The “Game of Thrones Live Concert Experience” is the perfect immersive experience into the world of Westeros for dedicated fans of the Emmy Award-winning HBO show “Game of Thrones.” Through the spectacular use of visuals and riveting orchestral performances, German-Iranian composer Ramin Djawadi took fans on an epic musical journey that highlights the evolution of the show over its seven seasons on Sept. 25 at Capital One Arena.
Djawadi has composed music for a variety of notable TV shows and films including “Westworld,” “Iron Man” and “Pacific Rim.” With his impressive discography, he is undoubtedly worthy of both the critical acclaim he has received over the years and his recent Emmy win for his work on “Game of Thrones.”
Often an underappreciated aspect of the series, the score for “Game of Thrones” took front and center with Djawadi conducting and even performing at certain parts. Helping him and his talented team of soloists bring the show to life were a local Washington, D.C. orchestra and choir.
The stage design was an impressive visual feat by itself. The main stage was occupied by a massive ensemble of instrumentalists and vocalists featuring the show’s iconic Iron Throne in the center. Behind the orchestra was a giant screen that displayed scenes from the show.
Another noteworthy aspect of the set was the use of pyrotechnics to emphasize scenes showcasing the dragons of “Game of Thrones.” From the main stage, a winding pathway connected two smaller stages that allowed for soloists to shine. Of the two stages, one was designed to imitate the floor of the Sept of Baelor from the show, while the other was rigged with a rising platform.
The show began with a riveting performance of the iconic “Game of Thrones Main Title Theme,” paired with the animated title sequence projected onto the large screens by the stage. This song set the tone for the rest of the show, as the performance by the massive ensemble of instruments and vocals transported the audience into the fantastical realm of Westeros.
The live experience was able to incorporate most of the highlights of the past seven seasons into a well-thought-out 2.5-hour show without feeling messy or rushed. Through scenes depicting the Red Wedding, Battle of the Bastards and the Stark reunion, the audience was able to re-experience the vast array of emotions evoked by those iconic scenes. These scenes were ultimately underscored by the dynamic musical pieces.
The definitive standout of the second act was Djawadi’s haunting performance of the “Light of the Seven.” The piece involved a slow buildup with him playing the piano and background vocals that crescendoed into a bombastic symphony of the organ and string instruments. The performance was dramatized by the display of an explosion that happens late in the series, as well as green lights and fog to recreate the scene’s visuals.
One of the greatest features of the live experience was its immersive quality. At the offset, Djawadi told the audience members to cheer whenever they saw their favorite characters or scenes on the screen. Visuals of villains like Joffrey Baratheon and Ramsay Bolton were met with jeers and boos, while scenes featuring fan favorites like Daenerys Targaryen and Jon Snow received impassioned cries of “Khaleesi!” and “King in the North!” respectively.
Djawadi also took breaks between the songs to provide some insight into his music-making process. He mentioned how one of his favorite parts of working on “Game of Thrones” was that he was inspired to use instruments from across the globe, including the hammered dulcimer for Arya’s theme “Needle.” The wide range of instruments and attention to detail demonstrate just how much thought was put into creating the show’s scores.
An ambitious undertaking, the “Game of Thrones Live Concert Experience” succeeded in transporting the audience into the realm of Westeros through its unique platform. The talented performers, under the direction of Djawadi and with the help of impressive set designs, created a powerful and unforgettable experience.
The “Game of Thrones Live Concert Experience” is perfect for diehard fans eagerly awaiting the eighth and final season of this HBO thriller.