Concert Report: Johnny’s Countdown 2014-2015 in Tokyo Dome

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This year on New Year’s Eve, I was able to attend Johnny’s Countdown for the first time! Since I became a fan, I have watched it every year on TV. This year though, Johnny’s Countdown wasn’t broadcasted on television, so it was different compared to previous years . In this post I will talk about what happened in the concert briefly, followed by some thoughts I had afterwards. Let’s get started!

The Concert

The concert started promptly at 11:00pm, starting with a video showing the names of all of the groups that were performing in Johnny’s Countdown this year, and then each group performed by debut year from the most recent debut. Johnny’s West started, followed by ABC-Z, Sexy Zone, and Hey! Say! JUMP. There were actually a lot of fans of these groups in particular that I spotted in the crowd, besides Kinki Kids, which surprised me. These are the “Kouhai” groups, or the younger groups,and it was an interesting experience to see all the different fans from these groups and how different the demographic was from the shows and concerts that I normally go to. I had seen Hey! Say! JUMP live back in 2011 for “Summary” in Kyocera Dome, but I had never seen the rest of the groups live before. If you had read my blog post about my 2014 favorite Johnny’s release picks, then you probably know that I was very interested in Johnny’s West and Hey! Say! JUMP in 2014 and that it was so much fun to sing and dance along with their songs! They really are fun groups to watch live.

After Hey! Say! JUMP was NEWS, which is my favorite group in Johnny’s, so it was very emotional for me to see them back at Tokyo Dome after about a year and a half, singing one of the same songs. They sung their new single “Kaguya”, as well as “Ai Kotoba” and to be completely honest, I was crying hard throughout their whole performance, especially at “Ai Kotoba”, which was a song written for their fans for their 10 Year Anniversary event and not yet released on CD. (Edit. NEWS just announced an album today 1/16 that has “Ai Kotoba” in it) It was very emotional for me to see them live as 4 members after so long.

Next up were Tackey and Tsubasa. This was Tsubasa’s first performance back from being admitted to the hospital, so you could tell that the Tackey and Tsubasa’s fans were very excited. After T&T was Kinki Kids. This had to be my favorite part of the countdown, besides NEWS, because I have heard amazing things about them performing live. I am not a huge fan of Kinki Kids, but their performance blew me away. I have always wanted to seem them live, and this was the perfect opportunity to! I loved hearing their famous debut single “”Garasu no Shonen” (硝子の少年) live.

After Kinki Kids, came the Sempai groups, Shounentai, who has Higashiyama in the duo, as well as Okomoto Kenichi (who is the father of Okomoto Keito of Hey! Say! JUMP. It was fun to see father and son interact with each other on stage, Keito at one point putting on his father’s jacket for him). After they finished perfoming, it was the countdown! After the countdown, Matchy came out on a motorcycle and rode around the dome! It was then introduced that it was his 35th Anniversary, and he performed for about 20 minutes. After his performance, special guest Kuroyanagi Tetsuko came into the dome in a police car with sirens and everything straight from Kouhaku, then came on stage and talked with the Sempais. She congratulated Matchy on his 35th year anniversary and also congratulated Tsubasa on being released from the hospital.

After this, all of the groups then came out and performed one of each of Matchy’s songs, ending with “Ikagen”, in which they all wore the same white jacket with “ikagen” on it. With that, there was the ending greetings and then the concert officially ended.

Overall impressions

This year’s Johnny’s countdown was different than other years, the biggest reason being because they didn’t air it on live television as they normally do. Talking with my other friends who have been many times, normally it would be very “start and stop” because of the TV broadcast and the talents themselves couldn’t really interact with the fans that much. This year, it was smooth and more fan interactions by each of the groups that performed. The Sempai groups did an amazing job performing as well and a highlight for me was seeing some groups perform live that I probably wouldn’t get the chance to see in a normal concert.

I had a few concerns though, which were the talking parts, and also Machy’s performance, and some fan manners. First off, because it was Matchy’s 35th year anniversary, they put a good amount of the attention on that, especially because it was December that he debuted. Because of this, Matchy dominated most of the talking parts, as well as the special guest, Kuroyanagi Tetsuko. Nobody besides Kinki Kids and the other sempai groups (Okomoto Kenichi and Shounentai) talked. If it weren’t for NEWS’s Masuda Takahisa being silly in the background on the screens, NEWS fans wouldn’t have seen much of NEWS talking, same for the other groups too. Many people online were upset at Matchy dominating most of the countdown concert, but others enjoyed it for the sempai groups, so it was divided on this particular point. I still think it is good to respect and honor the sempai groups, but they should have informed us that this would be a special Matchy tribute instead of thinking we would get our normal group interactions singing lots other group’s songs.

Another concern of mine was I saw a lot of people around me, and in the dome in general, sitting down during group’s performances that they weren’t a fan of. Since the concert was dominated by the sempai groups, a lot of the people who came for the younger groups were bored during the other performances and sat down, some even on their phones. Why was this a bad thing? Well, at a Johnny’s concert most people stand up and support the groups, so it is seen as rude to not support the other groups and just sit down. A lot of people online were mentioning this point as well. To be honest, I can’t blame them for wanting to sit down, I even sat down during Matchy’s long MC, but I didn’t sit down when the groups were performing. Even if I wasn’t a fan, I listened and stood up to support everyone and cheered them on.

Have you ever watched Johnny’s Countdown before? How do you think this compares to other years? What do you think about some of the points brought up? Let me know what you think in the comments below!

