This is part one, which will cover the Autograph event Held by Mr. Nobuo Uematsu at Tower Records, the day before the Play Concert. I will be including many pictures as well. Following this is my full review of the Play Concert.
Thursday, May 25th: Arrival
I arrived at my hotel in Chicago, in order to become familiar with the area, I slept most of the day after doing a little walking.
Friday, May 26th: Nobuo Uematsu signing event at Tower Records
I hop on the train at 11:00am in search of the Tower Records where Mr. Uematsu's signing event is to be held at 7:00pm. Luckily, finding it is a piece of cake thanks to the directions I got online. I reach the place at about 12:30pm, and now I have 6 1/2 hours to kill! I look around and see some posters on the window promoting the event. I am the first in line! I met a few people a little later but I mainly just browsed the store many times.
A famous anime/game music cover band, The Spoony Bards appeared later on and took requests for various Final Fantasy and video game songs. They were very good!
The crowd grows throughout the day and I am allowed by the others there to keep my place as first in line.
I watch off and on as they set up the stage for Angela Aki's performance inside!
Uematsu arrives in a limo with Arnie Roth and Koji Kondo!! I had no idea he would be here! I think he was mostly observing. He was not visible most of the time. They enter the building right in front of us as the Spoony Bards play the Final Fantasy Victory Fanfare and the Chocobo Theme. Everyone was smiling. I have video of this as well.
7:00pm: Time for the main event! Producer Jason Michael Paul recognizes me from the other concerts I attended last year! We enter the Tower Records and I get a front row seat right in front of the stage!
The producer gives us a preview of what the concert will be like, and he introduces us to Uematsu, Arnie Roth, who is conducting Play, and Angela Aki, who wrote and performs the vocal theme to Final Fantasy XII.
Angela Aki performs the Final Fantasy XII Vocal Theme "Kiss Me Goodbye" and another original song sung in Japanese. She played keyboard for both songs, and she sang beautifully. She was wearing an AC/DC shirt and jeans, which I thought was cool.
The Tower Records was now fully strocked with the "More Friends" FF Concert CD and the Final Fantasy XII vocal theme single by Aki. Having previously picked both these up, I had no need to buy them now.
After the performance by Angela Aki, we all lined up to get items signed by the three of them.
While in line I was interviewed by gamespot. Evidently the producer may have hinted to them that I was a big fan, or maybe they chose me because I was first in line? I don't know, but it was quite fun and I was flattered. The line was long, but meeting Angel AKi, Nobuo Uematsu and Arnie Roth was something I won't forget, and the Play concert hadn't even occured yet!
I brought a ton of stuff, and thankfully they were so nice and autographed all of it. Angela Aki is wonderful and she looked like such a happy person. Remember the great band the Spoony Bards I spoke of earlier? They were even allowed to perform "Eyes On Me" from Final Fantasy VIII for Mr. Uematsu, Ms. Aki, and Mr. Roth inside the Tower Records! Mr. Uematsu was smiling the whole time!
Tower Records on Clark Street and a window display promoting the event with a picture of Angela Aki:
The Stage where Angela Aki Performed:
Mr. Nobuo Uematsu signing autographs:
After the event gametrailers.com interviewed me about it and they even filmed me! Then the unthinkable happened. I noticed Mr. Koji Kondo, the Mario & Zelda Composer himself walking around, and I kindly asked the producer for a photo with him. Mr. Kondo was very shy!
Me and Koji Kondo at the Uematsu signing. I was so lucky to get this picture: