Mike Rinzel is WQXR's Senior Director of Digital Content and oversees digital content for wqxr.org, mobile app and social media.
Recap: The 'Game of Thrones' Live Concert Experience
Thursday, March 09, 2017 - 12:02 PM
Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden, the crowds were still filing through the security checkpoint fifteen minutes after the concert had begun. Hordes of New Yorkers of all strokes were arriving to enjoy the electro-acoustic orchestral performance of The Game of Thrones Live Concert Experience, conducted by the show’s score composer Ramin Djawadi.
The Game of Thrones television show on HBO has no shortage of epic scenes. So I expected that the live concert experience would be as relentless as the Battle of Castle Black scene from season 4. The crowd there was so hyped by adrenaline that famous quotes from the show were shouted out spontaneously between pieces to great applause and joyous laughter. In any orchestral concert hall in America, this would be verboten. But in Madison Square Garden it felt right.
The concert was more of a multi-media experience than a traditional orchestral concert. Besides the live music from the television show, the concert featured a sprawling stage with multiple catwalks for soloists, often featuring percussionists and other interesting non-western instruments. Three massive two- and three-dimensional video screens hung above the stage. The orchestra was situated at one end of the MSG arena and was not the main focus of the experience, but rather supplemental to the video. Each piece of music during the two and a half hour concert, which straddled a 20-minute intermission, accompanied a montage of key characters or epic moments from the Game of Thrones’ six seasons.
Speaking to the audience, Djawadi said that many of the choral singers and players in the orchestra were local New York musicians. To this the crowd gave an emphatic cheer. Musicians themselves posted social media from the orchestra pit while performing. Cameras and beer were a heavy presence throughout the area. And while the concert may not have been to the taste of many regular orchestra-goers, the experience was thrilling on its own terms.