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March 14 concert to turn Philips Arena into ‘Game of Thrones’ territory


Some may consider composer Ramin Djawadi royalty in the world of TV and film soundtracks. His music, especially what’s heard on the phenomenally successful HBO fantasy series “Game of Thrones,” certainly strikes a chord. Yet, playing on a massive stage with an orchestra, a choir, multimedia elements and special effects puts Djawadi in a different realm entirely.

Related: HBO sets ‘Game of Thrones’ 7th season debut for July 16

Currently on the road with the “Game of Thrones: Live Concert Experience,” a concept he pitched himself, Djawadi performs amid a production on par with mega pop and rock acts. Balls of fire, marching drummers and “Game of Thrones” footage on moving video screens provide just a portion of the visuals found on the expansive stage. This immersion puts audience members in the middle of Westeros for an interactive experience to soothe show-hungry fans until season seven of the Emmy-winning drama drops in July on HBO.

While on the road, Djawadi spoke about the tour and how a live interactive concert cuts deeper than swords.

Q: Taking this music out of the recording studio and into a live setting has to be exhilarating for you.

A: It’s unbelievable. The most exciting part for me when I work on a project is the end when all of the demos are approved and finalized, and we’re recording with real musicians and an orchestra. I get goosebumps every time the musicians play, because the music comes to life. Take that into a live setting, and it takes it up another notch. You have live musicians not only playing, but playing it in front of a live audience. So you get an immediate reaction from the audience. That’s the most amazing feeling, because it heightens the emotions so much more. My goal was to put (“Game of Thrones” music) in front of a live audience with the footage and a specially designed stage. It just becomes very special.

Q: What seems to be garnering the biggest response from the crowd?

A: I really always wanted the audience to get interactive with us and be emotional while the music is being performed. And it’s working. For example, at the very beginning of the show, we’re playing a sort of medley of the different themes of the main houses. The audience literally starts cheering when they see their favorite characters or they start booing when they see a character that they don’t like. Obviously for us — all of the musicians — it’s really exciting, because you immediately realize the audience is getting involved.

Q: The visual element looks impressive. What was your initial reaction when you saw everything?

A: It was mind-blowing, because we looked at these renderings for so long. It’s one thing if you look at a paper drawing. You wonder if it will really work. I had all of these questions, because I’ve never toured with a show of this scale. There was such a learning curve. So when I stepped into the room where we first set the stage up to start the actual rehearsals, I was blown away. It looked like the picture. It’s an absolutely stunning stage. I just love how all of the different areas get utilized.

Q: You play multiple instruments in the show, including piano during “Light of the Seven.”

A: That’s the one big piece that has piano in it. The audience reacts so well to it. It also brings me back to the days when I was playing live a lot. I like the fact of performing an instrument in front of an audience. I’m living my dream right now. I’m getting to conduct an orchestra live, and I’m getting to play instruments as well.

Q: What do you like most about having “Game of Thrones” as your muse? Where does it take you creatively?

A: The one thing I loved from the beginning with the showrunners (David Benioff and D.B. Weiss) is that they always pushed into new territories and said, “We really want to create a score that is our own and is characteristic of ‘Game of Thrones,’ and has to feel characteristic of our characters.” When people hear the music, we want people to just remember the scenes and the show itself. And (the showrunners) are very into experimenting with instrumentation. All of that has been so much fun.

CONCERT PREVIEW

“Game of Thrones: Live Concert Experience”

8 p.m. March 14. $39.50-$250 plus fees. Philips Arena, One Philips Drive, Atlanta. 1-800-745-3000, 1-866-448-7849, ticketmaster.com.



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