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Kanon Wakeshima ~ live report at Otakon 2009

Saturday, the second day of Otakon, was the day set for Kanon Wakeshima’s concert–and her US debut. A line had already been formed hours before doors, eager and dedicated fans that wanted a good seat, and when the time came and Otakon staff opened the doors, a cheer went up along the line. The audience was ushered into seating to await the show. To the surprise of many, local JRock-inspired band, [geist], took the stage just before Kanon Wakeshima. Their hard rock sound and heavy guitars were a stark contrast to the young woman about to take the stage, but it was a treat to watch their performance, and they vacated the stage leaving a heady impression.

Now the audience sat on the edges of their seats, the anticipation growing as techs set the stage for Kanon Wakeshima. A seat and table draped in black were set to the left of the stage, and a white cello leaned against it. A very sparse stage, and very large–until Kanon stepped out to fill it, her full red dress swishing as she strode forward gracefully. The audience cheered as the opening notes of Still Doll played, while footage of the Vampire Knight anime showed on the moniters to either side of the stage. The cheers grew louder as Kanon’s clear voice joined the music, and yet again as Kanon took up her cello, fiercely sawing out the melody.

Next up were Suno no Oshiro and Kuroi Torikago, both intense musically, and elegantly performed. Despite the nearly empty stage, Kanon kept the audience’s attention on herself, with her ringing voice and supurb cello skills keeping their ears, and her lovely choreography keeping their eyes as she waltzed across the stage, swishing her dress as she moved and twirled.

Between songs, Kanon Wakeshima showed a very adorable side of herself. Reading off a few papers she clutched in her hands, she addressed the audience in English, an obvious note of both nervousness and eagerness in her voice. She told the audience a little about herself, from the fact that she’s been playing cello since she was three years old, to the fact that she loves cats and spaghetti, to the name of her partner, the cello she used for the performance: Mikazuki (crescent moon).

Ennui Kibun! stuck out in the performance as the sound of a telephone ringing sounded into an otherwise nearly silent room, and Kanon looked out into the ballroom inquiringly, pointing here and there, and then, Ah! She walked to the right side of the stage and mimed picking up a telephone. Then the electronic pop melody of Ennui Kibun! started up–possibly the most fun of Kanon’s songs. She pointed out into the audience as she sang “Kirai, suki, kirai, suki!”

All too soon, Kanon Wakeshima announced the final song of her short set, Skip turn step. Brandishing a red parasol that matched her dress, she skipped, turned, and stepped, dancing across the stage. Then, it was done. Kanon’s concert was a bit more mellow than the usual audience is used to, but she still exuded a charisma and intensity strong enough to captivate her audience, demonstrating exactly why she is where she is in the Japanese music scene.

set list

Still Doll Suna No Oshiro Kuroi Torikago Shinku No Fatarythm Líspoir ~ Mahou No Akai Ito Ennui Kibun! Skip turn step

report by Melony; photos courtesy of Sony Entertainment
thank you to Sony and Otakon for making this possible


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