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A Year of Concerts Part 3: Concerts and a Venue Near Umeda

Venue: Osaka Symphony Hall

Location: A few blocks from the Willer Express Bus Terminal in Osaka Umeda near Umeda Station or Fukushima Station


Osaka Symphony Hall is one of those beautiful auditoriums where you can dress up, have a nice dinner before heading to the show, and pretend like you’re a part of high society for a night. The seats are placed on multiple levels and there are seats that encircle the sides of the stage as well. It’s a venue where you can probably have any seat in the house and be fine. Accompanying the cool acoustic architectural aspects of Symphony Hall is a beautiful chandelier like art piece dangling from the ceiling. By far, it is one of my favorite venues to see a show.


Event: Yo-yo Ma October 28 (æ°´) 2015


As a birthday present to myself, I bought last minute tickets to see Yo-yo Ma and Kathryn Stott perform together in concert. It was incredible. These two artists really get into the music and it was wonderful to see their stage presence as they played together in harmony. Growing up in the states, Yo-yo Ma was one of the more well known Asian talents and as he is moving along in age, it was a wonderful opportunity to see him perform live.

We enjoyed the rest of the concert and I learned this: The audience that night was not very good at telling when one song ended and where another began, so I found myself having to be the one to start the applause. There were a few times prior to this as I watched the audience sit in silence waiting for Yo-yo Ma to begin the next song, and I sat there a bit stunned, thinking ‘Seriously? No one’s going to clap? How rude. >.< Well I guess I’ll be the awkward one then.’ Haha. It was a pretty interesting social phenomenon. By the end of the concert, the clapping became normalized though. That was a great night. :>


Venue: Festival Hall

Location: A mere 20 minute walk from Umeda Station


Festival Hall is another ritsy concert venue with a red carpet and a whole bunch of escalators for this large scale concert hall. It’s a bit of a walk from the Umeda stations, but it’s settled on the corner between two of the rivers that eventually lead to the ocean, so the walk over is very nice. The concert hall is huge and has multiple levels and seating on walls bordering the stage on the higher levels. It’s a very nice venue to see a concert. Win.


Event: Pixar in Concert February 28 (æ—¥) 2016


This concert was an eclectic mix of Pixar scenes spliced together from selected movies and played silently on a massive screen while being accompanied by the Kansai Philharmonic Orchestra. It was the first time that I’d ever seen something like this. The songs they played for Toy Story, Monsters Inc., and Up, are the ones that stick out the most in my mind. It was a throwback to childhood seeing all of these old movies and being reminded that I should see WALL-E at some point and the new dinosaur movie which will have fireflies! It’s pretty crazy how spot on the orchestra was synced with what was happening on screen. The conductor had an ipad looking thing, that helped he or she signal the orchestra at the right time. It’s pretty nifty how technology was incorporated in this concert. I think Pixar fans were quite happy with the result.



Event: Titanic Live Concert April 5 (火) 2016


Brittany & I headed out on a weeknight to see the movie Titanic live in concert. The movie began to play minus the background music which the orchestra supplemented live. It was like going to a super fancy movie where you get to experience it with a more heightened sense of sound awareness. So the opening began, and they even played the well-known Twentieth Century Fox opening theme before the film began. ^-^ It was epic. I remember that this was the first movie theater film in which I cried.

So the movie started and it was a blast from the past, not only in terms of the story, but also in terms of the filming. I tried really hard to keep my eyes on the orchestra at the same time that I was watching the movie, but the orchestra played so seamlessly with the movie, that it was hard at times not to forget that there was a live orchestra playing. It was pretty awesome too, when the vocalist sang for the opening and the ending.

I was thoroughly impressed with the stamina of the orchestra and conductor. Holy cannoli! Those wind musicians especially, playing for that long straight. They are BAMFs! All too quickly came the credits with the vocalist singing “My Heart Will Go On”; things haven’t changed much since I was a kid it would seem, cuz my eyes were waterworks at the end, and I was still teary-eyed even as we left the seating area. Definitely an experience I will remember.


Later I found out that they were doing similar concerts for E.T. and Indiana Jones. I suspect this is a yearly thing, so be sure to keep an eye out for some live movie concerts next year!


Mandy Wong


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