Joined: 10 Oct 2005Posts: 1975 Location: Melbourne, Australia
|Went to the Utsonomiya live today. Small venue of roughly 350 people, was so packed and hot inside, very fun atmosphere, I was only few meters away from Ai the entire night, it was amazing, her live vocals are amazing post-hiatus, she is hitting those high notes without hurting your ears. Here's the setlist. All the non-LOVE TRiCKY songs were remixed to fit the electronic style. She opened with the best song from the new album. It was amazing and I am so so glad I decided to go, this trip was decided somewhat hastily for me, I rescheduled a holiday to America for Ai and Ayu! |
Reach for the moon
Summer lovely days
Ramen 3 pun cooking + band introduction
5 : 09am
End and and ~10000~hearts (2.5 minute piano solo ver, then full song with band)
Ai-chin visited Nikko earlier today before the live, she tweeted a pic of Shinkyo bridge in Nikko, I was there yesterday and left at 8am today to go to Utsonomiya, if I knew Ai was going to Nikko I would have stayed back, but oh well!
I got to Utsonomiya around 9.30am and went to my hotel and did some work on my laptop to get it out of the way so I wouldn't have to think about it again all day. Utsunomiya is known for gyoza (Ai tweeted about this too ) and so I had a late breakfast/early lunch of gyoza. Explored a bit and saw the local sights, and then headed back to the hotel at 3pm for check-in. After I had a shower and was ready to leave to go to the venue at 3.15pm, the immense excitement and realisation that I was going to see Ai live really really kicked in. As you can probably guess my interest in Ai (and jpop overall) has undeniably waned in the last few years ever since she went on hiatus, but I still kept up with her activities and new releases, somewhat, LittleBigHeart has been a great source filling me in, hahhahaha!
Anyhow, I walk the 20-30 minutes to the concert venue, and there are already people gathering outside. I go and get a drink and a snack and just sit and chill for a bit, texting LittleBigHeart actually, and just dealing with the realisation I am finally seeing Ai after all these years. I was meant to go to Ai's tour last year, even had a ticket which LittleBigHeart helped me buy, but had to cancel the trip last minute. I couldn't believe this was going to happen soon.
Before the show I went to buy the tour goods. The wristband glow light was all sold out, I bought both tour T-shirts, and won a LOVE TRiCKY coaster for buying the tour goods. I also picked up LOVE FANTASTIC CD only and LOVE TRiCKY CD+DVD first press, and for that I was given two badges which are given away when you buy Ai's albums at the concert venue.
Though the venue was standing room only, they let people in in groups of 10 as each ticket is numbered. I was roughly in the third quarter from the stage, a mere few meters away from the stage the entire night. It was very crowded inside, there was a taller guy standing behind me and I could feel him exhaling from his nostrils onto my head the whole night hahahha.
The lights dimmed pretty much exactly at 5pm, and the opening to I'm lonely starts. I am losing my shit as this is my favourite track from LOVE TRiCKY! There is a hand motion to do during the chorus which is pretty easy, other forum members who are going, you will catch on very quickly. Almost half the songs had some hand/finger motions during some parts of the songs.
Anyway! First impressions were just, WOW I am actually seeing Ai in concert, she's meters from me, and holy crap she is so thin, rocking a tight fitting black dress with gold necklace, she looked like she was going to the opera or a wedding, and it was my favourite track from the album, needless to say I went nuts.
Afterwards was parallel world which flowed on very well. I suppose the entire show flowed on extremely well as even the non-LOVE TRiCKY songs were remixed or there were cocktail versions (I don't know the ins and outs or proper titles for these rearrangements) but SMILY was slightly faster tempo, and Yumekui was AMAZING, one of my favourite Ai songs, top 5 for sure, so I was extremely happy to hear this live.
laugh and affair were very fun live as well. affair starts off with Ai starting off a clap which the band encourages the crowd to keep up the entire song, this song worked so well live, I was surprised.
The show takes a ever so slightly slower pace with Hanaeri tamago, Reach for the moon and Moonlight. Moonlight was amazing, the light show was probably the best in this song, was surprised to see this included in the setlist, I really enjoyed it.
Then Ai-chin did a super long MC, she told everyone she went to Nikko earlier in the day and visited the famous shrines there. In Japanese shrines and temples, a cultural practice is to pray and obtain a charm which 'predicts' your future in all aspects of life such as love, marriage, work, money, health etc. Ai-chin decided she would save herself from reading the charm the entire day and decided to read out the charm to the entire crowd. My Japanese is extremely limited but I did make out that when it came to the 'Health' section of the charm, it predicted that the person would come into bad health soon, Ai-chin then joked that this was going to be the last stop for the LOVE TRiCKY tour! The MC must've gone on for around 15 minutes, Ai-chin commented on the large number of fanclub members in the crowd, and also acknowledged someone in the crowd who had come all the way from Shanghai, at this point I shouted I was from Australia but I don't think she heard haha.
She then eased into the second half of the show with summer lovely days, I am a bit meh on this song but it was nice live. Next was Fufufu, which I am going to admit I have not heard in full until tonight, but I really liked it!
Then the last 5 songs of the mainset were just AMAZING!!! I personally love Ramen 3 pun cooking, and the remix is just as fun as the original, lots of audience involvement with the MISO and SHOYU parts of the song! 5 : 09am was remixed but still just as strong and powerful as the original studio version, I was happy to hear this being performed. Sakuranbo always riles up the crowd and this was no exception, although nothing beats the original version, this was fun too. Mirai Taxi is a MEGA FUN song and I really really got into it, as I knew the end was coming. Mirai Taxi is a song I often skip listening to the CD but it is definitely a great experience live. Time machine started, and I knew it was the last song of the main set. Very fun song and awesome catchy chorus.
Ai-chin said thanks and left the stage, before she was even fully off the stage, the MOU IKKAI chants already started! This kept going on and on until Ai finally appeared in just the big tour T-shirt and did another long MC. Had no idea what she was talking about beyond saying thank you. Of course I knew the next and last song was going to be end and and ~10000 hearts~ Ai sang a half version by herself with just her piano, then 2-3 seconds of silence, then Ai and the band launch into the full song from the beginning. Oh man, it was such a great way to end the show, really really felt the music reverberating through my body, just the sudden realisation that I had just experienced an Ai concert and I really really got into this song.
Ai then bowed with her band members and said goodbye and walked off stage. What a night!
After the show, I waited around the venue with around 50 other fans at the stage door and waited for Ai-chin to come out. I was planning to take a selfie with her as she walked out the door, however when she was ready to come out, the staff told everyone to put their phones and cameras away, and a handful of people immediately darted their eyes towards me. She came out at roughly 8pm, said thanks to everyone, waved and quickly hopped into her van and she was driven off! What a night!!!!! I am so glad I made it!!!!!!