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Con Report: Arashi Anniversary Tour 5x10 - Kokuritsu 8/28

I've posted this as two separate parts in another comm, but now I re-edited it into one gigantic con report. It has taken me almost two weeks to write this, so it's VERY long, but if you're interested in reading... xD


Pre-Concert Non-Spoilers
First: As far as I saw, no one was asked for their FC ID. Check-in was pretty smooth.

And! I noticed the announcements (like no cell phone use, etc.) were made in several languages! Chinese, Korean (I think, it was really faint), and English. An acknowledgment of Japan-going international fans ? :D

The Other Fans: Dude, some girls were crazy awesome
While walking around the stadium I saw two girls in complete Uta no Oniichan cosplay. I asked to take their picture and they said ok, but only if they covered their faces with Ohno uchiwas lol.

And then by chance I saw another Uta no Oniichan cosplayer, but in an awesome!ballet skirt version, getting seated in the arena with my binoculars.

For future reference: There are a lot of interesting tactics to catch the members’ attention: giant hair bows, highlighter fluorescent giant hair bows, colorful hats, awesome homemade uchiwas, etc. I also saw a lot of girls that took a member color and dressed in head to toe in it. Including this one set of girls who even had matching carry-on suitcases for concert goods.

Pre-Concert: Inside
One thing I’d like to note: ALL of the bathrooms I saw were for women. The few guys I did see were with their girlfriends. They looked pretty disgruntled... probably because they couldn’t find a guy’s restroom. (I did see a pair of guys sitting alone with AAA merchandise, which was pretty awesome).

Seating
When I saw my seat I was rather disappointed. I was a row away from the very top. That’s when a couple of obasans came, looked at me, and then looked confused. They asked to see my ticket and I started panicking, thinking my seat had been given away by the FC. For a moment I thought I would be sent home. It turns out that I entered the right gate but then went over too far and spent the first half hour in the wrong section. That was fine with me because my real seat was closer to the center. :P

I wasn’t the only one though. Some girls made the same mistake in the row in front of me, lol.

*** CONCERT SPOILERS ***
(cell phone pics of the empty stadium included!)


Pictures from around the venue:



The Stage Set Up
… is basically the same as last year’s AAA con, minus the giant A arrows and in alternating red and blue with the 5x10 logo instead. xD




New Additions: A raised blue track with the 5x10 logo ran parallel below the moving hanamichi tracks (I don't know the right name, what are these called? They’re like moving stages but not the machine operated one that goes over the audience. It’s still pulled by staff?)




Also, there is a large red frame that is suspended above the Olympic torch by giant orange cranes that I saw when entering the stadium. I noticed 5 wires that were strung across the stadium from the top of the main stage to the red frame. The image of each member dangling from the wires crossed my mind, but because it was so ridiculously high up I thought, "Naaah, couldn't be...."

How it is anchored by the ridiculously tall cranes outside the entry gate:


How it looks from inside:


And a close up at night after the show (you can see the 5 wires in the light):


The big side screens showed VTR of Himitsu no Arashi-chan, Arashi no Shukudai-kun, VSArashi, Aiba’s upcoming drama, and the 5x10 Best! Album CM while we waited.

The Concert…!!!!
. . . started late, lol. It wasn’t until 5:40ish did a faint bass beat begin to pump through the stadium. People began to scurry to there seats. And then the music changed as ARASHI appeared in white block letters against the giant black screen. Of course there was a surge of screaming as the audience got to their feet.

The opening VTR started by showing each member’s name (in romanji) one at a time in a different color. Each time a name was shown, one letter stroke would stretch off the screen. In the end each of the 5 strokes would wind together and then a montage started. I don’t remember exactly what the montage was beyond that point anymore though. ^^;;;

The VTR ended, and everyone was looking back and forth for the boys. Someone screamed and the rest followed, pointing to the top of the giant screens above the main stage.

You know what I said about Arashi dangling from the wires? Well, that's exactly what happened. xD

Kansha Kangeki Ame Arashi
All five glided across the stadium, meters and meters above our heads. They were lowered and raised from the suspended wire, creating a diving and swooping effect that made the boys look as if they were really flying. If you haven't seen the news clips frommatsubunny, go check out her post now!

