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27 November 2010

AKB48 'live' in AFA X (Singapore) Experience - Part 2

     Part 2 of the 3 part series documenting my AKB48 experience at the recent AKB48 'live' in AFA X. Part 2 will cover the Cool Japan Forum and the AKB48 Concert.

I'm going to post the concert setlist before the jump for easier reference
00. Overture
01. RIVER
02. Oogoe Diamond
03. Aitakatta
Introduction MC
04. Pajama Drive (Nakagawa, Watanabe, Katayama)
05. Candy (Komori, Kasai, Sato A)
06. Kimi wa Pegasus (Akimoto, Sato N, Miyazawa, Iwasa)
MC
07. 10nen Zakura
08. Iiwake Maybe
09. Hikoukigumo
MC
10. Heavy Rotation
ENCORE
11. Beginner
12. Ponytail to Shushu

Part 1: http://melosnomichi.blogspot.com/2010/11/akb48-live-in-afa-x-singapore.html
Part 3: http://melosnomichi.blogspot.com/2010/11/akb48-live-in-afa-x-singapore_30.html

more after the jump

Pre Concert
01:00PM: Getting there
     It was announced earlier that Aki-P (Akimoto Yasushi, AKB48's producer for those not in the know) would be speaking as a guest in the Cool Japan Forum, a business networking forum that's held on the same day, in fact just a few hours before the AKB48 concert. It is inclusive of a high profile networking party where you get to speak with the speakers. The down side is that entry for the forum is priced at $238 per delegate, and $58 for students. Having already spent $88 for the concert tickets and a further $40 on accessories, I as not inclined to pay some more money just to see Aki-P speak. It was a nice treat but the price was too heavy.

     My plan for the day was that once school ends (1:00PM) I rush home and reach at about 1:30PM. There, I have until 2:30PM to get ready and prepare for the concert. Then I would head to the printing shop nearby to pick up something that I had been working on (I'll tell you in a short while). From there I take the bus and head to the Popular Bookshop where I buy my board and marker for decorating the board (3:00PM). Everything went as planned until the bus scene. I was riding in the bus when I remembered......OH SHIT I LEFT THE TICKETS AT HOME!!!!! I quickly alighted and ran back. With my tickets safely in my bag, I proceed to the bus interchange where the bookshop was located. This whole ordeal set my schedule back by 45 mins. Everything from there was smooth.

04:00PM: Aki-P Speaks
 
image credit to AKB Journal
     Finally arrived at Suntec City Convention Center, I quickly made it to outside the event hall but I did not see any crowd there. Call the rest of SGP48 and they were inside the Cool Japan Forum. Wait what? Don't you need to pay $58 / $238 for entry to it? So I asked one of the staff outside (coincidentally the same staff that I spoke to at 313 after buying the tickets), don't know if he remembered me from the previous time, but I think he did because after some talking he passed me a student pass. Entered, found the rest of the gang and just as I sat down, Aki-P entered to speak. The place was quite empty, with around 80 or so people not including us. You can read the full translation of his speech in AKB Journal. I'll just write about my highlights.

video credit to AKB48
     1. Aki-P started his segment by showing us an introduction video of AKB48, specifically the one that I linked above, but in English. Only other difference with the original one is that they included the sales for Beginner too. Now I'm not really an emotional person  but when I saw that sales chart, and when they showed that Beginner is a million seller, I bawled.
     2. Aki-P then talked about AKB48's selling point, why they are so famous even though their not the best singers or dancers. In the old days, Idols were prefect in every sense. But the Idols in this age come in every form and ability. He then explained that in the early days even though AKB's singing and dancing isn't good, fans continued to come. Back then the girls were much closer to the fans, and the fans could give advice to the girl on how to improve and stand out more. So it becomes like a documentary where people can come to observe the growth of AKB48. That and their extremely low ticket prices (3,000yen) ensured more and more fans. He then gave an example of a baseball team. Bit by bit they practiced until they won a small baseball match. Then from there, a regional match and then a national match. It is this that is why AKB48 is so famous nowadays.
     I mentioned this a few times already, I am still considered a relatively new fan having known of them shortly before 10nen Zakura a year and a half ago. Seeing them grow is one of the reasons why I like AKB.
     3. The last highlight.... is more of a failure actually. It's the translator(s) that AFA hired. They made a number of mistakes and a few major ones like "Team A, Team B, Team C". Got a bunch of giggles from our group.
image credit to AKB Journal

