Live Report: Zepp Tokyo, 7/5-7/6/2014


July 5th, 2014

I had originally planned to come into Tokyo the Friday before the last two shows, which would have meant a rush to make sure I caught a very late train to get to Nancy’s place. So I decided a few weeks ago I didn’t really feel like tempting the gods of travel more than necessary (I had to count on getting home in time on Monday as it was), so changed my flight to Saturday morning. Was up bright and early and got to Narita five minutes early … and then proceeded yet again to wait for the Sky Access Line so I could get to Shin-Kiba and the Rinkai line. Bah. Still, made it to the Zepp a little after 12, after a short stop in Venus Fort for food and drinks.

Once again my anti-rain powers held, and we had all of a 1-2 minute shower is all. Otherwise it was cool, cloudy and comfortable waiting in line. Alas, the super cute Gina shirt sold out about 20 minutes or so before I made it into the booth (e-zuka had something to say on Sunday about those special goods selling out…). Settled for getting just the day charm set, which was adorable, and headed to First Kitchen for a chicken sandwich and fries. Had to be good and not mug the girls sitting next to me, who had tickets in the 200s. Would not look good for kaigai fans if I took that up… Killed a little more time and headed down the block … way down the block … all the way down the street to where the Venus Fort parking garage is and we red-headed stepchildren with tickets over 2400 were (note – we tried SEVEN times to get tickets for this show via lotteries. Seven. Even Kumamoto wasn’t that much of a pain; so we ended up with non-FCA tickets via lottery, just so we’d be in the door).

Nancy caught up with me in line, fresh out of work, and we headed in. We were so, so far in the back, I wandered out for a bathroom break and to get my drink. On my way to the drink bar, ran into the Rodeo Girl who had taken care of us the week before. I now know her name (via another RG), and that she’s a pretty big deal in the RG/RB community (and I found where she wrote about me after the Sendai show!). I am guessing she is the RG who (along with a friend) won the Let’s Air Granrodeo at the Motto Mo live recording back in April. Which explains why she seemed familiar to both Nancy and me. Anyhow, we exclaimed at one another and then I went off to get my drink – vodka and cassis (yum, yum), which didn’t last me very long, alas.

Back in the hall, discovered the RG – M-san – and part of her group were back with us (so we weren’t the only ones having trouble getting tickets, it would seem). I would say we chatted, but it’s more that she chatted at me, and we lamented our sucky tickets after the week before. I pointed out that tomorrow would be better, but she sadly said she wouldn’t be coming. We toasted with our drinks and she went back to her little group, which had some RB that afternoon.

So, the show … I could barely see, far back as we were, but I could still hear, and Kiiyan’s voice was MAGNIFICENT. Yes, all caps are deserved. It was one of the best shows for him, definitely. After the previous week’s deviation from the Magical Rodeo Tour set list, they were back to usual, opening this time with Crack Star Flash and running through much of the usual set list – シャニムニ, メズマライズ, 絶頂ポイズン, Go for It!, 希望の彼方へ(acoustic), etc. (full set list is here)

The two girls in front of me … it was impossible to tell if they were enjoying themselves. One clearly only knew the KuroBasuke songs (her friend tried to explain Go For It! to her, so she would shout for first timers, but she wouldn’t), and the other … well, I guess she knew more, but other than vaguely waving her arm around a bit, she never moved. I can’t fathom being at a rock concert and not at least tapping your toes or something! Even if you don’t know the songs, there’s still a beat, so MOVE TO IT.

By contrast, the group with M-san was awesome, including a very amusing set of Rodeo Boys. They would rock out on the hard songs, and then get in touch with their softer side for the gentler ones … one lost his shirt during modern strange cowboy (I looked back and was like “whoa, nipples!”) And they protected M-san and N-chan (her friend) when they were headbanging, making a protective circle around them. All in all, it was a pretty good vibe there at the back of the Zepp.

