I was fortunate enough to get VIP tickets to this event back on the 15th March when they went on sale (my 21st birthday!) so I have been eagerly waiting for this event for a long time! It was the first of five Celebration events where a whole host of new songs were premiered. I always love attending Distant Worlds as there are such a variety of people all brought together for their love of music and Final Fantasy. From young to old, smartly dressed to cosplay, everyone was there!
The venue this concert was hosted in was The Royal Albert Hall in London, a very prestigious concert hall in the UK and even the world. It was just as stunning as I remember it last year and the Final Fantasy music was right at home within the grand arena. If you get the chance to visit this venue then don’t decline because it’s an experience in itself just seeing the place.
The merchandise stall was rammed and had a lot more available than last year. Limited items for The Celebration included a special tshirt and a programme. Also available were moogle, cactuar and other plushies but they sold out very quickly. OSTs from various main titles in the series were there too, along with wall scrolls and the standard Distant Worlds tshirt. As I stated before, the only limited items were the tshirt and programme.
I was seated in section K on the aisle directly opposite the stage. I was secretly hoping Nobuo Uematsu would be seated with us as he was on the aisle last year but sadly he was seated with at the front of the tiered stalls a few blocks away along with Masashi Hamauzu and Hironobu Sakaguchi -squeal- Sadly Sakaguchi didn’t attend the meet and greet afterwards.
Arnie Roth conducted the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra and the London Voices. They were pretty spectacular! Here is a complete set list for the evening concert:
I-III – Medley 2012
IV – Battle with Four Fiends (Premiere)
V – Main Theme (Premiere)
VI – Phantom Forest (Premiere)
VII – One-Winged Angel (Sing-a-long)
VIII – Don’t Be Afraid
IX – You’re Not Alone
X – Zanarkand
Chocobo Medley 2012 (New Arrangement)
XI – Procession of Heroes~Vana’diel March Medley (Premiere)
XII – The Dalmasca Estersand (Premiere)
XIII – Blinded By Light
XIV – Answers (ft. Susan Calloway)
IV – Theme of Love
VIII – Eyes On Me (ft. Crystal Kay)
VI – Opera ‘Maria & Draco’ (New Arrangement)
V, X, VII – Battle Medley (Premiere) (Battle On Big Bridge, Fight With Seymour, Those Who Fight)
Main Theme of Final Fantasy~Credits
As you have probably noticed many classics weren’t played such as Aerith’s Theme and Dancing Mad. Sadly these great tunes had to be cut to make room for the premieres. I have recorded the vast majority of the concert and have made up a completed playlist using some other peoples videos on Youtube. Others have made recordings too so it is definitely worth browsing Youtube for other videos.
Sadly I don’t believe Square Enix or the Distant Worlds team recorded the show themselves. I was hoping to god they’d have made it into a celebration DVD or CD but I suspect that will be reserved for the Japanese concerts in December if they do decide to release an anniversary DVD.
After the show I headed downstairs to where the morning event was hosted. Everyone with VIP tags lined up ready to get our merch signed. Nobuo Uematsu, Masashi Hamauzu and Arnie Roth were present. Sadly Susan Calloway and Crystal Kay weren’t which was a disappointment as I’m a huge fan of Susan. Like last year, free wine and nibbles were handed out again. Unlike last year however we were thrust through like we were on a high speed conveyor belt. Two men were organising the meet and greet at the front of the queue. They both did the same job but while one was at the artists table the other would be talking to the next person waiting to ensure you had your merch ready. He would then take it from you and then hand it over to the artists. I wasn’t given much of a chance to greet them. The organiser took my phone and took a quick snap of me standing behind them and to say it came out awful was an understatement. Arnie Roth wasn’t even looking up and the photo was very blurred. Sadly I didn’t get to check this until I had walked away.
Though it should be noted Mr Roth did turn to me and thanked me for coming, as did Uematsu. Even so I was not very impressed considering the tickets were £135 this year (they were £125 last year) and last years was far, far superior. Had I not attended the morning event and got the chance to meet them there I would have been bitterly disappointed with this.
On a more positive note both downstairs bars were open this time so I was able to sit in one (opposite the room where the artists were signing) and was able to enjoy the food and drink. I had a hotel in London thankfully so I stayed right until 11:45pm when it was scheduled to end (though I could see there was still a fair few people waiting for signings). I was tempted to queue up again in order to get a better photo but I didn’t really want to hassle them so I left it.
Overall the concert was fantastic. I don’t think it matched up to last years London show due to the set list and VIP reception (and possibly because last year was my first DW concert) but it was still an amazing show. The highlight of the day for me was the morning event as the songs played there were some of my favourites. The evening show just finished off what was one of the best days of my life in style!
The day may be over but the celebrations aren’t kupo!