Note: It’s been exactly a month since I’ve seen this concert. I had no good reason to delay this post for so long and as such I’m not 100% sure if the tracklist posted is correct. But it should be.
When I heard ayaka would go on hiatus three years ago, I was close to tears. While my primary concern was for ayaka’s health, I was also upset because I thought I would never to be able to see ayaka. When I found out that the dates of my internship in Japan would coincide with that she would be touring, I knew I had to be there no matter what.
I nearly cried when ayaka first started singing “The Beginning” because of the “OMG I’m actually here and that’s actually her I’m seeing with my own eyes, not through a screen”. However, I stayed on that on the edge of tears mood throughout the entire show because of how good ayaka was. It’s impossible to describe exactly how good she is live. Her voice is absolutely gorgeous live and her tone is something to marvel at. She also puts so much more emotion into her lives than her recordings. It should be a requirement for every tourist to see ayaka in concert, whether they know anything about Japanese music or not, because she is just that good.
Because this is getting really rambly, I’m going to post what should be the setlist (stolen from Jpopcentral) here:
M01. The beginning
M02. egao no canvas
M03. Magic Mind
( MC-1 )
M04. akai sora
M05. sokomade aruite iku yo
M06. yume wo mikata ni
( MC-2 )
M07. tsunagaru kokoro
M09. sora wo onegai
( MC-3 )
M10. tsuyoku omou
M11. THIS IS THE TIME (band introduction)
M12. something’s got a hold on me (ETTA JAMES)
M13. Rolling In The Deep (Adele)
M14. te wo tsunagou
M17. yasashii aoi
M18. hajimari no toki
~ Encore ~
En-01. minna sora no shita
En-02. kimi he
Highlights: The Beginning, Magic Mind, tsuyoku omou, THIS IS THE TIME, Rolling In The Deep, Te wo Tsunagou, Hello, Hajimari no Toki
Absolute Best Performance In My Opinion: Te wo Tsunagou. Lots of beautiful vocal runs in the end and the amount of emotion she pours into the song…just, wow.
My seat was 6th row center but a bunch of people ran up in front of me to be in this pic. Incredible seat.
-ayaka’s vocals have improved a lot. The amount of times she flawlessly soared to the high notes is innumerable. Also her English has improved a lot and her pronunciation is even better than on the album. I guess it helps when Hiro Mizushima is your English tutor/husband, though I wonder how she manages to pay attention.
-Because ayaka’s vocals have improved a lot, she pretty much dedicated an MC to showing off her vocal runs. And you know? I would pay to see an entire concert of her just showing off and doing vocal runs.
Also ayaka can hit headnotes now. Who knew?
-Hajimari no Toki got the “sing the chorus without the microphone acapella” treatment. And guess what, it was flawless.
-“something’s got a hold on me” was mostly sung by her really impressive backup singer, but ayaka joined in the end.
-Superficial Section Time: ayaka is adorable and fresh-faced in person, even if I prefer her with longer hair. Also I could still see the bump on her throat D:.
-Speaking of covers, ayaka’s version of “Rolling in the Deep” was wonderful. While her’s is more confident and triumphant than Adele’s original (I’ve been nicknaming it “Soaring Above the Deep” in my mind), it was honestly one of the best covers I’ve heard. Better than the one on Kpop Superstar, Glee, or John Legend in my opinion.
-I thought the audience would be dead but it was almost the opposite. Lots of fangirls in the audience who squealed and begged for attention from ayaka. There were lots of chants of “daisuki” and waving and while I couldn’t even say anything from happiness at first, I got into the act near the end lol. ayaka also has superfans that probably attend every concert. They sat in the front row and they even had pink penlights if I recall correctly (or maybe I’m just confused).
-While the audience was mostly composed of girls like I suspected, there were a number of guys going alone. One of the ayaka superfans was also a father who was in the front row center while his daughters and the rest of the family sat in front of me. I actually felt bad for the two daughters because they were used as props to get ayaka’s attention (which failed) and were about to cry from exhaustion near the end of the concert.
-ayaka surprisingly has a good sense of humor. She knew that her fans were mostly attention whores and pretty much shut them down lol. I have terrible Japanese (read almost none) but during one the MCs where she was pimping out her tour merchandise, two girls on the right said something along the lines of “I want it~/where can I get it” and ayaka replied “after the show, in the hall” lolololol.
-We stood for about 80% of the concert, thanks to the superfans who stood up right away. It was kind of a lol moment as we resigned sheep followed suit.
-The first thing ayaka said to us was “tadaima” and we greeted her with “okaeri”. I knew about this beforehand so I was prepared.
Originally I had only planned to get the tour pamphlet because that’s what I do for every concert. However, I missed the last shinkansen and had time to kill before the night bus so I bought the t-shirt and onigiri case. Actually I knew I had to get the t-shirt when I saw ayaka wear it 😄 and the onigiri case…Well just look at how adorable that thing is! I can’t actually make onigiri or anything besides cereal or ramen really but maybe one day I will learn.
Also the tour pamphlet is the size and the weight of a brick. WTF is inside this thing?
Conclusion: One of the best days of my life. I had been up since 4AM, took the first shinkansen to go to to Geibikei Gorge AND Hiraizumi beforehand but I forgot about my exhaustion completely during the concert. It was only afterwards where I felt like I would die and the next day where I would run into a wall. It also did a number on my wallet but honestly ayaka is worth every yen and more so I have no regrets.