NieR: Orchestra Concert 12024 [the end of data] in Berlin

Nathalie, René, and I (along with many of our other friends) have played the “NieR” games with great joy – starting from “Drakengard” to “NieR: Automata.” Especially “Automata” from 2017, in my opinion, is one of the best video games, excelling in story, gameplay, and soundtrack. While I played Drakengard and Nathalie and I played “NieR: Automata” together, René also played the remake of “NieR Replicant Ver. 1.22474487139” (still on our to-do list).

In 2023, a new NieR Orchestra Concert Tour for 2024 was announced, and we were eager to get tickets because this time it was going to be held in Berlin, whereas the concerts had previously only taken place in Japan and the USA. The date, February 10, 2024, was quite convenient, but why? Well, for one, it fell on a weekend (the concert was on a Saturday), which coincided with a consulting weekend for my distance learning program in Berlin. So, I could practically travel there “for free.” Additionally, it marked the beginning of the lecture-free period, making it possible to fly directly from Berlin to vacation via the BER airport (more on that in another post).

The online ticket purchase, on the other hand, turned out to be a hurdle. We were on the website right on time, but as one might expect, it was heavily overloaded. Then, we could select seats, but as soon as we tried to confirm the purchase, an error message popped up saying they were already taken. This went on for several rounds until we could only snatch a few seats on the edge. But at least we still managed to get tickets. After about 3 minutes, all tickets were sold out.

On that weekend, we walked together from Friedrichstraße station to the Tempodrom, a walk of about 45 minutes, passing by the famous “Checkpoint Charlie,” so we had a bit of sightseeing included. Arriving at the Tempodrom about 45 minutes before the concert started, there were already two very long queues. One for the main entrance and one for bag check. The Tempodrom itself looks like a large tent. We squeezed everything we couldn’t take inside into René’s backpack and got in line at the baggage check. While waiting, we noticed that not everyone was dressed in the typical concert attire; instead, like us, many were wearing regular clothes with anime and nerd prints or even dressed in cosplay as characters like 2B, 9S, or the twin sisters Devola & Popola. Initially, our plan was to dress a bit fancier, but then we would have had to carry those clothes with us throughout the entire vacation.

After standing in line for about 15 minutes and being €5 lighter for the bag check, we had to queue again for about another 15 minutes to enter the concert hall. Finally inside, we saw one of the causes of the congestion: directly to the right of the entrance was the merchandise stand… and it was surrounded by masses of people. In theory, we would have liked to buy something, like the seemingly exclusive concert T-shirt or the soundtracks, but then we probably wouldn’t have made it to our seats in time, so we decided to wait until the intermission or after the concert.

The concert hall itself appeared very impressive and spacious. However, we quickly realized why our seats were the “cheapest” or least desirable. They were directly behind large speakers from the stage, which meant we could only see about 3/4 of the screen. People sitting even further to the side than us practically couldn’t see the screen at all. That was somewhat disappointing because the concert’s own story was narrated through texts displayed on the screen, and a music video was played alongside each song.

With the conductor’s address, the concert began promptly, and we heard several familiar pieces. It didn’t take long for my favorite song, “Emil,” to be played in various versions. Depending on the context, the original singers from the game series, Emi Evans and J’nique Nicole, also sang live. However, since there were quite a few parts, some sections (like with Emil) were taken over by the choir, which still sounded very good. It’s worth mentioning that a large portion of the lyrics in the NieR soundtrack songs are in a fantasy language resembling European languages. English is rarely sung. So, the singers and the choir often had to sing in an invented language, which I find somehow amusing.

After about an hour, there was a 20-minute intermission. We first went to the restroom, got some drinks, and were shocked when we approached the merchandise stand. It was completely sold out. As we returned to our seats, slightly disappointed (except for Nathalie, who was relieved that we hadn’t bought more stuff since our small apartment was already cluttered), we noticed a 9S cosplayer next to us who had made quite a haul at the merchandise booth. However, apart from their noticeably overpriced items, the albums, plushies, and other merchandise were things that could also be bought online. So, the disappointment wasn’t quite as great anymore.

The second part of the concert was even better because they played all the boss battle and ending theme songs. This was where you could really get carried away by the music. Towards the end, Yoko Taro himself, the game director of the Drakengard and NieR series, made an appearance. True to form, he wore his Emil head, so you couldn’t really tell if it was really him – he joked about this too. It was funny how he had to be guided on and off the stage because he couldn’t see anything with the Emil head on.

After a little over 2.5 hours, the concert was already over. We quickly retrieved our backpack, and René even managed to catch the last train back home. As for us, we walked back to our accommodation that night because the next day we were starting our journey to Iraq.

Conclusion: The concert was a fantastic highlight, and judging from the photos and the many video recordings that follow, one can surely understand our excitement.

“Emil” (recorded by Kevin)
“Fleeting Words” (recorded by Kevin)
“Weigth of the World” (recorded by Kevin)
“Song of the Ancients” (recorded by Nathalie)
“Amusement Park” (recorded by Nathalie)
“Crumbling Lies” (recorded by Nathalie)