Johnny’s Talk: Lauren’s Guide To What To Bring To A Johnny’s Concert

Since many of you all might be coming to a Johnny’s concert here in Japan in the future, I thought I would give you some ideas on what to bring to a Johnny’s concert by telling you what I normally bring to a Johnny’s concert! This is what I bring most of the time when I attend a concert, but it changes sometimes on the show and also the weather as well. Let’s jump right in!

#1: Ticket

This may be obvious, but you can’t enter the concert venue without a ticket. Many a time I have seen on twitter and heard from my friends that they have accidentally forgot their ticket at home or in the hotel. Just double check your bag before you leave to make sure you have your ticket before leaving! This will save lots of trouble so you aren’t rushing to get your ticket at the last minute and risk being late for the show. Also, I personally recommend you buy your ticket before the actual day of the concert as well. This will save lots of hassle and worry if you will be able to attend the actual show. If you are interested on how to ballot for fan club tickets I made a post here about it previously, but if you would like a post about ways to get Johnny’s concert tickets without being in the fan club please let me know in the comments or tweet me!

#2 Money

Another obvious thing, but sometimes I have panicked on wether I had enough money to buy concert goods at the venue because I was rushing. Take that extra few minutes to calculate how much your goods will be and make sure you have enough money for them! It will save you time so you won’t have to get back inside the goods line again for things you couldn’t pay for. Also, when you are having fun at the venue you don’t want to have to worry about money for food and other things as well before or after the show.

#3 Water

Remember to hydrate hydrate hydrate! I can’t tell you how many times I have forgotten a bottle or 2 of water and I have regretted it and searched frantically at the venue for a vending machine, only to find that they were all sold out (crazy Johnny’s fans….). Especially outside concerts it is important. Even if its not outside, you will be standing for at least 2 hours and not eating or drinking during that time. Normally during the MC I take out my bottle of water and drink it and have it handy at the top of my bag to drink during the concert as well. Normally the domes allow you to eat and drink inside of them, but there are some instances where you can’t at really small vanes. For this only bring water, not another type of drink. They do having vending machines or convenience stores around or inside the venue, so don’t fret if you forget! I just normally buy before entering inside because its cheaper for the most part and inside the venue might be sold out.

#4 Rain Items: Umbrella/ Poncho

Check the wether forecast if it’s going to rain. If it is going to rain, then I recommend going to a convenience store and buying a fold up umbrella, not a full sized one because it is long and the seats are small in Japan. Keep it inside your purse or concert goods bag! Most of the time the venues aren’t connected to the subway or trains or busses, so you will want to have one with you. The convenience store near the venues might become sold out, so try to buy near your hotel or home or someplace that isn’t near the venue. An umbrella is also handy if you have to stand outside in line for concerts goods, because at most venues the goods line is outside the venue.

Also, for outside concerts you are not allowed to have an umbrella up during the concerts and they are performed rain or shine. So buy a poncho at a convenience store or 100 yen store to keep somewhat dry! Buy an extra one to wrap your concert goods in so that they don’t get wet either.

#5 Recommended Concert Goods

You won’t bring these with you if you haven’t bought them yet, but I will at least say my recommended goods to bring or buy at the concert! This is also up to personal preference as well, so buy the goods that you will want to use! You also don’t have to buy the goods for the actual tour you are attending either ! You can buy them used if you are short on funds or if you prefer a past tour’s goods instead!

a. Penlight

A penlight is a must for a Johnny’s concert! I recommend a penlight because everyone brings them and uses them in the concert and it also in a way makes you part of the actual concert itself. You wave it in time with the music and do the hand motions of the songs with it! My first 2 concerts I went to for Johnnys in summer 2009 (KAT-TUN and Kanjani8) I didn’t buy a penlight and I felt left out because I didn’t realize how important they were until I went to my 3rd concert in 2010-2011 (Kanjani8 8Uppers countdown concert).

b. Towel

This is defiantly optional and up to everyone’s tastes, but recently I have been into buying concert towels because they are useful during the summer in Japan and for rainy days. I normally keep it around my shoulders during the concert. It helps with outside concerts and sweating (even inside concerts too!) and sometimes the guys have you twirl towels in the air to certain songs as well!

c. Uchiwa

Another optional item, but I didn’t know what the point of Uchiwas were when I went to my first Johnny’s concerts, but Uchiwas are the Japanese style fans with the face of your favorite member on them. You buy your favorite member’s (or members’) Uchiwa and it is not only telling the guys themselves who your favorite members are, but also the other fans as well. I always get asked at concerts who my favorite member is and its a great conversation starter with Japanese fans, as well as foreign fans! So hold your uchiwa proud! (but just to chest level… you don’t want to block the view of the fans behind you!)

d. Bag

To keep all of your concert goods in and for putting your newly bought concert goods inside, I recommend bringing a bag! Most of the goods that I buy won’t fit inside my purse so I always bring the tour bag with me.  When I went to Shige’s stageplay a few weeks ago, I didn’t realize how many goods I was going to buy and it didn’t fit inside my purse, so I had to run to a nearby 100 yen store and buy a bag! So make sure for a stage play you bring a previous tour bag or your own bag to put the goods inside because stage plays don’t sell bags normally.

Having a tour bag is also another fun way to identify you as a fan of the group and Japanese fans might even come up and talk with you!

 

 

Well, these were my recommended items to bring to a Johnny’s concert! I hope you all enjoyed! If there is anything that you think I forgot or want to know if its okay to bring please comment below! Let me know what your concert essentials are if you have been to a Johnny’s concert before. Also, let me know if you like these types of posts!