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Distant Worlds: Music from Final Fantasy (Vancouver)


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Well it still feels like yesterday, but last Thursday I was lucky enough to get to go to the Distant Worlds: Music from Final Fantasy concert here in Vancouver. The funny thing is, despite considering myself one of the biggest FF fans there ever could be, I only became aware of it about a week before it was happening. Thankfully I was able to grab a couple tickets and the rest is history.

This was the Canadian premiere of the event, and while it no doubt was not as epic as some of the others have been in the past (ie, Nobuo Uematsu could not make it), it was an amazing experience and something I would strongly recommend for any FF fan who can make it in the future. The conductor, Arnie Roth, knows Nobuo personally, and said that he would have come if not for the fact that the end of October was his deadline for the FFXIV soundtrack, which was interesting to note.

All of the performances were accompanied by a projector above the orchestra which featured cutscenes (or in some cases, actual game footage) of the game in question, which made for some great memories.

The song list played out as follows, generally following a 2 songs > small break format. I've tried to say something meaningful about each track, but when you've listened to as many renditions of these as I have, it gets hard after a while.

Liberi Fatali (FFVIII) - Instantly recognizable intro, choir performing the chants really took this to the next level. Needless to say, intro footage from FFVIII played on the monitor during this one.

Victory Theme - The conductor jokingly said, "Well, we'd better just get this over with" and cranked out the opening bars of the victory theme, to applause and laughter.

To Zanarkand (FFX) - Unsurprisingly, a piano started this one, but as things went on, the strings took over a little more. The beautiful "first sending" CS was featured for much of this one.

Don't be Afraid (FFVIII) - FFVIII's Main Battle theme, just in case you forgot. What really made this was actual game footage shown on the monitor, when they ran into a battle, the performance began, which was a nice touch that got some laughter from the crowd.

Fisherman's Horizon (FFVIII) - Choir really made this one, excellent rendition, best FFVIII track of the night (and as you can see, there were a lot).

The Man with the Machine Gun (FFVIII) - Lots of Laguna footage, ending with him performing a Desperado. Maybe I've listened to the FFVIII Arranged album too much, but this performance sounded a lot like the one on that album, which, was nevertheless still awesome.

Love Grows (FFVIII) - At this point I was starting to wonder when they'd be done with FFVIII. Still, a strong performance, with lots of ending footage shown. It's too bad they chose to do this and not "Eyes on Me", vocals could have taken this to the next level.

Chocobo Theme - Now this was fun. They basically took FFX's chocobo theme and added their own touch to it, calling it "Swing de Chocobo". Lots of laughter from the crowd on this one, as chocobo scenes from nearly every FF game were shown.

Dear Friends (FFV) - This was definitely one of my favorite tracks of the night. Dear Friends just has that very homely, familial feel to it, and that was definitely preserved here. The guitar carried the lead for the most part, but it was occasionally switched over to a flute and other strings, as a fan of this song I found this very beautiful.

Vamo' alla Flamenco (FFIX) - Sounded a lot like the original, the guitarist brought in for Dear Friends continued with this one, leading off quietly. The farther the song went the more involved the orchestra became until the later parts, which conveyed the familiar chaotic atmosphere of the original.

Intermission - After the intermission, we were shown a brief video of Nobuo Uematsu asking us what we thought of the first half, and apologizing that he could not be present. This was funny since the video was focused on a statue, and only at the end did the camera pan over to show Uematsu himself as he admitted he was in fact, not the statue (if this sounds weird, then just trust me, it was funny).

Opening ~ Bombing Mission (FF7) - With no introduction, this set the stage for the upcoming set of FF7 songs.

FF7 Main Theme (FF7) - Supposedly the North American debut of this song, definitely a song that lends itself well to orchestration.

Aerith's Theme (FF7) - An instant classic at this point, the saga of Aerith(s) unfolded on the projector as they went through this one, eventually ending with the white materia falling into the water.

Memoro de la Stono ~ Distant Worlds (FFXI) - Not a song I would expect to get much love, but as an FFXI player, I am happy to say this was the best rendition of this song I have ever heard. The original, for those who know it, is sung in a way that's sort of difficult to understand, but the vocalist they had for this version was just spectacular. Definitely a highlight, although being from XI, I think you almost have to accept that a good majority of the people there had never heard it before.

Ronfaure (FFXI) - More FFXI love, and in this case, another song that lends itself very well to orchestration. Great to hear live, and as an FFXI player from the region in which this song was used, definitely brought back some memories.

Theme of Love (FFIV) - Finally some FFIV. This unfortunately was the only song we got from IV, but it was excellent. It was also accompanied by the CSs from FFIV DS which I had never seen before, and was very impressed by.

Opera (FFVI) - Just as I was starting to lose hope that this song would not be featured, they announced that although it was time to be finishing up, they would be doing so with a classic, the FFVI Opera. This was everything I wanted it to be, in all seriousness, it does not get much cooler than seeing the Opera performed in front of you in a real live performance theatre. They brought in 3 vocalists to take the roles of Maria, Drako, and Ralse, and boy could these guys sing, it was just unreal how loud they got at times. Seeing footage from the Opera event in the game on the monitor while this played out was also pretty funny, particularly the part which shows the conductor and orchestra, almost a little surreal.