Before Go For It!, Kiiyan was talking about the photo shoot they did that week, where the makeup artist was foreign and spoke English to him. We got to hear Kiiyan say “please close your eyes,” which was very, verrrry nice indeed. They called for Ro-gumi members … and then made everyone who wasn’t one just identify themselves. E-zuka then said there’d be three staffers after the show who would sign them up…. They also noted how many non-members were down front (mind you, FC tickets went from 1-2399). Some of them were probably with friends in the FC, but we all know some of them got them via auctions. It got the guys to talking about auctions (they mentioned some artist auctioned a work, or something signed, or something – Nancy wasn’t sure) and got a ton of money for it. They mused about auctioning Takita off. Heh!

During the acoustic set, e-zuka was regaling us with tales of his weird dreams, like the one with the foreign band that resembled ABBA. Or another in Nagoya that involved Sekai no Owari…. he also said he drove himself to the show (indeed, we saw him drive up the next day). Kiiyan’s still taking taxis, which apparently take a variety of routes to get him to Odaiba.

During the announcement section in the first encore, Kiiyan let slip about the Fan Club bus tour road trip. I had already found out about it via the Ro-gumi site, but it was kind of buried and he wasn’t really supposed to say anything until we all had our FC newsletters. Whoops!

We also found out that Takita-san is almost finished writing a book about his career as a bass player. E-zuka gave him a bad time about it being anエロ本(naughty book), and they teased him that the book would be a travelogue of the tour.

No kaigai call during Go for It! – just Tokyo igai. Ah well.

July 6th, 2014

Insane Rodeo Girl that I am, drug Nancy back to the Zepp by around 9ish. Bought her a scone and coffee to keep her going and settled in to get fried by the sun (sun?!? it was supposed to rain all weekend….) yet again. While we were in line, waiting to get moved against the Zepp walls, we saw e-zuka drive up and go in (surprisingly large car: we joked about needing to drive the wife – and cat – around). Val and Takita arrived just a few minutes later, and, unfortunately, Kiiyan arrived less than 5 minutes after we’d turned the corner and we against the Zepp wall. But getting there early paid off, as Nancy got one of the last medium day shirts and I got one of the last 5 shirts left, period (all larges at that point). My collector’s urges thus sated, we headed into Venus Fort for a while.

We’d just made it to the second floor, to go look at the RAT store, where the GR/Stones shirts were on sale, when Nancy stopped me by tapping my shoulder to look behind me. And behind us was a young Rodeo Girl, all but bursting with excited energy. She wanted to make sure I was the girl from Sendai … and she seemed so *happy* to meet me it was kind of boggling. She smiled and went on her way after gushing for a moment. Bemused, we continued on our way to check out the shirts and then to go eat at the same doggie cafe as the week before.

Around 2, we headed back over to the Zepp, where we were approached by another young woman, not Japanese (Taiwanese, as it turns out), but speaking Japanese. She wanted to know if either of us ran a blog. Nancy indicated me and I was then asked “tsumino–” I agreed (and Hi there – since you’re probably reading this!) and she grinned. We – or mainly she and Nancy – talked for a few minutes about Granrodeo, the lives, etc. And then it was time for a last restroom break before lining up to go in.

Our tickets were pretty decent this time, but when we went to clam the spot we’d been at for the joshi show, two women were already there, two women who proceeded to plonk themselves down on the floor and take up way much more room than they needed to. It also seemed like the barrier was further back than it had been the week before – at least, Kiiyan and e-zuka sure seemed further way when they came out. Couldn’t manage to get to the railing (another immovable girl in front of me … who didn’t do more than vaguely wave her arm too. What was it with passive fans this weekend?!?). But on one occasion, when I looked to the right, one Rodeo Girl caught my attention, waved, and then made a gesture at her chest, then mine. Pffft. Yeah, I guess others saw what Kiiyan did at the joshi show and knew who and why. I was very amused.