The boys were waving to the audience below and everyone screamed like crazy. I could see Ohno clearly since he was on the end closest to my side, doing his signature peace signs.

Their outfits had a glossy canary yellow, black and white color scheme. Parts of their long white trench coats swayed out behind them in the breeze like wings.

They landed by the Olympic torch (which was unlit) and unwired themselves as Kansha ended. The members formed a circle and put their hands together before crying out "We're gonna-"

Step and Go!
And their platform went down the huge slope to the rear arena floor stage. There, they did the rest of the song and dance before the members split up and got onto the moving stages as

Lucky Man started.

[For future reference: the large center screens would always have a really creative ways of showing lyrics with PV/past performance clips plus the live concert footage. For Lucky Man, Sho’s beginning monologue was spelled out in Step and Good PV style (white letters on red background). Then the first verse rap lyrics would just fly off the screen, because you know how fast that one goes. I want that video roll. The editing and karaoke was really well done. You rock, concert VTR/karaoke maker.]

When Lucky Man ended, those distinctive opening chimes from

We can make it!
could be heard. And then water fountains spouted all around the arena from that blue raised track I mentioned before. There was a strong breeze and I'm pretty sure some of the arena people got wet, lol.

The center screen had an aquarium theme with fish, whales, and sharks swimming back and forth. Somehow, it fits the song!

Kaze no Mukou e
Crazy Moon

To be honest, I can’t remember what happened, I was too busy singing along and waving my pen light. One thing I do remember how they ended Kaze no Mukou e in a line so that they could dance straight into Crazy Moon. They did the entire dance routine on the central stage, which was cool but there wasn’t a lot of audience interaction.

Following Crazy Moon is a greeting/talk section, which I don’t remember much of. I think it was Sho saying, “Thanks for coming” and stuff like that? Basically it’s to give enough time for everyone to get off stage as the lights go dark. I noticed the Olympic torch was lit (and it would stay burning well after the concert had ended). The sun had set and for the first time you can see everyone’s red pen light clearly. Blue lights dimly illuminate the stage. You can clearly see the contrast of the tour colors. Perhaps this is what they envisioned when planning the concert?

The sound of drums set a rhythm as Jrs. filed out from the main stage in a drum line. I checked with my binoculars, and they were just drumming randomly, lol. They were led by one of the baton-spinning Jrs. as flag-bearing Jrs. march out from the opposite direction. The screens showed giant speakers (think of the Hero PV) that would vibrate with the beat.

From the main stage someone glided out really fast and really low on the middle zip line into the arena, growling in a raspy voice. His jacket was made of tattered jean material, the rest of his costume in red.

PIKA*NCHI (Aiba-chan's solo)
Except it’s more military-like because of the drums than the original rock version. Aiba was his energetic self, hopping around the central stage on one leg. But it just didn’t... fit Aiba-chan’s image, y'know? lol

At this point I kept wondering why Aiba-chan was chosen to sing PIKA*NCHI, but then I realized it would fit with the 10th anniversary if each member does a song from a past main/solo activity, since Aiba was the lead/central role in the PIKA*NCHI movie.

The song ends and Aiba runs off to change, because the other members come out dressed in white and blue outfits (which for some reason reminds me of that ridiculous American-themed outfit set from SUPPIN) to sing a medley of oldies!

HORIZON
DANGAN-LINER

Had old old old performance footage of these songs playing in the background. You got to see young Sho with his long spiked hair next to today's Sho on the big screen singing the same lines, which made everyone in my section laugh.

[For the record: I REALLY liked Sho's new haircut. When e concert cameras did close-ups you can see each lock neatly styled. Also, Sho always gave the upper stands a lot of attention, so he was definitely getting a lot of + points with me that night, lol.]

Allergy
Kokorochirari

So this is waaaay before my time as a fan (I started in 2005). I thought I watched all the early concerts, but somehow a dance with giant plastic VEGETABLES escaped my attention. But apparently this is a classic from their 2001 tour. It was pretty cool to see the boys match up with VTR footage of the old vegetable dance. After the dance ended they all threw their vegetables haphazardly behind them for the poor staff to catch, lol. The crazy VTR on the screen continues and shows the boys being… puppets? They seriously did this at concerts?

