Final Fantasy: Distant Worlds

Back in August, I had the chance to see Final Fantasy: Distant Worlds in Chicago. The live music experience featured the Distant Worlds Philharmonic Orchestra & Choir conducted by Arnie Roth and composed by Nobuo Uematsu. I had passed up going to similar events a couple times in the past, but I knew that I would regret it if I did not make the effort to attend at least once in my life. The fact that this year’s show was highlighting the 20th anniversary of Final Fantasy VI made the decision easier. Final Fantasy VI features my favorite game music of all time. It was the first video game that made me notice game music. Other games like Super Mario Bros had catchy music, but FFVI was on a different level.

The show was split into two halves. The first half featured songs that spanned the entire breadth of the Final Fantasy games, while the second focused on Final Fantasy VI. During each song, video was projected on a large screen behind the orchestra showcasing scenes from the corresponding game. Susan Calloway sang on two tracks, and Nobuo Uematsu took a break from his seat in the audience to play keyboard on a track. When he was not playing, Uematsu-san was sitting a few seats away from me. It was surreal to be that close to the man who wrote the music to one of my favorite games.

The concert experience was amazing. The orchestra and choir were exceptional. The mix of songs spanned the franchise and left any Final Fantasy fan satisfied. The focus on Final Fantasy VI was icing on the cake. It was great to hear arranged versions of those beloved songs in a live setting. I would consider it to be in my top five live music experiences ever. If you are a fan of the FF games, or cool events in general, I could not recommend seeing Final Fantasy: Distant Worlds enough.

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