Playing Journey LIVE
We had such an amazing time performing Journey LIVE at UT Austin last week! One of our gamers, Logynn Hailley, was kind enough to share this behind-the-scenes story of her experience. I was only actually visible in that Journey Live show for about five minutes. But the rest of the day was amazing.
I loved every second of it, and the people I worked with there were fantastic hosts. (TBH even the preparation for it was wonderful. Journey is my happy place. It’s the only place in the world that I feel really at home. I love how it says, “I was born for this” in the Fifth House song title, because it is honestly the only experience I’ve ever had that meshes completely with my concept of reality and my identity. #nerdlyfe)
They asked us to be there at 3:30, which was neat because there were still students there working. All the shop doors were open behind the concert hall and you could see the stage props and projects being worked on. Most of the day was hanging out back stage. it's like a labyrinth back there. There are odd hallways and offices and workspaces full of shelves and cubbies. Every surface has stickers and photos and hanging things and signed memorabilia. It's amazing to watch the stage crew adjusting all the lights and sound and staging and taping everything. The scale of the spaces and curtains is monolithic like the game. And, as a person who struggles with sensory defensiveness, I LOVE the lack of reverberating sound in those massive theater spaces. It really calms the nerves. I could live there.
The rehearsal was from 4 - 6. Basically, the sound people are just running around tweaking everything while the musicians tweak with things. Then they have a partial run through of everything where they give the sound people feedback, and the sound people give them feedback, and they stop in between each level to discuss how it sounds to them. Each person has to consider the volume and intensity of their instrument in relation to the others and to the game sounds.
I was afraid I'd be pretty bad at playing compared to other people. It’s the only console game I’ve played, and I haven’t been able to play it many times. The player controls the character's movement AND the camera view, at the same time. It takes some practice, especially for things like flying. And it's easy to get lost in some parts of the game, which can be a problem for an improvised show. They said one time a player fell off the mountain in the blizzard level and that level ended up being an extra 15 minutes of very intense storm sounds with drums and cymbals and stuff.
From 6 - 7:30 we got to have dinner in the Green Room with the orchestra. The food was very nice. The Fifth House Ensemble seems to be a pretty close-knit group. They come from Chicago. I sat with another gamer who teaches at the University (and knows Abe.) We talked with the Bassoonist, Eric, about game ethics, doomsday preppers, music as a temporal art, sound loops in games, graphics as a spatial art, sticker making, smart cartoon shows on TV, and how to keep people from being dicks to each other online. It was fascinating. I watched him put his instrument together. He showed me how he prepares the reeds and told me about the craftsperson he gets them from. We also talked about Chicago... one of my favorite topics.
I found some of the booklets for the show in the Green Room and it was kind of cool to see that my name was listed in there as part of the cast.
Then when it was show time at 8PM I had one of the shorter middle levels, which I was grateful for because it was an easy one and I could watch most of the show instead of waiting or being on stage. Most of the stage area is actually back stage. There's a huge open space where I could sit on the floor and watch the show from behind the screen. You can hear everything perfectly.
The credits sequence was the thing that struck me as truly phenomenal in the live version. The vocalist was incredible... completely unbelievable that a human can sing like that... Made me cry. That's the part I really wish I could share with everyone.
Here's a link to part of her rehearsal. Although it doesn't sound as good because there's background noise and some of the orchestra is still dinking around on their own things:
Even though it’s not the greatest video you get a little sense of what it’s like to be there.
You can scroll through my IG and see a few other pics I posted. Maybe I’ll do some fan art for them if I have time over the holidays.
Thanks again, so sincerely, for inviting players to join your world for a day.
Check out Logynn's artwork here. She sent us this amazing Journey fan art as well: