If there is one artist in this world that I would like to see live in concert – it is definitely Utada Hikaru from Japan. I have been dreaming of this since I saw her concerts and TV performances online.
Cebu Pacific Air held a Pisofare Seat Sale back in December 2017 and I booked for a November 2018 flight to Tokyo hoping the concert would fall on the dates I selected. Unfortunately, it was 2 weeks far from my chosen dates. She’ll be in Osaka and I’ll be in Tokyo. I tried re-booking and the airfare almost tripled. Taking the Shinkansen from Tokyo to Osaka and going back would be expensive as well so I had no choice but just to book a new flight to Tokyo.
All that sorted out and paid too BUT I still don’t have a ticket to her concert. I thought obtaining a ticket was only a few clicks away. Little did I know that it would be lottery style. The Hatsukoi album pre-order contained codes for the lottery so those who purchased gets to be drawn first. Thanks to my friend Nini for giving me a code.
The process was very thorough – it feels like applying for a professional job or a government ID lol. A decent picture needs to be submitted that follows their standard as well as some personal information. You can then choose 3 dates/venues and one of those will be the one you can attend to – if you win. Below is my application details/history:
I chose Makuhari Messe as primary mainly because it will be the final stop which will be filmed for TV/DVD release. Saitama Super Arena was the secondary because it is the Utada United 2006 venue. Both of which are in Tokyo.
Once application has been submitted – the waiting game begins. I’ve been checking the website as well as chatting with friends who applied for tickets for updates and plans. One day, I got a text message that my card was charged and it was the price of a ticket for two! I was selected at the first draw and for the final show at Makuhari Messe! Sadly though, I was the only one among my UH circle to win. Fast forward, my friends all won and obtained tickets from the general lottery draws. Kami-sama arigato! ❤
What a ticket! Too bad it’s only digital and there’s no official printed copy.
We were back in Tokyo as early as December 5 and originally planned to go to Saitama Super Arena hoping we could score some tickets. The plan never came to fruition though since we have different itineraries and the rest of the team were flying on different dates. We spent the days touring Tokyo. Good times!
Fast forward to the date – December 9, 2018 at Makuhari Messe in Chiba, Japan – Utada Hikaru will be performing the finale of Laughter in the Dark Tour 2018.
We woke up a bit late that morning since the tour is at 7PM. We thought of heading early to Chiba and explore the area but they said that we might be too tired for the concert. Point taken. Nini gave us some sticky notes and each of us wrote our messages for Hikaru. Below is my simple message which I hoped reached her. 🙂
We left Asakusabashi at 2PM and then headed to MakuhariHongo Station in Chiba which was an hour of train ride. Grabbed a few snacks from Lawson and then boarded the bus to Makuhari Messe. I was enthralled with the city – it gave me the feeling of being in the future or a different world.
We went straight ahead to the venue and saw the early birds taking picture of the signage. Of course we’ll never miss the opportunity too.
We then stepped inside and Hatsukoi album was playing – I felt goosebumps run through me and almost brought me to tears. I even thought she was rehearsing lol. The fans have brought flowers and one was Kuma-shaped too! So much love for Hikaru! ❤ Everyone here was busy picture taking.
We arrived early giving Lara and Nini more time to shop for some tour merchandise. Lara gave me a Laughter in the Dark Tour scarf, thank you Lara! ❤ We then met with Renj and had group pictures. After their shopping, we then finalized – had our meds taken for stomachache, for headache, for colds, for whatsoever because we should be on top condition and on DO NOT DISTURB mode.
At around 5:30PM we were all instructed to go the entrance where we will be presenting the ticket as well as undergoing the facial recognition. It was so fast and convenient. I really can’t believe I’ll be seeing Hikaru in the next few minutes. Around 6:45 PM, my urinary bladder was acting up – not really bad but better let it go so I don’t have anything to worry about. Still 15 minutes before the show, I ran to the comfort room and was surprised with the queue. Like every male concert-goer is there and there’s only 1 comfort room to accommodate everyone. This was the only rant I have about the venue/management. I fought for a few minutes but at 6:55 PM, I gave up and went back to my seat. Luckily it never bothered me again lol.
Few minutes past 7PM, they turned off the lights and an announcement was made. The lights resumed and everyone applauded then finally, Hikaru surfaced and graced the stage.
ANATA was the first song and from there I was already crying with goosebumps all over. DREAMS DO COME TRUE! I still can’t believe Hikaru is performing and I’m so lucky to be a part of this concert.
