If you’ve never been to a Johnny’s Entertainment (JE) concert, and have only seen the photos and read the fan reports, then you can kind of picture what Club Nokia was like when Jin Akanishi performed his solo debut. Imagine waiting in line, and all you see are Asian girls lined up to see one of JE’s beloved stars. Now imagine 2000 of them, and more likely than not, a majority of them have waited a while for this day.
Upon entering and looking around, the audience was about 95% female and Asian, and not just from Japan either, as this included the American fans as well. JE had no problem doubling the amount of equipment that was added to the club’s original set. Two huge screens were set on up stage where each song title appeared along with images. For those on the balcony and floor, monitors showed the stage performance and scrolling lyrics. This is JE, and when one of it stars makes their debut, no expense is too much. While it wasn’t up to the usual glitz and glamor of a show held in Japan, let’s face it, this is America, fans here will take what they can get.
Around 6:15, two MCs (Juice and Boobie) appeared on stage to get the audience started and asked, “Where are you Jin?” On two monitors they showed footage of Jin backstage. As music played in the background, Jin joked and said, “I’ll be performing right there,” pointing to Katsuya (a restaurant close to Club Nokia).
Right after that, Joey Tee, a member of JE U.S., came out on stage and was one of three opening acts for Jin. He entertained the crowd with his popping style and looked like a bobble head. His head really looked detached from his body. The second to come out after Joey were ABDC Season 3 contestants, Strikers All-Stars. This crew is known for their stepping, and on top of that, they threw in some hip hop choreography. They also took their shirts off at the end to the glee of the female fans. The last to perform was one of Jin’s writers (didn’t catch his name), but he performed two of his own songs, “One Love,” and “Turn off the Audio.” The songs were okay, as they are your typical hip-hop songs.
A second clip was shown, and this was more of a “Jin’s journey/making his way to the stage” type of thing. It showed the auditions he held for his backdancers. The audience was amused as the video showed Jin lip singing to his own songs in his hotel room. The video also showed scenes of Jin’s dance rehearsals.
Juice and Boobie came out again, and then amidst smoke and blue lights, a figure appeared on stage. In a white hoodie, jeans, shades, and pineapple hairdo, Jin finally made his appearance. The club was booming with screams.
The first song, OVERTUNE, played during the intro video montages. When Jin came on stage, the second song started, Orgel Dance. Sounds from a music box played, and in the middle of the stage, Jin stood surrounded by drums and other instruments. He moved like a robot, hitting the drums as if to test it, a light flashed to every beat. Then in a robotic voice, Jin welcomed the audience, ending it with, “...weather: sunny. Alcohol, ready. Let’s get the party started!”
Still in a computerized voice, “Christmas Morning” started. This song was a bit slow. Backdancers flooded the stage and then the lights go out. You can see glow sticks and hear the sounds of drums beating.
The lights turn on and he makes his way to the other instruments surrounding the center of the stage.
If you’re into the heavy, clubbish type songs, then you would appreciate, “Bass go boom” and “Wonder (DANCE)“. There’s a part in “Bass go boom” that goes C-L-A-P on the screens, where along that entire boom sequence you can hear the audience clap along. In pink lights, Jin does a (salsa) dance with one of the female dancers (in which you can hear the fan girls scream) to Wonder (DANCE). The song is a collaboration with Crystal Kay, and the PV (promotion video) played in the background.
Playing during some of the intro footage too, I.N.P., came on next. Microphones came down from the ceiling on the spot where Jin and his dancers had a small little battle. Next, the stage dims and blue lights flashed the stage. Adjust the Love came on, and on stage, one of Jin’s rapper friends joined him. Adjust the Love is like a ‘message’ song, objects in the shape of continents hung from the ceiling.
Jin disappeared and black lights came on. The dancers came out holding big neon green boards shuffling around on stage. During all this, Jin came back out in a new outfit: black hoodie and hat. Massive screams filled the club and “A Page” starts. This is a song Jin wrote himself. The song is a bit slow paced with music that reminded me of the Step Up soundtrack with the violins and clapping.
