Video Games Live is a unique experience. One that gleefully celebrates the musical composition of video games. It is an unapologetic nerd fest that invites everyone of all ages to attend the local orchestra and revel in video game music.

Video Games Live is the creation of video game composer Tommy Tallarico. The first concert debuted on July 6th, 2005. Since then, the show has traveled around the world. The concerts feature live music from every major video game franchises and then some. But it doesn’t stop there. Specialized, synchronized videos play during the concert to add a visual flare to the event. Local choirs accompany the orchestra and special vocal soloists add their amazing voices to the show. Even Tommy himself will include his talent on the guitar during certain segments of the show.

To call Video Games Live a unique experience is an understatement. I’ve seen the show three times now and each time I am blown away. It is one thing to listen to the music while playing the game or to have the soundtrack downloaded onto your music library. It is quite another to hear it live. Each song sends chills down the spine. The pure, intoxicating energy of the concert is infectious. The audience is encouraged to shout, cheer, and clap at any point during the show. They are asked to participate by clapping to the beat of the music and singing along to their favorite parts. Heck, the audience gets to participate before the show even begins by requesting what music they’d like to hear a few months in advance.

While there are some songs you can almost always count on, most of the setlist is a surprise. The concert this time around featured music from my two favorite games: The Legend of Zelda (accompanied by Laura Intravia on the flute) and Journey. I also got to enjoy themes from Skyrim, Advent Rising, Metal Gear Solid, Halo, Tetris, Donkey Kong Country, Portal, Chrono Trigger, Final Fantasy 7, and Phoenix Wright.

I actually can’t express enough how excited I was to hear Laura, aka “Flute Link.” I had seen a video of her performance about a year back. So when she was announced as the guest soloist, especially for the Zelda Medley, it really made my day. She has an amazing voice and can play beautifully.

The only (slightly) disappointing thing about the concert this time around was that there were no skits or contests on stage. I don’t know if they didn’t have room, the equipment, or have nixed those parts of the show entirely; but I did enjoy the skits and contests in previous concerts. Nevertheless, it didn’t detract from my overall experience. I came out of the theater giddier than a six-year-old at Disney World.

I spent the entire concert with a huge grin on my face. I’d say go buy their CDs, but even those don’t do the concert justice (although do go buy the CDs since the arrangements are gorgeous regardless). I give Video Games Live my highest recommendation. If you have the opportunity to attend one of the concerts, do so. It is worth every penny.