Nothing too surprising there. Plenty of people coming of age in the late '70s and early '80s spent much of their free time either accompanying the Stones or Aerosmith on air guitar or pumping quarters into "Space Invaders," "Frogger" or "Pac-Man" at the nearest video arcade.
But how many parlayed those passions into playing video-game music accompanied by a symphony orchestra? Now that's a select group.
"I wanted to make a statement to the world that this is something serious," Tallarico, 46, says over the phone from his home in
Saturday night at the Meyerhoff, Tallarico and the
"I kind of like to describe it as having the power and emotion of a symphony orchestra, but combined with the energy of a rock concert," Tallarico says, "mixed together with all the cutting-edge visuals and technology and interactivity and fun that video games provide."
While this is the first time the BSO will host "Video Games Live," it's far from the first time the orchestra has performed a night of video game music. Several times in recent years -- and often to coincide with Otakon, the huge Japanese pop-culture convention held every summer at the
Clearly, this is symphonic music aimed not at the typical concert-orchestra fan. And that goes a long way in explaining not only why the BSO is happy to be performing video game music, but why similar shows are popping up all over the country. Just next month in
"It definitely brings in a wide audience, and in many cases a younger audience," says
That shouldn't surprise people. Much as movies employ sophisticated symphonic soundtracks to tell their stories -- try imagining "Lawrence of Arabia" without
"We're not talking about little 16-bit blips and bleeps anymore," Spivey says. "We're talking about fully scored symphonic compositions that are written by conservatory graduates."
The music is going to sound immeasurably better and far more powerful played live at the Meyerhoff, assures BSO percussionist
Tallarico, who will be taking "Video Games Live" on a tour of
And if you doubt Tallarico knows how to put on a show, consider this: His cousin is Aerosmith frontman
"Growing up, I would watch him from the side of the stage," he says. "And to me, whenever I would see him onstage -- and I was only 7, 8, 9 years old -- I would see him perform in front of 30,000, 40,000 people. And to me, it was always, 'If he can do that, that looks like a fun job. That's what I want to be when I grow up.'"
Nowadays, Tallarico sometimes finds himself playing the same stages cousin Steven once prowled. And while "Video Games Live" may not attract Aerosmith-size audiences, Tallarico says he's still livin' the dream.
"It's not really a rivalry, because I'll never be on his level," Tallarico says.
"But I always remind him that he was the inspiration."
If you go
"Video Games Live" is at
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