All righty. I’m back and here to continue on with my concert experience.
The afternoon concert ended at around 17:00. The evening concert was starting at 18:30 with doors opening at 17:30. So after johpan left for Akihabara (yes… right after a Hello! Project concert, he was heading to the Don Qoijote to watch the B stage on the monitors at the theatre), I grabbed myself a drink and some pocky and got right back in line for the next concert.
Seeing as this time I knew where to go, I just found my seat and waited for the show to start. The same pre-show happened, except Yossy had only 2 Eggs come out on stage with her, unlike the 6 or 7 who ran on stage in the afternoon. After Yossy’s per-show segment, with the lights still turned down, but the show not having started yet, there was an Eri fangirl right behind me wailing out Eri’s name. It was quite evident that the news of the announcement made during the afternoon concert had spread.
As the flashing lights started to indicate the beginning of the concert, Eri’s name was being yelled from all corners of the venue. Make you wonder where all the Jun and Lin fans were. XD
The girl behind me was yelling for Eri throughout the entire concert. After the opening VTR, Makoto, Yossy and Morning Musume came out onto the stage… No Tsunku this time around. Makoto and Yossy made the announcement to the fans, then asked the three soon to be graduating members to address the crowd.
This time around, Eri, Jun and Lin were more composed. Whereas in the afternoon Eri could barely talk, Eri was able to keep the tears at bay and just had one moment where she had to pause and take a deep breath to steady herself before continuing with what she was saying to everyone. However, even though Eri wasn’t crying, it didn’t stop the Eri fangirl behind me from crying. I could hear her shuddering breaths and constant sniffling. Poor girl. All I could think as I heard her was that if the announcement had been for Aichan or Risa, that could have been me freaking out at the start of the concert. Luckily for me, that wasn’t the case.
Lin did shed some tears, her voice definitely breaking and the tears coming halfway through her message to the fans… But it was still more composed from what happened at the afternoon concert.
After they gave their messages, Makoto asked Aichan to say some words about the new auditions I think (they did the same at the afternoon concert). As Aichan was put on the big screen, you could see the tracks of her tears on her face. Even though Eri and Jun were able to hold it in, Aichan (and even Risa, as I saw her continuously wiping her eyes) wasn’t.
Continuing on with the concert, I’ll just move on to the songs which were different in the evening setlist, since the first 6 and last 6 songs were the same for both concerts.
Aisucream to My Purin – Zoku Biyuuden
This isn’t my most favourite Biyuuden song. I would have been happier to have seen Koisuru Angel Heart (even though Zoku Biyuuden has performed that song before). However, I have to say it was well done by all three girls. None of them are the strongest or most consistent singers, but they all did a great job. I was actually quite impressed with Risako through both concerts because her voice often bothers me at concerts. This one was well done by her.
I should mention that the crowd at the evening concert was much more energetic than the afternoon crowd. I had this one guy right in front of me in full out wotagei mode. I had to dodge his erratic hand movements at times. If I didn’t, I’m telling you I would have been knocked out on the floor of the Nakano Sun Plaza. That would have been quite the story to tell.
Daite yo! PLEASE GO ON – High-King
Classic Goto Maki song… However, even though I listened to Maki’s early solo releases, I never listened to this one much. Thus, i can’t quite remember how the performance was. I’m sure all the girls were wonderful, and I have no doubt that Aichan rocked it… I just… can’t recall it. XD
Chu! Natsu party & Ama no Jaku – S/mileage
S/mileage did a good job with Chu! Natsu Party. I was quite excited to see it on the evening setlist as it’s a classic shuffle song. It’s obviously impossible to live up to the original 3 who performed that song (I mean, come on Matsuura Aya, Ishikawa Rika and Kago Ai? Talk about big wigs in the history of H!P [nevermind Kago's later exile from the company]), but these 4 held their own. And they definitely have the cutesy voices to compliment the song. As for Ama no Jaku, it was well done by the girls. I quite enjoy that song.
