Nogizaka46, one of Japan’s top-selling girl groups, performed in China for the first time at a goodwill concert held at the Daming Palace National Heritage Park in Xi’an.
The venue was packed with 6,000 Chinese locals, including many fans donning the girl group’s official wear and accessories. The audience broke out in cheers from the moment the girls appeared onstage to their opening theme, “Overture,” and everyone, including those who had never heard of Nogizaka46, enjoyed a short but sweet introductory set of some of the group’s biggest hits.
The girls kicked off their first performance in China with their recent hit single, “Jikochu De Iko!,” and were greeted by fans screaming for Asuka Saito featured in the center of the song’s choreography. After greeting the audience, the group went on to perform “Influencer” and “Inochi Wa Utsukushii” back to back.
Main member Mai Shiraishi was absent from this show due to scheduling conflicts, so Saito stepped in to perform the center choreography of “Influencer,” resulting in a first-ever and possibly final performance of the song featuring Nanase Nishino and Saito in the center. Nishino recently announced her graduation from the group at the end of the year, and local fans who had heard the news called out to congratulate her on her new beginning.
Each member spoke a phrase of Chinese during the talk segment of the show, and by the time they wrapped up their set with “Hadashi De Summer,” everyone in the audience seemed to have become a fan. The members were showered with cheers and warm applause at the end of their show, and the public benefit event meant as a cultural exchange between the two countries was a huge success.
Nogizaka46’s first China excursion paves the way for the girl group’s first headlining solo concert at the Mercedes Benz Arena in Shanghai on Dec. 1.