jona: Jin, of KAT-TUN, joyful (JE - Jin joy)
[personal profile] jona
Disclaimer: I do not take notes during concerts, so it's possible that I'm confusing the order of events here and there. I also only have intermediate Japanese, so when I say, 'And Jin went blah blah' this is what I believe I heard, but I may have been wrong, though I also point out where I was especially unsure of whether I got it.

Crossposted to [livejournal.com profile] jindependence.

Through a long, at times hilarious and often grey-hair-inducing series of events, [livejournal.com profile] solo, [livejournal.com profile] powwie and I ended up with three tickets to the first floor, but all different numbers.

[Note for the uninitiated: in Japanese concerts without assigned seats, people are (generally) let in according to ticket number, so low ticket number means being closer to the stage. This is another way this country really caters to OCD types. Jin's concerts are like 2000 standing on the first floor and 250 assigned seats on the second floor. Some people prefer second floor because… reasons, but I and everyone else I know prefers first floor for dancing and fun times.]

Because I had done a lot of the moving and shaking with regard to the tickets, Solo let me have the 'best' of the three, and I got in after 550 people. I also personally suspected that Solo was much better at fighting her way forward even with a medium-good ticket, and turns out I was #correctpanda again -- she was let in roughly 800 people behind me and still managed to fight her way to be where I was. Where I was was about ten rows from the stage, between the middle and the left side. It was a pretty good spot. The people around me didn't like me much and there was both understandable pushing, and weird pushing, especially from a guy who was there with his girlfriend, who seemed to expect me to push his precious girlfriend away from the stage at any moment, which was ridiculous given there was nowhere to push anybody. But he kept a consistent and very insistent pressure up against my side for like half an hour until Solo got there. Now, I'm not terribly good at pushing my way forward or through a crowd -- I don't have the tenaciousness of the short-and-feisty, but rather the self-consciousness of the big-and-feeling-in-the-way -- but I am quite hard to move when I don't want to be moved, especially by some scrawny Japanese dude half my size.

Anyway, I digress!

We'd made plans to communicate where I was going so Solo and [livejournal.com profile] powwie would have a chance to catch up with me, on the erroneous assumption that we'd mobile have reception. We didn't have reception, and while Solo and I managed to spot each other while things were still relatively mobile, we only spotted [livejournal.com profile] powwie fairly late (by way of her forehead -- the people behind her probably loved her as much as the people behind me loved me!), and by then she'd have had no way to get through to us.

I should start the actual con report by pointing out that Jin has the most adorable and cheeky safety and rules instructions ever. It's Bibi, his 'personal assistant, in the voice of Siri, reading out what you're supposed to do and what you're not supposed to do, and even that comes across as really personal, and like someone thought it through.

I don't remember all of them but some were:

'It is not permitted to film and record the performance. Please leave the recording to us and enjoy the show' has to be one of the sweetest ways to phrase 'no filming' reminders/rules I've ever seen.

'It is not permitted to bring food into the venue. Drinking, on the other hand, is permitted and encouraged. [Picture of a cocktail glass.]'

Also, warnings that attending Jin's concert might make you be deliriously happy and cry tears.
(I guess it shows Jin hangs on Twitter.)

And a note stating that Jin's bass is 'extremely awesome'.

Seriously, I just <3 that intro. (Though speaking of bass, the volume of the concert was perfect. Club Circuit was at times too loud, but I found this just the right degree of loud without getting painful or ridiculous.)

Then the concert started, and, you know, I'm still probably not going to get myself a rip of that version of Lenny J, because that song is still like a bad trip, but just seeing Jin on stage
perform it made me actually not hate it while it was going on. He's performing Lenny J dressed in a red coat in the style of the pamphlet, and singing into a studio recording mic while standing sideways, i.e. in profile to the audience. Then the screens come on and show video of Jin's beautiful face, and we know how much Jin's beautiful face is responsible for anyway!

