On June 13, 2016, The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses returned to Los Angeles again, this time performing at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood instead of The Disney Philharmonic Hall like last year. 've been to all three iterations of the show, the first Zelda concert series in 2012 was known as “Symphony of the Goddesses;” with the next iteration as "Second Quest" and it’s third iteration in 2015 had been dubbed "Master Quest." Second Quest and Master Quest share largely the same material from the original Symphony of the Goddesses with a few new pieces and arrangements here and there. While I absolutely loved the the first two concerts, I was disappointed in the Master Quest concert.
It's important to note that since I attended both “Symphony of the Goddesses” and “Second Quest” concerts beforehand, I have something to compare “Master Quest” to. The first two shows were absolutely wonderful. One reason being it’s debut and the other coinciding with the announcement of the Majora’s Mask 3D and it’s inclusion into the show. So you can see that any show that came after it had a lot to live up to. From my perspective, I did not think Master Quest had the same level of energy nor passion as Second Quest or the original Symphony of the Goddesses.
The venue had this regal feeling to it. There was this inspiring view atop a spiraling staircase, and a bar at every level serving Legend of Zelda themed drinks. But I had this gnawing feeling the entire time I couldn’t help but feel like something was a bit off. Where were all the cosplayers? All the previous showing had at least fifty cosplayers roaming around taking photos and reveling in their fandom with other attendees. I don’t know if it was the venue or maybe people felt shy about walking down Hollywood Blvd in costume, but the festive feeling of seeing cosplayers was lacking.
As for the concert itself I have a few gripes to groan about. Firstly, the audio was off with the left speakers producing most of the sound. It gave me the equivalent of stereoscopic vertigo, and the performance lacked punch. Half of the instruments were barely audible, I couldn’t hear the choir and I didn’t even know they had a Tuba player since I could barely hear the bass line. Overall, the concert felt formulaic, bland and I think a lot of this had to do with two of the original composers/producers of the show, Chad Seiter and Jeron Moore, no longer being with the Zelda symphony production company.
When Chad and Jeron ran the show, they would engage the fans and speak a bit before each piece. As fellow fans, we could relate to the excited face and twinkle in their eyes as they spoke about the games we all love so much, it made us connect with them. They would take the time to explain each of the pieces or movements coming up. They would inject a bit of terrible humor. The jokes were bad but that’s what made them funny. They would introduce the amazingly talented Amy Anderson, the conductor. She would even play along and use the Wind Waker conductor's baton. Sadly, there was none of that in Master Quest. Jason Michael Paul, the producer, came out and said a few words and that was it. The show appeared to be lacking direction. It felt very much like the we were listening in on a practice session and not the actual show.
If you were to compare the previous shows with it’s current iteration you would notice that most of the content is the same, particularly the four movements. Whereas the concerts before did a fantastic job in telling a story, a lot of that probably had to do with Chad and Jeron, Master Quest did not. There was this kind of disconnected feeling that permeated the room. Hell, I even spaced out during some parts of the symphony, I just wasn’t feeling it. The music is great I will not argue with anyone on that issue. It's just the way in which the material was presented. It seemed to be missing heart. (containers. Badum-tsh...No? Okay, then.)
The ending of the show was absolutely anticlimactic. We all knew that there was going to be an encore so every time Maestro Anderson would run off it was actually quite annoying since she would immediately come back and reintroduce everyone on stage for more applause. I get it, those musicians had worked extremely hard in order to play on stage. Everyone of them is an absolute rockstar in my book and they deserve every bit of appreciation for their skill. To perform in an orchestra was once my goal so I can attest to the pressure and twelve hour practice days that these musicians faced. But after spending a combined approximate twenty minutes applauding them after every piece, I was burnt out by the end. I feel like the audience would have absolutely roared at the end if it wasn’t for all the forced applause throughout the show.
The show was sold-out within thirty minutes of opening sales and rightfully so.(I had to free up my schedule in order to buy my ticket) The Legend of Zelda is a franchise that’s very dear to my heart with its wonderful, beautiful music. And I would rather shank a baby than give up my fandom despite all my criticisms. I absolutely recommend this concert to everyone, especially if you’ve never been. However, if it’s not your first time then I would recommend holding off and freeing up a seat so the newcomers have a chance to be bewitched by the epic that is The Legend of Zelda.