Many thanks to Roo Garden for generously sharing the MCs with us!
For both shows, they played the first 3 songs without MC then talked in between songs.
(Day) Back when Kiiyan was whole
The two greeted the audience and reflected on the last time they performed there.
e:-ZUKA (e going forward): We haven’t played here since the FAB LOVE tour.
KISHOW (K going forward): That would be 2019 when we had a national tour.
e: When Kiiyan still had two legs.
K: Don’t make it sound like I lost a leg. My Achilles tendon snapped and the other is diseased from gout, from ‘wind of pain’* as I fashionably call it. Never broken the bone.
e: Really? It feels like you are always hurting yourself and knocking about. Only snapped? Snappy** mood?
K: Haha, not at all. Not snappy, not angry. [impersonates Choshu Goroku**]
*The kanji for gout consists 痛 meaning ‘pain’ and 風 meaning ‘wind’.
**In Japanese, the word 切れる has multiple meanings including cut/snap and feeling angry/pissed.
***Choshu Goroku (長州力) is a famous wrestler turned entertainer from Yamaguchi known for saying he’s not angry. Reference video: https://youtu.be/9i2yz9IsoBE?t=20
(Day) Two shows on the same day
e: It’s very rare for us to hold two shows in one day.
K: I can’t remember when was the last time. Maybe the Otoko Matsuri*.
e: Yes! That was tough! I remember you were worn out and complaining in between. “I’m losing my voice!” lol
K: You were no better! You pulled some muscles and could barely take the stairs.
e: No more two full shows in a day after that.
K: It’s okay if it’s acoustic or mixed with talk segments. In recent years, we had that special event.
e: Right, that one at Budokan!** But the first part was comedy skits!
K: What an incredible band we are to have two shows at Budokan*** on the same day. Sounds impressive but what were we doing? Our embarrassing history grows as we age.
*Otoko Matsuri was two male-only shows held on 2009.11.21. Footage on Disc 2 of LIVE Canned GRANRODEO (https://www.lantis.jp/release-item/LASD-7008.html)
**New Year Count Down event on 2015.12.31 as part of GR 10th anniversary celebrations in collaboration with BS Fuji TV station for the variety show Rodeo Club. The first half was hilarious.
***Budokan is considered an iconic venue epitome of success for performers. That’s why G5 was so special because it was especially hard back then to hold a one-man show there.
(Night) Their cover band beat them
K: The last time シャニムニ got played acoustic was by Gyuho*.
e: Is that so?
K: I think it’s a first for GRANRODEO!
*Gyuho is their alter ego in cow suits. Cows who drink whiskey and speak rough.
(Day) Mamo name drop during the looper demo
e: I think many know from the live stream about how this looper works. We also recently broadcasted the audio from the Yamaguchi show on our hit Tokyo FM radio show.
K: Our extremely popular show with about 5 or 6 listener emails per week.
e: “Dear Mamo chan…”
K: More would come if I were him! Hey! My chin ain’t that long!
(Day) History Lesson 1. Les Paul
e: Did you know that Les Paul not only made guitars, he also invented the first multitrack recording system? He was very talented. I would like to dedicate the next song to Les Paul.
K: Are you sure about the song choice?!
From Zuka Looper to wooper looper to Cyndi Lauper
One of the fun things about tours is the jokes grow. For both shows, Zuka san started playing and singing Time After Time by Cyndi Lauper whenever Kiiyan called him Zuka Looper. He still enjoyed the wooper looper reference and during the night show did a cute gesture waving his hands like fins on his blown-up cheeks.
(Night) “All your fault!”
Setting the tempo for the looper songs was still a challenge with Urban Sweet a bit too fast. Zuka inserted a cute small pause just before his solo, “I set the song too fast but will do my best!” Before launching into another lightning round of guitar prowess. Afterward, he didn’t forget to blame the audience’s good looks again for setting his heart racing.
(Night) C-3PO Model
Zuka san introduced the equipment models and joked that he sold all his electric guitars for them. He also turned the model numbers to C-3PO and R2D2 and both started to speak in robot voices.