CARNIVAL NIGHT Part2
This song is just so much fun. Lots of audience interaction and pen light waving. While the other members were running around, giving the audience cues to shout and jump, Aiba-chan stayed in the middle and danced full-out with the Jrs. He was prancing around and swinging his hips. I think Aiba really enjoys the choreography that Ohno came up with for this song. ^_^

The center screen had bright carnival images like pink tents and rides flashing across the yellow background.

The main stage darkens and the guitarists from the band stepped out into the dim light. From the center door on stage came a silhouette wearing a guitar in one hand and a mic stand in the other. He set down the mic stand and strums a few bars that become

Kotoba Yori Taisetsu na Mono (Nino's solo, from his drama Stand Up!!)
An awesome guitar ensemble version of it. Nino was very kakkoii as he rocked out and sang up close to the mic. I’ve also read that he messed up the lyrics in other con reports. Honestly, I didn’t notice so it wasn’t in my report. The boys can make as many mistakes as they want, doesn’t matter to me haha.

After this everyone came back out to introduce the band, which is comprised of drums, bass, guitar, a string ensemble, a horn ensemble, two backup singers and…Imai Tsubasa on keyboard (Did I hear this correctly? Nothing else is said about this for the rest of the concert) who is NOT Imai Tsubasa from Tackey & Tsubasa, lol.

All the members climbed the staircases to the stage area above the band, directly in front of the center screen. The band starts up, and at first no one recognizes what the song is because it’s a slower, more orchestral version of

Everything
Behind Arashi, the center screen flashing images of red and green traffic lights, the silhouette of a man and woman facing each other, a city landscape, a child holding a flower – the montage blended in well with the music. The boys sung much more passionately than usual, almost like a ballad, and the song became much more bittersweet.

Each member wandered off to a different section of the stage as the center screen changes to a starry night sky. A single shooting star passes by and soft bongo drums lead into a semi-acoustic version of

Hitomi no Naka no Galaxy
There is a cute Ohmiya moment where Nino and Ohno sing the second verse with one arm around the other, swaying slowly back and forth. Ohno grinned sheepishly as the audience went “Kya~!” and Nino looked, as always, like he’s enjoying himself.

They slowly descend back down the staircases and head out to the center stage.

Aozora Pedal
The last orchestral remix. The center screen showed a low cement wall under a bright blue sky. The wall was scrawled with brightly colored chalk graffiti. Except when you look closer it’s actually the lyrics to the song, written in traditional columns top to bottom, right to left style. The camera panned across the wall slowly to reveal the next line of lyrics.

Typhoon Generation
You know how Nino’s beginning monologue sounds like it’s from an old cassette tape or record? The lyrics on the screen reflected this in cursive sepia print that faded in and out. However, Nino started smirking and laughing halfway through his monologue because everyone was screaming and it kinda ruined the effect, lol.

Because I always kept an eye on Ohno I saw him disappear below the rear arena stage towards the end of the song, but I didn’t think much of it. The stadium lights went black and a single spotlight shone on that rear arena stage. Suddenly you hear “DAN DAN DAN” and Ohno walked out completely dressed in his Uta no Oniisan costume as Yano Kenta, singing

Kumori Nochi Kaisei (Oh-chan's solo, theme from his drama Uta no Oniisan)
At first the only thing I could think was, “Damn he’s changes fast!” Then I appropriately proceeded to scream. He had his troop of backup dancers in white behind him as they danced their way to the main stage. He was very genki and light on his feet the whole time, smiling and waving. They also showed clips from the drama, and everyone laughed as several shots of Ohno in mascot suits flashed by, especially the acorn. :P

a Day in Our Life
Oh Yeah!
Not much I can say about these because I was enjoying myself way too much. Both songs have a lot of audience interaction so the boys were on the moving stages or in the arena getting everyone pumped up with call and response.

