If I can sum up the experience in one word, it would be wow.
I had dreamed of watching the concert for years ever since I heard the very first concert CD in 2002. I knew that I would have to go to Japan to watch it and it was up there along with a lot of unattainable things at the time. I then in 2004, I heard that the Final Fantasy concert would then be coming to Los Angeles, but my schedule would not be able to meet it. Thus the wait continued.
Fast forward to 2009. After seven years of waiting, I was finally able to watch the concert that I had only dreamed of watching years before. I heard about the Distant Worlds tour coming to Singapore and I immediately signed up for updates, while at the same time, saving up money for the trip. Singapore was the closest and most convenient place I could watch the concert. I had to get the tickets at all costs.
Come the month of March I was reminding myself everyday of the date that the tickets would go on sale and I knew that I had to be one of the first to get tickets. I anxiously waited for 9am to come and I bought my tickets at 9:12am. Now that I had the tickets, I had to book the rest of my travel plans.
I have waited patiently for this day to come and it has. It’s been a while since I watched a concert and eagerly looked forward to it. I had taken the morning flight of the concert since Singapore was only 3 hours away and the event was at night. I knew that I would have enough time to make it.
At around 5:30pm, two hours before the concert I decided to pick up the tickets. There was no line so I immediately got my tickets after showing them my passport and the credit card that was used to purchase the tickets. I signed for the tickets and headed out for dinner.
After walking around the Esplanade, we finally decided to eat at the sushi place. We quickly got through our meal and headed out to the concert hall.
There was a stand that was selling various merchandise and I decided on the art book and the CD. I would’ve gotten the t-shirt if I had more cash at hand but it’s ok.
I was not disappointed with the seats that I got. You must admit this is quite a view.
Not bad a view
Of course those seated below were much luckier, Nobuo Uematsu sat in the audience!
It’s been quite a while since I last saw a concert so this was very special. There was a lot of excited chatter in the concert hall until the lights dimmed and the spotlight focused on the leader of the Singapore Orchestra. He was shortly followed by Arnie Roth and then they proceeded to play Liberi Fatali from Final Fantasy 8. The screen above played edited 3D cutscenes from Final Fantasy 8. Although some were a bit repetitive, it was ok.
Mr. Roth would pause after two pieces and introduce the next one. Apparently, the playlist varies from place to place and Singapore was no different. Aside from the usual favorites such as “To Zanarkand” from Final Fantasy 10 and “Aerith’s Theme” from Final Fantasy 7, they played “Ronfaure” from Final Fantasy 11. It was quite a surprise to me since they previously have never played scenes from Final Fantasy Online. The actual concert was only an hour and half with a 20 minute intermission.
Since Singapore had a classical guitarist who was available, so they played “Vamo’ alla Flamenco” from Final Fantasy 9. Local tenors and a soprano added their voices to “Maria and Draco” from Final Fantasy 6. Of course there was the wonderful chorus to sing for “Liberi Fatali” and “Memoro de la Stono – Distant Worlds” from Final Fantasy Online.
The concert was over too soon and the audience demanded an encore. There was guy seated a few seats away from me who kept shouting. I believe he really was excited and a big fan of Uematsu-San. I guess some were a bit polite and weren’t clapping enough, I decided to clap even harder for the others to get the idea of the encore. Eventually they came back of course and proceeded to play one piece. Of course we all thought that it would be what “I know you are thinking of”, but instead they played “Terra’s Theme” from Final Fantasy 6.
I knew it wasn’t over yet since the chorus and orchestra weren’t moving from their seats. Uematsu-San came back in with Arnie Roth. Uematsu spoke a few words in Mandarin Chinese which thrilled the audience and then they proceeded to do a short survey conducted by Mr. Roth and Uematsu-San on which battle theme will be in the next round of Final Fantasy Concerts.
“Dancing Mad” from Final Fantasy 6 and “Jenova” from Final Fantasy 7. They will compile the results and make the decision from there. But definitely the next one is a battle theme.
All good things must come to an end and it wasn’t disappointing. Uematsu-san stood with the chorus as the orchestra played “One-Winged Angel” from Final Fantasy 7 with graphics from FF7 Advent Children filling the screens to the haunting tune.
I returned from Singapore tired but happy. I had fulfilled a dream I thought that would never come.