As the timezones at various places were different, even though it was night at Qi'an City, other places were not necessarily the same.
On planet Baiji, in the military district area, it was noon.
Shanta and other high-ranking officials sat in the screening room. The sound and projection equipment here was of the highest quality, and the "hall-grade" online streaming pass Shanta had purchased would be relayed here.
"Everyone can take the opportunity to relax. The chance to get to watch a concert is hard to come by. How many years has it been since we've had one? It brings back memories."
Shanta had been to music halls when he was younger, but back then, he had only tagged along to join in the on the fun and act a little pretentious. Later on, after he had joined the military, he had no longer gone to such concerts. After he had been transferred to planet Baiji, there had been no places for entertainment, let alone any music halls. Although they weren't able to attend the concert venue, listening to it live was still a decent experience.
Previously, Shanta had sent a few videos and images to Fang Zhao for him to select some background scenes to play while the concert was officially in effect to set the mood.
Besides Fang Zhao's contributions toward planet Baiji, Shanta also had other motives for showing so much support for Fang Zhao. Although he might not have a great eye for business, when he had seen Silver Wing stirring up news about Fang Zhao's concert and Fiery Bird seizing the opportunity to promote a bunch of sound equipment, Shanta had also wished to take the chance and have a round of publicity.
For the masses, the style of official military publicity might not be what they liked. After Project Starlight had ended, there had been a noticeable drop in attention placed on planet Baiji.
Now, planet Baiji no longer lacked investors, but Shanta also wished to have the attention from more of the normal masses. After considering for a bit, he had decided it was best to borrow Fang Zhao's matter to let their presence be known once more.
Back then, the bulk purchase of tickets had caused quite a commotion, and Shanta had been rather satisfied. Today, on the date of the concert, Shanta had specifically let news be released to let people know that today, in the military district, many areas would be focused on the concert.
Back when news about the military district buying so many online streaming passes had come out, they had received criticism saying that they were spending wantonly and wasting military funds. Those that had criticized them had even included some military officials of a similar rank from various military districts.
But Shanta had not been bothered. Only later on, when he had taken part in a high-ranking official meeting between various military districts, had he directly met these criticisms head-on.
"How can this be considered spending money wantonly? Us old soldiers on planet Baiji are overworked all year, and how many of us have never gotten the chance to return home in decades? In the past, when communications were poor, it was so hard to find time to even see our family through videos. Now that conditions are better, we can't just have a small entertainment activity? Just because they are my own soldiers, I can't care for them a little?"
"Military districts back on earth frequently invite stars over to perform. For us at remote and faraway locations, so what if we watch a concert through the internet? The money spent this time might not even be comparable to the money you people spend every year to invite celebrities!"
"Besides, the concert is Fang Zhao's. Do I need to remind you people who Fang Zhao is? The discoverer of grade A power on planet Baiji and a reserve-duty major! He isn't anybody with a suspicious identity!"
Shanta was mocking certain military districts that had invited celebrities to perform in the past. It had been revealed that there were certain organizations at work behind this, which had nearly caused a big stir.
"Before you talk about our Baiji military district, please wipe your own buttocks clean first!"
After Shanta had spouted this during the videoconference, he had snorted in his heart. Comparing these, all we did was just sparingly spend a bit to watch an online concert. Why do we have to endure criticism? Furthermore, what we are doing is gaining some publicity. How can this be wrong?!
After seeing Shanta flip out during the videoconference, not many others dared to press this matter any further.
Actually, for people of their rank, attending a concert was just considered a small matter. This time, their criticism was because they were unable to stomach the recent limelight Shanta had been getting.
Speaking about the concert, actually, Shanta had another idea.
Planet Baiji wanted to film a documentary, different from those short films and publicity films of the past. This time, it would be even more formal. Other than it being broadcast, it was to be stored in records. In the future, in Shanta's own personal record of achievements, this documentary would be placed as a realistic account.
Filming for the documentary had been started a while back and was already in production, but Shanta had not officially announced it yet. Every year, they produced a few episodes to record the changes on planet Baiji.
For the documentary, there naturally was a need for accompaniment music. The military district had recommended a few people, but they were all masters who specialized in creating background music for military documentaries. Shanta had not yet rejected the notion. For this sort of important documentary, every production personnel, including composers, had to go through a thorough identity screening.
However, whenever Shanta saw a piece that might be suitable for the documentary, if there were no problems with the composer, he would also purchase it.
Thus, Shanta felt that if there were any pieces among the 10 songs showcased at Fang Zhao's concert that satisfied him, he would select a few of them for purchase. Shanta had the authority to use some of the funds on hand. Compared to the amount of military funds he had available, an accompaniment piece wouldn't cost much. When the time came, he could just consider it as a publicity or production expense.
Qi'an City, 7.30 p.m.
The atmosphere outside the concert hall had already quieted down. Reporters stationed outside were starting to regret not purchasing live tickets at this point. How great would it be if they could be inside? Perhaps they could have managed to take photographs of those people who had kept a lower profile and had not graced the red carpet.
Now, it was those reporters that had tickets and were inside who released some on-site news from time to time, such as which certain great master or celebrity had been spotted.
In hall no. 1, the concert formally began.
As the composer of this concert, Fang Zhao went on stage to give his thank you address.
