One month already Japan expo closed its door but I still get dreamy when I remember some moments of this convention.
I didn’t plan to go there but the sudden late announcement of a special guest made me change my decision. The instant Kalafina was confirmed to come to Paris, I had the hotel and the train tickets booked.
I discovered Kalafina some years ago on youtube, probably watching a trailer of the movie “Garden of Sinners” which they sung the main song “Oblivious”. I was also a fan of Yuki Kajiura since her work on “Noir” ost so I was both curious and impatient to discover that new group “Kalafina”.
Four albums later, I still consider them as some of the most talented singers of the last years. Three voices singing in harmony, with a great vocal technic and powerful, full of emotions songs.
My goal going at Japan expo was precise: getting a ticket to take part in the signing session on saturday and going to the mini concert on the sunday.
I was afraid all the tickets would be gone before I had the chance to enter the convention but I was agerably surprised to discover that tickets were available until the very start of the signing session.
The booth called “Wakanim @the anime” sold some items like Kalafina CD’s, posters and photobooks. I bought their lasta lbum, Consolation,a long with two photobooks.
The signing session took place at 11h00 and was well organised. I met the three members of Kalafina: Keiko, Wakana and Hikaru for some minutes. They were very gentle and dynamic. I was surprised to see they looked more beautiful in live than in photoshoots or videos. Their grace, patience and gentleness was the highlight of the day. They signed the first page of my Consolation Photobook.
What surprised me is that they were very close to the fans: we had permission to take pics of them, they stayed for long minutes for the fans to take photos. I took dozens of pictures with my brand new cam. Please note the” brand new” words meaning I still have to learn how to set correct parameters with it. I had problems dealing with the crazy indoors light but I still like those pictures. I didn’t put all of them on the blog, you will find the rest in my facebook page. ^^
They also took part on a small event during the afternoon, where they sang a capella. Their voices were amazing! You can also find the video on my facebook page (too big for the blog T__T).
The main event was the sunday live. I began to queue 45 minutes before the live, but at least 300 people were already there: the first began to queue 2 horus before the concert. The hall was completey full: 5000 people went to the concert but 2000 couldn’t enter. It was the first time the concert hall was full in the 15 editions of Japan expo!
I was in the middle of the hall, surrounded by giant people but giant screens were perfect to see the singers. A lot of efforts have been made for this concert: there were beaufiful pictures and animations on the giant screens, the lights were judisciously used to create a poetic yet powerful atmosphere. The concert was 45 minutes only but it was an endless dream for me. The songs were varied yet perfectly sung. I was a bit worried about Wakana’s voices, who seemed to have problems but the concert has put my worries to rest. She was perfect, awesome! Same can be said about Keiko and Hikaru who made a flawless performance.
Keiko, Hikaru and Wakana took also time to talk to their fans: it was cute and funny. When Keiko cried because she was so surprised by the number of fans attending their concert, the whole hall cried with her. I noticed that for once, the public was responsive yet respectful: total silence when the group sang, but lots of applaude and cheering at the beginning and endings of the songs. It was surprising because usually people get to yell all the time during Japan expo mini concerts. To have such silence because everybody was in awe of those incredible voices said a lot about Kalafina talent.
Some fans said that Hikaru’s voice seemed strange: I think it’s due to a sound problem. I was situated in the middle of the hall and I noticed there were technical sound problems: sometimes the music oversounded the voices of the singers, and Hikaru voice was often drowned in the music, especially during Magia. Someone must have been settled the problem since we could hear Hikaru a bit more clearer towards the end.
Aside of those technical problems, the concert was incredible. Here is the set list:
1. Misterioso: quite a dynamic beginning! Wakana was awesome.
2. Kimi no gin no niwa: such a cute song!
3. Hikari furu: I think I cried during that song. Once again, Wakana was perfect.
4. Lacrimosa: not my favorite song. The technical sound problem kept me from hearing Hikaru when she delivers her powerful lines.
5. Magia: same as before, the sound system ruined a bit Hikaru performance but she was impressive.
6. To the beginning: dynamic, powerful, better live than in studio!
7. Alleluia: that song made me cry. The live version was full of emotions, it made me cry like a baby.
8. Sprinter: THAT was the surprise! I had dreamed of seeing Oblivious live but I was more than happy to have this treasure song live. This song gave me shivers from its beginning. All three girls were perfect.
Verdict: one month later, I still get a smile when I think about that concert. I am sure that a correct concert place, with a better sound system would have made a better result, still I consider this live as one of their greatest. I hope they will come back for a full concert!