Went to A-Nation, and wrote about the experience for Hello Asia!
The annual A-Nation event has built to a familiar finale for some time now. Since starting in 2002, the showcase organized by J-pop heavyweight Avex Entertainment has almost always finished with Ayumi Hamasaki gracing the stage last. It has been a fitting conclusion, seeing as few Japanese artists have achieved as much success as her, long standing as Avex’s crown jewel act. A-Nation itself has changed frequently — from a nationwide tour, to an event stopping by major cities only, to this year’s edition simply being a two-day run at Tokyo’s Ajinomoto Stadium — but the closing performer has stayed mostly the same.
And so it went in 2017, with Hamsaki ending the weekend event on August 27 with the most extravagant set of A-Nation. She was joined by backup dancers dressed for service in the world’s most fanciful navy, while one costume-change found people performing gymnastics on stage. She strutted around stage for high-energy cuts such as “Talkin’ 2 Myself,” while she sat on an elevated platform to deliver ballads such as “Hanabi.” Eventually she found herself on top of a float, wearing classic Japanese summer garb and joined by dancers doing dances nodding to seasonal festivals.