This is going to get long, so buckle in!
This tour was absolutely amazing, even with the oddness of the Sendai shows (see below), it was top-notch and high tension all the way. I was a bit worried when the Sapporo shows had little talking and were error free. That, combined with the lack of Go For It! and the acoustic set had me concerned that GR wouldn’t really be GR on this tour, but a cleaned up, less personal version. Mind you, the totally professional, error free shows were great, but it’s not really a GR show without them running their mouths, and screwing up at least one little thing.
I needn’t have worried, by the second set of shows, they were back to typical form, Kiiyan flubbing lyrics, e-zuka messing up an intro, and they were motor mouths. Some shows were better than others, but they were all uniquely interesting and fun (save Sendai day two, which probably scarred more than a few of us).
Turns out I didn’t really miss the acoustic set like I thought I would. I missed the idle chatter they would engage in before the song, but with 月に抱かれて眠りたい, featuring Juny-a’s sax and Takita on upright electric bass and Under the Sky, with all of Fire Horns + e-zuka’s delicate acoustic playing at the beginning and end, I was beyond satisfied. Kiiyan’s singing on those two songs … it was mesmerizing to watch him sing 抱かれて, the way his mouth moved. And Under the Sky … it’s like after Sendai, he was singing it as an apology to all of us, and his vocals became more and more powerful. And starting with Sendai, it reduced me to tears each time … and when the song finishes, he would take a step back, drop back to MC mode and give us a hearty “arigatou gozaimasu” that didn’t give us a chance to breathe, to recover from the overpowering emotional assault of the song. I knew this song would break me at some point, and indeed, it did. Also of note, the song ends a bit abruptly on the CD, but live they added an acoustic guitar coda that Kiiyan would vocalize wordlessly along with, sometimes repeating the “I love you” from the last verse.
I do still miss Go For It! Badly. Hoping that it puts in an appearance at G12. And I was initially annoyed at G12 going back to the Budokan, until I saw how happy Kiiyan and e-zuka were about playing there again. It’s a special place for them, definitely. Very curious to see how the 360 stage and floor standing will work out.
e-zuka played Amazing Grace frequently during the tour. It was incredible each and every time.
Shin … I was prepared to be grumpy about Val being gone, but Shin is so adorable I gladly accepted him as part of the GR family pretty much since the beginning. The group dynamic is different, definitely. Takita seems to have adopted Shin and taken him under his wing. But that didn’t keep Kiiyan and e-zuka from teasing him mercilessly at times (ex: e-zuka. accused Shin of coming from school to one show with his randoseru on.). He took it in stride, though, and was clearly tickled by the attention from RG, though he didn’t know what to do about the guys calling out for Shin-chan. Heh. He interacts with us a lot more than Val did, which is nice.
It was great to have Fire Horns there for one show per venue. They add a whole new dimension to the performances. e-zuka joked at one point (Bayside, I think) that with Fire Horns on stage, that makes seven of them … so they are the seven lucky gods.
I was so, so spoiled by this tour. I thought I had good spots last year, but this year, almost without fail I was 2nd row, maybe 3rd, with a couple of exceptions. Getting better at reading the crowd and the surge, though it didn’t always work out quite as I wanted. Tried to mostly stick to e-zuka’s side, and that worked out rather well when I’d end up behind his fangirls, because he shamelessly played up to us. And sometime during this tour I graduated from getting obvious callouts/gestures to marginally more subtle ones, like Kiiyan yanking up his shirt in front of me (hey, I show him mine at every show, only fair!) or laying down on the stage near me … or balancing on the railing in front of me. Much appreciated, oh yes. Takita has finally taken note of me too. So yes, warm fuzzies all around.
This was my 2nd year in a row going to all the shows, and I managed to fit some sight-seeing in too. Hope I can do the same next year.
I wrote Sapporo and the first set of Diver City shows up in detail, but I came down with a lingering case of sinusitis before the Fukuoka and Hiroshima shows, and so got behind … and those 4 shows are a bit of a blur, so I don’t have much to say about them, alas.
- A Rodeo Boy found Takita and Shin going for a walk along the river Sunday morning. He was … apparently so enthusiastic with his adoration that Takita said if he’d been an RG, he (Takita) might not be at the show.
- Apparently Kiiyan was out walking too, also ran into Takita and Shin.
- Kiiyan sure does like losing his shirt in Fukuoka. Three of the last four shows, and only not 4 because he stopped Takita for some reason (Kiiyan had started to lift his shirt; we all screamed, he dropped it, and Takita stepped up….)
