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PLAY! concert in Baltimore, MD on July 18


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I just found out about that the PLAY! video game concert will be stopping in Maryland just next month (July 18th). While I've attended a number of Video Games Live performances, I've never been to this sister series of game symphonies and am gonna try to make it, being so close.

Is anyone else in the area planning on attending? And I know we already have several meetups planned, but would there be any interest in a OCR gathering focused around this concert?



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PLAY! is very much about presenting game music as a serious form of art. While the behavior of the majority of people who attend these concerts (i.e. gamernerds) tend to bump this down a notch, it's still a great concert with an emphasis on playing truly outstanding and memorable selections and presenting them with lots of colorful arrangement, well for orchestral music anyway. Of course, since PLAY! only uses local symphonies, the quality of the concert depends on the quality of your area's symphony.

VGL on the other hand, seems to be more focused on the overall sensory presentation, as its name implies. While I won't go so far as to say that it panders to its target audience (again gamernerds), they do know how to give people what they want. It's still no less a great experience with lots of style and energy that you might not see at a PLAY! concert.

Personally, I like PLAY! because there's a great emphasis on substance and on the music itself that tends to remind me of the way OCR artists approach VG arrangements.

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That's much of what I've heard, ifirit. I definitely want to experience how PLAY! compares to Video Games Live... besides the obvious factor that it's a game music concert & I'd go just because of that. I love the showy flashy energy of VGL, but I also would be curious to see how the performance is with a greater emphasis on the craft & beauty of the music itself.

Cool, Doug! Hope to see you there. :-)

Good idea, binary1230. You'll have to come up and say hi, and I'll look out for anyone with the signature headphoned-gamepad.

And don't tell me that no one else is thinking of attending? There may be the VGL show down south, but I know for a fact that there are a large group of OCR-ers here in the DC/Baltimore/Philly area!

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  • 4 weeks later...

Gotta say, I loved it! Folks are right when they say Video Games Live is focused more on being a show, whereas PLAY! is focused more on the music being performed.

The playlist was very similar to the previous performance in Prague, which they recorded for a CD/DVD set. I'm definitely looking forward to that release, as I know the Princess Mononoke Symphonic Suite is also a performance by Prague's Czech Philharmonic & sounds absolutely spectacular.

The song I'm most eager to hear again is the 9 minute Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion medley of Reign of the Septims (intro version), Bloodlust (battle_02), Glory of Cyrodil (atmosphere_01), and Watchman's Ease (town_04). While Jeremy Soule uses an impressive array of orchestral sample libraries, his meant-for-real-orchestra compositions take on a beautiful breath of new life when performed by live musicians. There were at least three different solos (cello, violin, and flute) during the lengthy medley, and the soloists graced their parts with soulfully expressive performances.

My disappointment was that Shenmue was not on the set list for this concert. They base their performance off of the first track of the Shenmue Orchestra Version album, which is an impressively beautiful piece. And it's an obscure enough soundtrack that I doubt I'd hear it elsewhere. Here's to hoping they put it back in rotation for future concerts!

I noticed that PLAY! seemed to be much more about creating their own new arrangements, and often fits more songs into their medleys. Video Games Live, on the other hand, seems to rely on as many pre-existing orchestral arrangements as it can. So while both concerts may play several of the same games, the music is still a different experience.

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