VocaSphere Report: IA's PARTY A GO-GO Super Edition & ARIA -IA Musical & Live Show-

Marumain here again! On November 30, 2019, I had the pleasure of attending not just my first, but also my second concert for IA and ONE on the same day! They were IA’s “PARTY A GO-GO” Super Edition and ARIA -IA Musical & Live Show Encore Performance. It was a day of near IA overload, but in the best way possible! Having never experienced either concert before, I was in a near euphoric state after it was all over, and came away feeling like I couldn’t love IA and ONE more than I possibly could at that moment.

For anyone who loves IA and ONE but has yet to see either show, I hope my report can give you an idea of what the experience is like, and encourage you to attend them for real someday!

Before the Concerts

As always is the case whenever I go to a new place in Japan, I was a nervous wreck as I wandered around the streets of Yokohama trying to find the DMM VR Theater. But once I saw the line of fans wearing IA attire waiting outside the gate to the theater, I knew I found the right place and the weight was lifted off my shoulders.

As soon as the gates opened, we were greeted to paintings of IA and ONE standing in front of what looked like mecha versions of themselves! I sure was curious as to why they chose this painting to display, and who the artist is!

That’s also when I lined up for the mini Hachimaki shop that was set up since I had requests from friends to pick up some merch for them, plus I myself desired a few items making their debut there such as the limited parka. It was pretty cold that morning, so the parka definitely helped!

I also took the time to pick up the T-shirt that was awarded to those who chose the appropriate plan to support in the muevo campaign to crowdfund these concerts. And right next to the muevo pickup spot was the acrylic plates that would be awarded to those who purchased an S seat ticket to the concerts! I resisted the urge to buy S seat tickets (they each cost about ¥3,000 JPY more than the A seat tickets), but after seeing the plates in person, I couldn’t help but feel the slight sting of regret. Curse my cheapness!

Once we were finally allowed inside the theater and took our seats, messages for IA and ONE written by contributors to the muevo campaign were rolling on the screen. I even saw the one that we at VocaSphere wrote for them!

After finding my seat, I took out a notepad and pen to take notes on the concerts in order to share the setlists and my thoughts with you here. So without further ado, on to the show!

IA’s PARTY A GO-GO Super Edition

After the lights dimmed, the first song that IA performed was オツキミリサイタル / Otsukimi Recital, a song instantly familiar to fans of Kagerou Project. Seeing IA projected live onstage for the first time, I couldn’t contain my excitement and got out my glowstick right away, even dropping my notepad in the process! I may have missed the first few seconds of the song while searching for it.

After the first song, IA appeared again and welcomed the audience to the special edition of PARTY A GO-GO. It has been a while since the last concert and IA has been rehearsing new songs for this edition quite a lot, and says that she looks forward to having fun with us!

Once the big welcome was over, IA reappeared in a stylish yellow outfit to sing Circuit DISCO for us! Dancers joined her this time too, and they really brought the live concert vibe to this familiar song! Keeping up with the race theme, next came SEE THE LIGHTS and IA changing into her racing outfit. Then staying in the same outfit, IA sang one of my absolute favorite songs, We gotta run!

After this trio of racing IA songs, I finally realized that my right wrist was hurting like crazy! These were the very songs that really got me loving IA, and I was so fired up and waving my glowstick so hard listening to her perform them live for the first time that I unaware of the pain I was causing my wrist. Between songs, I would repeatedly alternate which hand is holding the glowstick and which is holding the notepad, all out of concern for my poor wrists!

Next came a segment called GO BACK TO IA during which ONE appears, and everyone in the audience changes their glowsticks to orange! She introduced the segment as a review of IA’s popular songs and PVs over the years, and added that her own songs will be included in this Super Edition of the concert!

What followed was short song performances with their PVs playing on the background and side LCD screens. The first of these performances was for 東京リアルワールド / Tokyo Real World during which IA changed to her DAW outfit. Then after that came the first ONE song of the day, おねがいダーリン / ONEgai Darlin’! Let me tell you, her dance for this song is about 100x cuter when watched live than online! Then it was back to IA with 現実的論理主義者 / Genjitsuteki Ronri Shugisha*, LIVEDRIVE, 六兆年と一夜物語 / Rokuchounen to Ichiya Monogatari, アスノヨゾラ哨戒班 / Asu no Yozora Shoukaihan*, and DAYBREAK FRONTLINE*, all in her IA Rocks outfit.

