Believe it or not, but I’ve finally seen Buono! as well as Tsugunaga Momoko, my number one idol, in real life!
Warning: This is a quite extensive report on my trip, if you only are interested to hear about the concert experience please skip to the part with the concert xD
On February the 12th 2012 I went to the Buono concert held at La Machine du Moulin Rouge in Paris. This experience contained a lot of “first time” experiences for me. For example it was my first time taking a flight alone as well as visiting another country without having my family with me. It was also the first time I’ve experienced France in another season than summer, seen the Sacre Cœur and Moulin Rouge as well as of course experiencing a Hello Project concert! (I actually think this is the first real “authentic” concert I’ve been to in my life xD) Lol.
The flight to Paris went totally smooth, with me arriving half an hour before schedule (yay!) Traveling with train and metro went fine as well, but I couldn’t say the same about finding the hotel xD I was stupid enough not to bring with me a map, because on Google maps the hotel had seemed so close to the metro station that I thought: I will just find it by myself – no problem! But after walking in circles for over an hour I gave up and asked a guy to help me find the way ^^; Luckily enough he was really nice and practically escorted me all the way to the door :O
After having checked in I went to La Machine du Moulin Rouge to meet up with some friends from Hello!Online as well as a girl I had planned to go with to the concert. Most of them were German fans, but two of them were also from England and Austria ^^ We had a great time at a sushi restaurant nearby (even though the restaurant was freezing) and it was really great to be able to chat with other Hello Project fans about everything from favorite songs and favorite members to how people got interested in Japan and J-pop and people’s concert experiences. A guy called DaiShuryou from the forum had even been to Buono’s summer concert Rock’n Buono! 4 last year! :O (Which btw, I had just watched on DVD before going to Paris o_o) Was very envious of him for that! I also got to chat with Pinkguin, a girl from Germany, and also the girl I was going to go with to the concert. She (and her Mom) were really nice and showed me pictures from the Momoiro Clover concert from last year which Pinkguin had attended. We also talked about how it had been going to the Morning Musume concert which they held in Paris back in 2010. I really felt like the only one at the table who hadn’t been to any kind of concert before, but then again Mirli from the forum too hadn’t been to a concert as well, so I was not the only one ^^
The next day (February the 12th), the day of the concert, a lot of stuff happened. I got up early so I could get most out of this important day and went out to find the Sacre Cœur church which should be really close to where I stayed. After some time I found it and had to climb two big stairs where afterwards I was standing before a really amazing building. It was fantastic to get to see it in real life and to my luck even though it was cold the weather was also really sunny. My luck continued, because as I went into the church a service had just started! :O So I got to listen to a wonderful women’s choir and watch a lot of Catholic rituals I’d never seen before in the Danish Protestant church. It was truly interesting to watch and I must say it got me quite moved afterwards :’D After the service I bought one of those Sacre Cœur coins for 2€. It was so pretty and shiny and then I thought it would be a nice souvenir to remember the whole thing ^-^
Then I went shopping a bit, even though a lot of the shops where closed on Sunday. However, I still managed to buy some neat things like a mug with cute French motives, a red wallet with cats on and then a bag made of fur-like material. Around 1 o’clock I met up with Pinkguin and her Mom to eat lunch at a traditional French restaurant, where I got me some very delicious duck with honey :9 At the restaurant I also got to talk some more with Pinkguin and her mom about for example their home town, family, countries they had been too, future ambitions and more. Once again they treated me really nice and I must say it was comforting to have someone to talk to, instead of just eating alone like I did in the hotel when eating breakfast.
After lunch we said goodbye to Pinkguin’s Mom and went to my hotel to get ready to go queuing in front of La Machine. I dressed in my pink blazer (chosen to support Momochi) and then we prepared our glow sticks and glow wristbands for the concert. Around 03:15 we went to queue with all the other fans which already had made quite a crowd on the sidewalk in front of the concert building. The doors would open at , so until that we would just have to chitchat to kill time. After some time I noticed to my big horror that I had left my concert ticket in my room, but luckily I lived just by the concert building, so I quickly went to fetch it xD While queuing random Japanese guys handed out glow sticks and a cameraman went by us a couple of times to film the queue. Every time he passed all started cheering and shouting things about Buono – was quite hilarious ^o^ A French guy in front of us whom I talked to while waiting had also studied Japanese and had been introduced to Buono by his friend. He was really friendly, helped us translate messages from the staff into English and took our picture :)
(Start here to read about the concert experience)
When we finally got inside there were people everywhere and I immediately noticed that Hello Project PVs were being played on the stage. Before I went to the merchandise both or inside the hall, I went for the wardrobe to get off all my heavy winter clothes. With me I had a very important letter and three drawings which I had made for Buono 3 years ago when I thought I was going to see Buono in Stockholm. So my first priority was to give them the letter and the drawings and once again I was lucky because the staff had put up a big box just by the merchandise both to leave presents and fan mail (yay!). After that I went with Pinkguin to find a good spot in the concert hall and we managed to find one there wasn’t too crowded and from where we still could see the stage properly.
