Anime Expo is the largest anime convention on the West Coast. Typically the first day of an anime convention is rather low-key to leave the most anticipated events for Saturday, but this year was an exception. At 1p.m., on Thursday, July 2, 2009, a large crowd gathered in line on the sun-baked patio of the Los Angeles Convention Center in anticipation of Anime Expo 2009’s first concert: Moi dix Mois.
Fans in line could hear the band practicing and warming up inside the air-conditioned West Hall A. They ducked in and out of line to find cool drinks, food or to just take a break from the heat of the midday sun. Convention staff made constant reminders about no photography inside the concert hall. They asked, "Are you ready for the first concert of Anime Expo 2009?" and the line cheered. At least there would be no running or mayhem to get to the front, as tickets were assigned upon purchase, so the line remained orderly aside from the complaints of heat.
Finally the toasty fans made their way into the hall. Each found his way to his seat, and all took the remaining time before the concert to cool down, drink some water, and rest. Techno music blared over the speakers, and the occasional announcement of "No photography" kept enticing the crowd as they stared at the two large side monitors that showed a decagon emblem with "Moi dix Mois" written underneath.
The lights went out and each member of Moi dix Mois made his way to the stage. With a rumble from the bass drums the concert began, and the band erupted in a musical explosion. After the first song, vocalist Seth invited us to scream, but it was guitarist and vocalist K who really got the crowd going before the third song. As expected, Mana received the loudest cheers and screams. He and K met at center stage, then K said, "I will tell you Mana-sama’s message. He is glad to see you all again. (Mana was a special guest at Anime Expo 2006.) We will make this the best concert." The crowd screamed, Mana bowed and blew us kisses, and the band slowed down the tempo for their next song.
Moi dix Mois’s concert was a sight to behold. The myriad of light cues not only accented the music, with cool blues, greens and teals for slower songs and reds and yellows paired with the faster songs, but also washed the stage and performers in color and darkness, respectively. Fog added to the mysterious atmosphere, where many of the sounds were heard but not seen. The monitors flanking the stage gave all members of the band equal time, so those unable to see — or those not in the center section — all had an equal view. The band’s costumes were beautiful but understated.
The band also made sure the crowd participated in their music, with Seth leading hand waves and fist pumps. "The song we are going to play next has four parts," K introduced, and instructed the crowd in the proper hand motions to spell out the "D – I – X – DIX!" cheer that one fan likened to calling an army to battle. Towards the end, K wanted the audience to show love for the band by shouting "DIX LOVE!" on Seth’s cue. The tired crowd tried, but K informed us "that was not enough love," and the crowd shouted the words louder and louder. Seth introduced the last song and the band took their bows and left the stage as it ended, but the show is never over until the house lights come up.
Sure enough, after a few minutes and lots of "EN-CO-RE" and "MOI DIX MOIS" chants from the audience, the band returned to the stage for two more songs. The audience cheered and screamed until most were completely exhausted, then cheered more as each band member took his bow and left the stage. Mana’s final bow was elegant and appreciative, and his face remained characteristically porcelain doll expressionless.
The stage now dark, fans exited the hall in search of water, food or the next event on their agenda for the day. The first concert of Anime Expo 2009 was over, but would not be soon forgotten. Moi dix Mois is a band that can and does put on a show.
live report by: Corinne edited by: Kelly T.