How did you spend your Valentine’s weekend? Romantic dinner out, or sitting in front of the TV eating Ben & Jerry’s ice cream? I managed to miss out on both of these things and was instead seduced by beautiful music from the ever-popular ‘Final Fantasy’ series, arguably one of Japan’s biggest exports.
In 2012, I was lucky enough to get tickets to the 25th anniversary of the ‘Final Fantasy: Distant Worlds’ concert at the Royal Albert Hall. So, when an email popped up in my inbox saying that the premier concert of ‘A New World: intimate music from Final Fantasy’ would return to London in 2014, I was on stand-by to snap up two tickets!
The first thing that struck me on entering London Symphony Orchestra (LSO) St Luke’s, compared to the Royal Albert Hall where ‘Distant Worlds’ was held last year, was how much smaller the venue was. The orchestra itself was no larger than 12 people, very much in keeping with the ‘intimate’ feeling. Conductor Arnie Roth explained that ‘A New World’ marked a new direction in the way of Final Fantasy orchestral performances; smaller audience, smaller orchestra, but no less impressive.
Surprisingly, unlike the 2012 ‘Distant Worlds’ concert, there were no programmes for sale. Even more surprisingly, the audience did not even get to see a song list in advance. I was initially a little disappointed by this, but it just meant that we were constantly surprised by the announcement of which song was coming up next.
Sephiroth (Final Fantasy VII)
Eruyt Village (Final Fantasy XII)
Fight with Seymour (Final Fantasy X)
A New World (Final Fantasy V)
The Red Wings (Final Fantasy IV)
Eliya, the Maiden of Water (Final Fantasy III)
Town (Final Fantasy I)
Chocobo theme medley
Those who Fight (Final Fantasy VII)
Dark World (Final Fantasy VI)
Moogle theme (Final Fantasy IX)
Troya (Final Fantasy IV)
Decisive Battle (Final Fantasy VI)
Gustaberg (Final Fantasy XI)
Blinded by the Light (Final Fantasy XIII)
The Promise (Final Fantasy XIII)
Rebel Army theme (Final Fantasy II)
To Zanarkand (Final Fantasy X)
Encore: Force Your Way (Final Fantasy VIII)
My favourite song of the night was undoubtedly ‘Fight with Seymour’, which was performed by a string quartet. Some songs, like ‘Eliya’ and ‘Those Who Fight’, were performed as solos. Every song was different and most of the songs were less mainstream ‘Final Fantasy’ songs, which was great news for connoisseurs of the series.
All in all, this was a fantastic night, not that we expected any less! ‘Final Fantasy’ music really is my muse; I have the soundtracks on repeat when I’m writing my book (which very appropriately is a YA fantasy). I’ll definitely be buying the soundtrack as soon as it’s out.
Even better news for fans who missed this concert, Arnie Roth and Nobuo Uematsu announced that the ‘Final Fantasy’ concert will be returning to London before the end of this year! We have no more information than that for now, but watch this space!