Momoiro Kataomoi & Haru no Arashi – Mano Erina
When I saw Momoiro Kataomoi on the setlist, I was quite excited… Then I saw who was singing it…… That put a damper on my mood very quickly. I don’t want to bash on Mano, but as I’ve said before, her voice just isn’t to my tastes, and any and every Matsuura Aya song is sacred to me. It wasn’t horrible, but let’s just say Mano’s not the person I want to watch cover Aya’s classics. As for Haru no Arashi, I don’t remember what went on in that one.
Campus Life ~Umarete Kite Yokatta & FOREVER LOVE – C-ute
It’s funny, but I can’t quite recall what happened in the songs that I don’t know well… And I don’t know Campus Life at all. I watched the PV once, and I think that’s the only time I’ve listened to the song. I must admit that C-ute’s latest releases haven’t been interesting me recently. FOREVER LOVE on the other hand is one of the last releases of theirs that I quite enjoyed. I still love the song, but somehow, it just isn’t as awesome when Maimi, Airi and Chisato aren’t in suits.
Dakishimete Dakishimete & Gag 100kaibun Aishite Kudasai – Berryz Koubou
I love Dakishimtete Dakishimete. It’s such an awesome song. I love the beat, the instrumental, the melody… Everything. It was a great song to see live. Also, I didn’t mention this earlier because i skipped the opening songs, but in the evening concert I noticed that Miyabi had shoulder length hair, when in the afternoon I could have sworn that her hair had been longer. I am not a fan of Miya’s extensions and I’m crossing my fingers that at the Buono! concert on Thursday, Miya won’t be wearing extensions. I checked with johpan and he said that Miya’s hair had definitely been long (down to her back) during the afternoon show. It just looks so much nicer when it’s her real hair… With the extensions it just looks too… not Miya for me.
Gag 100kaibun was good. It’s got a lot of Momoko and not enough Miya, but it was well done by the girls and a good classic Berryz song.
Naichau Kamo & Koko ni Iruzee! – Morning Musume
Leading into Morning’s section, the Eri fangirl behind me got back into her screams for ERIRIN!!!!! Every solo line that Eri got in both songs got a HUGE Eri chant from the crowd. Seeing as Jun and Lin don’t get solo lines like EVER, you didn’t get the same sense of “OMG THEY’RE GRADUATING” as you did for Eri at the concert.
And that ends my review of the evening concert.
Overall, I enjoyed the setlist of the afternoon concert more than that of the evening concert. I mean, Tanpopo, are you kidding me? And Manatsu no Kousen? Be still my heart! The only downer was seeing that the morning concert got Say Yeah! ~Motto Miracle Night~ that is a song that I would have LOVED to see in concert… It was one of the first songs I went absolutely crazy over when I started with my Morning Musume fandom, after seeing 10-nin Momusu perform it at Yuko’s graduation concert.
However, the evening concert was more interesting for me in the sense that the crowd was much more into it… And I had the crying fangirl behind me, this guy in full wotagei mode right in front of me, a iota with half-hearted movements on my right side… And then on my left was this guy who barely moved through the concert. He clapped as each song ended, and that was about it. It was kind of amazing how different each fan immediately surrounding me was. XD
Being at the concert where this triple graduation was announced was absolutely epic. I never would have imagined that something like this would happen at a concert that I attended, and I have to thank johpan’s friend for not being able to get tickets to the evening show. XD We originally wanted to go to the evening show because it was the last one of the tour, and would likely be the one to be recorded for the DVD. And of course, if I could, I wanted to attend the one which would be released on DVD so I could watch it and know that I was there. And knowing that, I probably wouldn’t have gotten tickets to go see the afternoon one at resellers. So, it really was a stroke of luck for johpan and I.
