Final Fantasy: Dear Friends

I’m a little off of my posting schedule this week, but last night was an experience of a spiritual caliber. Wow years ago when I first played Final Fantasy 1 in what, first grade? Who would have ever known that I would be in Walt Disney Concert hall, listening to some of my very favorite music, live and with lots and lots of friends. I rode with Sid and met him at the Zot Zone at 3:30.

The concert started at 7:30. but we left earlier to leave time to eat and just in case we encountered rush hour traffic on the way over. Traffic was surprisingly clear on the way over, since we didn’t really run into any problems. Seems that there is more outgoing traffic than in going, which makes sense I guess since everyone is leaving work…not coming.

Walt Disney Concert hall actually isn’t as big as I imagined it would be, but it’s nice. It’s small enough where every seat is a reasonable distance from the orchestra, without feeling too small and boxed in, yet large enough for everyone without being overly grandiose. The acoustics in the hall were absolutely amazing. The majority of us were scattered/grouped throughout Orchestra East (Except for Justin, that lucky bastard who sat two rows from Nobuo Uematsu).

Even though I sat apart from everyone (ordered slightly later than everyone), it didn’t matter! Because, for a night I was surrounded by Final Fantasy fans :D< It was pretty obvious when Nobuo Uematsu entered the hall, because he was greeted by a standing ovation, though only one of many that he would receive that night. The concert opened with Liberi Fatali from Final Fantasy VIII, accompanied by the talents of the Los Angeles Master Chorale.

Cut scenes from the game were displayed on Huge overhead screens. Following that, entered James Arnold Taylor, the concert’s host, also known as the voice of Tidus for the US release of Final Fantasy X. For those who want to know what played last night, here is the song list, according to what was printed in the program guide:

Liberi Fatali (Final Fantasy VIII)
Zanarkand (Final Fantasy X)
Terra’s Theme (Final Fantasy VI)
Theme of Love (Final Fantasy IV)
Dear Friends (Final Fantasy V)
Vamo’ Alla Flamenco (Final Fantasy IX)
Love Grows (Final Fantasy VIII)
Aeris’s Theme (Final Fantasy VII)
Not Alone (Final Fantasy IX)
Ronfaure (Final Fantasy XI) Final Fantasy I – III Medley
New Melody From Final Fantasy VII Advent Children Final Fantasy (Theme)

For the sake of not being repetitive, I will just sum things up and say that every single piece was fantastic. I especially enjoyed the Final Fantasy medley towards the end, since it brought back lots of childhood memories of playing FF1 in front of the NES. Everyone was applauding in the middle of the song when the chocobo theme played <3. A track from the upcoming Final Fantasy: Advent Children was performed after the medley, accompanied by a short video sequence on the monitors (they’re teasing us!). Concluding the concert was the Final Fantasy theme.

After another astounding standing ovation, Nobuo Uematsu himself came up on stage and introduced himself. What happened next…was positively one of the most memorable things ever! Following Nobuo Uematsu on stage were Yoshitaka Amano (did the art for many of the games) and Hironobu Sakaguchi (the producer of the series). All three of them on stage before my eyes! After three fantastic speeches, the three of them returned to their seats because, there was still one more surprise left. The lights dimmed and One Winged Angel played! I honestly don’t think that I have ever been to an even nearly as amazing as this. Music really is a wonderful thing.

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