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Tomb Raider Live in Concert!

April 01, 2017 Kate Sykes 2 Comments



It's been a while since my last post as exciting non Tomb Raider adventures have kept me busy but after my break, I wanted to write about one of the most special experiences I had last year...in fact, that I've ever had!
2016 was a wonderful anniversary year for Tomb Raider. It was also incredble for me personally.
This is one of the reasons why...

The weekend before Christmas was the world premiere of Nathan McCree's Tomb Raider Suite, the original score from the first three games with some extended pieces performed by the London Philharmonic Concert Orchestra at the Hammersmith Apollo. It saw a pilgrimage of Tomb Raider fans from all over the world just for this event.

This was my experience...
We arrived at our hotel about 9pm after a five hour drive from Cumbria. Entering the lobby, we were greeted by an array of lights, Christmas decorations and pearly white trees.

The next morning, we got ready to join Meagan Marie (Senior Community Manager at Crystal Dynamics) and some other community members at the British Museum. I dressed in a casual version of the Tomb Raider Legend Kazakhstan outfit. We decided last minute to take a bus. We had no idea what we were doing and when we finally got one and I parked myself in the wheelchair spot, we had to get off because we didn't have a travel card. Eventually, we got on our way and we were treated to central London's amazing views at Christmas time.
My first experience on a London bus!

We passed incredible and quite imposing statues, the biggest shops had amazing window displays and the Marks & Spencer building was covered in lights which showed presents showering down from all sides and then transitioned into "Merry Christmas".

We arrived at the museum, a beautiful and enormous building!

As we were about 40 minutes late, we had to go looking for people - a rather difficult task in such a big place with rooms that split off every which way.
Everywhere we looked, there were stunning pieces of art from all ages and all cultures.
Eventually, I bumped into Augustin (cosplayer/artist) and his partner from France then as we were moving on, they called us back and I turned round to see Meagan coming towards us, waving. Then we got together with some of the others - some I knew their faces so well online and I was meeting them in person! It was very strange but wonderful!
Tomb Raider community at the British Museum.
There were 50 of us there in total but we stuck in the same group for the whole of the afternoon. One of those I met was the lovely Jessie TR (Brasilian official Lara Croft cosplay ambassador) who travelled all the way from Rio. She presented me with a gift - a Charlie Brown style Classic Lara mounted on a biro pen and the base being her boot and sock!
We have been friends online for a number of years so it was wonderful to finally meet each other in person!
Jessie and I.
After leaving the museum, we took the hour long bus ride back to our hotel with just enough time to have something to eat before the preshow Q&A with Nathan McCree started. I strapped on my empty holsters, put on my gloves and we walked around the corner to the theatre where "TOMB RAIDER LIVE IN CONCERT" was displayed in lights above the entrance.
For Tomb Raider China's "Travel with Lara Croft" competition.
As soon as we went in, the first person I saw in the queue was Linny (owner of codename-croft.com). Linny was the first person in the Tomb Raider community that I came in contact with in my early teens. It was actually her husband who spotted me first. We gave each other a big hug and chatted for a bit before heading into the foyer. I looked around for familiar faces and as my Dad went to get a drink, Marilena (Lady Crossader - German official Lara Croft cosplay ambassador) and Ani, a new cosplayer who I had previously spoken to online, came over to say hello. They were both wearing gorgeous evening gowns and I was beginning to feel a little underdressed in my winter adventuring gear.