- Kiiyan was all dangerous hips and lifted shirt on Blackout
Sumiko-san, Kiiyan’s mum, didn’t appear to be in the balcony for either show, but his niece and her two friends were there again for the first show. They had a lot of fun waving to the audience as we left, and when they spotted me, they waved like mad. I waved cheerfully back, of course.
- After day two, waited out front like last year. Drum Logos has just one door, so there’s no escape for the artists. Last year, there were less than 20 of us; this year I’d say closer to 40 or more of us were waiting. Enough folks that Kiiyan came out between his taxi and another car to approach the fans. He made a bikini girl’s year commenting on her breasts. My friend and I had stationed ourselves by the corner, figuring the taxi would turn there, and indeed it did, putting Kiiyan, through his open window, about 3 meters from us, tops. I blew him a kiss as he went by. e-zuka, Takita, Shin and some staffers all bundled into one van-like vehicle. e-zuka rolled his window down, was waving, chatting with all of us. And again, they came within a couple of meters of us. We shouted “next week!” at him as they went by. And then he shouted “good luck” at the staffers left loading the truck, which cracked them up.
- First time going to Hiroshima Blue Live. The shows were great, but the venue itself isn’t all that good — floor doesn’t slope, acoustics are so-so. Didn’t help that it was absolutely pouring the first day.
- For 君に one way love on day one, Kiiyan came down off the pedestal, sang the last bit in our corner, and he spent a lot of Y.W.F. on our side. He usually never leaves center for it. Same with バラライ on day two.
- Kiiyan called for Fukuoka folks, knowing I was there, at least. Turns out the girl behind me was too.
- A Rodeo couple came up to talk to us before the second show (they met at the Nagoya shows last year), and he introduced himself to us, saying that he sees us at every show. Hi, Sugu-san!
- 抱かれて … gets more beautiful each time, and at this performance, Kiiyan said he felt like he was in a GR Snack Bar when he sang it.
- e-zuka spent quite a bit of time the second day talking about farts and posture. Kiiyan chimed in to say his butt hole is kinda loose, which prompted someone to shout, “Show us.” Which caused e-zuka to say “If you join Ro-gumi and go to Okinawa, you can see Kiiyan’s butt hole.” Dude, no!
- e-zuka kept abbreviating Blue Live to “BL.” And yes, he knew what he was doing.
- e-zuka told us that a local TV station in Niigata had worked on a TV show about him, much like the Yamaguchi Tys TV shows for Kiiyan, but that for some reason it got scrapped.
- Missed getting Kiiyan’s high-five by a few seconds. e-zuka did not high-five, and gave me an apologetic smile that he couldn’t reach me from where he was.
- Day one I was so glad to hear アウトサイダー that I found my inner head banger and set her free.
So … Sendai has always been magical for me. And I had amazing spots near the stage for both shows (2nd row near e-zuka; 2nd row dead center in front of Kiiyan), but we could tell at Saturday’s show that Kiiyan wasn’t anywhere near 100%, though he clearly perked up during the second half. But day two … well, e-zuka blogged that he’s not sure what the right response should have been, but Kiiyan wanted to go through with the show, so as to not disappoint anyone, and when Kiiyan, clearly in distress after the first three songs, emphatically told e-zuka that he wanted to continue, e-zuka vowed to give him all his support. These two… *sniffle*
Even when sick as a dog and under the influence of about six different medications, Kiiyan has such presence and such drive. He wanted to do the show so badly. He was annoyed with himself Saturday, but Sunday he was just too sick to show the frustration.
I felt bad that Sunday, when he needed our cheers and screams the most, it took me some time to get beyond worried mom mode and give him that.
- Despite being under the weather Saturday, Kiiyan did a pretty good job of still being his silly, bouncy self.
- During the first encore, Kiiyan was playing at tying his towel around his neck and complained that it made him look like an ojiisan. And e-zuka’s retort was that no matter what Kiiyan did, he looked like an ojiisan
- Day two opened with Kiiyan clinging to his mic for dear life. It was heart-breaking.
- e-zuka was so sweet to Kiiyan, coming over to check on him after the opening three song set Sunday. Kiiyan’s head was bothering him because of the lights and sound, but he shook his head no, that he didn’t want to stop. So for the first time I’ve ever seen, e-zuka started the first MC.
- e-zuka did most of the talking at the very end too, and put his arm around Kiiyan’s shoulders. (we got a hug the first day, first time in eons)
- He also sang a song I didn’t recognize during his solo. It was lovely.
