You and Jin in Los Angeles

live report - 08.07.2010 10:01

KAT-TUN's Jin Akanishi makes his US debut with a bang.

When it was announced that Jin Akanishi would be performing in Los Angeles, tickets were sold out practically before they even went on sale. The evening of the show, fans gathered outside L.A. Live, tickets in hand and eager to get in. The energy inside the small venue buzzed like electricity, and the moment the show began, excitement flared incandescent.

Two of Jin’s dancers, Boogie and Juice, came out on stage as the hosts. They worked the crowd, bringing the energy level even higher, then introduced the exclusive video footage to be shown. The audience burst into screams as Jin Akanishi appeared on the TV screens around the theater. The short clip featured Jin giving a brief tour of the venue, and the crowd cheered giddily each time he smiled into the camera.

After the video, another of Jin’s dancers came out to impress the fans with a solo dance. Joey Tee’s fluid movements amazed everyone, and it left the crowd ready for the dance crew that came on next, Striker All Stars. Their set, which included a mix of stomping, locking and acrobatics, was met with loud applause. Then, it appeared that Jin had chosen dancers that were multi-talented as Dominic came out and sang. His hip-hop, R’n’B style ballads mellowed the mood of the crowd, but everyone jumped back up when another video began to play on the TVs.

This video showed Jin in the process of preparing for his shows in Los Angeles: he was auditioning dancers, rehearsing and having fun with his friends. It culminated with Jin finally appearing on stage, and the venue exploded with deafening screams. Right away, Jin showed that he was all business and started with a slow, almost mechanical dance. It seemed the theme was Jin’s arrival from outer space, which was reinforced by the futuristic images on the screen behind him and Jin’s robotically distorted voice as he welcomed the crowd. After announcing it was “time to party,” Jin moved to the drum set and opened with Christmas morning.

The English lyrics were conveniently shown on the TV screens, allowing fans to sing along on the spot, and many did just that. Jin’s highly distorted voice took on an otherworldly quality as he led the way through a stark, eerie soundscape. There was a brief interlude as Jin quickly strummed a silver acoustic guitar, then the instruments cleared the stage and Jin was left alone, reveling in the coldly beautiful world he’d created.

Bass go boom quickly charged things up as Jin and his dancers took the stage by storm, and the crowd only clapped harder and cheered louder as the dance track went on. Wonder, a clearly popular song, was up next, and the music video for the song was played on screen as Jin performed on stage. The audience grew almost giddy when Jin flirtatiously danced with one of his female dancers.

Next, Jin performed one of his new songs: I.N.P. The middle of the song included a mock rap battle, with Jin facing off against two of his dancers in turn. The song had a great energy and everyone in the venue was moving to the beat. Keeping up the rap flavor was Adjust the Love, a smooth rap song with a techno club beat. Jin and his friend shared the stage and lifted the audience with the hopeful lyrics. As the song finished, glowing screens were rolled out on stage and Jin ducked behind them. Suddenly, a game of “find-the-Jin” began as a few dancers dressed in the same white hoodie Jin had on ran around the screens. Just as the fans had decided which white jacket contained the real Jin, the man of the hour appeared, sitting on the riser at the back of the stage in a black jacket.

The sweet, crooning notes of A Page filtered from the speakers, and everybody sang along with Jin. Then it was time for Jin to don his now signature fedora for LOVEJUICE. Jin’s sexy dance moves had everyone going crazy, and the dance club setting became a clever lead in to Paparats when Jin’s good time was interrupted by hounding photographers. The belligerent song scolding the invasive media showed another side of Jin, but it didn’t last as Hey Girl took over. The light, sassy song had everyone dancing again, and it was a great way to end the first half of the show.

Right before intermission, Jin made a surprise appearance at the bar where a few lucky fans were able to see him up close. The rest of the audience watched on the TVs as Jin toasted his fans and shouted how much he loved them. Bubbling over with joy, fans discussed the first half of the show while impatiently waiting for the second half.

The second half began with Jin’s dancers. Their names were put up on the screen as they each took a turn to show off their moves. Then Jin made his return and they began a series of different dances, the most amusing and innovative of which was the “Screen Dance.” Jin’s white coveralls became a blank canvas for the lighting crew to project images on: one moment Jin was a muscular man in a tiny swimsuit, in another Jin’s beating heart was going up in flames. Jin teased the crowd, throwing his hat to them but leaving everyone pouting in disappointment when the hat swung back to him on a wire.

The last dance segment was “World Dance,” which seemed to be an homage to Jin’s Japanese heritage. The girls wore kimono on stage, and Jin displayed his many faces with Noh inspired masks. As the dancing slowly wound down, Jin jumped right into Yellow gold, an anthemic song with a strong, powerful melody. However, to end the concert, Jin left things on a lighter note: My MP3 was just the sort of candy pop to get everyone bouncing, and Tipsy Love put everyone in a great mood. The laidback ballad had everyone singing in response to Jin, and the fans proclaimed their love over and over. Finally, Jin introduced his dancers again personally, and they all lined up to take a bow before leaving the stage. Unwilling to believe the show was over, many fans started calling Jin’s name, but sadly, there was no encore.

With this show, Jin proved that as a solo artist, he’s got everything under control. The show was a true performance, with each part carefully planned out and perfectly executed. There were two things that were a bit disappointing: Jin didn’t MC directly with the fans, and many of his new songs are heavily filtered so that his natural voice is barely heard. However, these are minor details that will likely disappear as Jin grows more comfortable performing overseas – and he will, as he is returning to the US in the fall with shows in New York, Las Vegas, San Francisco and Anaheim, in addition to Los Angeles!

It seems that Jin Akanishi is here to stay, so everybody had better get ready to dance!

Set list:

~Oruguru Dance~

01.Christmas morning
02. Bass go boom
03. Wonder (DANCE)
04 I.N.P
05. Adjust the Love
06. A Page
08. Paparats
09. Hey Girl


10. Yellow gold
11. My MP3
12. Tipsy Love
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