Surprise! I saw May’n in Hollywood, California.
This past week I went to California for some family stuff, but little did anyone but my credit card know that I was also going to see May’n in concert. No seriously, unless my fellow authors read this article as well they will never know, this will be interesting.
May’n’si one and only concert in America on her 10th anniversary world tour took place at the Musicians Institute in Hollywood, California. There’s a benefit (sometimes) to living in America and being a Japanese media lover in that when these rare chances to see artists perform, because they aren’t expected to draw a full house they reserve a smaller venue which gives the concert a more “personal” feel. As seen in the picture above, the white tape on the ground was basically where the front row seat people’s legs would be, I’d bet that no Japanese performance in the last 5 years or so would let you be so close to May’n.
From here on I’m going to go through my experience leading up to and during the performance, and it will be long, so you might as well close the article if you don’t care.
Hollywood sucks. No sorry, lemme rephrase that, the whole Los Angeles area sucks. I drove in from San Diego and Google Maps told me it’d take approximately 2 and a half hours to get to the venue, and it might have had there not been a good 5 patches of heavy traffic on the way, and I even left at 1PM to make sure I beat rush hour. In the end I arrived at around 5PM at the venue and I wasn’t in the best mood, especially since I was going to have to drive 6 hours home after the concert anyways. I thought the adventure was going to end after getting to Hollywood blvd; I haven’t been that wrong since I thought Brazil was going to crush Germany at the World Cup.ii Parking around Hollywood blvd was literal hell, at one point I just wanted to drive off a cliff and end it all, but I knew based May’n-chan was waiting in my future, I just had to hold out hope. Three full parking structuresiii later, I finally found one of those sketchy outside lots where some dude trades you your soul for a parking spot at which point I thought was a good deal. By now it was coming up to 6PM, my initial plan was to arrive around 4 and check out the Ripley’s Believe it or Not and Guinness Records museums and maybe grab an early dinner before going to the concert, but now I just wanted to get a good spot in line for the opening doors at 7PM, so off I went.
Navigating my way around the MI school building to find where the concert was held a challenge in itself, but luckily because a crowd of otakus in Hollywood stick out like a spider in Australiaiv I was able to find the back-alley-please-don’t-mug-me entrance. Standing in line was entertaining in it’s own right; listening to fellow fans talk about merchandise purchasingv, which songs of her’s they liked, and other anime related speak. I suppose the one right thing that went well for me was the fact that not many people have the patience to stand in line for only an hour to get a good seat it also helped that everyone in front of me ran to get a good spot in the merchandise linevi so I got my choice-pick of viewing angle in the second row.
As I mentioned earlier the venue was small, very small; I’d wager that it was the smallest venue that May’n has performed in in awhile. I personally enjoy the more intimate settings where I can see the artist clearly, and was only about 10 feet away from the stage. I was somewhat happy to see the venue not even 100% full as it would encourage Japanese artists to book a small venue should they visit the US on their tour, or on the negative side, it might discourage them from coming to the US at all.
I’ve always had a vision of May’n that was different from other J-Pop artists; I’m not sure if it was because of her style of music, or her part in the Rock Your Soul Festival, but I always thought she’d perform with a band and be playing the guitar while singing, NOPE. May’n is just as much of a J-Pop singer as your Kotoko, Kyary PP, Mell, etc. That being said, out of the three Japanese artists I’ve seen perform in the US, this was definitely the best one.
The concert started with some techno-dance song while May’n’s stage dancers Yuu and Momo took to the floor with their moves that’d probably be a lot of fun to try and re-create in Just Dance 2015vii (As a quick note, Yuu was absolutely gorgeous and I think May’n needs to replace her before she steals the spotlight). Soon after they had us hyped up with the dance moves, May’n finally appeared on stage and quickly started things off with the song that’s on literally every rhythm game in Japan, ViViD. After ViViD and a few songs from her new album The World, May’n decided to chat with us. To my surprise, unlike previous artists I’ve seen, May’n actually knew a little English and did her best to tell us about: herself, her love for music, the fact that she apparently changed her real name to May’n, her newfound love for IHOP pancakesviii, disappointment in In-N-Out Burgersix, amazement at Whole Foods Supermarket, and then asked the audience to suggest more things for her to try in LA, which of course was Disneyland.
After that little chatx she continued on with more songs mainly from The World but included a couple from older albums, then she went into an approximately 10 minute long medley of songs she did as Sheryl Nomexi in Macross Frontier. Along the way she performed Chase the World and her newest single Re:Remember and while I had thought that they were going to forget about Kyou no Koi Iro since it was used in an anime that nobody but me cared about, she used it as her “final” song.
I say “final” because there’s always an encore, and although venues usually put a little bit of effort into making it look like the show is actually done, this time NOTHING HAPPENED. Would’ve been a pretty cruel joke though if we’d sat there for an hour shouting on-ko-ru only to get disappointment. But I mean it when I say that there was no doubt in my mind at all that there was going to be more, no lights turned on, no doors opened, nothing. So as expected about a full five minutes later, May’n and her booty-guards came out with a couple of older songs and new outfits. In the end though, what really made this concert really mean a lot to me was the fact that the last song (the real last song) that she performed was the song that put May’n on my radar, the first song that I ever heard from her, and this performance brought it all full circle for me. Here it is:
Kimi Shinitamou Koto Nakare, the opening for Shangri-la.
Standing ovations, bows, and a few Engrish practice lessons later, May’n left us, but left us HUNGRY FOR MORE. I would love for more Japanese artists to make their way over here, preferably somewhere close enough to me to drive. I’m glad I finally get to see Hatsune Miku in October, but sadly I missed out on getting the Babymetal tickets before they sold outxii, but I suppose I can’t have it all. For me though, this concert will forever stay with me as one of the best performances I’ve seen live, and I’d go again in a heartbeat.