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Running out of time before the Osaka-jo Hall show, but don’t want to wait until after to try and write up three shows. So I’ll tackle these two together.

Since I knew the linAichi Arts Centere for day 1 would be looooong, I grabbed a train after work and got into Nagoya around 11 PM on Friday night. Toyoko Inn, who I wish I owned stock in, had a hotel just 10 minutes from the venue, which was a fantastic find. Checked in, crashed and then was up and out the door by a little after 8 AM on Saturday morning.

Found my people easily enough … that is, I found the line already forming outside the Arts Center when I got there. Maybe 100-200 people strong already. I hopped into line and settled in for a long, cold, really long, chilly wait. Actually, didn’t feel as cold as Saitama last year, but after 7 hours out in the cold –my longest line wait yet – I certainly felt the cold. Unusually, even though the line was 4 deep on the side of the building, and another couple hundred people in front of the building, they didn’t start selling early. And the selling space was far too cramped, which is why it took 1.5 hours for me to get to the goods after things started. Should’ve been only half an hour or so….

Gachapon & bonusAnyhow, long story short, I survived the line and threw copious amounts of money at Lantis since I was buying for Nancy and me … and I coveted the stadium jacket.  It is simply marvelous. It’s sturdy, and warm and just awesome. Expensive, but I’m glad I bought it. Also nabbed the Roger pass case, the cute Gina/Roger pens, the key charm necklace, the clutch and the “border” t-shirt (striped t-shirt with the hands from the  カルマとラビリンス CD cover). Also tossed some money at the gachapon machines for the first time since G6. Got one Karrlabbi charm and one of Gina and Roger. The duplicate of that went to Nancy on Sunday, and I ended up with some can badges. Will try next week for Roger, Gina and GuraP.

After loading up the credit card, it was time to attend to little things like restroom, lunch and coffee. In that order. Got lost in the Mitsukoshi looking for misokatsu. Which seems to be a thing for me and Nagoya, as the same thing happened at a different Mitsukoshi before the Magical Rodeo Tour show. If it happens a third time, clearly it’s destiny.Jacket patch

Had just enough time to run back to my hotel, drink my coffee, change and do hair and makeup before trotting back to the venue. First night my seat was a left-hand aisle seat, row 13 almost dead center. Absolutely perfect, as it turned out. Settled in to wait for half an hour or so, wondering what was behind the curtain shrouding the stage, and intrigued by the atmospheric background music they were playing (very haunted house).

A few minutes after official show time, lights went down, curtain went up to reveal … Val at the drums, and Kiiyan, in a cape (and oh SO sparkly outfit) on a riser above the drums.  They launched into Blue Pandora Box, just the two of them (the background synth was, as always, done behind the scenes). As the song was fading, e-zuka appeared, climbed to the top of the stage and retrieved his guitar from a trap door.  Takita came on stage too and they kicked into silence. I discovered pretty quickly that I had the perfect view of Kiiyan. The short Rodeo Girl in front of me was mostly in the aisle, and theFlowers tall RG next to her stayed in her spot, so I had a line of sight to Kiiyan almost the whole show.

There was much less talking than usual during the shows, confined to specific MC segments, like after the first two songs. Kiiyan and e-zuka introduced themselves, and e-zuka started in with his “Aichiteru baby!” pun, which still makes me groan. Kiiyan complained how hot it was and started tugging at his sparkly jacket … at which point the entire hall was like “take it off!” He was a bit taken aback and amused, particularly at the sound of approval as he got the jacket off to reveal a sleeveless vest, also sparkly.  His arms … are a work of art, especially for this early in the year.  Kiiyan and e-zuka were rather amazed by the folks way up in the 5th floor balconies, which really were waaaay up there.

More tidbits from day 1~ (you can see the full set list here)

