By comparison to past reports, this report’s going to be a short one. Saturday’s show was an odd one, which I thought at first was just me, but apparently there was more going on than I could tell from the back of the Zepp….
Landed at Kansai International on time and zipped into Osaka on the Rapito β, which, amusingly, has leopard print seats. At Namba Nankai station, wandered around a tiny bit before finding what appeared to be the correct exit. Headed outside and, at the first intersection, dithered whether to continue straight ahead, or turn right and then go down the big road I could see. Cue a nice Rodeo Girl all in black who saw me, saw the map and directed me to head to the right, turn and follow that big street straight down. Bless her. I did just that and found the Zepp with no problems.
Looked around a bit for M-san and her friend, but didn’t see anyone dressed the way M-san had described. Noticed there was a weak 7-Spot Wifi signal and so wandered down the street to find the 7-11. Found it, got connected and sent her a quick tweet. Took a few minutes, but I heard back from her that they’d gone to lunch and would be coming back. Grabbed some tea and an onigiri at 7-11 and headed back to the Zepp.
When I got back there, noticed a woman having a really tough time trying to wrangle a huge bouquet of flowers from the back of a van (the stand for the flowers was on the sidewalk – with a two foot tall railing between the street and the stand). Offered to help her with the flowers, but I don’t think she could see me around them. She gave up on trying to climb over the railing and tried to balance the flowers with one hand and reach the stand with her other – so I picked it up and moved it closer to her, earning a thanks. And it turns out the flowers were from E.S.P. guitars for the guys. Heh.
A few minutes later M-san arrived with her co-worker. It was so, so nice to meet her after over a year of fangirling together about Granrodeo on Tumblr! We chatted for a little while until around 4:30 it was time to line up to go in. The three of us split up, because our tickets were so very different (1319 for me, 1700+ for M-san and around 150 for her friend).
Ended up in line in front of two women, one who seemed about my age, one much younger. The older woman told me she remembered seeing me at the Hibiya live two years ago (!) and had seen me last weekend at both Fukuoka and Kumamoto. Turns out she’s from Shikoku (Ehime prefecture – told her my office mate’s wife’s family is from there, but I haven’t been yet). The three of us discussed when we became fans (me – it came out of being a fan of Kiiyan’s 9 years ago when I saw a Corda video – of course I was going to be a fan of any band he was involved with; her, since Rock Instinct and the newest fan saw some Youtube videos of G5 about a year ago and got hooked). It was the younger woman’s first GR live AND her first show in a live house. She was nervous, but we assured her it would be fun. We talked about our favourite songs – Infinite Love for the younger fan, 進化と堕落の二元論 for me (except that right now, really 絶頂ポイズンis). The older woman and I told her how Kiiyan’s voice had gotten better since he quit smoking, and how amazing he had been in Kumamoto. I had to exclaim how perfect the vocals on delight song had been….
We were joined eventually by an enthusiastic young Rodeo Boy who’d been following them around on this tour too (up to Sapporo, and he’ll be at the guys show next Saturday). We discussed where we like to stand – I think I caught that he prefers Takita’s side of the stage. Me, of course, in front of Kiiyan if I can, or e-zuka. But at this show, I knew that wouldn’t happen.
And indeed, the older woman and I ended up at the very back on the floor, by the last barrier. I guess I could’ve forced my way into the crowd, but I didn’t feel like it. I did see Ryu from Bloodstained Child on my way in. Should’ve called out to her and made her boggle at a tiny blonde, blue-eyed person knowing who she was. Heh. I’m glad I picked where I did, as I saw M-san come in and got her to come over by me.
Unlike Zepp Tokyo, Zepp Namba doesn’t slope up at the back. And they had the very back section, which is a few inches higher than the rest of the floor, roped off. So I could barely see for the entire show. I could see Kiiyan (and Val behind him) better than the other guys for most of the show, but by the encore, it was e-zuka I could see. Takita, I could hardly see at all, just a few glimpses throughout the whole show. Show opened with Rose-hip Bullet , followed by シャニムニ, アウトサイダーand … finally! … Rimfire. They hadn’t played it since last summer at Y.W.F., I don’t think. At least, not at any show I’ve been at.
Weirdly, though, I don’t know if it’s just how the sound was mixed at Namba or what, but Kiiyan sounded off. Like he was ah … more enthusiastic than amazing on the first few songs; it seemed particularly noticeable on Rimfire to me. This continued all the way through 絶頂ポイズン. For the Magical Rodeo portion, the guys came out in hard Hanshin Tiger helmets and tiny baseball bats, and, as Kiiyan had hinted the week before, sang a Hanshin Tiger’s fight song. Val was fixated on Osakan food this time around (takoyaki, kitsune udon, etc.)
