In what can be considered one of my highlights of 2022, I had the honor of attending the event celebrating the 35th anniversary of one of the greatest video game series of all time. "A NEW WORLD: Intimatite music from FINAL FANTASY" is a concert promoted by Square Enix and performed by AWR Music in front of a nearly sold-out mesmerized audience at the Irvine Auditorium in Philadelphia who traveled from many regions of the Delaware Valley to see and listen to their favorite musical scores from the game series by legendary composers Nobuo Uematsu, Masashi Hamauzu, Naoshi Mizuta, Hitoshi Sakimoto, Tetsuya Shibata, Yoko Shimomura, and Masayoshi Soken.
Previous TALK TIME LIVE EXCLUSIVE guest Eric Roth conducted the concert and did so like any I have seen prior.
I had the opportunity to attend two concerts before A NEW WORLD, and no conductor that I witnessed ever performed with vigor, enjoyment, and passion like Eric did that night.
Eric would be seen contributing his entire body to the rhythm of the music playing. His body language gave the message that we are here to enjoy and celebrate the way gamers would expect, yet with a more sophisticated tone.
Eric had a way of speaking to the audience in a manner they understood clearly. During my interview with Eric and Arnie Roth (father, and Grammy award winning director and conductor of DISTANT WORLDS: Music from FINAL FANTASY) we talked about the contrast between traditional music lovers of orchestra and this nuisance of fan appreciation from the gaming community.
Arnie describes it as "A combination of classical concerts where you can hear a pin drop." This from what he explains results in a tentative and polite reaction and applause. Arnie further states "That is when this (video game audience goes another way. It's the rock audience where everything's the big cheer afterwards (upon hearing their favorite scores live)."
He was correct in that assessment as I witnessed fans in attendance cheer (after each performance was finished) as if they attended a rock, hip-hop, R&B, or pop concert. The stars were not only the performers on stage but the music itself.
I spoke with one of the members of the A.C.M.G. group who goes by the name of Jasper
as he stated the following after the show:
"We all have our favorite bands, but favorite songs come and go. For those of us who have experienced this series, regardless of whether it's been since the beginning or more recently, Final Fantasy never fails to evoke such a maelstrom of emotions, experiences, and memories. This show somehow pulled all of them together in a way that encompassed the highs, the lows, and everything in between.
What an awesome experience. This will go down as one of the best performances I've ever been to."
Jasper speaks for many who attended as a sold-out crowd watched with glee and serenity.
We were rewarded with music from a selection of scores based on various games in the FF series from favorites like "Choas Shrine from original FINAL FANTASY to the ever popular
"One Winged Angel" from FINAL FANTASY VII, which was met with the biggest and most exciting reaction of all that night. There was a reason that score was saved for the final performance.
Other highlights included Eric lending his angelic singing voice for the first time ever on stage as well as him performing with an instrument of his own to the delight of the audience. Eric spoke to the audience within every few performances and was met with comforting smiles throughout while the musicians on stage displayed their craft with perfection.
OVERALL: This is a must see for not only fans of FINAL FANTASY but also game anyone who appreciates beautiful music that may not understand the subculture of the game community. For too long many believed that music of this caliber is only suited for a particular level of social stratification. Many "purists" looked down at the idea that classical music and video games would co-exist. Let alone the target audience for both genres. However, as I emotionally sat down in front in enjoyment watching Eric and his astounding group of musicians who performed with the same energy and passion as Beethoven's Eroica, I thought to myself that two contrasting forces can come together to make harmony if they choose to. Yes, the world can be a better place despite our differences. We can use our differences to accentuate the positives of life and create a symphony of change the world needs. Music has always proven that and A NEW WORLD: Intimate music from FINAL FANTASY continues to put that theory into fact. If you are fortunate enough to have this concert in your area, do yourself a favor and attend this event without doubt. You will not be disappointed in the slightest.
Also, check out my interview with Eric & Arnie Roth as we talk about this event as well as DISTANT WORLDS: music from FINAL FANTASY and more.
THANK YOU to AWR MUSIC for allowing A.C.M.G. | TALK TIME LIVE to cover this event.