Midmorning Melon Juice! HKT48 Tokyo Idol Festival 2015 Report
HKT48 kicked off the second day of Tokyo Idol Festival 2015 at the Hot Stage on August 2nd with a 40-minute set that included an encore, a rare occurrence for a festival. For the 3rd year in a row, HKT48 delivered a scorching performance that even had veteran member Aika Ota wanting to get naked (she remained fully clothed during the performance) due to the high humidity and temperatures hovering around 35℃ (95℉) as the HKT48 version of “Overture” cut through the moist morning air.
Starting things off as they had in 2014, the members of HKT48 got the audience going with “Sakura, Minna de Tabeta” followed by “Otona Ressha”. Haruka Kodama’s hat almost flew off of her head from all the twirling but, she quickly tucked it under her arm without missing a beat. Chihiro Anai, Mai Fuchigami, Maria Imamura, Meru Tashima, and Aika Ota linked arms and did a wave during a cover of NMB48’s summer classic “Ibiza Girl”. The never shy Rino Sashihara planted kisses on the lips of Maria Imamura and Aoi Motomura, much to the shock of Sakura Miyawaki.
Known for their abundance of fresh members, Rino Sashihara drew attention to HKT48’s youngest and smallest member, 130cm tall, 11-year old Maria Imamura, talking about her recently lost baby tooth and asking her what she did with it. The old Japanese custom is to throw the upper teeth on the roof and the lower teeth under the house. Maria explained that her mother advised against doing it in case someone were to find it now that she had become an idol. Maria pulled back her cheek to show the gap, which was met by an enthusiastic hoot. Despite baiting the audience by bringing up the topic, Sashihara shot them down and joked at how creepy it was, in a way that only someone like her could.
HKT48 ran through the next 4 songs, starting with “Suki! Suki! Skip!”, “Wink wa San-kai” (center: Maria Imamura), and a cover of AKB48’s “Honest Man” before ending with the perennial fan favorite “Kimi no Koto Suki Dakara”. As with 2014, this year’s performance of “Rock da yo, Jinsei wa…” had the members of HKT48 again bearing presents for the fans who made the early morning journey out to Odaiba in spite of the oppressive weather. Signed placards, some with the added bonus of kisses (from Haruka Kodama, Mio Tominaga, and Aika Ota) fluttered throughout the Hot Stage for some lucky fans.
Sashihara then turned back the clock by starting off a cover of BOØWY’s “ONLY YOU”, a song which HKT48 had performed as a live band during the 2-day live tour finale at Yokohama Arena back at the end of June.
A rare encore for an event like Tokyo Idol Festival, where groups are generally pressured to adhere strictly to their allotted time, regardless of whether they have sold out the Nippon Budokan or just barely held their first one-man live, was granted to HKT48. Despite the sweat dripping from members and fans alike, the Hot Stage became unified as they fed off each other’s energy. HKT48 returned to the stage, rocking back and forth and bouncing to “12-Byo”, posing with their eyes closed like girls waiting for their first kiss at the end of the song.
Saving the best for last, the one song that absolutely has to be experienced, especially during a hot midsummer event, the crowd erupted when HKT48 ended their set with “Melon Juice”! Towels from various different idol groups waved along with HKT48 towels and uchiwa (paper fans), showing that fans from everywhere can get along when brought together by a group as beloved as HKT48. Mental and emotional refreshment was the reward for those gathered at the Hot Stage on the second day of Tokyo Idol Festival 2015 to see HKT48, a group that never fails to surprise and enchant.
Photos by Ken’ichi Takagi
00 Overture (HKT48 version)
01 Sakura, Minna de Tabeta
02 Otona no Ressha
03 Ibiza Girl
04 Suki! Suki! Skip!
05 Wink wa 3-kai
06 Honest Man
07 Kimi no Koto Suki Dakara
08 Rock da yo, Jinsei wa…
09 ONLY YOU
E2 Melon Juice
HKT48 Official site: http://www.hkt48.jp/
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