The Tomb Raider Suite. A Retrospective.

‘Dad, I did it.’
For twenty years the original Tomb Raider composer, Nathan McCree had been waiting to say this to his Dad. As every year I was told, he would tell him:

‘This time next year Nath, the tour will happen’.

And now it has.

It was a spectacular event.

With cues from the first three Tomb Raider games, narrated by Shelley Blond throughout, it gained three standing ovations, and the crowd wanting more.

Me and Nathan had been talking the past week on how it was going. Nerves were mainly part of this. Some dread also. But in the end, everything had worked out, and more.

Once I arrived at the hotel on the Sunday, I made my way down to the Apollo Theatre.
There, in the huge marquee, there it was.

With the doors opening at 17:45, I recognised a few fans, people from Twitter, and a LetsPlayer that I had a chat with for a bit. He was in awe of it all, as we all were.

The VIP holders (myself included) went to a booth to collect a signed magazine, a lanyard and a signed sheet of the original theme.

As I walked in, there it was.

I had booked a seat for the front, and while i thought I’d be close, I didn’t realize, just how close.

For ten minutes it was just me, until I was met by someone who had taken a flight from Glasgow, just to be there.

We were talking about certain levels and what we were hoping to hear, and it was a great thing, having the same interest and having them recognise parts of levels you knew of too.

With the Q&A at half 6, it was a brief half hour of questions related to the event, alongside some being asked by the audience. It was to the point and it helped Nathan relax he later told me. Seeing the crowd made it, real in a sense.

Not to go too much into detail to avoid spoiling it for fans who couldn’t attend, it was extended cues of most of the three Tomb Raider games.

But, with some knowing of my fondness of Tomb Raider II, I have to go into detail here.

Once it had moved to the game, that was when i was enjoying it most. My favourite game, with extended variations of ‘Vertigo’, ‘Skidoo’ and ‘Venice’, it all worked. The extensions worked as if they had always been there, just giving the impression they had been locked away in a vault for twenty years, ready to be used for this concert. Towards the end, there were overtures of each of the three games, with the second being the favourite again.

The event with two breaks lasted from half 7 until around 10. But it only felt like a half hour.

There were three standing ovations, with passionate ‘whoops’ and claps as certain songs played throughout as well. Fans loved it, and it was a sense of coming home for Nathan.

If you’ve seen the Oasis documentary, Supersonic, they had said felt like that when they reached Knebworth. It was the pinnacle for them. This was the equivalent.

He came onto the stage at the very end, visibly moved, full of acknowledgements for his family, and praise for the orchestra. It was well deserved, and all the work in the last two years, this was the result.

At the sign in, the queue was much longer than known, waiting up to 45 minutes to have something to be signed. I didn’t mind, as there was not much else to do during this time!

Finally we met, alongside Shelley and Crystal Dynamics’ community manager, Meagan Marie, and said we’d have a drink later.

With the after show party just starting, I could see a few who had their books and sheets ready to sign, with many ordering a drink from the bar.

This was where I became the observer. At this point, I just wanted to watch how fans were. As I was managing my one point, trying to look casual and cool, but failing, I could see people flocking to Nathan. Having things signed, sometimes relentlessly, to the point where a mini-crowd was gathering. As I’d look over, I’d receive a look from Nathan of ‘Help!’.

But they all gave him space when he requested. He was willing to take the time to speak to them all. I gave him a pint in between this to help the cause.

When things had calmed down, we had five minutes to spare, which turned into fifteen. He was overwhelmed with the attention, but once we had talked and joked, he became more relaxed. The beer I gave had certainly helped this.

‘I’m on a total high. I’d been saying for 20 years that the concert had to happen, but Eidos, and then Square, kept saying no, maybe not this year.

Then with the 20th anniversary, they approved it two years ago, and since then it’s been a hell of a ride to tonight.’

I had mentioned that I noticed through each theme, even though they were extended, they felt as though they had been in a vault for twenty years and only just released for the concert. They had fitted in that well to me.

‘I’m pleased you’ve said that, as that what I was aiming for. Coming back to the tracks after so long, even though the Nathan from twenty years ago has moved on in a sense, I’d come back and think, ‘That sounds really good! I can add this to the track’.

With so many tracks, I wanted to know if there was a track or two that had taken longer than planned.

‘Yes. ‘Time to Run’ from TR 1 went through five different versions until I was happy with it. I was sending it to my business partner and he was saying ‘How about this?’ and I’d go ‘Oh I’m not sure! I’ve got 6 others to finish!’, but it was finally at a point where it was good to go and it sounded mega.’

We talked about the interview we did from three years ago, and just going through the tracks for another five minutes. It was down to earth, it was casual. Eventually, there were fans who wanted to say goodbye, and we said we’ll meet up later on and get a pint.

But, bed at half 1 in the morning by now seemed appealing, so we held off until the morning after, for a debrief over a coffee.

As I walked back, it dawned on me that, it was as if the last three years for me, and twenty years for Nathan, had culminated into that evening. Beer was had, a lot of insightful chats too. We had come full circle in a sense, and it culminated into a slightly drunken picture of us, wondering if the photo had been taken.

But it is only the start of things, and what 2017 and beyond could be bringing to the community and fans as a whole.