Video Games Live in Wired Magazine!


Famed Writer Joel Stein Attends and Covers Sold Out Performances at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. with the National Symphony Orchestra

The December issue of Wired Magazine contains a 4 page article (and pic) focused around Video Games Live.  The article written by popular writer Joel Stein (Time Magazine, Los Angeles Times) describes the "frenzied audience" scene from sold out performances at the Kennedy Center and talks about the growing popularity and challenges of VGL.  Here is a small excerpt from the article entitled "Ode to Joystick".


(excerpt from Wired Magazine, Issue: Dec 2007)

Tennessee Williams.  Aaron Copland.  Dizzy Gillespie.  Some of the nation's most respected artists have been honored onstage at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, over the past few decades.  On a recent evening, it was Sam Greszes' turn.  Greszes, a lanky 18 year-old Northwestern University student, wasn't being feted for his contribution to American arts and letters but for his costume:  He waddled onto the main stage of the concert hall dressed as a human-sized, L-shaped Tetris piece.  This wasn't the Kennedy Center Honors but a performance of Video Games Live, a 135-minute showcase of music from arcade, computer, and console titles, arranged for and performed by a 66-piece orchestra and a 16-person choir.

To win the best costume prize, awarded just before the show began, Greszes beat out a Mega Man, two Marios, and a whole lot of Links.  As he took the stage -- cutting from side to side as he approached the podium in imitation of a Tetris
piece -- the thousand-strong audience erupted into a raucous bout of hooting.

The crowd stayed amped like this all night, cheering as Video Games Live creator and emcee Tommy Tallarico came out in a black Armani suit, a Spider-Man T-shirt, and red sneakers.  When he asked for a volunteer to play Space Invaders on a huge screen onstage, attendees freaked out, jumping from their seats and waving their arms.  They went bananas when Tallarico changed into an LED-studded shirt that lit up to display a game of Pong across its front.  And, when he introduced the evening's encore, he whipped them into a frenzy.  "The composer: Nobuo Uematsu!" he shouted.  "The game: Final Fantasy ... VII!  The song: 'One!  Winged!  Angel!'"  Tallarico concluded the evening by accompanying the orchestra on his own guitar and joining the cellist in some righteous headbanging.  When the show ended, Tallarico hammered the last note, and then he and the conductor [Jack Wall] leaped off the podium simultaneously and bumped fists.  In terms of subtlety, it ranked right up there with the time Tchaikovsky incorporated live cannon fire into his 1812 Overture.

Video Games Live has been performed more than 40 times over the past two years, in venues as stuffy as Toronto's Massey Hall, Rio de Janeiro's Claro Hall, and London's Royal Festival Hall.  At every show, Tallarico says, he's been met with the same unbridled, uncouth enthusiasm.  (In Dallas this year, one fan asked him to autograph her breast.  He complied.)

Excerpt from Wired Magazine.  Issue: December 2007 written by Joel Stein.  Additional reporting by Jenna Wortham.  Copyright ©2007 by the Conde Nast Publications.  All rights reserved.

For the full article please check out the December 2007 issue of Wired Magazine currently available on store shelves.