The anticipation Game of Thrones fans have for new episodes matches that of Davos Seaworth’s before the Battle of the Bastards. Three years in the making, the Game of Thrones Live Experience, which stopped at MGM Grand Garden Arena March 25, doubled that eager expectation for the upcoming seventh season.
Ramin Djawadi, a German composer who wrote the score for the HBO series, led his band (including percussionists, a cellist, a violinist, a singer and a woodwind player) and a local orchestra and choir through the best of his score, from the widely-recognized main theme to the music backing season six’s cliffhanger moment.
Photos by Ron Koch/MGM Grand Garden Arena
Clips from each season played on massive screens above the stage as strange instruments, including a didgeridoo-like horn and a piano that transformed into an organ, played below. At one point, a digital Weirwood tree took shape on screens surrounding a violinist playing solemn notes, as deep red confetti leaves fell from the ceiling. The visuals changed with each song, filling screens with blood during the Red Wedding scene and flashing green wildfire during the Light of the Seven trial. A surprise appearance came from Matt Berninger, frontman of indie rock band The National, who sang “The Rains of Castamere.”
The audience yelled “The King of the North” and whispered “I choose violence” right on cue. They screamed “zigzag!” as Rickon ran from Ramsay’s arrows and “shame!” any time a bell rang, along with all of the other famous lines from the show.
There were sweet moments between the show’s well-known bloodbaths, too, like when the cellist and violinist dueled during a loving montage of Ygritte and Jon Snow. But some of the most exciting parts of the night came when percussionists pounded their drums during songs used to enhance “Mother of Dragons” Khaleesi’s storyline—because where there are dragons, there is pyro.
Seeing the six seasons condensed into a two-hour musical performance reminded the audience of the true epic George R. R. Martin is creating, which wouldn’t be nearly as effective on screen without Djawadi’s powerful score.