■ Mond Tränen PhilharmoNikeR
This weekend was the fan concert produced by the Mond Tränen PhilharmoNikeR, aka Lunar Tear Orchestra, aka Tsuki Oke, solely focusing on the music from the original NieR. As it was completely a fan production, there was no direct involvement with anyone official at Square Enix or MONACA; however, a certain amount of approval from them was necessary to put on the concert at all.
This concert was a product of love by fans, for fans, and as a huge fan myself, I *needed* to be part of it! <3
I joined the chorus sometime around October, we had the first couple mash-meetings around then and also at Christmas time. We first began practices in January, first practicing in sections and later joining together with the orchestra. For me, this was the first time in over 15 years to participate in a performing choir, so I’ve become sadly out of practice.
Regarding the music itself, several people in the orchestra had written new arrangements of the themes, so we were only given new songs to practice a little at a time–as the arrangements were completed. Even then, there were many additional adjustments to the music, plus the chorus wasn’t even given any lyrics until near the end. And since we were unaffiliated with anything official, we weren’t able to get the official lyrics besides what had been printed in the soundtrack booklet and elsewhere. The majority of the lyrics we had were written by ear.
Anyway, here’s a look at the really nice concert hall where we performed:
■ Nerima Cultural Center: Large Hall
■ The Program
After the morning rehearsal on stage, we had a little down time in the green room… where our head manager told us that there were some OFFICIAL people related to the game who were there:
- Yoko Taro (Director)
- Saito Yosuke (Producer)
- Okabe Keiichi (Composer)
- Seo Shotaro (Composer, Vocalist)
- Emi Evans (Vocalist)
- Natori Sawako (Scenario Writer)
Everybody screamed as each person’s name was called… xD It was an amazing moment.
I guess it would also be important to point out that we had four main sections in the chorus: Soprano, Alto, Tenor, and Bass, but for some songs, we would separate even further to S1 & S2, A1 & A2, etc. I was in 2nd Soprano, but we were sometimes bumped down to the top Alto line. Plus, the chorus was entirely split in two, with Soprano and Tenor on far Stage Right and Alto and Bass Stage Left.
From where I was standing, I looked out at the audience to see if I could spot any of my friends that I had invited. I couldn’t find *any* of them, but I spotted Yoko Taro, Saito Yosuke, and Okabe Keiichi pretty quickly. They were almost directly in front of me. xD There was special “guest” seating for them, but they must not have known about it and sat anywhere.
So anyway, finally it was time to head backstage for the start of the show! The chorus walked out to either side of the stage, followed by the orchestra (I think), but only the chorus was lit. Once everything was quiet, first song began as the percussionists played the end boss theme from DOD1 on the big chimes. I gasped the first time they played it at the rehearsal… and many of the concert guests did as well! It was amazing to see their reactions. You cannot begin the story of NieR without it!
So, on with the concert! There were three main parts:
The first song of “Snow in Summer” begins with only the chorus lit as we sing. Just like the actual track, eventually the orchestra kicks in, upon which the whole stage is lit.
This song didn’t have much for me to do since it only had a couple people in both Alto and Soprano sections sing. Later in the medley we sang the fun “Ah” parts in “City of Commerce”. The timing to enter that part, though, was tricky.
- Grimoire Weiss
This one was pretty crazy, starting out powerfully with the boys, tenor and bass. For the most part, this was a relatively easy song, but my part, Soprano 2, had a funky line of notes that was an issue until the very end. orz
This medley was pretty tricky with both the high notes and also funky lyrics. Getting some of the timing right was a bit rough, too. xD
- King of Facade
This song was initially pretty hard to sing but eventually became a bit easier. Both the notes and timing was difficult to get right, but I think we did it well in the end. Soprano 1 had the melody, which left us S2 with the “hoho” lines. lol We had a little fun with that in practice. xD The ending of it, however, was a little difficult with the extended notes. Correct timing was essential! lol
- Foresaken Soldier
This song was a pain in the butt for a LONG time, mostly because they shifted S2 down to the top Alto line here and there and had us go back up to the main Soprano line. I had to clearly highlight my parts to see where the heck I was supposed to sing. haha There’s one part where they had us down on G above middle C and then up an octave in the next measure.
