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Mari's concert in Torrance was part of the summer festival sponsored by Bridge U.S.A. It was held in the parking lot of the Torrance Holiday Inn on Saturday, July 17, 1999. I arrived in the afternoon, and the show didn't start until 9 PM, so I spent several hours talking with some of Mari's fans who had come from Japan to see her.
There was a Japanese heavy metal group called Musashi on at 7 PM, before Mari. The front row of seats was mostly occupied by Mari's fans, though--we wanted to make sure we had good seats! Musashi was very loud--I was wishing I'd brought some earplugs to bring them down to a more reasonable volume.
There was an hour break while the stage was re-set. Mari waited with her fans in the front row, and we talked a little. A CD by Musashi was playing over the sound system at high volume, so it was hard to hear. One of Mari's fans from Japan gave her a large bundle of sunflowers, and I took a picture of Mari with Andy and Ryan (her kids) and the people who had come from Japan. I also talked a little to Warren Studer (Jim Studer's father), who I'd met at the Baked Potato.
|Mari with her Japanese fans, and her sons Andy and Ryan. The fans are Mochi, Ueno, Kaoru, Koji, and Noriyuki. Also visible in the second row (with the reflecting glasses) is Warren Studer.|
The band members were Jim Studer on keyboard, Matt Bissonette on bass, Tony Pia on drums, and Danny Jacob on guitar.
By the time Mari's concert started, the available seating had filled up. Before she started singing, the announcer introduced her and asked her about the Anaheim concert the previous night, and her new English CD. They were speaking Japanese, so I didn't understand too much of it.
The first four songs were in English, the rest were in Japanese. After Sudden Kiss, someone in the audience called for "Minmay." I thought it was interesting--I'd heard about Mari still being identified with Minmay like that, but I'd never actually seen it before. Mari talked briefly Macross, and sang the piano version of Ai Oboeteimasuka.
The audience wasn't particularly enthusiastic, although the first row certainly was. I think many of them were there for the festival and had never heard Mari sing before.
When the show ended, Mari sold her CD at a table near the stage. A small crowd gathered to buy it--I didn't count, but it was maybe a few dozen people. They weren't nearly as pushy as the Anime Expo crowd had been, which was a good thing since there were several small children in the crowd. I bought two more CDs myself so I would have spares to loan to curious co-workers.