Concert Reviews: Distant Worlds - Final Fantasy 30th Anniversary Concert and the London Pop-Up Shop

At last! Three years after my first Distant Worlds concert (!!!), the tour finally returned to London. It was amazing. Just... oh, wow!

Alright, I can do this. I can turn incoherent fangirl squeeing into a thoughtful blog post...

I loved how this concert really celebrated the entire series for the 30th anniversary, blending graphics from original game up to the most recent (and if you follow me on Twitter, I think you all know how I feel about Final Fantasy XV ;)).

This year, the concert opened with the Prelude, a piece of music brimming with the promise of adventure, blending graphics from all fifteen of the games. We ended (pre-encore) with the Final Fantasy Main Theme. I adore that track. When you hear that at the end of a Final Fantasy game, you know you've really accomplished something.

It's hard to pick a highlight. I am a huge fan of V's Clash on Big Bridge. I never get tired of hearing that. Hearing Apocalypsis Noctis performed live was amaaaaaaaazing. That theme is so intense. And the orchestra and choir nailed it. I felt like I'd taken on Titan all over again. Later, Arnie Roth, the concudctor and producer of Distant Worlds, performed Somnus with the orchestra. The tone of his violin was so rich and beautiful. He really captured the ache of that piece. I live in hope that at the next Distant Worlds, they'll perform more from XV. I need to hear Valse di Fantastica performed live someday.

Oh, and I can now say I've been to an opera! Yeah, they performed a newly arranged version of Final Fantasy VI's Maria and Draco. It was fantastic! I loved how they recreated that entire section of the game, including the battle music. It was one of the most impressive performances of videogame music I've ever seen.

I am so glad I've finally heard Liberi Fatali performed lived. That hasn't lost any of its impact over the years. The Oath from VIII also had a new arrangement and that was really beautiful. And the haunting To Zanarkand from X is definitely one of Uematsu's best pieces.

I've never played XIV, but I really enjoyed hearing Torn From The Heavens, having listened to it quite a lot in the Regalia in XV.

And, as if all that amazing music hadn't spoiled me enough, I finally heard IX's Not Alone performed live. I adore the Distant Worlds version of that piece. Hearing it yesterday gave me chills. An absolute dream come true.

See why it's so hard to pick a highlight?! And I'm not even finished yet because everyone knows my heart belongs to VII. With 2017 being the game's 20th anniversary, I was ecstatic to hear not only the brand new Cosmo Canyon arrangement, but also the Opening Bombing Mission (complete with the remake trailer onscreen), Cinco de Chocobo, Aerith's Theme (there were tears) and One Winged Angel.

I loved the sense of humour this concert had. The choir playing the Victory Theme on kazoos was brilliant. And the footage they used for Cinco de Chocobo was hilarious - if you've played FFVII, you know how goofy it looks running back and forth over those Chocobo tracks, right? Now imagine that on a massive screen in the Royal Albert Hall. Yeah. I *loved* it.

Another amazing concert. And thus begins the impatient wait for the next one.

But Distant Worlds wasn't my only Final Fantasy activity of the day!

And on top of all the music, there was also the 30th Anniversary Pop Up store in London to visit pre-concert. Thank goodness I decided to take the earlier train into the city. I don't think I would've made it in otherwise. British people know how to queue, regardless of the weather. Thankfully, the people running the store gave out tickets instead so I didn't have to get soaked for the entire two hour wait :P

I loved seeing the artwork from the series, especially Tetsuya Nomura's pencil sketches. Woooow that dude can draw. They had a wall with all of the games available to play! It's a good thing we only had 30 minute timeslots, otherwise I'd probably still be in there ^^; I'll let you guys guess which game I chose...

 And no, I did not leave empty handed...

Another fantastic Final Fantasy experience. Can't wait for the next one! Which will be in December when I have my Final Fantasy VII 20th Anniversary replay and Episode Ignis comes out to crush my poor, fangirl heart.


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