The February weather in London was fiercely cold – and there was even a brief flurry of snow, but a minor thing like the British weather couldn’t deter Kyary fans from putting on some amazing outfits to queue outside the 02 in London ahead of the perky pop star’s first UK performance.
The Kyary Pamyu Pamyu 100% KPP World Tour 2013 had previously landed in Belgium and France with the UK being the third stop on the tour. Seeing a J-Pop artist taking a tour outside of Japan, as well as including Europe, is a rare moment and there were times when the thought of Kyary performing in the UK looked like an impossible dream.
As the lights at the O2 went down, there was a brief medley opening the performance, showcasing all of the classic Kyary songs. When the Harajuku songstress finally took to the stage with her 2 backing dancers, the venue erupted in enthusiastic cheers and shouts. Then it was straight into PONPONPON to the ecstatic cheers from the audience.
For Kyary fans, the show ticked off all the right boxes with all the classic songs presented on stage, such as Cherry Bon Bon, Kyary An-An, Minna no Uta (with the crowd encouraged to clap along), new songs such as Fashion Monster (the crowd perfectly mimicking Kyary’s clawed hand at the appropriate moments) and Furisodation, along with brief interludes between the songs for Kyary to speak to the audience to say she was “happy to see my UK fans”. Also, and perhaps most importantly, Kyary emphasised the theatrical element of the performance by asking the audience to indulge in the fantasy and that for one night we were in “Merry-Go Land”.
The performance was also broken up with brief video interludes, which gave Kyary a chance to change costume and introduce new dancers to the stage. These video interludes featured a potted history of Kyary’s career along with excerpts from her TV show that delights in completely bonkers (and usually impenetrable) skits and set pieces. Kyary’s take on the classic Gregory Peck film Roman Holiday (here retitled ‘Roman Kyaryday’!) being a highlight.
Kyary’s new tune Ninja Ban Ban was also given an airing to keep things up to date. Then it was the dulcet tones of Oyasumi, with its fairground organ melody, to slow things down a bit before Kyary moved into the final segment of the performance.
There was the obvious sadness that all good things have to come to an end – or as Kyary through her translator said: “Happy times always fly away” adding “this is not saying goodbye, but let’s see each other again!” which served as the perfect intro to Chan Chaka Chan Chan – the Kyary medley that closes out the Pamyu Pamyu Revolution album.
But even with the performance officially over, the crowd were surprised by an encore in which Kyary (now sporting one of the tour T-Shirts) got the crowd involved in an impromptu accapella version of Tsukema Tsukeru before launching into a proper version of the song.
And that brought proceedings to a definite close. But we were left with the thought that if someone of the calibre of Kyary Pamyu Pamyu can perform in the UK then things are looking more rosy for J-Pop in the UK. Happy times may indeed always fly away – but then they always fly back again.
ASOBISYSTEM UK Report:
Text and Photos by Paul Browne
14th February 2013