The fourth part of my MM14NYC report! It’s the finale part of the look back on the event. Next part is the quick review!
The Concert! (Finally)
And so the concert happened…
Honestly what can I tell you at this point? The concert was high energy, every song and every MC met with cheers and wonder. The overall happenings were variable in nature and you could see how our cultural differences and the events flaws began to wear at the unity of the audience.
One problem noticed immediately is the person nearby filming the concert on his phone. I know this topic has come up before on various forums and on KonyaTKMR when it was running and when it comes to overseas you can never truly say what is what most of the time. MOST OF THE TIME was not this time though, as it does say clearly on the ticket for the event that filming was not allowed (If you printed the ticket you it says “NO CAMERAS/NO RECORDERS”). I’ve heard reports that say the event staff prohibited “professional film quality filming” or something like that for the event, but the ticket does not make such a distinction. That said, I get the idea, you want to capture your unique experience forever and what not, but it can be fairly distracting, and does nothing participate in the crowds part of the show. Cameras seemingly darted up and down depending on the time, overall a nuisance but irritation at a minimum over the greater joy.
Overtime a bit of dissonance occurred in cheers, the amount of people who knew when a name was commonly called seemed to vary song by song, and over time the general waves of energy from the audience waned as fatigue seemed to set in n areas. This is probably just from what I’ve seen, but the lack of seats created no real ability to recover energy, especially with MC corner’s basically kept to a minimum over the concert time. Half way through the show my jumps decreased to the point of being almost tiptoe lobs and I felt the burn in my arms while lifting my arms up. Still the crowd did their best to scream as time went on. For the most part everyone hit the key points, which for many first timers is pretty well done. During TIKIBUN the crowd started participating in the sway, by this time I had lost track of Turbos through the crowd, but the Hello!Party people to my right joined in, as I tried to get the person to my left to participate, only for them to seemly move cause we were. While it was a good attempt, I do feel like you have to be ready to participate in the rhythm of the crowd if you’re going to stand there.
The show ended its first section and we awaited Momusu’s return on stage, it was time for the encore call. This part felt the most disjointed in how it was done. We started traditionally with the typical AN-KO-RU chant, maintaining it as best we can as we entered into a round version alternating between each other. Turbos had rejoined us, but at the same time we noticed the encore call dying down earlier than expected. Confused as we tried to maintain it for the usual length of time, a Sayu call began to rise from different directions. The call seemed unfocused, the left and the right were not in sync with each other, and the few of us trying to keep the encore call felt muffled by the change in call. Eventually the call became a somewhat disjointed Sayu call, earlier than expected, but still an important call. The slight disappointed in that the call ended somewhat early, though if I remember right (which honestly my mind is blurring on the exact details) but another OMIZU call occurred as staff supplied water people in front, being mindful of the fact that we supposedly were without water for several hours now.
Over time on the floor the audience had shifted as well, the girls in front of me were now off to the side, and I was behind my friends, while still being next to the man of many glowsticks and the Hello!Party people. With Turbos’ return to our area, we were near enough to celebrate together for the grand finale. Turbos was not in the best of moods after his trials being shoved back, but if anything could cheer him up in that situation it would be the fact that the audience could get in sync to properly Happy Daisakusen.
The encore happened. We swayed to Happy Daisakusen as the opportunity arose. It was good cheer. The calls were not as sharp as expected for such a well-known song, but I can’t say I’m surprised. Some people want to flow in their own way and I won’t fight too hard if they’re adamant about not melding with the general chants. We celebrated as the end occurred, the girls walking off stage and the final calls began. The fatigue set in on the audience as Musume Saikou and New York Saikou calls lasted for mere moments, and attempts at any of the good night calls like Oyasayumin died without any resistance. People shuffled to find their lost friends and regroups, the handshakes were coming.
Times were frantic as people began to shuffle around the hall. Those without bands were filing their way out of the venue, while the armband equipped fans were told to enter the seating area to wait. A lot of people were in need of restroom and refreshment, and some dared to venture out to do so, but in fear of getting locked out the handshake I stayed in wait, being a tether to friends who journeyed back to the merchandise and bar area outside the concert area.