Towards the end of Oh Yeah! everyone gathered in the center stage and were handed mic stands from the staff. That could only mean one thing!!!

Hadashi no Mirai
Each member was raised on those individual telescopic platforms (some higher than others) and everyone around me danced along.

Beautiful Days
I think the center screen had stage coach or something on wheels rolling across it? Obviously that center screen kept distracting me from the boys because I could see it so much better than them xD

The MC
[Disclaimer: I remember the MC in bits and pieces, and probably out of order too. Also, I only have intermediate Japanese skills, so I just got the gist of what they were saying (how do translators do it?). All dialogue is just my rough guess of what was said. ^^;;;]

MC opened with a shot of the quarter moon on the big screens. Everyone sits down and Arashi greets everyone, asking if we’re genki, etc.

Nino starts out by talking about the vegetable dance. Everyone lists off what they had.
Aiba: Corn
MatsuJun: Bell Pepper
Nino: Onion
Ohno: Carrot
Sho: Hakusai (a Japanese lettuce-like vegetable)
[thanks for clarification to meeohchan!]

For some reason, Sho's hakusai was missing that night and he had to do an "Air Hakusai" dance instead. MatsuJun kept saying, “Who? Who has it?”

Nino abruptly changes the topic (probably because he got tired of it) and asked Leader about how tonight is. Ohno commented on how nice the breeze was (another rehash of the AAA MC? xD).

Nino: That’s not interesting at all!
Ohno: But the wind is really nice….

Some more talk, and Aiba directs the MC to Sho.
Aiba: Y'know, during rehearsal Sho's platform wouldn't go up
Audience: Eeehhh~
(Some more talk, I think someone said it was probably because Sho was afraid.)
Sho (keeps repeating): I'm not scared. I’m not scared yo.

So they set Sho back on the rising platform with a mic stand and sent him to the highest setting, demanding he sing Hadashi no Mirai by himself. Poor Sho. His eyes were squeezed shut and he barely let go of the safety rail. The end result was minimal hand motions because his arms glued to his ribs, plus very mumbled singing lol. By the time Sho opened his eyes again the other members had returned to the main stage, leaving Sho alone in the arena.

Sho (angry): Oi! What are you guys doing over there?
Nino (reprimanding): Sho-kun, just what are you doing?

LOLZ
It's in this news clip at 2:03. Thanksnccgal89!

Sho then turns the tables on Aiba and asks about his upcoming drama. Everyone congratulates him. Someone asked when he gets up and he answered 5 in the morning. Then they ask whether he’s the type who is super genki in the morning with a big “OHAYO~~!” or the cool type that just nods and says, “Ohayo gozaimasu.” To find out, they make Aiba go off stage and act it out. Aiba walks in, falters, and gives a half-polite, half-unsure “Ohayo gozaimasu.”

FAIL.

During the MC the center screens had split into 5 panels for each member. Since they were wearing a pink suit with black tie ensemble, the screen was a mass of bright pink. I remember thinking how Ohno’s customized earphones matched, and then noticed that his stance was kinda weird: mic in one hand while the other hand tugged at the sleeve like a nervous kid, lol. Sho-kun, on the far right, disappeared and left his panel blank. It was like that for a while before the screen changed, so it felt a bit lonely.

Then Aiba yelled out, “Minna, are you ready?”
Audience: Yeeeaaaaaay!
And the other members disappeared.

Tomadoinagara (Sho's solo, theme from his drama Yoiko no Mikata)
The Jrs. lined up on all four hanamichi that branched of the center stage and Sho came out in a white and green sequined hoodie that even from the top stands I could see glittering. Those green laser lights turned on and Sho began a remix of Tomadoinagara that was more… R&B? I don’t know how to describe it. The performance was pretty low-key. Sho paused at one point for the audience to do something but I didn’t know what. The moment passed and he awkwardly finished the song. Kinda fail. xD

The center stage lights went dark and Sho disappeared. Then the letters of “WISH” scrolled out in a fancy font on the narrow top center screen. Below it, ALL of the screens were linked together to make a gigantic classic red theater curtain, complete with golden rope.

