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As much as I don't like the way Johnny's managing their idols (the frequency is getting more often now especially after SMAP saga, it's more of a love-hate relationship now), I can't deny that they still deliver the best concerts, even when I have no idea most of the songs. I don't follow HSJ closely and only know some of their songs, but I'd use their concerts the base for Johnny's concert for the younger groups, with probably Kisumai as exception. The budget is definitely higher than V6's, judging from the stage, props and the costumes. HSJ is still the orthodox Johnny's idols in my book, some of their songs maybe closer to K-pop (those cooler ones) and no, they're not K-pop (I just use it for simple comparison), but majority of their songs are still the bubble gum cheery summery sugary with tons of pop tunes that you'll definitely enjoy for concerts. You may not feel it when you listen to it individually, but it's different in concerts, and that's part of Johnny's magic.

Glitters, feathers, furs, power ranger's primary colors, leopard prints, sparkles

The chandeliers... )

Johnny's literally spoils my standard for a concert and it gives another meaning to concerts as not just live performance, but a complete package of entertainment. In the world of Johnny's, singing live is not a priority, nice to have, but do we really care? Not really. What we do care is we smile and feel happy and giddy and left with a pang of heart after the concert is over. That's Johnny's magic.
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Another different concert experience aka something other than Johnny's. This year I vote for GACKT because... I feel that I need to watch his live at least once in my lifetime. Only went to the 2nd of July because the extension was announced only much later and AUD is really shitty now.

Last Visualive is a concept concert so the set list and performances are matched to that very theme, and I'm a sucker for concerts with concept. I'm not really familiar with the Moon Saga as a whole, and not exactly very fond of the Yoshitsune story, particularly that war scene. I find Yoshitsune story as a whole is really sad and tragic. The brothers fighting with each other and literally went to war, which Yoshitsune lost, triggered by those people who gossipped and badmouthed around. It shows how fleeting trust can be, even between family. Tackey's Takizawa Kabuki also had that same war scene, the fighting under the rain, but in here it was made based on the darker and heavier tone, plus we have the additional dark magic etc involved here. The whole concert is divided into 4 Act, the first one is the war itself with the ending note of Yoritomo ordering the kill of Yoshitsune, and then we have the dark set with GACKT sporting that 'I dunno how he can even move with that costume' costume plus that super cool mike stand. The 2nd and 3rd act is flashbacks from the first meeting between Yoshitsune and Yoritomo and also the happy times together with Yoshitsune's vassals. Then the last act is back to the 'present' of Yoshitsune's dying moment. I can't really remember clearly on the details because lots of quotations from the Moon Saga play, and they even include the shooting scene from the Moon Child movie (which I find a bit random, but somehow still fits into the whole story).

My favorites in random order will be the koto performance (it looks awesome, nevermind that the costume is so gloomy and GACKT looks like a ghost jamming a koto there), PS I love You (coz I like these kinds of songs from GACKT and I'm bias, plus GACK in white shirt is... enough said), Mai Baby!! -Wooha- (i feel that this song is built for the sake of the concert, it's one of those perfect concert song, it allows whoever sing this song to engage the audiences, which in this concert, we have the taiko DDR, and it's damn fun), same reason for Koi no Friday. Most of the songs come from Act 3 (yeah, the fun part) because I cannot really tell which song is which on Act 1, probably only Arrow and Returner (a fail fan because I've been listening to Shinhwa the past few weeks, GACKT songs was too heavy for me the past couple of weeks).

My seat was not so close but also not too far and I like to sit with the center view so it's all good. The screen is a big gigantic curtain. That red moon on the center is actually a projection which is kind of cool. I didn't know that the stage is actually in the n shape until GACKT ran around during Act 3. The center piece of the stage, which is that gigantic skeleton, was there from start to end, but you'll somewhat forget about that center piece with the help of the background screen, it did make a lot of difference, and I enjoyed it emmensely. Overall, definitely the gimmicks is no where near Johnny's standard, but it works perfectly fine with the concept and purpose. Afterall the selling point is... GACKT, the props are there to amplify his persona on stage (I literally have that impression from Act 1). And I can't compare this concert against the L'Arc en Ciel concert in Singapore a few years back either because this one has a story to tell, hence the setlist is customized to suit the concept, whereas Laruku's concert is like MS station show non stop. And speaking of stop, there's a quite long down time in between act 2 & 3, not sure why that happened. The only reason I can think of is to allow GACKT to recover because after that it's MC time.

