Sunday, May 18th — first of the 9 shows I’m catching of the Magical Rodeo Tour. And if it’s anything to go by, this is going to be a damned amazing tour!
As you can see from the pic, the day was sunny and hot. Much more so than we’d expected. Goods didn’t go on sale until 13:00, so Nancy and I cleverly didn’t line up until a little after 12:00. No sense getting there super early. They did start selling goods earlier than planned, but for some inexplicable reason, after the line had been moving so well for the first half hour or so, it abruptly stopped for about the same amount of time. Those were long, long hot minutes, let me tell you. We had a lot of time to talk, people watch (some poor kids baseball team got stuck running laps around the area, multiple times) and get sunburned.
As is about usual, it took about three hours to get through the line. But thanks to some good planning this time, very little had sold out by time we got to the goods and we grabbed everything we were after. Which for me was the pamphlet, purple/grey shirt, towel and Snow White Gina charm. The day t-shirts for the tour are actually pretty cool — each one features Roger as a different dwarf — but I have so many Granrodeo shirts already that I’m holding out for next week’s PINK Roger and maybe Nagoya’s royal blue one.
We had a little time left before lining up to go in, so ended up eating some super cute donuts that should’ve been breakfast, but we ended up bringing with us instead. Staff managed to get some footage of us walking around before that. I fear to think how much footage of my sunburned self they’ve gotten since last summer….
We were inside superfast after they opened the doors, and grabbed a spot partway back on the floor, on e-zuka’s side of the stage. I held the fort while Nancy ran off to get her drink, and vice versa, though by time I got back, I didn’t think I’d make it back to her and our stuff. Packed, and fast. The stage decorations cracked me up — 4 dwarf Rogers hanging from the ceiling on the left, Gina and the other 3 on the right. Two rainbow-like standups at the back of the stage with MAGICAL RODEO TOUR on them.
When the lights went out and the intro music started, the usual SURGE happened and we ended up right by the bar before the front section.Show started with a bang — SEED BLASTER — one of the 15 songs I voted for as an opening song, so I was happy to hear it. Perhaps a bit less happy to be banged around by the folks around me, but it’s to be expected. Next up, super early in the lineup, was Shanimuni. Followed by Outsider, and then pause for the guys to intro themselves and welcome us to the show/tour/venue before launching into The Other Self. And then decadence, which I was thrilled to hear, as it’s been a couple of years since I last heard it live.
But … by this point it was obvious I wasn’t going to last in the press of people. Particularly with people attempting to head bang around me. Even though it meant losing sight of Nancy, I wisely backtracked and headed to the back of the floor before the stairs up, where I could have space around me. Plus, I could actually SEE Kiiyan from this vantage, instead of an occasional glimpse. Unfortunately, I ended up with another head banger behind me (I’m sure it’s someone’s fetish to have a Japanese girl flail her hair against your back. But it ain’t mine.), but I didn’t let that mar my enjoyment. And oh my delight at this setlist — next up was Sugar, which I’d never heard live before, and it was as awesome as I could’ve hoped.
Before the next song, the guys disappeared … and then came back out wearing dwarf hats and beards. Pfffft! They joked around (I can’t say what about, for I left my translator, aka Nancy, behind when I escaped the crowd). But they were singing “Magical Rodeo” in between bits. Everyone kept their beards but Kiiyan when they launched into Zetchou Poison, which they HAD to play, given the Snow White theme of the goods and stage. And it’s every bit as sexy as it was at Osaka … and every time I listen to it, which is frequently.
After this came the instrumental set — Val, Val with Takita and then e-zuka. ‘zuka-san was scat singing during his solo, and encouraged us to copy him, which of course we did. He kept doing more complicated things and we kept trying to imitate him until he finally just cracked up in the middle and gave up, sticking to the guitar playing.
Go for It! followed the instrumentals, pretty early in the show for it. No particularly silly or ribald bits, though the lone guy who said he hated the venue was amusing. (and he had really nice arms, too!) This was followed by four songs I’d never heard live, at least one of which I never, ever expected to! Lonely Fighter was too freakin’ adorable. And the bass intro to Dawn Gate … super, super sexy. So, SO glad they played both. Uso no iro was very pretty, as was the acoustic Nan to naku kesshita story … even if, bless him, Kiiyan messed up twice on the lyrics. The first time, they actually started over from the beginning after everyone had a good chuckle. They got further the second time, but Kiiyan still had problems. He finished up great, though, and his vibrato was to die for on the whole song. It’s been a long time since they’d played it, apparently (definitely since before I started coming to shows regularly).
Rose-hip Bullet, Mesmerize, Ai no Warrior, Kanariya and modern strange cowboy followed one after the other. Was so, so glad to hear Mesmerize again. Still so amazingly powerful live. I can’t help but be amused that Kiiyan has pretty much changed one of the lines for good. I’m not even sure if he realizes he’s done it, at this point — 新しい本能 (atarashii honnou, new instinct) has become 新しい (atarashii shoujo — new girl).
They wrapped up the set with Hengen Jizai….and appeased us by saying of course they’d be back for the encore. Heh. Cue the usual GURAN / RODEO call and response, after which they came back and completely kicked ass on 甘い痛みは幻想の果てに, which they also hadn’t played in a long time (at least, not that I’d heard). It made Kiiyan think of the Aube Hunter cover, well, the cover with lyrics written by someone else, but the same music (Silent Destiny), which led him to mention Ono Daisuke, who sings on it, and his MOS Burger ad. Not sure if someone in the audience told Kiiyan Okki sang on the song too, or if he thought it, but he mentioned Okki too (but Okki doesn’t actually sing Silent Destiny — he’s in a different series).
The album announcement came after this, with much teasing of the audience. It really seemed as if they weren’t going to tell us the name, with Kiiyan first only saying that it was all katakana … then e-zuka recited each previous album title, having us repeat after him. After Crack Star Flash, he turned to Kiiyan, who was like “ka….” And then he finally gave in and told us, the full thing: Karma and Labyrinth. SUCH TEASES. Cannot wait to hear the new songs that’ll end up on there!
The very last song was Can Do, which never fails to energize me. No matter how tired I am, no matter how much my feet hurt, it gets me moving and jumping. Then came the usual tossing of items — several went beyond me, someone’s wrist band was grabbed not too far from me (I never have luck with these things) — and waving good bye. When the lights came up, first got in the mass of people leaving (a nice Rodeo Girl fanned me because we were all super hot and sweaty), but then ducked out to grab a seat to lace up my shoes (I had taken them off part way through) and then asked a nice RG still on the floor for a bit of streamer, which I’d failed to see fall.
Caught up with Nancy outside, which felt heavenly after the heat of the hall, and headed back to the train station, one show down, more to come!
Kiiyan’s lyric flubs aside, he sounded in top form tonight, and was in such a good mood! That stunning smile lit up the hall like a super nova on a regular basis. He and e-zuka started out in black and white outfits with a splash of color. He moved on to a white tank top with a black skull (made out of dots?) on it, had some thing else on for the encore and the Roger shirt for the second encore. The energy level over all was high, and it was incredibly nice to be in a smaller setting (densely packed crowd aside) and feel that energy. The set list was phenomenal, and if they wanted to play that the entire tour, I wouldn’t complain one bit. Especially if they keep Lonely Fighter and Dawn Gate. I don’t think I have to worry about Zetchou Poison being there.
Included in the usual Lantis packet afterward were an announcement for the new CD and a mini-fan club report, which was super cute!
Can’t wait for next week. I will be the seventh person in the door, and you’d best believe I will be planting myself stage center and not budging. Looking forward to hearing what the next opening song will be…