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Anisong Concert at Anime Expo Thoughts,Etc!

#1
Okay, let's see if I can paste my Facebook post from here, as it would save me quite some time...but Disclaimer: Some of the thoughts/surmises given might not be the most accurate, and I know none of the track names from 'Heaven's Feel' as I'm waiting for the English dub LE not due out until November, so feel free to insert those if you know them. Here goes...
Last weekend, I was at AnimeExpo 2018, where finally, my musical journey of two years has finally reached its destination:
I saw Yuki Kajiura perform live.
Truly, Christmas was in July this year for me, hence the reason I attended the show in my Santa Claus suit, despite it being one of the hottest days in LA since they've been keeping record(103 Degrees F or more).
If I seem subdued, or low-key, it's just that I'm still letting it settle into myself. It was an incredible Experience(and I use this word with precision here)--a 'mountain-top', as it were--and as such, it's very personal, and am unsure how much I can, or indeed, should share effectively. I'll start first with the concert itself, and go from there.
The Anisong concert comprised of four sets. Set 1 was May'n, who did the OP for the series 'Restaurant From Another World',and I believe I recognized one other song she performed,but couldn't place it. Her set was the most J-pop of them all, with her four male dancers doing K-pop-like boy band stuff while she sang. She also had live drummer, bassist, and guitarist who also did some keyboard/manipulator stuff. She has a good voice and certainly wasn't hard on the eyes, and her style of music and presentation served as a good warm-up act.
Set 2 was Sanketsu-girl Sayuri, who played acoustic guitar, dressed in a blue poncho with magenta stripes that reminded me color-scheme -wise of ArcAngel from 'X-Men' comics, her hair in her face, through which an eye would briefly be seen sometimes. She had one keyboardist/manipulator piping in all the other instruments her set seemed to lack. She performed the ED from the series 'Erased', but her other songs I'll admit to not knowing. I felt her set was over-reliant on the 'non-live' instrumentation, and for once, thought an acoustic set would've showcased her strengths brilliantly. This was the weakest of the sets,but certainly not bad.
Set 3 was Aimer, and I suspect it was her name that brought many people to this show due to her distinct and powerful voice. But something seemed...well, wrong, somehow, when she came on stage. The video projections, working perfectly well for the first sets,were sullen and blank, which would've rendered her very hard for people seated further back to see. She came out in a simple white gown, her long hair down as if to conceal her face. I've only seen the one or two publicity shots for her, so was unaware if she wears glasses normally, but I could certainly tell from my angle--six rows back and far right of stage--that she was wearing specs(so not a bad thing,if you ask me!). I also seemed to get a sense that she was set up to have more musicians than a pianist accompaniment(at first, I thought said pianist was Kajiura-sensei dressed up like Father Guido Sarducci...but I'm pretty sure I was wrong). Aimer took a stool to the left of stage,just in front of the piano and commenced her set. When she started to sing, seeing her side profile and her obscured face bathed in a simple blue spotlight, I suddenly wondered if this is how the Rhinemaidens bewitched anyone who came near them. By de-emphasizing her physical looks, Aimer drew attention to her voice, and made her entire set feel intimate, like you were in a small club or a private dinner party,not a huge auditorium. I thought I heard someone say she may have strained her voice recently,or was ill or something, but ultimately, that didn't matter. While she was on stage, Aimer owned that theater, and if this is what she sounds like when she's not hitting on all cylinders, then I'd love to hear her when she's not so constrained. She gave us our money's worth, concluding her set with 'Last Stardust', the series ED for 2014's 'Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works' series, which felt very unique but no less satisfying without a full band.
Finally, Kajiura-sensei took the stage, looking better than I'd seen her for awhile(I'd seen some 'behind-the-scenes' footage of her recording the 'Heaven's Feel' OST from last year, and she seemed not well in that,which concerned me at the time)...and she wasn't alone! Yuriko Kaida, KAORI, and Joelle were her vocalists(Kaida-san has been with Kajiura since 'Noir' in 2001),and we also got Sato Kyoichi on drums, Takahashi 'Jr.' Tomoharu(wearing his trademark sunglasses),Ayaka Jomato on violin, Rie Akagi on flute, Oohira Yoshio as Manipulator, and the awesome Koichi Korenaga on guitar--solid musicians all.
The set started with the opening music from Episode 1 of 'Fate/Zero' called 'The Beginning of the End', followed by something from 'Heaven's Feel', showcasing Kaida-san's vocal range and provided a sample of 'battle music' from that film. Kajiura-sensei introduced herself and the vocalists, then gave us the song 'Key of the Twilight' from '.Hack/Sign, giving a spotlight to Jomoto-san's violin and Akagi-san's awesome flute playing! Then we heard 'Longing' from the 'Sword Art Online: Ordinal Scale' movie,the most pop-like track of the set. Then they played the full version of 'Yasashii Yoake', the ED for '.Hack/sign'...and I very nearly cried with joy: this song has represented my journey to finally hear Kajiura-sensei perform live, and hearing it performed here moved me deeply. I always liked this song, but it may have graduated to one of my personal All-Time favorites. Thank You, Everyone, for playing this song for us that night! The last one was 'Luminous Sword', which is Asuna's theme from 'Sword Art Online, gloriously done, I might add.
Then came the encore: Kajiura-sensei called Aimer back on stage(and the video projections were blurred when they were focused on her once again), and she performed the ending theme for the 'Heaven's Feel' movie, and it was wonderful. I sincerely hope that Aimer and Kajiura-sensei will collab in future, especially now that Kajiura has launched her own Fiction Junction Music(she's her own boss now--Yaay!). Kajiura-sensei called May'n and Sanketsu-girl Sayuri back on stage, and everyone in the band that wasn't introduced before was, and they ended the show with a full bow.
I have no regrets, no cries over spilled milk, no 'What!?! No Gravy?', sentiments. If all we got was Kajiura playing 'Chopsticks', I'd be happy.
One dream has come true, but there's still another we'll see about. I still have an empty program book from a concert that never happened in January 2017, with a blank autograph page. But the dream is not to get an autograph; I just want to personally thank her one day for all the music that has given me so much joy these past several years, ever since I saw 'Noir' for the first time somewhere in 2009-2010(?). I want Kajiura's music played at my funeral, but that list can wait a while as I may be around for quite a while yet...but I've made my point. A dream ends, and another begins--so let's go, my brothers and sisters!
 