*These were songs that contributors to the muevo campaign most requested to be included in the Super Edition concert

Many of these songs were the first ever tunes that I heard IA sing, so it was like a rapid-fire nostalgia trip for me. And experiencing them all over again at a live concert venue was very surreal and reminded me of just how many memories I have with IA and her voice. That realization once again made me feel really happy to be there experiencing PARTY A GO-GO in person.

Then came one of the newest songs, 祭・祭・祭 / MA・TSU・RI! It was the first IA and ONE duet song of the performance, and thanks to practice videos that they released previously on ARIA Station, we in the audience knew exactly when and what to chant! They even had a live taiko drummer – Wadaiko Kaden from Wabunka Pro – performing on stage with them! When the dancers also came out waving towels, many people in the audience took their IA towels that they bought from the Hachimaki shop and waved them as well! These elements plus the audience participation made this the most enjoyable performance of the day for me so far!

After that exhilarating song, IA appeared again with a guitar in hand and started jamming to 延命治療 / Enmei Chiryou along with two other live guitarists, Gassy and May from Booost. Then without leaving the stage, they immediately transitioned into セツナドライブ / Setsuna Drive! Both performances were as electrifying as you can imagine. Seeing IA jam on her guitar, I couldn’t help but wonder how much of the guitar rifts were being played live by the human guitarists, and how much of it was pre-recorded for IA to play, or if IA’s guitar was just for show. Nevertheless, kudos to Booost for these high-octane performances!

IA then faded and reappeared without her guitar, but the Booost members stayed to perform アウターサイエンス / Outer Science, another song familiar to Kagerou Project fans. I really enjoyed the stage effects that were used for this performance where sparks would flash around IA fists whenever she punched the air. This is where you can really appreciate the types of performances made possible at the DMM VR Theater stage!

IA then spoke to us again stating how much she loves us and had a great time performing this special edition of PARTY A GO-GO. That’s when the dancers came back out for what she claimed would be the “last song.” I’ve been to enough VOCALOID concerts to know that whenever the performer announces that, then there will be an encore coming. Nonetheless, we all got to enjoy this “final” performance of America ~We are all right!~ with IA and the famous IA dancers, complete with audience involvement thanks to the online practice video!

But after the show ended, the lights stayed off, prompting the audience to chant “Encore!” over and over! There was even one particularly vocal person behind me who tried to change the chant to “IA!” by calling her name instead. He was unsuccessful, but I can appreciate him trying!

After a few minutes of this, IA reappeared in her angel outfit and performed one of her most beloved songs, Inner Arts! We were all glad to see her back on stage, and IA herself expressed her thanks for the encore, too. That’s when we heard the real last song of the day, Diamond Days. As a much slower-paced ballad compared to the rest of the setlist, it was a nice way to end the show with something more relaxed and beautiful.

And with a “Bye bye! Let’s meet again!” and a deep bow, IA concluded PARTY A GO-GO Super Edition. The endroll credits then played, signifying the real end to the show. And if one looked closely enough, they may notice a familiar name among the supporters!

ARIA -IA Musical & Live Show- Encore Performance

After a long two-hour wait between shows, I eagerly returned to the DMM VR Theater for the next treat of the night: my first ever ARIA – IA Musical & Live Show- performance!

Soon after I sat down, a whole of bunch of kids wearing street dance clothes also came in and occupied the row directly behind me as we waited for the show to start. I assumed that they must be the performers for Higher in this show. Ladies who looked like their moms also came in and sat in the same row as me. Then when it was about 5 minutes to showtime, they were all instructed to leave their seats and go backstage. That was my indicator that I didn’t have to wait much longer.

I’ve heard before that ARIA is a very different beast from PARTY A GO-GO, but I didn’t realize just how different until the opening movie started, taking us on a trip through space. The sound was so loud and thundering that I could actually feel it reverberating through my body. The narrator’s voice explained how we were at the Resonance World known as ARIA where all life co-exists in harmony. Then one day, two spirits – one rainbow-colored and the other orange-colored – came to the planet. The Mastermind of ARIA saw the rainbow-colored spirit as the one who will lead them to the future and gave her form, naming her IA. She continued to look over the orange-colored spirit until it, too, took on form and ONE was born. On ARIA, they were cared for by the Mastermind as the protector spirits of the planet.