And yes, there were screens!!! Now, there are tiny venues and the lack of a real screen in Club Circuit did not annoy me at all, quite unlike the really tiny SHITTY screen KAT-TUN had on their last tour, but adding a screen was still a very nice move, especially for those further in back, because I'm not sure that even Jin's nipples are big enough to see them from all the way at the back of the Zepp, and the re-debut of Jin's nipples is definitely something that needs to be SEEN!

But I digress again.

After Lenny J came Baila. And… BAILA BAILA BAILA. This is why you want to be on the first floor, to fucking DANCE. And Jin danced too, and it was HOTTT.

Temporary Love and Key to Your Heart are kind of a happy dance blur in my head, so I don't know what was going on there especially.

In the first greetings bit, Jin mentioned he'd gone independent, in a 'I don't know if you heard…' kind of way. There was some clapping and some 'Omedetou' but not a huge response. Then he explained the meaning of the word 'Jindependence', which was lame in that super-cute way. He mentioned he was an ex-Johnny, also in an 'I don't know if you know…' kind of tone. (There was also a bit where he went, 'Are you surprised?' and I think it might have been the thing where he goes, 'are you surprised I just mention this?' but maybe it was also a joke in the 'I don't know if you heard… ' vein.)

Then he was like, 'The coupling song of my first independent single -- did I mention I've gone independent? -- was Heartbeat. Do you know it?' Not that many people shouted yes -- I did, but then I was wondering if people really didn't know it or if this was by now part of the official script of the concert so he could admonish us afterwards. Which he did.

And then he did Heartbeat and it was AMAZING. Such cool dancing, and great energy!

Anything You Want still sounds like it starts with 'Carry turtle…', and I still think in Slow he wants to 'scrub the temple'. Slow had some lovely dancing with the dancers, one of whom I found extremely hot.

In between that, he did a dancified version of New Life, which, funnily enough, works amazingly well, and I can't wait to have that on a DVD and as an mp3 rip, because a second cool version of a very cool song is just… cool.

Then came Mi Amor, and this was the time of The Push. This was a little crazy, because unexpected. As I said, we were sort of not-in-the-center but also not totally on the (left) outside. And then suddenly there came this massive PUSH from the left -- it must have been a concerted and coordinated effort because the entire squeeze area (i.e. the first fifteen or so rows where people were really wanting close to the stage, instead of hanging back and standing with a bit more space) just moved like four meters towards the middle. It was MASSIVE, and for a moment I got a little concerned -- it was the kind of situation where if you'd fallen down you'd have had a serious problem.

This made things very, VERY squeezy. I had the feeling I was basically having a foursome with three Japanese ladies, two of which were pressed-up-behind-me-spooning-me and one of which I was, well, spooning in front. It was crazy. (And I also figure it was a coordinated effort because I heard some people say 'Otsukare!' and the like afterwards.)

The discomfort aside, this did turn out quite well for us because we basically ended up maybe one row further back, because of some squeeze rearrangement, but also DEAD center in front of the stage. And that just in time for Jin's nipples.

Yes, he's really doing Mi Amor like in the video, shirtless and with green laser guitar. AND NIPPLES.

Good Time was just really happy party time, and that's also when I got the feeling that Jin was having a really, REALLY good time indeed. The crowd (which in some ways was kind of lame) really went for it with that song, and especially in our corner there was lots of shouting and dancing. (And clapping of those who could manage to raise their arms out of the mass of bodies. Not everyone could.) Then he wanted us to do an ooooOoooh call-and-response thing and explained it very thoroughly and dorkily. And that did go well.

Then came the MC, which is a bit of a blur now and also filtered through my dodgy Japanese, so here's what I remember:

