AYA the Little Witch, Report and Exclusive Video Message

live report - 10.09.2008 22:00

Live report of one of the concerts of Aya Matsuura's Japan tour in June 2008 with an exclusive video message for JaME

At twenty-one years old, Aya Matsuura, a.k.a Ayaya, is one of the best-known Japanese idols. For her tour Matsuura Aya Concert Tour 2008 Haru "AYA The Witch", she had a strenuous schedule with up to two concerts a day.

The concert reviewed here was the second of the day, taking place at Nakano’s Sun Plaza. Many fans waited outside the room, leaving the first concert - which was held at 2pm - and then preparing to attend the second. We encountered a number of male fans, but also young ladies who donned very Ayaya-esque looks.

Prior to the concert, JaME also had the opportunity to speak with the young idol who gave an exclusive video message to her fans:





Once the message had been recorded, Ayaya went onstage to perform.

At 7.10pm, the show started and in front of the stage a large white veil hid the singer. She had on stage with her a substantial band composed of two keyboards, drums and percussions, a guitar, a bass guitar and two choir singers. There was to be no backing track. The 2100 seat concert hall was well filled even though it was the second concert of the day. The pit was, for the most part, composed of men and it was a rather surprising sight - even more so with their goodies, T-shirts and other things. In the balcony were a great deal of girls, perhaps preferring to step back from the mass of men below.

After some introductory notes, the veil fell and the surprising rock tune, From That Sky ~Kaedama wa Katamen de~ came on. With it, Aya appeared to her audience wildly screaming: "Ayaya!". Everyone was quickly charmed by the rock ensemble in which Aya acted as the leader, accompanied by many talented musicians. She went on almost directly with a more pop-style song Tokeru Mondai X= ♥ where the entire hall joined in with the chorus and danced along. At the middle of the song, Aya picked up a Flying V guitar matching her tiny glittered red dress. She mimicked a solo quite well, but the real guitarist eventually came up to the front of the stage to show that it was really him playing, making the audience laugh.

For her first MC, Aya presented herself as an evil witch and then took it back, saying that she was actually a nice little witch and she wished only to make everybody happy. With that, the concert started up again and after a few bars, she reappeared in a long, red gown. The song Oshare! was very soft and, with the help of a beautiful bass line and a short but excellent synthesizer solo, the result was really different from what one would have heard on the CD. The audience became much calmer, creating a warmer atmosphere. Many had brought glowsticks with them; some even had a dozen of them on hand. The show’s presentation showed unexpected eclectism, both in the musical aspect and the atmosphere created by the stage.

A mirror then cane down from the roof and the red dresses of the backing singers were removed, as they were only fixed to the groud. Aya then went on with a wonderful light show. Even though it was the second concert of the day, she still sang pretty well. The songs followed one after the other and the show didn't slow down at all, much to the delight of the audience. The young singer ran from one end of the stage to the other to answer the calls of the crowd. Her stamina and her performance would have surprised even the most strong-minded idol critic.

In another break, the idol spoke to her fans again and told them that she wanted to buy a new bathing suit and asked: "Do you want to see?" At once, a man in the audience shouted out and Aya continued: "You'll definitely see it in my next photobook!" which made the whole room laugh. She then went on with little transition to talk about her dislike of insects and how she even preferred ghosts to them. While she was doing this, the musicians played scary sounds to create an atmosphere.

The concert then started up again and the audience became even more enthusiastic than they had been at the beginning. Ayaya took the place of one of her keyboardists and actually played this time. Her voice, though a little nasal at times, was really charming.

Then Ayaya took her first real break and a recorded speech was played through the mirror. She told her audience the story of Aya, the little witch who was pretty but very malicious and how she owned a mirror which can not only speak, but can also read the hearts of people. Aya asked the mirror who was the most beautiful in the land, but actually waited for the audience’s response rather than that of the mirror.

Ayaya returned in a different outfit and launched into her twentieth and most recent single, Kizuna. During the following song, Double Rainbow, she was accompanied only by a piano. The last chorus was taken up by all of the musicians, with the idol’s soft but powerful voice. This moment of the concert was an emotional point and, once again, the audience was surprised to see and hear something different, as opposed to the other clichés that one would have expected from an idol’s concert. Ayaya then asked her audience to do some gymnastic tricks and truly bewitched the entire room into following even the slightest move of her finger, but the most enchanting part of the little witch was her voice.

Ayaya finished with her best-known songs, such as Kiseki no Kaori Dance, The Bigaku and Yeah! Meccha Holiday. Of course, the audience was in a state of pure joy, singing along like karaoke. After presenting her musicians to the audience one by one and when each of them had played a solo, the whole troop left the stage to prepare for the encore.
After a fifteen minute wait, everyone returned to the stage. Ayaya came back in another new outfit, while the other musicians wore the concert T-shirts. The audience never stopped chanting Ayaya even when she was there.

Ayaya launched into LOVE Namida Iro, another of her hits. The entire room bounced along to the beat, the pit creating an impressive sight from above. Ayaya even sang very high notes with ease. Later, she thanked her fans one last time and finished the concert with two songs. Once again, she demonstrated that she was not just a pretty and fresh young face; but a real beast of the stage, impressing her fans with her professionalism and unparalleled stage presentation. The last chorus of Egao ni Namida became a genuine communion between Ayaya and her audience; whether they were in the pit or the balcony, all of her fans - even the women, who had been much calmer - joined in.

The concert was a real revelation against many preconceptions. Without a doubt, there were rampaging otaku fans who were rather intimidating in their enthusiasm, but that was not what fans will remember of the concert. Behind Japan’s 'idol' phenomenon, real artists hide among the masses of young women and it is inappropriate and unfair to criticize them without attending their shows first. From the beginning to very last notes of her concert, Ayaya demonstrated an endurance test for all, both vocally and in its presentation. We can’t wait for this phenomenon to arrive elsewhere in the world.


Setlist

01. From That Sky ~Kaedama wa Katamen de~
02. Zettai Tokeru Mondai X= ♥
MC1
03. Soulmate
04. Oshare!
05. Onna Day by Day
06. Hitori
MC2
07. Dokki Doki! LOVE Mail
08. Date Biyori
09. Hajimete Kuchibiru wo Kasaneta Yoru
10. Yuugure
MC3
11. Kizuna
12. Double Rainbow
MC4
13. Koishite Gomen ne
14. Kiseki no Kaori Dance.
15. The Bigaku
16. Yeah! Meccha Holiday
Encore
17. LOVE Namida Iro
MC5
18. Kanousei no Michi
19. YOUR SONG ~Seishun Sensei~
20. Egao ni Namida


JaME would like to thank Up Front Agency and Aya Matsuura for their time.
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