Sunday, 7 December 2014

BLOG -- Distant Worlds: Music from Final Fantasy @ Sony Centre (Decemer 6th, 2014)

So this is my second time attending Distant Worlds: Music from Final Fantasy. And after the concert, I already know that it won't be my last. Simply put, Distant Worlds was an awesome show, and I can't wait to attend the next one.

If you want to read about my first experience of Distant Worlds, here is the link:

Yes, I'm re-using the same screenshot from my last blog about Distant Worlds.

Me and Final Fantasy (Current Status)
So in my previous blog about Distant Worlds, I talked briefly about my history with Final Fantasy. Now I'm just going to update you on which series I've been exposed to since. And frankly, not much has changed.

The Final Fantasy games I've beaten are still just IV, V, and VI. I guess I can also add XIV: A Realm Reborn, but that probably won't end for a long, long time, hahaha. In terms of exposure, I've still played just some of I, III, VII, VIII, and IX. I haven't experienced anything of X to XIII, though I am hoping that will change in the future. I would totally like to have more of an appreciation for the music and not get spoiled the next time I attend Distant Worlds.

Currently, even though I'm terribly addicted to Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn, Final Fantasy VI is still my favourite of them all -- game-wise, story-wise, character-wise, AND music-wise.

The Little Details
Date of Concert: Saturday December 6th, 2014
Venue: Sony Centre (Toronto, Ontario)
Time: 8:00 PM
Ticket Price Total: $84.00
Seating: Balcony Aisle 1, Row D, Seat 53
Went with: Sister, her fiance, and two friends

7:30-ish PM -- @ Sony Centre
So what did I do as soon as I got in? I went straight to the souvenir stand. I was really glad that they were not selling JUST a poster and T-shirt, like at previous video game-themed symphonies I attended. There were actually stuff I wanted to buy. A crowd was already forming, but I knew that it would be wayyy worse after the concert. I might be a little off on the soundtracks, but the souvenir shop was selling these items:

Programme -- $10
T-shirt -- $20
Postcard Collection -- $20
Static Arts Trading Figure: Tifa -- $35 
Static Arts Trading Figure: Cloud -- $35
Static Arts Trading Figure: Sephiroth -- $35
CD (Music From Distant Worlds) -- $15
CD (More Music from Distant Worlds) -- $15
CD (A New World: Intimate Music from Final Fantasy) -- $15
CD (Earthbound Papas Album) -- $25
CD (Final Fantasy IV Original Remastered Soundtrack) -- $45
CD (Final Fantasy V Original Remastered Soundtrack) -- $45
CD (Final Fantasy VI Original Remastered Soundtrack) -- $45
CD (Final Fantasy VII Original Soundtrack) -- $45
CD (Final Fantasy VIII Original Soundtrack) -- $45
CD (Final Fantasy IX Original Soundtrack) -- $45
CD (Final Fantasy X Original Soundtrack) -- $45
CD (Final Fantasy XI Original Soundtrack) -- $45
CD (Final Fantasy XII Original Soundtrack) -- $45
CD (Final Fantasy XIII Original Soundtrack) -- $45
CD (Final Fantasy XIII-2 Original Soundtrack) -- $45

Below is what I bought:

From left to right, top to bottom:
-CD (A New World: Intimate Music from Final Fantasy) -- $15
-CD (More Music from Distant Worlds) -- $15
-CD (Earthbound Papas Album) -- $25
-CD (Music From Distant Worlds) -- $15
-Postcard Collection -- $20
-CD (Final Fantasy VI Original Remastered Soundtrack) -- $45

Even though I already have the original soundtrack of Final Fantasy VI, I was curious just how much of an "improvement" the remastered version would be. I was tempted to buy the figures, but since I never beat Final Fantasy VII, I had no real attachment to any of those characters. Now if they were selling figures of Locke, Celes, or Terra from Final Fantasy VI... <3.

If I missed listing any performances, please let me know.

FF Series: Prelude
FF VIII: Liberi Fatali
FF Series: Victory Theme
FF I, II, III: Main Theme Medleys
FF IX: Melodies of Life (vocal: Susan Calloway)
FF V: Main Theme
FF VII: Main Theme
FF VIII: Eyes on Me (vocal: Susan Calloway)
FF Series: Chocobo Medley (original arrangement)


FF III DS: Main Theme
FF XIII -Lightning Returns-: Light Eternal
FF XIII: The Promise
FF X: Hymn of the Faith
FF X: Zanarkand
FF VI: Character Theme Medley (Terra, Kefka, Celes, Locke)
FF VI: Balance is Restored
FF IV: Battle of the Four Fiends
FF XIV: Answers (vocal: Susan Calloway)
FF Series: Battle Theme Medley (Clash on the Big Bridge [V], Fight with Seymour [X], Those Who Fight [VII])
FF Series: Main Theme

Final Fantasy VII: One-Winged Angel (with Nobuo Uematsu!)

