Japanese makers of animal eared headbands have a lot to thank the prefecture of Chiba for this week. Disneyland and Disney Sea aside, Ariana Grande jetted in to play three sold-out gigs at Makuhari Messe to a throng of young fans, who were keen to hear the 24-year-old reach outrageously high notes through their frequency wide feline ears.
Grande’s tour supports current release and worldwide smash hit third album Dangerous Woman, and next month Japanese fans will be treated to her debut greatest hits collection, The Best, released on September 27. The show and news of the new disc are seriously whetting their already insatiable appetites for all things Ariana. “I LOVE EVERYTHING from Ariana Grande” boasted Miku from Yokohama, “she is so cute and her songs are so beautiful. I have been waiting a long time for the show.” Miku’s statements were echoed by fellow “Arianators” around the arena and it was clear that they would have the time of their lives no matter what – even if she turned up to sit there and play Pokemon Go for two hours.
But thankfully that wasn’t the case and the show was a full-on pop spectacular – a bit like an awards ceremony with just the one act you actually want to see. Opening with club number “Be Alright,” Grande and her troupe of male dancers flawlessly vogued their way through to another album track, “Everyday.” It actually was six songs before we got to enjoy anything beyond the Dangerous Woman disc, so “One Last Time (from My Everything)” notably upped the energy which had faintly dipped. The second half of the show saw the hits tumble through, including a sexier version of “Problem,” “Break Free,” “Love Me Harder,” and early R&B/pop hit “The Way.”
“Side To Side” took Grande to a neon gym, where she cycled and seductively whipped around her famous ponytail, and we saw the full capacity of the young pop diva’s lungs on “Bang Bang” complete with laser lighting effects, as well as on the gorgeous ballad “Somewhere Over The Rainbow,” a touching tribute to the victims of Grande’s tragic Manchester gig earlier this year.
Ariana Grande effortlessly manoeuvred the set with record-perfect vocals throughout, and in-between song banter included cute phases in Japanese (“I love you” sent fans weak at the knees). “Arianators” no doubt left the auditorium more devoted than ever, and we’re in no doubt that if a yearly Ariana concert pass were to become available, Japanese fans would happily line up for hours to get their hands on one. After all, isn’t that just the perfect excuse to take selfies in animal ears?
Ariana’s greatest hits collection, The Best, will be released in Japan on September 27.