Encore - Terra (FFVI) - It was a safe bet we'd get an encore track, and they kept the FFVI theme going with a little Terra action, nothing wrong with that, but the way it turns out, the best was still yet to come.

Encore - One Winged Angel (FF7) - At this point, I noticed the choir had returned to the stage, and kinda thought to myself... oh... shit. This time, instead of turning to face the crowd, the conductor came back out, and just instantly started up with One Winged Angel. I don't think I have to explain the reaction this got, this was just plain epic. As in all the tracks they were involved, the choir executed perfectly here, if not for my love for the FFVI opera, this would have been the best moment of the night.

Encore - Victory Theme - Conductor came out one last time, and once again quickly cranked out the Victory theme. After what felt like the 5th round of bowing and cheering, it was time to go, but what a night!

It looks like the next one is in Chicago on Dec 12, I would strongly recommend anyone in the area check it out, as it sounds like not only will Nobuo be there, he'll be bringing a rock band (The Black Mages?!) with him, which quite frankly makes me very jealous :lol: . Check out http://www.ffdistantworlds.com/ for details, you won't want to miss this one if its even remotely an option!

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Intermission - After the intermission, we were shown a brief video of Nobuo Uematsu asking us what we thought of the first half, and apologizing that he could not be present. This was funny since the video was focused on a statue, and only at the end did the camera pan over to show Uematsu himself as he admitted he was in fact, not the statue (if this sounds weird, then just trust me, it was funny).

That was a nice read, thanks! And yes, it was funny to me as well hah.

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ZealPath! Did you see my Distant Worlds Vancouver thread earlier? I flew down from Grande Prairie, Alberta to hit up that concert with some friends! I was really hoping to finally connect with someone from this community there, lol. Now I'll nave to wait for Magfest 9...

Wonderful summary of the whole show! I couldn't have described it better, so I am glad you did! I was so pumped I could barely contain myself at times, haha! I was 26th row back on the main floor area, but sitting right in the center aisle, so I had a great view. Some friends of mine had some separate tickets and were sitting on the left side way up in the balcony. The view was pretty cool from the ledge up there too.

Also, I was expecting a lot more cosplay at such an event! There was not much at all, in fact the only truly notable chartacter was this one. I give you one guess who she is...8533_147653187659_501842659_2465201_5341753_n.jpgWhen I took this picture, someone behind me asked her who she was supposed to be! She immediately began to summon Odin on his ass, thus the green light in her eyes. (Or maybe it was just my blackberry taking a bad picture, It was all a blur really)

Anyway, it was a great show on a great trip to Vancouver!

beeteedub ZealPath, where were you sitting for this show?

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I am sorry I did not see your thread Biznut, I did a search for Distant Worlds before I made this thread a couple days ago but I realize now that I used the wrong search function, someday I'll remember to use the one integrated into the forums :lol: . Seems your thread got buried pretty fast (not unlike this one) so I didn't see it in my daily travels either.

Cause I am, and I would like to shake your hand afterwards. Or at least say hello. Maybe talk about how AWESOME Distant Worlds was!

Well it's too late to shake hands but we can certainly talk about how AWESOME the concert was! I'm really glad at least one other OCR member was there, I thought there might have been more, and I suppose there's still time for people to come out of the woodwork, but it seems Western Canada isn't quite the hangout for OCR that say, the southeastern states seem to be.

That was a great picture of the Rydia cosplayer... I actually did not see them at all, I feel like I missed out! What I did see, was an asian dude dressed in a spectacularly well-done Summoner Artifact Armor outfit from FFXI (primarily green, some yellow, and a red horn for the head, if you saw it, you probably wouldn't have forgotten it).

My brother and I were way back, main floor, right-side orchestra, just a few rows from as far back as you can go, which thankfully is still very close (price we paid for learning about this late, or I certainly would have tried to get a little more central). Thankfully, these were still pretty good seats, definitely no complaints here.

Glad people liked the writeup, I still feel like there are maybe a few more things I could have elaborated on but it's surprisingly difficult to describe these things sometimes. One thing that surprised me is that in the end there was no "Prelude/Crystal Theme" performance, but I think I'll live, we got some pretty awesome tracks all things considered.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Opera (FFVI) - Just as I was starting to lose hope that this song would not be featured, they announced that although it was time to be finishing up, they would be doing so with a classic, the FFVI Opera. This was everything I wanted it to be, in all seriousness, it does not get much cooler than seeing the Opera performed in front of you in a real live performance theatre. They brought in 3 vocalists to take the roles of Maria, Drako, and Ralse, and boy could these guys sing, it was just unreal how loud they got at times. Seeing footage from the Opera event in the game on the monitor while this played out was also pretty funny, particularly the part which shows the conductor and orchestra, almost a little surreal.

If i had known i would have come...to miss this made my cry a bit. This is the one song that isnt on OCR. Pixie and Kate need to find a couple of male vocalists and hammer this one out. Vancouver is unfortunately closer than Chicago for me. I'm not going to be able to make that.

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