- Kiiyan wore his cloak all through the first set because it was apparently cold on stage, and so he could cough (and tear up) into it. The girl to my left didn’t realize at first, thought it was cute and I just wanted to grab her and go “Can’t you see how sick he is!?”
- Sick as he was, some songs he still sounded amazing on … 抱かれて, Under the Sky, Pierrot Dancin’, Brush the Scar Lemon. But he couldn’t possibly hit that last note on ナミダバナ, alas. And he let e-zuka and us sing some of the higher bits of Can Do.
- And somehow … Kiiyan was still sexy as all get out when he was singing. Well, when he wasn’t on his knees, or clinging to the mic stand for dear life.
- Especially on Brush the Scar Lemon. Hip action like he hasn’t done in so long … or since. Unfortunately, that’s probably what did him in for good. It was just too much. But so, so sexy.
- Kiiyan mostly stayed dead center on stage, only using his platform once, for darlin’. I was sure he was going to pitch forward and we’d have to catch him.
- When he did wander from center, he sang on his knees a lot. When he was singing Can Do on his knees down where my friend was, e-zuka kneeled next to him.
- Kiiyan was so worried about disappointing people. Kept apologizing. 😦
- During the first bit of シャニムニ, Kiiyan was on his knees just to my right … and damned if bad as he felt, he didn’t try to give us sexy Kiiyan, with that bad boy tongue….
- He lay down on his back in the middle of the stage to sing the last bit of modern strange cowboy, after bouncing around for much of it.
- And oh god, Under the Sky … approaching the final couple of verses, Kiiyan just couldn’t. Couldn’t sing. Couldn’t stand. Him sinking to his knees in front of me, head drooping, is an image I would like to forget. It made my heart stop. The audience finished singing the song for him, and if there was a dry eye in the house, shame on you!
- They skipped the first encore … but they should have called it all off, let him rest. It was the first time I ever wished for a GR show to end early. I was really hoping they’d skip the encores and just come out to say good night and thank you. Couldn’t bring myself to chime in with the Gran-Rodeo call and response
- We ended up singing a lot of Punky Funky Love for him too.
- At the end e-zuka took the mic first, and when he finished, although I know he couldn’t hear me, I pointed to Kiiyan, yelled “take care of him.”
- And when Kiiyan got on the drum riser to jump, I was making a “Dame desu!!” gesture at him. I know he saw me, and I understand why he felt he needed to jump, but I was so scared he’d hurt himself.
- Kiiyan threw his venue wristbands to the front row. One to each side of me.
- Earlier he did deliver his “you guys are all cute” speech, including telling the RB they were sugoku kawaii. And delivered in such a soft voice….
- e-zuka played with Takita’s fox tail like a cat at one point
- And Takita stuck the neck.of his bass through e-zuka’s legs while the latter was on Kiiyan’s pedestal
- Lovely venue, if not as convenient as Zepp Namba. Spacious inside, nice high stage
- HAPPY HEALTHY KIIYAN!!!
- He talked about Sendai a little, asked who’d been there, and was taken aback at how many of us had been. He apologized even more.
- So, during his intro, Takita was like … “I wanted to do something to make Kiiyan happy … and I know he has a thing for nicely painted toes. So I went yesterday and got a pedicure.” Kiiyan replied, “Well, yes, i’ve often said i’ve got a fetish for that, but Takita-kun-senpai….” e-zuka then asked, “So … how can Kiiyan see your toes? I bet they’re painted black.” Takita said he had planned on wearing new sandals to show them off, but something went wrong with them and he had to switch back, almost missing his shinkansen this morning. e-zuka told him to take a pic later and Shin could post it to Twitter.
- We learned that Shin often posts to Twitter from the bath tub.
- Shin said he used to live in this ratty apartment in Osaka, next to a couple … and every night around 2 his wall would start knocking. He was so annoyed he wanted to go bang on their door. Takita told him he should’ve joined in on the drums.
- Kiiyan and Nakamura Yuuichi ran into each other at Shin-Osaka on Saturday. He apparently described Nakamura as “the popular seiyuu who looks good after losing some weight.”
- Kiiyan was telling the audience Sunday that no way they knew the song Takita has been playing in his solo, but I knew it was Stevie Wonder’s “Isn’t She Lovely,” so I quoted the lyrics to him on Twitter the following morning.
- Day 2 I ended up behind two fanatical e-zuka girls. Which meant lots of love from him, of course.
- Plus had Kiiyan come stand right in front of us and yank his shirt up high during msc. Always welcome!