Watching GACKT concert reminds me again what makes watching different concerts from different acts interesting to me. The way GACKT work the crowd is another feast to the hearts of fangirls (from effortlessly kawaii to effortlessly kakkoii in split second back and forward and you can't decide which one you like better) and it's amazing how he knows exactly what the fans want at every particular moments.
The fan demographic amazed me as well. We have teens all the way to oji-sans and grandmas (in gothic get up nonetheless), and we also have kids, brought by their parents with the nekomimi cheering for GACKT too.

I'm not sure whether I'll have a chance to be able to see The Last Visualive World tour next year, but I'd love to re-live the moments of awesomeness again.

The tidbits... )
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and clearly I need HD quality. Johnny's, when we can have the bloody DVD?
WOWOW did a good job in capturing the awesomeness of V6's 20th Anniversary concert, though, nothing beat the real stuff, especially this concert.

Some caps... )

If WOWOW can capture the concert this well, I have a very high expectation for Johnny's (AVEX) to release a super awesome DVD and capture this concert much much better from WOWOW! This concert has SO MANY things that can be used for digest and extra gimmick, seriously, I'm not joking. MC digest is a given, Riidaa's Sexy digest is a must, Made in Japan digest can be considered, 360C angle of any dance number (supernova - yes, you can bloody repeat this, break the wall - yes another repeat, wait for you, timeless, arghhh, so many!!!). 
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It's been a few days since I got back from Japan and damn, I'm currently exeperiencing a heavy doze of Japan withdrawal syndrome, and more importantly, V6 withdrawal syndrome hits me even harder than the last time I went for their Sekubani concert. I went to the 20th Anniversary concert in Yokohama Arena on the 19th and the 20th September 2015. I didn't go to the last day (very truely sadly, but it's the reality, sobs) because I had to catch my flight back to Melbourne and there's just not good flight timing which allowed me to sneak in 1 more concert watching. However, even though I wasn't there for the last days, it doesn't really matter which day you went to theit concert because V6 will make sure that they deliver the high quality standard of performance that they uphold!
The need to spread the word on how AWESOME V6 is... )

Well, despite being a group oji-sans now, I find that V6 is as strong as ever! Their music is strong, catchy (after Sekubani especially) and have more anchor now. Their dance is as complicated as ever, and they still do it effortless and look cool at that too. Individually, they're successful in their own merit, especially Okada! They definitely don't look their age, Tonisen seems to get to the preserved stage after they passed the age of 30 and Ken, well, looks like he's in the reversed ageing process (and stabs ladies' self esteems along the way), hence those teenagers can still safely fangirling over them. So, V6 みんなさん,20周年おめでとうございます。May you keep on going strong on your 30th, 40th. You're the best, 最高!

Now, when we're going to have the DVD!!!


Aug. 2nd, 2015 02:11 am
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It's been really awhile since I did caps for con DVD. Seems that it's already a norm for Arashi to do 2 different kinds of concerts in a year, thus 2 DVDs *Johnny's cash register is ringing very loudly.' Last year went with a blast with Blast in Hawaii and Digitalian. The former gives you so much feels as a fan and lots of beautiful shots thanks to the beautiful Hawaii. Then Arashi went back to their turf, a 5 dome tour, with Digitalian. Since the theme is digital, and based from the album songs, I'd imagine Matsujun had gone wild with the tech stuff for the concert, and I think he actually did that after I watched the DVD. He may do something even funkier than Digitalian in the future, but as of now, I think Digitalian is the most tech loaded concert that Arashi has pulled so far. We have the fan light (that only can be felt why it's cool when you look at the whole dome, not just yourself holding it), the real time members' heart beat, revamped moving stage (I find this one so cool LOL), and the technology for muscle movement to control sound and light (not sure the actual term but it's really cool when it's incorporated into a performance). So what are we waiting for?

