When I was around eight years old, my grandparents took me to see Trans-Siberian Orchestra at the American Airlines Center. That was my first ever concert and it forever changed the way I saw the world. It was an out of this world experience, and my eight year old self was awestruck at the sheer intensity with which everyone played. The Game of Thrones concert had the same effect on me as an adult, but to the tenth degree higher.
A hush fell over the crowd as the orchestra entered onto the stage, along with the chorus members and the man himself, Ramin Djawadi. The first chords of the GOT opening theme played while the big screen showed the iconic title sequence. The energy of the orchestra as they played was palpable, the chorus in perfect unison. With a grand flourish, the opening song closed and immediately the crowd was whisked into the themes of each house. A single spotlight shone onto a platform, illuminating a single violinist, wrapped in flowing white gown with red petals along her bodice. As she played the haunting first notes of the Stark theme, she slowly began to rise into the air, being pulled all the way to the ceiling. Her long dress flowed down from her body, all the way to the floor as she played such a somber piece. The rest of the orchestra joined in, and red petals began to flutter down around the floating violinist.
The next song they played was the Lannister theme, the big screen cycling through the face of each Lannister, showing Jaime and Tyrion multiple times. The powerful yet grave piece was matched perfectly with the faces of Cersei’s children.
Daenerys’ theme was by far the most spectacular piece performed, although I may be biased considering my full support of her claim to the throne. The big screen played the Battle of the Bastards episode, where Daenerys takes back Meereen from the slavers, and Ramin Djawadi stepped down from his role as a conductor to shred on an electric guitar. The stage was bathed in red and orange, fog creeping along the feet of the orchestra members. Fire blasted along the stage and from the ceiling as Ramin circled the stage, the drums pounding out a rhythm like the beating of dragon wings. The chorus rose in volume, filling the stadium with uplifting sound. The cello’s deep sound was brimming with power as Daenerys laid waste to the ships in Slaver’s Bay. The sense of power and urgency permeated air in the stadium, and when the piece was done a deafening applause thundered across the audience in huge waves.
The Raines of Castamere was an ethereal experience thanks to the lone singer, highlighted by a single red spotlight. The Lannister banner framed the screen with a grayed out image of the singer, serving as a fitting backdrop. The complete lyrics performed, with supporting chorus coming in towards the end, was over far too quickly.
Of all the things I was expecting, I had not expected the crazy instruments brought on stage during the music done north of the wall. A huge twelve foot long horn was brought onto one of the platforms to recreate the sound of the horn blown at the top of the wall. Another unique instrument used during the songs played beyond the wall was a long, limp tube which the performer swung in huge circles eliciting a strange distorted moaning sound. It’s something they used to mimic the garbled, growling noises of the White Walkers.
The last major song, and the one I was looking forward to most, was performed by Ramin himself. The Light of the Seven is my favorite piece he has ever done, and the live version did not disappoint. One of the best parts of that song and the placement in the show is that no other piece during the entire six seasons leading up to it ever used piano. Needless to say, when the first chords played as I was watching The Winds of Winter, the last episode of season six, I was immediately on edge. The lights in the stadium dimmed, and the screen lit up to reveal an exchange between Cersei and the Sparrows, in which Cersei looks at her cousin, Lancel, and speaks three words that would condemn her only remaining child: I choose violence. The stadium is thrown into pitch black as the audience whispers in anticipation. As the lights turned back on and Ramin sat at a piano on the main platform, I was whisked right back into the same on edge feeling as the scene from The Winds of Winter played in time with Ramin’s graceful hands skimming the pianos keys. The music swelled, and with it the platform was raised into the air, fog slowly rising with it. The stage lights slowly faded from white to green, becoming a deeper and deeper shade until it matched the sickening color of Wild Fire dripping onto the floor in the crypt below the Sept of Baelor. Fog continued to spew forth, growing thicker until the music hit it’s crescendo and with a thundering sound the Sept exploded on screen as a wall of fog completely enshrouded Ramin and the green stage lights flickered into nothingness.
The show was done better than I could have ever dreamed. Short of having real dragons crash into the stadium and set it aflame, I don’t think there is a single improvement that can be made to such an outstanding performance. It was awe inspiring, each piece so lovingly crafted for such an amazing show. Ramin didn’t stop smiling the entire time, his grin unabashed while playing Daenerys’ theme. I never could have anticipated such a life altering experience, and I truly cannot wait to see what he has in store for season eight.
Check out the Game of Thrones Live Concert Experience Tour Dates.