When my boyfriend first approached me about going to the Distant Worlds concert, I lost interest as soon as he uttered the words “video game music.” The old school Super Mario theme song started playing in my head and I could not think of any reason I would want to experience that live. Upon seeing my expression, my boyfriend immediately told me “It’s not what you think it is.” He explained to me how the music in Final Fantasy was much more complex and beautiful than the music in most of the games I’ve played. Although I was still skeptical, I decided to give it a try.
After going to the show, I have to admit that everything I thought about video game music was wrong. My judgments were unfair and I owe the fans of this music an apology. For me, the concert was as impressive as seeing the Boston Symphony Orchestra. The orchestra and choir were completely in sync and every note was flawless. Even though I haven’t played the games, the performers succeeded in portraying the emotions that were so strongly engrained in both the story of the games and the pieces themselves. One of my favorite songs was “Dancing Mad,” an 11 minute piece that was unbelievably epic. The organ is the centerpiece of this song and it gives the piece a powerful and frightening feel. An exciting moment in the concert was during the encore when Masashi Hamauzu, who composed the music from Final Fantasy XIII, joined the choir for the song “One Winged Angel.”
The only criticism I had of this performance was that while the performance was happening, cut scenes from the game appeared on a giant screen behind the musicians. For fans of the game, this was exciting because it reminded them of the significance of that song in the story. Personally I found it annoying. The video made it difficult for me to focus on the music and because I haven’t played the games, the images on the screen made no sense to me. Only when I closed my eyes and listened free of distraction was I able to fully appreciate the beauty of what I was hearing.