Foreign as it may sound to you, Ayumi has been a great inspiration to me. It is a pity that many find language a barrier that is too high to cross. Even if you are not into Ayumi’s music, watching her concert recordings will certainly open your eyes to what a live performance can be: the innovation, the overall production quality, and the superb entertainment value.
So, what is so great about this particular indoor recording?
A large stage with moving platforms, fountains, and fireworks, a crane that takes Ayumi closer to the crowd, a talented band and a group of equally talented dancers are all attributes that we have seen before in her previous concerts. Hence, it is a given, something you would expect to see from any Ayumi concerts. Beyond these, here is how Ayumi celebrated her 10 years of music career.
If how well an artist performs live is judged by how well he or she covers the stage area, Ayumi has certainly up the challenge by extending the front stage all the way to the back via a runway as well as a side stage. Ayumi, her dancers, and her band members moved from one end of the stage to another. In one of the bonus clips, there is a split screen on how she tunneled (via a trolley pushed by two men!) from one stage into another and ‘magically appeared’ from nowhere.
I may not know what the songs are about without reading the Chinese translation. However, the choreography is so great that it communicates the stories. One highlight is the lyrical dance on one of the slow songs. It moves me. And for this concert, the lead choreographer did something different: he involved the audience to practice the upper body dance moves. During one part of a song that came much later, he gave the clue and suddenly, the entire stadium danced in unison. The emotion is intense, even as I was siting in front of my TV.
Inside the bonus clips, viewers get to see Ayumi’s glamor side, her humble side, and her determined side. She is so driven in all areas though she may not be great in all. But her quest for superb quality and bringing out the best in the people around her is just amazing. Whatever she demands from others, I can only imagine that she demands much more from herself.
Politically incorrect as it may sound, this image sticks in my mind. When the Crusaders first arrived at Jerusalem, they were shocked by how advance the culture of the people in the Middle East was. The quality of Ayumi’s production is certainly unseen of, for those who take the Western production as a benchmark.
Another image that sticks in my mind is this. At the end of the concert, in one dramatic moment, Ayumi silenced the entire stadium, took a moment of silence, and screamed out words of thanks – without a mic. You are my inspiration, Ayu.