We are six days from the con, and if you're going and you're not pumped, hey, maybe you've got stuff going on with your brain or heart or something. Maybe your burning guts and courageous soul aren't getting the fire they need. I am so damn excited that sometimes when I'm about to fall asleep, I wake right back up and pump my fist in the air and think "Hell yeah! I'm gonna see JAM Project! Alright!"
Anyway, here is what we know about the JAM Project show.
Rica Matsumoto is absent, as she has been for the duration of this tour. Rica was totally chill the last time I saw her at Otakon (she let me take a picture with her and everything!) and she's really going to be missed during a lot of JAM songs. The show is 7:30 PM, Friday night, at the First Mariner Arena. God knows the guys deserve a big place like that to rock out in. JAM singer and noted brave Masaaki Endoh's blog gives us an interesting picture: it's very possible that JAM will be singing No Border in English for us.
There's a JAM/Lantis Q&A session at 1 PM on Friday (apparently this is Lantis reps only), and I'm hearing whispers, on the internets, that they're going to be at Opening Ceremonies immediately afterwards at 2 PM. This means the earliest I am willing to line up for the show is 3 PM, four and a half hours early. I don't want front row seats, but I really want to be pretty far up there for this. I'm not too worried about the amount of people at this con who will line up for four and a half hours to see JAM Project, but I might maybe ditch on the Opening Ceremonies and Otakon's Madhouse-animated promo, which I'm a little curious about.
By the way, I'm very curious as to what the turnout will be like for JAM as the convention's big-ticket band. It's ironic, but we know by now that the events that pull the biggest crowds at anime cons don't have anything to do with anime. A JAM Project concert, on the other hand, is deeply relevant to otaku culture, but most anime fans here don't know anything about them. For really deeply involved fans of certain genres like myself, this is a total could-never-have-dreamed-it coup, but even the typical knowledgeable anime fan hasn't heard of these guys.
On top of that, the anime con crowd seems to prefer J-rock, and in particular visual kei bands, so will JAM be able to command the same kind of crowd as L'arc did? I certainly hope so. If you'd like to get PUMPED by getting ANGRY, here is a post about the JAM show by a whiny, entitled J-rock fan who anime cons all over the country have been bending over backwards for since 2004. Variety means an anime convention having another J-rock concert, he says! Jesus Christ! Spoiled brats aside, I'm confident that JAM's burning spirit is going to win people over for at least the duration of the show, if not make them suddenly hugely successful or anything.
On Saturday, there's a Q&A session at 12:30 and autographs (oh christ autographs I get to MEET JAM PROJECT HOLY SHIT I'M ABOUT READY TO PUNCH YOU IN THE FACE, DEAR READER) immediately afterwards, 2:30 PM on Saturday. No flash photography.
Note the scheduling issue there: autographs are immediately after the Q&A. If you've done this kind of thing before, you can already see the problem. People start lining up for autographs hours before autographs actually begin. They're not supposed to according to Otakon, but in practice staff tells people to go away and they come back ten minutes later. Of course, there are only so many beloved fanboy CDs (I'm bringing Freedom and Rocks just in case) that the gang can sign in two hours. If you stay all the way to the end of the Q&A, going from experience, I'd say there's a pretty serious chance that you won't get an autograph.
I found this out the hard way when I tried to get autographs two years ago: Ayako Kawasumi's line was full an hour before signings started, and Kouta Hirano's autograph line was an outright fiasco, with hundreds of people lining up five, six hours in advance-- completely missing the day's other Hellsing events-- and the terrible last-minute news that only 50 of them were getting anything at all from Hirano. Of course, there was a Hirano panel right before that and those people were plenty screwed. People wept. It really pains me to skip a Q&A session with JAM Project, but depending on how the line looks in the morning, I might have to. I doubt I will ever again have the chance to meet Kageyama and pals face-to-face, and you don't mess around with something like that. I wouldn't bother going up to ask anything during the Q&A anyway: I know I'd end up like Chris Farley on that SNL skit where he tells the guest something they did and asks "wasn't that awesome?" There's going to be enough of that anyway.