by terebikun (eva)
As we slowly descendedfrom the nose-bleeding section in Hsinchuan Stadium Taipei County with crowds still mesmerized by MISIA’s final encore sequence , my friend asked me, “So who’s the most popular singer in Japan now?” Uninterested in the question, I said, “Who cares? Tonight I found my generation here!”
I have only started going to concerts in Taipei in the last few years. I am still learning to embody myself in different performance venues–from a cozy clubhouse like The Wall to the over-hyped Taipei Arena. Apparently, venue and spatial experience are two separate things. Where one is sitting affects a great deal the concert experience. Before tonight, my last concert was at the Taipei International Convention Center near Taipei 101. My seat was so close to the front that I wanted to run away from my beloved Cheer Chen, with whom I’d rather relate acoustically, not visually (Don’t get me wrong, she is a knock-out).
Tonight, sitting in the third row from the very back in Hsinchuan Stadium Taipei County (which I think is the best concert facility in Taipei), I related to MISIA just fabulously. My friend and I both felt that we still don’t know what MISIA looks like. Yet against the tiger and leopard print stage design, the “tiny” diva done in jazz-hat, colorful cocktail dress, and (fusia!) socks was a powerhouse.
If I could summarize the experience in one keyword, it would be “involvement.” MISIA involved the audience from the beginning to the end through R&B, disco, and ballad. She also created many opportunities for the audience to sing along like the gospel singing. Frankly, I have never clapped my hands so much and so hard sitting at a concert.
I moved and screamed with reckless abandon. Her fast songs made me wave and laugh like a maniac. Her ballads commanded me to sit back submissively. When she returned for encore, I simply lost it. I started sobbing uncontrollably as soon as she hit the beginning of “Everything.” The song was the theme song for a 2000 Japanese TV drama, Yamato Nadeshiko, and was probably her most well-known song in Taiwan, as it was also a KTV hit. But it was not my attachment to that particular drama that evoked the feelings. It was the sudden realization that I was in a stadium with 5000 other people whom I could call my “generation.” I wouldn’t characterize this generation as J-pop or “ha-ri-zu” (Japanophiles). I felt it particularly so because there was no fan-clubs for MISIA in Taiwan to act as mobilization agents. I have not exactly followed her activities. Yet everyone seemed a little surprised to see everyone at the concert.
The feeling of resonance was internal more than anything. “Everything” evoked individual faces of my beloved friends and state-of-minds from the late 1990s when I was living in Los Angeles. Just as I thought MISIA was going to leave me drowning in the debris of sweat, tears, and makeup, she rescued me with another encore song, and another one, until I flew up from my seat and danced with everyone.
Perhaps all these emotions are obligatory in pop concerts experiences. Reporters and academics look to describe those “controlled decontrolled” moments. But for me, to be at the center of that experience–rather than watching from the sideline or analyzing it with concepts like “affect”–was new and full of impact.