J-pop girl group <a href=”/music/AKB48″>AKB48</a> hit the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan, on Sunday (April 1) for their first solo headlining concert in two years.
The girls kicked off the evening show with the group’s 51st and latest single, “Ja-Ba-Ja,” and went on to perform a whopping 29-song set plus a six-song encore. The current teams within the group delighted fans with their respective hits during the first half of the concert, and the four new teams displayed their respective colors during the second half.
After the main set, the girls returned to the stage for the encore and treated the crowd to a surprise first performance of their upcoming single, “Teacher Teacher.” The 52nd single by the 29 members announced March 19 is set for release May 30 and will be an “election single,” containing ballots to determine the lineup for the group’s next release. The single features Yui Oguri in the center position.
AKB48 enlisted the support of a non-Japanese choreographer for the first time for “Teacher Teacher,” working with Park Jun Hee, who has worked with such Korean acts as <a href=”/music/Shinhwa”>Shinhwa</a>, <a href=”/music/PSY”>PSY</a> and <a href=”/music/GFRIEND”>GFriend</a>. The unarguably K-pop-flavored choreography features sensual moves previously never seen in the group’s previous works and is the sexiest routine the girls have ever performed.
In between songs, the members and fans held a send-off segment for Anna Iriyama, who is taking a year off from the group to appear in a new Mexican TV series named LIKE. She told fans that deciding to work abroad was difficult but promised to “make it big so that AKB48 will become well known overseas” and left the stage with a smile.
At the end of the concert, Yui Yokoyama, the current “general manager” of the group, promised fans, “AKB48 and the 48 groups will continue to aim for bigger things,” and asked for their continued support.