This was my first time learning about IA and ONE’s official backstory, and it was quite a surprise! But while I was still jotting down notes on what I heard, the mood changed completeinto sly when IA and ONE appeared and starting performing Into Starlight, reminding me that this is not a movie, but a concert! So back into my pocket went my notebook and out came my glowstick!

Then after that familiar song came a completely new one to me, HAVE FUN! Featuring a dancer dressed as a bird and a projection of the character known as Cheetah who was introduced as IA and ONE’s dance teacher on ARIA Station, the song changed the mood completely!

In the ARIA Station video, ONE remarked that Cheetah sounds an awful lot like Lia when she sings, and the reason became apparent once Cheetah opened her mouth and began singing, indeed having her song parts provided by IA’s voice provider herself! The very jazz-like beat and party-like atmosphere on the stage made this performance totally fun, hence the song title!

The fun was short lived after the song ended, however. It mood got very serious as the next segment began with another movie showing what happened when IA and ONE receive a distress signal from Earth. In contrast to ARIA, there is much disharmony on our planet, filled with turmoil caused by wars, crime, suicide, and destruction of nature. That was when IA, possessing the power of the rainbow-colored lights, decides to journey to Earth. Worried for her sister, ONE opposed her leaving, but IA would not change her mind. And so IA comes to earth, but is overwhelmed by the turmoil she has to deal with while ONE watches helplessly from her monitor.

This sets the stage for the next song, One Heart, in which ONE sings to her beloved sister in order to give her the strength to carry on. This is where the “Musical” part of “Musical & Live Show” really shows, and the performance is every bit as gripping and emotional as any musical number in a Broadway play. I’m not ashamed to admit that I myself was moved to tears.

Then the story continues, saying how ONE decides to travel to Earth as well to help IA. The Mastermind on ARIA knew that with their combined power, they can truly bring change to our ailing planet, and entrusted its future to the ARIA sisters. It should be noted that during all these story segments and the One Heart performance, we the audience all were sitting down respectfully.

Then the first English song of the night played, LIFE LOVE PEACE, while we were shown a montage of all of IA and ONE’s performances up to now. This thus concluded the first act of ARIA, and then we were treated to PARTY A GO-GO II.

Immediately, the mood switched back to the PARTY A GO-GO vibe once IA appeared back on stage to perform another English song, Conqueror. We all stood up again with our glowsticks and enjoyed watching this more rough and tough side of IA shine on stage, reminding us that she’s not one to be beaten down!

Then came the third song in a row to contain English lyrics, 絶対領域 / Zettai Ryouiki. Already I can see that PARTY A GO-GO II is putting a lot emphasis on IA English C and songs used with her, making me wonder what a potential PARTY A GO-GO III could be like.

IA then comes to the stage to thank us for attending and watching ARIA, and asks how we’re doing and saying how happy she is to see us all, fully back to her PARTY A GO-GO demeanor. Once she leaves, ONE appears for her first song of PARTY A GO-GO II, ホロンボット / Holon Bot! This is one of those songs that I’ve always wanted to see performed live, and was really happy to see it happen here! Granted, it ended before Cyber Diva’s parts could begin, but I wasn’t realistically expecting VY3 to make an appearance at ARIA anyway. Still, there was that bit of hope in the back of my mind…

Then IA and ONE reappeared in their ninja outfits and right away I knew which song would be coming next: Reload! Before that, IA and ONE introduce themselves once again. ONE says she has been on Earth for close to 5 years and aims to be pro gamer now! Next was IA who has been on Earth for 7 years and 10 months so far. In that time, she has grown close to her fans on this planet thanks to all these songs and dances that she performs for us, and looks forward to seeing what the future holds.

Then the performance for Reload begins. This song and performance has always been a crowd pleaser, especially when IA and ONE brandish their knives and dance with them in hand while a pair of performers do combat choreography in the background. The drummer from the 祭・祭・祭 / MA・TSU・RI performance even returned!

