JEDDAH: Thursday night witnessed Japanese band ALI’s first concert in Saudi Arabia.
Taking place at City Walk’s Anime Village, ALI, which has members of several nationalities, hyped the audience with its unique hip-hop-funk music, playing tracks including “No Tomorrow,” “Lost in Paradise” and “Wild Side.”
An 18-year-old fan called Meciel said that she got to know ALI through anime. “I watch a lot of animes and I always check out the songs because I really like them. And I found out about ALI’s music through ‘Jujutsu Kaisen.’”
Meciel added that once she came across the announcement that ALI would perform in Jeddah, she prepared for the concert. “I first told my friends and booked the tickets two hours after the announcement was made,” she added. “We prepared our outfits, water and cameras, of course.”
“This is my first time attending a concert for someone I actually know,” Meciel said. “I really enjoyed it! This is my first time, and it was really fun. I can’t hear anything right now, but I’m with my friend and it was really great.”
After performing a few songs, the band took a break to interact with the audience. The main vocalist, Leo, delivered a speech in Arabic. “I want to tell you our message in Arabic,” said Leo, adding: “I want to tell you my feelings and truth from the bottom of my heart.
“I am happy for visiting Saudi Arabia and meeting wonderful and kind people with beautiful souls,” he said. “We came from Japan and our message is pretty simple: Nationality, skin color and type of music all don’t matter as long as we only focus on enjoying our time here together. We love you. Respect.”
ALI’s most famous song among anime fans is “Lost in Paradise” from the 2020 hit anime “Jujutsu Kaisen,” a show about a boy trying to experience a righteous death after swallowing a powerful curse.
I am happy for visiting Saudi Arabia and meeting wonderful and kind people with beautiful souls.
Leo, vocalist of ALI
“Like a lot of people, I knew them from the song they made for ‘Jujutsu Kaisen,’ and my friend showed me more of their songs later. And they are really a good band,” said 18-year-old Sheena. “This is my first concert ever! It was really fun!”
Besides singing their original songs, ALI also performed some freestyle music, with Leo pointing to each of the members to show off their talents. They also performed Jamaican music to match the summer vibes of Jeddah.
“I feel great! I can’t quite express how I feel after seeing them, but I think I was about to pass out from excitement and I was very happy that my heart was beating so fast,” said Tasneem Banjar, 26. “I actually played their songs on repeat the day before as a way of preparation for the concert. And if they are coming next year, I’ll be the first to attend.”
ALI, which stands for “Alien Liberty International,” debuted in 2016.
After being formed, the band was composed of nine multinational members, including Brazilian Japanese and American Japanese performers. But over the years, some members left, while Leo Imamura, Luthfi Kusumah, Cesar Aiichiro and Alexander Taiyo Fidel remained in the band.
Those four members performed in Jeddah along with two new members, Kazou and Imani J. The band ended their performance with a bow to the fans.