By then the hall had started to heat up a lot and people where doing wota-gei with all their might even though they were only just showing PVs. The atmosphere and tension in that room was just amazing I tell ye! xD
When the time finally was 18:00, Buono went on stage. There were a lot of light and it was hard to see them at first, but then they started singing the intro to Hatsukoi Cider and then I could see them properly. It was so unreal I tell you; it was like they were there and then it was like it was just a dream. Of course I regret I didn’t get a little closer to the stage, but even though I was pretty much all the way in the back of the hall I was still able to see them quite well :) I had been worrying about how to act in a Hello Project concert, as it seemed by all the DVDs and fan stories that there were many kinds of different moves and dances you had to know and perform during a concert. Luckily though, it was really as easy as breathing as soon as the song started playing and everyone began waving their glow sticks and shouting Buono members’ names – and it was seriously fun! xD My face was one big grin during the whole concert and it was so great to watch and feel all the happy Buono fans around me enjoying the concert. Buono played a lot of their old Shugo Chara-era songs and then of course also some of their more rocky songs like Juicy Heart, Deep Mind and to my big delight: Nakimushi Shounen (my all time favorite Buono song!) ^o^ Every time Momo had some lines I tried to scream “Momochi!” or “Momoko!” with all my strength, but unfortunately my voice is quite small. So my voice was really spent after all that screaming (haha).
It seemed like there were most Airi fans, if you judge of the amount of green in the room (as well as my friend Pinkguin xD) But a girl beside me was also a Momo fan and had a really pretty Momo-uchiwa and pink glow stick (you go girl!) and we screamed for Momo together ^^ She seemed really nice, but unfortunately I didn’t get her name and I didn’t even find out her nationality as the only words I heard her say was: “Momo fan?” Or something like that (Gosh, I’ve already forgotten so much =.=) I also noticed a hyper Japanese fan who was swinging big green glow sticks and doing insanely high jumps whenever Airi was singing, lol! It was really entertaining to watch :D Another thing I came to think about after the concert was that I didn’t really notice or care that much about whether or not the girls had sung live during the concert. As a matter of fact I was much more interested in just seeing them perform and being a part of the happy Buono crowd. Nothing else really mattered. Of course it would have been great if they had sung more of their newer, mature songs and if there could have been a ballad song just once. But actually even that didn’t matter that much to me. I was just so happy and grateful to finally be able to see my beloved idols in real life. And as a person who have been a fan of them since they started out in 2007 as well Buono was one of my first idol group loves (together with Berryz Koubou) this was like reaching a goal which had always sort of seemed impossible and unreal.
I guess I shouldn’t have been so surprised, but still I was when Buono announced “last number“. It truly felt like it had been the shortest one and a half hour of my entire life! I was really like “what?!” when I heard the announcement. It didn’t help that there wasn’t any encore, even though we shouted “enkoru” in maybe 10 minutes or more ;_; I hadn’t won one of those signing session tickets either, so that was sort of the end of the concert experience for me. But still, nothing can change that it had been one and a half truly amazing hour and the feeling of Buono being just in front of my eyes in real flesh and blood for the first time was just wow! I will probably never forget this experience and really hope I don’t. I was also really happy to have shared the concert experience with Pinkguin, because a concert like this one just had to be shared with a friend! ;D
After the concert I bought a Café Buono t-shirt and a Buono poster with their Hatsukoi Cider single. In the queue to the merchandise booth I also met Mirli from yesterday’s gathering and Mimi-chama from Hello!Online. I was also surprised that the French guy from earlier waved goodbye to me when he passed me when leaving the hall. He seemed very happy, so hopefully he’d had a great concert experience too :) When I had bought the merchandise and both Pinkguin and I had gotten our jackets back from the wardrobe, we headed to the Quick burger place to get something to eat and meet with other fans. I was really tired after the concert but still had a lot of fun chatting with other Hello Project fans, who were just as beaten, happy and tired as I was. I got to meet the famous Airi fan Chobineko from Hello!Online as well as Rice-chan, Juulchii and Mimi-chama (again) which I got to thank in person for helping me out with the questionnaire for my psychology exam ^^ (Which btw I also had liked to do to Chobineko, but I guess I was a little distracted – haha ^^;) We took pictures as well as a group shot and generally made a lot of noise (I’m pretty sure all the non-H!P fans in that room must have been very very confused by our behavior – lol!).
But it got late and I knew I had to pack and sort out lot of things before going to bed, so around ten o’clock I had to say goodbye. It was probably most weird saying goodbye to Pinkguin, as I had spent a good part of the whole trip together with her as well at having talked about all kinds of cool stuff. We made a promise, though, that we would visit each others’ homes in the near future :) I hope it’s possible! xD
The next day I got up early, ate my breakfast and caught the first train to the airport. On my way back, while sitting in the plane, I listened to Buono music and thought about the trip and all the new friends I had made. I already missed it all and was itching to go together to a new Hello! Project concert soon. I guess it won’t be soon though… I’m not even sure there ever will be a chance like this again. But I wish with all my heart that there will be another concert and next time I will be one of the lucky ones to meet and shake Momo’s hand x’)
Here’s a video I shot when they were performing Renai♥Rider :) It’s not great quality, but it gives you a good feel of how the concert atmosphere was ^^