Under the purple florescent lights at LA Live stood a crowd of enthusiastic fans with brightly colored wigs and even brighter clothes. Parents, children, teenagers and adults from all around the world came together to celebrate the return of international Japanese pop star Kyary Pamyu Pamyu and the debut of her new album. Some devoted fans rhythmically hummed some of Kyary’s chart topping songs while others snapped group photos of young and older Kyary imitators. Despite the fairly large crowd, the absence of international news syndications at the event signaled less interest in Kyary’s second world tour. Was her second performance not as exciting as her first?
Clearly the ever growing crowd of fans would beg to differ. Many of them traveled far to come see her in Los Angeles; others have followed her throughout the tour’s North American leg. Whether they came out of admiration for her fashion sense or because they were just spellbound by her talent, these fans came to LA Live on a busy holiday weekend to enjoy her music. One devoted fan strut her finely detailed replica of Kyary’s queen outfit from “Tsukema Tsukeru (Putting on Falsies)” while staying in character throughout the entire concert; she even fanned herself in a haughty manner from her second floor seat while the rest of the crowd was busy chanting for an encore.
Another fan, this time a young teenager, draped herself in an oversized pink bow and skirt with stitched snack bags as homage to the same aforementioned music video.
What makes Kyary so appealing to such a large audience?
“There’s just something about her that makes her so universal,” said William Schreiner, a 45 year old fan. He described his passionate idolization of Kyary began since he watched her viral hit “PONPONPON.” This concert marks his seventh time seeing Kyary in concert. According to William, “Kyary’s fanbase is largely female in Japan.”
But this Sunday night crowd saw an even number of male and females in the crowd dressed to cheer in their Harajuku pastel colored outfits, ready for their princess to descend onto the stage in front of them. For the fans that had time to spare and wanted to prove they were there, Kyary’s mascot Pamyurin was open for business.
While the crowd still trickled to fill in the second floor, Kyary tweeted a backstage picture of a scared yet shocked face with the caption: “It’s almost time for LA Live!” Following her tweet, the crowd grew more and more excited as the haunting music box song in the background grew louder. Suddenly the lights dimmed, creating oscillating waves of shrill cheers from the bottom to the top floor.
The curtains withdrew, revealing a starkly colored wonderland of inflated mascots and typical bedroom furniture.
“I brought my stage all the way from Japan!” Kyary announced to show the audience they were truly in for a special treat. Indeed, this concert was more grandiose than her first concert. Although the stage decorations were not as numerous as the year before, the dancers (known as the Kyary Kids) were able to integrate the decorations into their performance. During “Mottai Night Land (Wasteful Night Land),” the female backup dancers would sleep on the highlighter yellow bed or pretend and play with the letter blocks.
Compared to last year, the transitions between the intermissions were better timed than the year before. Two unnamed mascots danced onstage alongside various videos of Kyary engaging in a series of ridiculous events. However, the videos themselves were repeats of the ones from last year and did not include subtitles for non-Japanese speaking viewers. As such, some of the jokes such from the poker game video fell flat with the crowd, creating only mild, scattered laughter.
After her first world tour, Kyary learned to greet the crowd with more confidence but at the same time, she still shied away from speaking even rehearsed lines and opted to read from a large white piece of paper that shielded her face. Furthermore, Kyary’s fashion sense never fails to surprise the crowd as this year’s dresses were all full of stark, contrasting colors, which differentiated from the Japanese Lolita inspired dresses she wore the year before.
Despite the debut of her newest song, “Yume no Hajima Ring Ring (The Dream’s Beginnring-Ring)” it did not draw the same reaction from the Los Angeles crowd that the dubstep beats of “Invader Invader” did a year earlier. The muted reaction of the crowd during Kyary’s performance of her new song did not phase the pop star as she continued to energetically sing and cued the crowd to sing the repetitive words back to her.
Throughout the concert, Kyary and the Kyary Kids remained unfazed by the collected crowd; never missing a beat, never broke a sweat even during jumps and long durations of nonstop singing. After the stunning finale, the crowd flowed out like a mint colored wave and “PONPONPON” their “wei” into the night.