Final Fantasy XI 10th Anniversary Concert
Music has always been an integral part of the Final Fantasy series. Unlike a lot of games out there, the music isn’t just background noise to set an adventure to. Instead, the themes and melodies linger with us afterwards, reminding us of the emotions and the adventures imparted on us. The music of Final Fantasy is as important as gaining experience or defeating a boss. The Distant Worlds concert series is a true testament to this, as not many other series have symphonies around the world playing concerts dedicated solely to their music. As a special celebration of Final Fantasy XI’s 10th Anniversary, conductor Arnie Roth assembled the aptly named Vana’diel Orchestra in Berkeley, CA for an evening of the successful MMO’s music.
Throughout the night we were treated to familiar tunes such as “Ronfaure”, “Awakening”, “Ragnarok”, and an especially exciting battle medley containing “Mercenaries’ Delight” and “Clash Of Standards”. The members of the orchestra were spectacular, giving the arrangements a full, rich sound. Each song was given a special touch, being soft and delicate for one piece, then grand and sweeping for another one. They really brought the music to life. On the giant screen behind the orchestra, they displayed in-game locations, battles, and a few FMVs, just to remind you that this beautiful music came from a video game, in case if you forgot, which was real easy to do. We were joined by a few special guests as well! Primary composer of Final Fantasy XI’s music, Naoshi Mizuta was the guest of honor. Also in attendance was Kumi Tanioka, who also composed several songs for the original soundtrack. Not only did she attend, but she performed 3 solo piano pieces and one piece with the orchestra! Finally guest vocalist Courtney Knott performed an amazing rendition of “Distant Worlds” with the symphony. It was definitely a very memorable evening full of amazing music. Many thanks to Arnie Roth, the Vana’diel/Bekreley Orchestra, and all the special guests!
I have to give a special thanks to the North American Square Enix Members community who allowed me to attend for free! They gave away 10 pairs of tickets on Twitter (they are @SQEX_Members_NA, seriously, go follow them) and I was fortunate enough to answer their trivia question correctly. Not only were the tickets free, but they were premium tickets! Orchestra Right, seats A2 and A4. That was right up front! We were 7 rows back from the front of the stage, and boy was it an incredible view. The rows in front of us were reserved for VIPs as well, after his brief appearance on stage, Naoshi Mizuta came and sat two rows away from us! I’m very proud to be a Square Enix Member and am very grateful that they allowed me to attend this great concert along with the other legions of fans!