When I first became a fan of Miku and her gang of Vocaloids around 10 years ago I assumed that the only way I’d ever get to experience the insanity live would be to go to Japan. Miku Expo 2020 is travelling across Europe with a couple of concerts. When I heard it was coming to London, I had to be there as I was unable to get to the only previous UK concert.
The six main Crypton Vocaloids were all in force across two hours of high octane anthems. I was always slightly unsure of how being at a holographic concert would turn out in person, even though I have bought the concerts on DVD before. The answer is that it works really well for the most part but you need to tune out some of the reflection in the glass panelling that projects the stars themselves. I wouldn’t have noticed nearly as much if we hadn’t all bought the nearly mandatory lightsticks which change colour with each Vocaloid. As they fly around to the beat of the music, they catch your eye sometimes but you soon tune it out.
The setlist is a varied mix of containing lots of newer material and previously un-toured tracks. Staples like ‘World is Mine’, ‘ODDS and ENDS’ and ‘Tell Your World’ were very welcome though. Surprise highlights for me were ‘Hyper Reality Show’ which showed off near death metal Miku, ‘Miku’ by Anamaguchi, seeing Kaito twice (hurrah!), the nuts ‘Bring It On’ with Len and Rin on the encore and seeing Luka in person. It seems that ‘No Logic’ has become Luka’s staple but thankfully they also gave her the excellent ‘Jump for Joy’ with Miku and a second solo track too. Meiko is still stuck on the single song and it seems that we will never have more than three Vocaloids on stage at once.
My favourite moment was hearing Wowaka’s ‘Rolling Girl’ – my favourite Vocaloid track of all time – in its full glory. In a really nice touch, there was a short Wowaka tribute on-screen to celebrate his life. Talking of celebrating – the human musicians playing either side of the screen were phenomenal. These tracks are complicated and often at high speed yet there is never a bum note and they are all dressed up, dancing along and bringing so much energy. I appreciate that they aren’t the main draw but their energy is contagious. The crowd were whipped into a frenzy, with a few overly screamy people. Apart from that, whilst the venues sound system was superb, the fact everyone is standing on the same level made me feel for the shorter people towards the back!
Seeing the cosplays of fans, the palpable excitement and energy of the concert, the amazing lighting and musical craft of the performers – this was a unique and stunning experience. I was sceptical if I’d get so entranced when I was there in person – I needn’t worry. Miku is Queen. Vocaloids give life. I’m still at 150bpm 12 hours later even though my light arm is knackered. An out of this world experience. Plenty of merch too if you have the dosh. Damn you January!
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