MICHI followed – one of my favorite track from her Fantome album. I love how the English backing vocals haunted me (in a good way) and hearing them live gave me goosebumps.
TRAVELING has been performed since Hikaru’s 2004 Budokan Concert and truth be told this song is not a favorite of mine. The song grew so much in me during this performance specially when she inserted “Makuhari Messe” in the lyrics and the crowd went crazy. I was captivated. I have been craving for Traveling since then because I felt that I am “Makuhari Messe” – at least part of it you know. PS: the namesake of this blog was from the this song 😉
COLORS was overlapping Traveling and the crowd was raving. The song was beautifully arranged specially when Hikaru soloed the
PRISONER OF LOVE what a song for me! I’m literally a prisoner of love. I remember whispering to my girlfriend “don’t you give up” as Hikaru sang it.
KISS AND CRY my heart was beating as the song transitioned to this one. “I just want to be happy” is something I sang for myself. I love how the A-list single Can You Keep A Secret? became just an adlib to this song. Hikaru got me all the natural high.
SAKURA DROPS one of my favorite songs from Hikaru’s entire discography. Too much emotion I can’t help but cry. Falling in love, giving it all, and wishing it was the last heartbreak. Despite of it all – just like the cherry blossoms – we’ll bloom again someday. I think that was beautiful.
HIKARI the song that started it all (technically it was SIMPLE AND CLEAN) was arranged in acoustic and orchestrated way. We were waving our hands halfway through the end of the song and I felt like my arms and shoulders hurting after this haha. I found myself in tears for all the emotions from this favorite song of mine.
TOMODACHI is an easy-listening track but at some point I can’t really relate to this song (lol) so I just chilled it while enjoying Hikaru and the dancer’s performance.
TOO PROUD like Tomodachi is another track that I don’t relate to but good enough not to be skipped. I love the rap part but Jevon was not here so Hikaru filled it with her rap. Since I memorized Jevon’s part – I was rapping with the words from the original song.
CHIKAI is one of the most important songs in the set list. As a Kingdom Hearts fan, this is a bias. I love the song as well as it’s English counterpart Don’t Think Twice. It was so beautifully written. Hikaru performed at the middle of Makuhari Messe and a lot of people went to the center to see her closer. I wish I could’ve done the same but I was frozen and in tears watching her perform the song.
MANATSU NO TOORIAME is another ballad and I was still pulling myself together from the Chikai performance.
HANATABA WO KIMI NI is another beautifully written ballad that easily grew on me as it was released back in 2016 for her comeback after the long hiatus. I was still in awe and crying watching her perform this song that pierced my heart. The song has an extended instrumental being played by the band and orchestra as she walks back to front the stage.
FOREVERMORE was performed immediately after she got back from the stage.
FIRST LOVE hearing just the intro and I was already getting the goosebumps and I was crying. I locked my girlfriend in my arms and sweet danced her as I get all the feels of the song. I can’t believe that happened and still the best memory from the concert.
HATSUKOI is like the First Love of the Hatsukoi album (lol this is very redundant). I was still recovering from my tears and here we go again with another beautiful ballad.
PLAY A LOVE SONG is another favorite song of mine. Upbeat and I think written with simple words like “Why we fight? I don’t know.” and “Hold me tight and don’t let go.” I can truly relate to this song found myself crying again (tears of joy I suppose). It was just so magical and fun and the splashing colors on the stage background added more magic to it.
ORE NO KANOJO honestly one of my least listened song. I believe there was not a moment when I was craving to listen to this song. It only gets played when I listen to the full album. I loved how the song built up from slow-and -steady to a more progressive track
It was already the encore of the concert and it was sinking that I’m about to wake up from this magical moment of my life.
AUTOMATIC started with the band intro and Hikaru continued. Automatic is Hikaru’s signature song and it sure does brings back a lot of memories for me. Loved how the guitar-man hyped us when he did solo lead guitars that rocked the venue but we all felt hanging, I wished it was longer.
GOODBYE HAPPINESS is literally “goodbye happiness” for me. I was crying cause this is the last song. The colors splashing the stage is back inviting us to enjoy and dance to the song. I love the part where Hikaru was kissing us goodbye. I was looking her in the eyes and then she said “Arigato” and bowed. That made me cry even more! It felt so sincere.
Laughter in the Dark Tour has been an amazing concert! I’m so lucky and proud to have been a part of it! 🙂
Here’s the Philippine Team with our eyes still fresh from all the happy tears! ❤