05:30PM: Waiting for entry
 
image credit to supermerlion
     After Aki-P's segment we all exited to outside the hall and met up with the rest of SGP48 and AIF. A number of both groups went down to the food court to eat, a decision that they would regret later. I stayed back with a few others and started decorating my empty board. About 20mins in I looked up and saw Aki-P being interviewed. After the interview was done the remaining of up who did not go down to eat quickly rushed up to him and started cheering and shaking his hands. He even signed some of our stuff. Unfortunately I didn't bring any of my AKB swags so I had nothing to sign. That's when I remembered. Remember I said earlier that I got something printed, they are namecards for the blog. I quickly took them out, lined up for my turn to shake his hands, and when i got to him I shook his hands while saying "arigatou akimoto-san, otsukaresama desu" and then presented my namecard which he accepted. YEAH!!!!!!! SUCCESS!!!!!! It was only until after he left that Creez and Aresencoffee told me that they got a picture with him.
     While decorating my board I got interviewed by a few journalists, some AKB staff and also the contents producer of My Style Japan. They asked me the usual stuff like why I like AKB, when did I start, whose my oshimen, have I seen them before, and then they took a video of my (still unfinished) board. I gave out more of my namecards to them. Nothing else happened until the concert.
front: Sato Amina oshi, Amina Chiyan                   back: Haachan, Showa, Adejou

The Concert
07:00PM: The Concert

image credit to supermerlion
     I got into the concert hall with Kieyuku (she sits behind me). It was still pretty empty when we entered. but when it was close to starting, the CAT A and CAT B seats were 80% filled. The Standing tickets however, as you can see in the above image, weren't popular and there were only 20~40 people there compared to the 1000 or so of us in the front. I was seated in a good position, 2nd row right next to the aisle. Occupying the center block row B, C and D were other members of SGP48 and H!O SG. The Indonesian wotas (AIF) took the left block front row, and row B of the left block were some of the Japanese wotas studying here including Kazuki and Shunichiro.

00. Overture
     While waiting, a bunch of Japanese female sitting somewhere behind me fired us all up by shouting "AKB" and the rest of the audience would reply "FOURTY EIGHT". Shortly after Aki-P and a bunch of businessmen entered the hall through the front and everyone appluded him. Then we continued the "AKB" "FOURTY EIGHT" thing until the lights dimmed. That's our call, and I quickly broke 3 of my lightsticks. Sure enough the overture started playing and everyone started screaming the overture MIX. I didn't even have to think, it was natural instinct. The staff member manning the camera was quite surprised probably because he wasn't expecting such a good response, in my area the MIXes were shouted almost perfectly. The girls walked in during the end of the Overture and took their positions for the first song. They were wearing the I'm Crying/Zutto Zutto/Pioneer costumes from Team A 6th Stage.

01. RIVER
     First up was RIVER with Komorin leading the intro and Wasamin center for the rest. Wasamin..... She's a small girl and still young but she packs a very big punch. She never failed to awe me during the whole concert with her singing and dancing. Back to the song, OMG the step routine at the start of RIVER is so cool to see in person. I kept on thinking "OMGOMGOMGOMG their right here performing just 5meters infront of me!!!". My eyes darted around looking for Amina and Haachan. Haachan was easy to find and follow because of her short hair but Amina took some finding. I can't remember who I got eye contact with but I think it was Wasamin and Nacchi.

02. Oogoe Diamond
03. Aitakatta
     I won't go into details about what I did for the rest of the songs because it's mostly the same. I cheered, shouted the member's names, screamed the MIXes, waved my lightsticks, some more wotagei stuff. The 2nd and 3rd song was Oogoe Diamond and Aitakatta. 2 of my dreams were to see those 2 songs performed live. Shouting "SUKI" during Oogoe Diamond is so exhilarating. I can't remember who pointed at me in Oogoe Diamond and Aitakatta because my mind was still in a state of excitement. And in the blink of an eye it was already time for the MCs.

