Ramin Djawadi - The Game of Thrones Concert Experience
Viejas Arena - San Diego, CA
September 11, 2018
"Never forget what you are, for surely the world will not. Make it your strength. Then it can never be your weakness. Armour yourself in it, and it will never be used to hurt you."
Not sure what this review is about yet? Let me give you another clue....
"WINTER IS COMING!!"
Yup, GAME OF THRONES! Arguably one of the biggest fantasy shows to hit the screen. For 7 seasons the show has captivated millions with tales of Kings from the North, Red Weddings, Wildlings, and Aquaman...wait "Aquaman" might not be in it but Khal Drogo aka Jason Mamoa stole his fare share of scenes, but tonight we aren't talking about the TV show....NO! We are talking about the GOT MUSICAL!
Composer Ramin Djawadi, along with a full orchestra including some from the San Diego Symphony took to the Viejas Arena in the college area of San Diego Tuesday evening to sing and play songs of "Ice and Fire." As the seats filled, the voice of Queen Cersei could be heard over the loudspeakers. She warned her subjects that persons with ringing cell phones would be "boiled in the blood of their own children". She also announced that if audience members saw her after the performance NOT to initiate contact because she finds peasants....beneath her. With that setting the mood, the lights dimmed, the audience screamed and the show began!
Composer Ramin Djawdi introduced himself and told the audience that tonight's show had tons of new music that spanned all 7 of the seasons. He encouraged the audience to cheer for their beloved characters and BOO for their....not so beloved ones, and THAT THEY DID! Ned Stark, Arya, and Hodor garnered loud cheers while the evil King Joffrey received horrendous BOOS....as he should. This interactive tone let everyone in the crowd know that this was not going to be your "typical" orchestra concert.
While the opening piece was playing hooded minions (aka stage hands) were attaching wires to a young woman wearing a looooooooooong gown, which intrigued audience members. As the young woman began to play a beautiful song from her violin the crowd began to gasp as she was being lifted towards the heavens revealing what had to be at least a 25 foot long gown. As she skillfully manipulated her instrument hundreds of "leaves" fell into the crowd as if the autumn season was truly upon us.
Aside from the orchestra, there were a number of very interesting instruments on stage. Everything from a 2 hammered dulcimer that was used in all of Arya's pieces, which was masterfully played by the composer Ramin himself, to a trio of large drums that when struck echoed through the arena like cannons. Probably the most interesting were the 15 foot woodwind instrument that resembled a world cup vuvuzela and the deep resonant didgeridoo that forced vibrations all the way through the chests of everyone in the crowd. Every instrument played a pivotal part in telling the stories of each of the 7 kingdoms... well 8 if you include the Iron Islands (but nobody else does so we'll just say 7).
A fan favorite was definitely when Daenerys Targaryen a.k.a. The Mother of Dragons' theme was being played. The fans exploded into an uproarious applause that shook the arena. Shouts of "YAAAASSSSS QUEEN" could be heard, which honestly was one of the funniest reactions to a classical style piece of music EVER! One piece that showed another side of the raw emotion induced by GOT was when the score for the infamous "Red Wedding" was performed. Some of the more vocal crowd members were visibly upset because not only was the score so heart wrenching but the entire scene was being shown across the massive screens.
To sum it up this show was absolutely AMAZING! Whether you are new to Game of Thrones or a long time fan it will grab at your heartstrings and take them on a ride you wont soon forget. Definitely worth the price of admission and then some. Ramin Djawadi makes beautifully epic scores and the fact that he's not as pretentious as other composers and actually allows his audience to interact with the performances added to the experience tenfold. If you have a chance do yourself a favor see this performance! Just beware...there are nerds... EVERYWHERE...some even in costume.
SIDE NOTE: If you're wondering where the opening quote of this review is from...
"A Game of Thrones" (A Song of Ice and Fire #1).... DUH!
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