Eorzean Symphony – An FFXIV Orchestra Experience

The Eorzean Symphony, a Final Fantasy XIV Orchestra Concert 2018, debuted in North America with two shows on June 15th and June 16th. I was lucky enough to be able to attend both shows!

The Eorzean Symphony played at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, California, across the street from the El Capitan Theatre and the Hollywood Walk of Fame outside. If you attended the Final Fantasy XI Fan Fest 2008, the area will be familiar to you as the Renaissance Hotel is next door.

Prior to the second show, concert attendees were given a chance to participate in the Hollywood Red Carpet Cosplay Walk. The red carpet was rolled out in front of the Dolby Theatre adjacent to the Hollywood Walk of Fame. It stretched all the way from the street level to the Grand Staircase in front of the main entrance in grand fashion. Cosplayers portraying White and Red Mages, Miqo’tes, Au’ras, Dragoons and even a Postal Moogle made their way down the carpet. Following all of the cosplayers on the red carpet was producer and game director Naoki Yoshida, composer and sound director Masayoshi Soken, vocal artist Susan Calloway, and conductor Alexandra Cravero.

If you have been to a Distant Worlds concert, a popular Final Fantasy touring concert, Eorzean Symphony follows the same presentation. The audience listens to the orchestra play while in-game cutscenes are shown on a big screen on stage, immersing fans in reliving their own experiences within the game.

The Dolby Theatre is beautiful and intimate with three levels of balconies. The Dolby Theatre is famous for annually hosting the Academy Awards. This venue has a historical aura about it. Soken made mention of how proud he was to have his music being performed on such a famous stage. Myself as a fan was also very proud to be able to witness and report on such momentous event as this.

This intimate setting is perfect, tailoring for this group of concertgoers. The Eorzean Symphony includes key ballads and anthems from Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn and Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward.

Eorzean Symphony Set List:
Part One: A Realm Reborn – A New Hope, Serenity, Breaking Boundaries, Out of the Shattered Labyrinth, Ultima, Calamity Unbound, Rise of the White Raven, Answers
Part Two: Heavensward – Ominous Prognisticks, Painted Foothills, Revenge Twofold, Dragonsong, Moebius, Oblivion, Heroes, Heavensward
Source: Eorzean Symphony

After the show opens with a song, Naoki Yoshida, also known as Yoshi-P to the community, welcomes the audience in all smiles and in a tuxedo with coattails. Yoshi-P is later joined by Masayoshi Soken, a rock star goofball to the community. Soken dons his iconic happy go-lucky smirk and a cute stuffed moogle plushie for a boutonniere. The first show was a little quiet with mishaps here and there, such as Yoshi-P spilling papers and odd camera shots on the screen. The second show was very energetic as there were more audience than the first. Yoshi-P and Soken definitely feed off the audience’s energy as the jokes were more funny in the second show. Fun fact, Soken revealed that Yoshi-P gave him FIVE days to compose Heavensward and was given the opening cinematic movie that could not be changed.

Susan Calloway, friend of the show and vocalist for the main title songs for Final Fantasy XIV, joins the Eorzean Symphony as a special guest. Calloway’s beautiful vocals sends goosebumps and chills to the audience, myself included. Some even cried as she sang Answers, the most beloved title song for Final Fantasy XIV.

The Angels’ Chorus shines during the Ultima and Heroes songs, providing strong vocals that we may have not completely heard in the game. Seventh Astral Orchestra, the symphony orchestra, kept up with the chorus, providing a synchronized performance. The symphony is led by conductor, Alexandra Cravero. Cravero is strong with powerful, energetic songs such as battle music. She accidentally smacked her baton on the microphone a couple times.

A fan favorite song, Oblivion, was performed in a beautiful string quartet rendition. Accompanying Oblivion on the big screen are cutscenes of Lady Iceheart transforming into the primal Shiva, battling and dying in the end. The performance tugged on many of the audience’s heart strings (a pun that Soken pointed out), and Yoshi-P may have been crying backstage.

During Moebius performance at one point, the symphony stopped, and the conductor froze, and the light go dim. We hear Yoshi-P counting down in the backstage area. Beats of a drum and xylophone starts playing. Suddenly, Yoshi-P emerges from stage left with the drum and Soken following behind him with the xylophone, playing and walking across the stage. Soken comes back out, taps the conductor on the shoulder, and the orchestra and conductor resumes Moebius. It was a definitely entertaining reference to the in-game freeze mechanic during the Alexander fight.

Whether or not you are a fan of Final Fantasy XIV, the music is pleasurable to the ears with orchestra and Calloway’s vocals. The cutscenes,synchronized with the music, brings you back to your beginning adventuring days. If you have not played the game, the cutscenes give you a tease of what the game offers.

Eorzean Symphony will also be performing in Dortmund, Germany at the Konzerthaus Dortmund on August 24th and 25th. Buy tickets here before they sell out!

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