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25 August 2014 @ 06:56 pm
Distant Worlds!  
Yesterday, softlykarou and I went to the Distant Worlds concert in the Chicago Symphony Center. It opened with a performance of "Hymn of the Fayth" with soloists and a full choir, and they had me hooked from the beginning.

Well...kind of. My interest in the concert kind of resembled a valley. Since I never owned a Super Nintendo nor a Playstation, I skipped out on most of the Final Fantasy games after Final Fantasy I. I think the next game after that I played was Final Fantasy VI, and that wasn't until university. I didn't play Final Fantasy IV until five years ago (the DS version), and while I did play Final Fantasy VIII and IX, most of the music doesn't really stick in my head. They played the music from the Final Fantasy VII opening and I didn't even recognize it. I've never played FFXIII nor any of the spinoffs, nor FFXIV, so that whole section was nice, but it was just more orchestral music. For the first half of the concert, I only really checked in for To Zanakand, Eyes on Me, the aforementioned Hymn of the Fayth, and the Chocobo Medley, which had quite possibly the cutest chocobo babies I've ever seen.

I admit that music from the later Final Fantasies is definitely easier to set to orchestration because it's not the same 10-15 second clip over and over again, but I would have liked to see arrangements of Matoya's Cave or Temple of Fiends. Looking it up online, it looks like they did a lot more of that for the 25th Anniversary celebration two years ago--and where the only concert for that in North America was in Chicago grr why didn't I know about it (T^T)--but other than FFX, I don't have much emotional resonance with the later Final Fantasies.

Now, having said that, the entire second half after the intermission was one long string of Final Fantasy VI songs, and that part was great. From the character medley, which sadly didn't include Cyan's Theme but was otherwise excellent, to Dancing Mad done with a giant pipe organ, to a new arrangement of Balance is Restored (called "Reviving Green" there, according to Nobuo Uematsu's wishes, to a fully orchestrated Opera scene with three soloists, a narrator, and choral accompaniment, the second half definitely did qualify as hooking me from the beginning.

And then they ended with the Final Fantasy I Opening playing over the credits and did a medley of the battles themes as an encore. Well done.

It was a good concert and I'm glad I went, but I think what I actually want out of a Final Fantasy concert is full band live versions of Final Fantasy IV: Echoes of Betrayal, Light of Redemption and Final Fantasy VI: Balance and Ruin. As it was, I had a better time at Symphony of the Goddesses back in November than I did at Distant Worlds. That's probably because I've played more of the major Zelda games than Final Fantasy games, though--not playing VII at all means there's a huge chunk of the fandom I'm not connected to.

As a slight digression, Nobuo Uematsu was not at all what I expected:

That's him there playing the organ part on Dark World from Final Fantasy VI. He looks like...well, he looks like a sushi chef, honestly. I was expecting more of the typical Japanese sararīman, with the mandated black suit, white shirt, black tie, and no individuality whatever. You know, what the guy who was there from Squeenix was wearing.

I was kind of tempted to yell out "植松さん最高!" after he did his "solo" (whistling the victory theme), but I restrained myself.

I'm not sure I'd want to go to Distant Worlds again, unless it has a lineup covering more of the earlier games. Or if they're doing a Final Fantasy X focus. The 15th anniversary of that is in 2016, so I can hope! And I did learn that there's a chamber music version called A New World, which sounds like it might be more up my alley. I'm not sure I realized I wanted Baroque or Classical versions of Final Fantasy music until I wrote that sentence, but now I definitely do. Anyone know where I could find them?

I think what I really want is a Xenohearts Trigger: the Music of Yasunori Mitsuda series.
Current Mood: nostalgicnostalgic
Current Music: Final Fantasy I - Victory