  • 絶頂ポイズン was as sexy as ever, with Kiiyan prowling all over the stage. I will be very sad to see this song leave the set list eventually.
  • ボルケーノ and Pink Phantom were marvelous, particularly ボルケーノ.Flowers
  • 21st Century Lovers … blew me the fuck away. No better way to put it. Kiiyan sang it higher, sweeter and more purely than I’ve ever heard him sing before. Simply amazing, and I wish they would re-record a version with these vocals.
  • Right after that, the guys left the stage and we were treated to a super cute animated sequence featuring Gina, Roger and Karrabbi. Wonder if the latter will stick around after this tour, be a third mascot. His dreaming of raw beef when he sensed Gina and Roger sneaking up on him cracked me up. Very curious if the GuraP animators were involved.
  • At the end of the animation, everyone came back, in new clothes. Kiiyan’s ensemble …  well, I loved it, but it was enough to make your eyes bleed! Black tights with bright yellow stripe with multicolored leopard print up the side, white t-shirt with some print on it under a vest to match the leggings, a pink jacket with a black plaid pattern … AND (yes, there’s more), a multicolored plaid mini-skirt (a friend affectionately called it “skittles plaid”) and red boots. Yowza. Did he look amazing in it? Of course he did. Did it fit with the kick-ass version of Punky Funky Love that they did? You bet yer sweet ass it did! This song was one of the highlights of both shows for me. It may be a hot mess, but It’s an incredible hot mess, and is has as much energy as Can Do. Love, love, loved every second of it.
  • wonder color was tons of fun. They stopped in the middAichi Arts Centerle and had the audience repeat a few “boom shaka boom boom” and variations with Kiiyan. At the end, Kiiyan and e-zuka left the stage while Takita and Val jammed. E-zuka returned shortly and all three jammed together, including a reprise of wonder color before ending and being rejoined by Kiiyan.
  • Giant balls came out for Not For Sale, white, with giant kiss marks. I actually hate these things, because I’m always wary of getting bonked on the head by them.  I kept getting distracted by them, but only had to knock one away once.  Kiiyan had to bat them way too, as they kept going back to the stage.
  • The acoustic set led to lots of talking, of course. Including more talk about the folks in the balconies, and about all the glow sticks in the audience. Kiiyan commented how it was like UtaPri, which prompted folks to turn their lights to yellow (and indeed, at least one person in front of me had an UtaPri light.) Kiiyan pointed out then how yellow was his character’s color, and the two of them pondered GuraP & Rodeowhat e-zuka’s color might be, including curry as an option. /facepalm  They also talked about the hall is used for opera, which lead to Kiiyan singing scales at us for a few seconds. /swoon
  • 追憶の輪郭 was as glorious live as you might imagine, with acoustic guitar and Kiiyan’s unguarded, emotionally raw vocals.
  • And then … speaking of stellar vocal performances … DAWN GATE, unfinished no more. They played the entire 10 minute song (you get a sense for why they had to cut out some talking), including those indescribable vocal parts in the middle. Superb.
  • A few more songs, then wish closed out the main set. Very cute to see Kiiyan touch a finger to his lips whenever the background vocals sang “Darlin’ kiss me” or “You want kiss me.”
  • When Kiiyan came out for the encore, he was wearing the border shirt, and pointing out all the girls up front wearing it too. Heh.
  • During the encore they announced the home town shows (yay for Yamaguchi – so close to me!). And they closed out with Can Do, which remains as awesome live as when I first heard it.
  • e-zuka also asked how we liked the “attractions” in the lobby — a Karrabbikaleidoscope and the GuraP & Rodeo videos being played.Karrabbi Kaleidoscope

Day 1 thoughts –

  • Kiiyan was definitely enjoying himself, though he didn’t wander much from the middle of the stage for the most part. Which was great for me, as he was almost always in view. Lots of bouncing, hips in action, hand in inappropriate places….
  • His voice was top notch, all the way through. Just when I don’t think he can
  • I missed Go for It!, darnit. Kind of hoping they bring it back for Saitama and Osaka-jo Hall, at least.
  • Interesting that the stage is now multilevel, though the levels really didn’t get any use this first night. Shows a lot of promise for future shows.
  • The light show was definitely a level up from earlier shows
  • They didn’t introduce Val and Takita until near the very end, eep.

Tidbits from day 2~ (you can see the full set list here)

Nancy joined me for Sunday’s show, and our seats were in a 4th floor balcony, front row. Which meant we weren’t allowed to stand up. Our poor knees, after being pressed against the balcony wall for three hours…. And I think it downright pained me not to get to dance to Can Do and modern strange cowboy. Still, it made for a nice view, and during this show, e-zuka called the balcony folk “royalty.”

  • Set list was largely the same, except for a few oldeAichi Arts Centerr songs being swapped in for other older songs.
  • This time they pointed out they didn’t have much time to talk, so were sure to introduce Val and Takita during the first MC break.
  • During Not for Sale Kiiyan kicked one of the balloons to get it off the stage and it proceeded to pop! We weren’t sure if it hit the stage lights or the corner of something, but ooooops.
  • During 変幻自在のマジカルスター, Kiiyan sang “onna no ko” falsetto as he often does. It’s so adorable!
  • Kiiyan and e-zuka made more use of the upper levels of the stage. Mostly during FlowersNot for Sale, so perhaps to avoid the balloons as much as possible. Kiiyan moved around the stage more in general.
  • They were definitely trying things out as they went along. This show saw them turn wonder color into more of a crowd participation thing, though it was really just for Rodeo Boys, Rodeo Girls, and each floor. It’s not something that could be used to call out only a handful of people, unless Kiiyan sticks to the easiest thing to repeat. When he turned it over to e-zuka, silly man had us repeat that we’d buy 1 cd, buy 2 cds, buy ALL the cds … at which point he said thank you. Heh.
  • During the three-way jam, e-zuka played his guitar with his mouth, as he is wont to do. And then he made Takita play the bass with his mouth … twice!
  • We could see the kankeisha clearly from our seats. There were six or so older rocker guy types, Ryu from Blood Stain Child and a woman with him. Though both of them disappeared right before the show started, never to return to those seats.
  • e-zuka joked that he didn’t know how much longer they couldFlowers go on, since he is so old at 48. His birthday is coming up soon (when he actually will turn 48)…. Wonder if they will give him a cake in Osaka.
  • While Val and e-zuka got things further into the audience than on Saturday (even behind where I had been sitting), Kiiyan flubbed his first attempt, which had him sinking to the stage in amusement and embarrassment. He did marginally better the next time.

The show s were a ton of fun – an excellent start to the tour. As always, I am stunned by how good they are live, and how happy I am to merely be in front of them watching and listening.

Cannot wait one bit for Sunday’s 3rd row seats at Osaka-jo Hall. (Or to find out what our other seats will be!)

(click pics for bigger images)