Those who are familiar with Tripod’s brand of musical humour may have seen them joking around in pubs, caught them on Youtube or even on bigger stages, such as at Edinburgh’s Fringe Festival (performing their D&D themed show). But I for one never thought I’d see them in tuxes, complete with tails, backed by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra at Hamer Hall. Yet there they were, and they put on a damn good show.
The MSO are no strangers to popular culture – they occasionally play soundtracks to popular properties such as Star Trek, Lord of the Rings, and coming up in November, Back to the Future. But to my knowledge, they don’t often have three guys prancing around the stage cracking jokes while they play. That’s not to say they don’t perform admirably, of course. The MSO are professionals, and a couple of the members do get involved at points in the show to hilarious effect.
We also get a treat in the form of Austin Wintory, the composer of famed game Journey’s soundtrack. He collaborated with Tripod on the score for This Gaming Life, and also conducts the orchestra. It’s clear they’ve become good friends, which adds a lovely dynamic to the show. Although his jokes and interactions come across a bit stilted at times, by the end, Wintory is joking with the best of them.
Just because Tripod have got themselves a backing orchestra doesn’t mean they’ve changed, and they run the whole gamut in This Gaming Life – sweeping ballads, fun little odes and crashing epics all appear, and even 8-bit music makes an appearance. As you’d expect from a show about gaming, they reference Portal, Skyrim and a whole host of other games, they lovingly argue about guns in games, gaming addiction, the pros and cons of roleplaying games like World of Warcraft, and perform a seven-minute epic based on their Halo misadventures while touring. It’s quintessential Tripod, but dressed up and at the orchestra.
To put it simply, This Gaming Life is a triumph of music, comedy and (awwww) friendship.
Tripod’s This Gaming Life has one final show at Hamer Hall on 18th April. Tickets are available through artscentremelbourne.com.au, mso.com.au or at the door.