< 15 minute intermission >
While we were off stage right, waiting to go back out, the special guests were lead past us and the majority of us were shocked to see them walk past. Some people started to get a little noisy from the excitement, then everyone started going Shhhhhh!! lol When we went back out on stage, we looked for Yoko and the others where they had been sitting before, but they weren’t there. They had been shown to their special seats in the very center of Row K, 1st floor (see the chart above).
- 5 Years Later
This one starts out really strong, but the lyrics gave me the most trouble with the fast tempo and hard to say words. lol But once that part was over, the rest of the song was Alto only, so… xD
This is one of the longest songs at 17 pages. The beginning of this one is the theme from “The Wretched Automatons”, one of my favorite themes. I really wish I could have sung the melody line, but I like other parts, too, so I didn’t mind. xD S2 had the “woo waa” parts beneath the melody line. Some parts in this one had some difficult areas to count; like we would have to count 16 measures before we’d come in on a high F. xD There were also two other notes that sort of come out of nowhere, so you really needed to count properly.
- Junk Heep
This one starts with the melody from “The Wretched Automatons” only, so this made me very happy since I couldn’t sing the melody in the previous song. Later in the song it gets NUTS when “The Dark Colossus Destroys All” kicks in. This one, too, has S2 jumping up and down from the Soprano to Alto lines all over the place. lol Toward the end, we’ve got to hold the note for 4 measures at ff volume. phew! It was a pretty exhausting song. lol
Once the previous song ended, we had to leave the stage to prepare for the wedding dance portion of the song. We walked down the aisles of the stage, spreading out the entire length of the aisles and waited before our cue to start the wedding dance. Then a measure after the orchestra starts playing again (when the wolves attack) we had to scream and run off the side of the auditorium to go around and back on stage. Ahh, it was so much fun! A little bit further into the song we had another moment to gasp and scream. xDThen we had another couple lines from “The Dark Colossus Destroys All” (very much out of breath with this one again, too!).
< 20 minute intermission >
- Shadowlord’s Castle
This medley has both the slow and fast versions of the “Shadowlord’s Castle” theme before “Emil / Karma” starts up.
- The Truth
Then begins the final battle with Devola & Popola. This was such an awesome track to sing, and thankfully Soprano got the 2nd line that’s a bit higher than the main melody. I suppose you could call it the harmony line, but they’re both pretty vital lines in my opinion; each one complementing the other, but if they were separated, it would sound like something’s missing.Then Emil’s song starts toward the end… and it gets very emotional with the special sounds they added in. You can hear as the protective shield around him begins to shatter, there’s a single chime, and then my friend and fellow DOD cosplayer in the percussion drops a steal pipe that sounds a lot like Emil’s staff hitting the ground… ;_; Emil!!
This was a really beautiful piano solo of… Kaine’s theme, I think. I honestly don’t remember since it was never performed in our practices. xD
And so begins the final battle with the Shadowlord. This one was also a major blast to sing as the concert reaches its climax. The tension builds through the whole thing until the end when slowly our voices get quieter and quieter… until the song is wrapped up by the chimes like a music box…
- A Ending
And cue the credits for Ending A. xD This is, of course, the English version of the song. I helped everybody with the pronunciation during one of our practices. I don’t know how helpful I was, but… maybe it was okay! I really love this song; it was such a pleasure to sing, but I did feel a little extra pressure since I was the only native English speaker. Goto-sensei kept looking to me whenever the others were a little shaky with the lyrics. haha
■ Curtain Call & Encore
During the curtain call, vocalist Nakagawa Nami came on stage to give flowers to the conductor, Goto-sensei. They talked a little bit before mentioning that some “official” people came to watch the show as he introduced them and invited both Yoko Taro and Okabe Keiichi onto the stage for a short talk.
