As with many of Nintendo's largest franchises, the music from the Pokémon games has captured its fans' hearts, being just as much a part of growing up as the monster-catching action itself. From the gentle beginnings in Pallet Town, right through to the epic Champion Battle themes, these songs are those that you catch yourself humming along to even now, almost 20 years after the series introduced us to them.
Recently we were lucky enough to attend Pokémon Symphonic Evolutions, an orchestral arrangement of classic entries to the series (with a couple of surprises thrown in too). Held at the Eventim Apollo in London, the event was conceptualised by the same team behind The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses and invited eager fans of the series to sit back and appreciate these musical masterpieces in a completely new, beautiful form performed by the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra and conducted by Susie Benchasil Seiter.
Never shy of an opportunity, the concert hall was quickly flooded with cosplayers, and more Pokémon themed hats than you could ever imagine. Some truly great efforts were spotted including a Team Magma duo, Professor Sycamore and an Ash Ketchum of course, but also some incredible hand-made puppets of Snubbull and Charmander. Great job!
As you might expect the concert started right at the beginning with a spectacular rendition of Pokémon Red and Blue's 'Overture'. Needless to say, the audience loved every second of this with huge cheers echoing around the concert hall when famous melodies crept their way into the arrangement. Other classics from the Kanto region such as the Pallet Town theme and 'Prepare For Trouble', an incredible version of the Silph Co. theme, were sprung upon us before moving on to songs from Pokémon Gold and Silver for the next round of nostalgia.
The orchestra was accompanied on stage by a screen depicting classic moments from the series that corresponded to the song playing at the time. Cheers and applause for favourite characters or moments from the games created an electric atmosphere, adding to the overall excitement and buzz that could be felt throughout the night; Pokémon Gold and Silver fan favourite Youngster Joey and his famous Rattata (in the top percentage of Rattata of course), made a short appearance on screen at one point, resulting in a cry of pure joy from diehard fans.
After being treated to beautiful arrangements of our favourite songs from each generation of games, director Jeron Moore took to the stage to prepare us for what was about to be a very special encore. After a bit of hype-building, the orchestra burst into a truly epic rendition of 'Gotta Catch 'Em All', from the Pokémon television series - you know the one! Turning to face the audience, conductor Susie directed the audience through the words of the song, creating a truly unforgettable moment where it was impossible to resist joining the hundreds of fans screaming out every single word, just as everyone already has far too many times in the privacy of their own homes. "You teach me and I'll teach you" has never sounded so good.
Taken from Pokémon X & Y, the show concluded with the beautiful 'KISEKI', which was specifically hand picked as the show finale by none other than Pokémon composer, Junichi Masuda. A fitting end to an incredible night and one that will stay in the memories of those that attended for a very long time to come.
Did you attend the concert? Would you like to see any other franchises given the orchestra treatment? Sound off in the comments below!