Our flight was scheduled for 7:40AM in Charlotte, so we left at 3:45AM. I had several last minute things to take care of-- figuring out what classes I could TA next semester, getting stuff together to potentially obtain E3 media passes. I only had one hour of sleep and Drew didn't have any. Drew drove 80% of the way to the airport, stopping and telling me to drive after apparently almost killing us several times. Of course, driving a car I'd never driven before with touchy steering on a busy 5-lane interstate wasn't terribly safe either, but we got there.
The plane was an Airbus A321, different from all of the Boeing jets I've flown on previously, but it was quite similar to a 757. We boarded the plane without any problem, but then sat (and slept) there for a while. After a while of not taking off, we were notified that our plane was leaking (just water, nothing exciting) and we would have to take another plane. We didn't end up leaving until around 10. The flight was uneventful (we were sleeping) except for Drew's head nearly imploding. For some reason the first flight to the west coast does hoes horrible things to pressure in your ears on descent. I don't even remember what movie played. We were met at the airport by a volunteer... long story short, we fed 20 hungry children.
We took a shuttle from LAX to the nearby metro rail stop. Luckily we had just enough change to get tickets to the main station where we picked up our weekly metro tickets. We ate at The Angry Burrito where I ate an angry burrito and then took the metro rail up to Universal City.
The bus stop location wasn't exactly obvious, but a helpful cop let us know where it was. After waiting what seemed like an excessively long time in the on-off sunlight, we took a bus downtown. Once there, we had little idea of how to get to the actual hotel. After wandering around downtown Burbank for a while, we finally found the right bus to take us to the hotel.
We finally arrived at the Courtyard Marriott a little after 4PM. Matt W. (Lizard Dude) and his friend Tyler had arrived only a few minutes prior since they flew into Burbank airport from Montana. There's not a lot to say about the hotel, except their TV's coax input had an annoying chastity belt, preventing us from hooking up a GameCube.
We met up with the other Matthew (Chupperson Weird, Matt McC.), his parents and his little brother. They drove us back to Universal City, where the concert was taking place. We walked around CityWalk, which happens to be the location of the DS Launch that I got to go to last November. Drew and I ate at Wasabi, a Japanese restaurant, and the others ate elsewhere. CityWalk was much more enjoyable without the torrential rains.
Unfortunately, I was unable to find anybody to sell my extra tickets to. The massive crowd entering the area was informed by security that cameras were not allowed (at least they didn't care about cell phones, unlike the website). After being herded through a small walkway, everyone was padded down. I was carrying a camera, and was told to check it in or take it back to my car (which I didn't have). I opted to not take this advice and just entered the amphitheater.
Before the concert started, everyone had their DSes out, enough to fill up all of the chatrooms. I used my DS at first as a cover for my camera, but after seeing other people not even bother to turn their flashes off, I eventually stopped caring.
The emcee of the show was the voice actor for Tidus from FFX, an annoying little guy. The concert started off with several orchestra pieces, which were excellent, except for the popping sound coming from one of the speakers. They played several songs, including Aeris's Theme, the FF7 Battle music, and Terra's Theme. During the show, there was an excessive amount of clapping and cheering; that's the price you pay for going to an event with major fans. The view from mezzanine was was nice, it took in the scope of the amphitheater, except that Uematsu was not visible in the back stage because of the large projection screens.
The DS conversations during the intermission were fairly amusing, consisting mostly of POP, representing the annoying speaker sound, Uematsu pictures and praise, and Uematsu karate chopping the POP. The conductor came up with a new chocobo theme rendition called Swing de Chocobo, which was great except for the audience cheering every time a chocobo showed up on the screens (they showed a chocobo scene from every FF game). The Black Mages came out with strobe lights and played two songs, Maybe I'm a Lion and The Rocking Grounds. While this was less than I would have liked, they would make another appearance at the end of the show.
The first singer, Rikki, sang Suteki da ne from FFX. The second singer, Emiko Shiratori, was especially impressive because she switched from Japanese to English in the middle of the song and didn't really have an accent. She sang Melodies of Life from FFIX. Following this was the opera from FFVI, with actual singers.
At the end Uematsu came out to talk, thanking people and mentioning that he wanted a beer. He then brought Black Mages back out along with a choir and the orchestra to play One Winged Angel. After several false starts, Uematsu left the stage for a while, prompting the audience to yell out all sorts of comments like "have my children" or "start the wave." The lead guitarist ran across the stage several times and eventually Uematsu came back out for an awesome One Winged Angel performance. Then everybody left and we went back to the hotel.
It's really late now, so I'm going to wait until tomorrow to actually upload the concert pictures/movies and comments for Tuesday.