London, England – The Royal Albert Hall is widely known for its very rich history. Aside from being known for housing popular musical acts, this place has been witness to famous speeches coming from Sir Winston Churchill and Albert Einstein.
But on September 19, 2021 they celebrated something different. As part of Distant Worlds: Final Fantasy, this time around their world tour focuses entirely on Final Fantasy VII specifically the Final Fantasy VII Remake, one of the biggest games last year. And right here in London is where the first part of the tour will kick-off! What a way to celebrate the venue’s 150th anniversary!
So what type of music can we expect? Well aside from all-new arrangements from fan-favorite Nobuo Uematsu classics such as Seventh Heaven and One-Winged Angel (just naming a few here), attendees will also get to experience live versions of recent tracks like Hollow that is an original composition straight from the FF7 remake. Details on what went down the concert below.
As with previous Distant Worlds concerts, the orchestra will be helmed by none other than Grammy-award winning artist Arnie Roth. He is well known in the video game music scene for his collaboration with famed composer Nobuo Uematsu, so you know that the performance will be in good hands.
Aside from having a one-of-kind audio experience, like with past events an accompanying video related to the music will be played behind the orchestra – so you can visually relive the moment.
In a nutshell, the whole set by The Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra really did justice in chronologically describing the entirety of events from Final Fantasy VII Remake through music. So if you’re a fan who played and finished through the entire game, this will be pure nostalgia heaven for you. Otherwise, for those new into the game, since there’s video playing in the background – spoilers are definitely abound so be wary!
In no particular order, these are some of my favorite highlights/tracks that are featured during the event, as well as my personal impressions with it:
Midgar, City of Mako
Right off the bat before playing this, they took a bit of homage to the original Final Fantasy VII opening medley and played some cinematic clips as from the PlayStation One classic. Hearing this live for the first time literally gave me goosebumps, especially the scene with Aerith and the camera panning up bird’s eye view to Midgar.
Mako Reactor 1
Cloud’s intro/ entrance music (with matching superhero landing) and first venture into the Mako Reactor. Perfect setup after introducing Midgar, giving the audience a sense of action and adrenaline at the start of the show.
Let’s face it – just like Neon Genesis Evangelion with Rei and Asuka, you really have to take a side here with Aerith or Tifa’s theme*. Simply one of the more iconic and tear-inducing tracks of the set, thanks to the perfect piano arrangement.
*I chose Aerith by the way.
I was not a Jessie fan pre-Remake but I can see a lot of people jumping ship to her with the new game. This is a really nice and mellow theme that reminds me how cozy and welcoming Jessie’s home in the game is.
Another hype and adrenaline-inducing track because it is after all a boss-battle, this certainly shaked things up a bit after hearing some mellow tracks.
Out of all all the arrangements – this track perhaps got the most loudest pop (not to mention some laughs) coming from the crowd. And I am not surprised one bit since after all, this Honey Bee Inn and Cross-dressing Cloud sequence is a fan-favorite.
An original track made for the remake and the only music to include full-on vocals during the concert. I really did not take an initial liking to Yosh’s “Hollow” the first time I heard this during gameplay… But after a few repeats and not to mention Ricardo Alfonso’s (The Voice UK, Season 2) take on this power ballad, it quickly shot up to the top 5 of my favorite FF7 tracks. Have a listen to the video above and hear for yourself, just ignore the ending clip if you haven’t finished the game yet.
This wasn’t included in the program handouts but OF COURSE they won’t! After the last track and Arnie Roth briefly exited the stage, there was a bit of suspense in the air whether or not this track will be played…
After hearing Those Chosen by the Planet and the ominous vibe it brings, (convincingly creepy AF by the way) you are sure that it wouldn’t stop there.
When Arnie Roth went back and the stage immediately turning red, you definitely know what’s up! This has always been the show’s encore performance even in past Distant Worlds: Final Fantasy concerts and rightfully so. After 20 years, One-Winged Angel is truly cemented as a Final Fantasy classic.
And there you have it! After attending for the second time around, I would definitely agree on the direction that they made for this performance – and that is mainly focusing on Final Fantasy VII because admit it, there are a lot of really decent tracks here that wouldn’t fit in a single Distant Worlds show. If you are a big Final Fantasy VII fan, this would definitely be right up your alley but if not, I would still recommend this because to be really fair – the tracks here are really cemented in the video game music world as a classic that everyone should appreciate.
Since this event is almost always going to sold out, I would suggest booking early at a venue near you and of course practice safety protocols because we are still at unsettling times.
For those who want to take home a piece of this event, a merch stand is available outside the venue you are going. I would suggest getting the Orchestra Booklet (or their Playbill) and their Concert T-Shirt because of the fact that they are event-exclusive merchandise. We have a detailed article regarding their what they have on sale here.
So if you are looking for the perfect way to immerse yourself or just be nostalgic in everything Final Fantasy VII, this concert in a sure-fire way to get all the feels… Back to a time when you first picked up the PS1 controller and marveled at this RPG masterpiece.
For their full schedule, you can check it out below:
19 SEP 2021 – ROYAL ALBERT HALL (London, UK)
16 OCT 2021 – DR. PHILLIPS CENTER (Orlando, FL)
23 OCT 2021 – MICROSOFT THEATER (Los Angeles, CA)
12 NOV 2021 – SYMPHONY HALL (Boston, MA)
20 NOV 2021 – MAHAFFEY THEATER (St. Petersburg, FL)
27, 28 NOV 2021 – BLAISDELL CONCERT HALL (Honolulu, HI)
09 DEC 2021 – PALAIS DES CONGRÉS (Paris, France)
11 DEC 2021 – AUDITORI FORUM (Barcelona, Spain)
15,16 DEC 2021 – TEATRO DEGLI ARCIMBOLDI (Milan, Italy)
18 DEC 2021 – AMPHITHÉÂTRE AT THE CIT (Lyon, France)
25,26 DEC 2021 – PRINCE MAHIDOL HALL (Bangkok, Thailand)
28,29 DEC 2021 – ATLANTA SYMPHONY HALL (Atlanta, GA)
28 JAN 2022 – SCHERMERHORN SYMPHONY CEN (Nashville, TN)
06 FEB 2022 – SYMPHONY CENTER (Chicago, IL)
12 FEB 2022 – PLACE DES ARTS – SALLE WI (Montréal, QC)
25 FEB 2022 – HOLLAND CENTER – KIEWIT C (Omaha, NE)
02,03 MAR 2022 – ROY THOMSON HALL (Toronto)
05 MAR 2022 – EXPO GUADALAJARA (Guadalajara, Mexico)
18,19 MAR 2022 – BOETTCHER CONCERT HALL (Denver, CO)
23 MAR 2022 – SYMPHONY HALL (Phoenix, AZ)
TBA – THE STAR THEATRE (Singapore)
Special thanks to these people over at YouTube: