“Enter the world of cute monsters!”
- Event: The Spooky Obakeyashiki: Pumpkins Strike Back
- Date: Monday June 18th, 2018
- Location: Playstation Theater, New York City
Intro: Welcome to the Spooky Obakeyashiki
Having caught the attention of the world with her 2011 single Pon Pon Pon, Kyary Pamyu Pamyu’s American fans were happy to welcome their princess back to New York for her second American tour. Despite it being two years since her return, her recently released single “Kimi no Mikata (Your Ally)” kept her fresh in everyone’s minds with its catchy beat and message of encouragement. Like her 2016 5 Years Monster World Tour, the theme was monsters (Obakeyashiki meaning ‘haunted house’) unsurprising for someone whose music videos consist of spooky creatures, creepy/cute imagery, and crazy, out-of-this-world costumes.
Monday was an uncomfortable 91 degrees that had a lot of fans who had dressed extravagantly for the occasion quite sweaty. Despite the PlayStation Theater’s 2100 person capacity, VIP fans had to wait an hour outside under a bit of shade before being rushed to the photo op before the show. All was forgiven once Kyary’s beautiful face came into view and her sweet smile gave new life to her tired fans. After pictures were taken by the professional cameraman as this was a “no personal picture” event, they were issued a beautiful clear file with Kyary’s tour outfit image and a creepy black and red bracelet. Then it was time to purchase the tour goods left over from the European leg of her tour which sadly meant less variety. There was one style of adult shirts, 2 child shirts, and two towels with the tour logo. The bar right across from the tour goods didn’t open until general admission attendees were let in so most people simply rushed to the front of the stage and stayed there.
Most fans gathered were young adults or older teens dressed in either tour shirts or spooky, colorful styles consisting of eyeballs, frills, and whimsical designs. A giant screen played a bloody tour logo that would occasionally drip or splatter and the stage had an eerie gate with red lanterns that seemed to lead to another world. It turned 8:00 pm and the screams for Kyary were incessant. Suddenly, the video changed to what must be Kyary’s point of view in her dressing room. Then, 3 monsters appeared; a yokai without a head, a fox spirit, and a haunted umbrella. They demanded she shows the world how terrifying monsters are to make up for making them look cute in her music. Kyary tried to resist but when they threatened to curse her audience, she reluctantly agreed. The video ended with her manager telling her through the door that the show was starting and then she appeared onstage as if she had just run out of her changing room.
Performance: Haunted, Happy House
Kyary steps out in her outfit from her tour promotion photos, a dress with a spooky red lantern pattern and red and gold headpiece that adds to the elegant yet otherworldly ambiance. Appropriately, she starts the show off with Fashion Monster, one of her more popular songs. The long-necked monster also stepped out to get the crowd hyped, he raising his walking stick and Kyary lifting her enormous red lantern encouraging the crowd to cheer. Everyone seemed to know the lyrics and excitedly sang or screamed along. Four orange, troll-looking dancers with wild greyish-blue hair crept and jerked their bodies in mesmerizing ways as the song continued.
As Kyary went from song to song, the energy levels never dipped. Her high but powerful voice never faltered, despite her fast pace, and her loyal fans were all too happy to belt out the words they knew along with her. Even when some people went to sit down due to the overwhelming heat, they excitedly chanted and bobbed up and down. Her backup dancers truly must have been monsters to dance so hard with smiles on their faces. Several times between songs, Kyary would take a moment and chat with the audience. She tried to speak English despite it being hard for her and everyone was delighted with how much she engaged with everyone. She often spoke just in Japanese and she seemed surprised but happy that so many people could follow along and reply back. The longer the concert went on, the more at ease she seemed to feel and the more she talked about personal matters such as where she went shopping, what she ate, or how hard her latest dance was to learn. The audience yelled their appreciation and responded in Japanese, proving neither a spirit barrier nor a language barrier could separate them from the Harajuku pop princess.
At the halfway point, Kyary was joined on stage by her kitsune (fox spirit) friend and then disappeared through the spooky gate. A special instrumental played while the fox spirit danced and swayed, pulling the audience in with her hypnotic movement. The background oni stayed on stage continuing to dance as well. After a few minutes passed, Kyary took to the stage with an entirely different outfit. She emerged in a tight black outfit with black feather sleeves, black wing headpiece, and pants, something the singer almost never wears. Everyone was taken aback by this dark, mature, yet still very Kyary look. What had been an energetic cheering turned into a stunned appreciation as it took the audience a few moments to collect themselves. She further surprised her fans by breaking it down and dancing in ways she hadn’t before. It was as if a dark hip-hop spirit had taken over and given her powers. She continued on with “Ninja Re Bang Bang”, “Sai & Kou”, and finished the set with “Crazy Party Night”. The fox spirit and long neck yokai came back on stage for this special monster song and really got the crowd going.
Despite everyone’s voices having been strained, they called over and over again for an encore. The excessive body heat was nearly overwhelming but no one wanted to part before Kyary appeared one last time. Gracing everyone with a new ‘happy exorcist’ outfit, Kyary came back for three more songs. She ended the night with her most popular song “PON PON PON” which had everyone singing and dancing along despite the limited space. Kyary and her fans yelled thank you to each other for a good while before she finally left for good. Hot, tired, yet having thoroughly enjoyed themselves, everyone went off into the night.
Outro: Desiring to Reach Each Other
After “No, No, No”, Kyary explained her second look was inspired by crows, which she loves. She asked how everyone liked it and was taken aback as everyone screamed ‘KAKKOI!!!’ (cool) at her. She smiled brightly and thanked everyone. As if encouraged by the audience trying to communicate in an easy way for her to understand, she tried talking about how her new dance had been hard for her. When she got to a point in the story she didn’t know how to say in English, she used a translating app on the spot, determined to explain. “My body…is… hard!” she said about being inflexible. After demonstrating she couldn’t even reach her toes, everyone yelled that she had worked hard. She seemed to have renewed vigor and smiled harder during her songs. It was a sweet moment that really seemed to resonate with everyone.
Another powerful moment between Kyary and her audience was when she sang her new song “Kimi no Mikata”. Everyone felt Kyary’s earnest desire to motivate her fans to follow their dreams, wear what they want, and not let anyone take their voice away. She promised to be everyone’s ally and people either sang along or swayed in quiet awe of her. She moved all around the stage and looked out into the crowd as if to personally assure each and every one there that she was on their side.
The visuals and performance of the Spooky Obakeyashiki show were even more impressive than her 5 Year Monster concert from two years ago. It was as if she wanted to surprise her fans with how much she could do, and boy, were they impressed. Probably before this show, no one would have anticipated her break dancing or sporting tight leather pants but after the initial shock wore off it seemed like a natural choice for someone that likes to keep her audience guessing. The special appearance of obake characters dancing and interacting with the audience made for a more immersive experience with the haunted house theme as Kyary delivered another fantastic and out-of-this-world performance.