15 April 2013
AKB48 at Tokyo Auto Salon Singapore, April 12th and 13th
16 members from AKB48 were invited to Tokyo Auto Salon Singapore 2013, which took place on April 12, 2013 and lasted 3 days. They held Meet and Greet sessions the 12th and the 13th, and a mini concert on 13th.
Singapore is relatively close to Hong Kong (where I live), but airfare isn't always affordable for a short trip like this one, especially during weekends. However I was blessed with red-eye flights that normal vacationers avoided, so it ended up being very cheap. Hotel cost was eliminated when one of the Singaporean fans said I could crash at his house on Friday night.
My flight landed at 5:15am on Friday. Then I made my way to Terminal 2, where ANA operates, to wait for the girls' arrival. There were already around 20 other fans, including Melos. We waited for about 30-40 minutes, then the first wave of passengers from the ANA flight started to pass through immigration and everyone got up to position themselves to welcome the girls.
They appeared shortly after and some were very surprised to see us. The roster included many members who have been to Singapore before, like Sato Amina, Maeda Ami and Abe Maria, so presumably they have told the first-timers about being greeted by passionate fans at the airport.
After the airport, we went to the venue and got in line for the Priority Pass, which granted access to the mosh pit. Ticket holders without this pass could still watch the shows on stage, but they were not able to attend the Meet and Greet session. Only 500 passes were handed out each day, and on Friday there were about 100 people ahead of us when we arrived the venue at 8am.
At 3pm the Opening Ceremony started with short speeches from the organizers and a traditional Taiko performance. Then AKB48 came on stage to join the ribbon-cutting ceremony amid loud cheers from the fans. This was followed by short introductions where the girls just said their names.
The Priority Pass holders were then escorted on stage for a high-five session with the girls. The pace was very fast, so we weren't able to chit-chat with the girls like at handshake events. They all looked very gorgeous in person and in good spirits, despite the red-eye flight.
On Saturday we went to line up at 7am for the Priority Pass - the line was already slightly longer than Friday at 8am, presumably because Saturday's program includes an hour-long AKB48 concert. I am pretty sure all 500 passes on Saturday went to AKB48 fans.
The Meet and Greet session took place at 4:30pm and followed the same format as Friday's session.
Shortly before 6pm, the DJ started warming up the crowd (as if that was necessary) and the girls came on stage a few minutes after 6, after Overture was played.
The Singapore roster and setlist are as follows:
Abe Maria, Akimoto Sayaka, Chikano Rina, Fujita Nana, Kawaei Rina, Kikuchi Ayaka, Maeda Ami, Matsubara Natsumi. Nakatsuka Tomomi, Sato Amina, Sato Sumire, Shimada Haruka, Suzuki Shihori, Takahashi Juri and Tano Yuka
Setlist (name in parentheses denotes center)
M01 Heavy Rotation (Kawaei Rina)
M02 Everyday, Kachuusha (Kawaei Rina)
M04 Manatsu no Sounds Good (Suzuki Shihori)
M05 So Long (Kikuchi Ayaka)
MC01 longer introductions and short speech
M06 Flying Get (Shimada Haruka)
M07 RIVER (Chikano Rina)
M08 Gingham Check (Sato Sumire)
M09 First Rabbit (Kawaei Rina)
M10 Tenohira ga Kataru Koto
EN01 Heavy Rotation (Kawaei Rina)
(centers were hard to recognize in some of the fan videos, so please let us know if there is a mistake)
During Akimoto Sayaka's introduction, she said that this event was probably the last time she will come to Singapore as a member of AKB48. She then said she would like to ask everyone to keep supporting her. The cheering at this time was deafening and followed by Sayaka calls until the next song started.
Videos of the performances can be found on youtube, as filming/photography were not prohibited during the show.
This was my first time seeing a "proper" AKB concert. The 3-song live for the Genki Japan event were too short and the choreography didn't really work for 3 people. I loved every moment of this show as well as the the way fans show their appreciation. It is an amazing experience to see the girls performing on stage and giving their best, while the fans show their passion by MIXing and doing wotagei - there was so much positive energy. It is unlike any other concerts I've been to.