Otakon Music Festival 2012: JAM Project FTW!

I actually went to this event as a JAM Project fan, since I and like sooo many other fans attended this event. I heard of fans coming in from California, Canada and Ohio to see this. From my personal experiences, to love this group is to listen to songs that the group performed countless times, and then going at it in karaoke, or in the presence of your own family who looks on as you rock to the music. Then at performances like this, shout, scream, jump back to the performer. So when performers like Hironobu Kageyama, Masaaki Endoh, Hiroshi Kitadani, Masami Okui, Yoshiki Fukuyama merged as the group of Japan Animationsong Makers, dare I say… JUST HOW EPIC CAN THIS GET!!!

I heard about this festival with the closing of this year’s Otakon, and waited until I can buy tickets to pounce on them. Since I have seen them in 2008 when they were first in the U.S, I can honestly say I didn’t want my experience seeing them as I did five years ago. I wanted to be able to rock as hard as I possibly can. Ram’s Head charges $8 for coat ($3) and bag ($5) check in.

I arrived at Ram’s Head with Mori. There were already a good amount of people there, so we queue up, and waited until the doors opened. People were streaming into Baltimore throughout the afternoon  so I was able to keep track of some activity from concert going friends via social media. For the concert I stood with Mori and Paper, stage right.

Unluckily many of JAM Project official con goods sold out even before the show began. I am not as familiar with Faylan, and Natsuko Aso, outside of Baka and Test’s opening. They began the show, and sang about five songs each. I waited until JAM Project came on after a ten minute break. Of all the members of the band, Kagayama spoke the most in  English, though all JAM Project spoke English to greetings, and short conversations.

Kagayama asked (Baltimore audience) if we were ok with the cyclone. He then corrected himself and said Hurricane.  He was concerned about fans who shouted that they were from New York. (I am also from New York). He mentioned remembering Otakon and said that us fans were “especially nice to us” (JAM Project). He asks audience to call him A-chan, and said the best part of Baltimore was buying a Carl Ripken t-shirt. On another note, many fans at the concert were also wearing 08′s No Boarder concert shirt, Kageyama was clearly happy, but teased that the concert and tshirt was already an old thing.

Kitadani “absolutely loves seafood” and shouted emphatically that he can “eat [it] everyday.” He also loves crabcake and jokingly asks audience members if anyone had any at the moment.

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Okui was greatly impressed by all the cosplay at Otakon. She also mentioned that since “some of us (fans) are really hardcore” that she gets inspirations for her next cosplay.

Endoh introduces himself last, and mentions how Baltimore and Otakon was a “special memory” for him.  Then he points to the other performers on the stage, and says “We’re JAM Project from Japan” and invites fans to sing along if we knew the lyrics.

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During the performance, the concert, there was a Skype chat with Fukuyama who as a regular member of JAM Project was unfortunately unable to be present at the concert due to health reasons. There were hiccups due to technical lag that was entertaining, it certainly cracked up the rest of the JAM Project band members on stage. It was 9 am in Tokyo, so he mentions that his neighbors should be angry (if they were around.) In front of the web cam, Fukuyama  picked up his guitar and performed two songs on the spot.

Throughout the show, JAM Project members were always in motion, and switching places throughout the stage. The stage can be seen as narrow, and with their full band behind them, and the precise movements showed off the rich experience of a seasoned power group.

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During their Transformer Evo song, JAM Project tossed their band towel’s into the audience.

Before the encore, Kitadani brought out a crab plushie, that symbolized Baltimore’s mascot. He called it Crabby-chan and had a bit of fun with it, before the audience. Even Okui wore a bib in fun.

Encore happens, and between the two encores, Faylan, and Natsuko Aso came out as JAM Project sang Skill. After Skill, Kageyama thanked audience for supporting last year’s Japanese earthquake, with memories about US’s Operation Tomodaichi. There’s a “bond between people, but” (what’s) “stronger”  (is) “love between people”

The show ends with Kageyama introducing the band, and then every performer held hands and did a couple of bows.

Setlist
Crest of “Z’’s
Break Out
鋼のレジスタンス [Hagane no Resistance]
TRANSFORMERS EVO
レスキューファイアー [Rescue Fire]
牙狼~SAVIOR IN THE DARK~ [Garo ~ SAVIOR IN THE DARK~]
輪舞-revolution [Ribun Revolution] (Okui solo)
ウィーアー! [We Are!] (Kitadani solo)
勇者王誕生! [Yuusha-oh Tanjou!] (Endoh solo)
CHA-LA HEAD-CHA-LA (Kageyama solo)
キングゲイナー・オーバー [King Gainer Over] (Fukuyama solo via Skype)
DYNAMITE EXPLOSION (Fukuyama solo via Skype)
VICTORY
GONG
ROCKS
vanguard
KI・ZU・NA (encore 1)
SKILL (encore 2)

Since the concert at Baltimore, fans have been able to see JAM Project member’s individual blogs mention Baltimore, and Otakon. Though these pages are in Japanese only, it is great to see what JAM Project personally though of their experience, and what happens afterwards or behind the scene. KageyamaOkui, Endoh, Fukuyama

Omo, and Kurotsuki also have their own fan reports up. Take a look at Anime Diet’s Flickr for more other photos taken by Paper, and soon to be updated with Mori’s concert photos. Paper has his report up, now waiting for a write up from Mori.

At this point, I am back in New York, and recovering still from losing my voice, but as far as I am concerned. This experience with JAM Project has been an excellent one that I would remember for a long time. Kageyama hints that JAM Project would be back next year with Fukuyama, so this fan is in anticipation for this epic super group coming back to America again!

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