The stage lights grew brighter. The electronic curtain started to rise. Then, from a trap door in the main stage, MatsuJun also rose. The effect was dramatic and everyone around me went “Uwaaa~~!” MatsuJun raised his arms and conducted a beat. The orchestra picked up and played the intro into a jazzy

WISH (MatsuJun's solo, theme from his drama Hana Yori Dango, first season)
I barely mentioned MatsuJun in my last report, but let me make it up by saying his solo was, by far, the most impressive.

Dressed in black slacks with black suspenders over a white button-up shirt and a black bowler-like hat, MatsuJun gave off a strong 1920’s swing/jazz bar vibe. “Behind” the electronic curtain was a big city intersection that was a cross between Shibuya and Times Square. One of the giant TV displays on the skyscrapers showed the live concert camera feed. The other showed good old flashbacks of Doumyoji and Tsukushi in HYD.

The jazz remix gave WISH an entirely new beat. The melody was almost unrecognizable but still awesome. In close-ups you can see the horn ensemble swing their instruments back and forth in true Big Band style. The music paused for MatsuJun to do a fancy little dance solo. Of course, everyone cheered him on. Then the music resumed and he returned to the role of Conductor, waving his arms around in that fluid MatsuJun style. As the jazz piece ended the trap door began to lower, the lights dimmed, and the curtains drew closed. MatsuJun had disappeared from sight.

Not only did the audience cheer wildly, but also a smattering of applause as if it were a real jazz concert. That’s when all madness broke loose.

Attack it! (5x10 Secret Track)
Lights flashed colors frantically. Spotlights swung out of control. The center screens went crazy. A bright yellow background where gigantic X’s and O’s and ∆’s popped up randomly, making it even harder to follow the scrolling, rapidly blinking lyrics. The only thing I could read was
JUMP!
JUMP!
JUMP!
With such a new song we didn’t know when to shout, or how to wave our pen lights. The boys were too preoccupied with just singing to give any cues, so everyone bopped to the beat. And if you’ve heard the song, you know that’s hard too. xD
But tension was running high and everyone was full of energy – still a great number. :D

The boys reconvened on the center stage and the lights stained everything in dark bloody red.

truth
Impossibly giant flames blossomed on center screens as the string ensemble broke out a pulsating beat. But you couldn't see anything in the murky dimness. As the first verse started they rose slowly into the air.

Their creeping ascent, the darkly whispered lyrics, the lights burning hotter and brighter – it sent chills up the spine.

And what would a performance of truth be without real fire? A frenzy of pyrotechnics went off and set the entire arena ablaze. The boys glided towards the Olympic flame, as if to remind us of its presence. They fell and rose by great lengths that created a spectacular dynamic. Spotlights followed each member, but there were only four…?

They were dressed in sequined trench coats of their respective color, so I could tell that one lone red figure was left hanging halfway above the center stage, just far enough to be out of the flames’ way. That figure didn’t move at all. Oh Sho-kun. <3

The other members glided back towards him… then passed him and went to the main stage. By this time, Sho was already being lowered so he could walk over to them. He raised his arms as if he just did something impressive. Everyone laughed and cheered. If you haven’t seen it yet (although there’s serious backlash from Japanese fans), you can watch a fancam here

Ashita no Kioku
The 5 of them spread out evenly in front of the center screen, which broke into 5 panels again. Behind each member was a somber portrait, from the chest up, looking into the camera with melancholy eyes (in black and white if I remember correctly). Right before the first verse all photos faded out except for Leader’s, who was in the middle panel. At the top you see:

Ohno Satoshi, Born November 26th, 1980

His portrait changes and is replaced by an adorable baby staring at the camera, completely mystified by it. The audience sent out a wave of “Kya~!”

One by one, in order of oldest to youngest, we see baby pictures of each member: Sho, Aiba, Nino, and finally MatsuJun (who had the thickest, darkest eyebrows I’ve ever seen on a baby).

Then all 5 panels turned on and the photos progressed onwards. You could see all of them age together: going to school, wearing a team uniform in baseball games… right up to their Johnny’s Juniors days. The pictures flashed by faster as the song entered the chorus.

