, it will always be something you can look forward to. I’m still listening to Star Fox 64 and Super Metroid OSTs… what can I say? They hold up because the ideas behind them are so strong.Finally, any chance the concert will return to the SoCal area?
JM: You bet! More announcements coming soon… keep your browsers focused on http://www.zelda-symphony.com/schedule and make sure you're signed up for our newsletter. That's the best way to stay up-to-date!