Introduction MC
MC order: Haachan -> Chiyuu -> Mayuyu -> Harugon -> Komorin -> Mariyannu -> Wasamin -> Sayaka -> Sae -> Amina -> Nacchi -> Aamin -> Rabutan -> Kana -> Ayarin -> Micha
Haachan: "Juyo ni kaette adejou, adejou to yobu ni wa you? you? or....you?" That was enough to kill me. I screamed her name and raised up my board to show her but she was in the opposite side of the stage and not looking at my direction.
Chiyuu: "Hello my name is Tomomi Kasai. Call me "Chiyuu". If you say "Chiyuu", you will always be happy!" OMG SO CUTE <3 <3 <3.
Mayuyu: "Minna no mesen wo itadaki mayuyu! My name is Mayu Watanabe. Please call me Mayuyu! I love Singapore!"
Harugon: "I like hamburg. do you like hamburg?" LOLOLOL hamburgers
Komorin: "My name is Mika Komori" "I like... I like... (checks hand) I like.....fishball! I like...minna!" WUT LOL fishballs?
Mariyannu: "This is out of sea... this is first time out of sea... I'm very happy!" I think she meant that it's her first time overseas
Wasamin: "I want to have lot of fun with everybody tonight."
Sayaka: "Thank you for inviting us... yesterday we was chinese town. We were very enjoy. I feel Singapore is alot of very beautiful place. I am very enjoy. Our first concert in Southeast Asia? I little nervous. But we will surely... do the best. Are you having fun?" Sayaka spoke the longest and the most english compared to everyone. And I think she meant that they were at Chinatown.
Sae: "Today....today we.....today we have.....nonononono. Today we will..... Chotto gambaru chotto mate" GAMBARE!, Sae-chan daijoubu "Today we will....today we will have a...great....performance! Also... make everyone... happy!" Sae as genki as usual even with her failures.
Amina: "Aisaretai aishitai demo yaparri aisaretai! My name is Amina Sato please call me Amina!" Spoken in Japanese -> "The people of Singapore, the males are very kind and the females are very cute! I love Singapore!"
Nacchi: "see no~ ichi tatsu ni wa, N, Nacchi! Hi my name is Natsuki Sato! Please call me Nacchi" "I have always wanted to go to singapore so I am very happy! I love you!" Nacchi was undoubtedly the best English speaker in the group. She spoke in nearly perfect English and had correct pronunciation too. Good job Waseda.
Aamin: "Charm point is eyebrow! Mayuge!" MAYUGE BOOOOOOOON
Rabutan: "My name is Aika Oota please call me Rabutan! lets enjoy"
Kana: "Singapore...I love singapore. My friend!"
Ayarin: "My name is Ayaka Kikuchi. my name is ayarin! are you enjoy?" YEAH!!! "one more are you enjoy?" YEAH!!!! Ayarin has good crowd interaction.
Micha: "My name is Misato Nonaka........" MICHA!!!!!! "Micha! ya! Micha!" MICHA!!!!!! "My hobby is singing. I wanna.... I want present! I want present..... I want present for you!" A present from Micha? You already have given it to me by coming here.
Kana: "This is everyone's first time in Singapore?"
Rabutan: "yes first time"
Kana: "Very cool, everyone's T-Shirts.... Pink! Pink!"
The members of SGP48 wore pink T-shirts. AIF
Kana: " Singapore.... whats your best memory?" <- Not too sure about this
unknown: "EBI! (prawn)....." <- I can't remember who said this, probably Aamin.
Rabutan: "China! China! Whats the word? China food? .........SEAFOOD! Whats that word.... oishi....merci....yummy...." Merci LOL. She probably picked that up in Japan Expo @ France. It doesn't even mean delicious.
Audience: "yummy! yummy!"
Kana: "oh! yay yay!" Oh Kana LOL
Then they continue talking about the Merlion and the Night Safari.

04. Pajama Drive (Nakagawa, Watanabe, Katayama)
     Lots of people were expecting a Watarirouka Hashiritai song to be performed, especially since they have 4/5 of the Watarirouka members. I was totally unprepared for this song. Pajama Drive has never been in my "favorite songs" list. It doesn't appeal to me. However I am to learn that a live experience can change anything. And especially if one of your top favorites has been shuffled into it. And especially if that favorite is wearing a pajama and looks so hot in it.

05. Candy (Komori, Kasai, Sato A)
     As an Amina oshi, I was hoping for this song to be performed and it did! I mentioned in my review of B5 that this song is the epitome of cute. But they made newer, simpler costume for this unit. Wonder why they couldn't bring over the original costumes? The mic stand was also much less decorated. Komorin took over Yuka's spot and some Yuka fans were unhappy with that. Komorin, being Komorin, was slow in some of her moves and almost forgot to take out her mike when shes supposed to.

06. Kimi wa Pegasus (Akimoto, Sato N, Miyazawa, Iwasa)
    I think almost everyone in the audience was expecting Blue Rose. Kimi wa Pegasus was an interesting and logical choice since it already has 3 of the 4 original members. It was an amazing performance nevertheless, especially with Wasamin. That twirling move they do in the middle instrumental is very cool. For some strange reason, all the performances of this song that isn't the original lineup have my favorite in the red costume. Maybe its fate?

MC
     And then the remaining members who didn't perform, Rabutan, Aamin, Ayarin, Micha, Kana and Mariyannu, came out. They wore the costumes for Iiwake Maybe, signaling that Unit Songs was over. Most probably because of time constraints. So Pajama Drive, CANDY and Kimi wa Pegasus were the only unit songs performed. They did a short MC where Rabutan spoke, with a lot of difficulty and switching back to Japanese in the end, about Singapore being warm compared to Japan because it is autumn over there and its very cold. And then the rest of the girls entered the stage.

