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Day 1 of AX and Club Nokia: AKB48 (Part 2) July 4, 2010

Posted by Nights4Saturn in AKB48, Anime Expo, Jpop.
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Okay, so let’s talk about the second big event of Day 2: The AKB48 concert!

So, after Mano’s movie screening I went to go meet up with my friend that worked at AX’s ticketing booth. Now, he had told me beforehand that these were “Premium” tickets but he never really expanded on it any more than that. Turns out these things were second row. SECOND ROW. Now, they weren’t center (more like on the far right side of the stage), but they were second row, and they were amazing.

With my tickets secured I killed some time in the AX exhibit hall with a couple of friends I had made in line waiting for Mano’s event. Since we all had assigned seating there really was no rush to get over to the Nokia Theatre and line up early. It was actually nice to be able to go somewhere without worrying about a line! I think it was the first time something like that has ever happened to me at Anime Expo!

The interior of the Nokia Theatre itself really is pretty grand, a proper concert venue even. It completely trumped the stage that was set up for Momusu last year. The sound and lighting were really far better. Really, the only negative thing I could say about the Nokia Theatre is that my 6th row seats for Momusu’s performance last year were about the same distance from the stage that I was for AKB48’s concert due to the much larger gap between the seating and the stage.

There seemed to be some sort of delay before the start of the concert, as it began about 30 minutes after it was supposed to start.

As for the concert itself? Here’s the setlist from makistar via SacredCultivator:
SetList:
1 – River
2 – Aitakatta
3 – Iiwake Maybe
Intro
4 – Kuroi Tenshi
5 – Seifuku Resistance
6 – Bird – Takamina, Rie (Mariko), Sasshi (Maimai)
7 – Heart Gata Virus – Haruna, Ami (Nozomi) , Mocchi (Maimai)
8 – Blue rose – Sayaka, Sae, Yuko, Miichan
MC
9 – Boku no Taiyo
10 – BINGO! (English version)
11 – Oogoe Diamond (English version)
MC
12 – Sakura no Shiori

ENCORE
13 – Namida surprise!
14 – Ponytail to Shushu
15 – Hikouki Gumo

To be honest I only recognized three of the songs: River, Ponytail to Shushu and Sakura no Shiori. I actually kind of enjoyed their live performance of River, which is odd because I really don’t like that song. It just grates on me. As for everything else? Pretty solid. Except for Sayaka, Sae, Yuko, and Miichan’s performance of Blue Rose nothing really stood out to me. I really liked not only the song Blue Rose, but the performance that went along with it was pretty good as well. I can’t say that the costumes didn’t help, as I was close enough to make out the definition on Akimoto’s abs without the help of the video displays =D

Something else that really surprised me was how well the girls had practiced their English for the concert. Each girl introduced themselves entirely in English, and you could actually understand most of their cute engrish to boot. Another pretty impressive thing was the MC after Blue Rose was entirely in English, and actually very entertaining. The same girls that performed Blue Rose discussed what tourist spots they’d like to visit and mimed various scenes from popular movies for the audience to guess. It really went over fantastically well.

As for the not so great parts of the concert? The lip syncing. You could actually distinctly tell when their microphones were turned up for their self introductions after Iiwake Maybe because their suddenly was feedback >< Also, Sakura no Shiori is very boring live because of this as well, as they just stood around their microphone stands essentially. For someone like myself hearing these songs for the first time I really can't comment on how they "should" have sounded, but I can't help but think that it was just a bit stale. Understand though, that I'm used to watching Matsuura Aya and Morning Musume concerts where everything is live.

Something else that I found a little disappointing had nothing to do with AKB48's performance, but with my section of the audience. Last year at Momusu's concert I was smack dab in the middle of all the other fans and the energy was intense. This time I was surrounded by Anime Expo volunteers who really didn't care about the concert and most likely came just because they got free tickets. To really get the most out of an idol concert you just need to let yourself go and enjoy it. Clap and shout along. Not to say that nobody in my vicinity was as into it as myself, but really, the only part of the crowd that really seemed to embrace the concert was the front center. Their encore chants really were impressive, not that I didn’t help!

So, overall I really did enjoy the concert, a lot more than I had even expected to. Heck, I didn’t even mind River! At a deep level I really do love idol pop, and AKB48 is definitely a good idol pop group. While I can’t say I’m a convert or anything, they’ve certainly piqued my interest.

Tomorrow I’ll wrap up with my impressions on AKB48’s Q&A session and a general review of everything that’s happened over the last couple of days. It has certainly been a busy week!

I want to apologize for the lack of photos in this post. I was so excited after being able to meet Mano earlier in the day that it kind of slipped my mind, sorry!

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