Looks cool eh? Honestly at first I'm not convinced I'll like this stage layout, but Matsujun proved me wrong.

Digi digi shiyou ze! *PS: it'll be a LONG caps* )

I had fun watching Digitalian, but does Digitalian get to be my number 1 now? Hmm... that's a tough one. Though I'd say I like what I saw, but I like Digitalian purely from watching concert point of view. The feels are in the BTS DVD (that a session interview of Matsujun explaining the concert concept and the work behind what we're seeing would be nice though), I don't really feel it in the con itself, with exception of Sho-chan seems to be so engrossed with Disco Star walk. So, to me, LOVE is still the number one on my list. I knew that it'll be very hard for the future concerts to beat LOVE, from the theme, concept and fan service. But I'd want Matsujun to beat it! Ganbare!

Now that Matsujun already had his hands on LED tech, when are we gonna see those flying particle tech from Shiyagare in the concert? XD XD
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I think I'm seriously deprived of concert watching that just watching concert DVD made me so happy and full of feelings. Or maybe I'm just too stressed out today? Hmm...

Anyhoo, it's Tegomasu no Seishun this time. Another different feel compared to their previous lives. This time they went to the more band performance type of concert. The stage is simple, not much gimmick. Very different compared to Tegomasu no Mahou where the stage is 360 degrees.

Though simple, I think they substituted it with the more mature feel of performance and upped the band level. They look more like a band here, not boyband, not Johnny's. And you'd think, 'ah, they've grown up.' If you watch their concert DVD from their first live, Tegomasu no Uta, Tegomasu no Ai, Tegomasu no Mahou and now, Tegomasu no Seishun, you can clearly see how much they've grown as performers and singers. Tegomasu used to be... awkward and their MC sucks, really. It's so clear in the past that they're in mess when it comes to MC as there's Koyama in NEWS, but no Koyama to depend on in Tegomasu. But now? MC? Not a problem. They never run out of cuteness and things to talk about, and just this can make you smile :)

I feel like ripping the whole concert into mp3, it's such a joy to listen to. With Tegomasu, I never have the nervewrecking moment that they're gonna crack in singing, same like when I listen to V6.

It's this kind of staging and lighting that I miss from watching concert! Such prettiness!!!!

This is Tegomasu! This is why it's Tegomasu LOL. Cuteness overload over the cat song. What's even cuter? All band members are wearing neko mimi too!

And it's amazing that they did this towards the end of the show and singing live as well (complete with the dance). They got the stamina! Off course they're almost out of breadth by the time they finish Neko Chuudoku.

Just looking at this kind of smile will definitely make you smile as well. Uber cuteness, can I put Masu in my pocket?

Maybe I should watch Tegomasu next time?


Aug. 4th, 2014 12:14 am
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I gotta say first that watching the DVD in a super huge screen do make a different. It amuses me that bigger screen shows us things that I otherwise will not take a notice when we watch the same thing using the smaller screen, eg. your regular TV, or laptop screen. So why I only say this now, not before?

That's because LOVE has so much details and seriously, details on very little things that I think I've taken things for granted when I see Arashi concerts. In LOVE you get to see how lighting (especially lighting), staging, choreographs, effects, costumes, arrangements, skits, timing, and other concert requirements that we don't see as audience planned and put together very neatly and smartly. I don't see any gaps so far in how things put together for LOVE (yeah, I watch LOVE more than 2 times already by now). And to make this even better, this concert has very smart editors and cameramen who know what to be put in the DVD and therefore, we're blessed with so many precious moments & angles.

I think what makes LOVE concert special is the great album to start with. So basically the team have lots of room to put in their creative minds to work and for some songs, the performances are totally different from what I expected, and these are the moment where I think, 'Ahh, that makes so much sense', or 'wow, I didn't expect that, just, wow'.

