Seeing classical operas or theatrical plays begin with a human music box as an overture isn't too unusual. Seeing a pop concert begin on such a delicate note, however, is rather unique. As the lights dimmed to a solitary blue and fog filled the sides of the stage, Akanishi performed an extraordinarily accurate imitation of a windup music box figure, spinning in a half-circle before abruptly "breaking down" and reversing, taking the crowd by brief surprise before jumping onto the drums to begin the opening song.
Covering both newly-written and never-heard-before song titles, as well as popular old ones like "A Page" and "LOVEJUICE," Akanishi had the audience on the edge of their seats with anxious anticipation throughout the night. The old songs, especially, earned ear-splitting, excited screams and cheers from the crowd. Many of the songs involved brilliant light shows and elaborate choreographies, making use of the entire stage -- from the high-rise platform upstage, to props hanging in midair downstage, to even the seating sections, as flashing, multicolored lights stretched over the audience making an awe-inspiring effect. The talented backup dancers regularly pumped up the energy on stage, also adding to the audience's excitement.
Interestingly enough, although it was a concert in the U.S., a long way from Akanishi's native Japan, there were quite a few attendees that spoke nothing but Japanese, presumably coming all the way from Japan just for the concert. The diversity was further displayed by both the number of non-Asians attending and the fact that the audience did not comprise only of young fans -- middle-aged attendees were actually quite common, even if most were women.
The most memorable part of the concert was the theatrical interlude after the intermission. It began with colorful costuming, intricate demonic masks, clouds of drifting fog shrouding the walls of props, and well-coordinated choreography more fitting for the genre of world dance rather than the usual hip-hop performance. Perhaps this interlude could better be described as a "magic trick:" the characters on stage focused the audience's attention on what appeared to be the masked figure of Akanishi, only for the real Akanishi to be revealed elsewhere onstage under a splash of gold lights just in time to finish his concert with performances of "Yellow Gold" and "My MP3." Although some posts in fan forums have claimed that the interlude was an unnecessary filler, others have agreed that it was a rather refreshing dip into the quiet and supernatural.
Another hot topic on the fan discussion boards was Akanishi's English usage: although his English is rather good conversationally, as evidenced by his pre-concert video, his accent is much more noticeable when he sings (distracting perhaps, but not completely unintelligible, even if a rare few fans commented so). In the end, Akanishi's honest attempt at holding a purely English concert appears to have been looked upon with much favor, even if many fans wished that Akanishi had performed some of his Japanese works.
The concert slowed to an end with "Tipsy Love." During the instrumental section, all of the performers of the night took the stage and bowed underneath the flashing lights coming from the giant snowglobe on center stage. Unfortunately for the audience, there was no encore, despite the long, continuous cheers and clapping, in hopes of hearing one more song. It was a testament to Akanishi's popularity and talent that even after the theatre cleared out, many fans outside the venue still chanted catch-phrases from songs and waited after the show to catch a glimpse of Akanishi leaving the theatre.
Altogether, the concert was everything a person wanting a good show would ask for, especially considering the pressure Akanishi was under, being the first solo artist from Johnny & Associates to perform in the United States. It's very likely that many of these fans will be securing tickets to one of the concerts on Akanishi's next upcoming U.S. Tour in October, which hits Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Anaheim, and Houston.
For more information on Jin's upcoming schedule, check his official US website for updates.