Review: Game of Thrones Live concert lights up Tampa with wildfire
Songs of ice and fire filled Amalie Arena Sunday night.
Ramin Djawadi, composer for HBO's Game of Thrones, brought three stages, jumbotrons, his traveling band and plenty of pyrotechnics to perform the show's iconic songs for the Game of Thrones Live Concert Experience.
Of course, you can't start a Game of Thrones concert without the sweeping Main Theme. This time, the violinists stretched the notes just a smidge, creating a deeper, twangier sound.
After crushing the intro and revealing the traveling Iron Throne (how do I get one of these?), Djawadi took a minute to ask the audience some important questions.
"How many of you haven't seen Game of Thrones?"
I almost spit out my water when I saw hands go up.
Djawadi laughed, "How many of you have watched Game of Thrones?"
Luckily most of the arena erupted in cheers.
"Well lets show the others how much fun it is to watch Game of Thrones."
Boy, was this concert fun.
The show had the energy of a rock concert, the exceptional quality of an orchestra performance and the insight of comic con. Djawadi's small costumed traveling band was even backed up by local musicians — in Tampa, members from the Florida Orchestra — a move he used at past shows.
Over the course of two and a half hours, Djawadi proved that author George R. R. Martin isn't the only one to break our hearts with the stories of Westeros. It was an emotionally immersive experience. Even the intermission countdown used numbers in High Valyrian.
While Djawadi wielded magic on the first stage, scenes from six seasons played out on the jumbo screens. The scores, including the salty What is Dead May Never Die; the intense, racing Son of the Harpy and the thunderously regal King's Arrival, took the audience through some of the most iconic moments and character evolutions.
The audience cheered scenes with the Starks and Daenerys Targaryen. They booed for the Boltons, but cheered again at their demise. We all gasped reliving Ned Stark's execution and the birth of Daenarys as a Khaleesi and Mother of Dragons.
During the mournful Goodbye Brother, violinist Christine Wu became a virtual weirwood tree as the hydraulic stage lifted her up and a sheer curtain shrouded her. Above her the screens showed animations of the trees — pale white with blood-red leaves. As the tree appeared to lose its leaves, red confetti dropped from the ceiling.
As promised, vocalist Stevvi Alexander delivered a powerful and poignant rendition of The Rains of Castamere, a fictional ballad from Westeros, while scenes of the cunning Lannisters played overhead.
"Now that was The Rains of Castamere," Djawadi said. "Guess what come next."
The arena was silent as the entire Red Wedding scene from Season 3 played out on the screens. Appropriately, a baby started crying when Catelyn Stark dropped dead.
During Reign, tiny white papers floated to the ground as the Wildlings waged an attack on the Wall. Each appearance of the frigid North and each screech of the White Walkers seemed to send chills through the crowd.
Flames burst from the stage as Daenerys led her dragons through battles and when she told them to unleash their "Dracarys." The audience even participated by shouting "Mhysa" when Daenerys freed the slaves of Meereen and "Shame" when the towering seven-pointed star dropped from the ceiling.
The concert truly was a gift for the fans, immersing them in the best hits of six seasons. You could feel the heat of dragon fire, imagine the stifling chaos of the Battle of the Bastards and feel the terror leading up to the explosion of wildfire at the Great Sept of Baelor.
Tampa Bay's most avid Game of Thrones fans came together Sunday night for a celebration of the show on a larger-than-life scale. They're not likely to forget the time winter came to Tampa.
Contact Chelsea Tatham at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @chelseatatham.