Virtual concert, real experience

What do Japanese virtual diva Hatsune Miku and the late rapper Tupac Shakur have in common? At first glance, not much. One is a computerized idol, the other is a rapper, who preformed a concert post-mortem at Coachella 2012. However, they both have done virtual concerts using computer modeling and hologram projection technology.

Who is Hatsune Miku? Miku is a Vocaloid, a computer voice program for composing music with a virtual avatar as its mascot. Published by Crypton Future Media, the software is popular among amateur song writers who upload their creations to the Japanese Youtube equivalent, or Niconico.

There is other Vocaloid software for use, all with their own unique voice and personalities to fit a variety of musical styles.
Miku has corporate collaborations with SEGA, Toyota USA, Google and more, said Crypton Future Media. She made her U.S. television debut on The Late Show with David Letterman on Oct. 8.

The first concert in the U.S. was Mikunopolis in 2011, held in conjunction with Anime Expo in Los Angeles, CA. The concert was held at the Nokia theater.

I was able to attend both the convention and the concert to see Miku in the “flesh.”

“On July 2, 2011, the internationally known Vocaloid Hatsune Miku performed at the Nokia Theatre in downtown Los Angeles,” said Crypton Future Media. “This marks her very first concert here in the U.S. With 3D imaging created by SEGA and supervised by Crypton Future Media, the LA show was jam packed with songs and dance numbers by Hatsune Miku and the whole vocaloid team!”

Tickets were $15 plus a pass to Anime Expo. All the tickets sold out and a new seating block was opened despite concerns about visibility from certain angles of the theater. Many fans had bought tickets from ticket sellers at inflated prices.

“I paid $200 for my ticket,” said a concert attendee standing in line at Anime Expo.

For fans of the virtual diva, the concert was worth the extra money and time spent in-line in the blistering hot LA sun.

The inside of the Nokia Theater was extremely large and had excellent acoustics. A little too good. The music was so loud, after the concert was over it took about 20 minutes before my friends and I could hear clearly again.

Despite the volume issue, the concert was wonderful. The energy was amazing and the song list consisted of Miku’s best songs.

Other Vocaloid characters including Len, Rin, and Luka also joined in as music and technology collided.

People reacted much like attending a real performer’s concert and Miku may be virtual, but she was very polite. The live band was introduced and thanked. The audience was thanked for making the concert possible.

This year there were two more concerts in the U.S. Called MikuExpo 2014, one event was in LA on Oct. 12 and one was in New York City on Oct. 17 -18.

These were stand alone events and had a costume contests, art shows, dances and other activities offered.

“The concert was AMAZING!,” said M. Freeman, who attended the LA event.

“Still holding out on going to see Miku live until Miku breaks down and performs with Tupac, ODB, Easy-E, and the rest of the dead members of D12,” said an unnamed source.

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