Hello! Project 2011 WINTER~Kangei Shinsen Matsuri~

by Aprilis on February 4, 2011 · 2 comments · AddThis

There were so many reasons why I was looking forward to attending this concert: Yuu’s opening act, meeting the new Morning Musume members, Ai Takahashi’s announcement, the shuffle units and several more. I went to the concert with set list A1 for the shuffle group performance, and was super excited with some of the song choices. Before getting into the actual concert though, let’s start off with the special opening act: Yuu Kikkawa.


Yuu Kikkawa’s performance started 15 minutes before the actual concerts. She only performed one song Sayonara Namida and did some talking afterward. If you haven’t heard any of the live audio clips from this concert tour, go check it out now as her vocal is absolutely amazing. This girl showed a lot of confidence and certainly shined like an idol on that stage. It’s hard to believe how far she has came since trying out for the Morning Musume 8th generation audition with Aika Mitsui back in 2006. She has definitely proved that she got what it takes to perform as a solo artist on stage. But I have my doubts as to how well she will do when she makes an official debut. It seems that they’re trying to separate her from the idol stage by having her debut under Universal Music. But still, I think people will still view her as just another idol from Hello! Project. And just for that, Kikkawa will have to be more than just charming and a decent singer to turn heads in the j-pop/idol scene.

The winner of the 52th Japan Records Best New Artist Award, S/mileage was a bit of a disappointment. The performance for the upcoming single, Shortcut, was good but not the performance I was hoping for from a group that just won a “best new artist award”. Maybe it’s due to the lack of practice with the new single, because when the group came back out at the end of the concert to perform their debut single Yume Miru 15sai the energy level was higher. They seemed to be having more fun, confident, and mixed in their own gestures whenever possible which made the performance really enjoyable.

After witnessing Kikkawa’s strong vocals, Erina Mano’s vocal seemed weak with her opening song Seishun no Serenade especially since she was dancing and bouncing all over the stage. But unlike S/mileage, she never stopped smiling and got the audience involved whenever possible. Putting the vocal factor aside, this is a catchy song and she had got me hook on it. Her closing song, Ambitious Girls, was much better as she wasn’t bouncing around as much.

ºC-ute and Berryz Koubou, can you really talk about one without the other? Yes, yes you can; but not for what I’m about to say for their opening songs: What one group lacks, the other group has. ºC-ute rocked their new single Kiss Me Aishiteru with their energetic dance. With ºC-ute I usually found the group is overshadow by Maimi or Airi, but all the girls really worked together to put on a great performance! What it lacked unfortunately was something beyond their control: the costume. It was a simple royal purple and gold with short shorts, tube top, a jacket and flat heels. Any of those alone would have been fine, but the combination of those together with the dance routine just made the girls look really skanky. Berryz Koubou on the other hand had beautiful casual street wear sparkly costumes. And that’s about the only nice thing I can say for their opening performance of Heroine ni Narou ka. The girls gave it their all but I just wasn’t feeling it.

Having these 4 groups share the stage towards the end was a real nice touch. It was a lot of fun watching the girls goof off during Seishun Song, and it’s interesting to note that most of them tend to cling to those in their respective groups.

Morning Musume’s opening for Onna to Otoko no Lullaby Game was just memorizing as each member got to do a solo dance routine during the intro. While it is sad and awkward to see just the 5 of them on that stage, the 5 of them did a tremendous job.

I was surprised that they introduced the new members with their nickname, and they were already being address by it during MC segments. It is a nice way for fans to connect to these girls more quickly. But for me it’s just another name I’ll have to memorize to a face. I much rather create a nickname for each of them as time and experience, much like how Risa got her nickname “Gaki-san”. I am glad they had the new members sit alongside the other girls, it gave me a chance to see how well they interact and fit in with the others. Riho Sayashi was a fan favourite from the start with her fierce dance skills and hope to become the leader one day. Of the 3 new members that were there, she seemed to be the quietest and least interactive with the others on that stage. When asked a question, she gave the simplest answer without elaborating it. Given the same situation Kanon Suzuki saw it as a chance to shine, so she not only answered the question but also elaborated on it when possible. So far, there have been a lot of entries about Kanon on the member’s blog entries. This girl is super friendly and outgoing, and I’m really looking forward to see her shine even more in the group. Erina Ikuta is not as talkative as Kanon, but she’s certainly chats more than Riho. It seems that she’s just a bit shy and with time, maybe she’ll feel more comfortable within the group and show her personality more. Sadly there’s not much to comment on Mizuki Fukumura because she still had her H!P Eggs duty and wasn’t able to enjoy the show at the front of the stage with the other members. Hopefully when the Morning Musume spring concert comes around I’ll know her better to actually make comments about her.

Since we haven’t heard any announcement about specific senpai for the new members, it’s fair to assume that everyone is expected to pitch in to teach the new girls and show them around. Maybe it was just a show for the fans because they knew we were watching, but they really did their best to help and make the new members feel welcome. The 9th generation got to sing the first part of Tomo, all the girls made an effort to include the new members and the new members were happily singing along and smiling back at their senpai… all expect for 2: Reina and Riho, who also happened to be standing next to each other. Reina, was very involved with performing and trying to connect with the audience while Riho was singing and jiggling her body to the music. They were both had a good time no doubt, but it was interesting to see everyone else group and cuddling close together while the 2 of them stood there and did their own thing.