Did I mention fan service just now? Arashi fan service just escalated to the new level with this concert! They're literally asking fangirls to make more Arashi fanfics, and help fangirls by giving the idea of what to write. And, did Jun just campaigning the Juntoshi combi in this concert agressively? He almost always together with Ohno. Well, maybe part of it, it's because his part is mostly sung together with Ohno, but still, almost throughout the whole concert? LOL. This definitely satisfy any fans out there and it should be deemed as a new standard.

After this concert, it'll be very hard for the next concert to match or top over LOVE. I'll be looking forward to what Matsujun can bring. If he's really the brain behind the ideas for LOVE, I seriously bow down and respect Matsujun. This is one concert that you can show off to non-fans on what a good standard of a concert should be. Fan service is included, a concert without fan service is just an exhibition, not a concert, no matter how it may look 'conflicting' (it's damn kawaii OKAY) to other people's perspective (hey, I think Arashi's fan service is very mild compared to the likes of J-Rock).

Without further a do, Aiba-chan will show you to the world of LOVE (my fave performances)...
LOVE e Youkoso!
Beware, this is a super long one... because LOVE deserves it! )
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Yeah, it's late, I just got a chance to do this, but better late than never, eh?

I guess by now lots of very details report about the 5th Aug live has been floating around and everybody have read them all, so I'm not gonna chirping about those details and also by now, I don't remember much also, but one thing for sure, Yamapi just gained 1 more fan after this concert, me LOL...

So from a tourist point of view, also a person who never been to Yokohama Arena before, going to this concert was an excursion to me haha...

First, how do you reach Yokohama Arena from Yokohama line. Yokohama Arena is located near Shin Yokohama station so if you're coming from Sakuragichou direction, like me, be careful to listen to the direction of the train because else you'll be riding a Keihin-Tohoku line going to Tokyo, instead of Yokohama line, and you're sitting at the same train... which was what happened to me. OK, so you've finally reached Shin Yokohama station, but where's Yokohama Arena? You won't see the building when you got out from the station. But fear not, it's concert day, just follow... any cute looking dolled up from head to toe girls and preferably with uchiwa sticking out from their bags. This alone will then later it'll lead you to cute girls carrying EroP bags and when you trace them along, you'll reach...

And when you think the queue for concert goods has slowed down... wrong, the queue was like this...


But what's impressive from Johnny's customer service, concert good counter moves up its queue very very fast, so all those long queuing that i experienced, i
s done in 30 mins, and I soon was able to queue for my concert tickets (yeah another queue). The good thing about being international fans is that this time our queue is nearby the entrance to the venue so by default we already standing there, and all this time I wondered why there're lots of guards around that entrance and lots of fans were squatting there too and it's none other because... Yamapi himself came out there for the news (off course, you've seen Zoom in / ZIP covers on this). So yeah, seeing the real person is different, and off course Yamapi in real life is much much more good looking than the pic LOL....

K so off we go to inside the venue and we have this:

 Sadly I can't recognize any names from those all well wishes flowers, But the focus is that giant pink lips ;).

And here's the inside:
 My seat is at Arena seat though it's in the corner from Arena seat but we're still seated at quite front. This time they seated all the international fans in 1 section so my left and right are all non Japanese. From this seat, I can see Yamapi up close about 5-7m from the stage, if he pass by this section, yeyyy!

For this concert, most of the time I didn't use the binocolars, only during MC time and when he sings ballads because... his concert was pure visual! I didn't need to see his face up close if the whole show was so pleasing to the eyes. This concert is a totally different style from the V6's Sekubani that I went last year. They really optimized the lighting and laser effects, especially for the up beat songs. Some of my favorite performances are:

Perfect Crime ~ Yamapi didn't even dance for this performance. He just stood and moved a bit at the back of the center stage... but the visual... OMG, it's so kakkoii and beautiful! His background was those huge saphire stones and the laser darts makes is more like a 3D show. I seriously hope that they don't put lots of close up for this performance, you really gotta see it from far to get how glorious this performance was. My heart really moved during this performance haha... yeah, I'm sold! and he didn't even do any dance move hahaha...

