Dear Friends, Full Version

Well, I said I'd post a more complete report, and here it is.

I recently went to see the Dear Friends concert in Hartford, Connecticut.

First off, I wasn't really sure what to expect for a dress code, and no one else really was either. The audience came in everything from jeans and a T-shirt to tuxedos to cosplay. I wound up on the low-end of the "dressed up," wearing a golf shirt, jeans, and sneakers, but I wasn't a complete slob either. 'Sall good.

Of course, the "MC" came dressed as a freaking janitor or mechanic or something. Seriously - he was wearing coveralls with his name on a patch. So I guess the dress code was official "whatever."

Ah, yes. The "MC." I'm sure as most of you know, most classical concerts have an MC that comes from the local rock station. The last time I went to see the Boston Symphony Orchestra, they had on the DJ from WBCN there. No, wait, that was a crazy dream. Most classical concerts don't have an MC. If anything, the conductor acts as MC.

But, anyway. This guy not only knows nothing about video games but he knows absolutely nothing about Final Fantasy or Square-Enix. He mentioned having never completed Super Mario 2 (wrong company) and something about gamers' thumbs being sore. Yay.

Then there's the fact that he works for a rock station and is MCing a classical music concert. But that's presumably someone on the Square-Enix side of things thinking "video games are for kids, we'll get someone who can work with them!" Except, of course, we're already at the concert, we already love your work, no one knew about the MC ahead of time or cared, there's no need to advertise to us! And, on that note, the displays indicating the five other locations on the tour at the concert where very ... not useful.

On to the concert itself. They did include three large projected screens, along with two smaller plasma TVs on the stage. These showed for the most part a slideshow of the Square-Enix logo and the Dear Friends logo. (Yay.) However, while the orchestra was playing, it would switch to a video of the orchestra or various FMVs from the game the music came from. (And they only had one hiccup related to that, when they accidently jumped to FFVI FMV while playing music from FFX.)

The music was overall very good. The orchestra was good - not the best, certainly, but this wasn't amateur night either. (Ignoring the choice in MC.) There were some times when the "mixing" was a little off, although that's kind of hard to do live with an orchestra. (Especially if it's not actually amplified - I was literally about 20 feet from orchestra, if they were amplified, I may have been close enough to hear them unmixed.)

While the audience was mostly Final Fantasy fans (hmm, wonder why) there were still several people there who came as part of the "classical series" (ignoring the MC again) that this concert was part of at the Bushnell. These people seemed - from the ones I overheard - to enjoy the music. People didn't really know what to expect, some people were expecting to hear bleeps and beeps and were pleasantly (I hope) surprised. Unfortunately, much of the audience was unaware that you do not clap until the conductor lowers his baton, so parts of the music were drowned out by applause. (But, hey, it's the Chocobo theme being done by a full orchestra. I can understand.)

All in all, ignoring the MC, it was a very good concert. Hearing your favorite themes done in full orchestra has a really profound effect. I've said for years that if Square-Enix ever did this I'd go. And I did. :)

If More Friends ever comes over to the East Coast - or if Dear Friends makes it to Boston - I'll be sure to go. It was a great time.