• I think this was the second time he did the, 'I've gone independent, I don't know if you heard…' thing (I know it came up twice, but I may be confusing the order of things), and this time there was lots of applause and cheering and he looked really pleased.
• He asked who in their teens was there, and quite a few hands shot up. Then he made some comments asking if they shouldn't be fans of Kisumai or Sexy Zone instead.
• He asked how many guys were there, and then asked them to yell in a sort of guy-ish voice on queue. There really were quite a few guys there, even moreso than I saw last year.
• Then he asked who was there from overseas. Friends of ours who were way in the front even had Jin talk to them -- it is now apparently Josh's job to carry the mic to audience members -- and wanted to know where they were from. Solo and I also managed to shout where we were from, and he caught 'Germany', but he turned Scotland into Stafolette country, i.e. I don't know what he thought he heard but what he repeated didn't sound like any country I know, so maybe he went, 'wow, I didn't know that country existed.'. (The people around us kept trying to shout Scotland too to correct him, which was cute, but he didn't catch it.
• Then the talked to a 'Santa' in the audience, a nine-year-old girl in a Santa outfit. He asked her how long she'd been a fan, and she went, 'From your KAT-TUN time onwards', and he went, 'Really??' and she said she'd been a fan since 2008. It then took him a while to do the math on how old she must have been at the time, and then he went all suspicious and said something like, 'Wait, are you sure your mom didn't put you up to this? I bet she did!' and the mom hid behind someone else and was giggling. It was very cute.
• There was also a bit about 'when people became fans', though I don't remember at which point it happened, and I didn't catch the first thing, but Gokusen got mentioned, and 2008 got mentioned again.
• Beni was sitting in the balcony as a special guest, which Jin pointed out, but what he said afterwards I really didn't follow. It sounded like some trolly 'Beni's this really famous artist, whereas I am just this unknown Akanishi guy' joke, but I really didn't catch enough of the words, so don't take my word for this.
• Then he did a thing where he was supposed to change in 45 seconds, and… really really didn't. I think he came back out around 1:45? With the most gorgeous hair you can imagine, seriously. I'd seen the picture, but live it's something else. This is the most flattering hair he's had… IDK, ever? There were screams. Lots of them.
• Then he explained that he was going to draw a member of the audience to come on stage for Slow Jam, and said that people didn't have to worry, they weren't going to do anything embarrassing, and a nineteen year old girl got picked.

Slow Jam itself was… Jin was adorable, and the girl was super-shy, and at first I found her shyness kind of sweet, and how Jin was responding to it was also very sweet. The way this goes is that on the stage, there is a bench, and a door, and on the other side is a lamp post to set the scene. The girl is standing by the lamp post, and Jin is serenading her, and then it 'starts to rain' (there are two dancers on the stage too who set the scene by acting, for example, 'ooh, look, it's raining'), and they give the girl an umbrella. And Jin's supposed to join her under the umbrella, because romantic and meaningful. At this point the girl was so shy-hand-over-her-mouth-giggling that Jin kept repeatedly asking (by gestures) if it was okay to join her under the umbrella, and she'd nod, and when he did she'd freak out, so he'd back off again.

Then they guided the girl to the bench, where she was supposed to sit and Jin would serenade her some more. Jin at this point started playing with his suspenders, like slapping them on the bench, which looked kind of weird but I think the girl was so super-shy that there was just absolutely no interplay to be had there, not even a very shy one, so he decided to improvise. He also did some very old school hip rolls / grinding (not the girl, the air) behind the bench, and everyone screamed. Then he gave her a rose and guided her to the door, and then comes the bizarre choreo bit where he kicks the door shut in a really aggressive way, but then bows very very deeply. That bit looks weird; I'm guessing it was a choreo brainfart that 'sounded cool' one night while drunk.

The whole thing was very cute, but I found myself getting very impatient with that girl. She admittedly looked 11 so at first I thought it made sense, but then it turned out she was 19, and while I get nervousness, there came a point where I just went, 'oh, come on'.

Going by the setlist, Baby Girl was next, but I don't have any memory of that.

Ai naru hou e, on the other hand, brought the house down, and the mood was excellent.

In general, for us personally, there was also a turning point that was similar to what happened in Osaka that night we were fairly close to the stage and in the thick of it -- for a while people around us were totally giving off 'oh god those (TALL!!!) gaijin' vibes, and occasionally conspiring against us, but as soon as the MC part came around and Jin did the 'So are there guys in the audience? Are there foreigners? Who's in their 20s? Who's in their 30s?' bit we kind of became people to them, and there was a totally different vibe. And after that I also think the fact that we were dancing and partying enabled those around us to dance too, and they liked that. There is definitely some connection between the gaijin spots and the loud dancing fun spots in those concerts.

