WE MADE IT!! The trip was exhausting beyond belief. I didn’t get any proper sleep from Friday until Monday afternoon. I dozed on the bus, but didn’t fall asleep at all (minus one measly hour on the way hour on the way home). We didn’t eat much except bagels here and there either. We got into New York around 11AM and got into line as soon as we found it. And there we waited. For almost four hours. Possibly more.
We weren’t VIPs, you see.
But it didn’t matter, really. Despite the bus, despite hunger, despite the cold, despite everything – we got in. We saw the concert. We shook their hands.
This might get sappy. Sorry, not sorry.
This is all from memories, so if I leave out details or get them wrong, it’s not intentional.
On to the show!
New York is crowded and it was very cold, but honestly, I didn’t really even notice that I was visiting a landmark. It was an hour before I realized I was standing in Times Square. It was strange to think that this famous place I’d never been to was just a means to an end, but it really was. No disrespect meant, but I was there to see Momusu, not the city.
(In the pic to the left you can see Bro, the guy in the white jacket and my backpack and head. We found a pic of us!!! How nuts is that?)
Bro and I didn’t really meet many people in line. We talked a lot with J from Jersey who was checking the tweets of the VIPs. She was funny and I wish we could have talked more, but we kinda lost her inside the venue. Her Japanese was very good.
We were behind a group of Japanese people who had matching pink t-shirts to support Sayu. They kept getting asked what the line was for and had trouble answering. The girls had matching skirts and little pink bows too. They were so adorable. I felt very under-dressed, but it couldn’t be helped.
I was asked a few times what I was lining up for and it was funny to watch faces crinkle up in confusion when I answered, “Morning Musume”. I offered no other explanation, because it was just funnier that way. The other problem with the huge line was that people kept mistaking it for the line to get into The Lion King. The man behind us had to keep explaining that it wasn’t and also had to point people to the actual end of the Momusu line, which was a ways behind us.
Lots of cosplay for Sayu and much support for Zukki, which I honestly didn’t expect. I kept hearing about the ‘Tiki-bun girls’ who were actually right in front of me, but I never got a good look. One poor guy hadn’t brought a coat to go over his Iikubo support-clothes and he was visibly shaking with cold. Kudos man!
We were there for a while and other than the cold, highlights include: the grumpy Best-Buy security staff who stomped back and forth telling us to “double-up” and so forth (they also couldn’t pronounce Musume when people asked); the zombies who stumbled around drooling and moaning (this wasn’t the weirdest of things either: there was also Captain America walking around with Spiderman, Bane walking around with Catwoman, and a Cowboy in his underwear for no apparent reason); the pink-glow-sticks-for-Sayu project people handing out a bewildering number of glow-sticks (which I really appreciated for many reasons, not the least of which being that I didn’t have time to buy anything beforehand); a staff member handing out ‘gifts from Japan’ which were either cds from S/mileage or Momusu, or a promotional photo-card. I took the CD of the ‘What is Love’ single, just cause I knew I’d never be able to decide which picture.
Bro took a Sayu card. Of course.
When we finally got to the entrance, more harried security searched through the bags and patted people down (very ineffective if you could have seen the number of cameras and phones let through), and then we were greeted by a huge screen at the bottom of the stairs showing the new pvs. No sooner had I taken that in that a guard shouted at me to check my bag. So we checked our stuff, minus money and glow-sticks…and then got in another line to get the cd and hand-shake ticket.
That was another 45 minutes of waiting. The line looped all the way from the entrance of the hall, through the hall, to the table itself. It was like a very, very slow tour of the building. There was a girl from Brazil behind me and we sang along to the music as we waited. I wish I’d talked to her more. All the way from Brazil. At some point, when we were almost to the table, the show started. We heard the crowd and the video screen showed the lights going out.
We looked at each other in panic and she cried, “I want the handshake!”
I cried, “Me too!”
Bro laughed at us and pushed me forward.
We got them. JUST in time, because the moment we got our cds the concert was beginning. I was so happy. Honestly, that line was so long, I was sure we’d either miss the show or not get a cd.
I didn’t bring a camera or my phone for a few reasons: one, because it was forbidden and I am nothing if not a goody-two-shoes; two because I had no pockets so no means of hiding it; three because this is, for me, probably a once-in-a-lifetime experience and I wasn’t going to watch it through a smart-phone screen. Don’t mistake me, I understand fan-cams and pics and such and I wish I’d gotten at least one picture of the girls, but I’m glad I simply basked in the show. I’m glad I experienced it with my own two eyes.
As a result of this decision though, I can only use other people’s photos here. So none of these are mine and if they are yours, please tell me and I will credit where it’s due.
Security pushed us around because we were between the seats and the front of the stage, blocking off the stairs. I could barely see until my Bro, who is very, very tall, moved me in between Mr. Ishida-fan and Mr. Taller-than-Bro. I could see them! I was to the far left and there were countless heads and recording devices in front of me, but I could see them!! I had to be careful not to fall forward because I found myself on my tip-toes a lot.
Once I could see them, I started shaking. I forgot my aching legs and the pain of straining my neck over heads and phones and got lost just watching them. I couldn’t believe they were there. I know it will sound silly to those of you who do this concert thing all the time, but this was my first Momusu concert, might be my only, and it’s a small miracle that I made it at all. I was on fire, so happy I thought my face would break from smiling.
I was actually glad the venue was so small. I know bigger hall means more popular, but bigger hall also means ‘Isilie can’t see’. It felt like a huge party. It made them real in a way they’ve never been for me before.
