Review: Distant Worlds

There is something completely unique to listening to music played live. Although one might have heard the songs hundreds of times, hearing and watching people play in person makes the experience fresh once again, as if never heard before.

I found that this held true for Distant Worlds: music from FINAL FANTASY. I attended the concert last night with a friend. The performance was superb and even though we had the cheapest seats in the house, it didn't dull the experience one bit. The selection of music was well diversified, if maybe a little heavy on selections from Final Fantasy VIII and Final Fantasy XI. My only complaint about the music selection was that there was only one song from Final Fantasy IX. However, there were a few new renditions. An instrumental version of "Eyes on Me" (Final Fantasy VIII) and a big band version of the chocobo theme were a part of the program. At the end, there was even a pleasant surprise: the performance of "One Winged Angel" with Nobuo Uematsu in the choir. (Whether he actually sang or not, it was impossible to tell from where he was standing and where I was sitting).

Yes, that's right. Nobuo Uematsu was there. He even sat in the audience. He seemed to be very comfortable among so many people and very laid back. He came out on stage wearing white, loose clothing, complete with a white bandana tied around his head. There was a reception with him after the concert and if I had had enough money, I would have bought a ticket for that as well (because, really, it was a steal price). Even so, I was happy just to have been able to see him.

During the performances, video footage from the games, or game play itself, was streamed on a screen over the stage. Sometimes the video was clever, and sometimes it was just downright disappointing. On a few videos, there was nice choreography that I would say was comparable to a decent AMV. The most disappointing video moment was when the scenes were taken straight out of the Final Fantasy franchise overview from the bonus disk from Final Fantasy XII. There was also a lot of repeated footage, but I thought the dancing in-game chocobos and Amano artwork made up for that.

Overall, the concert was a fantastic experience and if the opportunity arises to go to Distant Worlds, take it!