Article and photography by Juri
Concert Notations by Ku
Not for republication.
It was barely 6PM before fans and non-fans but curious attendees alike would begin to conglomerate into what would become a mega-sized line outside the main stage queue area. Yes, people were lining up to go line up! Tonight’s show had attracted many people from other cities, other states, other countries and even other continents.
Although lineups in the main stage queue area was not scheduled until 6:30PM, with the threat of a growing line that would obstruct traffic, people were let in early. Soon enough, the main stage queue area was flooded with fans of Kanon Wakeshima and Moi Dix Mois, and even Sakura-con attendees who weren’t fans but interested. As more people came in, the excitement built up. The tension and anticipation built up with every passing minute. The show was scheduled to be at 7PM, however, it started late at 7:45.
Fans came into the room with a dimly lit stage, with Kanon Wakeshima’s white concert cello, Mikazuki-san, sitting in the center of the stage. To the left was a black baby grand piano, and to the right was a music stand—most likely where a fellow accompanist, perhaps a violinist, would stand. To the left and right of the whole stage were two large screens to provide a fair view for people sitting down in the numerous rows of chairs that were fairly distanced away from the stage and the pit. Fans eagerly stood behind the barricade several feet away from the stage, while press members readied their cameras for Kanon Wakeshima’s appearance.
Finally, “Shakespeare no Wasuremono” cues, and the crowd screams and hushes, ready to see Kanon Wakeshima appear. After Shakespeare no Wasuremono finishes playing, the very famous, gothic-like cello melody of “Still Doll” cues, and Kanon enters from the left of the stage wearing a beautiful, flowing nightgown-esque robe with a corset, lacy and silky balloon shorts and tights. She lifts her cello for the solo and proceeds to sing from her center stage perch. The audience wildly cheers each time she lifts her bow. Still Doll ends, and the crowd cheers and applauds loudly.
Next, a playful tango-like twinkling ensues and Kanon plays her haunting cello solo, soon to be followed by her goosebump-inducing vocals. Her simultaneous playing and singing excites the crowd and evokes cheers. At the end of the song, Kanon takes a long bow and then shyly begins speaking to her audience.
(In English) “Are you having fun? I am Kanon Wakeshima. Do you remember me? Really? I was really looking forward to seeing you. This is my third time to visit USA. First time to visit Seattle. Today I have many new songs. I hope you have fun today. Thank you. This time I want you to enjoy the concert with a pianist. Let’s welcome my friend.” Pianist and violinist enter.
The trio then proceeds to play “Kajitsu no Keikoku“. Kajitsu no Keikoku has a new twist—a piano part and an emphasized violin part. Kanon is playing her cello while standing and her vocals come flawlessly through. In Kajitsu no Keikoku, her impressive range flexes in this song with higher-than-usual vocals. After the song ends, the crowd calls at Kanon in both Japanese and English, and Kanon shyly smiles back.
The next song was one of Kanon’s new songs—“Odette.” The song starts out with a very upbeat piano and high vocals. The style gives the crowd an impression of a cabaret singer. Kanon does not play the cello in this new song, but this does allow her to move and dance freely on the stage. For a portion of the song, she struts to the sides of the stage while her vocals ring out forceful yet smooth with an appealing touch of vibrato. This style of singing and music is a bit different in comparison to how she usually sings, however, it does not have a deterring effect on the crowd at all. In fact, it just builds anticipation because Kanon is teasing that there is much more new exciting things to come!
The stage lights flash in a cute pink and sunny yellow lighting, as plucking from the violinist cues in the next song. “Marmalade Sky” is played in a much jazzier and romantic feel, thanks to the violin and piano accompany, compared to the cd-recording. Kanon sings this song sincerely and breathes life into the song, making it a very emotive performance.
The pink and yellow lighting fades, and Kanon picks up Mikazuki-san again. Her pleading, hushed and urgent vocals combined with the cello gives her fans that are familiar with her music a good idea of what song is next—Celmisia. As Kanon is ‘living’ her music, her hushed vocals unfold and escalate into much more open and stronger vocals. Kanon is smiling throughout the song, and the blue lighting mellows the mood for the more emotive parts of the song. Whenever Kanon was not playing the cello, she was strolls the stage with her bow in hand, and as she does so the audience takes it in, and gives back loud cheers and shouts. After the song ends, she once again speaks to her excited audience. Throughout mc’ing, Kanon is smiling and stumbling a little bit on her words, due to the loud and supportive cheers of her fans.
(In English) “Thank you. Are you having fun? Arigatou gozaimasu!”
“This is my first time in Seattle. I went to the aquarium. What is Seattle famous for? (Crowd yells seafood, space Needle, Starbucks, etc.) “What food is good?” (Crowd yells salmon, coffee, fish, etc.) “Thank you. Arigatou. Minna nihongo ga jouzu desu ne!’ (Everyone is so good at Japanese!) “Next song is Chocolate.”
She quickly corrects herself however, the next song was not Chocolate but “Kuroneko to Pianist no Tango.” The song begins with Kanon playing her cello while standing. The jazzy-tango style of the song is perfectly pulled off, due to the excellent live piano playing. In addition, the song receives a new twist with a romantic violin part. Kanon enters the musical world of Kuroneko to Pianist no Tango as she playfully makes cat-like pawing gestures throughout the song.
Kanon sets down her cello for the next song, and asks her audience to clap along to a faster beat. The tempo jogs around and Kanon moves around the stage before joining in on her cello. The song, is very danceable and upbeat, much like her other new songs.
Kanon then picks up her cello again. The lighting turns to a soft yellow color, as she begins to perform one of her new songs, “Chocolate.” The song was as sweet as the title and very charmingly cute!
The lights turn to blue and Kanon takes a seat on her perch. She begins singing a dreamy love song with the piano playing a lovely ballad. The beauty and sincerity of the song was understood by all, regardless if they knew Japanese or not. At the end of the song Kanon takes a long bow.
The next song, “Yoake”, which is another new song, begins. Yoake was just as mesmerizing as the previous song but more melancholic in nature. Although there were a few hard notes Kanon had trouble with, they did not detract from the charm of the piece.
Kanon takes a drink of water before speaking to her audience.
“Arigatou gozaimasu! Next is the last song. This song is for the ladies. If you know this piece please clap along.”
The characteristic old west saloon tune of the piano quickly gives away what song is next—“Princess Charleston.” The audience begins clapping right along to the cheery upbeat song. While singing in a playful, protesting and encouraging voice, Kanon actively moves around on the stage and playfully blows a kiss before picking up her cello for her solo. Playful stomping and plucking embellishes the tune, and Kanon makes fun gestures fitting for the song. The audience, enjoying the performance, continues clapping throughout the whole song.
With the end of her performance, Kanon takes a grand bow, and hops in surprise at the thunderous applause from her pleased audience. She moves to the left and right of the stage as well, to bow.
“Thank you.” At this point, her voice was drowned out by cheering. Kanon then quickly takes leave to get to her autographing session which was supposed to begin 15 minutes ago at 8:30. The pianist and violinist take their leave as well. There’s a brief call for encore from the audience, but the background music starts up and the lights fall and Kanon does not make reappearance. The stage is cleared of Kanon’s gear, and then Moi Dix Mois’ emblem appears in the back, signaling that the next show was about to start soon.
Shakespeare no Wasuremono -Prologue-
Kajitsu no Keikoku
黒猫とピアニストのタンゴ (Kuro neko to pianist no tango)
Please enjoy a few additional pictures taken during the concert.