YUI’s Hong Kong Concert & Rehearsal! (Georgina’s report)

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Written by Georgina A.K.A. Gotchi from Canada.
Taken from Gotchi’s blog

I don’t know how to start this post because so many things happened today! I’m still smiling ^__^

Warning 4000 word blog post (wrote this from 1-3:40 AM)….minimum pictures as I haven’t gone looking for the more ‘pro’ photos taken by others — I didn’t have my camera on me…it was impossible and I was gonna be kicked out from the dancer group if I tried.

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I had been preparing for this concert for so long now…and looking back on it. I’m so so so so glad that I did the ‘es.car’ dance contest. Being picked to go on stage with YUI and her band was really fun and being able to attend rehearsals made the inner fan girl in me come out haha!

As a part of the YUI-Lover group, we had gathered early for some breakfast and went over to the venue to start. There were about 30 people already lining up for concert goods and I had kindly asked fellow YUI@HK members to help me find a gift bag as I had no idea where to find them in Hong Kong (lack of time and didn’t know whereabouts to get it).

I brought my Canadian flag around and ran around in it and even did the es.car dance on their escalator haha. We waved the flag around as we knew there was some Japanese person filming. It looked like Toshi or Isshy but I wasn’t sure…while waiting for rehearsal, I spent some time trying to memorize a few sentences of Japanese of what I had wanted to say to YUI. A message to say that I was from Canada and that on behalf of YUI-Lover.com we were very happy that YUI and e.u.band members received the collaboration CD and that i really respected her as an artist, to thank her for sharing her music with us and to let her know that YUI-Lover and I will always be her fan. Quite the long message ha! I tried my best to memorize it as I may get the chance to speak to YUI.

While in the line, I noticed Icchi was around the sales area and took a blog post picture of the line up…I pointed him out and all YUI-Lovers ran over to take a group photo. Because I already had a shot with him and Datecchi I helped PM and took the picture of our 20~25 member group. As I grabbed the camera from PM, Icchi recognized me and waved quickly to me as I took the picture of them.

As the concert rehearsal time approached, I left the group and asked natchi to help me buy my concert goods. I met up Steph and we waited by the Crew Member entrance that had security. We had to have our pass in order to get through so we waited for someone to show up. Eventually other dancers showed up except one girl who arrived SUPER late and showed up RIGHT when we started the first stage rehearsal.

This translator came and brought us our passes that had our names written on the back. Because my cantonese is really crap, I couldn’t really understand a lot of the communication so I kinda had to rely on Steph for English translations ha.

Eventually we got in and we could hear YUI rehearsing. Her voice was soooo perfect ! It sounded exaaactly like you were listening to her CDs. They didn’t let us take pictures of anything but I had a video recorder so I tried to at least record some audio. But there was a lot of people speaking around our backstage area. We had our table with 10 seats where we left our stuff. We could hear YUI performing LIFE, feel my soul, It’s my life…I got so excited because she was gonna perform some of her old tracks!

We sat there waiting for a bit and then the Japanese stage director came in. He sorted us out into two groups of five and arranged us by girls on the inside and guys on the outside. He numbered us as well. They managed to move Steph next to me so Steph was able to stand right next to YUI ! They moved her because we said that my cantonese was crap so when the translator translated for the Japanese stage director, Steph would translate in English to me but I managed to get the gist from the director.

So we’re still in this back area by the table and we practiced the dance a few times using my cellphone which had my version of the es.car dance…eventually they had their laptop with the audio from her previous concert. There was some confusion about what we were gonna do during the verses of es.car dance as we though we had to freestyle during some of the verses as the es.car routine only showed up during the chorus but we really just ended up clapping enthusiastically. There was also a part that was a bit tricky where we had to crouch down right away and then jump back up into the song. Later practicing a few times, we found out we weren’t just only dancing the ‘es.car’ song but ALSO for ‘Shake my Heart” which really was clapping for like 3-4 minutes straight! Let’s say..it was quite the work out haha. But it was fun.

After we took a break and sat there, asking more questions to the translator — like if we would get to give YUI gifts. I had a bag filled with our YUI-Lover tshirt with maple cream cookies. i also had a pair of LED Flashing glasses that we picked up from the UK to wear during the es.car dance but I chose to throw mine into the bag as well as a gift.

Toshi, the videographer, brought 10 YUI 2010?s HOTEL HOLIDAYS IN THE SUN yellow staff robes/hapa for us. We asked if we could keep these and we got to! Awesome souvenir! I was freaking out i was like THIS IS SO AWESOME! We put them on and took some pics!

