“Successful Infiltration Mission!”
- Event: Metal Gear in Concert
- Date: Saturday March 23, 2019
- Location: United Palace Theater, New York
Intro: Sneaking not required
There was a genuine amazing feeling walking into the United Palace Theater. When you first walk in, the United Palace Theater looks akin to a movie theater with a few greeters there to see your tickets and let you in. However, after that initial moment, the theater transforms into an elegant place that feels almost akin to a grand theater from the old days. Large statues and gold/red trimmed rugs, carpet and tapestries extended in various parts of the entrance hallway. While we didn’t go to the second floor, we were told to enter one of the doors and from there a new sight greeted us. A giant stage with a large projector was down on the main stage. On the projector itself were the words “Metal Gear in Concert” waited as a placeholder for the main images to later be shown. For fans of Metal Gear Solid, our thoughts reminded us of that beginning segment when Snake is on the elevator. Once the elevator reached the top, that shocking title drop and our faces when it appeared best summarized our feelings as we found our seats and waited for the program to start. We arrived an hour before the show began…but the wait felt so much longer as our anticipation grew. Then when the 70 instrument players arrived on stage, we knew…our not-so sneaking mission was about to begin.
Performance: Myriad of Emotions
The concert itself began at around 8:00 pm, but you can tell the orchestra—led by Conductor Nicholas Buc—was already readying their fingers as harps began to make soft sounds and violins tuned delicately for the big intro. Nichols Buc stood in front of us, bowed a few times, turned to face his team and then his hands raised…what followed was something akin to being hit with a stereo of beautiful sound directly into your ears. Nicholas and his team went to work making instruments bend to their wielders and each tune impressed from start to finish,
What helped give weight to the performance though was that the onscreen monitor showed segments of each of the main Metal Gear Solid games—ranging from Metal Gear Solid 3:Snake Eater to Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots—as if they were being played through cutscenes alone. While we didn’t see the spin of Metal Gear games like Metal Gear Acid and Metal Gear: Revengeance, we got the main seven games and that was enough for us. We loved the way the lighting and such was set up too though. Rather then have the whole room being pitch black, a little bit of overhead lighting allowed the room to show the orchestra playing in its entirety and gave the screen just a bit of hue to avoid it being overly bright or not bright enough.
The stage set up was extremely simple though. We noticed that there wasn’t anything too fancy happening on stage which is understandable as most of our eyes were glued to the screen or the conductor as his hands flew to make the team play in the order they needed to. What also surprised us was that the theater itself wasn’t sold out! Our team anticipated that there would be no seats left for anyone but during the majority of the performance, our row had almost half of the seats left unoccupied.
Our most surprising observation during Metal Gear in Concert though was the audience itself. There was a slew of different types of audience goers who attended ranging from die-hard Metal Gear fans—we saw Solid Snake cosplay and even an Otacon cosplay—and those who just clearly loved music. Many of the viewers were lost in discussions about their favorite Metal Gear games and what games they loved or hated. Many who clearly bought those unfamiliar with Metal Gear, found their partners/friends interested in the series once the concert began. It’s always refreshing to see fans and non-fans unite for something like Metal Gear in Concert.
Outro: Reign Supreme Indeed!
There were many moments that sent chills down our spines—as well as the audience—but Donna Burke really made for a standing ovation not once but twice! The first theme she let loose was The Best is Yet to Come, but when she left and came back with a green sequin, we knew what song was coming next…Snake Eater! That song truly made our ears dance and our hearts roar for our teenage years when Metal Gear 3: Snake Eater first launched on the PS2. Everyone—including us—jumped out of our comfy chairs and began clapping loudly for Donna Burke’s rendition of Snake Eater live. That orchestra should be recognized as well though, which Donna did do after the song finished. They really nailed the pitch and melody Donna Burke was going at, not missing a single beat even when she held notes longer than the original song did. Overall, the whole Metal Gear in Concert setlist was incredible, but Donna Burke stole the show when she appeared and made the concert even more amazing.