Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses Concert Review - London Hammersmith Apollo

By Jorge Ba-oh 06.06.2013 6

Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses Concert Review - London Hammersmith Apollo on Nintendo gaming news, videos and discussion
It was a fairly standard Thursday evening in the bustling London town. Business folk trundled towards train stations, coffee in hand and a mobile in the other, as crowds of hungry Londoners ventured for a source of nourishment. As the big hand struck six, a mass mob of cosplayers and eager Nintendo fans brought a fresh palette of colour and excitement to an otherwise regular evening.

The Sun beaming overhead and 3DS consoles frazzling with StreetPass delight, it was time to invite an audio starved audience to experience the critically acclaimed delights of Symphony of the Goddesses.

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It's the second time a Legend of Zelda concert has taken place in London - the first being one part of the Legend of Zelda: 25th Anniversary concert - now fully fleshed out with a delectable four part symphony arranged specifically for this tour in mind.

Conducted by the sublime E'mear Noone, Symphony of the Goddesses was divided into two halves, breaking the four movements down the middle. Throw in a handful of more obscure tracks with fan favourites and the Hammersmith show produced a truly remarkable setlist. Seated and ready to roll, the night began with the traditional Legend of Zelda opening to a sea of stunned silence, climaxing in the most recent Ballad of the Goddesses from The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword. Whilst fans had heard the Overture in different incarnations throughout the franchise's illustrious history, the composition and tonal quality set the bar high from the outset.

After a brief introduction to show producer Jeron Moore on the concept, the orchestra took a step back to Zelda of old and explored the Dungeons of Hyrule. With the more recent instalments venturing into a more ambient sound, this particular piece opted to invoke memories of Legend of Zelda games from two decades ago, blending together classic chiptune dungeon themes into a triumphant orchestral arrangement. On the screen, footage of Link's earliest exploits played out to a soaring audience cheer as the Hylian hero slashed his sword into pixelated skeleton warriors with glee. The arrangement brought the true a sense of mystery of exploring deep, sinister caverns to a new, far grander scale yet sticking close to the source material.

Image for Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses Concert Review - London Hammersmith Apollo

This piece flowed neatly into another familiar slice of Zelda composition, the iconic Kakariko Village as heard in A Link to the Past and Ocarina of Time. Majestic, whimsical and soothing, the timeless piece was perfectly represented, cuckoos and all. The Ocarina of Time tributes continued to flow with a new medley composed  for the Symphony of the Goddesses in mind, seemingly blending together key songs from the Nintendo 64 classic - Morning Song set the tone, diving deep into the Song of Time,  Serenade of Water, Song of Storms and the popular theme of Majora's Mask, the Song of Healing.

These pieces were tasty morsels for the main star of the show, a feast, a four piece movement that spans the major events of The Legend of Zelda history - beginning from the creation of Hyrule in a foreboding tale of the three Goddesses coming together to forge this mystical world.

Image for Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses Concert Review - London Hammersmith Apollo

After the forests, mountains and rivers were pieced together, it was time to weave a tale that spanned the ages in Ocarina of Time. Arguably one of the stronger fan-favourites, the first movement followed the innocent, younger Link into the endless adventures that await him - from the intricate and superb rendition of Hyrule Field to the melodic plodding of Lost Woods, rising to the final duel with the King of Thieves, Ganondorf. The pounding, rhythmic beats described a desperate plea from the evil ruler to conquer the world with the string section rising above to free the world of a darker time.

As the orchestra lulled into silence, it was time for a contrasting adventure on the high seas as Wind Waker commanded the second movement. Wind Waker conducting baton in hand, E'mear Noone lifted the adventure from land into the far reaches of the Great Sea, weaving a brighter and cheekier adventure in comparison to the darker entries in the Legend of Zelda roster. The theme of the Great Sea and Outset Island created a sense of untainted merriment, childhood curiosity that roused into something far more epic than the lazy youngster and future Hero would have ever imagined.  As Link discovers his destiny, the tone sunk into a ferocious finale that summed up our time at sea to pinpoint precision. The omission of themes like Dragon Roost and Wind Fall Island were unfortunate, however.

Image for Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses Concert Review - London Hammersmith Apollo

After tucking into ice-cream forged from the finest Lon Lon Milk, the concert booted up into the Fairy Fountain theme, a simple yet striking piece that any Legend of Zelda fan should be familiar with - present in each game as part of the file selection screen - this acted as way of setting the mood for the forthcoming movements - Twilight Princess and A Link to the Past, two memorable chapters in the series' twenty five year history.

