Hiro Concert

by Chris Fey,
Despite a late start due to the Cosplay contest going over time, the Hiro concert at Sakuracon was a highlight. She was the first J-pop start to attend Sakura-con as guest. Last year they had scheduled Yoko Ishida, but were forced to cancel her and most of the Japanese guests when several production companies and guests decided that flying to the US was too risky because of the events in Iraq. Unlike Yoko Ishida, whose music is known through anime, as with the Ai Yori Aoshi theme song, Hiro hasn't done much work that the average anime fan may have seen. Despite this, the concert hall was full to the brim. A few rows of seats near the front were sold for those who wanted a good seat, the rest were distributed to 3-day pass holders who waited for them. Every ticket got snatched up and some paid for the good seats just to get in.

There was a long pause between seating and the start of the concert, in which music videos of Hiro were shown on two large screens on each side of the stage. Earlier in the day, the rehearsal had gone over the expected time, and that pushed everything back. The audience became restless and started to chant her name. In response, the lights were turned out by concert staff. However, it was soon obvious they still were not ready. The chanting began again, and quieted only when Isaac Alexander, dressed as Captain Tylor, took the stage to introduce Hiro.

Hiro ended up singing some fairly non-standard songs for her first trip to North America. Most of the songs sung that night she had never before performed in front of an audience. They tended to have a heavy beat, and Hiro put a tremendous amount of energy into them. This was evidenced by the multitude of pictures I took that did not turn out.

After the fourth song she took a small break to thank fans, and sung a song in English, one very familiar to anime fans, “Fly Me to the Moon.” She followed it with two more songs, with a total of seven songs over about 45 minutes. They were:
  1. ME & YOU
  2. Love is crying
  3. CRAZY
  4. Treasure
  5. Fly me to the moon
  6. Baby don't cry
  7. Paper Doll Love
After she left the stage there was large outcry chanting “Hiro!” She got coaxed back up on to the stage after a few minutes to perform one encore of “Flower”. Hiro wore a Mariners Jersey during the encore, as a nod to the Seattle team, as well as to the Japanese players on the team. There were calls for a second encore, but Hiro declined.

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