Even though blue was my favorite color at the time, the first Pokémon game that I had was Pokémon Red because I thought Charizard was the coolest thing ever. I was obsessed with fire pokemon and even collected a folder of Pokémon cards specifically featuring only fire types (Vulpix was and still is my favorite). I’ve played through a couple more iterations of the game and I used to watch the anime before going off to school, so yes, Pokémon was a big part of my childhood.
Thus, when I found out that orchestras around the country would be playing songs from the Pokémon video game series live as part of Pokémon Symphonic Evolutions, I made sure to get tickets for the July 11 show at the Greek Theatre for me and two of my friends. I bought my tickets on Goldstar since they were having a deal, but we actually got better seats than we paid for since the entire back section was closed off when we arrived. Instead, people in that section were reallocated to fill gaps towards the stage.
There were a good amount of people wearing Pikachu hats and other Pokémon attire. I used to have a Pikachu shirt when I was in middle school, but unfortunately, that thing is long gone. The concert, conducted by Susie Seiter, began with an overture as all the titles scrolled across a large screen behind the orchestra. From there, the orchestra delved into a couple pieces from Pokémon Red, Blue, and Yellow before moving on to subsequent generations while gameplay was shown in the background.
Here is a full set-list of the show:
- Pallet Town (from Red, Blue, and Yellow)
- Prepare for Trouble (from Red, Blue, and Yellow)
- Born to be a Champion (from Red, Blue, and Yellow)
- Ecruteak City (from Gold, Silver, and Crystal)
- Songs of the Towers (from Gold, Silver, and Crystal)
- … (from Gold, Silver, and Crystal)
- Ancients of Hoenn (from Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald)
- Falling Ashes (from Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald)
- End of the Road (from Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald)
- Dreams and Adventures (from Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum)
- Routes of Sinnoh (from Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum)
- The Lake Guardians (from Diamond, Pearl, and Platinum)
- Pokémon Center
- The Day I Became King (from Black and White)
- N-Counter (from Black and White)
- Farewell (from Black and White)
- An Eternal Prison (from X and Y)
- Welcome to Kalos (from X and Y)
- Professor Sycamore (from X and Y)
- Friends, Fights & Finales (from X and Y)
- Gotta Catch ’em All (Pokémon Anime Theme)
- KISEKI (End theme to X and Y)
Somewhat noticeably absent is the infamous and unsettling theme for Lavender Town, though it quite possibly could have driven more than a few people insane. There was a kid who sat behind us who really wanted them to play the song. It was a little cute at first, but he got annoying really quickly as he felt the need to mention it to his dad after almost every song.
My favorite was probably Ecruteak City. I used to have Pokémon Silver (I actually still have it somewhere), but I don’t remember Ecruteak City at all. Still, when I heard the song playing at the concert, I just thought it was incredibly gorgeous and I would buy it if a soundtrack to the tour ever made its way to iTunes.
The biggest highlight would have to be the encore, in which the crowd sang along to the first theme song for the Pokémon animated series. That had to have hit a core for many of the people in the audience. The first episode of the anime aired in the United States in 1998 and there are still new episodes being produced today. That’s pretty amazing and Pokémon has left a big impact on multiple generations now.
I checked out the gift shop during the intermission, but there wasn’t too much there that I was interested in. The posters awkwardly have a significant amount of dead space around the center image, even though I do think the Poké-orchestra is pretty adorable. I really wish they did sell a soundtrack, but alas, there are at least YouTube videos.
Pokémon is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. Who knew that a game about capturing monsters would create such a legacy?