Last night, the Schermerhorn Symphony Center was transported to Distant Worlds, courtesy of FINAL FANTASY.
Appearing for the very first time, Distant Worlds: music from FINAL FANTASY finally arrived in Nashville. Music Director and Conductor Arnie Roth brought a great arrangement based on the many FINAL FANTASY video games, performed by the Nashville Symphony. The concert was accompanied by stunning high-definition visuals, which were projected above the orchestra. My favorite moments came whenever the older games were highlighted, in all their 8-bit glory.
Last year was the 25th anniversary for the video game franchise, which also marked a year-long world-wide celebration for the production, which has been touring since 1999. Some of the Celebration medleys were performed, as well a few new ones to go along with some of the franchise’s classic songs.
Two highlights of the concert featured different musical styles. A classical guitar medley focused on Flamenco music and guest vocalist Kim Keyes sang two of the franchise’s pop songs, including the emotional Kiss Me Good-bye. One of my neighbors in the audience was moved by her wonderful voice, even breaking down and loudly crying. It was that good.
While concert performances of video game music are not exactly the norm in the United States, video game concerts are very mainstream in Japan. According to Mr. Roth, video game concerts are more accepted in Japan than anywhere else in the world.
My favorite song of the night was from the Chocobo medley. Although there was no choir included with this performance, there was plenty of audience interaction, singing along as the lyrics popped onscreen.
There was a great assortment of instruments included with this performance, including many strings, horns and a variety of percussion instruments. At the show’s conclusion, Mr. Roth mentioned hoping to return to the Schermerhorn with Distant Worlds so he could hear a FINAL FANTASY song performed with the fantastic pipe organ at the rear of the stage. Even though Composer Nobuo Uematsu was not in attendance, I hope he makes the trip when Distant Worlds returns… hopefully it won’t be another 15 years before the show arrives again at the Music City.
FINAL FANTASY I-III: Medley 2002
FINAL FANTASY Series: Victory Theme
FINAL FANTASY VIII: Don’t Be Afraid
FINAL FANTASY V: Dear Friends
FINAL FANTASY IX: Vamo’ alla Flamenco
FINAL FANTASY X: Zanarkand
FINAL FANTASY VIII: The Man With the Machine Gun
FINAL FANTASY VII: Kiss Me Good-bye (Kim Keyes, vocals)
FINAL FANTASY VII: Opening — Bombing Mission
FINAL FANTASY VI: Phantom Forest
FINAL FANTASY XI: Fighter of the Crystal
FINAL FANTASY VII: Aerith’s Theme
FINAL FANTASY IV: Battle with the Four Fiends
FINAL FANTASY VIII: Eyes On Me (Kim Keyes, vocals)
Lightning Returns: FINAL FANTASY XIII: Light Eternal
FINAL FANTASY Series: Battle & Victory Theme Medley
FINAL FANTASY Series: Main Theme