Got to watch the people really, REALLY pack it into the middle again. Given the way girls kept escaping that morass of people later, it must have been unpleasant and hot in there. We stayed put and generally had a decent spot – aside from one woman in front of us, and fans who kept trying to shoehorn themselves between us and the women in front. Not happening, kiddos. I weigh more than you, and I’m not budging!

Straight from the get-go, it was apparent that Kiiyan’s voice wasn’t on par with the night before. After being so amazing for Saturday, some of the high notes just weren’t there. Not so apparent on the opening song, The Other Self, but definitely on Rimfire, which followed. Poor Kiiyan, this always seems to happen for final show recording (this one was being recorded for Bandai Channel). It has to be frustrating. Especially since his voice was otherwise in great shape. Very nice to hear 紫炎 and ロンリーファイターagain. And I’m going to miss hearing Dawn Gate and 背徳の鼓動on a regular basis (he sounded as good as always on 背徳の鼓動).

(full set list here)

We learned pretty quickly that one of the women in front of us was not just a headbanger, she liked to whip her long hair around, regardless of if she bothered or hurt anyone. (An aside here that I feel that if you want to headbang, more power to you, it’s your way of enjoying the music. BUT … and it’s a big but, this isn’t a damn metal show. We’re not all headbangers. In fact, most of us aren’t. Thus the onus is on YOU as a headbanger to make sure you have sufficient space to bang about in AND put your damn hair in a clip or something. It stings to get whipped by someone’s long hair.) She didn’t really have space, but forced us to make it, and caught several people around her with her hair. On multiple occasions. Rude, rude, rude! That unpleasantness aside, it was a decent show.

For the first time ever (at least, that I’ve seen), Kiiyan let the fans take his microphone stand into the audience and pass it around. He did this twice, one for stage left, and then much later for stage right. I can state for a fact that stand is HEAVY. We were passing it along hand over hand over our heads, and even with four or five of us holding it up, it was heavy. The base, unsurprisingly, in particular. The second time, when it actually came our way, I saw a nervous GR staffer watching its progress from near the door. I suspect Kiiyan was asked not to do that again….

Other tidbits. Kiiyan did say they were playing two dates at Animelo, but that site doesn’t seem to have updated with that info. No mention of the FC tour this time. Heh. Kiiyan was absolutely gushing at one point, telling us how much he loves the RG/RB, and e-zuka … and even stinky, sweat yTakita. Heh. They announced the CD special events in general, and commented at first how *expensive* the Bandai Channel show was (2,000 yen), then kind of went “whoops” and backpedalled. Pfffft.

E-zuka made a comment about all the special day goods selling out, and noted that perhaps they should start selling from the back of the line. Heh. (No, but maybe they could limit everyone to ONE each.)

I tried like mad to get Kiiyan’s attention during the show, but failed. Ditto e-zuka. Well, no, I did get e-zuka’s attention, but he didn’t realize it was me. At the very end, after everything had been thrown into the audience (some things near us, but not near enough), all four of them did the high touch. Where we were, we didn’t stand a chance, but … normally Kiiyan and e-zuka go from the right of the stage to the left. But this time they started at the left. I’d fought my way between two of the girls in front of me for that moment and was right at the railing when Kiiyan popped into view (right in front of the unfortunate – because she was hurt – but so, so lucky girl who had a seat up there; e-zuka, bless him, had made sure earlier that she got a guitar pick). He then went back … and then backed, up, acting as if he were pulling a rope. And out popped Takita! He and Kiiyan hopped up onto the stage to make room for e-zuka and Val. And yes, I was screaming like mad for them! I did get e-zuka to wave vaguely back when I called to him, but no recognition (nor from Kiiyan). I suspect at that moment they were so, so tired; so, so flying high and so, so ready to be backstage drinking beer that they didn’t notice much. But oh, having all four of them right there again, so close!!!! Pure ecstacy!

