Review: Kyary Pamyu Pamyu
REVIEW BY JOHN BERGER / firstname.lastname@example.org
Kawaii — Japanese for “cute” — hit Waikiki at full force Sunday when J-Pop princess Kyary Pamyu Pamyu closed her KPP Nanda Collection World Tour with a late-afternoon concert at the Waikiki Shell.
For Kyary and her four supporting dancers, it was the final stop on a world-wide odyssey that included shows in Thailand, Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Australia, France, England and the continental United States.
For fans here, including a large contingent of Japanese visitors, it was an opportunity to experience in concert the frenetically kawaii world seen in her music videos. Kyary and her dancers lived up to expectations.
Kyary in person is as bright and poppy and fun as in her videos, whether she’s singing completely in Japanese, singing English phrases, or singing something that sounds like Japanese but doesn’t quite make sense. Her 60-minute set included all of the songs fans could reasonably expect — “PonPonPon,” of course, and “Invader Invader,” “Fashion Monster,” “Mottai Night Land,” “Family Party” and “Kira Kira Killer,” as well.
The general energy level during her performance was either full-throttle or full-throttle-plus-afterburners. Kyary’s consistent energy as a dancer was as impressive as her unforgettable voice. Her supporting dancers are four of the hardest workers in the business.
The show was one of the loudest in recent memory at the Shell. The bottom end bass and drum tracks were thunderous, the melodic mash-up of bubblegum pop, techno and EDM equally full and loud. Kyary’s vocals were clear throughout the show.
Kyary’s a capella intro to “Ninja Ri Ban Ban” was memorable for its delicacy. The a capella interlude came while she was making sure the audience knew the moves that go with the song. (If they didn’t, they were quick learners.) The pool and terrace seating areas were a sea of hands moving in sync as she sang.
The fans responded on cue whenever a song required them to wave or clap in a certain way, stand up or jump. Most of them also did the special eyelash move that goes with “Tsukema Tsukeru.”
The world of kawaii was also represented with guest appearances by a giant cartoon/mascot-style blue bear and a slightly smaller yellow bear.
Between songs, Kyary talked with fans. She said she was very happy to finally be in Hawaii and was celebrating being here by wearing “only for Hawaii” clothes that included hibiscus blossoms on her belt. She loves the weather, had a great time on the North Shore on Saturday, and was looking forward to spending an extra day in Hawaii before returning to Japan and starting work on her next album. She also shared some of her experiences as a more-or-less anonymous visitor in Waikiki.
Fans who have seen clips of her shows will be happy to know she also said she wants to do her next concert here in an arena where the lighting and special effects of her show can be used. (Through no fault of the lighting crew, the afternoon sun washed out all the lighting effects that would otherwise have been a part of the KPP Nanda Collection World Tour experience here.)
It’s been years since encores stopped being unexpected, but Kyary played the are-they-coming-back game better than anyone in recent years. She kept the crowd clapping and cheering, yelling “hana hou” and its equivalent in Japanese, for almost six minutes.
When she returned, it was after making a complete costume change — including a new pair platform athletic shoes and one of the tour crew aloha shirts. She closed the show with another hit, “Candy Candy,” and “Tyantyakatyantyan,” with its show-closing English-language refrain “Thank you. Thank you. See you next time.”
It was one intense afternoon at the Shell.
Looking forward, Hawaii is a big market for J-Pop music and the kawaisa (“cuteness”) culture Kyary Pamyu Pamyu personifies. All going well, she’ll get her wish and perform at Blaisdell Arena next time.
John Berger has been a mainstay in the local entertainment scene for more than 40 years. Contact him via email at email@example.com.