So there was lots of fun going on where we were, spooning and threesomes included.

Lucky -- adorable fact number one was that Jin totally fucked up the lyrics on the first verse, and then said either 'the song is too fast!!!' or 'it's too early!!!' (i.e. he hadn't had time to learn it yet) and it was very adorable. Adorable fact numer two, we'd been told by [personal profile] bellemainec that Jin's little 'Lucky, lucky day' choreo was to die for and it totally absolutely was.

What surprised me was just how powerfully he sang that song, once he was past the 'too fast!!' bits. It's really not a song I'd have expected to be in the 'one guy in a suit behind a mic alone on stage' part, but turns out that was a really cool approach. He was basically all, 'watch me rock the fuck out of this', very powerful voice and totally spot-on. I think this was also when it became crystal clear that he felt he 'had' the audience. He looked like he was having an amazing time and that everyone was happily along for the ride.

(Side note: I really think that apart from the bits where he was harmonizing with himself, he was doing everything live. Even with the dancey numbers, you could actually hear the difference in volume when he had to adjust his mic (the ones they carry on their head / at their cheek, whatever they're called).

Then came the DJ bit, which was just great for dancing, which by this point was admittedly more like grinding with my foursome ladies. And Jin did the DJing alone, no DJ Keibo anywhere in sight! \o/

Get Up was very short and barely a blip, I thought, and I'd have loved for that to be longer because it's one of my favourites from #JUSTJIN

Go Higher was another one where the crowd went wild.

Then came the dancer introductions, and sadly enough, the Jin concert crowd is just as shitty about giving props to the support staff as the KAT-TUN concert crowd. Seriously, people, will it kill you to clap for these guys a little? JIN ASKED YOU TO.

And then came Hey What's Up, where Jin forgot the lyrics again and went, 'Fuck!' and it was all sorts of cute again. I'd read on the setlist that this was the encore, and was thus surprised it came… you know, as a regular song. I was so happy when I read that finally there was an encore -- because I think it's dumb and kinda shitty not to do one and it looks weirdly surly -- but then apparently Jin also has not grasped the finer points of an encore, one of which is that if you play it in one go with your whole stage thing IT IS NOT AN ENCORE.

So I had very feeble hope for a real encore, but those were dashed quickly. People were not even calling for one! We tried for like half a minute but nobody picked it up. Then the girls behind us -- one of my foursome ladies -- tried and we joined in, but that also didn't get anywhere. I'm just, like, BZUH? YOU DON'T EVEN TRY??? Man, Osaka crowd >>>> Tokyo crowd ANY DAY, people. I was really disappointed by the lamebuttness of that.

There was a second little downer at the end in that the present boxes, which had been there for all other concerts (where you can leave letters and presents for Jin) were not there at Zepp Tokyo. I mean, WTF?

Apart from these little snags at the end, though, it was an awesome concert. Jin looks really, really happy and at ease in his own skin, and also just… really not angry anymore, the way you could still feel it in Club Circuit.

I still h8 him for planning his concerts so weirdly that I can only do two, not the four that were in Tokyo, but man. It was so worth it coming here already.

Edited for setlist mistake and things blurring together.

Date: 2014-12-02 01:43 pm (UTC)
jae: (Default)
From: [personal profile] jae
in Japanese concerts without assigned seats, people are (generally) let in according to ticket number, so low ticket number means being closer to the stage.

Huh. I wonder whether the Folkfest people came up with that independently, or borrowed it from the Japanese. :)

I am glad you are having fun!

-J

Date: 2014-12-04 10:54 pm (UTC)
mec: (Shopopeye)
From: [personal profile] mec
This sounds so much more organised than his American cons, and queuing for hours and hours to get to the front!

Thank you for such a detailed con report. I see lots of bits and pieces from all over the place in tweets, but it's great to have something meaty to read all in one place, especially from someone I know. :-) Glad you had such a fantastic time! I'm happy that Jin really seems to have found his place now and is able to do it all his way. So many cute moments you've described here. <3

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the paranoid android

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