KO OLINA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Thousands of screaming fans jammed a field at Ko Olina as the Japanese boy band Arashi performed its first-ever U.S. concerts to mark its 15th anniversary.
Some 15,000 people, most of them from Japan, started lining up outside the gates at 9 a.m. for the 5:30 p.m. concert.
The first two people in line came from Japan, and first saw the band 15 years ago. They estimated that they have seen Arashi more than 30 times.
Fans waited patiently for hours, sitting on souvenir folding chairs that were given to each concert-goer.
There were a few fans from the mainland who knew that Arashi was big in Japan, but were taken aback at the turnout.
When asked if she was excited, fan Tulsi Patel of Los Angeles said, "Yes, very excited."
"She says she's probably gonna cry," said her friend Kima Sluchanski, who came from Washington, D.C.
"I will cry. Not even a 'probably.' I will cry," said Patel.
The gates opened at 4:30 p.m., and the fans moved in, quickly but in an orderly fashion.
The quiet was broken as a helicopter carrying the five band members circled overhead, with the crowd responding by waving and cheering. The chopper landed in a clearing behind the massive stage setup, and the concert started moments later as the band hit the stage.
"I was watching the crowd, and as the helicopter came over, they're all waving. They knew," said promoter Tom Moffatt.
The fans at Ko Olina were not the only ones watching. The concert was also shown live to an estimated 160,000 in theaters in Japan.
The success of these concerts may result in more acts coming to Hawaii to perform.
"Any singer in Japan, this is the best stage for them to have a live concert," said Robyn Furuya, general manager of Japanese language radio station KZOO.
But Arashi is not just any singer in Japan. Just ask Tom Moffatt.
"These guys! What performers! And the costume changes! And the audience is -- wow! Just amazing."
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