Even though I wouldn’t say I’m a fan of Hatsune Miku, it’s hard to ignore the fact that she’s become a huge phenomenon even outside of Japan these days. I attended my first Hatsune Miku live show out of curiosity back in 2018, at Miku Expo London, to see what it was all about. Initially, I was apprehensive about it, but I instead left the performance pleasantly surprised. So this year at O2 Academy Brixton on January 11, the opportunity arose again and I knew I couldn’t miss out on this unique experience.
To clarify just what and who Hatsune Miku is, she is first and foremost a singing voice synthesizer categorized as a “Vocaloid”, created by Crypton Future Media (CFM). The company packaged its software with a turquoise-haired, 16-year-old character to differentiate between their voice synthesizer range, meaning, Hatsune Miku is far from the only Vocaloid offered by CFM. There are six in total, all having their own assigned trademark color, for example, Kagamine Rin and Len in orange and yellow respectively, the pink Megurine Luka, the blue KAITO, and the red MEIKO. Technological advancements have also made it possible for these characters to perform in venues all over the world as 3D projections.
Considering the fact that the main performers are virtual singers, most people would expect the music to simply be played over the sound system as the Vocaloids dances to each song, however, it’s far from that as there’s a band who performs each song live! For this specific tour, the band consisted of guitarist Takahiro Misawa, bassist chloe, drummer camacho, and keyboardist MEG.ME.
Inside the venue, the anticipation was at an all-time high. There was a sense of unity where cosplayers and fans alike came out in their droves to see the digital superstar. With chants of each Vocaloid’s name one after the other rang loud and clear, to which they changed the corresponding color on the LED glowstick. It was like a summoning. As the speakers blared for the final time and the lights went dark, the audience let out a deafening roar, and finally, the fans had successfully summoned the star of the show, Hatsune Miku.
Going into the first song of the night Teo saw the stage setup of honeycomb structures and silver stars light up brilliantly alongside the glowsticks, making it a sight to behold. A vital part of the experience is the use of glowsticks that fans wave during the performance, matching the color of the character. The song also dictated how the crowd choreographed their dancing, increasing that sense of unity, creating quite the spectacle as the sea of glowsticks moved in sync. Even if you didn’t know the lyrics, it allowed you to get involved and enjoy what was to come.
Despite Hatsune Miku is the focal point of the show, I really loved the variety of genres on display by other Vocaloids. An example was Kagamine Len who brought the hectic and funky vibe for song Dappou Rock, making the room come alive as everyone sang “whoa” over and over, allowing everyone to take part despite not knowing the lyrics. Megurine Luka brought the chilled, laid-back vibes of No Logic, her signature pink color glistening beautifully across the venue as lights hit the mirror ball, all while MEIKO, and KAITO sang ballads.
However, my absolute favorite songs of the night were the high-energy dance number BRING IT ON full of rapping that had Kagamine Len and Rin dancing in sync. Then there was the ridiculously awesome metal-influenced Hyper Reality Show that even got Miku headbanging. It was that kind of interaction with the audience that I felt was fulfilling.
Multiple aspects of the performance converged creating a brilliant flurry of glowsticks and a flashy stage setup complementing the Vocaloids. There was also a display of different genres from rock, metal, dance, funk, pop, and even samba, delivered by the talented band. I truly felt spoilt!
The slow departure of people leaving the venue crying, laughing, and smiling afterward—it was apparent that a lot of people didn’t want it to be over. It’s those feelings, that energy, paired with such an immense unity, is the reason why I cannot express enough why you should give it a chance too and experience this one-of-a-kind show.
World Is Mine
Ramnade Blue no Shoukei
Hyper Reality Show
Sore ga Anata no Shiawase to Shite mo
Jump For Joy
Music Like Magic
Odds & Ends
Tell Your World
Sharing The World
BRING IT ON
Hatsune Miku EXPO 5th Anniversary E.P.
Buy at CDJapan
Photos: Crypton Future Media, SEGA