May’n & Nakajima Megumi at Anime Expo 2010July 6, 2010 at 9:34 pm | Posted in Kanno Yoko, May'n, Music, Nakajima Megumi, _live performances | 13 Comments
I’ll never forget my reaction the day kisekigurl asked me why I wasn’t going to Anime Expo since May’n & Nakajima Megumi were holding a concert there. In disbelief, I checked AX’s website, then proceeded to shriek and jump nearly high enough to hit the ceiling.
Having previously canceled my AX pass due to a lack of interest in attending, I re-booked and bought a concert ticket.
Thanks to a friend, I managed to secure spot C311, a ticket in the center section in the third row from the stage.
Concert report (and pics) after the cut.
The concert took place on July 2nd at LA Live’s Nokia Theater. It started a bit late, and lasted well over the hour and half it was originally planned for.
Disclaimer before I continue: Unless you were a press member, you were prohibited from taking photos. So all the images here are borrowed from Japanator.
When the stage finally darkened, there was an aggressive guitar intro playing from the speakers and as it built up, the lights went on to show two people standing on the stage. I thought it was May’n and Megumi at first, but it turned out to be May’n’s backup dancers. There was no actual band (only a lone grand piano standing in the middle); most of the concert was done with the singers performing to karaoke tracks.
May’n was up first alone; the intro launched into a high energy-performance of Welcome to My FanClub’s Night!, which got the crowd going and me waving my glow stick like I was having spazz attacks. Northern Cross came next, and was another solid performance as well – May’n handled the rapid lyrics with precision and overall, she wasn’t her usual drama queen self. The melisma and vibrato was toned down, leaving a more clean cut and powerful delivery. Oh, her outfit was pretty awesome too. *kidnaps her vest*
She then introduced herself to the audience and told us how this was her first time in the United States, how she loved LA. May’n also made the “LA” sign with her hand! :D
Of course, this concert wasn’t complete without new song plugs. Next up was Universal Bunny from the Macross Frontier movie, my favorite May’n solo of the concert. I didn’t think much of the song when I first heard the mp3, but the live was stunning. May’n sounded all coy during the verses and let loose during the choruses. Plus, the dance moves were really cute, especially the part where May’n pretended to have a bunny tail. May’n☆Space was next, and I didn’t particularly care for this song since it’s a bit generic sounding to me. The next one was Kimi Shinitamou Koto Nakare, the catchy OP for Shangri-La. I was hoping she’d sing this, and I think she got me addicted to this track now.
Diamond Crevasse followed, and even with a tinny backing track, this live rendition was romantic and heartbreakingly gorgeous. The audience got back on their feet for Infinity, another fast-paced song, though I wish this had been done as a duet with Megumi. Iteza☆Gogo kuji don’t be late was another one of the highlights – the energy level was amazing, and fans shouted “motteke!” during the choruses.
It was about time for Megumi to enter the stage, and I heard her voice offstage open What ’bout my star?. I nearly went hoarse cheering for her when she walked on after a few lines. This was definitely the song where the audience did the most singing along to. Megumi was so adorable! Her outfit was a bit over the top, but I couldn’t believe that Nakajima Megumi was literally standing 60 feet away from me…
May’n left, and it was Megumi’s turn for her solo set. The upbeat Anata no Oto was up first. Megumi’s voice sounded a bit more cutesy than usual, and a little pinched, but I guess that was because she was just a bit nervous doing a concert outside of Japan. It’s still one of my favorites, though. I bounced up and down, singing along at the “dokkun dokkun dokkun” parts. I screamed like a fangirl (causing the guy next to me to laugh) when Ninjin loves you yeah! followed. Megumi forgot the first line, but kept going. At the pauses, I joined a group of fans in yelling “Ranka!” like the audience in the Macross F Budokan Live did. The cutest part was when Megumi changed some of the song lyrics to English lines talking about how it was a long way from Japan, and how happy she was to be here. Fans of older Macross series cheered loudly when Watashi no Kare wa Pilot came up. Good energy on this one.
It was a bit of a letdown when she decided to sing Sunshine Girl, from her debut solo album. It’s a nice poppy number, but unmemorable. Sou da yo. from the Macross F Movie soothed my ears (the volume was turned up really loud in the Nokia Theater for the upbeat songs). Megumi sang Jellyfish no Kokuhaku from Kobato after, another treat. A beautiful duo of ballads. I was wondering at this point why she didn’t do her Macross F ballads, but I was in for a surprise later. Megumi teased us about the piano that was on the stage during her set – asking why it was there, walking up to it as if she were to play it, then stepping away and shrugging, “I don’t know…” while smiling.
Megumi then asked us the audience “will you do ‘kira~!’ with me?”, and I knew what we were in for. I cheered like a maniac for Seikan Hikou, almost doing the dance moves along with her. There was a deafening yell of “kira~!” from the audience before all the choruses…oh, I could die happy…
…and just when I thought it couldn’t get better, Megumi stalled in the middle of the song to announce the mystery guest that was mentioned a month ago. In English, she introduced none other but the amazing Kanno Yoko! What’s even better is that Kanno Yoko waved hi to the rest of the audience and then did the ‘kira~!’ pose herself!
After Seikan Hikou wrapped up, the acoustic set started. Megumi sang the beginning of Aimo a capella, then Kanno joined on piano. After Kanno’s improvising a little on the piano while bird calls played, the pair segued into Voices from Macross Plus. Breathtakingly beautiful, this was hands down the best ballad performance of the concert. Ao no Ether came next. It’s my favorite Megumi song overall, a sad song about parting, and I couldn’t stop mouthing along with the lyrics. Megumi did seem to be a bit tired and out of breath in some parts, but she finished strong with this one.
Ai, Oboete imasu ka? came after, and the audience got a pleasant surprise when May’n walked back on stage singing the chorus. I loved this version so much it gave me chills. The three then played Diamond Crevasse. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful…I’ve used that word too many times in this post, but there was no other way to describe this duet. I almost teared up during it.
Kanno left the stage and May’n and Megumi jumped into LION. The passion they put into this song, plus the presentation (they stood at mic stands like the live videos I’ve seen before instead of just using the wireless mics) was just girly badassery at its best. “Ikinokoritai, ikinokoritai…” I could not get enough of this one, and I was sad when it ended. I thought it was the concert closer, but some background music started up again…
…what better way to end than with a bang by singing the Fight on Stage version of Triangler? (Pity the mystery guest wasn’t Maaya, I would have loved to have the three of them sing together). And thus we bid the dueling songstresses adieu after a wonderful afternoon! I wished there was an encore, but I guess it was better to let Megumi rest after that day – she seemed really out of it due to jet lag.
I had no words after the concert – it had its off spots, but it was still amazing. Just the idea of seeing two singers I obsessed and fangirled over back in 2008…just having Nakajima Megumi close enough to perhaps even see my face in the audience (I was the girl in the white blouse with frilly sleeves madly waving a yellow glowstick! :D) was mind-boggling.
I was slightly disappointed that May’n didn’t do a piano acoustic of Yousei, and that Megumi left out After the Heart Rain and her solo version of nO limiT (both from Basquash!). Neko Nikki would have been nice too. But the fact that Kanno Yoko was there definitely made up for it. I felt completely starstruck, being able to see in person the musical genius behind all those Sakamoto Maaya works and Macross songs I loved…but it’s time to wrap up before my rambling gets out of hand~
And there’s no better parting shot than…
May the ‘kira~!’ become the new salute for the world! <3