Gabi here.

About a month ago around my birthday I was cruising Facebook and over to the right I saw an ad for Final Fantasy concert with the word Atlanta in it. And right there for probably the first time in my life I saw an internet ad I was actually interested in. I clicked on it and found out that the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra would be performing music from FF and Nobuo Uematsu would be in attendance!

Video Games Live concert keeps passing by what ever city I happen to live in so this was a not to be missed opportunity. Uematsu attending was icing on the cake. Didn’t know if I would be able to scrounge up a little money to go because of bills so I had to hold off buying a ticket until the morning of. Thankfully they had one last unspoken for seat in the balcony center. Excitement!

So I picked out some fancy clothing and a beaded shawl and made my way into ATL. As soon as I arrived I could tell the crowd was of the gamer variety.  A good 80% were under the age of 25. I saw a lot of boys and their girlfriends. Some in ties and shirts clearly bought by mom. Also saw a lot of jeans and tshirts. Scott said he even saw flipflops.  My first thought was “Come on people, be a little grown up, it’s probably your first classical concert!” On the other hand though, I was happy they came out to support this type of music. Usually people in that age range would rather have the flu than listen to an orchestra.  Enough about that though, before I sound more like Get Off My Lawn.


Got my ticket at the booth and made my way to my seat. The musicians were tuning up and I said hello the people sitting on either side of me. On the right were parents of someone in the concert, on the left was a clueless mom who came at the behest of her high school aged son. The lights dimmed one more time FFVIII’s opening showed on the projection screen and the concert began with Liberi Fatalli…

OMG IT WAS FANTASTIC

It felt so alive! The choir was perfect and to hear it live, having the timpani beats rattle your chest, while you could see 30 violins making the familiar notes was just something that brings a huge smile to my face even now.  You know how it feels when you hear a song that takes you right back to playing a game you like….live it is just something else all together.

We all fiercely clapped and the conductor introduced himself as Arnie Roth. He was quite a funny man and he introduced Uematsu for who we also clapped wildly. He said before they get started there was just one more thing to do. The orchestra then played the fanfare when you win a battle.  We laughed.  I explained to the mom what was funny.

Here is a list of what was played:

FINAL FANTASY VIII: Liberi Fatali
FINAL FANTASY: VICTORY THEME
FINAL FANTASY VIII: Don’t be Afraid
FINAL FANTASY I-III: Medley 2010
FINAL FANTASY XI: Memoro de la Stono – Distant Worlds
FINAL FANTASY X: To Zanarkand
FINAL FANTASY VII: J-E-N-O-V-A
FINAL FANTASY V: Dear Friends
FINAL FANTASY IX: Vamo’ alla Flamenco
FINAL FANTASY VIII: The Man With The Machine Gun

FINAL FANTASY VII: Opening – Bombing Mission
FINAL FANTASY VIII: Fisherman’s Horizon
FINAL FANTASY XIII: Fabula Nova Crystallis
FINAL FANTASY XIII: Blinded By Light
FINAL FANTASY XIV: Navigator’s Glory – The Theme of Limsa Lominsa
FINAL FANTASY series: Chocobo Medley 2010
FINAL FANTASY VI: Opera “Maria and Draco”
FINAL FANTASY VI: Terra’s Theme

During a majority of the songs scenes of actual gameplay from the corresponding game showed on a large screen over the orchestra. This was used to great effect when the opera scene from FFVI came up because seeing the opera performed in 16 bit as we watched in in real life was hilarious and touching.

To Zanarkand was absolute sadness. I never even played FFX and I cried. I mean I really cried. I know I wasn’t the only one, there were some sniffs behind me.  The mom leaned over at the end and said “That was beautiful” I could only nod yes.

Fabula Nova Crystallis made me sigh in remembrance as if I hadn’t just played it. I hope it’s a mainstay in FF sdtrks. It’s haunting.

Chocobo Medley was funny. They showed the evolution of the Chocobo from FFIII to XIII.

The aforementioned opera was a real treat. Watching it perfomed live was stellar. The man performing Draco’s part was really on his game. He was a pro.

The evening was wrapped up with Terra’s theme as credits for the concert showed above the opening to FFVI.

BUT WAIT

The conductor brought Uematsu on stage to sing for us.  He took the mic and took a breath and then said “Oh no no I can’t do it!”
We all laughed and then the conductor said Uematsu should join the choir on stage and that we should all sing along and we only needed to know one lyric.  You know what that means…. SEPHIROTH!!!

What a thunderous end. We stood again. What a great way to end the night. If it comes your way – GO! – it is not to be missed.


After the concert – pic courtesy of Scott