For the intro to the next song, LOVE JUICE, there were huge long screams. They might have been due to the fact that most fans were familiar with this song. A blue with pink spotlight showed Jin dancing with two female dancers, moving towards the back of the stage. From the foot of the stage,the three of them watched the break dancers that came out. It was as if they were acting out a club scene. Then Jin was “caught kissing a girl by the paparazzi,” which lead into the “Paparats.” In a megaphone effect, Jin stood center stage with a mic stand. Smoke overlaid the stage, and this rock song seemed like he was releasing his frustration that he’s had with paparazzi.
When the song ends, the lights go on, and a pop song fills the room. “Hey Girl” is the next song, and everyone is clapping along. Toward the end of the song there is a bar scene. One by one everyone leaves the stage and show up on the back screen. The screen froze for a bit and then it shoots to a live camera. Everyone, including Jin, was at the bar (in the back for the club) behind the audience. One of the dancers orders a “Lovejuice” and goes into intermission with all of them taking shots.
After intermission, Jin comes out in his third wardrobe change: white suit with baggy pants, and wavy/curly hair that reminded me of Michael Jackson’s “Bad”/”Billie Jean” era. He introduces his back dancers and breaks out into a series of dances. The first one is a popping routine. The second is a “screen dance.” Jin and two of his dancers came out in white, although one wasn’t in white, so not entirely sure if that was on purpose. They start projecting images on to the bodies, in which one was a beach body-builder with speedos (with a lot of girls screaming). On their heads were white buckets and Jin’s image on all three of them, spinning around.
“Tricken dance” was a martial arts style dance. The “Lock dance,” was Michael Jackson style. It had this jazzy feeling to it and Jin even threw his hat into the audience. The hat was on a string though because it came right back to him. After this he did a “Hip Hop Dance,” which was just hip hop.
The last dance of the intermission was “World Dance.” Here he expresses more of traditional Japanese side of things. Jin first puts on an Oni mask and the female dancers come out in kimono-like outfits (They really weren’t kimonos; it was more like a jacket/shaw that looks like one). Another dancer enters the stage to kabuki music wearing a mask and does some magic tricks. All the while, four female dancers try to seduce Jin. It then turns to Jin and the other dancers switching in smoke. From under the red cape of a magician, three people with masks come out letting the fans wonder which one is the real Jin. He then reveals himself on stage left.
The last three songs he performs is Yellow Gold, My Mp3 and Tipsy Love. Yellow Gold was another slow paced song, while My MP3 had heavy beats and a modified robotic voice. Tipsy Love on the other hand had a reggae feeling. Jin waved his hands to the rhythm and gets everyone to sing along to “yeah-oh yeah-oh.” There a huge globe with green laser beams shooting out from the middle of the stage.
At the end of it all, Jin thanked all his fans, the dancers (giving them each a hug), and kicks the globe saying, “See you!”
Everyone left the stage, but the fans kept chanting for an encore, screaming his name “Jin! Jin! Jin!”. At this point the artist usually comes out and does an encore. Not this time. The lights lit up and you can hear the “ehh~” throughout the club.
Throughout the concert, Jin spoke in English. All the songs were in English too.
After the concert, they held a small press conference. Since they were short on time, only UTB was able to ask questions, first in English, then in Japanese.
UTB: So this is your first time performing in LA, can you please let me know what you’re feeling?
Jin: Just happy. Just… I don’t know what to say. Just a sense of accomplishment, the audience, the dancers, everybody was amazing. That’s in a nutshell. Thank you.
UTB: I heard that you might continue working in America.
Jin: Yes. I’m going to have concert in September and November (I think he got the English words jumbled up, in the Japanese version he says it’s from Sept to Oct). We got…*fumbles for paper from manager* New York, Chicago, Houston, San Francisco, Anaheim, Los Angeles, and Las Vegas.
UTB: Can you tell me your impression of LA, how was the concert itself working with LA staff, and how were the LA fans?
Jin: I love LA, it’s just amazing.
UTB: Is there any difference between Japanese fans and the Los Angeles fans?
Jin: Little bit different but not really. Everybody was dancing. (In the Japanese portion, Jin says the fans are slightly different here. ノリがちがう. The LA fans got more personality, they dance more.)
UTB: Thank you very much.
(In the Japanese portion, they also ask how you like LA.
Jin: I’ve already been here two years ago. What I like about LA, uh, the weather. And the girls are as beautiful as the Japanese girls.)
Photography by: Alex Gao
sursa : tokyohive