Attending my first orchestra
Oh, where to start?
I was furloughed for a short while in 2020 and, being the gaymer that I am, I played and completed Final Fantasy VII Remake. I also played and finished Intergrade/Intermission when that came out.
I also play Final Fantasy XIV a lot. At time of writing, I'm an AST main, with all healers and magic DPS jobs at 80, and am currently levelling my tanks. I'm Kazan Ten'no on Omega, feel free to hmu if you know me!
So, anyway, how does this relate? Me and my partner have wanted to attend a FFXIV FanFest or a Distant Worlds orchestra for years and never really had the chance. But, this time we did. I saw that an orchestra was happening a couple of months ago and we booked it. Before we had travel or accommodation sorted, actually. 😅
It did not disappoint. We spent 4.5 days in London, with the main point being to go to the orchestra at the Royal Albert Hall.
The Orchestra itself
We got a hotel in Kensington so that we would be in walking distance of the Royal Albert Hall. I got dressed up in a nice red shirt, black jeans and a ring. Looked pretty nice, if I do say so myself. This would have been paired with some newish black and white canvas trainers from Primark but they made my feet bleed on Day 1 of the trip so they got sidelined.
We get into the venue, and while walking around I see so many people. For example:
- A pair of young women wearing glowing Moogle poms (I loved it btw - you looked great)
- Multiple Aerith cosplayers
- A Sephiroth cosplayer
- A guy carrying a Buster Sword
There also a decent bunch of people wearing merchandise from Final Fantasy 7, 14 and the wider franchise. I loved it. I've not been in a place with so many people with the same interests, and it felt refreshingly nice. If it weren't for my nerves/social anxiety I might have tried talking to a few!
I did see someone wearing a shirt advertising a Discord server for FFXIV Fan Events - a group who organise fan events and meet-ups for the EU servers. A shame I didn't know about this sooner, but if you're a fan and want to meet other fans, you might want to consider joining their discord.
There were also lots of people carrying transparent bags with merch in, but we didn't see anywhere to buy any. Don't worry, we asked someone sat behind us in the hall who pointed us in the right direction (thank you kind strangers - we bought too much).
Anyway! The orchestra itself was amazing. It opened with the Prelude. It started off just with the usual string plucks before every instrument got involved. I didn't know the Prelude could be so powerful! The performance overall was phenomenal. The live music is just something else and I find it hard to describe.
We got some Yuffie music near the middle of the performance, and towards the end we got to hear Hollow sung by a London singer who was truly amazing. We also got One Winged Angel, which was special. Throughout the orchestra, the stage as lit blue. When One Winged Angel started playing, there were fiery scenes played on the screen and the lights turned from blue to bright orange in an instant. I was hanging on the edge of my seat.
If you ever think you want to go see some Final Fantasy music live, then do it. It is so worth it.