Suddenly, all sorts of pictures were raining from the top of the screen: some from when they debuted, some from backstage at concerts and recent PVs. You could visually see them mature from an awkward teenage band to the Arashi that we know today.

The raining pictures lined up into a collage and the camera zoomed out. Some pictures got brighter while others faded black. Soon, the song ended and the pictures melded into the kanji for “Arashi.”

It was as if I had seen each of their lives fast forwarded. If I was one of their mothers, I would surely be crying.

The VTR
Continuing the photo theme, the cover of a giant photo album appeared on screen. The boys disappeared while we watched the photo album open. A slow, music box version of Ashita no Kioku played in the background.

Each page had a list of major events and highlights of a year in Arashi’s career on the left side with pictures on the right. The members took turns in narration, usually during a year they had solo activities.

1999 – The big debut in Hawaii. Some clips of them on the yacht that I’ve never seen. They were standing on the side of the boat, looking off into the water probably in disbelief that they were debuting lol.
2000 – “We had our first concert, SUPPIN. The audience that came at that time, are any of them here now?” This line left a deep impression on me. So they really do think about those fans, I thought. It must be crazy for Arashi, the difference between then and today.
2001 – Their first album and first TV show, Mayonaka no Arashi
2002 – PIKA*NCHI, first movie with all 5 members
2003 – D no Arashi, Stand Up!!, How’s It Going? Tour
2004 – Aiba-chan talked about crying on 24- Hour Television and beginning a career in variety with Tensai! Doubutsuen. The clip where a tiger claws onto him was shown. He said something that made everyone laugh but I couldn’t understand probably about near-death experiences, lol
2005 – MatsuJun: “2005: The year we first used the moving stage for our ONE concert.” (MatsuJun created it, didn’t he? His pride and joy ^^) Of course, he also talked about Hana Yori Dango.
2006 – A good year for Sho: “2006: Arashi went on our first overseas Asia Tour and held concerts in Taipei and Korea. I also became a newscaster on NEWS ZERO and had my first solo concert.”
2007 – Nino talked about co-starring with Sho in Yamada Taro Monogatari (everyone screamed at the VTR here), and then their first Dome concert with AAA, followed by the TIME Summer Tour, plus working together in Kiiroi Namida.
2008 – Of course, Ohno talks about his big year: the Freestyle art exhibit and first lead drama role in Maou. Other highlights: Himitsu no Arashi-chan gets a primetime slot, Dream-A-Live Tour, and the second AAA 2008 leading to their first Kokuritsu concert.

What a grand 10 years it has been indeed. The photo album closed shut and faded out.


Suddenly the stadium lights flashed on, and finally we heard the opening bass line that could only be
A.RA.SHI
The crowd cheered as the trap door opened and the boys rose up wearing…

O.M.G.
It’s the stuff of Arashian folklore. Could it be???
Yes, yes it WAS. The see-through vinyl raincoats with white trim and matching shorts. Nothing had changed from 10 years ago.

And what could be better than vinyl suits? You know how during Ohno’s “Step by Step” solo Nino the members always touch him? This time, it wasn’t just a single grope. All of them were patting, rubbing, and squeezing every bit of Leader they could find for a full 5-10 seconds. It felt like an eternity! The camera zoomed in and all you could see were hands, lol. Poor Leader was thoroughly molested. xD

Want to see what I mean? There are pics now!

Sunrise Nippon
Kimi no Tameni Boku ga Iru
Jidai
Somewhere during this medley they changed out of the raincoats of awesomeness, otherwise, it was all a blur for me. xD

Nice na Kokoroiki
The center screens had blue stick figures (the kind that you see in bathroom and warning signs) that were wearing glasses walking back and forth on a white background. I was hoping they would put on some black rimed glasses but no such luck.

All of them were very sweaty by now. MatsuJun kept pulling his hair back from his face and soon had a slicked Greaser look because of it, lol.

PIKA*NCHI
Tomadoi Nagara
Kotoba Yori Taisetsu na Mono
Although they were solos earlier, this time it was the original version of each song put together into a medley. I wondered why they sang these again, but looking at the set list I guess they wanted to include the A-side singles they hadn’t done as a group yet?