We wandered around a little more and I found Tif (Illyne - French official Lara Croft cosplay ambassador), Manou (Luce - French official Lara Croft cosplay ambassador) and Chaiya (cosplayer and co-owner of laraslookalike.fr). Lovely to meet them at last!
From left to right: With Tif, Manou and Chaiya.
Then we were escorted to the wheelchair spot as I said hello to people along the way. After a couple of minutes, the Q&A started. Not far into it, I suddenly saw Julie Peugeot (French official Lara Croft cosplay ambassador) running across the stalls up to the wheelchair box. She threw her arms around me, kissing and stroking my head like a big sister and we didn't let go of each other for what felt like several minutes. Let me give you a bit of a backstory here...
When I first became a part of the Tomb Raider community almost 10 years ago, I had just dropped out of school and I was a beginner cosplayer in need of a direction and people to talk to. Julie found me on a fan forum and invited me to join her forum CosplayLaraCroft. I was the only foreign member at the time and the French cosplay community welcomed me with open arms. To this day, I still hold them close to my heart and so it was quite an emotional moment for Julie and I when we met.
She sat and talked to us for a bit and kept just staring at me to make sure I was real. She then brought her partner Jeremy (JohnnyPen Cosplay) over to meet us and they decided to abandon their seats to watch the concert with us. Jessie came over for a bit and Julie then went to find more people to ensure I crossed everyone off my list. She brought back a whole queue of people!
Julie and I. Photo courtesy of Julie.
With Julie, Jessie and Jeremy. Photo courtesy of Julie.
With Maryon (artist/cosplayer) and Julie. Photo courtesy of Julie.
Maryon and I.
With Julie and Rodri (owner of the largest Tomb Raider collection in the world).
Rodri and I.
With Augustin and Julie. Photo courtesy of Julie.

Augustin and I. Photo courtesy of Julie.
Julie, Augustin and I. GIF by Augustin.
Just as everyone went back to their seats, the lights went down, the orchestra filed on stage and the ever so familiar melody of the original theme started to play. The sound radiated through the entire theatre and transformed the music as if you were hearing each piece for the first time with pictures and gameplay accompanying it on a big screen.
Julie and I kept looking at each other and smiling as we relived memories of our childhoods.

One of the highlights was seeing Winston, Lara's beloved butler (AKA the concert's producer), shuffle on stage with his tea tray as Shelley Blond (original voice of Lara and the concert's MC) was introducing the next video/piece.

After the show, Julie and I reluctantly said goodbye until next time...
Last photo with Julie and Jeremy (JohnnyPen Cosplay).
Next it was the after party! As the Apollo (previously called the Odeon) is a very old theatre, there isn't much disability access and the party was up two flights of stairs. My chair was too heavy to lift so my Super-Dad carried me up and purched me on one of the sofas by the bar...Don't get any ideas. I'm teetotal. ūüėČ
That meant I missed the signings with Nathan McCree and Shelley Blond but Nathan came over to say hello later on. To my surprise, so many people from around the world knew who I was and came over to say how they liked my cosplay and reading my articles. It was quite surreal to say the least!

Most of us were carrying copies of Meagan Marie's "20 Years of Tomb Raider" book and we just spent the night passing them around for each other to sign. As well as spending time with friends, I also made new ones. It's truly a night I will never forget.

With the amazing Spanish Tomb Raider community! Photo courtesy of Vicente Mínguez.

With the wonderfully talented Tif (Illyne - French official Lara Croft cosplay ambassador)! Photo by Tif.
With the equally talented Manou (Luce - French official Lara Croft cosplay ambassador)! Photo by Manou.

With Sanni in her lovely rendition of Lara's opera dress who travelled over from Finland. Photo courtesy of Sanni.


With Ryan and Jackson, two of the coolest Scots I've ever met! Photos by Ryan.
With the lovely Ruby (official Lara Croft cosplay ambassador for Singapore and owner of the Tomb Raider Life fansite). Photo by Ruby.
Just as we were leaving the theatre, we bumped into Audrey (Ivy) and Marine.

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2 comments:

  1. That's a very cool story to share with us. It must great to meet up with so many people you've only ever known on the line, it was an especially nice story about your meeting Julie & the French cosplay community. The concert sounds like it was quite the gathering of the fans. Oh, and it sounds like you have a seriously cool Dad. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you! It was and I do indeed. :D

    ReplyDelete