No kaigai call during Go For It! (and they didn’t do it on Sunday either, bah; must work on getting Nancy and I noticed next week; I know there will be at least 3 of us at the show). They did a lot of prefectures – and amusingly, Kiiyan and e-zuka couldn’t agree on Shiga or Mie at one point, so silence reigned on the stage until one of them went for Tokyo instead (they ended up doing both of the other prefectures after). They did blood types, as they had in Fukuoka. And I missed them calling for RB and RG who were “下着つけてない” (no undies). By Go For It!, Kiiyan had found his voice, and he sounded excellent for the rest of the show.
They commented during the acoustic set about being really chatty, but they weren’t during this show. Not at all like they had been. Someone shouted out something to e-zuka during the acoustic set and he commented on how she sounded like she was calling him to breakfast – cue amusing e-zuka imitation. The acoustic song itself was stunningly gorgeous –ウソノイロ.
Other random bits – the guys had completely forgotten they’d been to Zepp Namba once before, for the Crack Star Flash tour. When they finally did remember, Kiiyan turned to Takita and said, “but you weren’t there – Sakamoto-chan was with us.” Takita replied that he had played there with Minori Chihara (I had no idea he played with her). And so I discovered that Kiiyan calls her Minori-nee-san. And he mentioned something about her being scary … which just cracks me up, because she seems pretty NOT scary to me.
Thanks to M-san for catching that when Kiiyan was talking about the guys only and girls only show, he said something about girls needing to get a sex change if they want to sneak into the guys show. And why would you want that, Kiiyan?!
Kiiyan introduced Infinite Love by reminding Takita that the sports bar they’d found in Fukuoka was called Infinite. Heh. In fact, they brought up Kumamoto and Fukuoka a lot. Pretty sure e-zuka was talking about the cherry tomato daifuku they have here when he was talking about “Fukuoka eki” (Hakata station) and tomatoes. Keep meaning to try those.
So … on the whole it was a so-so Granrodeo show, which is to say it was still pretty damned amazing, but it just didn’t compare with the 4 that came before it, for me. I realize it’s not really fair comparing this show to last weekend, where Kiiyan was so, so happy to be playing in Fukuoka. And the Kumamoto show was simply spectacular. But, still…. It just wasn’t quite right. Everyone around me seemed to be having an awesome time, though, which is good.
Walked back to the station with M-san, where she gave me the day charm/sticker set, which she’d been able to pick up for me (yay!) and a wonderful book regarding Shinto and Japanese life called “Understanding Japan,” which I’ve started reading. (And she wrote me a wonderful letter that almost made me cry the next morning when I read it.)
Found my hotel and discovered that either their Web site messed up, or in my feverish state on Monday, I’d made a reservation for the wrong day … which they had no record of (so at least I didn’t get charged for not showing up). At first they told me there were no rooms left, and I was all set to go back to the station and head out to the airport, but then they found one, but claimed the A/C didn’t work quite right. I took it, paid for it and discovered the A/C was fine – it just didn’t go below 24 C. Grabbed combini store food, wrote my Tumblr summary and passed out.
Woke up to comments from a friend asking if Kiiyan had been pissed off at the show. Took me by surprise, since I couldn’t tell from where I was. But later when I saw M-san’s post, including comments from her friend, who was up by the stage, I guess it was just that I couldn’t see him getting angry. It seems maybe folks were interrupting him too much, or maybe being really rude about it, since there’s always interruptions. And that he seemed to be thumping his fist against his chest to calm down. There were other comments about him kicking boxes, or possibly injuring his leg.
Kiiyan is a consummate professional, even when he’s being dorky or lewd on stage, so if he was showing anger in front of fans, he must have been really pissed off. It was very obvious that he didn’t tweet a thank you after the show (and Ryu shared no photos). And it looks like while Sunday’s show went better (an 8 year old Rodeo Boy who was at the show wrote and told him he was learning to play keyboard so he could join GR some day! How freakin’ cute! And it led the guys to do age groups during Go For It! I would not have been alone in my age group – and there were a handful older, in their 50s and 60s!) the show still ended a little bit early, which means not as much chatting, and he didn’t tweet until almost 2 in the morning to say the shows ended on a good note. Hopefully he can recharge and be back to his usual self for the two upcoming special shows.
Full set list is here.
Next up – women only show! (I am voting like mad to get Y.W.F. the opening song — am annoyed I can’t vote for 絶頂ポイズン for the last show!)