I ended up giving him the gift and explained to him that I was from Canada and that I had omiyage (gifts) to YUI and staff members. I was a bit worried that it wouldn’t go anywhere but boy was I in for a surprise.

So this was all still happening while we were sitting in the back area and eventually they called us out to the stage to practice. This was suuuuuper nerve-racking. We walked up the back side stage area and there was a monitor that showed YUI/band well the stage really. they were practicing camera movements and cuts. There was really only a thin black cloth that was in between us and YUI and e.u. band members.

We walked onto the stage in our yellow outfits and stood by our numbers and the moment I walked on, I looked at YUI, backy, mai mai, Arisa, Kaji and oh it was SO UNREAL! YUI looked soo pretty. She was wearing casual cargo pants and some platforms and just the black/gray YUI HK tshirt with her hair tied up. She saw us and quickly welcomed us. Once we knew our places, we went back out and then they started performing. On cue, we went into the stage clapping and doing the dance. The tricky part of us crouching was an utter fail haha. A lot of didn’t know when to do it as the music wasn’t as apparent cos not everyone was playing full on instruments and YUI wasn’t singing everything so it was a tad tricky. There were a lot of different cameras, on and off stage and on a moving track..it really made me think that they’ll release a HK dvd and i really do pray they do!

So we practiced another two times going in and out of the side stage waiting area. After they reviewed, they felt the yellow hapa/robe was too much so they decided that we should just keep it and instead gave us the concert tshirts to wear which alternated between the gray and black stars one. This totally worked in my favor as I only bought the gray tshirt! I love freebies! haha

Anyway, this time without the robe we practiced–we didn’t change into the concert shirts so I only had my white YUI-Lover tshirt on and i tried my best to put my hair off to the side so that the band/YUI could see that I was part of YUI-Lover! I don’t know if they saw it or not though…but maybe when I walked in and backy saw me he saw the tshirt graphic? During rehearsal at one point, the stage director walked between me and the girl next to me and i DIDN’T see him as I was clapping my hands and I hit him T_______T I was liek GOMEEEN!~~~ I felt so bad LOL. He flinched too….siggh

Whenever, es.car song went from the teaching beat to the actual song with full band instruments, my heart would almost stop …my breathing would stop…the realization of YUI and e.u.band right behind me had me freakking out inside…it felt like my arms and body were only dancing based on muscle reflex and not by concious thoughts anymore…after each song we moved to the side stage and watched her from the monitor for a bit and YUI would do some vocal warm-ups like “hey hey hey hey” similar to her funny voices/sounds she does on YUI Radio… at this point i was so high that i had to grab steph and squeal a bit haha…Steph and I were having a blast back there !

After another practice, we got better but our timing but it was a tad bit iffy with the crouch down part.

Being on stage with an empty venue (other than staff), was weird but it made me realize that i was only like less than 3 metres away or even just an arm’s length away from YUI >__< The venue from the stage point of view was actually quite small. It was much smaller than I had imagined but still bigger than the 2008 Nagano venue I went to before. As we practiced “Shake My Heart” YUI had to run behind us to get to the edges so the next time we did this song, we had to move a bit back and YUI weaved between us and ran in front and behind us. It was sooooo crazy! She was sooo close to us >__<

This rehearsal seemed quite intense and all about getting it done and YUI was being quite professional about it so we didn’t really have any chance to stop and talk T__T. But even for me, i wanted to make sure I wasn’t making mistakes so I tried to do my best as well and only snuck a peek at YUI with the corner of my eye every now and then…

It really didn’t seem like at this point that YUI would greet us personally ;__; but I understand that this rehearsal’s important and already being able to be so close…it was much closer than being in first row …it was amazing.

I think overall, we spent our time in rehearsals from 2pm-4;15? and we got to be on the dance stage 3 times per song.

So we were led out of the area and our passes got taken away. We were to return by 7:30 so steph and I went back to find our group and to grab some food. There were TWO LARGE Hong Kong forum groups that were there and were very organized. They had raffle draws to photo sessions with all banners. The filmers or really Toshi went around filming every group and we’d scream and cheer ! I swear, even though we had less than 30 members, we were the LOUDEST! soo…go foreigners! haha We also signed our banner and gave it to Toshi to give to YUI. Toshi became our gift carrier haha

Steph and I picked up a few more poster goods and eventually met early at the gate to re-enter. We left all our stuff in the back area and were led to our seated areas. So if i had some beef to beef about TRiKs, they could’ve TOLD us that they had seated areas for us cos the tickets we bought….didn’t mean anything! Which is bullocks as I had better seats than the ones TRiKs made us sit at! Steph and I decided we’d sit there right after we finished dancing.

