Anime Central 2013
by Theron Martin,
One of the signature events at this year's convention was unquestionably the Friday night concert by Kalafina, which marked the first time that the trio has performed in the U.S. with a full band accompaniment. Due to anticipated ticket demand, their performance was move from the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center to nearby Rosemont Theater, which also allowed for the use of sound, lighting, video and stage effects as elaborate as a typical major touring band. No precise attendance figure is available at this time, but on a rough estimate there were probably upwards of 1,000 present.
The performance was a mix of full versions of anime themes they have done (sometimes with relevant video clip accompaniment) and songs from their four albums to date. Interspersed amongst their 16 song set were several addresses to the audience by the trio in both English and Japanese, although their need to use note cards for the English parts made it clear that none of them were proficient at English. Each wore a silver dress with accompanying black skirt that, while similar in style to that of their compatriots, also had unique touches. During the performance the ladies frequently alternated their positions on stage and smoothly took turns soloing, singing in duet, or singing as a trio; as a result, each of them had roughly equal featured and ensemble performance time.
The trio opened the concert with “Oblivious,” the closing theme to the first The Garden of Sinners movie and their first single, followed by “Consolation" (the title track of their most recent album), “Kagayaku Sora no Shijima ni wa” from Black Butler II, and “Red Moon,” the title song from their second album. Their most electric and fan-appreciated number of the night was “Magia” from Puella Magi Madoka Magica, which they followed with “Hikari no Senritsu” (the opening theme for Sound of the Sky), “Door” (from their most recent album), and “Mirai,” one of the insert songs for the first Madoka Magica movie. “Aria” from the fourth The Garden of Sinners movie came next, followed by “Signal” and “Obbligato” from their most recent album and “Ongaku” from their first album. “The Whole Sky” and especially “To The Beginning” from Fate/Zero were other audience favorites, followed by a return to the Madoka Magika movies with “Hikari Furu.” They closed the evening with “Yume no Daichi” from their most recent album.
In all, the roughly 100 minute performance, which was done without any intermission, looked very polished and professional except for the interlude bits where the Kalafina members spoke directly to the audience. Putting show-stopper “Magia” so early in the show was a curious choice, but taken together the whole set conveyed precisely the kind of soulful, dramatic sound that has made the trio a major hit amongst anime fans and a moderate success on Japanese music charts. They certainly had every bit of the volume of a top-name rock band, too.
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