The shuffle units were something I was really looking forward to, especially after seeing the song selection for some of the groups. But alas, I’m sorry to say that some of them just didn’t cut it. The biggest disappointment was ZYX-α performance of GET UP! Rapper. The girls had the work cut out for them as the song is super upbeat yet, they failed to capture the high energy level from it. The dance moves were okay. But after the 9th generation members dance to this song, I was really expecting this group to bring it and show the new girls how it’s really done. Both Pucchi MoniV and Aa! weren’t bad. I’m not very familiar with either song but they both managed to keep be interested with their energy and dance. As for the best shuffle unit, it has to be High-King. The suits gave them a “high king” sophisticated look. Top it off with their dancing, vocal and personalities, it was just amazing. At times Maeda seemed it out of place as she seemed have less oomph and coolness than the others. But she wasn’t always up front and in centre position it wasn’t really noticeable.

With Kamei, JunJun and LinLin gone, I didn’t really know what to expect from “their” units. First up at the concert was Shin Mini Moni and all I can say is no. No no no. For some reason the 3 of them all came on the stage from the right side, and they stayed clumped on that side of the stage for way too long. It was almost as if they were there waiting for a surprise appearance by a 4th member from the left side of the stage. The dance required a lot from the girls, and that resulted in terrible vocals. That would have been fine, if they actually rocked the stage with their dance moves. The sad part is, the Eggs were doing much better and energetic than Kanon was. I know it’s just a shuffle unit, but I didn’t felt any chemistry between the 3 of them. Tanpopo# wasn’t much better, but I did felt they were more of a group performing together. The 3 of them came on to the stage from the ride side too, but they eventually made good use of the entire stage. Plus I actually felt some chemistry between the 3 of them. As for the performance by Zoku Biyuuden, it was surprisingly pleasant. With Sayumi’s high energy and Risako’s coolness, they complimented each other very well and made it a very interesting performance.

As my first live experience for a big Hello! Project concert, I have to say it was definitely an interesting one. I didn’t get the best seats, and I’m sure that if I was closer to the stage there will fewer complains about “not feeling the energy level”. I’m not familiar with a lot of the groups so a lot of time I’ll daze off a little to the side of the stage, just to see what the other girls were doing. That’s one thing I really enjoyed about a big concert like this: there’s so many members on stage that you can never be dull for too long.

Throughout the concert I spend a lot of time eyeing Risa and Sayumi. It’s been announced that Risa will become leader when Ai graduates, so I assume that means Sayumi will become the sub-leader. I can’t judge their leader skills just by this live, but I can certainly tell you that these 2 shined and shown that they loved what they were doing like no other girls out there. With an attitude like theirs, I’m kind of looking forward to how Hello! Project will change and develop under their leadership.

The A1 set list for the January 22 concert at Kobe was as follow:
01) 3,2,1 BREAKIN’ OUT! (All)
MC – All, Ai Takahashi graduation announcement
Opening Video
02) Shortcut (S/mileage)
03) Seishun no Serenade (Erina Mano)
04) Kiss Me Aishiteru (ºC-ute)
05) Heroine ni Narou ka (Berryz Koubou)
06) Onna to Otoko no Lullaby Game (Morning Musume)
MC – Introduction of the 9th generation Morning Musume members
07) Uwaki na Honney Pie (Pucchi MoniV)
08) GET UP! Rapper (ZYX-α)
MC – New Year Lottery
09) DON’T STOP Loving (Aa!)
10) CRAZY ABOUT YOU (Shin Mini Moni)
11) Zettai Tokeru Mondai X= (Tanpopo#)
MC – All
12) 365 Step March (All – lead by Michishige, Kumai, Okai)
13) Love~Sweet Room~ (Zoku Biyuuden)
14) SHALL WE LOVE? (High-King)
15) Kioku no Meiro (High-King)
MC – Hello! Project Poem send in from fans
16 ) Ambitious Girls (Erina Mano)
17) Yume Miru 15sai (S/mileage)
- Followed by the Best New Artist Award Announcement
18) Magical Future! (Berryz Koubou)
19) Seishun Song (Berryz Koubou, ºC-ute)
20) Dance de Bakoon! (Berryz Koubou, ºC-ute, Erina Mano, S/mileage)
21) Otakebi Boy WAO!! (Berryz Koubou, ºC-ute, Erina Mano, S/mileage)
22) HOW DO YOU LIKE JAPAN?~Nihon wa Donna Kanji dekka?~ (All)
23) Guru Guru JUMP (All)
MC – All
24) Tomo (All – including Morning Musume 9th generation)
25) Aozora ga Itsumademo Tsuzuku yo na Mirai de Are (All)

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About the author

Aprilis was first introduced to the world of J-Pop through Ayumi Hamasaki's music. Through Ayu's music she was exposed to and fell in love with other J-Pop acts such as Ai Otsuka and Hello! Project. She is currently living in Japan and enjoying every moment of it.

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Channel-Ai Covers Hello! Project 2011 Winter Concert « International Wota UNITED STATES
February 12, 2011 at 1:01 pm

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Channel April 5, 2011 at 1:13 am

great and informative sharing, i like it and i find it very help full and very informative, hope that you will keep it up and will share more information as like this

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