Although it has been a few days since Anime Expo has concluded, it is clear what impact a certain virtual idol has had on the West. Hatsune Miku, a Vocaloid software developed by Crypton has risen to the levels of super-stardom with a multitude of artists utilizing her mesmerizing voice, figure lines, and concerts in Japan which thus brings her to Los Angeles for her first international experience.
With concert tickets sold out in 4 days, it was a packed house of leek-shaped glowsticks at the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles as everyone anticipated this groundbreaking concert. I had the opportunity to attend this concert and not being a fan I was certainly curious to know if this concert would change my opinion of Hatsune Miku and her virtual diva friends.
Did the concert deliver? Am I now a convert? Hit the jump and find out!
So how does this concert with a virtual singer work you say? Using what appeared to be a 3-D projection screen centered in the middle of the stage, Hatsune Miku sprung to life as she sang and danced before the audience. A drawback for anyone at the concert was that given the angle of the seats, those sitting on the left would notice Miku seemingly fade away as she moved to the right with the same for those sitting on the right side of the theater as she moved to the left. I noticed a bit as I was sitting in the front row to the left of the middle, contrary to what the ticket in the article image shows. Of course, I was there more for the music so I didn’t think much of it.
So how can a concert be interesting with a non-live voice? It is certainly not unheard of for a concert to use pre-recorded voices as singers dance up and down the stage seemingly without breaking a beat in their voice. Much like the Japanese concerts preceding it, the Mikunopolis concert used a live band for the music. On top of that, it also utilized a string ensemble as well. The band played amazingly well which certainly helped to make it more than just watching a very well done holographic presentation.
A lot of the songs played were standards used in previous concerts and featured in SEGA’s Project Diva series of games. Although this concert was really about Hatsune Miku, several songs featured the other characters of the Vocaloid pantheon including the twins Kagamine Rin and Len, and Megurine Luka. Again, although I can’t classify myself as a fan of the music, I couldn’t help but stomp my feet and clap my hands to the music. There is an allure to the characters and the music that is perhaps magnified by the technology utilized in the concert.
Another minor nitpick that comes to mind is that there were times when the music was so loud that it drowned out the vocals. Not entirely an uncommon problem that comes up in live concerts and judging from the enthusiasm in the crowd every time I turned around, it was a rather minor issue.
Rather than focus on each individual song played which is certainly well covered by other news agencies, I will just conclude this article by saying that the concert was certainly a pleasure to watch. Those of you who enjoy the catchy pop tunes that were put on display would have more than enjoyed the concert. With Hatsune Miku’s virtual vocals alongside the virtuoso playing skills of the band, it was certainly a success on a musical level.
For those of you who missed out on the concert, there is a rumor that a DVD/BD release will be made for this concert. This alongside with talks of an English-language release of the Vocaloid software should be enough to excite fans out there. Is this the future of music? One can only wonder…
[Photos courtesy of Randy Au]