One of the most impressive feats of the evening was the three guitar (and one violin) work on “Big Blue” from F-Zero. Before starting, Shota Nakama described it as one of the “most difficult and fastest songs we’ve ever done.” And in spite of that, they sure pulled it off, even throwing in a sample of “Smoke on the Water” into the frenetic mix. At one point, the orchestra even bantered with the audience, taking a few requests of classic rock tunes that they played short samples of (one person shouted out a request for “Free Bird”, natch). Nakama joked that they had to move on because it would be too hard to stop.
Fan-favorite “Snake Eater” from Metal Gear Solid 3 was belted out by Ingrid Genes and topped off by Nakama wailing out the game’s main theme in a patriotic guitar riff on par with Hendrix’s “Star Spangled Banner” variation. Continuing with the classic rock tone, the orchestra kicked of the concert’s finale with a turbulent cover of Queen standard “Bohemian Rhapsody”, in a tribute to Cambridge-based Harmonix’s Rock Band series. Swery ran out onto the stage with an unplugged guitar, stuffed monkey Sharapova strapped to his back, and rocked out hard with the band members while “playing” along. The crowd (myself included) sang their lungs out and went nuts in the best way possible. “Zombies on Your Lawn” from Plants vs. Zombies wrapped up the lively evening and the orchestra was met with a well-deserved standing ovation at the show’s end.