Distant Worlds: Music from Final Fantasy – Melbourne Arena – 24 August 2019

It had been awhile since Distant Worlds: Music from Final Fantasy came to Melbourne. I really thrilled to see the orchestra come to my hometown of Melbourne, Australia. It is a good night and the conductor Arnie Roth did his usual best to keep the spirits high and excited, but a few things let the night down.

I have included the full set list for the Distant Worlds: Music from Final Fantasy at Melbourne Arena on 24 August 2019 at the bottom.

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I was excited. I had purchased VIP tickets, so I was going to be part of the meet and greet at the end of the event.

The orchestra was hosted at Melbourne Arena, which isn’t an ideal location for host an orchestra. The venue is geared towards sporting events and the set up for the whole event, such as chair placement, etc showed that wasn’t ideal. Plus, it was a cold, miserable and wet day, which didn’t help.

I’ve been to both the A New World: Music from Final Fantasy in Melbourne and the Distant Worlds: Music from Final Fantasy when it was in Sydney in 2017 and hosted in the ICC. I remember the ICC being a great venue for this type of affair.

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Even though I arrived early, many other fans had already arrived. In the photo below are people lining up to pick up merchandise from the merchandise stall. There were CDs from the mainline Final Fantasy games like VI, VII, VIII, IX, X, XII, XIII and XV, plushes, tote bags, art books and blu rays of the previous recorded Distant Worlds: Music from Final Fantasy orchestras.

The line was huge. Fortunately for me, I had already bought my things for the meet and greet and didn’t see anything I needed. But for many fans, some of the things on sale are hard to find, unless you go to a specialty shop.

I got into the hall earlier than most. The photo below shows some of the VIP seats. (I already felt let down that we had plastic chairs, because the ICC Sydney had better seats for almost the same ticket price.) At least, VIP ticket holders had a front row seat.

The set up was not ideal, since many people sitting on the sides were facing away from the big screen on stage.

The center slowly gathered storm as more people started to take their seats in the hall. I managed a selfie here.

Arnie Roth got on stage in his usual exuberant self. I have been to many orchestras before and he is by far one or of the more entertaining conductors and master of ceremonies.

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Arnie Roth is engaging, interesting and a likable person on stage. He adds a bit of history, weaves stories and occasionally some secrets about the behind the scenes, of which he has been in trouble for in the past (e.g. revealing Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age was in the works before it was officially revealed). I also love how he gets the crowd excited before conducting fan favorite songs like One Winged Angel and To Zanarkand.

As the orchestra plays, fans in the audience get to watch accompanying video clips from the game. It’s a great way to engage with the music and gives your eyes something to focus on.

At the end of the orchestra, I attended the meet and greet with Arnie Roth and Shimomura Yōko, the composer for Final Fantasy XV and Kingdom Hearts. Arnie was doing most of the chatting. He was also happy and excited to speak with me. It was great to speak to them both and was able to make a request, and time will tell if it ever gets fulfilled.

I managed to get a photo and signature on my Final Fantasy 30th Anniversary Tracks. I have already wrapped the box in its original plastic and am storing it somewhere safe. I also have a signature from Uematsu Nobuo from my attendance at the ICC Sydney.

I hope Distant Worlds: Music from Final Fantasy comes back one day to Melbourne and in a better venue.

As promised, here was the set list for the night. I liked the first part of the set list, and while I do like Final Fantasy VII, I would have preferred other Final Fantasy games to be covered in the second part.

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Part 1

  1. Prelude (Final Fantasy Series)
  2. Liberi Fatali (Final Fantasy VIII)
  3. Victory (Final Fantasy Series)
  4. Somnus (Final Fantasy XV)
  5. Apocalypsis Noctis (Final Fantasy XV)
  6. Character Theme Medley (Final Fantasy VI) / Terra / Kefka / Celes / Locke
  7. Balamb Garden ~ Ami (Final Fantasy FVIII)
  8. Flash of Steel (Final Fantasy XII)
  9. Heavensward (Final Fantasy XIV)
  10. At Zanarkand (Final Fantasy X)
  11. Not Alone (Final Fantasy IX)

Part 2

  1. Opening: Bombing Mission (Final Fantasy VII)
  2. Main Theme (Final Fantasy VII)
  3. JENOVA Complete (Final Fantasy VII)
  4. Aerith’s Theme (Final Fantasy VII)
  5. Cosmo Canyon (Final Fantasy VII)
  6. Cinco de Chocobo (Final Fantasy VII)
  7. JENOVA (Final Fantasy VII)
  8. One Winged Angel (Final Fantasy VII)
  9. Main Theme (Final Fantasy Series)

Encore

  1. Battle Medley 2012 (Final Fantasy Series)

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