Photos from season 6 of "Game of Thrones."
From the beginning, everyone involved agreed: The "Game of Thrones" Live Concert Experience tour, which hits the United Center Wednesday, would not be like other tours of its kind.
It wouldn’t merely feature an orchestra playing soundtrack selections in front of a video screen. It wouldn’t be tasteful, or dull or expected. There would be blood (virtual, but still), and dragons (also virtual). In keeping with the show’s aesthetic, everything would be epic and over the top.
"It’s unbelievable to actually see the stage in front of me," says the series’ German-born composer Ramin Djawadi, who wrote its vaunted main title theme and serves as the centerpiece of the live show. "I’m blown away every time I walk into the (rehearsal) space."
MOST READ ENTERTAINMENT NEWS THIS HOUR
Djawadi has worked on "Game of Thrones" since its infancy, but its success still astonishes him. "I love the story, obviously," he says. "When I saw the first two episodes, I was hooked. I was like, ‘I have to do this show.’ I feel very fortunate that I’m part of the team, but I never thought it would have such success."
In a phone interview days before the tour began, Djawadi, who also composes music for HBO’s "Westworld," broke down what to expect (and what not to expect) from the live show:
1. Expect a multistage, multimedia spectacle
"Game of Thrones Live" is intended as an immersive experience, with multiple stages set up in-the-round, connected by runways and flanked by oversized, movable video screens playing scenes from the show. There will be an orchestra conducted by Djawadi, a choir and various roving instrumentalists. "There’s one main stage, which is the King’s Landing stage, then there’s six satellite stages," Djawadi says. "It looks really cool."
2. Winter is coming
"GoT Live" will feature special effects both usual ("there will be pyro," Djawadi promises) and unusual, like a virtual snowstorm that may be the concert’s most stunning set piece. There will also be virtual depictions of Castle Black, the Red Wedding and the Wall. "Game of Thrones" fans are among pop culture’s most devoted, but until now they have had nowhere to pay their respects: For them, "GoT Live" will serve as both a temple and a theme park. Djawadi takes this responsibility seriously. "The idea was always to have the music be the focal point, but what’s so great about ‘Game of Thrones’ is there’s all these other aspects with the characters and locations. … The idea is that you get immersed in the pieces, and you feel like you’re there with the characters. You see the musicians play, but it takes you back to the show."
3. Something is bound to go wrong, because something always goes wrong, but you probably won’t notice
Because "GoT Live" is a massive endeavor with countless moving parts, it’s inevitable that something will go sideways; Djawadi just hopes it’s something small. "It’s live, so will there be mistakes? Possibly, but that’s what playing live is all about. It’s such an undertaking, because there’s so many technical aspects of the show. Obviously the music has to (sync) with the picture, and this musician has to be in position here — and it’s a lot, because we want to give the audience something different. I hope the audience will enjoy it even if there’s a slight mistake here or there, because it can happen."
4. Don’t expect any teasers for Season Seven
Djawadi has yet to begin work on music for the latest season, which is tentatively set to premiere this summer. "I don’t get the scripts. I don’t get to see anything until I start working on it, and I haven’t yet," he says. "This year, the show comes back a bit later, so they’re still shooting. I haven’t seen anything yet, and I don’t know anything yet. I’m as much in the dark as any other fan out there."
5. There probably won’t be any guest appearances from "GoT" cast members, either
Several actors have come to rehearsals, including Liam Cunningham (who plays Davos Seaworth) and Jacob Anderson (Grey Worm), but due to the show’s later-than-usual shooting schedule this year, most of the cast is scattered. "When I’ve talked to some of them, I’ve heard that they are very excited about it, but I can’t comment because they’re all very busy with their shooting schedules and wherever they might be in parts of the world," Djawadi says. "They’re certainly invited. I’m hoping we might have a surprise guest here and there, but I can’t confirm it."
Allison Stewart is a freelance writer.
When: 8 p.m. Wednesday
Where: United Center, 1901 W. Madison St.
Tickets: $19.00-$331.00; 800-745-3000 or www.ticketmaster.com
The game of thronesiest episode yet: 5 thoughts recapping the ‘Game of Thrones’ season 6 finale
Check out the latest movie reviews from Michael Phillips and the Chicago Tribune.
Check out reviews for all new music releases from Tribune music critic Greg Kot.