- Kiiyan decided to intro Y.W.F. as “yoi … warui … fuckin’”
- Takita and e-zuka had a mock arm wrestling battle during Y.W.F.
- And e-zuka was chasing Takita’s tail again
- Shin-chan had guys screaming “Shin-chan” at him and he hasn’t quite figured out what to do about this, which was cute.
- Met an RB outside who was collecting messages for Kiiyan; he seemed thrilled to get some foreigners to sign. He was also very surprised I was going to all the shows.
- We saw a foreign guy walking away from the venue on Sunday, tour bag in his hand. Still want to know what was up with that.
- I had been joking, given my near misses with tossed things, that something would have to land in my cleavage for me to actually end up with something. Imagine my surprise when one of e-zuka’s bottles of Pocari Sweat bounced off a few hands and landed into my (rather plunging) cleavage. All miiiiiine. Heh.
- Technically Monday’s Zepp Nagoya show was the tour finale. And it didn’t disappoint, not one bit. Happy birthday to me!
- e-zuka must have thought he was experiencing deja vu on Monday: not only was I in the exact same place as Osaka (2nd row, between Kiiyan and e-zuka), with cleavage to spare (also the same as the previous week), I was behind the EXACT SAME PAIR of e-zuka fangirls. They were even dressed the same.
- So, ah, yeah, we got a LOT of e-zuka love in our little bit of the stage. Like last week, he sat down, feet dangling off the stage, to get fanned for Y.W.F. Except this time right in front of us. In fact, he came back for more, tugging the collar of his shirt down down… We distracted him sufficiently that he only briefly bugged Shin at the beginning of the song, stealing a drum stick and playing the cymbal while Takita tried to shoo him away.
- Takita said he hurt his leg during Can Do Sunday, and something happened during Can Do Monday, but he assured us even if his body wasn’t 100%, his spirit was.
- Kiiyan … oh Kiiyan. Again during modern strange cowboy, while standing right in front of me, up went his tank top, exposing his lovely belly. It’s mesmerizing…. he did quickly yank his shirt up during Blackout, but msc was for much longer. Had him in front of me, or near for most of darlin’, a chunk of msc, Can Do…. and for Punky Funky Love, he came over and lay down on his side on the stage, head propped up on one elbow … and sang. Given his vantage point (a few feet to my right), he probably got an eyeful. He seemed embarrassed once he got down on the stage, but followed through. Heh. Nice birthday present, yep.
- Met up with a French fan I met through Instagram/Twitter/Tumblr. Glad she and her boyfriend seemed to enjoy the show. ^_^
- There was a hanamichi, or smaller stage jutting into the first section! We didn’t realize day one, or we would’ve aimed for it.
- Brush the Scar Lemon wasn’t as sexy as Sendai, but it was on FIIIIIIRE at the end.
- The girls in front of me day one… were awesome. Coordinated pierrot pants, colorful animal print bikinis, pierrot makeup
- During … msc, I think it was, he sat down on the opposite side of the hanamichi, legs dangling, and urged some RG to “motto, motto”. And then looked awfully embarrassed at himself when he stood up.
- Apparently he took someone’s hand during Sea of Stars on Sunday, sang to her.
- e-zuka mentioned playing Zookeeper on his phone. He’s stuck on level 12.
- He apparently asked the folks at the meet and greet Saturday if they played DQ, since Kiiyan is so addicted. But none of them did.
- Kiiyan is so hooked on DQ he fell asleep playing while waiting for some sports thing on tv, woke up in the morning to find the news on.
- The same guy who collected messages for Kiiyan to get well at Bayside had shikishi for Kiiyan’s birthday, and to say thank you to Shin. We signed, of course!
- There’s always fans waiting at the train station to see them when they arrive (stalker much?). Yesterday there were fewer, because the e-zukas came in Friday, but there some. And this guy waved to Takita and said “hi,” so Takita assumed it was an RB. But no … the guy mistook Takita for an AV actor. Kiiyan introduced him by that name on Sunday.
- When Shin was asked if he’s been mistaken for someone, he said also for an AV actor.
- e-zuka finally succeeded in stealing a drumstick from Shin and “played” the guitar with it during Y.W.F.
- And, uh, Kiiyan threw in hip thrusts for the “punky” “funky” bit of Punky Funky Love. He wasn’t facing my way for that, alas.
- Met up with a Greek fan who I’d helped get tickets for the shows — hihi Netsuki!