(Day) History Lesson 2. Terauchi Takeshi (寺内タケシ)
e: It’s fun to make things more interesting with the looper. I shouldn’t say this now but the electric guitar has more variety and sound effects. There was a time in Japan when electric guitar was demonized. Public bias linked it to delinquents and violent groups. It was forbidden. You weren’t allowed to play it at school, weren’t allowed to go see performances of it.
K: What would be the modern equivalent?
e: Crowded festivals.
K: lol [audience applause]
e: If it wasn’t because of Terauchi Takeshi sensei, the electric guitar wouldn’t exist in Japan let alone become popular. He was legendary and passed away this year. I usually only get Young Guitar but the latest issue of Guitar Magazine has a special tribute to Terauchi sensei. I highly recommend it. I knew most of the stories and his quotes but to have them compiled was really nice. To change public opinion, he traveled from school to school around the country, persuading the teachers that the instrument is not evil. He would ask what music the teachers like and play them on the electric guitar whether it’s classical or whatever. It was a long battle starting from his home city Tsuchiura in Ibaragi prefecture.
K: I know you are excited but it’s Ibaraki.
e: He came from a very affluent family there and his family owned a whole range of businesses. He made his own electric guitar using telephone wires! At the age of 5 or something! Telephones were rare back then so to have three phones in the house was something and pulling all three wires out was unbelievable. He wanted to produce bigger sounds and the result he achieved sounded like a siren so the whole neighborhood was disturbed. You can google later but there are images of him playing guitar on skis and underwater. He did everything.
K: I feel like we don’t need to buy the magazine with you telling us everything.
e: But there’s more. He also left motivational and heart-warming messages. His final words really touched me and I think along the same lines about music and playing. So you should all read it!
K: After all that you are holding back on us!
(Day) Memory of Terauchi Takeshi (寺内タケシ)
e: My first live experience was Terauchi sensei. He came to Tokamachi for a charity show so it was free for all at the local town hall. Usually, performers use amps and equipment at the venue or if it’s like a general hall where the sound system is crap, they will get specialist shop to set things up. But Terauchi sensei was such a legend, he had his own set of amps and gears. He carried them all on tour. His guitar amp, nicknamed Devil King, was gigantic. The town hall was a fair distance from the station but we could hear the rehearsal loud and clear. It was amazing! So Dad decided to take me to the show because it was free so we went without our wallets. It was the countryside, we went barehanded everywhere. The show was a charity show so a collection box came around for everyone to donate. It was so embarrassing we pretended to be asleep! Not sure which was more embarrassing, asleep at a show or unable to donate. It is with fond memories that I would like to dedicate the next song (delight song) to him.
K: Again?! I see this is your style today.
*I wasn’t sure whether to include all this about Terauchi sensei but Zuka san was in full-on fanboy mode and talked so passionately that I ended up including everything I could remember. My stan’s stan deserves respect!
(Night) Backing track for delight song
For this tour, delight song was in the bosa nova style like it was done in previous acoustic shows using a pre-recorded backing track.
e: In the past when performing with support members, we would finalize arrangements on the spot and polish things up. Because of corona we ended up using my demo as it is. So please, please don’t write online that the backing track sounded rough! On the contrary, please think it’s pretty good for a prototype.
*I don’t know about others but I was all eyes and all ears on Kiiyan and Zuka’s live performance. The backing track was just…there. Don’t make me feel like a bad fan for not listening to the whole thing properly lol
(Day) No.1 voted (?) 進化と堕落の二元論
There were actually three songs that won the No.1 most voted song for the day show. The other two were played in previous shows, one of which was 追憶の輪郭. Zuka san forgot what the other one was. They have never done this acoustic before so they both found it interesting and exciting.
(Night) Rare acoustic
セツナの愛 won the No.1 spot for the night show.
K: I don’t think we have ever played this acoustic at a proper show.*
e: The melody sure stands out when it’s acoustic. Why am I pointing out the obvious?
K: You got me on that one.
e: There we had the luscious melody without any reliance on effects.**
*They might have done it at some radio or mini events in the past.
**It’s a great song but definitely a lot more repeated notes than your other masterpieces, Zuka san!
Basically, the staff had a list of songs for Kiiyan to think about what he might want to sing. Once the song is decided, Zuka san then transcribes and arranges the guitar part.
