NOTE: I intended to publish this article earlier in the year but I was waiting for photos from the event before doing so. Now that I have everything I can present the completed concert report of the 2019 edition of New Year Premium Party.
New Year Premium Party is an idol festival organized by TOKYO IDOL PROJECT and @JAM. It has been held in the Odaiba area since 2017 with Zepp Tokyo and Zepp DiverCity hosting the concerts and the Fuji TV building serving as the stages for fan service events.
I have been attending this festival since its inception and I make it one of my must do things when I travel to Japan over the New Year holiday season. My third year of attending of the event was slightly different from previous years.
There was the sense of the unfamiliar with some of the acts I follow who participated in this event disbanding before this event. That left my schedule wide open to check out a variety of idol groups whose names and music I had heard of in passing but never really grabbed my attention fully for one reason or another.
Seeing some of these particular idols perform live might leave a better lasting impression outside of discovering them through recorded media. Or at least that was my idea going into this year’s festival.
With all of that out of the way let us move to the 2 days of New Year Premium Party 2019 in Odaiba.
January 2, 2019
I started my day at Zepp Tokyo to catch the first of the acts I had listed on my itinerary, Magical Punchline. For those unfamiliar with them they are a 4-member idol group who follow the theme of being magical girls.
I started following them late last year and they were one of the first acts I had marked to try to see at this year’s event. I found their gimmick was heavily incorporated into both their music and choreography. But not so much that it was distracting.
One member in particular caught my eye through their entire set. That member was Asano Anna. She had a very strong stage presence that reminded me of the big ball of energy that is Mori Shiori. (Formerly of PASSPO)
They put on a lively performance that set a good tone for the rest of the day.
Once Magical Punchline were done I moved over to Zepp DiverCity. The first act I saw there was Last Idol. This was a group recommended to me by one of the Selective Hearing staff so I figured since I had some time to kill why not check them out?
It was explained to me that Last Idol are a group produced by Akimoto Yasushi and if I enjoy his productions and/or idols affiliated with him I should have no issues with them.
My first impression of Last Idol was “This is one big group.” The stage didn’t look like there was enough room for all of them. The second thing I noticed during their performance is that their fans are really vocal.
The combination of solid idol music and rowdy, loud fans made their time go by quickly. It was a great performance that had me making note to take a look into this group’s discography further. (I haven’t gotten around to this yet.)
Immediately after Last Idol was one of the main groups I came to New Year Premium party to see, the Sashihara Rino produced idol/seiyuu group =LOVE. I was thankful I didn’t have to change venues as I had a pretty good view after moving up a bit during the intermission.
As soon as =LOVE’s introduction music hit their fans started marking out hard. At this point no members had even appeared on stage. Although =LOVE’s music is pretty straightforward (a.k.a. safe) idol music it didn’t really matter. They put on a fantastic performance that had the crowd going insane by the end. It was definitely a highlight of day 1 of New Year Premium Party 2019.
Crown Pop was another group recommended to me. This time by my traveling companions who seemed to find them interesting. They are a 6-member group with a rock infused idol pop musical style. Well at least that is what they presented during their very short set. They were scheduled for 25 minutes but only seemed to go about 15 or so? It was kind of odd to say the least. Their performance was good for whatever little time they were out there. That’s about all I can say.
The final two acts of the day were groups I also had the highest priority on seeing. Tokyo Performance Doll was up first. I dig their music but never had the opportunity to see them perform live. Their music is best described as highly polished, high tempo dance pop. The atmosphere they set was energetic and the group pretty much went non-stop for their entire set.
The headliner of day 1 was AKB48 Team 8. Similar to =LOVE their fans got hyped real fast as soon as the lights dimmed and the overture started playing. Their set list consisted of a mix of classic AKB48 songs along with some of the more recent (at the time) Team 8 material.
The older AKB48 songs really made people lose their shit. It’s probably the nostalgia factor or something in the water. It was fun performance overall and a great way to end the first day at New Year Premium Party 2019.