8:00 PM-ish -- First Half
So, unlike my previous blog about Distant Worlds, I'll just be summarizing how I felt about the concert, instead of describing what happened. I guess my writing style's changing. Anyway...

Just like in other video game symphonies I've attended, the orchestra was on the stage while a big screen was above to show accompanying game footage to each piece.

The main themes were okay. The Chocobo Medley was upbeat and fun. Liberi Fatali was great as usual. What really stood out for me, though, were Melodies of Life, and Eyes on Me. Those songs -- wow. Susan Calloway was great as the vocal. I could really feel the emotion. I cried a little during Eyes on Me.

One thing that I'd like to say is that I was impressed and very appreciative whenever the conductor (Arnie Roth) introduced a piece and said they were performing it because it had never been performed before in Toronto. That tells me that they are trying to perform new pieces and give a new listening experience to the audience. So thank you for keeping track! :)

Oh, and just to mention, Nobuo Uematsu was there with us as well!! XD

9:00 PM -- Intermission
Nothing happened during intermission. I just did my StreetPass stuff on my 3DS. If you ever attend a video game-themed symphony and you play on a 3DS, bring it to the symphony. You will get a lot of StreetPasses!

9:15-ish PM -- Second Half
There were a lot of good pieces in the second half! Zanarkand was sooo beautiful. Such a sombre, hopeful, hopeless, yearning tune. For that piece, I just sat there, soaking up all the sounds and emotions and feeling... elated. Haha, music can really do that to me sometimes.

I also really liked the Character Theme Medley from Final Fantasy VI. Though... I think it would have been even better if it was a medley piece of ALL the Final Fantasy VI character themes. I would have especially liked to hear Rachel's Theme, Gau's Theme, and Edgar's Theme. I enjoyed Balance is Restored as well. Really, any piece from Final Fantasy VI is just a treat to my ears.

Answers from Final Fantasy XIV was performed really well. It's a little embarrassing, but that was the first time I ever listened to Answers in its entirety. Whenever it loads up after being idle on Final Fantasy XIV's main menu for too long, I would cancel the video and start playing the game.

The Main Theme at the end was really nice. I thought it was cute and smart to do a credits roll during that piece.

So... even though you're not allowed to record performances, I did with my cell phone. No video -- only the audio (and in really bad quality). You know, as a personal souvenir. And because I know that doing this won't stop me from continuing to spend money on the series (I mean, I spent over $100 just that day on souvenirs). If you'd like to listen, here is one recording (no video, so just hit play and continue doing whatever else). Remember: the quality sucks. So make sure to attend a Distant Worlds concert near you to possibly listen to it in its full glory. ;)

Battle Theme Medley
-Clash on the Big Bridge (FFV)
-Fight With Seymour (FFX)
-Those Who Fight (FFVII)

10:10-ish PM -- Encore
So the encore piece was the same as last time. While I'm not a big fan of One-Winged Angel, I was excited when Nobuo Uematsu went up onstage and sung along with the chorus. The audience was also encouraged to chant "Sephiroth" at the cued times. I didn't join in, but it was a really fun experience. Uematsu looked so... adorable, doing small bounces to the beat. I could really sense his excitement! XD The show ended around 10:30 PM.

Overall Experience
I was very satisfied with Distant Worlds. Not sure if I was going to get treated to the same tunes as last time, I was happy to feel that whoever put together the setlist (I think it's Arnie Roth?) was thinking about the audience experience.

And for that reason, if I can afford it, I am going to attend every Distant Worlds concert that comes to Toronto from now... until the day that reason doesn't seem present any more (if that would ever happen. Please don't let it happen!).

After the concert, the souvenir stand was totally packed... like I predicted, hahaha.

The souvenir stand BEFORE the concert.
Yes, it's a bit crowded.

And now...

The souvenir stand AFTER the concert.
I don't know if you can see, but some of the items were already sold out.

Now for something a little random:

Cosplay of Kefka and Terra from Final Fantasy VI.

If you enjoy playing Final Fantasy games and listening to its music, I highly recommend you check out Distant Worlds. My ears have already been satiated twice and I am still hungry for more.

If you have any comments, feel free. Thanks for reading! :)

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