The final concert day of AKB48’s Tokyo Dome series and I did not want to do anything before the show. Having learned my lesson from Day 1 there was no way I was going to have my feet throbbing in pain again. I declined the invitation to go to Ginza knowing that it would take quite of bit of time to just hang around that area.
Instead I spent most of my day catching up on e-mails and posting the press releases I received from AKS. It was nice to give my foot a break from the punishment it would receive later. I did end up leaving the confines of my hotel room to hang out with Hiro.
We found a pro wrestling shop that had some pretty cool gear from I believe New Japan Pro wrestling. And all the sizes for the stuff were for North Americans since you know, wrestlers aren’t exactly the size of the average Japanese dude.
It was rather crowded so we took a quick look and decided to come back another day. Then off to Denny’s. Yes, we came to Japan to eat at Denny’s. Actually it’s a little different from the typical Denny’s food in North America and rather tasty. I don’t think there’s a Denny’s that I know of that serves Cheeseburger Curry.
After that back to the hotel to rest up. Yeah, this day sounds real fucking exciting right? Around 4:30 we headed back to the Tokyo Dome to queue up for the line. Unlike Day 1 we were much higher up in the stadium. Much higher. Like way the hell up kind of higher.
The advantage of that view is that we could see everything that was going on as we were facing center stage. That meant no missing out on stuff. Always a good thing to be able to see what’s going on right? Just after 18:00 the house lights dropped and the 1830m walk video aired. Much like the first day it showed the first generation members.
After that was done the overture to hype the crowd. I still cannot do the mix. The words after Tiger are the ones that I miss so I just did the glow stick motions instead. When that was over out came Maeda Atsuko by herself to sing Sakura no Habiratachi.
Here’s what got me, she sang live. Maeda is not know for having the most powerful of voices but she did a very good job with this subtle version of the song. Behind her was a string section, they were hard to see at first but they were clearly visible as the song reached its climax.
After that it was Maeda Atsuko’s greatest hits with a little bit of the Day 1 concert mixed in between any song that featured her. It was actually very fitting that the concert focused a lot on her. But there were other moments as well.
Seeing Heavy Rotation performed twice was awesome. Apparently part of the concert was being recorded or shown live for a television show, so the group did a little bit of a medley that included that song. Man is it ever fun to do the chants. The song is one of those that is structured perfectly for a stadium setting.
Candy is a great song but man it was hard not to laugh at the lyrics as they went by on the screen. Every time I saw “Everybody Suck” it gave the song an entirely different meaning that I’m sure was not the intent of the song writers.
Team 4’s Ougon Center was another performance I was looking forward to seeing. It’s one of my favorite songs on the 1830m album and it just has that small bit of disco funk that makes it really appealing to me.
The song on the big multi-tiered cake stage was Koko ni Ita Koto. It was cool to hear that live and even better to see Masuda Yuka there. It’s cool that she was able to participate in the Tokyo Dome concerts after all.
When that song ended it was time for Maeda’s send off. A video of her history with AKB48 played on the monitors. 3 seats down from us there was a Maeda oshi standing at attention, hyperventilating and near breaking down in tears. It’s mean but we found it kind of funny to watch the guy fall apart. Probably because he was the only one doing it in our section.
After the video review of her career, the final Maeda performances with Yume no Kawa and Sakura no Hanabiratachi. During the first song she managed to keep her composure. It wasn’t until the pause in the song for her to get on the boat to sail away into the distance that shit got real.
There was mass crying all around and it was surprising that anyone on stage could even get a note out. After that bittersweet moment Maeda arrived on a mobile platform to wave goodbye to the crowd as petals fell from the sky and AKB members on stage sang Sakura no Hanabiratachi. When that song ended so did the Maeda era of AKB.
The final encore featured the remaining AKB members moving ahead without their long-time face of the group.
Overall I found this final concert to be better than the first day. The atmosphere was incredible, the production values on par with any North American pop artist concerts and AKS did a superb job putting together a classy farewell for Maeda Atsuko. It’s quite impressive for an organization that has never really had to lose a major part of their roster.
I guess AKB fans got to experience the pain of graduation that Hello! Project fans are accustomed to.
I did find it sad that there was not a sea of pink glow sticks, but organizing 50,000+ people? Yeah, that would have been one hell of an effort if that could have been done. Otherwise I have no complaints and look forward to pre ordering the DVD or Blu-Ray set.
I definitely got my money’s worth out of these concerts and I feel I am very fortunate to have experienced this event in AKB48’s history in person.