January 3, 2019
I wandered into Zepp Tokyo at the tail end of the THERE THERE THERES set. Whatever they performed at the time was pretty catchy and I made note to investigate their back catalog at a later time. (Which I did eventually. Their music really isn’t suited to my tastes outside of a couple of songs.)
Once their time was over I moved further up to get a decent look at the first act on my watch list, Maison book girl. I had some familiarity with this group and found their music to be intriguing. Whether their quirkiness translated well on stage was the main thing I was wondering about. And I was not disappointed.
The best way to describe this group is that they are very artsy in both music and stage presentation. Given that their music is a little left of center I can firmly say that Maison book girl are not for those who subscribe to the high-octane type of idol groups. You’ll probably get bored real easily given that they don’t exactly have songs you can frantically dance and wave glow sticks to with wild abandon.
Even though they started a little slow everything built up rather nicely and their set ended on a nice high note.
NEO JAPONISM was a group I was not planning on seeing at all but since they were on before NGT48 I figured I would give them a shot. At the time they were a 5-member group whose main theme is “NEO”. I dunno, their concept kind of goes over my head.
Anyway, for going in with no expectations I can say I was thoroughly entertained by them. They had a lot of energy on stage and their songs were pretty decent.
NGT48 were up next. With another 48 group on the concert bill it was expected their fans would come out in full force and they were ready to go before the overture started. Their set list consisted of much of their original material with the occasional cover of an old school AKB48 song. A contrast to the set list Team 8 had performed the night before which consisted mostly of covers and a few of their original songs.
Anyway, there was no Kashiwagi Yuki present in the lineup for this performance but the rest of the NGT48 top-level members were accounted for. They put on a pretty good show and had the crowd hot throughout their time on stage.
The major thing that stood out to me was that I noticed that Ogino Yuka had a very spastic kind of aura while dancing. It was to the point where she almost hit the Nishino Miki level of involuntary convulsive movements.
It was nice to see this version of NGT48 before they imploded.
With NGT48 over at just over 3 PM I had about an hour and a half to kill before going back into Zepp Tokyo. I decided to wander over to Zepp DiverCity to see Idol College. Another group I knew absolutely nothing about but was willing to give a chance out of having nothing better to do.
I arrived in the middle of their set so I can’t really give a great impression of them. From what I experienced the most I can say is that their music is a little idol generic but very genki. Similar to other idol groups, their fans are passionate. But not insane like say, Super Girls or Playballs fans.
It was a good performance but probably not enough to win me over.
Much like the day before the two acts I was anticipating the most were back to back. This time it was predia and CY8ER. predia’s strengths tend to lie with dance pop with slight western influences. That is where their fans got the loudest. When they let off the gas a little the hype train kind of derailed.
However, that did not detract from the quality of their overall performance. Being the one mature group in this year’s festival they were able to display some vocal abilities that other groups could not. In the end it was another entertaining set from them.
The final act I saw on day 2 was CY8ER. Their introduction felt like you entered a dance club of some sort. Hard pumping beats led into a set that consisted of their unique blend of Drum & Bass and Future Bass. Because their music is somewhat niche it made their choreography different from the typical idol group. That aspect made them quite interesting to watch and it had me wondering what they would be like with a beefed-up stage production behind them.
Their 20 minutes went by in a blur and thus ended my second day of New Year Premium 2019.
Well it was nice to go to be able to attend the entire 2-day festival this time around. Getting out of any venue undamaged again was also a bonus. As I mentioned earlier my experience with this year’s event was focused discovering new idols to follow. With many of my long-time favorites now long and gone to idol heaven I was forced to get the most value out of my experience. It actually worked out well I think for the most part.
I do plan to attend the 2020 edition of New Year Premium party. Whether any of my favorite idols will be there is up in the air. But I am willing to be open to checking out whatever when the time comes.