Anime Expo Special Report

Events

Mari was at the opening ceremony on Friday, and her concert was Friday night. The concert was a stand-alone event, like the one in Baltimore. She was in the dealer's room on Saturday selling the new No Limit CD, t-shirts, and concert booklets. Her panel was Sunday afternoon--she answered questions for part of the time, and then signed autographs. Before the con there was a "composer panel" scheduled with both Mari and Yoko Kanno, but it mysteriously disappeared once AX started. Too bad, I would have like to have seen that.

I missed the opening ceremony--I only got there about an hour before it started, and there was a three hour line to pick up my page.

Several of Mari's fans from Japan were there. One of them was kind enough to bring a copy of Love Season, Mari's eleventh album, which is hard to find.

Concert

The concert was very good. This was the first convention appearance where Mari has had a live band, and it was definitely more enjoyable than with recorded music. The sound was good--remarkably good for Anime Expo, in fact. The room was too large for everyone to see the stage, so there was a projection screen set up with at least two cameras. The video people did an excellent job.

The AX people initially told me there would be no photography allowed. They later changed their minds, but by that time it was too late for me. However, some other people did have cameras, so I may be able to put up photographs later.

She sang No Limit, Us, Sudden Kiss, and "D" from the new English CD, No Limit. After those songs, somebody in the audience called for her to sing in Japanese. I thought that was really weird, and a bit rude. After that she sang Rain & Shine, from the Rain & Shine album, in Japanese.

Next, she introduced her band members. They were: Jim Studer on keyboard, Matt Bissonette on bass, Tony Pia on drums, and Danny Jacob on guitar. After that they left the stage except for Jim Studer.

Finally, she sang the piano version of Ai Oboeteimasuka. This version isn't on any CD, but it's really good. Several people have told me recently they like it better than the original version, and I agree with them.

During the concert, Mari announced that she would be selling No Limit at a table in the lobby after the concert--this was the first time the new English CD was sold. When the concert ended, most of the audience got up and stampeded to the table. It was so crowded that I was sort of worried about her, in the middle of that mob. Later she told me that she had sold 300 CDs that night.

The audience was very enthusiastic and loud. I spoke to several fans who said that it was like a dream come true, and one man said that he had waited ten years for that night.

Panel

Mari's panel was held Sunday afternoon. She answered questions from the audience for about 45 minutes, then gave autographs and sold CDs, t-shirts, and concert booklets to anybody who wanted one. My experiment with recording the panel on MiniDisc at Otakon was a success, so I did it again here. This has one important effect for readers--when I was writing notes by hand, I would omit answers that had been answered before at another con, so that I could keep up. Now, I don't have to do that, so all the questions and answers are here.

Towards the end of the Q & A period, Don Yee gave Mari a cloth backpack from Lillith Fair, a celebration of women in music.

After the questions, everyone in the panel lined up to get things signed, and people who didn't have them yet bought CDs, t-shirts, and concert books.

As the line for autographs was almost finished, Mari called a greeting to Noburo Ishiguro, who had come in at some point and taken a seat. Mr. Ishiguro was the producer of Macross, and many other famous sci-fi shows. Mr. Ishiguro bought No Limit, and then posed with Mari while everyone there took photographs.

Mari's panel Mari signing autographs Mari with Mr. Ishiguro
Mari answering questions Mari signing autographs. Mari with Noburo Ishiguro

Links

The A Fan's View website has pictures of Mari's concert, and a press interview. This site is done by Kevin Lillard, an excellent photographer.


This page was last modified on Dec 21, 1999 at 1:56 PM.