[Concert Review] YOASOBI's Monumental U.S. Solo Debut in Los Angeles

Photo Cr. Emma Vurdien 

YOASOBI is currently having one of their busiest periods yet as artists. Made up of vocalist and songwriter Lilas Ikuta, known as Ikura, and producer Ayase, YOASOBI is one of Japan’s most influential music acts, known for hits like ‘Yoru Ni Kakeru’ and the recent record-breaking ‘Idol’. The Japanese duo recently performed at Coachella, one of the world’s biggest music festivals, and just days prior, they were invited by Japan’s Prime Minister Fumio Kishida to perform at a White House state dinner hosted by U.S. President Joe Biden. Now, amidst their packed schedule, YOASOBI is making their U.S. live solo debut at the Shrine Expo Hall in Los Angeles for the first of their 2 headline West Coast shows. 

Before the show begins, fans, both from the area and outside the country, line up outside the sold-out venue in anticipation of seeing the iconic ‘Idol’ artists. Many fans hold colorful glowing light sticks, similar to those seen in the anime “Oshi no Ko”, while some arrive in full head-to-toe cosplay. The varied styles of the audience reflect YOASOBI's ability to bring together people of all backgrounds to enjoy their music. 

The show kicks off with Ikura ascending a high platform overlooking the stage, singing the opening of “セブンティーン Seventeen” into a megaphone. Ayase and the YOASOBI band members join her on stage with high energy, getting the crowd moving. Following this energetic start, the duo and their band bring “祝福 The Blessing” and “ハルジオン Halzion” to life on stage. 

After the first few songs, a screen displays a colorful message asking the audience to put on the 3D glasses provided upon entry. This prepares everyone for the visually spectacular stages of “Biri-Biri” and “Mister”, where the screen serves as an engaging backdrop. Through the glasses, unique landscapes and technological designs pop out from behind Ayase and Ikura, enhancing the visual experience. The screen then darkens, and small sparkles light up the room for performances of “もしも命が描けたら If I Could Draw Life” and “優しい彗星 Comet.” 

Following these softer performances, Ikura tells the audience that stars in the sky carry their own wishes that then turn into wings. The small sparkles on the screen behind her magically morph into colorful wings, setting the stage for the song “ツバメ Swallow,” written by Ayase from the perspective of a swallow looking upon society below. Through the glasses, a colorful bird is seen flying above the crowd, and Ikura gazes up as if seeing the bird. 

Midway through the show, Ayase shares sentiments with the audience through a letter he had written before the show. He expresses his initial worry about selling tickets for their first concert in the U.S. and his extreme gratitude for the sold-out show. Mentioning their Coachella performances, he emphasizes the unique nature of this concert compared to the festival performances and hopes the audience enjoys it to the very end.

Following Ayase’s heartfelt comments, the iconic song “Idol” begins, and the crowd erupts into excited fan chants, waving their light sticks to the beat. After the opening song from “Oshi no Ko,” “Idol,” the duo also performs another anime favorite, “怪物 Monster,” the opening theme of Beastars

After the high-energy performances of these iconic songs, Ikura shares a letter she prepared for the audience to express her wholehearted gratitude. She recounts her childhood dream of becoming a singer and visiting LA, expressing her joy at spending time with the audience and making YOASOBI’s dreams come true. Ikura announces they will continue releasing music, so they can return, a sentiment the audience joyfully agrees with. She concludes by saying that every day spent achieving their goals has led them to this moment. 

To close the show, YOASOBI and their band perform “群青 Gunjou” and “ハートビート Heartbeat,” encouraging the audience to sing along. Ikura moves to each side of the stage, creating a wholesome and united atmosphere as she listens to the voices of every audience member. Before the show officially ends, the duo returns for an exciting encore, performing "夜に 駆ける Yoru ni Kakeru," their debut song from 2019, which introduced the talented duo to the world. 

In what has been a momentous year for both Ayase and Ikura, the duo continues to express gratitude until the very end of the show, thanking the audience for their support. It's clear that YOASOBI will remain an influential act in the growing world of J-POP and will continue to succeed in their goal of sharing their music with the world.

Review and Photography by Emma Vurdien @emmafayev

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