I’ve heard the tales of how people tried to get merchandise afterwards to varying levels of success and I feel for that, it was another sign of ill prepared possibilities from this event. The rush and the dire stress caused by this transition created a lot of tension for people. Not being provided a “safe” transition time for things like goods, drinks, or restrooms without having to sacrifice something created a lot of extra tension for everyone. Gathered back together we walked up onto the steps to crowded seating area. Not seeing any available group seating our group walked and sat in the stair area taking a spot high in the seating, overlooking the area below.
The girls walked out waving to the audience as the staff set up the tables for them to stand. We watched as they set up and slowly the lower rows were being led to shake their hands. Between Turbos and I, we have some back knowledge on handshakes (him more than I actually) and we noted that the handshake timing seemed rather favorable, it was not as long as the longer Hawaii Tour times I had seen, but it certainly seemed longer than a typical handshake at the time. We were happy to see it, and during the breaks in line and their own short break the girls waved and shouted to the audience as we all replied back to them, vying for any attention we could get from the audience. Costumes and special outfits being shown to the girls gained various responses as we saw each person pass through the girls in their usual order.
Time marched on, half an hour passed, and beyond as each row was slowly marched out to get their handshakes. The timing seemed close to consistent for the most part, but as time was passing we noticed an acceleration in the rows being filed out. Cameras were no longer filming handshakes, and there were no longer any breaks. We were soon marched down the line towards the handshake desperately trying to maintain composure.
It was our turn, Turbos ahead of me, and one of my friends behind me. My mind and heart racing I had settled to express the Aloha spirit of Hawaii since I could not do it when they were here. Seeing Oda, I gave a shaka and an Aloha, she smiled and shook my hand, I gave a thank you. Next to Kudou, her hand felt small to me as I gave an Aloha, I tried to say I came all the way from Hawaii by my Japanese tenses fumbled in my mouth. Tapped on the shoulder I moved to Ma-chan who shaka’d back at me as I tried to do the same Japanese as before. It felt like the world around me was accelerating. I saw Ayumin’s smile as I said aloha and thank you. Iikubo gave a kind look as once again I felt the tap on my shoulder. At this point the line felt faster, I no longer had time to give a shaka, and did my best to keep my composure through the line. Zukki and RihoRiho felt like a blur as I went through them. Eripon gave an Aloha back as I shook her hand. To Fukuchan where I had hoped to get a Fuku-lock only to be tapped on the shoulder again. And then to Sayu. Feeling her hand in mine for that moment, I didn’t have anything in my head to say anymore, all I could do is say Aloha and thank her over and over before again, the call to move happened. And in a blur it was over.
As we walked out of the hall, I had thought to cash out my drink ticket to get some water, but the security guard noted the venue was closed and we needed to leave. A travel up the escalator and out the door, event staff quickly told us to leave the area, shouting “Down the block or across the street,” over and over. Settling for the success we had already gotten, and not wanting to have to deal with more frustration from the event staff, we decided to walk away, we had already seen the girls a lot, we didn’t need to see them off this time. I waited for Mikata and we left to talk about our time.
While dining Mikata and another guest character talked about how the handshake went. Mikata was about 2 rows after us at the very end of the line, and she noted that the handshake went down in seconds. Fatigued and exhausted, we took a jaunt over to the Hello!Project night venue, but seeing how cramped and dark the venue was, we decided to just return to rest. In the end we ended the day in a whimper rather than a roar, my flight back home was in the morning and I needed to be in the right mind to travel.
And with that the journey ended. The next morning a taxi trip got me the airport where I safely boarded an airplane. No breakfast in my still sensitive stomach, and a 10 hour flight ahead of me (head winds vs tail winds and all that). Unfortunately, Crazyman didn’t have a seat near me, but it worked out okay as I slept for most of the flight. It was a smooth flight returning to a warm sunny afternoon home, and back to the normal world afterwards. A once in a lifetime weekend, countless joys, countless regrets, all behind us now.
And so concludes the story portion of this feature, for those of you who read the journey thank you so much for your patronage. Those of you who joined me on the adventure, I hope you gained another perspective and had some fun. And to those of you who read this because you couldn’t be there, you have now absorbed my memories in their weakest form! (lol) I hope you feel you got something out if it.
Look forward to one more part! The Review/summary portion, coming up in just a bit!