Performers from Final Fantasy XIV’s Fan Festival Concerts Comment on the Event

It’s hard to believe that it’s already been over a week since the Final Fantasy XIV Fan Festival gave us more information regarding the upcoming Endwalker expansion and treated us to a myriad of content from developer panels to concerts. Coming out of the event, several of the performers from those concerts that helped to close out each day of the event have shared their comments.

Piano Concert

To wrap up the first day of Fan Fest, there was a piano performance by Keiko. Attendees of previous Fan Festivals will recognize her, and those that have purchased previous Final Fantasy XIV arrangement albums have already heard her work. Joining Keiko via a pre-recorded performance was Amanda Achen, who players will know as the voice behind “Tomorrow and Tomorrow.” She also joined Keiko for performances of “What Angel Wakes Me” and “Return to Oblivion.” Of course, it wouldn’t be a Fan Festival performance without Sound Director Masayoshi Soken coming out and doing… well, what he does. This year our ears were treated to the pleasant melodies of “Civilizations,” the track that plays in the Raktika Greatwood, performed by Soken on both vocals and dual Otamatones.

There’s no avoiding the fact that performing without a live audience makes for quite a lonely atmosphere in the concert hall. Even so, all of the members of the FFXIV team filled it with so much warmth and love, and I was able to see comments from the fans watching the live stream, so I still felt like I was playing for a huge crowd.

Although the whole world is faced with tremendous difficulties, I am glad that FFXIV and its music can bring people such joy.

With all of the recent announcements, it looks like your adventures are far from over. Soken will be sticking with us for quite a while longer and will be creating even more wonderful music, so I’m looking forward to my piano performances being a part of that.

I wish you all good health and many smiles!

Keiko

Watching Keiko’s emotional performance on the same screen as all of the comments between viewers around the world was a totally new and awesome experience. The live streaming format also allowed us to be joined by Amanda, but there were a lot of challenges to overcome, especially for Keiko and all of the technical staff backstage. :-P

While we may be going through a pandemic right now, gamers are no strangers to online events and so on, so we’re better suited than most to cope with this situation. Once things have calmed down, I’d like to travel around the world again, but if there’s another chance to do an event like this, I think it’s a pretty good alternative.

Masayoshi Soken

The Primals Concert

On the second and final day of Fan Fest, Final Fantasy XIV‘s official band The Primals performed. The Primals were joined by a video performance by Jason Charles Miller, who accompanied the band for “Insatiable,” “To the Edge,” and “Shadowbringers.” GUNN, who has previously been the vocal lead on “Oblivion,” led the vocals for “Equilibrium” just as he had on the latest arrangement album.

Of course, the performance that is still being talked about today is “A Long Fall” where members of the FFXIV team took to the stage and struck some very familiar poses to those who have been keeping up with the various memes surrounding the track since the release of Shadowbringers.

During the performance of “Under the Weight” Producer and Director Naoki Yoshida emerged in some very expensive shoes to throw down with Koji in a rap duet.

Soken and GUNN also had a chance during the concert to use the new Fender Stratocaster was was revealed earlier that day. You can find out more about this guitar and the new electric guitar performance mode update here.

This is the thirteenth Fan Festival event that THE PRIMALS have been a part of, so by now, you can definitely tell we have a groove going. Even though we’re all moving freely on stage, from the audience’s perspective, we manage to maintain a good balance whatever we’re doing. I guess that being able to manage that without even thinking is what it feels like to be a seasoned pro!

The concert itself went really smoothly. When we first arrived at the venue, we imagined how amazing it would be to play to a full house, so it was a bit depressing to think it would be empty. However, thanks to everyone’s comments, and each of the staff members in the seating area doing about a hundred people’s worth of cheering and waving glow sticks, it was an incredible experience.

I’d say the performance was a complete success! Except maybe during my grand entrance where I messed up taking off my cloak. But what’s a live show without improv, right?

Michael-Christopher Koji Fox

Man, it feels great to be back on stage again! As for the show itself, there were plenty of minor hiccups, but that’s what playing live is all about, and I think we were able to deliver a true THE PRIMALS experience. After the show, all of the staff were cheering like crazy, and I had an amazing time personally.

We’ve pretty much just stepped off stage, and I haven’t had a chance to see the fans’ reactions yet, so I don’t know how well it actually went! :-P Hopefully, they enjoyed it as much as I did!

It was an awesome gig. Thanks for joining us!

GUNN

Now I know how different it feels to play to an empty venue. It really serves as a reminder that a live concert is not a one-sided exchange. I wouldn’t say that the performance itself proved difficult in any way, but I definitely felt something was missing, sort of like a hole in my heart.

Of course, once we knew that it’d be an online-only event, we had a lot of ideas about how to make the most of that format, and I think it worked really well. Everyone involved put a lot of thought into making it as fun as possible for all the FFXIV fans on the other side of the screen.

Unlike most other bands, THE PRIMALS are not the stars of the show. The real stars are the players and their experiences, and it’s our job to elevate that—kind of like a floor jack. So when we show all the scenes from the game on the screen behind us, the fans aren’t just listening to the music, they’re thinking back to all those epic moments and go through a whole rollercoaster of emotions. From that perspective, I think we brought out the best of THE PRIMALS to make the concert a success.

Once the pandemic is behind us, I’d love to perform again for a live audience!

Masayoshi Soken

After the concert on the final day, the team came onto the stage to give their closing comments. It was during this that Final Fantasy XIV Sound Director Masayoshi Soken revealed that, since the early days of the pandemic, he had been in the hospital for cancer treatments. Not wanting to be a burden to his co-workers, his condition was kept secret to most of the staff, save for a few higher-ups that helped make it so that he could work from the hospital. Naoki Yoshida tried to fight back his tears as he talked about Soken’s treatments, and how the few people that did know about his condition, were unable to visit him because of the pandemic. Thankfully, Soken is now in remission, almost full remission, and his doctor cleared him to perform at the Fan Fest.

“Soken is back and he’s going to be ready for our next adventure …I’m so happy that my best friend is back with me,” Yoshida said.


Photos provided by Square Enix and taken by:
築地 孝典 / Takanori Tsukiji
大谷ZUN純一朗 / Junichiro ZUN Ootani
アンザイミキ / Anzai Miki
千葉 美珠々 / Misuzu Chiba