The intros in English were adorable. Sakura’s English was very good and when she broke into ‘Let it Go’ we all lost our minds from the cute.
Zukki, as you will no doubt read over and over, got the biggest, loudest applause. It was so strong that she got flustered and forgot her line, “I had a big breakfast, so I’m full of energy!” So much love. I so wished I had a green glowstick for her. Riho had to go after her and poor Ace didn’t get nearly as big a reaction. Can’t be helped.
Iikubo described herself as an “anime geek” which was also loads of adorable. Harukins was “the one with the bob-cut!” and Eri-pon, in her haste to do something memorable, said “One thing I love about New York is Spiderman, so ENJOY THE SHOW!” then she shot some sort of spider-web thing at the audience. All of it ended up on one poor guy and to resounding laughter she struggled out, “A-a present for you!” Also, the Eri-pon call was lots of fun.
Beforehand, I was wondering who I would watch and it turns out I couldn’t take my eyes off Zukki and Ayumin. Zukki’s smile is truly amazing; I could almost feel it. Her dancing is also really good, which is not something I notice in pvs because she’s almost always at the back. I don’t think cameras do her justice at all; she’s not as big as people keep saying. She loves the hell out of performing and that makes me watch her.
Ayumin, though, is seriously talented. All the members danced their arses off, but she’s really sharp and you can tell she loves it. Every time there was a serious dance break I nearly destroyed my neck just to keep her in my eye-line. Her and Riho during ‘Kimi no Kawari wa Ishinai’ blew my mind.
Masaki-kins looks like she’s always laughing, which is really endearing. I kept seeing Eri giving the members winks and stuff. Same with Riho: during Wagamama’s middle, she winked/smirked at Fuku-hime right before the kick and Fuku just grinned serenely.
Shige is all about professionalism. I know that might sound odd, but honestly she kept things moving and she gave us all this love and cuteness like she could sense what people wanted. During the intros (I think, going from memories here) we started a ‘Sayu’ call before she could begin, so she gave up talking for a moment and spread her arms out wide, just basking. Then she giggled like she was embarrassed. Which was perfect. During the beginning of Love Machine, her costume wasn’t coming off, so she just scurried offstage and then came back like nothing had happened. And the other girls just kept on dancing.
For her solo, the pink-glow-sticks all came out. Thank you to the project people!! I got to be a part of a fan moment and honestly, the sight of all that pink really was beautiful. Her solo was a lot of fun and it lead into Shabondama, something I didn’t expect and something that made us all lose our minds again.
Ishida-moshing is my favourite image from that. Sayu’s “DAKISHIMETE YOOOOO!” = everybody died from awesome.
Side note: I’d never used a glow-stick before, so cracking it was so nerve-wracking. I kept thinking, “But if I crack it, won’t the pink goo fly everywhere!?”
Honestly, they didn’t let up at all. I’m sure you’ve found the set-list and despite it being all dance numbers (minus I Wish) I didn’t see anybody slacking or looking tired. My arm was aching from all the waving, but I still felt like I couldn’t cheer hard enough. I was skeptical about the songs being engaging because there was so much dancing, but I was wrong. If anything the calls made the dancing more incredible. It really does feel like you’re connecting with the girls, like you’re creating the show together. Seeing Brainstorming live affected me the most. When we realized which one it was, Taller-than-Bro and I started screaming and jumping. I am running out of good adjectives, so I’ll just say ‘incredible’ once again.
From where I was standing, the encore call was pretty bad. And it turned into ‘Sayumi’ at one point, like one side of the room yelled it and then my side answered it. I remembering thinking, “Japanese fans are so much more organized at this!” That’s the only time during the show that I could feel my legs. They were stiff and one knee felt like it was broken it hurt so much. My neck and shoulders were also in trouble. I just flexed my muscles and waited.
Bro and I couldn’t really talk. We just kinda grinned at each other. What is there to say? We couldn’t believe we’d made it.
‘Toki, Sora’ is very beautiful live. The choreography was a joy to see without cut-aways. Again, Ishida was perfect. I don’t mean to exclude Riho, but I have more to say about her later. Some of the girls were always out of my eyeline, or at least they were more than I would have liked so I can’t comment on Fuku-hime, for example, although I did see some member-ai moments with her and Zukki.
They sound wonderful live. Some of it must have been piped in, but the majority wasn’t. Those dvds aren’t lying. They sing live and they bring it. Every time I felt tired, I tried to imagine also having been filming all day, while jet-lagged and knowing that after the show I still had to shake hands with hundreds of people.
Sayumi read her letter to fans in Japanese and then in English, which was all kinds of adorable. She said that performing in NY was a great memory, “one of the best of my life” and even if that was just her agency talking, I was touched when she said it.
‘Happy Daisakusan’ isn’t my favourite song, but it was touching live. Ishida-fan in front of me was conducting and dancing along and Taller-than-Bro was calling out every name. I tried to follow him, but it was too fast.
When they were waving goodbye, Iikubo was jumping up and down waving really hard and it made me so happy. You honestly feel like if you can just wave hard enough they’ll be able to see you, or feel it somehow. Being in a concert is like being in some sort of wonderful trance. It was nearly two hours that felt like an exhilarating fifteen minutes.
By the end, I couldn’t even feel my legs and I wasn’t walking very well.
By the end, I felt sort-of spent emotionally, like I was sad that they’d left the stage, but so very happy and satisfied that it couldn’t get better.
It did get better.
The handshake event was coming next.
My glow-sticks were still glowing.