Friday, May 20, 2011

tbb's Sendai and Hibiya Show Reports

Darwin Sendai show – May 8th

The show started at 6pm with the doors opening at 5, but I got there a little earlier as the pre-sale of goods started at 3.30pm. The goods were being sold on a small space after the first flight of stairs down to the venue. I bought 2 of the tour shirts and then headed back out to the shopping arcade where the venue was located. By 5 o’clock they started to call out the numbers of the people who could enter the venue (there were 3 ticket lines 1-100, 100-200 and 200-300 (there was no one in the 200-300 lines and probably about 150 or so altogether around that time). The venue itself is only about 2 years old so although very small it was quite clean and had a pretty cool setup too.

I’m pretty sure the last time Puffy played in Sendai was for the 10th anniversary tour and that show was at Zepp Sendai (one of the many Zepp livehouses scattered across the country), just as well they played at Darwin as it would have been quite an empty show otherwise (Zepp holds around 2000 or so). There was quite a mix of fans at the show from teenage girls (which I found a little surprising as I didn’t think Puffy appealed to that demographic anymore) to some mid-twenties rockers, to middle age men who looked as though they’d come straight from work (suits and all) and of course a few die-hard otaku-lookin fans, and me! The only foreigner at the show (and as far as I saw, the only one in Sendai, which isn’t surprising given the circumstances).

The venue was about 80% full by the time the show started and I would say it reached about 90% capacity by the end. The show started with a familiar sounding dramatic orchestral piece accompanied by a video that is supposed to look like a backstage camera of Ami, Yumi and the band getting ready to get on stage. Each year of Puffy’s career was then played on the screen, each accompanied by a photo from that year.

After that, Asia no Junshin! Ami and Yumi both wore the “What can we do?” tour benefit shirts, with fluffy animal shoes. I gotta mention how great they looked too, if I didn’t know their ages I wouldn’t have guessed over 25, even Ami whose age has started to show a bit lately looked amazing. The set list for the show is the same as the one that’s been posted except for “Bring it on!” which was omitted, which is understandable as in Sendai’s case, I guess its already been brought.

I'm terrible at remember details from movies and concerts but here are some of the things I do remember clearly:

My Country Road was absolutely amazing, both Ami and Yumi doing their own simplified versions of the harmonica parts.

The new song Sweet Drops is very cutesy and well…..sweet, maybe a little too sweet, all I remember is that they say “sweet drops” and “I just wanna make you happy"

Wake Up, Make Up, was quite a comical performance as playback was used and the bands members danced and attempted the rapping verses, while wearing their own ghetto outfits. Puffy also did their usual random, dorky dance moves.

The audience went wild for Puffy’s older classics, while the newer ones were received more quietly.

The medley was done in the same way as the Gintakei Drive Medley, all the songs being fused together. Here are some of the parts I remember:

Electric Beach Fever (main song, like how Jet Police was repeated in Gintakei Medley)
Stray Cats Fever
Umi Eto
Fish On
R.G.W (opener)
Puffy no Tourmen
Bye Bye
GUITAR PARTS – Urei, Kobojin, Ghost Puffy
Kore ga Watashi no Ikiru Minchi
Puffy de Rumba
Banzai (one line)
Nichiyobi no Musume

Overall it was a great show and it was nice to see Puffy in such an intimate setting, I was about 5 meters or so from Yumi and Ami, a good introduction to a Puffy live before the big show the next weekend in Hibiya. After the show I waited outside at the exit of the venue with a few of the other fans waiting for Puffy to exit. Although it was only brief we saw Ami (big sunglasses and all) walk to the van with the rest of the band, while Yumi (who was hooded and holding her hood over her face) hopped into a taxi. So it was a little underwhelming but at least Ami waved which was nice.

Hibiya Show - May 14th

The Hibiya show opened at 5 for the fans to enter the venue. I got to the venue around 4.00 as I heard Puffy music playing while walking to the Ginza, Hibiya, Imperial Palace intersection, so it was traveling some distance. Once I got to the venue there was already quite a big line, for goods, and it turned out the Puffy music I heard playing was the sound of Ami and Yumi rehearsing. Once entering the venue I got some of the tour goods then went to the CD tent and got some of the regular edition CD's I don't have. Since I spent over $30 there I got an autographed "Thank You" poster.

The open air venue was quite nice as your surrounded by the ridiculously green trees of the park and the sky, not to mention the fact that its an amphitheater so most seats are pretty good and you dont have to worry about someone blocking your view of the stage. By the time Puffy came on stage the venue was full and the same intro played as the other shows, except there were 3 screens in this show.

What I remember from the show:

The set list for the show was the same except Ai no Shirushi was added after the encore before playing Darekaga. Ani and Bose from SCHADARAPARR came on for the rap parts of Wake Up, Make Up which was again a really enjoyable and fun performance.

Sweet Drops has grown on me and its actually a pretty catchy tune, too bad I'm going to have to wait a while before I can hear it again.

Puffy talked about Japanese actress Maya Miki and did impersonations of her voice throughout the MC parts of the show (she also got a mention at the Sendai show too)

The best performances were once again My Country Road, Violet, Red Swing, Yokubou and Electric Beach Fever.

Overall I was blown away by the Hibiya show, I really didn't want it to end, Ami and Yumi were absolutely amazing. Definitely looking forward to the WOWOW broadcast in a months time, hopefully it makes its way onto the net and if not I'm sure there will be a DVD release of this concert sometime at the end of the year (hopefully in full, and not spread across single releases).

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