- Hanamichi again! Ended up 2nd row, very end on e-zuka’s side of it. So facing Kiiyan the whole time. Both days
- And wow. Tokyo crowds are rough. Day one the barriers couldn’t hold the girls to the sides of the hanamichi … so staff had to crouch the whole show, straining to keep the barrier up. Even my section got a staffer for a while, but we weren’t leaning that hard. It was bizarre, standing in the middle, to hear a squeal of surprise and look over to see the barrier almost topple and staff running to prop it up … and then the same thing from the left. And then we had a tiny, tiny surge.
- Kiiyan joked it was a job for Takita, hands at breast level like the staff were.
- After the first set of songs, staff came out to ask Kiiyan to tell the fans to ease back from the barrier and spent some time trying to get them to do just that while Kiiyan and e-zuka were MCing.
- Kiiyan told us he hadn’t felt well before the first show, so went to the doctor just in case. Nothing bad, but he ended up with a shot anyhow.
- Takita took off his shirt at the very end of day one (and looked awesome doing it). Shin ran over to protect him.
- Takita lay down on his belly to play during his solo. Both days. Day one he was on the hanamichi and I could see only his foot. Day two he did it on his side of the stage and I could actually see him.
- Not to be outdone, e-zuka played behind his head and with his mouth. After the latter, he would make a bunny face and ears. Too cute!
- When e-zuka came out onto the hanamichi for Amazing Grace, they turned the lights on so bright we had to shield our eye to watch … and then they turned them down and he had to squint to see us. He leaned forward and said “Mabaroshi? (mirage)”
- Kiiyan sang exactly two words of Endless Summer (“Endless summer…”) after move on. TEASE.
- Day one Kiiyan gave away the set list to someone in the right front. Extreme jealousy!
- And the last towel he threw day one he wiped on all four of them. e-zuka jokingly offered his belly, and now we know he wears white undies.
- Kiiyan wears pinkish red undies, as evidenced when he lost his shirt day two.
- Also day two, his birthday, Kiiyan brought out Kishomi to intro Takita and Shin. Because he had just sung 抱かれて and was in Kishomi mode. (Now I’ll always envision Kishomi singing that song). He mentioned it was Kishomi ‘s birthday, so Takita wished Kishomi happy birthday. XD
- For his birthday, when they came back out for the encore, a staffer wheeled a birthday cake out, and e-zuka walked a blindfolded Kiiyan out to the stage (where he pretended to chop a watermelon). e-zuka, Takita and Shin (and the staffers) were wearing t-shirts with Kiiyan’s face (lovingly caricatured by e-zuka) and “Kishou love / Kiiyan rabu” written it. (Kiiyan came out in one of the shirts for the 2nd encore, and tossed it to someone on his way out). Kiiyan had half expected his parents to be there when he took the eyemask off. He declined to go face first into the cake, but did try one strawberry.
- e-zuka offered to sell the shirts for 20,000 yen.
- Belly again during msc, but over on Takita’s side of the stage.
- So … Y.W.F. Apparently forgetting he was on live TV, Kiiyan first stroked his mic suggestively, then grabbed his crotch repeatedly … and then came over to the corner where I was standing, and leaned over to put his right foot on the barrier, one person over. All the while proclaiming we shouldn’t touch his chinko. (Lucky for him, no one could reach that far!) I wasn’t sure at first I could reach him at all, but I reached over with my left hand, found the hem of his pants leg quite easily. Tugged gently, to assure myself it was really him, then slid my hand up to his knee … and then around and down his calf (I had his lower leg to myself). And damn, his calf muscles are to die for. He lingered quite a while, so I had time to run my fingernail and hand up his shin and back down his calf, and while I was giggling at the girl next to me patting his inner thigh, I tapped out the time with my palm on his shin. Kyaaaaaaaa! Given the line in Y.W.F. that goes something like “why don’t you grope me more in your inexperienced way” the whole birthday groping seems appropriate (and he must’ve enjoyed it, else he’d’ve cut it short).
- That girl turned out to be very nice (I asked her if Kiiyan’s thigh was the best.) and her friend recognized me from the NY Countdown. Hope I can run into them again!
- Kiiyan was wearing a thick bandage on his right hand for both shows. Turns out his wrist or hand got hurt in Osaka during the high touch, when someone must have yanked too hard in taking his wrist band off him. Knowing that, I am beyond grateful that he trusted us not to hurt him/get him hurt while he was on the barrier.
- I’m bummed that I spaced out when they asked for those of us who went to all the shows. Ah well. I know I went to all of them, and I didn’t need special recognition for it. But I am hoping they ask again at G12 like they did with G11.