Game Music

Comic Con 2010: Hey Arnie, You’ve Got Some Final Fantasy XIII In My Distant Worlds!

July 25, 2010 | | 9 Comments Share thison Facebook Comic Con 2010: Hey Arnie, You’ve Got Some Final Fantasy XIII In My Distant Worlds!on Twitter

Yes, the big surprise at the Distant Worlds stop here at Comic Con in San Diego was that they performed music from Final Fantasy XIII. That’s not all, but we also got a taste of Final Fantasy XIV along with a number of tracks from the both the Distant Worlds and Distant Worlds II catalogs.

A great venue, great players and performers, a wonderful town (although it was really cold), and Uematsu in attendance made for a great evening. Find out what was played and what we thought of the Final Fantasy XIII and XIV pieces in our concert review after the jump.

Let’s start with the set list:

01. Prelude
02. Liberi Fatali
03. Final Fantasy Fanfare
04. Final Fantasy
05. Swing de Chocobo
06. At Zanarkand
07. Don’t be Afraid
08. Ronfaure
09. J-E-N-O-V-A
10. Fisherman’s Horizon
11. Man With the Machine Gun
12. Opening ~ Bombing Mission
13. Distant Worlds
14. Theme of Love
15. Prima Vista
16. Aerith’s Theme
17. The Promise ~ Fang’s Theme (Final Fantasy XIII)
18. Final Fantasy XIV
19. Maria and Draco
20. Terra’s Theme
21. Encore – One Winged Angel

As you can see it, it was a very full evening with lots of Final Fantasy VIII music. While I did miss “Dancing Mad,” as I was greatly looking forward to hearing it live, I loved the Final Fantasy XIII surprise and the fact that “Fisherman’s Horizon” was included after I missed it last year at the San Francisco performance.

While it was an unusually quiet audience this time around, there were plenty of cosplayers from the con, including the awesome Kefka pictured above who carried with him a boom box playing Kefka’s theme. He even spouted out quotes from the game in a squeaky clown voice which combined with everything else had me pretty impressed. I just have one question: what the hell is that girl in the picture supposed to be?  She was certainly creepy.

Still, the audience responded to all the fan-favorites, including lots of laughs with the “Fanfare” and the start of “Don’t be Afraid” corresponding to the in-game battle sequence shown on the screen. “Swing de Chocobo” is always fun with its jazzy swing style, and “At Zanarkand” continues to be popular perhaps because Final Fantasy X was the first Final Fantasy game for many of the young fans in attendance.  I have to say that it’s one of the most cohesive pieces of the evening, using FFX video exclusively, which still looks great. One thing that was odd was seeing footage of Final Fantasy XIII added to the “Swing de Chocobo” video, but I guess Hamauzu did pay homage to Uematsu’s theme, and again, this is “music from Final Fantasy,” and not “music from Nobuo Uematsu.”

My favorite piece of the evening was of course “Fisherman’s Horizon.” The arrangement and the inclusion of the choir is so moving that I avoided writing notes on the piece until after it was over so I could enjoy the piece entirely all the way through. “Prelude” was also excellent, working in the choir as well, and the soloists on “Maria and Draco” were fantastic (some of the best I’ve heard, in fact). “J-E-N-O-V-A” is a lot of fun with its electronic style percussion, trippy video footage, and jazzy freestyle sections including drum fills. “Theme of Love” has also grown on me over the years, and I enjoyed hearing it once again.

I was a bit disappointed with the soloist on “Distant Worlds,” a woman named Victoria Roberts. Her singing of the vocals was a bit loose, and didn’t really capture the power of Susan Calloway’s rendition (but nobody’s does). The speed boats and mariachi music coming from ships in the bay didn’t help either. Fans didn’t respond to Final Fantasy IX’s “Prima Vista,” as it wasn’t a very memorable piece from the game.

So, I guess I have to talk about Final Fantasy XIII and XIV. Arnie Roth introduced the Final Fantasy XIII segment, saying it was a Comic Con special performance, and started up a brief version of “The Promise” that transitioned directly into the memorable “Fang’s Theme.” This was a huge surprise, and it sounded great. There was also a brief narration in the beginning courtesy of the voice actor who voiced Vanille. Fans went nuts during this segment, although Dale North did point out to me later that the advertising for the event used Final Fantasy XIII images, so maybe we should have expected it. The Final Final Fantasy XIV segment was somewhat short, and familiar to those who’ve seen trailers for the game. The descending melody gives the piece a melancholy feel, and I enjoyed the range with a big orchestral sound at some points and light piano at others. We got a taste of what sounded to be a battle theme of sorts, which sounded excellent. The evening closed with “Terra’s Theme” as usual, displaying the show’s credits on the screen and also including Masashi Hamauzu’s name under “FFXIII Composer.”

At the end of the evening, Uematsu came on stage, noting it was cold and that he wanted to get back to his hotel to drink beer. The crowd insisted on an encore, and Arnie Roth again came to the stage to ask Uematsu to join the choir in singing “One Winged Angel.” Yes, I’m convinced that there will never be a videogame concert that does not feature this piece of music, so I guess we’ll all have to suck it up and learn to enjoy it again. Of course you couldn’t hear Uematsu int he choir, but it was a cute gesture.

This was only my second Distant Worlds show, and I have to say that I’ve loved both shows that I’ve seen. The Embarcadero in San Diego is really a beautiful venue, and it was a perfect way to enjoy an evening of Final Fantasy. It was worth it alone just for “Fisherman’s Horizon” and the Final Fantasy XIII segments, but there is a lot of great music in this tour, and you owe it to yourself to check it out if you haven’t already. Feel free to head over to the tour’s official website to pick up tickets to future shows, and know that we’ll keep you posted on future announcements.

What do you think of Distant Worlds? Are you surprised they included Final Fantasy XIII music?

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