On April 6 and 7, Hamasaki Ayumi held her 21st anniversary live tour, Power of A^3 at the Saitama Super Arena. The show on April 7 was scheduled to be an exclusive live broadcast on WOWOW satellite TV channel, which is known for doing live streams of concerts.
The exclusive broadcast of Ayumi’s show was due to start at 4pm. However, the show was delayed for an entire hour due to the songstress’ tardiness. Angry fans then commented online that she has “failed as a professional” and “doesn’t take her work seriously.”
This reminds me of the X Japan concert I attended. Long-time readers would know I’m a big fan of X Japan and they are known to be late. It’s not unusual for them to even be a few hours late. In fact, it was so unusual for them to start on time that when their acoustic live was scheduled to broadcast on WOWOW, fans actually came into the arena late and missed a couple of songs because they didn’t think it would start on time. But Yoshiki was “responsible” in a sense that he understood TV must go as scheduled and it’s a disaster for it to show nothing. While I hate waiting and really dislike their lack of professionalism to turn up on time, X understood that the people there were their fans anyway and they probably won’t think negatively of it.
Anyhow, while the program on WOWOW started airing as scheduled, Ayumi simply didn’t appear. The screen then displayed the text that the concert has been delayed and requested viewers to hold on a little longer, and that carried on for a while. When Ayumi appeared, it was already 5pm. Several fans complained online with comments like “I rushed back home to catch this but it hasn’t even started,” “She’s taking her fans for a fool,” and “How long are you going to make us wait? That’s enough!”
At the arena, apologies were made via the PA system but according to fans who turned up at the performance, the announcement was made only some 50 minutes past the scheduled time. Ayumi then started the show with neither apologies nor any explanations.
Viewers who caught Ayu’s concert for the first time shared their thoughts, “Is this always how Ayu behaves?” “Fans who aren’t annoyed by this are too kind,” and “The fans have spoiled her that’s why she behaves like that.”
Even after the show started, Ayu went backstage to change her outfit some every 2-3 songs, causing further unhappiness. “She finally came out, why does she need to touch up again?” With some even making sarcastic comments like, “You call this Ayu’s concert? It’s like a guest appearance.”
Among all the criticisms, the one that got criticized the most was her vocals.
A entertainment news journalist commented that maybe she wasn’t feeling well, that was why she turned up late, but from the first song, her voice didn’t sound right. Fans who were at the arena commented that Ayu’s voice seemed off and that she wasn’t able to hit the high notes. WOWOW viewers felt that it was so bad, they wouldn’t have heard what she was saying without subtitles. Some even wondered why she decided to continue with the show despite her state. As one viewer put it, “It was the worst thing artistes can do by turning up late and not singing well.”
Since the loss of hearing in her left ear in 2000, Ayu has announced publicly that her hearing will never return. On top of that, her right ear is ailing. To that, some fans have shown encouragement with comments like, “It must be tough for you but thank you for singing for us!” “Your voice gives me courage,” and “You’re always bright and cheerful and that makes me want to do better myself.”
Unfortunately, this wasn’t just a regular concert but one that was also broadcasted live on TV to non-fans as well. That probably resulted in the slew of negative comments, but hopefully she can recover and put up a better show the next time.
Surprised to know that Japanese icons of all people would be late, given the country’s image/reputation for punctuality…