For the next performance, I heard the lady sitting next to me excitedly say “huh!?” And when the stage lit up with IA now in her Euphoria outfit, I immediately realized why: the dance kids I saw earlier were now standing on stage ready to perform 夜咄ディセイブ / Yobanashi Deceive with IA! And what a talented group of kids they were! If there were any human performers that came somewhat close to upstaging IA during the show, it was definitely this group of youngsters. I found myself focusing my attention on them much of the time!

After the kids left, IA reappeared with her guitar and the members of Booost for ロスタイムメモリー / Lost Time Memory. They made for another high-octane performance trio. Then we see IA put her guitar down, and with no break in between, they immediately transition into チルドレンレコード / Children Record! The presentation even included still images of the Kagerou Project characters, giving fans of the series a lot to cheer about!

Next, IA changed back into her Euphoria outfit for an actual performance of Euphoria! Since these were short versions of the songs, it really felt like we were in the middle of a じん / Jin medley, which is certainly not a bad thing!

Then we took a break from じん / Jin songs for another crowd pleaser, てるみい / Tell Me! We in the audience all already knew when to say “Tell me!” during the song, making for the most audience-involved performance yet! Towards the end, the dance kids even returned and danced for those in the front row!

IA then appears on stage asking us how PARTY A GO-GO II was, signifying that it has concluded. She goes on to say how in these past seven years on Earth, she has seen how beautiful and full of life our planet is. Back on ARIA, she could not see those facets of Earth, thinking that we were on the verge of destruction. IA describes ARIA as a place where the energies of music and light harmonize together, and where all life co-exists peacefully, adding how she believes that someday, Earth can be like this as well.

Then the background switches back to ARIA and IA changes to a beautiful white gown to sing Resonance World. As she sung this beautifully melodic song, flowers would slowly bloom on her dress and hair until she was garbed in the flowery ARIA dress that we see in concert promotions. Once again, hats off to the DMM VR Theater for having the tech to hold such performances!

Next, we were treated to another song that was new to me, The Eternity and More. Singing in amazingly clear and understandable English, IA was wearing what looks like a business dress, and dancing with other ladies clothed in similar office-wear. This performance was one of the biggest surprises for me, and I absolutely loved witnessing it!

Then IA appeared on stage with different dancers (not the dance kids whom I thought earlier) for Higher! Once again, her English is absolutely remarkable in this song, and the DMM VR Theater gave us some more virtual reality theatrics with graffiti effect overlaying the solo dance number performers. And whenever IA would sing “higher” in the lyrics, we would lift our glowsticks higher as well!

Final Song and IA’s Message

And finally, we come to the very last performance of the night: ARIA ON THE PLANETES ~Best Wishes for You~. At different moments in the song, IA would talk to us about how all life on Earth is connected together, all sharing the same planet and the same future. She sees the people on Earth as having infinite potential to make their dreams come true, and remarked how important it is to love oneself, for that leads to loving others. Whenever we feel that we are limited in some way, or just can’t let go of sad feelings, IA reminds us that those feelings come from within us, and we have the power to change that. She also reminds us that each of us has a unique existence on this planet, and each one of us is irreplaceable. It all starts with understanding that and loving oneself, then loving others and working together for a peaceful future. And if we can all remember that, then the Earth can become a place filled with Life, Love, and Peace…

Now, if all that sounded really corny to you, let me explain why you had to be in the moment to really take in what she was saying, this virtual artist named IA. At the climax of the song when ONE and all the performers appeared, IA asked us to join hands with the person next to us and raise them together, which I indeed did with the lady sitting next to me. With her hand in my left hand and a glowstick in my right, we waved our arms in unison with IA all the way until the end of the performance.

After the Concerts

As the end credits rolled, the lady and I struck up a nice conversation about IA and ourselves. It was also her first time watching IA perform, and we both expressed how her performances well surpassed anything that we imagined they would be like. The shows left us both in utter awe.

