The Sonic Symphony Orchestra have kicked off their latest tour, and – after some shenanigans with the initial tickets sales – we managed to pick up a few tickets for the additional 330pm show. Myself, MPV Graham, Million Man Ian and our wives went along, and I think it’s fair to say we all enjoyed it immensely.
Things kicked off with a countdown (which we only just got to our seats to see the end of!) before the orchestra launched into a medley of the original Sonic the Hedgehog soundtrack. That game’s soundtrack has been covered many times in the past, either at Video Games Live, by the London Philharmonic Orchestra, or indeed previous Sonic Symphony shows, but it never gets old hearing the sounds of my childhood performed in such a way.
Accompanying the audio were gameplay clips from each level, and the production took the opportunity to even throw a few good gags in with these, such as quick panicked zooms as Sonic would hit some spikes or when his air meter was running low.
Throughout the rest of the first half we got more orchestrated versions of music from Sonic the Hedgehog 2, Sonic CD, Sonic Adventure, and more, all of which were brilliantly arranged along with the visuals on screen. There were definitely a few omissions that we would have liked to hear (Mystic Cave, the Special Stage from Sonic 2, anything at all from Sonic R) but to cover the whole range of games would take hours. What we got was definitely the top-tier highlights that would send the crowd home happy.
After a short intermission, we were greeted with the Sonic Rock Band joining the orchestra for a rather more upbeat second half. Here we got versions of Escape from the City, Open Your Heart, Fistbump, and my introduction to some cracking Sonic Frontiers music in Undefeatable.
It was not only a more lively band performing, but a much more engaged crowd, with most of the audience singing along to every song and cheering and shouting with each new track started. It was infectious energy, and something I didn’t quite expect to be as crazy going in.
We also got cameos from Sonic series veterans Jun Senoue and Tomoya Ohtani who came on to perform some of the tracks they created for the games. Hearing Senoue belt out the solo to Open Your Heart was awesome, as was being greeted with that slap of bass that kicks off Escape from the City.
Even the few tracks I was unfamiliar with still blew me away, and I’ll be looking to add them to my playlist going forward.
Overall, the show was a excellent celebration of one of the key parts of the Sonic appeal – some kick ass music that not only fits the game brilliantly, but are also damn good songs in their own right. The world tour goes until early next year, and if you can, consider it a huge recommendation from us to go see it.