Twilight Princess pulled at the heart strings with the delicate opening sequence and evocative Midna's theme, progressing quickly into the biggest Hyrule Field anthem to date, a no holds barred take on the magnificent scale and fortitude of Link's trawl across the land to save his fellow people from the impending twilight. The hero's encounter with the antagonist concluded the beloved GameCube classic with a degree of melodic satisfaction, unravelling into the end scene to highlight a calming future for Link and Princess Zelda.

Image for Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses Concert Review - London Hammersmith Apollo

The final piece pre-encore took a leap back in time to the 1991 SNES classic A Link to the Past, which filled many of the gaps in other pieces of the concert by introducing Zelda newcomers to where some series staples began - like Zelda's Lullaby and The Dark World, bringing these classic melodies to a new level with intricate harmonies, raising the bar with a perfectly pitched backing chorus line.

The stage was then set for three encores, each open to standing ovations for what had been a spectacular experience. The first pulled at the heart strings even tighter with a new rendition of Ballad of the Windfish from Link's Awakening, perhaps one of the more ominous pieces of the night given its origins. From here a true favourite, covered countless times by fans and made even more grandiose with sweeping strings and thunderous, booming percussion for a true sense of desert exploration and mischievous female thievery.

Image for Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses Concert Review - London Hammersmith Apollo

If two encores weren't enough, the final melody of the night was new to Symphony of the Goddesses, a tribute to Majora's Mask, a much requested title from fans that tells the tale of an ill-fated parallel world that starts of in celebration and twists into unstained fear, last resort and climaxing into much deserved victory.

Perhaps the only drawback of the night came from some members of the gaming press who weren't paying much attention during the show itself, one scoffing through popcorn, another leaving for a pint during each of the movements and a fair bit of giggling - letting the side down -whereas the remainder of the audience were near silent, embracing every note and theme to its full potential. Despite the vast amount of games represented, there could have been more material pulled from Skyward Sword and perhaps some more portable entries like Phantom Hourglass or Spirit Tracks.

Image for Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses Concert Review - London Hammersmith Apollo

Ballad of the Goddesses
Dungeons of Hyrule
Kakariko Village:
Songs of the Hero Medley: Morning Song, Song of Time, Serenade of Water, Song of Healing, Song of Storms
Prelude: The Creation of Hyrule
Movement 1: Ocarina of Time
Movement 2: The Wind Waker
Fairy Fountain
Movement 3: Twilight Princess
Movement 4: A Link to the Past
Ballad of the Wind Fish
Gerudo Valley
Majora's Mask

Photography credit to Karl Kemp-O'Brien.

Symphony of the Goddesses is a fantastic production and a more than fitting tribute to twenty five years of The Legend of Zelda, telling a story through visuals and sound alone. A huge credit to Jeron Moore, E'mear Noone and the spectacular Royal Philharmonic Orchestra for producing an evening of wonder, excitement and love for Nintendo's unparalleled adventure.

For more on Symphony of the Goddesses and tour dates visit the official website.

Box art for The Legend of Zelda





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C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  6/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10 (21 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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I am actually going there on Monday in San Francisco with my friend! Squee I am so excited!!

Erin Valencia said:
I am actually going there on Monday in San Francisco with my friend! Squee I am so excited!!

Awesome Smilie Enjoy -  I'm hearing there might be a surprise in store for those heading to SF actually!

Cubed3 Admin/Founder & Designer
Old School (guest) 06.06.2013#3

Going tonight to see it in Atlanta! Woot! Brings me back to 5 years old playing the first game.

Season 2 starts today with Atlanta!
Going to the San Fran one; hopefully is is even better than the first time!

I was there in London, too bad we didn't meet and say hi. Smilie

It was a great concert. I'm a bit sad that I already knew most songs... on the other hand, I'm glad I listened to it in the last 1.5 year!

Aytrus (guest) 23.01.2014#6

Hello, I'm from Italy and I was there. Great concert!
I bought the poster after the show but they didn't give me a program because it was sold out. Do you have any additional copy you could give away or sell, or do you know anyone who owns one?
I was really disappointed I couldn't get a copy, I can even trade my poster to get the booklet.
Please, let me know….or whoever is reading

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Thank you so much

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