Dear Friends: Music from Final Fantasy
High atop the steep hills of San Francisco, high culture and video games mixed on March 7th, 2005 at exactly 7:30pm. Dear Friends: Music from Final Fantasy was the third concert in the US featuring music composed and produced by Nobuo Uematsu. Uematsu was the composer for most of the Final Fantasy games, known worldwide for their fantastic soundtracks. During the concert, Nobuo expressed his sincere gratitude for the audience and fans, even announcing that Theme of Love from Final Fantasy IV is considered required learning for numerous elementary school orchestras.
When I first sat down, I immediately noticed that I was surrounded by people of all shapes, sizes, colors, and cultures.One thing was crystal clear about all these people. We all loved the same thing, Final Fantasy. The lights dimmed and the Symphony Silicon Valley was spotlighted in the center, their instruments shinning and at the ready. Then the conductor, the award-winning Arnie Roth, entered to applause and cheers. His presence was soon overshadowed by the entrance of Nobuo Uematsu, who entered to a standing ovation from a whistling, cheering crowd. The audience was more then excited to be there, they were ecstatic.
Once everyone settled down and slipped into silence, the songs were introduced. The music started with “Liberi Fatali,” sung by the San Jose State University Chorale. When the song ended, the crowd’s approval was deafening. The quality of music did not lessen as the concert continued. Each song was just as spectacular and breathtaking as the last. Conductor, symphony, and chorale alike did a brilliant job playing Nobuo Uematsu’s music, bringing the audience into the world of Final Fantasy with sound.
While the music was spectacular, I felt disappointed by the CG displayed on three giant screens above the musicians. When I sat down, they were the second thing my eyes caught, and I remembered reading that video from the games were going to be displayed with the music. However, the clips were few and far between, and the selection of clips confused rather then enhanced. I suspect that whoever picked the video segments had never played a Final Fantasy game.
The concert seemed to finish with a song from the first Final Fantasy and a short speech from Nobuo Uematsu. However, the end had not come and the audience was treated one last song. an encore in which we heard the spine-tingling “One Winged Angel.” The concert started with a bang and ended with an explosion.
It is truly amazing that video games have become such a large part of mainstream culture. Nobuo’s brilliant work has helped bring gaming into the limelight and made the masses sit down and pay attention. Nobuo Uematsu has made the world listen with a language that is timeless, music.