I don’t remember everything they talked about–I was rather emotional at the time–but they mentioned how amazing it was for their little game that got little attention when it was released was still very much loved seven years later. And even though we’re an unofficial group of fans unaffiliated with SQEX, they hoped that we would do something again in the future… They suggested that perhaps we have another event for Automata…??? To me, it really sounded like they were giving us their personal OK to look into actually doing an Automata themed concert…but that could have just been me getting my hopes up as usual.
But anyway, I was very, very happy that these wonderful people came to our show–I was even more floored that they took the time and effort to come up on stage and speak! Thank you, thank you!! You guys are the best!! <3
For the encore, Nakagawa Nami-san joined us singing in two additional songs:
- Shadowlord *Encore Ver.*
The Shadowlord *Encore Ver.* was a shorter version of the previous one that we performed earlier in the concert but it added in Nakagawa-san’s amazing vocals to it as well. <3 She was singing on a mic, so her voice blasted out of the speakers just behind where I was standing… so hopefully we could sing loud enough for people to hear us, too!! haha
- D End
This medley goes along exactly like the game and covers these main themes:
- The Dark Colossus Destroys All
- Emil / Karma
- Shadowlord *Music Box Ver.*
- Ashes of Dreams – Aratanaru JP
What was awesome about this medley, other than signing with Nakagawa-san again, was the very end… with the turning of the pages… as Nier’s existence is erased… You could tell on the faces of the audience that they weren’t expecting to hear that, and those that knew that sound… and the horror it invokes…
■ Back Stage and More
■ The After Party
After the concert, all of us were so exhausted; we changed and just hung out in the green room until it was time to head to the after party. As we left the green room, we were told to pick up some gifts that were left for us, and several people called my name. The thought never crossed my mind that someone would leave something for me. xD I’ve left small gifts and things for people at concerts and such before, but… It was a very nice surprise. Had a TON to carry home that night, though!! hahaah
Anyway, the after party was a bit of a walk from the culture center, especially carrying everything. ^^; The party hall was on the 20th floor of…some building, I forget where now. 😛 It had a lovely view, and a bunch of us stopped to take photos quick.
At some point during the night, I crashed a conversation with some of the cute boys and later saw that Nakagawa-san was there, too, and instantly felt like a fool. orz Apparently, Seo-san was there, too, and being the idiot that I am, buddied up to him as though we were best friends. He must have been very weirded out. hahaha I tend to get overly friendly when I drink… (Would that make me a Devola or a Popola? lol) He talked a bit about making the 8-bit tracks for Automata and that triggered my memory of who he was. He also performs the bass vocal tracks on the soundtrack. <3 When that little group conversation was just about over and people were starting to disperse again, I thanked him for his hard work and also apologized for being an idiot. He was very nice and said not to worry about it. ^^;; Such a cutie, too! <3 Seo-san!!! <3
We all had a lot of fun eating, drinking, talking, and laughing until around 8 or so. It was pretty early to finish things, but… we were all so exhausted, it felt much later than it actually was. It took over an hour to get home and there was NO WAY I could have walked up the mountain back to my place, so I took a taxi from the station. Then the following day was all-day practice for Gametakt! Phew!!
Now that the concert is over, I feel very much like there’s a gaping hole left behind. The concert came and went so quickly, I almost felt like there wasn’t enough time to really enjoy it.
■ Special Thanks
Many special thanks to everyone involved in putting this concert together. Concert Managers: Moriharu, Emma, and Yasu. The amazing conductor, Goto Masaki, who will also be guiding us in the Gametakt concert in two weeks! Special guest performer on the guitar: Kato Hiroyuki. To all my fellow chorus pals, thank you for putting up with me and helping me out when I was lost. I’m beyond perfect, so I hope I wasn’t too much of a burden on you all. And of course, thank you goes out to all the official staff, NieR fans, friends, and everyone who came out to see our show: THANK YOU!! <3 本当に、本当にありがとうございました！！