The concert screens were TINY….the stage set was not really super either as there was no door frame thing that YUI walked out of. It was just a small version of the Budokan….the voiced over the ‘hotel’ thunder/rainstorm scene with cantonese which…i wasn’t very fond of or maybe because I didn’t understand?

Anyway, YUI came out and I had my LED sign and Canadian flag. Steph and I waved it like crazy and I could see Toshi filming ! I was singing along at times and just mouthing the words. Steph and I are pretty loud so we yelled nonsense like “aishteru!” “WE LOVE YOU YUI!” and just endless cheering!

See the setlist in this post

The concert started off with LOTS of energy! People were clapping and maybe cos steph and i were very hyper still we jumped and screaaamed! The chinese dancer girl next to me asked me how to say the song title “Rolling star” as she couldn’t say it. Everything was great…her vocals again are just so on key!

I was so happy they kept the Acoustic corner ! Love is all was sooooo good. I remember hearing this at the 3rd tour concert before but this was totally different. Mai mai was on the drum box and it just sounded so good. I loved that performance. TOKYO made me tear up again…and Goodbye days, the most famous song in Hong Kong for YUI…I felt like a tear fell but it was just so raw and you could really feel her emotions coming through in these songs. It had always been her ballads that are so good but I love all her songs !

So after Good-bye days, we got rushed to the back stage side area again. We got to watch the concert from the monitor and boy…the Chinese boys in our group were sooo nervous haha. They were so worried about missing the crouching part and looking like idiots. I told them to just chill and have fun. Kind of ironic because I’m usualy the one freaking out but I think i was really just having a great time that nothing could go wrong at this point.

I could hear YUI’s voice (not through mic) from the stage and few of us tried to see through the black curtains but weren’t able to. I just sang, lip-synced, danced, grooved along the next 4 songs that we would miss ;__;

The moment went es.car started, we practiced while YUI sang the first half and we came out onto the stage with all the lights and fireworks…it was SO COOL! All the fans were dancing and clapping along and in the corner of my eye…I noticed something looking awfully familiar on YUI…

It was the LED Flashing glasses that I dropped into the gift bag of cookies/tshirts! I almost freaked out on stage! She was wearing what I gave her! ahhh!!~!!!~ I kept my composure and kept dancing and it was so fun. I wasn’t really nervous or scared but slightly concerned about mistakes but oh man our side was so awesome at crouching! We were so on key haha

I loved jumping back up into the es.car chorus…I lip synched to the song while YUI performed and on the cue, we left the stage. We saw in the monitor that YUI saying thank you and that she had received these glasses from a fan >____< THAT WAS ME !!!! Gyaaaaaaaboooooo~~~ haha I was so happy! Now there are only 11 other YUI-Lovers who own this ^__^ Panda was wearing this pair just before too haha. I’m so happy that I gave mine away and really appreciate YUI mentioning that outloud in the concert >__<

Back in the side backstage area, we watched the other songs and I was so bummed when i heard Hello~ Paradise Kiss! But we watched from the side monitor and it was so good. Once Shake My Heart started I was just trying to soak all of it in. this would be the last time I’d be that close to YUI and the band members. I did my best and I saw YUI running behind, to the corners of the stage in front of us. The moment the confetti flew it was our cue to leave as well. It was shorter than es.car but it was amazing to hear voice!

After we performed, we grabbed our stiff and e.u.band went off stage as well. As we walked off stage, by the monitor i saw Datecchi-san! I wanted to say Hi again but she walked off so fast and the other Hong Kong dancers were in my way T__T. I saw Yussuke holding a hanger with a white tshirt. I think this was for YUI haha. I saw Backy san running half naked to the back, and Kaji-san running and I waved hi to him. Arisa was seated in my waiting area seat and she waved good bye and thank to both of us with both hands. She’s soo cute too!

Steph and I went back into our original seats and in time for YUI to perform ‘to Mother’. I was really ticked with the Hong Kong fans who kept CLAPPING…this song was just so perfect that i really had to filter the clapping. It was such an amazing ballad…I love this live so much..but the clapping was so distracting and unnecessary!


