Behind The Scenes Of The 'Game Of Thrones' Live Concert
These are strange times. For many, the country is dark and full of terrors. The Mad King is president, the Sparrows are poised to take over the education system, and if the alt-right's sending of
ravens tweets about snowflakes are to be believed, winter is coming. What is a low-born supposed to do but fondly remember the good ol' days of an earlier season of America?
Or, if you're a Game of Thrones fan, you could practice a little escapism by attending the immersive live concert event that's poised to tour the country beginning this month. We got the chance to check out a sneak peek of the show via a dress rehearsal held at the Warner Brothers Lot in Burbank, and to chat with Game of Thrones composer Ramin Djawadi and Game of Thrones actor Jacob Anderson.
Djawadi conceived the idea for a Game of Thrones concert some time ago, but the idea took three years to come to fruition. He didn't want a simple concert where one sits and watches an orchestra, but a more immersive spectacle. Though the music is at the forefront of the event, the two-hour concert takes place on a long, sprawling stage, allowing instrumentalists and vocalists to move out and get featured during solos. Additionally, massive screens display clips from the series, and banners from key houses are dropped from the rafters at appropriate times. Video walls will immerse the audience in scenes, recreating what it might be like to be, say, Beyond the Wall.
Djawadi said that the concert will feature various notable tracks from the soundtrack, including the likes of "Winds of Winter" and Lannister theme "The Rains of Castamere. When asked about the piece he is most looking to perform, he mentioned Season 6's "Light of the Seven," as he will be playing the delicate piano and bombastic organ parts himself.
"It was hard to pick a selection because there is so much material," he said. "I had to take a step back and look at what the key scenes were that we wanted to show. I've also made special arrangements of some of the pieces, so they're not in the way that we know them from the soundtrack. I hope people will be excited about hearing something new."
Our mini-concert included, of course, a rendition of the opening theme, followed by a medley of house themes as each house's—even the Boltons'—banner was raised. One interesting thing about all of this is that Game of Thrones has been on for six seasons, and things have not been peaceful in Westeros. Therefore, the opening projections are almost a bit like an in memoriam segment, as several characters are no longer with us. Similarly, we also watched clips that, when strung together, revealed the trajectory of certain characters. That's how you (spoiler) end up watching a bright little girl go from learning how to sword fight with her jovial instructor to assassinating her enemies and baking human pies. Wait, there is a meme for this:
Djawadi hopes that people really get into the show, and that they come in costume and sing along. This can, of course, be done to song that have words, such as "Rains of Castamere," but Djawadi said you could make up words to other tunes. Noted:
Jacob Anderson, who plays Unsullied Commander Grey Worm, doesn't get to hear the music Djawadi has composed for his scenes until he watches the finished scenes, but he is a fan.
"You can tell that [Djawadi] keeps buildings these themes and sounds, in a way that is familiar but maybe a bit bigger [the next time], or a different version," Anderson said. "Because I know the music from the previous season, I sometimes hear it in my head, especially if it's a physical scene, or a fight...I've got Team Targaryen music in my head when I am fighting. It spurs me on."
Anderson himself is a musician. He released his first studio album, You're a Man Now, Boy, under the name Raleigh Ritchie in February of 2016. For his second album, he said he hopes to interview people about things that are going on in the world today.
"I'm interested in what other people are thinking, particularly with the way the world feels like it's moving," he said. "I'm really interested in how people's definition of safety and love and family have [have changed]. I think a lot of people were really surprised by a lot stuff that's happened this year and maybe that's because we're not looking at each or talking to each other."
Djawadi also composed the gorgeous score for HBO's Westworld, which consisted of stirring orchestral themes, insistent synth tracks and old-timey piano covers of Radiohead and The Cure tracks. Djawadi said those particular songs were selected for him by Westworld co-creator Jonah Nolan, and he has no idea if more covers are on the way in season two. He would, however, not be opposed to doing a Westworld live concert in the vein of the Game of Thrones show.
"It would certainly lend itself very well to a live performance. We have the piano, and Western sounds and the acoustic guitar. The synth would be fun. So who knows?" he said.
The Game of Thrones Live Concert Experience kicks off in February and will visit over 25 different cities. More information and tickets are available here.