NieR: Orchestra Concert re:12018 comforts LA with soul-moving performance

The mood inside the LA Live’s Microsoft Theatre was somber, but for those of us who played any of the NieR games, we knew that we were about to be inspired. One might say that the NieR soundtrack is beyond spectacular, but that’s not enough. You need to hear it live, and you need to hear it from the near 100 piece orchestra that lay before us. Do you feel that wetness on your face? Well, those are tears and you’re being moved by the music as am I.

Barely any video game will receive critical acclaim for its soundtrack, but NieR will be one of the notable exceptions. While playing NieR: Automata, I would be walking as 2B through the City Ruins and I would just be enveloped into the beautiful melody and vocals playing in the background. It’s no surprise that the musical score is part of the core brilliance of the NieR series video games. It is said that gameplay and cutscenes were modified to fit the harmonic tone of the background music. NieR is now more than 10 years old and the latest installment, NieR: Automata, has been driving culture with its art direction and engrossing storylines. As part of this concert, you will be awarded with a chronological musical tour from the story’s beginning.


The concert starts with an archived staticky audio recording about the beginnings of Project Gestalt and a young boy, Nier, trying to save his sick sister. Title sequences like this would follow every song giving a clear indication of the song to come. According to the original composer, Keiichi Okabe, all the imagery was created specifically for NieR: Orchestra Concert re:12018. For most of the concert, the large projected central screen would feature visual effects that moved with the music. Every so often we would also be treated with companion text to read along to fit the musical ambiance, with a notable read along to Ashes of Dreams and its feeling of hopelessness. What this concert is not is a video game cut scene montage tour, due to only a few songs showing actual gameplay footage. The music is the prime focus here, but when you sink into your seat that’s all you need.

Credit: Nerd Reactor/Hanae Cajigas

Emi Evans and the Made Up Language

Prominent on the guest list is the vocalist, Emi Evans, who has been providing lyrics and vocals for the NieR saga since the first game ten years ago. What is especially interesting is that Emi does not always sing in a language that is understandable. In fact, when she made her first appearance on stage to sing Kainé, it was her version of how the Gaelic language would sound after 1000 years of drifting. The original gaming concept that Composer Keiichi Okabe envisioned was music that would not be easily understandable as to not clash with gameplay and game dialogue. The voice that comes out of Emi Evans is so pleasant even if no one in the world can understand it. That changes a wee bit when Emi comes back out to sing Weight of the World, but this time with accompanying English lyrics on the screen. Those familiar with NieR concert typically associate the English version with vocalist J’Nique Nicole which you’ll just have to imagine, but your ears will be treated with Emi Evans singing her Future French version.

Cameos by Emil and 2B

The flashing of the house lights typically signals for patrons to get to their seats since the show is about to start. While sitting in the theatre, we received additional instruction from none other than the voices of Emil and 2B. It was all humor in the audience because no one would imagine that Emil would be the one to push the audience to return to their seats and to turn off their electronic devices. By concert’s end and as you are walking out of the theatre, there is another cameo appearance, but this time it’s the voice of 2B to remind all patrons to buy merchandise. That was the greatest laugh of all with jokes about the “Square Enix bosses” wanting to move more merchandise.


Credit: Nerd Reactor/Hanae Cajigas

Credit: Nerd Reactor/Hanae Cajigas

Credit: Nerd Reactor/Hanae Cajigas

In Attendance

  • Conductor Arnie Roth
  • Vocalist Emi Evans
  • Composer Keiichi Okabe
  • Director Yoko Taro
  • ~100 piece orchestra with choir
  • 9 of the 10 NieR voice actors

Concert Setlist

  • 1st Stage
  • Snow in Summer
  • Emil’s Words – Song of the Ancients
  • Hills of Radiant Winds
  • Emil’s Words – Emil
  • Gods Bound by Rules
  • The Wretched Automatons
  • Emil’s Words – Grandma
  • Shadowlord
  • Ashes of Dreams
  • Emil’s Words – Kainé‚ (Emi Evans Vocals, Future Gaelic)


  • 2nd Stage
  • City Ruins
  • 2B’s Words – Amusement Park
  • A Beautiful Song
  • Alien Manifestation
  • 2B’s Words – The Tower
  • Dependent Weakling
  • Bipolar Nightmare
  • 2B’s Words – Mourning
  • The Sound of the End
  • 2B’s Words – The Weight of the World (Emi Evans Vocals, Future French)


  • Emil & 2B’s Words – The Dark Colossus Destroys All

Concert Schedule

  • 4 sold-out performances in Tokyo 2018
  • Jan 25, 2020, Chicago 8pm, PAST
  • Jan 29, 2020, Los Angeles 8pm, PAST
  • Feb 2, 2020, London 3pm, SOLD OUT
  • Feb 2, 2020, London 8pm, SOLD OUT
  • Feb 15, 2020, Thailand 4pm, ON SALE
  • Feb 16, 2020, Thailand 4pm, ON SALE and

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