And as I thought, the lady is indeed the mother of two of the dance kids. I told her what an amazing job they did up on stage and how she should be really proud of them, and of herself for encouraging their passion. She was very happy to hear that, and when she asked me where I’m from, she was surprised when I told her how I’m a fan from the States who now lives in Tokyo. She responded by praising my Japanese ability, and also noticed how I was stopping to take notes all the time during the concert. I explained how I help run an English VOCALOID blog and wanted to write a report about my experience there, and explain the story of ARIA, the setlists and more for VocaSphere readers. She once again praised me for that effort, and I her, and we ended up exchanging contact information since she is from Tokyo as well.

What I describe above may have been a very small thing, but the fact that it happened was very, very meaningful to me on a personal level. I’ve been living in Japan for only two months and am already feeling the pangs of homesickness, and also hold a lot of doubt about whether I really can make a life for myself here. But whenever I make a local friend, especially one who reminds me that I should have confidence in and love myself more, all that sadness and self doubt fades away. I’m reminded that my life and gifts are unique, that any sad feeling can be overcome, and that by accepting and loving myself more, I can then have the confidence to make friends and a life for myself here in Japan as I expand my circles…. in short, everything that IA tells us.

I know, she may be a synthesized voice on a 3D projected image, and all her lines may have been written by other people. But think of all the VOCALOID fans who have been moved by these virtual singers, and even proclaimed that they’ve had their lives saved by them. I think at that moment during ARIA, I’ve experienced some of that connection that people make through IA and other virtual singers, a connection that has helped improve my new life in this new place, however minor it may seem.

At the merch shop, we could also leave a thank-you message for IA and ONE, which I course did while carrying all these feelings of gratitude for tonight.

Conclusion

I hope everyone has enjoyed reading my report about IA’s PARTY A GO-GO Super Edition and ARIA -IA Musical & Live Show-. However, let me say how a written report like this does not do nearly enough justice to the shows. Only by being present at them can one fully feel the love that IA and ONE can bring to fans.

Believe me, I’ve attended PARTY A GO-GO screenings at my home in Chicago before, and the reaction from everyone was always very lukewarm, if they even stayed for the whole thing. But the atmosphere here was completely different. People were cheering, jumping for joy, laughing and crying together, and even making connections with new people. That, my friends, is what IA and VOCALOID fandom is all about, the passion and love that brings people from all over the world together.

It’s my sincere hope that everyone who reads this will someday be able to experience the euphoria of being at an IA and VOCALOID concert for themselves, and making lifelong connections and bonds in the process. Thank you to all who have read this far, and look forward to future event reports!

Setlists

PARTY A GO-GO Super Edition

1) オツキミリサイタル / Otsukimi Recital (Move-Viewing Recital)

2) Circuit DISCO

3) SEE THE LIGHTS

4) We gotta run

5) 東京リアルワールド / Tokyo Real World

6) おねがいダーリン / OИEgai Darlin’

7) 現実的論理主義者 / Genjitsuteki Ronri Shugisha / A Realistic Logical Ideologist

8) LIVEDRIVE

9) 六兆年と一夜物語 / Rokuchounen to Ichiya Monogatari (Six Trillion Years and Overnight Story)

10) アスノヨゾラ哨戒班 / Asu no Yozora Shoukaihan (Night Sky Patrol of Tomorrow)

11) DAYBREAK FRONTLINE

12) 祭・祭・祭 / MA・TSU・RI

13) 延命治療 / Enmei Chiryou (Life Prolonging Treatment)

14) セツナドライブ / Setsuna Drive

15) アウターサイエンス / Outer Science

16) アメリカ ~We are all right!~ / America ~We are all right!~

Encore:

17) Inner Arts

18) Diamond Days

ARIA -IA Musicial & Live Show- Encore Performance

1) Into Starlight

2) HAVE FUN!

3) One Heart

4) LIFE LOVE PEACE

5) Conqueror

6) 絶対領域 / Zettai Ryouiki (Absolute Zone )

7) ホロンボット / Holonbot

8) Reload

9) 夜咄ディセイブ / Yobanashi Deceive (Night Talk Deceive)

10) ロスタイムメモリー / Lost Time Memory

11) チルドレンレコード / Children Record

12) Euphoria

13) てるみい / Tell Me

14) Resonance World

15) The Eternity and More

16) Higher

17) ARIA ON THE PLANETES ~Best Wishes for You~

Tweets from some of the show performers sharing their gratitude

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