Concert Review - The Tomb Raider Suite

On Sunday, I battled train cancellations and sinusitis to hear the Tomb Raider Suite's World Premiere in London. I am so glad I made it. It was so, so, so nostalgic. 

I can't believe it's been twenty years since my eldest brother brought the original game home. I remember being fascinated the moment that original cutscene started. Lara was so cool! She was smart and confident, and she took down anyone who stood in her way. I was obsessed with her instantly. I wanted to be her. I still want to be her! After all, I did dedicate an entire character study to her in February. Anyway, I didn't know at first that the soundtrack was on the disc, so I used to replay chunks of the game just to hear the music again. Also, I was ten in 1996 and I suuuucked, so I had to replay plenty anyway :P Poor Lara had to stand around a lot just so I could revel in the music.

When I heard this concert was taking place, I knew I had to be there. Nathan McCree's music was the first videogame music I was able to listen to outside the context of the game, so it was really special to finally hear it live. I've listened to it for years, and been inspired by its grandeur and sense of adventure in my writing. You could hear how the music evolved as we moved through each game, but that central Tomb Raider melody linked them together. It always felt like we were hearing Lara's stories, and I loved how the notes themselves made up the Tomb Raider Suite's logo.

There was a real elegance to the performance, and I was immediately thrown back into all the adventures Lara and I had. The music from Tomb Raider II was especially meaningful for me, because it is still the best game in the franchise. No, not even the 2013 reboot tops my love Tomb Raider II. When the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra played Vertigo, I had chills that were nothing to do with the temperature I was running. The City of London choir added to the beauty of the music; it wouldn't have been the same without them. And hearing the string section perform Venice live!!! That was definitely a highlight for me.

The music from Tomb Raider III was also pretty special. Hearing this India inspired track live was an absolute treat because I hadn't been expecting it. Such fond memories.

The use of light and smoke effects during the concert added a great atmosphere to the performance. It was especially effective at the beginning when sound effects from the original game were paired with lights flashing in the darkness. It was like the sun breaking through cracks in the cave's ceiling, lending the auditorium an ominous, mysterious feel. I felt like I was Lara, exploring strange caverns and forgotten tombs.

The whole evening felt like a giant celebration of that era of Tomb Raider. Winston came onstage with his ever present tea tray. Shelley Blond, Lara's original voice actress, was the host. Nathan McCree did a pre-concert talk where he discussed how he created the music for the games and how he composed the modern arrangements for the concert. The whole event was fantastic. I do wish I could've stayed for the meet and greet afterwards, but I had to catch my train before the strike resumed at midnight and all the trains stopped running. I've been humming the music ever since Sunday, and I sincerely hope more people have the chance to attend this concert, because it was a great twentieth anniversary celebration.


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