The second MC part where this HK guy comes in was hilarious trying to teach YUI Hong Kong style. And lingo like “add oil” but teaching bad English to YUI in doing so T__T ha. He said “add oil-uuu”  so bad…but he had high energy. He asked if the crowd knew CHE.R.RY and we sang outloud what we knew. And

After her songs, the best part was probably when the band members left and YUI performed like in her street lives by sitting on the floor of the stage with no mics. She just sang Goodbye days and the audience was silent. I could hear her and omg I didn’t want this to end. This was what I had wanted to experience. A street live…but even though it was inside a venue… it was great! As she finished, she gave her thanks and bowed for a long time expressing her appreciation for the fans …>__< e.u.band members came out too and bowed …I knew the concert would fly by like this but…just so many things had happened that everything seems like a blur.

The Hong Kong audience kept waiting around calling out for YUI when it really did end and I was surprised the security didn’t boot them out because if it was in Vancouver, they’d be kicked out pretty quickly for sure.

After going through rehearsals and the concert stage, I can really see how much YUI cares about making each of her performances the best that she can, YUI showed a lot of professionalism with the sound system having issues during Goodbye days and for Backy’s bass during  Driving Happy Life. The YUI@HK got their group photo picked into the slideshow during ‘feel my soul’ . I had thought it’d be use for ‘Please stay with me’ …but it wasn’t. I really wanted to hear Cinnamon and more songs off HITS but I was still happy with what she performed.  I was really impressed by her…she mixed up a verse of CHE.R.RY but she did that little smile thing and got back right into it. I had a great time…I just wish YUI would take intermissions and then have a longer concert haha. But one woman show…she sings all the way through..it’d definitely wear her down. I can’t wait for all the media (photos + video clips) from all over. People had DSLRs everywhere and iPhones…oh Hong Kong rules hahha in that aspect..but I still once again wasn’t a fan of the “YOU-E” accent …..no offense…

 

After the concert, Steph and I reaaaaaally wanted to find someone to get our Dancer passes back. We walked to the back and I saw Icchi again!

I greeted him with a handshake and said “thank so you much, that was really amazing! ”

He said :thank you and wow really! yokataaa I’m glad haha i’m so tired now!  haha.”

I said “no it was great I really have a good time so thank again. I was wondering, since we’re from Canada we really wanted to keep the dancer pass as a souvenir..could you help us?” I reas realy expecting a big fat no but he went and ran back to us ..and sadly he was empty-handed.

He said “i’m so sorry, i don’t know where”

Me “its okay! thank so you much for looking, please have a safe trip back to Japan and enjoy the maple cookies!” and we said good bye with a handshake.

Steph and I kept looking for someone familiar and eventually I saw YUI’s translator? I approached her too and asked

“sumimasen….ettoo….futari wa Canada kara kimashite” we’re both from canada and we were wondering if we could find someone who could help us get the Dancer passes from and she kinda was like flustered and looked like she was gonna call someone but

she said “I’m sorry I’m just part of the Japanese staff so I don’t know…” in English

I said “Oh its alright, thank you so much, the concert was great! we reaaaally had fun”

She said “oh so from Canada are you studying in Canada?

We said “I [steph] am” “I just graduated this is my graduation gift! haha”

She said “ooh wow yes that’s great and memorable ! Oh i’m sorry I have to get going…

I said “oh yes yes thank you so much bye bye!

So I think ….I’ve pretty much talked or spoke the names to most of the main YUI staff members O__O which was NOT what I was intending…I wasn’t ever able to speak with YUI directly but the fact that she wore the glasses meant she must’ve read the letter I printed off (which was the message I wanted to say to her).

I’ve been writing this blog entry for 2 hours …I’m super exhausted…but this day just made everything so awesome!

 

Thank you YUI-Lover members for participating and for all the help and support (members that couldn’t make it and those who went). I really had a great time meeting you all and having fun together. Thank you to my friends who helped me with my ‘es.car’ dance video submission-cos this wouldn’t have happened without you guys! Thank you YUI Staff members who took the time to chat with a total gaijin and for delivering YUI our messages/gifts. And thank you to YUI for always making me feel happy with your songs, lyrics and for being who you are. I’m really going to miss this day . I don’t think I’ll ever get an opportunity like this to meet 20+ online friends in a foreign city to celebrate and enjoy our favorite artist’s concert together. Although I had planned for so much more to happen like preparing my own name tag to introduce myself to YUI…and this memorized Japanese speech…having my things signed….those things didn’t happen but I’m still happy.

 

YUI arrives to Hong Kong (Photo and Video report)
YUI arrives to Hong Kong (Gotchi’s report)