Square Enix rocks Los Angeles

Fans flock to the Walt Disney Concert Hall for the first-ever video game music concert in the United States.

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These days, E3 week isn't just about E3. The fevered annual gaming convention has evolved from a simple trade show into a celebration of all things gaming, and nowhere was that fact more evident than at the Walt Disney Concert Hall tonight, where Square Enix and the Los Angeles Philharmonic hosted Dear Friends: Music From Final Fantasy, the first major performance of video game music ever in the United States.

The packed concert hall was greeted by a superb performance of Liberi Fatali, the well-known opening theme from Final Fantasy VIII. The evening's emcee (and voice of Final Fantasy X's Tidus), James Arnold Taylor, then appeared to introduce the man who made tonight's event possible: Final Fantasy composer Nobuo Uematsu. An apparently stunned Uematsu immediately received a standing ovation (the first of many for the evening) right in his seat. The Los Angeles Philharmonic and Los Angeles Master Chorale went on to play many old and new favorites from the series' long history, to the constant delight and rabid applause of the assembled fans.

For the interested, the program at tonight's performance was as follows:

  • "Liberi Fatali" (Final Fantasy VIII)
  • "Zanarkand" (Final Fantasy X)
  • "Terra's Theme" (Final Fantasy VI)
  • "Theme of Love" (Final Fantasy IV)
  • "Dear Friends" (Final Fantasy V)
  • "Vamo' Alla Flamenco" (Final Fantasy IX)
  • "Love Grows" (Final Fantasy VIII)
  • "Aeris's Theme" (Final Fantasy VII)
  • "Not Alone" (Final Fantasy IX)
  • "Ronfaure" (Final Fantasy XI)
  • "Final Fantasy I - III Medley"
  • "New Melody From Final Fantasy VII Advent Children"
  • "Final Fantasy" (Theme)

Afterward, conductor Miguel Harth-Bedoya was joined on stage to roaring applause first by Uematsu himself and later by series artist Yoshitaka Amano and creator Hironobu Sakaguchi. The trio delivered a few words about what it's been like to bring Final Fantasy to life for the last 17 years (think: "It's like a baby to us…") and then, just as Uematsu made his lively exit, the orchestra broke into a rousing surprise rendition of "One-Winged Angel" from Final Fantasy VII, again to massive applause.

The atmosphere was positively electric at tonight's performance, so if Square Enix happens to turn this thing into a road show, Final Fantasy fans are highly encouraged to check it out. In fact, considering tickets for the LA concert sold out in only three days, don't be surprised if similar shows appear soon somewhere near you.

In the meantime, fans can take heart at the number of video cameras we saw at tonight's event. The footage exists--now Square Enix has only to release it.

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