While Kingdom Hearts fans have been awaiting the third installment of the beloved RPG series for quite some time, the series has enjoyed a steady stream of re-releases and HD remasters that not only give its passionate fanbase the chance to relive the series’ best moments, but also provides the opportunity for a whole new generation to enjoy one of Square Enix’s most beloved franchises on current consoles.
One of the ways that the series has expanded outside of the games has been through its music, which not only incorporates some of the themes from both the Disney and Final Fantasy franchises it features, but has also taken on a life of its own with a memorable score, character themes, and soundtracks that evoke the emotion of the series. While stunning in its own right when heard during gameplay, having the chance to hear the music performed live on-stage is an entirely different experience, thanks to the magic of the Kingdom Hearts Orchestra World Tour.
DualShockers had the opportunity to attend one of the performances of the Kingdom Hearts Orchestra World Tour event in New York City last weekend, which has brought a selection of the series’ most well-known pieces of music to the stage. Touring around the world from Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, to Los Angeles and New York (with a final stop in Osaka), the Kingdom Hearts Orchestra World Tour covers the gamut of the Kingdom Hearts series’ music from the original title to the numerous spin-offs that fans have come to know and love over the past 15 years.
The Kingdom Hearts Orchestra World Tour features a selection of the Kingdom Hearts series’ most famous tracks and score, performed live onstage. (video via Disneytainment, YouTube).
Inside the United Palace Theatre — a venue known for hosting a variety of performances and artists from around the world and from a plethora of cultures — the Kingdom Hearts Orchestra World Tour offered the chance for Kingdom Hearts fans to see the series unfold from a new perspective. Accompanying the 70+ musicians on-stage throughout the run of the concert — which ran for two acts separated by an intermission — was a screen showcasing highlights and clips from throughout the game series, which were supervised by longtime series director Tetsuya Nomura.
The Kingdom Hearts Orchestra World Tour featured over 70 musicians onstage performing a dozen of the series compositions from Kingdom Hearts, Kingdom Hearts II, Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep, and many, many more.
One of the clearest aspects of the concert was the fact that so much care and attention was put into place by those directly involved with the series itself. While other concert series such as the popular Video Games Live are largely organized independently, care and craft was put into Kingdom Hearts Orchestra World Tour thanks to the involvement of Nomura and Yoko Shimomura, the longtime series composer who not only was onstage to introduce and conclude the show, but even stepped into the performance by playing piano during the show’s encore.
It’s clear that the show was put together as a project of passion from the moment it started to its conclusion, and surely was a delight for some of the series’ biggest fans. Nomura himself expressed this in a statement on the event’s tour page, explaining:
“The idea of a KINGDOM HEARTS concert has been in the works for several years, but even so, I was astonished to learn that our music would be performed by a full orchestra, in other countries no less. I’ve been given the opportunity to oversee the creation of the title, logo, and many other aspects of this amazing production, and as the director of the series, I am confident that what we’ve created will touch the hearts of our beloved fans everywhere.”
Having played through the first two titles and Dream Drop Distance on 3DS, I’m not necessarily a fan of the Kingdom Hearts series on the same level as some of the fans that came to the show decked out in shirts and screaming out as some of the series’ iconic moments displayed on screen. Regardless of that, the World Tour presented a stirring take on familiar tracks across the series’ 15 years, while even including some brief looks at the upcoming Kingdom Hearts III by showing the game’s most recent trailers on-stage: to sat that fans were excited was an understatement, based on the thunderous applause and cheering.
The World Tour featured music and imagery from the series under the supervision of longtime series director Tetsuya Nomura and composer Yoko Shimomura.
As much a display of the series’ amazing music as it was a celebration of how far the series has come over the past 15 years, the Kingdom Hearts Orchestra World Tour was a joyous experience for fans of Kingdom Hearts. Shown through the orchestra’s rendition of the rousing series theme or the aching beauty of “The Other Promise,” the music of Kingdom Hearts has always had a massive effect on the emotion and spectacle that drives the series, and the World Tour was an impressive way to relive the series best moments through its music.
Kingdom Hearts Orchestra World Tour debuted in March 2017 and will conclude with its final show in Osaka, Japan on July 8th, 2017. To learn more about the orchestra and to stay tuned for future tour plans, you can click here and head over to their official website. A CD of the tour’s music is also available now for pre-order before its release in August.