Gotta catch ’em all? Try Hammersmith

I like listening to a live music as much as the next person and like anyone who hasn’t lived under a rock for the past 20 years, I have at vague knowledge of what Pokemon are and how to play the game. But when I was confronted with the proposition of a “Pokemon Symphonic Evolution“, paired with the mention of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, I had no idea what to expect, and after reading the full website blurb i was still none the wiser.

The fact that it was being held at the Hammersmith Apollo did give me some hope, surely an event that warranted a 3,000 plus seat venue couldn’t be all bad?

Being that the gaming/Pokemon world isn’t my usual scene, the audience makeup wasn’t quite what I had expected… though maybe it was exactly what I should have expected, had I given it any significant thought. I was surprised by the lack of younger audience members and the number of much older ones. Perhaps the latter thought they were owed a nice concert after years of being mithered about these colourful creations.

While people were taking their seats, silhouettes of various Pokemon flashed up on the big screen, inviting the audience to make their best guess. Though for the majority of the audience, I think this was the equivalent of asking them to identify themselves in a mirror.

Then, after a short introduction, it was time to begin. As the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra sprung into action, the big screen displayed various

During a brief orchestral introduction we were shown exactly which games would be featured during the show. This included Pokemon Red, Blue, Yellow, Gold, Silver, Crystal, Ruby, Sapphire, Emerald, Diamond, Pearl, Platinum, Black, White, X and Y. It was at this point I knew I wasn’t in Kansas anymore. In my early junior school years I owned Pokemon Red (and had heard of blue) and I fully expected there had been one or two releases between then and now, but and additional 14?!? I truly have lived a sheltered life when it comes to Pikachu and friends.

Then came the main event. On the big screen, scenes from the various editions of the video game played out, while on the stage, the orchestra played pieces that matched the theme and sentiment of the visuals.

I’ll admit that I didn’t recognise any of the music and wouldn’t have been able to tell if they’d mixed them all up for a test, however to me, a good orchestra can never be beaten, whether you know the music or not. And with the visuals above not only inspiring a touch of nostalgia, but almost creating the effect of watching a film with subtitles, it was surprisingly engaging.

This is possibly the most random event I have ever attended in my life, but if there was enough of a plot twist, this is actually something I’d attend again and in fact recommend to someone game for a new experience.

Having completed its two London performances, the show now moves west to Dallas, Texas, and for the ultra dedicated, there are still tickets left for the 7th January! However, I’ve heard on the grapevine that this is an annual event, so watch this space.


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