A little more than one year ago PASSPO did their biggest One Man Live to date at Tokyo Dome City Hall. This time Bellring Girls Heart would do the same. Here the similarities ended though: PASSPO held their sold out live on New Years Day, without an event accompanying it, whereas Bellring Girls Heart was maybe attended by a third amount of fans, but happening in the spring with much nicer weather and an event – all-member cheki – directly afterwards. The live itself would also become different.
Fans were gathering early at the venue, but as expected the amount of them was far less than its capacity. I would estimate for a number of maybe 1,000? I was therefore glad to see some spontaneous buyers of tickets once in a while, but was still wondering why the group even took the effort to book such a big location. Be it as it is, the merchandise was sold hours before the show, so most of the fans were already present; me too arriving for the time of opening for their sales. In contrast to “Q” last time, the variety of goods was much more limited. I only got me the all-member-cheki, together with the tour-shirt. The latter was rather plain in design, offering nothing on the back. The front was nice with its stylised depiction of the group name and logo, but other important details were missing, like the date of the live and the simple fact of it even being a shirt from a concert. Also the “B” is just too exaggerated. A nice touch though is the mentioning of the member names. I always liked that. Makes me wonder though, why everyone is listed by their given name with the exception of Reina, who is displayed as Kamin. Any ideas?
Merchandise sales were quickly done by me and there was still a lot of time until entry. I already ate at the nearby Sukiya, so decided to explore the amusement park area. Since the beginning I noticed a lot of girls running around clad in merchandise of the Japanese male idol group Kat-tun. Back in the days my sisters liked them and I myself, though I was never listening to their music, came to like some of the TV-Dramas the members were in. Especially those with Kamenashi Kazuya. It turned out that on that day Kat-tun held a live at Tokyo Dome. This meant that at the one side of the area groups of mainly male fans were gathering, whereas at the other larger sized venue the majority of female fans were accumulating – both fan groups waiting for their respective idol group. So different in general, but at the same time so many similarities.
After hours of waiting – it became a bit cold because of strong winds – it finally began the entry. This time I knew my way around and how to get to the Arena area. As expected the crowd was rather small for such a huge venue and a space in the front, though on the sides, would have been no problem. But instead I decided to stand a bit further away, right after the first barrier for several reason: The barrier I could use to lean on in between, there was much more space to jump and move around and more importantly, it provided me a better view of the stage. What I also notices: Back then when I was at Tokyo Dome City Hall for PASSPO I was very disappointed with the audiences participation, as they appeared much too quiet. But now for this show, where I stood much nearer to the centre with the hardcore wota, the effect was the same – shouts that were usually heard loud and clear in the usual livehouses became hardly audible. I was relieved to learn of that fact and the correction of my wrong assumption.
The show that followed became one of the best lives – idols and non-idols – I have ever seen. It was also completely different to their first concert in the Trilogy – Q – from earlier this year. No walkway was present this time and also no mirror ball, that happened to be so great of an effect. Instead the stage was designed again with a graffiti wall, including stairways and a second floor. But the best – pyrotechnic! Flames and explosions! It didn’t feel like watching an idol show in parts, but instead watching a highly popular girl group. It was magnificent. The set list lasted for 3 hours again and contained most of their new tracks, with no MCs and only two breaks – a short jikou shokai and later an intermission, where the members didn’t talk, but instead drank water on stage and fooled around. It was an experience and so Bellring Girls Heart!
Images from the Show:
taken from and where to find more: http://natalie.mu/music/news/186328
With the show having finally ended, I needed to make sure, where the All-Member-Chekis were done. I suspected it being in the lobby near the entrance/exit and tried to find my way upstairs. This time I got lost and had to inconspicuously follow other fans to get back on track. Shame, shame, shame. Nevertheless I reached my goal and to my relief it was exactly as I had assumed. The first persons already had began to queue as well, but far less than I had feared. Of course I also got in line quickly and waited for the things to come. Meanwhile several of the fans I knew walked by to line up, so this provided some distraction.
It soon became my turn, I put my bag in the corner and greeted quickly. Mizuho was starting talking English again but stopped in between, maybe because the photo was about to be shot (“My name is…”). Kai was distracting me, as she seemed to mention something about me to the members, so I got confused and nearly forgot to pose. Per automatism my hand formed the peace sign, though as it was reversed it became a sign, which is not appropriate in countries of the British Commonwealth. Oh well.
Kanra on the picture is just obviously being Kanra, but the best part became the moment I got my bag right after. While I was putting it on my shoulder and the next fan was already talking to them, Ayano nevertheless made sure to gaze at me, to give me a bright smile and a hand wave. It felt like a combination of saying ‘Thank You’ and ‘See you Soon’ (Ayano was going on a two-month break after this show). This moment alone – and I kid not – was worth the whole time, money and effort I have put into my entire idol fascination. Yanagisawa Ayano is definitely now my most favourite idol of all!
This ended my day and I was completely satisfied with its turnout. My late decision to book a trip just for the sake of attending an One Man Live of Bellring Girls Heart was worth all the troubles. I hope to return soon for Japan, if even only to see the group again, that I consider even better than PASSPO now. But on this trip this wasn’t the last time of seeing them, as the next day I would attend a festival with Bellring Girls Heart. Stay tuned!