K: I feel bad for e-ZUKA san going along with what suits me. This segment is pretty much letting me cover songs I like.
[During the night show, the audience was very excited when Kiiyan announced the song would be Ozaki’s.]
K: Eh?! What’s this?! I am getting nervous now with so much expectations. It feels more difficult than before.
*It was gorgeous. I DIED. The lyrics had ‘I love you’ so many times and the imageries in the song were just so emotional. Check out the song lyrics translation: https://ozaki.altervista.org/i-love-you/
Kiiyan puts so much passion in covers! I feel he also gives them special care and respect because they aren’t his own songs. During this part, the two would talk and mention other artists but the exchanges were fast. Like Kiiyan mentioned ‘Stand By You’ by Official髭男dism and Zuka started playing and singing ‘Stand By Me’ by Ben E. King.
e: I was browsing OOtube and came across our old performance of Infinite Love. For the record, you shouldn’t upload videos. That’s bad. Anyway, I saw it and felt nostalgic. We looked so young, actually, Kiiyan looks younger now.
K: It’s hard to notice because we see each other continuously but I guess we start to show our age.
e: Your singing changed so much too after you quit smoking.
K: Yes, quitting definitely made my voice better. I was smoking with my nose back in the day. As a joke of course, but there are photos of me doing that.
e: I have quit smoking too and continuing the efforts with the electric cigarette. It’s not completely quitting but it’s a start. This sounds crazy but I smoked even while eating.
K: I get it. Eating rice while there’s still smoke in the mouth.
e: It felt like I needed every smoking time I could get.
K: Truly bizarre. We were so addicted.
(Day) Summer on stage
Even though summer has passed, it was quite warm in Niigata that day.
K: We have played at many live houses and the stage lighting here is the hottest! It’s like having multiple suns above us!
(Day) Gout update
Close to the end of the show, Kiiyan revealed his gout has reappeared.
K: Since the first occurrence seven years ago, there have been several flare-ups but this time is the second most painful after the first time. It started a few days ago. Singing with everyone here let me forget the pain so it’s okay.
(Night) Don’t want to go home
K: Because of corona, we can’t party after the show and will eat alone in our hotel rooms. I want to keep singing and not leave. We are going to Kanazawa tomorrow so it’s sleep early and wake up early for us.
e: Kanazawa is surprisingly far away.
K: About three hours.
e: It’s because we are going by hitchhiking.
(Night) New song?
e: I wrote the folk tune that was played as we enter on stage. It actually has several versions. I wrote one with lyrics and singing but the staff didn’t pick it. Maybe there will be an opportunity in the future.
K: Speaking of new songs, our latest single! The naming of our coupling is a bit lame, sorry. I think many of you know that I sometimes go for the cliche title. This is that time again. Apologies in advance.
e: I think the coupling title already got released.
e: Yes, Aoiro Sensation. You can’t suddenly change it now.
K: Right. So how the name came about was I wrote the lyrics without a title in mind. That’s not uncommon. When going through the lyrics, I noticed I used the word ‘sensation’ a few times. “Arh~ I better go along that path,” I thought. The question then became what would go with sensation. Turned out the path of sensation was heavily congested. Plenty of ‘Something something sensation’ when I searched online. I had Kirameki (‘Sparkling’) Sensation and then Tokimeku (‘Heart-throbbing’) Sensation but both are so cliche and already taken. Finally, I found a spot with Aoiro (‘Blue tone’) Sensation.
e: Not sure whether the sole proprietors would like that. The Aoiro* is a hassle.
*In Japan, income declaration forms for small proprietors (eg. freelancers/contractors) that aren’t companies are called Aoiro Forms. You must follow rules, fill them out well and attach bookkeeping records to gain better tax deductions and refunds.
(Night) Better future for you and I
K: We are thankful that we are still able to have this tour despite everything. I hope that our music would be a part of your lives, even just a little, and provide some comfort. The last song of the main program is fixed for every tour so we will end with 今より先を. Even when the present is tough, let’s look towards the future and have faith that it would be better. I hope my gout will get better soon too in the near future.
K: I wish that everyone around me and Granrodeo would always be healthy and happy and live a rosy colorful life.