Morning Musume wrapped up their live tour, Morning Musume Concert Tour Fall 2011 Ai BELIEVE ~Takahashi Ai Graduation Special~, at the Nippon Budokan on September 30th. It was leader Takahashi Ai’s final performance and official graduation from both Morning Musume and Hello! Project.
The concert kicked off with Mr. Moonlight ~Ai no Big Band~, and continued with the group’s latest singles, Kono Chikyuu no Heiwa wo Honki de Negatterun da yo! and Kare to Issho ni Omise ga Shitai!.
As Takahashi sang the solo song, Denwa de ne, in the center of the stage, the stadium lit up with the glow of hundreds of yellow lightsticks. Seeing this, Takahashi choked-up and her voice trembled with emotion. Then, the audience joined in to sing the final song, Bravo, with the girls.
Waiting for the encore-graduation the crowd started up an call for “Ai-chan” and Takahashi finally walked out onto the stage. Kicking off her graduation ceremony, Ai read a letter to her fans and fellow members. In the letter, Takahashi shared her memories of passing the auditions, and on her activities as a leader.
She declared, “I’m really glad to have been a part of Morning Musume,” and “With this treasure, I’ll be able to do my best from now on.” Turning to Niigaki Risa, she said, “Gaki-san, I’m sorry to graduate before you.” Next, Takahashi sang her solo song, Jishin Motte, Yume Motte, Tabidatsu Kara, and energized the fans as she ran around the stage.
The graduation ceremony kicked into high gear with the participation of every member, who each offered congratulatory messages to Takahashi. Kudo Haruka reflected upon her days as a Hello! Pro Egg, and commented, “Thank you for all the good memories.” Mitsui Aika, who fractured her left ankle, came onto the stage for the first time in a while to support her senpai. Bursting into tears, she said, “I wanted to absorb Ai-chan’s good qualities more but after getting hurt, our time together has decreased, but I’m very happy to be able to celebrate your graduation here today.” Tanaka Reina also expressed, “The things I wanted to say, but couldn’t say, I’ll say it now. Ai-chan, thank you!”
Morning Musume then re-appeared on stage for a double encore, and sang the last number, Namidacchi. At the end, Takahashi stood on the stage by herself, and threw her hat, sweatshirt, and wristbands into the audience. She left the stage after bowing to the crowd numerous times.
Even with the concert officially over, fans stayed in their seats and continued a chant for “Ai-chan!”. Takahashi was pulled to the stage once again where she graciously thanked the audience one final time. “Today is a weekday, but there are those who took a day off to come here. Thank you very much! When I think of how everyone has been here to support me, I felt I can do my best. Bye-bye. I love you all!”
We will all miss Takahashi Ai – Morning Musume will not be the same.
Source + Photos: nataile