Hero
Sakura Sake
WISH
Kitto Daijoubu
The first three were another blur, but they did the entire dance for Kitto Daijoubu on the rear arena stage. I remember watching their backs as they danced and everyone around me did their best to be in sync with them.

Love So Sweet
I remember seeing bags of candy floating around the screens, but it might’ve been for another song. xD

Happiness
In the beginning guitar solo Sho was shuffling his feet, trying to scuttle away from the others. He kept looking over his shoulder as he made his get-away. The other members just walked normally, easily catching up with him. Too cute. ^^

Believe
They gathered on center stage and went straight into the dynamic dance. After Sho finished his rap the lights dimmed. Side by side the boys walked in step with one other, pivoting sharply to each echoed beat. Those beats gathered speed, faster and louder until the music paused… Sou . . .

BAM!
as fireworks exploded above the stage. Everyone cheered in surprise as the fireworks continued running back and forth across the top of the screens, as if in chase of the chorus. The effect made my heart race. A row of sparkling gold fireworks roared so loudly I could barely hear the song end. The audience screamed wildly in approval.

Closing MC
A slow piano version of Kansha was played as the members lined up. I finally understood why they opened the concert with this song. It was their way of saying “Thank you for coming!” but now they would say, "Thank you for your support" to us plainly in words. Sho was first to come forward. As always, he spoke politely and expressed himself clearly. What happened next was different.

Leader walked forward. I listened intently to just his voice, the actual words escaping me. But those words disappeared, making the entire stadium “Kya~!” Ohno paused again. It seemed like he would say more, but the silence only grew longer. The camera zoomed in and we could see his eyes glistening, wavering back and forth, searching for something to say. His mouth opened but nothing came out. It seemed like Ohno was fighting with himself to hold back the tears, but also wanting to share something much deeper. For a moment, he looked like a lost child. For me, that moment lasted forever. I don’t think I’ll ever forget it.

Then the obasan in front of me sniffled loudly. It brought me back to the clamor of the audience. Everyone was either crying or shouting. I couldn’t stand it anymore and yelled, “Ganbare!!!!” too. Of course there’s no way Ohno would be able to hear me, but he did continue and bowed to a round of applause.

Leader turned around and walked into Aiba, who grabbed him into the briefest half-hug. I say half-hug because Ohno didn’t actually stop. He slowed down, returned the hug, and slid away from Aiba, as if to say, “I’m fine, go say your thanks now.” I don’t think Ohno planned on getting so emotional, so perhaps he was embarrassed. I definitely wished it lasted longer…

Aiba-chan surprisingly didn’t cry at all. In the end I recognized those famous lines of “Creating a storm through the world” and everyone laughed, cheering along with him.

Nino came forward, looked back at Aiba and Leader, and commented on how everything was the opposite of what it should be tonight. Nino smiled as everyone laughed, and began to reflect on the past 10 years. Suddenly a deep boom reverberated through the stadium, I could feel it through my body. I became more annoyed than confused. Who was making such a ruckus during the concert?

An ear-splitting crackle and everyone turned around to see fireworks just outside the stadium. Not the concert stage-type sparklers, but the ones you see at New Year’s: gigantic flowers of gold floating in the sky. I never heard fireworks so close before. All of the members were quite surprised and I got the feeling none of them knew about this. Nino tried to continue but the fireworks were too loud. He gave up and watched with the other members, who would say “Suge~!” every now and then. The camera switched from Nino to a camera that was behind the members. I saw the fireworks as they did from the center stage, their silhouettes surrounded by gold. After a minute it stopped, and Nino said a bewildered “Arigatou” before apologizing non-stop, probably to all the residents in the area. ^^;

Finally MatsuJun’s turn, where he concluded the MC sweetly and introduced the last song.

5x10
Pictures of Arashi, each filled with memories, spanned the screens…
I looked down on their solemn stances…
Reaching out to the audience… swaying slightly to the beat…
As they sincerely sang their thanks to us…
Suddenly it hit me and I started crying…

So I can’t tell you much else except when I looked up there were thousands of balloons. The ones near the center were red and blue, while the ones near the stands were orange, yellow, white…

Love Love for You…
As so many colors mixed together and rose, swirling into the night sky. It was beautiful.