#4
^ It can still go at the other AnimeExpo thread :P In all the other concerts where people attended, reviews were posted at the respective thread, and nobody made own thread for his/her own review :P
 
#6
You were 2 rows in front of me. I remember thinking 1) it’s great that there’s someone else other than me who’s not doing the robotic glow stick thing and instead enjoying the music his own way, and 2) I don’t know how you survived the 117 F day in that Santa costume.
 
#8
You were 2 rows in front of me. I remember thinking 1) it’s great that there’s someone else other than me who’s not doing the robotic glow stick thing and instead enjoying the music his own way, and 2) I don’t know how you survived the 117 F day in that Santa costume.
Terry--please give us your take on the show,too! I'm glad you mentioned the glow-sticks: while I like the little disposable ones you can buy at your local crafts store, what I was seeing at Anisong seemed ridiculously huge--are we guiding in aircraft, or something? If both hands are holding things, it means you can't clap your hands, snap your fingers, etc. I'll just chalk it up to a generational difference and not worry about it too much, as we were all having fun.
As to how I fared...it helped that my hotel was two blocks away, and a bottle of Gatorade definitely helped.
 
#9
I just want to ask why you wore a Santa Claus suit? This seems like a suicide pact rather a celebratory measure, in 103F heat.
For me,you see, it was Christmas in July, so it seemed the reasonable thing to do to cosplay Santa(Fan rationalization, of course!), plus: you never know when you're going to run into someone dressed as Mami Tomoe, so somebody can get a pic of Mami kissing Santa Claus...and yes, someone did get that joke at a con once, and was happy to oblige.
 
#10
Terry--please give us your take on the show,too!
I posted some impressions on the main thread, although I wasn’t as generously detailed as you were. But the gist was that as my first experience seeing Yuki’s music live, it was an amazing experience, with Hana no Uta being the highlight. More on the glow sticks: I did notice a couple of people around me who got tired of it and stopped using them after a while.
 

VyseLegendaire

Roses at her doorstep
#11
I'm glad you got your chance to see her live, Santa outfit aside. They probably thought you were a stalker or something in disguise. The whole idea gives me Perfect Blue vibes if ya digg.
 
#12
I'm glad you got your chance to see her live, Santa outfit aside. They probably thought you were a stalker or something in disguise. The whole idea gives me Perfect Blue vibes if ya digg.
One always runs such risks when cosplaying as anything, though. I did have the good sense not to carry candy canes,etc. because that would send up all kinds of not-favorable impressions(I know I'd find it creepy), and while I considered getting a bucket of Kentucky Fried Chicken to complete the ensemble(because apparently in Japan, nothing says 'Merry Christmas' like The Colonel's Original Recipe), I'm sure theater security would think I was smuggling in recording equipment. Bottom line is I had no qualms about looking odd that evening; I was having too much fun. Hope that you'll all get a similar opportunity, and if so, remember that it's okay for a fan to go just slightly beyond the ordinary, as that's what makes you extraordinary!
 
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