As for my thoughts on the graduation, it was very very surprising to say the least. I didn’t find out the reason for Eri graduating until quite a few hours after the announcement (basically when i got back to the hotel in the evening and read a translation… lol not being able to understand Japanese XD). I do wish Eri a speedy recovery and am amazed that she’s been able to keep on going for 7 years. As for Jun and Lin, it’s sad to see them go. They were on a variety show which had been subbed recently, and Jun and Lin had been saying that they refuse to quit Momusu because they want to achieve getting the spotlight before they can leave the group. It doesn’t look like that’s going to happen, unless Tsunku writes Morning an epic songs which features the pandas for their graduation song…. But the likeliness of that happening as they graduate with Eri is very slim.
Graduating along side Eri really is going to take away from the two Chinese members. If it was just the two of them leaving, it wouldn’t have been so bad. It would have been like the Tsuji/Kago graduation, or the Konkon/Makochan graduation. Tsuji/Kago were leaving to focus on W. Konkon/Makochan were both leaving to pursue their studies. Jun and Lin leaving together makes sense in the way that they are the Chinese team… I know that a lot of fans are having a hard time accepting this, but well, it’s Morning Musume and seemingly unreasonable graduations happen all the time.
Fans are taking this to be end of Morning Musume, especially with Tsunku’s announcement that 9th generation auditions are looking for girls ages 10-17. I see a lot of bloggers think that it just wouldn’t make any sense to add girls that young to what would be left of Morning Musume. With the youngest (Aika) being the age of the oldest girl who could get in, how would this ever work out?
But my take on it is, Morning needs to do something to get back into the spotlight. These graduations and auditions may or may not do the trick, but they need to do something.
And really, is having little girls join the group really that unthinkable? Think back to 1999 when Goto Maki joined Morning Musume at the age of 13. Nakazawa Yuko was 26 (older than Aichan is now). The member closest in age to Maki was Mari who was 16.
Think on to 2000 when 4th generation joined. Yuko was 27 years old and Kago Ai was 12 years old… You want to talk about an age gap in Morning Musume – there it is. 15 years between leader and the baby of the group. Even if a 10 year old is added to the mix, the age gap between Aichan and the youngest member wouldn’t be as large as it was between Yuko and Kago. (**Fix: actually, thinking about it now, the new recruits would be added after Aichan’s birthday, so if a 10 year old was added, the age difference would be the same as Yuko and Kago.**) Also, back in those days, Hello! Project didn’t have the H!P Kids or Eggs. Basically a 12 year old was shoved into Yuko’s care. Now, H!P has young eggs, and Aichan has been the leader of the Project for a year and a half now… She has some experience with watching out for the little ones. I think she and Risa would be able to handle a few youngin’s coming into the fold.
I’m seeing 9th gen to add multiple members, likely 3 to 4… In my head, I’m picturing it to be something like 4th gen where Tsuji and Kago were close in age (and became best friends) and Hitomi and Rika were close in age (and became very good friends – though I do believe Shibata Ayumi from Melon Kinenbi was/is Rika’s best friend from the Project). I’m not saying Tsunku will follow that formula, but 4th generation was a huge hit for Morning Musume.
Though, really, the ages don’t matter. What needs to happen is that Tsunku needs to choose a/some girl(s) who have amazing personalities – something that can bring back a spark of life to the group.
I have no idea what the future holds for Morning Musume, but I’m interested to see what’s next for them. I can’t say that the addition of the 9th generation will save the group.. I can’t say that I will be able to keep my interest in the group once my favourites leave… But for the moment, Aichan and Risa are still there and I will keep on supporting my girls. And I’ll do my best to not hate on whoever the new members are when they join (because I’ve been known to be ridiculously judgemental towards Momusu newbs. XD Heck, I was so against 5th gen when they first joined… And I joined the fandom when they joined the group. XD). This is an exciting time for Morning, I think (if not very depressing for many, many fans). I can’t blame any Eri, Jun or Lin fans if they write off Momusu due to their pending graduations, that’s just how the Momusu fandom works… I may be doing the same in a few years…