I’m sure I’m forgetting a lot, but truthfully, I’m worn out from the tour myself. I can’t even imagine how tired they must be. And they only have a little time off before the Lantis Matsuri shows start. I hope they don’t wear themselves out before year 10 arrives!

This tour has been the ride of my life, and I can’t wait to see them again in Kyoto with MUCC.

4 thoughts on “Live Report: Zepp Tokyo, 7/5-7/6/2014

  1. Hi! I’m a new fan of Granrodeo and it’s nice to read your blog (I went through all your entries!) I’m wondering why the drummer and bass players are not officially part of the band? And would you know if Kishou ever took voice (singing) lessons? His vocal range is amazing… I have to admit I only stumbled into Granrodeo because I watch a lot of animes and have always loved Kishou’s speaking voice… but I was blown away to know he sings in a rock band. Apart from anime-related songs, I don’t listen to Japanese music… but now I badly want to see Granrodeo in a concert. Please keep your concert reviews coming…!! How easy is it for someone to come to Japan as a tourist and buy a ticket for one of their concerts? I’m starting to pool my resources now to make this happen so any info would help *_* Thanks again and more power to your blog!


    1. Hi! Welcome to the Granrodeo fandom! It’s a great time to be a fan! ^__^

      Regarding Takita-san and Val-san — Granrodeo was formed as a 2 man unit, just Kiiyan and e-zuka, and early on performed with different support members. And while Takita-san is usually their studio bassist, he isn’t always; and Val seems to rarely perform in the studio with them. To me, it’s the four men together who make up Granrodeo, and I’m sure a lot of fans feels that way (it was super weird to see Sakamoto-chan play bass for them when Takita-san was injured). But officially, it’s just the pair.

      Lessons … I have nothing official to point to, but the difference in Kiiyan’s voice from 2005, when I first heard him, to now suggests that yes, he’s had formal lessons. He was a powerful, raw talent back then. Now his voice has power, depth and range it didn’t before. And his control is impeccable (that vibrato!). Plus, I can’t imagine Lantis or Ken Pro not investing in his talent in that way.

      Tickets are difficult, but not impossible for foreign fans to come by. I know people who’ve had luck with Yahoo Japan Auctions and, for other bands, with sites like But hands down, the best way to get tickets is to know someone in Japan who can enter lotteries or general sales on your behalf. However you plan to get tickets, keep on top of their touring schedule, as tickets usually go on sale months in advance (I had my MRT tickets settled by March, I believe).

      Good luck!


      1. Thank you so much for the reply and the welcome… I’m so glad to discover this blog while researching Granrodeo! I’ve spent hours here…
        I like the bond GR shares with Takita-san and Val.. glad to know it’s a common feeling for the fans ^ ^ And yeah, Kishou’s voice… listening to that Bonus song on Supernova, it didn’t sound like it was enhanced in any way, and yet it was so awesome… I want to hear that voice live and find out if it’s just as raw and powerful. Gotta love the e-zuka and kishow combo — a band with the kind of songs I like being sung by a voice I admire!
        And thank you for telling me about the concert ticket situation. I was in Japan early this year but haven’t heard of GR then xD I’ll be prepared if I visit the country again… more importantly, I need to buy their albums/dvds to show my support.
        Thanks again and hope you never get tired of posting here for foreign fans like me.


      2. Kiiyan’s voice is amazing live. Every bit as powerful and beautiful as you imagine. And it’s gotten even better since he stopped smoking. It really is noticeable. I’m glad that fans are telling him this, and that he’s noticed himself. Good reason to have that habit kicked for good.

        I suggest picking up G8 as a starting point for DVDs. Those two shows were incredible in the breadth of songs and quality of their performance. And if you’re interested in preordering Karma to Labyrinth, let me know. (I am shamelessly collecting entry forms for the Fukuoka Animate mini-live and handshake event this October!).

        I can’t imagine tiring of Granrodeo or Kiiyan any time in the near future. Not so long as they continue to record and tour. ^__^


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