I just came back from the Osaka show yesterday, and I thought it was pretty good.
Could've been better, but it wasn't bad in any way at all.
Adam has already written his extensive review so I don't have much to add except:
- I was rather disappointed with SotC. I was looking forward to this most, and it ended up being one of the most disappointing. The track choice was decent, but I already had a bad feeling when I saw the chorus LEAVING before this performance came up, so I knew none of my favorite themes were going to be there. And it just didn't sound as good as the original game version, I'm sorry to say.
- The Shmup medley was rather cool, I hardly recognized anything, not being a great shmup fan myself, but it was good music, and the Starfox stuff was awesome, obviously.
- The VIPs were rather cool. I'd never seen Uematsu in real life before, so that was cool, and he definitely stole the show, cos the woman was just annoying. Also, in the second half, a guest appearance by Koji Kondo (how awesome is it to get to see Kondo interviewed by Uematsu!?), and a surprise appearance by Yoko Shimomura, which was very nice. She's far from the Japanese Idol image, so she was actually fun to listen to.
- The second half MORE than made up for what was only an okay first half as far as I'm concerned.
Although it started wirh GHM Sound Team, which was, well, noisy and not much else, it then kicked into Chrono Trigger, which was totally awesome. I mean, I know it's pretty much exactly the same arrangement as the Orchestral Game Concert, but just hearing a live performance of the main theme of a game that had such a profound impact on my childhood was unbelievable. I loved it.
- Then on to what would turn out to be one of the highlights of the show for me: Oblivion.
Seriously, I don't know what all you people are bitching about, YES, Oblivion had music, and YES, it was pretty damn good. They picked the right tracks and wove them together magnificently. I'm mostly oriented towards Japanese VGM too, but damn, Jeremy Soul did a great job here. Gave me goose-bumps. The GOOD ones.
- Another VGM concert, another Mario arrangement. I actually liked this one, because they made it sound like a chiptune at places. Decent enough.
- Castlevania, as expected, kicked all kinds of ass. Yes, it's lots of familiar tunes we've heard over and over again, but they're SO DAMN GOOD. Rondo of Blood was especially cool. Another Highlight.
- Kingdom Hearts was fantastic! It went from the main theme (Hikari/Simple and Clean) to Destati (again another conspicuous absence of the chorus here, which was rather disappointing), then into Dearly Beloved (still beautiful) to pass through Traverse Town (Saxophone and all, how frigging COOL is THAT!?) and end up with the closing line of the credits if I'm not mistaken. Another Hit this one.
- We got the same encores obviously, with the only major difference being that the Black Mages did not attend Osaka, so we got the Advent Children version of OWA WITHOUT the guitars. Shame that.
And of course the Zelda Medley ruled. Man, the Dark World theme is the best thing EVAR!
I was amazed at the rather low turn-up though. I was sitting with Xanadujin on the third floor and it was practically empty, and from what we could see the second floor didn't have a lot of people on it either. The first floor looked crowded enough, but wasn't sold out either, it seemed. Still, Uematsu seemed happy, and it sounded very much like he wanted to do another concert again next year.
I hope they do.
We got very little in terms of merchandise though. Didn't see any soundtrack CD's.
Those T-shirt Makers were there though, and they have some really nice T-shirts, but I'll be damned if I'm gonna pay 6000 yen for them.
There was no recording material from what I could see, but if they already recorded stuff in Tokyo, I guess they wouldn't have to do it again. I hope this gets a proper CD release though.
Definitely going again next year!