Distant Worlds – Music From Final Fantasy Asian Premiere (Singapore) Review

Distant Worlds – Music From Final Fantasy Asian Premiere (Singapore) Review

Programme Booklet
Programme Booklet

Once again, Arnie Roth returns to Singapore to wow the crowd. Previously, he was in town to conduct the Play! orchestral concert in Singapore 2 years back, and now he comes back with a special guest – Nobuo Uematsu for the Distant Worlds – Music From Final Fantasy orchestral concert at the Esplanade.

Programme booklet for the ArtsFest festival
Programme booklet for the ArtsFest festival

I consider myself lucky to get the tickets, because on the day the tickets were sold to ArtsFest members – who get priority booking – I was too tired to decide which day to buy. When I woke up the next day, the Saturday evening show was sold out except for single seats, and so I bought the Friday evening ones.

Before the show started, there were a few cosplayers of Yuna and Aerith that I spotted near the entrance to the concert hall. One dude even had his hair done up like Cloud’s. As usual the merchandise sold is way cheaper than buying them online – T-Shirts for $20, Distant Worlds CD for $25 (sold out) and the Art Book for $40. What is even more amazing is that some people bought not just one CD, but a stack of them!

The programme:

    • Final Fantasy VIII: Liberi Fatali
    • Final Fantasy X: To Zanarkand
    • Final Fantasy VIII: Don’t Be Afraid
    • Final Fantasy VII: Aerith’s Theme
    • Final Fantasy I-III: Medley 2002
    • Final Fantasy V: Dear Friends
    • Final Fantasy IX: Vamo’alla Flamenco
    • Final Fantasy XI: Ronfaure
    • Final Fantasy series: Main Theme

INTERMISSION

  • Final Fantasy VII: Opening – Bombing Mission
  • Final Fantasy VIII: Fisherman’s Horizon
  • Final Fantasy XI: Distant Worlds
  • Final Fantasy IV: Theme of Love
  • Final Fantasy series: Swing de Chocobo
  • Final Fantasy VIII: Love Grows
  • Final Fantasy VI: Opera “Mario and Draco”
The Singapore Festival Orchestra with the Victoria Chorale and The Vocal Consort
The Singapore Festival Orchestra with the Victoria Chorale and The Vocal Consort

Liberi Fatali, Fisherman’s Horizon and Distant Worlds was sung well with the Victorial Chorale and The Vocal Consort providing excellent choruses. The Singapore Festival Orchestra has improved alot since the 2007 Play! orchestral concert. Dear Friends and Vamo’alla Flamenco was a bit of a letdown on the guitar, but given the titles, they’re hard to play, judging from the guitarist’s hand movement along the fret, and I applaud him for being able to perform with grace on stage. The Opera “Mario and Draco” was excellent as well, although the mezzo-soprano could have put a little more emotion into her voice. The video does not seem to synchronize with the orchestra sometimes, but overall its bearable if one doesn’t pay too much attention to it, and additionally the video does have its funny parts as well. Overall, it was a really astounding performance, despite some rabid fans shouting out the titles in advance and spoiling some of us. Some of the fans even approached Uematsu during the intermission for an autograph, but while the early birds caught the worm, the rest were ushered back to their seats near the end of the intermission.

The Q&A Session
The Q&A Session

Nobuo Uematsu was present from the start till the end of the concert, and he came up to the stage to sing for One Winged Angel as the second encore – the first encore was Terra’s Theme. Between the encores though, they let us vote for which battle theme piece to be arranged and written for future concerts – we (meaning the Friday crowd) voted for Jenovah and Dancing Mad. Judging from the response however, it seems that we were leaning more towards Jenovah.

Live & in person!
Live & in person!

There was a long line for Uematsu and Arnie’s autographs as well after the show, and while some people blindly rushed to the queue, some of us stayed back in the concert hall for the 20-minute Q&A session with Uematsu and Arnie. I am saddened by the quality of the questions asked, but there were one or two gems in the audio recording that I saved on my MP3 player.

Amazingly, this concert has drawn fans from Malaysia and Indonesia to Singapore to attend the concert, and I have no doubt that the Video Games Live concert will draw them as well, though it does not have a large fanbase as Final Fantasy fans.

Downloadables:
Final Fantasy Distant Worlds in Singapore - Friday Q&A Session

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