Final Fantasy: Distant Worlds is the title given to a series of concerts featuring music from the Final Fantasy video game series. Different incarnations of the concerts have been recorded and released as albums. It continues to tour around the world. According to the series's official website:
Launched in conjunction with the twentieth anniversary of Final Fantasy, this concert production features the music of the great video game series FINAL FANTASY and composer Nobuo Uematsu. The concerts are performed by symphony orchestra, choir, and renowned vocal and instrumental soloists, under the direction of GRAMMY Award-winner and acclaimed conductor Arnie Roth. With HD video direct from the FINAL FANTASY game developers SQUARE ENIX projected onto giant screens throughout the concerts, a rapidly growing repertoire of classic FINAL FANTASY music, and an extraordinary fan base, Distant Worlds is a unique multimedia concert experience every time.
The 20th anniversary alluded to above was in 2007.
Final Fantasy: Distant Worlds is more like video game concerts such as Video Games Live than it is like The Legend of Zelda: Symphony of the Goddesses. The music has a common thread in that it's all from the same game series, but it hasn't been organized into a suite that covers a small selection of games.
The Distant Worlds repertoire is arranged for orchestra and choir, and the concert tour features local musicians in each city.
I attended a Distant Worlds concert when the tour came to my town in the spring of 2012. Like the Zelda concert I first saw six months later, it was a lot of fun. The producers came up with a remarkably satisfying mix of music from both the older and more recent titles. The programme began with the ubiquitous "Prelude," the arpeggio-laden piece that opens each game in the series; there was seriously an awed gasp in the auditorium when the harpist plucked out the opening notes. Roth noted that this was the series's 25th anniversary and that there was one piece they subsequently had to play — the equally ubiquitous victory fanfare.
Uematsu himself was in attendance; he came out as the concert was starting and was greeted like royalty. (The symphony's concertmaster then had to come out for the traditional bow and tuning, and looked a bit sheepish at having to follow the composer. He got an extra loud round of applause for his trouble and seemed to take it all in stride.) He even played briefly, taking to the synthesizer for a performance of the Dark World theme with Roth on violin.
As I said, I was impressed with the range of games that were represented. They didn't shun the older titles in favour of the more recent entries. Hearing the love theme from Final Fantasy IV — the first piece of video game music that really resonated with me from the first RPG I ever played — was a serious highlight. They also performed the entire opera sequence from Final Fantasy VI with three vocal soloists. I'm pretty sure my face just about melted from the awesomeness.
The other music, which included the choral-infused "Liberi Fatali" from Final Fantasy VIII, and a swing version of the ever-present chocobo theme, was sharp. Some guy arranged to propose to his girlfriend via a video shown on the screen, with his message taking the place of whatever Final Fantasy VII's Cloud was saying. (I think she said yes, based on all the cheering; they weren't sitting near me.)
Quibbles include the fact that they made a big show out of pretending they didn't know what to play as an encore, even though we all knew it was going to be "One-Winged Angel" (it's always "One-Winged Angel") and even as the choir was silently filing back onto the stage. (Putting the lyrics up on screen and having the audience sing was a fun touch, though.) They also hadn't played the stately processional known as the "Prologue," which made a lot of us think a second encore was on its way, but none materialized. The "Prologue" is in just about every Final Fantasy game, so its omission was deeply felt.
It was a fun concert, however, and since they tend to mix up their offerings once in a while I would go again.