March 25, 2008

ENJOY WITH MOMOI IN HF: Saturday (part 1)

Although there was a six hour time difference between New York and Hawaii, by Saturday I had been here for two days so I was finally beginning to adjust (waking up at 6AM as opposed to 3AM). I had breakfast at a normal time, which consisted of various teas and juices that I purchased for taste tests, and spam musubi, supposedly a local favorite. The rest of the morning was mostly spent rehearsing calls listed in the callbook for Momoi's concert. PantsGoblin has transcribed parts of the call book in his LJ post if you want to read those translations. At 10:30, we headed out for the venue, Hawaii Convention Center, to make our preparations.

The traffic was pretty slow, but we arrived on time and met up with the other fans in front of the exhibition hall, aptly named "Kamehameha I" (which became the butt of several obvious jokes). We waited near the street until Momoi arrived in her limo. She arrived in a brand new stage dress, with a traditional japanese top, poofy pink tutu, and white leggings that went down over her shoes.

After a brief welcome, we headed into the exhibition hall. A small booth had been set up for us to put our bags, so we set everything down and began sorting out the call books and glowsticks. Some fans even "suited up" with the equipment they pulled out from their bags. There were Momoi shirts, overcoats, power gloves, towels, stacked wristbands, stickers, both current Momoi and UNDER17 legacy merchandise, and one fan, Suisei, even had a glowstick bandolier and MOMO-I (in katakana) shaved into the back of his head.

While waiting in near the stage, one of the Japanese fans that I hadn't seen the night before asked if I was paranda. I talked a bit with him and found out he was Momoi news god, asopaso.com so we ended up taking a picture together as bloggers from the US and Japan. Apparently he wasn't able to make it for the first day so he and two other fans took a later flight over to see Momoi. I also asked him a bit about Thundershot since I kept hearing the term a lot, and he said it was a brand new otagei moveset named after the song. This helped me realize there was still a lot for me to learn regarding live concerts, and factored heavily into my later attempts to get another particular fan to teach me. Soon after this, the concert countdown began and we started hurrying around the floor to distribute glowsticks and callbooks. Unfortunately, the crowd wasn't very large, but there was enough for a good concert. Though most of the people there were fairly old tourists with probably no prior knowledge of Momoi, they were enthusiastic about trying out the waves and chants. We ended up giving away all of our books and most of the glowsticks.

I left my camera in my bag during this time as I fully intended to devote my full attention to the concert in person, and not to through a viewfinder. So, I am sad to say I have no pictures of my own of the concert, but luckily there is no shortage of footage from other attendees, and plenty of videos on Youtube.

The show began quickly. After announcing "Aloha Hawaii! Music start," Momoi jumped straight into the first song, GURA GURA. The last time I did GURA GURA was probably in January when the AX DVD came out so I was caught off guard just a little although now that I think about it, I probably should have expected that song to be played. I was much more prepared this time in general though, as I had gotten a lot more practice with calls since last summer. One thing I hadn't discovered until then about the power glove though: it is NOT a comfortable apparatus to be wearing or holding glowsticks with for an extended period of time.

Once the music started, every care melted away. Although we were only a small group of 20 something people lined up in the front rows, and there were many empty seats behind us, the excitement I felt was the same as it was at AX when the venue was packed. Doing calls at a live Momoi show is a fantastic experience that simply cannot be described accurately via a blog. A kind of herd mentality takes over, where you pretty much lose track of everything else and focus solely in having the best concert possible for yourself and for others around you. The familiar music, a single focused point of admiration for the singer on stage, and the interactive nature of the calls all work together to help the individual achieve perfect synergy within a hive mind of Momoists. I suppose many new fans are born during her live shows because this kind of feeling could permeate them so thoroughly, and the great thing about all the fans is that they are so eager to make sure that feeling spreads to everyone, regardless of whether you have been a hardcore fan for ten years, or you just came to see "hmm who is this Momoi person?" In fact, probably one of the best parts about the unconventional (non-otaku) audience at the Honolulu Festival was seeing all the little kids or 60 year old couples wave their glowsticks and get into the whole movement. This was incredible from our point of view. Momoi made sure to give special attention to children, often stopping directly in front of them and giving them a big smile and wave, or singing to them for extended times.

The full list of songs performed were:
GURA GURA
Tenbatsu! Angel Rabbie
Tondol Baby
Ai no medicine
Kujibiki Unbalance
Romantic Summer
LOVE.EXE

Between each song, Momoi would take time to do quick MCs aided by a translator, either talking about herself, or explaining to the audience about the fans glowstick distribution in the front and inviting everybody to join in at any time. Indeed, we had a nice reserve stash of glowsticks set up just in case anybody new suddenly felt like coming (there were plenty of opportunities to distribute these as well). She thanked her fans several times in these MCs, which made all of us feel very good. I suppose Momoi's fan-praise rhetoric is somewhat of a self fulfilling, because the more she does it, the more pumped everybody is about making sure all the good things Momoi says about her fans are true. That's some solid basics of business leadership right there.

Overall, the concert went very well. Momoi revealed later that she was feeling a little sick that day and had to extend the MCs to give her a little breathing time, but during the show, she definitely hid it well and did not let it affect her performance. Many new fans of all ages were created in that small but amazing window of time.


After the last song, we headed back to the booths to retrieve our things. The concert was short but very intense and everyone was exhausted. Much thanks goes to catsspat and tenton for thinking of bringing water to everybody. While we were resting, a Momoi merchandise table was set up near the exhibit hall entrance. Momoi was also there to meet all the fans and give autographs. There, she posed for several more pictures, and it was great seeing Momoi using one of our flyers for some of her PR shots. I also felt happy seeing so many people (who had ostensibly never known of Momoi before) line up to buy her T-shirts, CDs, and DVDs. Just from listening to some conversations, most people were really impressed with the whole thing. Of course, I also saw some people wearing AX t-shirts too so it looks like there are still more Momoists out there who came all the way from the mainland that we have yet to meet. One of the things that really stood out to me was that the Japanese fans who already had multiple autographs didn't get on line until the very end in order to ensure that any new fans would have a chance to get their own things signed. It really resonated with me then that these people are really serious about making sure Momoi can be appreciated by everyone, and it remains yet another positive lesson I take home from all of this.

As for my own stuff, I came back to the hotel that day with a second copy of Sunday Early Morning to support Momoi (and so I could use some of the stickers without feeling bad) plus a signed power glove. Momoi seemed very amused at seeing the original American version of the powerglove without the PAX logo. Mandi managed to get a picture of her reaction during the signing...

Following the concert and autograph session, we all waved to Momoi as she left the building. There was a great feeling of accomplishment, and an even better feeling that tomorrow...it would all happen again! For the time being, we then turned our attention to another pending and more immediate event: lunch.

Posted by Paranda at March 25, 2008 2:18 AM

Comments

-shocked and amazed- I feel all giddy just reading these blogs. Ehehehe! It especially strikes me, the thing about Japanese fans waiting for the new fans to get autographs... it's so nice! It's like Momoi-sensei's positivity just rubs off on everyone who sees her. You're totally right about her live concerts, there's this unexplainable feeling there that's amazing... everyone gets together and enjoys Momoism together! At AX, there was a girl next to me who had just recently heard of Momoi-sensei and decided to come to her concert. After the concert, she made a beeline for the counter to go buy CDs. XD

Momoi is just so kind to her fans! She really knows how to interact with them.

Thank you for the interesting details n.n It's a nice alleviation to those of us who didn't go.

Posted by: AnimeKittyCafe at March 25, 2008 5:41 PM


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