Saturday Night: The Houston Symphony Does Final Fantasy At Jones Hall

Photos courtesy of Houston Symphony
Saturday's cast (from left): Alan Halverson as Kefka , Rachel Smith as Yuffie, Amanda Ayr as Tifa
The Houston Symphony
Jones Hall
July 24, 2010

While everyone else in Houston was going gaga for Gaga, Aftermath headed down to Jones Hall to hear the Houston Symphony play Nobuo Uematsu's fantastic scores from the Final Fantasy series of video games.

The hall was absolutely packed with fans ranging from small children to senior fans of classical music. In the lobby, a charity group called Extra Life was signing people up for a 24-hour video-game tournament in which participants would collect sponsors for hours played and the proceeds would go to Texas Children's Hospital.

The name of this tournament? Video Game Armageddon. Yes, the tournament from Nintendo's version of Tommy, The Wizard starring the Super Savage Bros. Good-hearted geeking was in no shortage, as the lobby also sported several uber-fans dressed in elaborate costumes from the games, many of whom were kind enough to pose for pictures with other patrons and your humble reporter.

Inside the sold-out hall, the mood was electric as conductor Arnie Roth took the stage, and it exploded when Nobuo-san was introduced. Smiling and full of energy, the 51-year-old composer who has scored almost every classic and modern Square Enix game met his audience with warmth and affection.

The lights dimmed, and the harp notes that signal possibly the most famous prelude in video game history began. Instantly, Aftermath was transported back to childhood, immersed in the lore of airships, dragons, rat tails, chocobos, and all the hallmarks of a roleplaying game series that rivals Lord of the Rings in scope, characters, and magic. It would be a lie to say our eyes didn't water just a bit.

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