Miku Expo: The Leek strikes back in L.A.

When it was announced that Hatsune Miku would have not one but TWO concerts in L.A., I knew this is was opportunity for me to right the wrongs I committed during Anime Expo in 2011.. .

2014: Bracing for the Miku drop

After a 42 minute ride to Downtown L.A., courtesy of Uber (and then promptly forgetting the other half of my luggage with my favorite pair of underwear in the car), I stepped into The Figueroa Hotel. Since I visit L.A. yearly for Anime Expo I try to thumb my way through hotels until I discover THE hotel. One that is cheap, a close proximity between the event I’m attending as well as Target, and one that provides a mini fridge– Not only I relapsed horribly from drinking Diet Pepsi, I now developed this quirk where it needs to be as close to frozen as possible while still consumable. I have more problems than I can handle, obviously.

The Figueroa hit all the marks I set out, but it was also the first hotel that scared the hell out of me when I read the reviews on Yelp. I know; take reviews with a grain of salt, and I can tell you that the experience there was somewhere between adequate and pretty alright. Then again, I think there was a feeling that I had accepted my timely fate if it came to it, so coming back in one piece was just sort of a happy outcome. Morbid much? Well, either way, I got to see a cool adult cartoon series during my stay there.

Part of Miku Expo L.A. was being able to attend the Hatsune Miku Halloween Party. Only it wasn’t so much of a party as much as it was an open outdoor area at a small park with about five booths to eat Japanese food, a modest sized stage for a karaoke contest and a DJ. There was also a visual show inside a dome (a glimpse of it appears in the Vine clip) and a small exhibit, but I didn’t have time to visit either. It was really an event for being able to stand in line to get the exclusive Miku Halloween Nendroid. It sold out after the three hours I stood in line, but I wasn’t even gunning for that figure. I don’t know, but what good is a Halloween figure if it doesn’t have a witch hat(!)? I persisted to stand in line in hopes that Good Smile had other Miku figures available, namely the HMO Nendoroid, but hope be gone with me. All I manged to take away from the “party” was a shikishi, and for five bucks it’s pretty damn cute.

Although I didn’t do much there, it was fun watching fans trying their hand at karaoke. Hearing them do the chorus to PoPiPo was interesting, to say the least. It was just nice to see fans in cosplay and enjoying themselves. I’m not at all part of the active Vocaloid community, but seeing everyone having a good time, whether they were standing in line, gauging how much time they had left until the night’s concert start (as I was doing) or whatever, was fun to be a part of. The chill weather was a nice match for the atmosphere as the evening set in.

It was about 6:30pm by the time I left the event. The concert was set to start at 7:00, so I had to run back to the hotel (shikishi on hand) to wash up and recharge my dead phone. With barely enough time to get what needed to get done and a minute to catch my breath, I had to make a mad dash to the Nokia Theater. This concert was where I had “VIP” status; I get to stand in the pit and get some goodies after the show. The pit sounded like a good idea since this was hologram performance and if you’re ever so slightly off from the intended perspective you’re gonna see Vocaloid performers fade in and out–And that’s no way to rock!

Well, I manged be a lot closer to the stage than where I was for Mikunopolis 2011 at the same venue. Yet, for the first half of the show I got a more of a “slanted” view of Miku being that I was further off to the side until I inched my way closer as people moved around. That’s another thing; you’re in the PIT, people! You’re free from the shackles of having a seat! Then again, they were totally doing what I was doing during Mikunopolis; standing still, arms folded, just taking in all of the experience. It was fun, but it was something I felt I cheated myself out of by not being an active participant, especially without a glowstick. That was what has been eating away my  soul. Seeing fans wave their glowstick in unison, getting their leek-freak groove on was a sight to behold, but I regrettably wasn’t a part of it. Fair enough, and it wasn’t like everyone around was stiff as cardboard at this concert. Just the few that were immediately around me… I don’t attend concerts often but I was under the impression that people go buck-wild the closer they are to the stage. You could fit several children between the spaces of some people. Excuse me, but personal space need not apply to rock concerts! Sure enough, the concert venue provided each fan with a tote bag with a glowstick inside, and you better believe I waved that sucker to high heaven. So much so that my sweaty hands smudged the ink on it right off by the end.

Idol Notes’ official report on Oct. 11 concert:

Pretty cool! Here’s the set list (not in order):

Where else Mikunopolis was a concert to play a “greatest hits” set of Vocaloid tracks, this concert brought back some favorites as well as introduce some that I and other novice fans may not have been familiar with. What’s really cool is that they used one song, Glass Wall, that was produced only a few months earlier and included it as part of the set. It debuted live for Lady Gaga’s tour earlier this year, but it’s cool that they picked a track that they (Crypton or whoever calls the shots) felt it was good enough to be part of this event. And man, it was a good choice! This was the first time I heard it, so when I got home I listened to the original. While that version is good, hearing it being played live with a band is a totally new experience. It was fun to see fans wave their green glow sticks forward in head-banging motion when the dubstep part kicks in.

The rest of the concert was mix of jammin’ Vocaloid tunes, an excellent and energetic band, lasers, disco balls, and a huge monitor in the background to compliment the Vocaloid vibes. I was tired, though. The day leading up to the event took the wind out of me, and from where I was at I wasn’t exactly feeding off the energy from the crowd around me. It was an awesome concert, for sure, but I was mostly just hanging out.

However, the concert on Sunday was a different story. I had a seat further back, but I had a near center view  of the stage and a great view of the surrounding venue. This meant viewing the hologram Vocaloids with consistent visibility and enjoying the spectacle of the fans wave their glowsticks to the rhythm of the music. Is that a weird thing to look forward to? Well, if you ever get a change to see Miku and friends live, you’d know why.

Can you feel it!?

What you see here is only a sip of the teal twin-tail Kool-Aid, and I implore you to take a taste for yourself when the Vocaloid gang comes to a town near you. I don’t know how long or how often Crypton will push out more of these concerts, but anything with good music, friendly atmosphere and glowsticks is always worth a look.