(Sorry this has taken so long to write up but it is here now!)
It took several years but finally Distant Worlds has visited the UK! Their debut show was at the Royal Albert Hall in London and it truly was a special night. I was lucky enough to pick up a pair of VIP tickets! I’m finding it really hard to put words to just how good the evening was. I go to many concerts but have never been to a hall as fantastic as the Royal Albert Hall and the FF tunes sounded right at home in the grand arena!
I was sitting in section K and was surprised to see Nobuo Uematsu himself joined us on an aisle seat, only about 6 seats along from me! I was truly impressed by this because I felt like it showed a huge amount of respect for Arnie Roth (the conductor). I didn’t see Koji Kondo in the audience at the Zelda Symphony in London.
The setlist was safe in my opinion. It featured all the main greatest and iconic tracks but didn’t attempt to deviate to any new tracks. I was pleased with the sheer number of VI tracks however. The opera was very good; there were vocalists and while it was being sung the ingame scenes were playing out on the screen. My personal highlight of the evening was Eyes On Me from FFVIII. Susan Calloway sung the song and her voice is simply fantastic – I highly advise you check out her work. Another notable track was Dancing Mad. This was performed on the grand organ (see the pictures, its absolutely massive!!!). The gentleman on the grand organ did make a few mistakes unfortunately but overall this piece of music was fantastic. The encore was very predicatable – I am not a huge fan of One Winged Angel so I was very surprised when it blew me away. Nobuo also sang in the choir for this song.
The full setlist was as follows:
NAL FANTASY Series: Prelude
FINAL FANTASY VIII: Liberi Fatali
FINAL FANTASY Series: Victory Theme
FINAL FANTASY VIII: Don’t Be Afraid
FINAL FANTASY X: Zanarkand
FINAL FANTASY XI: Memoro de la Stono – Distant Worlds
FINAL FANTASY IX: You’re Not Alone
FINAL FANTASY V: Clash on the Big Bridge
FINAL FANTASY VII: Aerith’s Theme
FINAL FANTASY IV: Theme of Love
FINAL FANTASY XII: Kiss Me Good-Bye
FINAL FANTASY Series: Chocobo Medley 2010
FINAL FANTASY VII: Opening – Bombing Mission
FINAL FANTASY VI: Dancing Mad
FINAL FANTASY I-III: Medley 2010
FINAL FANTASY VII: JENOVA
FINAL FANTASY VIII: Eyes On Me
FINAL FANTASY XIII: Blinded By Light
FINAL FANTASY VI: Opera “Maria and Draco”
FINAL FANTASY VI: Terra’s Theme
Encore: FINAL FANTASY VII: One Winged Angel
Afterwards I headed down to the meet and greet room below the arena and queued up with many other fans to meet the legend himself! I was impressed by the Royal Albert Hall staff; they were handing out glasses of wine and provided nibbles. While this may not seem like much, a glass of cheap wine is close to £10 at the venue anyway and they offered us so many!
When I reached the front of the queue I will admit the adrenaline was running high. When I finally met Nobuo I asked him to sign my VIII OST (featured much earlier in this blog). He must have recognised it as the Japanese version because he asked if I could speak Japanese. Unfortunately I can’t. Afterwards I had my photo with him and made sure to tell Susan Calloway just how good her version of Eyes On Me was! It really was the most fantastic night!
I have actually managed to get a hold of VIP tickets for next year too and these are aisle seats so I am praying so much Nobuo sits behind me or across the aisle from me! I am also hoping the setlist is a little more adventurous. I would like to see more IX and X. I’ll be updating this blog soon with some first print OSTs I have been buying in anticipation of signings too.
As they say, pictures tell a thousand worlds so below is a very extensive list of photographs. All of the photos bar a couple were kindly emailed me by the lady sat beside me.