Every fountain spouted to its full height, shooting higher than the stands. The orchestra finished with a thundering climax and the boys disappeared behind a curtain of water.

They knew we weren’t going to let them off that easy.

Encore 1
PIKA**NCHI DOUBLE
Asu ni mukatte
Dekiru Dake
One Love

Encore 2
fight song
gorimuchuu
A.RA.SHI

They came out again, in personalized versions of the con T-shirt. I could see that Aiba and Nino had studs or rhinestones on the collar, Sho in his typical tank top style, Ohno with a lot more glitter, and MatsuJun with…. Mop head sleeves? lol

The encores were full of energy and everyone was totally hyped up. That’s all I can say lol. Oh! The one moment I wasn’t looking at the screens MatsuJun kissed the camera. I totally missed it but from the steamy lens and tons of screaming, I figured out what happened. xD

At this point their voices began cracking and I knew they were reaching their limit…As much as I hated it to end, they lined up as MatsuJun did the closing MC.
“I’d like everyone to say our name… but I seemed to have forgot it…” and he feigned this really cute confused face. Everyone laughed and he broke character by laughing too. Of course, as they swung their arms into a deep bow, “ARASHIIII!” echoed through the stadium.

The trap door lowered slowly. They kept waving. We kept waving back.
Until, finally, they disappeared beneath the stage.

[End Con Report]

I hope you enjoyed! I’m glad many replied that they felt like they were at the concert. I tried my best to take you there with me because I wanted to give something back to the community since I fail at everything else. I’m truly grateful to have this experience and wished everyone on LJ was there too~ cuz the girls next to me were totally silent ^o^;;

And now there are plenty of pics and stuff out there so you can see the SHINY with your eyes! If you hadn’t seen them yet, paparazzi pics are here and here.


BONUS: Things I wish I knew before buying concert goods
1) People WILL cut in front of you. If you want to be active by cutting while you queue, look for people who are distracted (texting, reading manga, playing on a DS) and wedge yourself ahead of them as soon as the line moves. Also, when the line turns a corner, go towards the outer edge of the turn where there will be more room. People on the inside of the turn will get stuck. If you don’t care, then definitely bring something to occupy yourself with. -_-

2) There are separate areas of lines for each type of concert merchandise. Eco bags are sold at every line so you have something to carry everything else in. If you go at night, start with the area closest to the entrance as they begin closing lines in that order. The first area (for pamphlets) shut down by the time I reached the fourth area (for charms I think).

3) IMPORTANT!! Let’s say you want to buy all 6 posters, or all of the uchiwas, etc. The correct phrase to use is “Hitotsu zutsu kudasai” (One of each, please). If you say “Zenbu!” (Everything!), they will not understand you. I got a big blank stare when I tried Thanksaeslis!

4) To make things go faster, try using counters when you order. Here is a list made byhontowa- thanks!

When you order different things at one time, it’s best to say the product then the amount. For example, “Chaamu futatsu to sutorappu hitotsu kudasai” (Two charms and one strap please). Before paying, the staff will review everything you ordered to make sure it is correct. After paying, they will say a bunch of stuff in Japanese about no returns or refunds because there are no receipts.

5) There will probably be a separate tent that sells past Arashi singles, albums and DVDs (of course all normal edition) in case you missed any.

P.S. A word of caution to anyone flying overseas with the radish pack concert goods:CUSTOMS! The radish seeds come packed in Japanese soil. Each country will have different Customs standards, but for the US both seeds and soil need to have special certificates from the government for export, which are not included with the concert goods.

Of course, without thinking I declared. And yes, my radish seeds were taken away. T_T
I asked to keep the bag though, which I wanted more than the radishes anyway lol. I couldn’t grow a weed even if I wanted to
I don’t think Customs would’ve found out if I hadn’t said anything, but if you get caught it’s a $300 fine! :O It’s up to you to take the risk. :-/
Tags: other: concert report
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