Faced with the completely filled hall, Fang Zhao smiled. "A very warm welcome to everyone who is in attendance at my concert. This is the very first concert that I have held in my life..."
Many people who held their concert for the first time looked exhausted, as if they had been unable to sleep, as they stood here and pretended to be calm. However, Fang Zhao was not like that. At this time and place, he looked particularly refreshed and had an expression of excitement. He seemed to be emotionally moved, as if he had accomplished a cherished dream.
In both his past life and his current life, this was the first time he had held his own concert. He was not a singer, nor was he specifically performing, but as a composer, just like many other creators, he liked to use this method to let even more people hear his sounds.
Fang Zhao expressed some of his thoughts and thanks and gave a brief introduction on the background of the 10 pieces that were to be performed tonight. Before, Ming Cang had told him that the people who came were here to listen to Fang Zhao's songs, not his stories. Even if he wanted to say more, he should also wait till after the concert had ended. Also, he had been told that the opening address for the concert should not be too long. Nowadays, people did not have too much patience.
After the opening address, Fang Zhao returned backstage. The white-haired conductor of the orchestra about to perform gave a nod to Fang Zhao, telling Fang Zhao that there was no need to be worried.
The conductor was only 80-plus years old and wasn't considered particularly old for a conductor, and he did not have too many white hairs. He had dyed his hair himself, as he felt that he would appear even more imposing with a full head of white hair.
The lights dimmed and the audience fell silent.
The sealed modes of the VIP booths were also raised, but there was still a special curtain in between the booths. Only the silhouettes of their neighbours could be seen.
Zaro turned his head over to look and made out four or five figures in the room next door. That was all he could discern.
Who exactly was in the next room?
Zaro was preoccupied with making guesses.
Barbara was chatting with a friend from Lazhou. It was inconvenient for voice calls, so she was using only text messages.
"Hahaha, since when have you been together with Zaro?" People from Lazhou had also seen the news from Yanzhou's entertainment magazines, and it had caused quite a ruckus over at Lazhou.
Barbara didn't even want to talk about this matter. She sent a swift reply: "Bad luck!"
Her friend also knew that entertainment reporters loved to create news of this sort, and she understood what Barbara was like. She had just mentioned this as a passing joke and would not talk about it further, as Barbara's temper was not something to trifle with. Thus, Barbara's friend stopped herself from going too far and instead asked, "Aren't you at the concert? How are you still free to chat?"
"It hasn't started yet," Barbara replied.
"Will you be purchasing anything? Your future drama serials still require accompaniment pieces, right? Purchase one if you like it. Generally, most pieces that are showcased at concerts are of high quality."
"We'll see how it goes." When Barbara had been reading through Fang Zhao's information a while ago, she had listened to the "100-Year Period of Destruction" series and felt that Fang Zhao's style wasn't really too suitable to her own dramas.
Barbara had come because that idiot Zaro had said there were matters they needed to discuss. Barbara herself had never come to Yanzhou before to attend a concert and was a little curious, so she had accepted. She had decided to give it a listen, and if the quality wasn't up to scratch or if it was something not suited to her tastes, she would head online to look for others.
Just as she was chatting, an exquisite and slow piano melody began to flow, accompanied by a layer of cushioned string tones. This brought about an indescribable mood, as if there was some frustration and longing, yet there was some calm gratification.
Barbara subconsciously sat a little straighter and put on a look of seriousness.
The few old folks sitting together with Xue Jing scrunched up their eyebrows at practically the same time.
In their hearts, they were astonished.
On the song list, the first piece was titled "Empty."
The backdrop displayed on stage was an azure blue planet in the boundless cosmos. In the introduction of this piece in the song sheet they were holding, this piece was created from Fang Zhao's thoughts and feelings as he left earth and headed for his military service destination.
Evidently, "Empty" was very different from what they had expected, especially for people who had listened to the "100-Year Period of Destruction" series and had seen the background for the creation of this piece.
For the first song, "Empty," the first half was mainly led by a piano and supplemented by a string ensemble. The simplistic melody had hints of peacefulness and an ethereal vibe.
Following that, the string tones sounded like flowing spring water and the slow piano melody became quicker. A series of continuous chord changes was like the many different moods and feelings within the heart changing.
Toward the middle, woodwind tones gently slipped in alongside drumbeats that got progressively heavier.
An amalgamation of different sounds converged to form an interweaving and modulating melody, as if people were watching attentively but, in their hearts, a frantic upheaval was occuring. Restrained feelings bubbled and struggled to be contained before erupting like dazzling fireworks, surging with passion. Soon after the outburst, it changed back to the calm gentleness of the boundless cosmos, splendid yet mystifying.
Appearing as if there was nothing, yet at the same time, possessing everything.
An old friend seated beside Xue Jing stared, fixated, at the image displayed in the background where azure blue collided with obsidian black.
Looking at the azure blue planet, he apparently saw hope and romance.
As the last note faded, his originally constricted brows unfolded, and a faint smile appeared on his face.
This was totally different from the epic styles of Fang Zhao's representative work, the "100-Year Period of Destruction" series. The "100-Year Period of Destruction" series embodied an obvious narrative style in each of the movements and carried a grand and stunning epic saga. As for this song...
It could be said that this song was less forceful, like incorporating warmth into an epic.