Gomen ne Juliet~ For the first time, I got goosebumps hearing Yamapi singing. They re-arranged the song into ballad and for some reason the emotion really showed (makes me wish somebody sing like that for me, can feel the yearning and the pain here). And off course, the lighting was subtle and sad at the same time.

One in a Million ~ The background was all red and the laser beam make it like a 3D show, totally cool! This performance makes me think Wow, Pi worked really hard this year!

Nayami no Mori no Mannaka de ~ I like the background for this song, it's simple, just a forest with a glimpse of light and the song lyrics written out on it. Yamapi sang this after the letter reading stuff, so it's sort of have the emotional play on it. Great line up.

Ero ~ Yamapi sitting on the giant pink lips flying up in the air wearing those furry white coat? Yeah, it's love haha... His voice was a bit shaky at the beginning in here but that's fine, after all, all those sexy lying sideway pose he's sporting when he's on that lips makes up for it hahaha...

I forget which song for the performance that has some props dropped down and the stage looks like a flying maze with Yamapi in the center of it. That performance itself is totally cool.

Karina ~ Actually I was a bit dissapointed for Karina because there's not latin dance here, they did have the carnival girls but, I want to see Pi dance in lust for this song hahah... guess I'm asking too much? haha oh well, this song is also very pleasing to the eyes.

OK aside for the performances, we have the icing on the cakes, Tackey and Toma were there too! I knew something must happen on the last day of the Yokohama concert, that's why I chose the 5th show in the first place, and I was damn right! Tackey in live is much much more handsome than what you see in the pics, gah! Yamapi is good looking but most of the time oozing cuteness, but Tackey is just beautiful... until he started to open his mouth and the Johnny's wackiness all poured out for the MC. The MC was so much fun with Tackey and Yamapi running around the arena seats (not my area obviously LOL). Too bad Toma was late and he's just sitting at the VIP section (way up there).

Watching solo concert is different from watching a group concert. After been into 2 totally different concerts, I can give the pros and cons. Off course group concert means you see lots of things, but that also means which member you'd want to focus on if they all run to all different directions of the stage. My eyes had to dart from 1 end to another all the time to try to catch all and it can be tiring after awhile. Nevertheless, visual is always there and with group concert, you'll see lots of variety and personalities and MC is just like watching a live short variety show. But you don't have all this for solo concert. So what did Yamapi do? He can't just talk by himself the whole time during MC, right? So, you'll see more interaction with fans, which you'll seldom see in group concerts. And also during performances, since it's solo, you just need to dart your eyes at 1 direction and if too far, use your binocolars :d, done.

Now, Yamapi and fan service. I thought Okada and Miyake are quite generous with fan service during the Sekubani con, until I saw this EroP concert. Yamapi is very very generous in fan service. He almost literally does what fans want him to do. From immitating Donald duck, Sugi-chan, to the winks, blow kisses, shake hands, pouting ala Rolla, everything cute, and he'll do it for you. Off course, if asked to repeatedly do the same thing, he'll pout a bit, make a comment, but he'll still do it! I applaud him for that because it shows that he's really treasure his fans and he doesn't need to do this kind of thing in the first place because the fans also don't really expect him to do and are OK if he's not doing it. 

And he really smiled... a lot... A LOT... in this concert. Big smiles, all the way, as if he's really really happy to be there and perform for his fans.

And 1 last thing, or maybe 2, his Engrish really improves. His accent is not that very obvious now, much better than when he did Route 66. And did I mention that he's really seriously good looking? Take off all those make up, you'll see a Yamapi from Stand up drama, only chubbier... OMG, it's very difficult for girls not to get a hit on her self-esteem if a man can look that pretty and ageless... really ageless...

Almost forgot... the LOOT!!!!


I love the towel...it's huge! And yeah, the baloon, confetti and that pink lips are the things you fight for when you're sitting at arena LOL...

OK, that's all the rambles, next will be my Arashi excursions... LOL
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Something totally non-Johnny's... but in the end I still can relate it to Johnny's LOL...

Read more... )


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