Updated: Feb 23, 2019
The Game of Thrones Live Concert Experience is what happens when a concert is performed properly. Ramin’s exceptional compositions, the Game of Thrones fan base, and of course, the wonderful talents of Ramin’s ensemble made this concert a truly wonderful experience.
There were three people who attended the concert: fans of Game of Thrones, fans of Ramin Djawadi, and those who love the show and the score. I have great appreciation for Game of Thrones, but I was more excited to focus my attention towards Ramin’s music, which I am a great fan of. Nevertheless, this concert was an experience for all attendees.
Ramin Djawadi’s compositions have great use of instrumentation which fit perfectly the environment of Game of Thrones. These instruments were properly showcased around the arena the sound reverberated around the Frank Erwin Center. Those who have attended the show will be familiar with the soloist who have shook the arena. I am specifically talking about the 14-foot Wilding Horn which was made specifically for the concert tours. There were countless more unique instruments being used for embellishment throughout the night. I believe this is one of Ramin Djawadi’s musical strengths as a composer: to be able to pick up any instrument and immediately know how to fit it in his compositions.
Fans of Game of Thrones will be in for a treat when they attend Game of Thrones concert experience. When HBO announced a tour with Game of Thrones score composer Ramin Djawadi, I was excited to see the outcome of the event as well as the set up in which it would occur.
Upon entering the floor, the audience will find a massive screen accompanied with four projectors which will project the show to the screen. In addition, there were two circles which interrupted the floor seating which connected to each other and the main stage. These B stages serve to highlight soloists, solis, and the choral section.
Fans of Game of Thrones found an extremely high definition projection of the show on screen. In addition, the audio of the show, which did not overpower the sound of the ensemble, was clear and reverberated throughout the center. While it was not always on the same pace as when the show airs on television (or streams), it did sync perfectly with the ensemble. The show followed major events in the programming. The best and most engaging scene of the 7 season program was selected for fans to enjoy with the ensemble.
There were definitely moments of eye candy throughout the night. In the second piece of the night, a violinist was tethered to string and was elevated above the crowd. Immediately a tall, beautiful red dress grew out from the B stage as seen above. Further in to the night, fire was introduced as dragons spew fire from their mouths. My immediate reaction to this was, “this is how an ensemble should be seen.”
Ramin was not only a conductor for the ensemble, he himself participated in hand-on music-making. During “Needle,” a hammered dulcimer was brought out, and Ramin introduced the audience to the piece. When “Light of the Seven” started, I knew that I was not the only one who found this piece a favorite. Ramin sat in front of piano keys and organ keys on the second floor. The crowd cheered with anticipation, and Ramin was elevated. In another piece, Ramin joined the ensemble playing an electric guitar. This, you might imagine, took me aback a bit, but appreciated the blending of not only antique instruments but also the contemporary ones as well.
The percussion section kept the energy up throughout the entire set. Ramin has a way of being a able to use percussion as a way to add to the music rather than to just add it like I feel most pieces are made. I appreciate whenever Ramin made the choice of withdrawing percussive sounds when it felt the piece could do without it. However, whenever there was percussion, it was always to compliment and fortify the energy given off by the string and wind sections.
Finally, words can not describe each and every performer’s efforts to make sure the music was felt and pass through from person to person. The string section, had the most amount of members from what I saw, treaded lightly when playing higher octaves as high pitched notes tend to stick out easier. This was not a problem as the small but powerful brass and lower string section pierced through the ensemble when it was their time to shine. I felt every attention to detail from the ensemble. I, very much, appreciated lack of dropped phrases, balance of the ensemble as a whole, and those soloists. The soloists were not only centered in tone, but were also visual performers, committing wholly to the Game of Thrones experience. The soloists expressed great confidence when overcoming unusual challenges such as being suspended in the air, elevated above the crowd, and especially instruments rarely used in contemporary classical music.
I enjoyed every second of the night and never left my seat for even some Sprite. I loved how the musicians were being applauded and had their spotlight. I loved the heightened importance of the ensemble for without it, scenes in the show would have little to no mood. I love how there was a sea of people to come and watch. And as a musician myself, I love how “classical music” was cheered for appreciated how it should always be. Game of Thrones the Concert Experience, I believe, ended with people having a much higher appreciation for the performing arts. Whether you are a fan of music, the show, or both, there is definitely a lot that this experience has to offer.
All photos by Eddie Gaspar
Review by Eddie Gaspar