07. 10nen Zakura
     10nen Zakura was my favorite Single song for a long time until RIVER. It still holds the 4th place for "Favorite Singles". It was also the first AKB48 Single song which I heard (though strangely not the first AKB48 song, that goes to Tanjoubi no Yoru). So seeing this being performed brought back a lot of memories. I think I teared up a little at the start before going into wota mode.

08. Iiwake Maybe
     Nothing much happened here, other that Amina sang her duet line DIRECTLY IN FRONT OF ME!!! And EYE CONTACT x3secs!!!

09. Hikoukigumo
     And then the music of Hikoukigumo started playing. Almost everyone was caught off guard because we didn't have any red towel. I quickly looked around and saw some people improvising, Kazuki shurgged and started waving his Yokohama Arena Concert towel (original). But I didn't have any towel or handkerchief. I looked down and got an idea: the extra pink SGP48 T-Shirts. I took out a size S, folded it in half and FCK YEAH!!!!!! twirl, twirl, twirl, twirl, twirl. down, down, jump! down, down, jump! twirl, twirl. By far the best part of the Concert.

MC
     And then it's MC time again. But a short one this time. Everyone except Chiyuu left the stage leaving her alone. She then announced that it would be their last song. Of course for someone who is experienced in (watching) AKB concert's this was the usual trick. Nevertheless I instinctively did the "EEEEHHHHHHH" that I always hear being done in AKB concerts and LODs. Then I laughed at myself for it. The rest of the girls came back onto the stage and brought mic stands back with them. This could mean only one thing.....

10. Heavy Rotation
     Chiyuu: "HEAVY ROTATION!". With Komorin center........my worst fear came true. While I do like Komorin, She screws up the moves too much and its especially obvious when shes in the center. And she did screw up much during her solo dance. Well it was fun to see that so its fine. Heavy Rotation is my 2nd favorite song in the concert now. Just because of the "I WANT YOU~, I NEED YOU~, I LOVE YOU~" part. Just thinking about it brings a wide grin on my face. I think this song had the most coordinated chants.

Encore
     Then the lights dimmed and the girls started  leaving the stage. Now usually in AKB concerts the audience would wait a minute or two before starting the encore chants. There is a good reason for this, it's to recover our strength. However some Japanese girls sitting behind me (probably the ones who started the "AKB" "FOURTY EIGHT" chants at the beginning of the concert) started the encore chants while the girls were still leaving the stage. This mean that we all had no recovery time, and 5mins into the encore chant everyone was exhausted already. I had lost my voice too. Then Ruru of AKB Diary stood up and continued the dying chants. I summoned whatever remaining energy I had left and helped him.

11. Beginner
     Just when I though I had finally lost my voice, The girls came back out in their Crying/Zutto Zutto/Pioneer costumes that they wore in the 1st set. The lights were still dim so wouldn't see the girls or their position. And then Wasamin shouted the "IN YOUR, POSITION! SET!" Seriously the dance of Beginner is so awesome to see live. And then the center position was revealed to be Komorin.... As expected she screwed up the dance again. Oh and Haachan was awesome.

12. Ponytail to Shushu
     Of course they had to perform this song in a concert. They certainly saved one of the best for the last. I gathered every last bit of energy I had remaining in my voice and screamed my lungs out. And as the song reached the end I screamed louder and louder. And my voice got coarser and coarser. By the end of the song my voice was "LA LALALALA LA LALALALA LA LALA LALA" <-- (your supposed to have difficulty seeing this)

13. END
      Then the girls walked up to the front and lined up in a single row, signaling the end of the concert. Everyone in the audience got silent and the girls shouted "SEE~ NO". Even without the mics it was still audible. Then as they shouted "SEE~ NO" the 2nd time and bowed everyone screamed the names of their oshimen. The instrumental of Ponytail to Shushu started playing and I quickly picked up my signboard and ran up to the barriers trying to signal Amina. Took some time but I managed to do it in the end, and she said "oh thank you!" with such a cute voice. Another 4 more seconds of eye contact GETS!. Then Amina went to the middle stage and Haachan came over from stage right. I quickly turned over and screamed "ADEJOU" over and over again until she spotted me. Of course I gave a chance to my other top favorites too. After some more saying goodbye the girls left the stage and everyone could finally rest. But that's not the end yet. Theres still more to come.

Part 1: http://melosnomichi.blogspot.com/2010/11/akb48-live-in-afa-x-singapore.html
Part 3: http://melosnomichi.blogspot.com/2010/11/akb48-live-in-afa-x-singapore_30.html
     

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

thanks for mentioned me. :D

the encore part was so bad organized, that everyone chanted their own version of encore. ^^###

Next time we'll have to organize it a bit for the newbies.

Anonymous said...

I saw your picture on Dannychoo.com were you holding your sign when you were cheering the girls on? Also were you wearing a pink tshirt? If so Dannychoo.com has a picture of you :)