Final Fantasy | 08.22.06

Really, how does one explain the simple ecstasy of hearing a violin played to aching perfection?


Creepy Crawl, St. Louis

It's times like these when I really start to question the work that I do. It's not just that I'm going through the typical "how important is the role of a music critic" phase that every critic, amateur or professional, goes through. It's that I'm having a difficult time describing the beauty of seeing Final Fantasy live. It's a clumsy little thing we have, language, but it's the only way we can communicate things on paper, and right now it's completely failing me. Because, really, how does one explain the simple ecstasy of hearing a violin played to aching perfection?

There is something transforming about Final Fantasy, and the instrument it showcases is undoubtedly the reason for its otherworldly qualities. Of course, transcendence is not something easily achieved, and as with any concert, there are a few flaws in Final Fantasy's live show, including Owen Pallett himself. Aside from technical difficulties (his vocals are far too low in the mix), Pallett lacks stagemanship, breaking apart the grace of his music with his clumsy stage presence in between songs. But it's that grace that keeps us hanging onto Pallett's every move. When those perfect moments finally arrive, it's almost too beautiful. I have to close my eyes; the beauty is just too overwhelming.

These moments never last for very long; several bars of music at the most. But think of all the flowery words I've had to use just to describe those few seconds of brilliance, and think of the fact that no matter how many words I use, I'll never be able to describe exactly what it sounds and feels like. Such are the limitations of the English language. Fortunately, these limitations don't apply to music. Music has no boundaries, and if it wants to fly, well damn it, it'll soar.

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