It was a harrowing journey from downtown Chicago to the Rosemont Theater, and I was pretty scared that we'd be late, because of course the first song is probably one of the most vital: the prelude. Luckily, we made it just as the lights were dimming. This was as close a shave as when you're waiting for Shadow at the edge of that flying island. (If you don't understand or appreciate this reference, you might as well stop reading this entry right now.)
The prelude means nothing if you aren't familiar with Final Fantasy, but if you are, oh, man, it conjures up so much! Mostly I remember the excitement of first playing Final Fantasy II and the III, not knowing what exactly the adventure would be like, but knowing it'd be epic... and being right.
Man, oh, man. Those were some good times. Those are some great games.
The concert was a little FF8-heavy for me (I never played Final Fantasy VIII) and a lot of the vocal songs weren't my cup of tea. I was mostly hoping for a lot of VI, since that's probably the best video game ever made, but sadly, they did not play the Opera. As a consolation, we got the world premiere of Dancing Mad...
...and they concluded with the much beloved Terra's Theme, so I was pretty satisfied. The ending, especially, with the credits showing and the character sketches, that got to me. Just remembering poor Cyan, beautiful, suicidal Celes and Gau, the worst boy in the world. I could (and would) fly anywhere to see a fully orchestrated version of Final Fantasy VI, that's how much I love those songs.
But the highlight of the show was the attendance of the man himself, Nobuo Uematsu, who composed this great music. And during the encore (One-Winged Angel, of course), he played a kick-ass solo on the Hammond organ... while dressed in a ninja costume. Then, as a second encore, they played it again. The audience roared.
It was a very inspiring night. It's pretty amazing to think that this humble little ninja could create such amazing music, music that'll stick with millions of people for their entire lives, and it made me think of creating art as opposed to just creating a product, and there's something to be said for that. (I was in a pretty weird head space last week, but that's another story.)
Out of everything I got out of that concert, I'm probably most grateful for that li'l lesson. So much emotion was poured into this music (man, I even got misty-eyed during To Zanarkand and Aerith's Theme), and, I dunno, life's just too short to make some bullshit project for the sake of throwing something out there.
I feel that way about movies and television and books and everything, and we're overwhelmed with choices, most of which are empty and subpar (Four Christmases, our in-flight movie, comes to mind)... and is it worth it? Couldn't we just focus on what we love and what means something to us?
I know it seems ridiculous to think such thoughts while attending a video game concert, but eff that, it's good music, it stays with you, you care about the characters, they have a soul, and that's the sort of thing I want to make.
So I thank you, Nobuo Uematsu. I thank you very much.