Monday, March 28, 2011

Wow. (素晴らしい。)

Wow indeed.

That was the single most intense, involved, incredible live I have ever been privileged enough to take part in.

... someday, I'm sure, my unusual penchant for alliteration will catch up with me. Luckily though, that day does not appear to be today.

Though I must break the flow by adding that it was also the most fun. Goddamn.

(Probably also the hottest and sweatiest... but talk about breaking the flow. Being a fan isn't easy, you know.)

Oh yea. You know who I'm talking about. 

I thought, before going, that it would be your run of the mill live--maybe I would have to learn a few new hand motions, maybe there would be a bit more light show, that's all.

I could not have been more wrong.

This was, as mentioned above, by and far the most involved live I have ever been to, both on the part of the audience and on the part of the band. 

Which of course leads to that third one: intense. Oh, yea. 

Remember those lift-offs I was talking about earlier? Yea, those

That's how they come out on stage. Each one of them. 

You know it can't be anything but awesome from that point on.

And the audience? Oh, the audience. For one, they dance along during the lift-offs, having memorized the moves.

And that's just the beginning.

Every single song had a specific set of dances to be done at specific times. The coordination and involvement required was absolutely incredible. Not to mention that during the first MC session, the band gave us a new one to perform, the "N-Formation," which we practiced to their satisfaction before attempting to implement it in the next song. I was pretty impressed with how well we did. 

(The second MC had them debating about how to signal that we begin the N-Formation though, as we sort of gave up after that first song... which led to an amusing series of moves that Angel Taka could do to tell us when to go. Eventually we decided on a move, and tried again... but apparently the N-Formation just doesn't fit the beat of more than a few songs. We did it while waiting for the encore, though, which was amusing as hell.) 

The most impressive dance move, I thought, was the one where everyone started spinning uncontrollably as they bounced around the pit, waving their arms and towels above their heads. This lead to a great number of collisions (especially for one girl who I really think was getting a bit too into it for the good of those around her, as we're not all made of th same titanium-rubber blend she must be) which I think may have been the point, so after my first attempt (with stomped toe) I stood back and settled for waving my arms in the air only, watching the chaos and grinning like a maniac. 

Oh, I forgot the impressive part.

The spinning was controlled to a a certain bar of music, every time, and afterwards? Everyone ran back to the exact spot they had been in before. Which was important, if only for N-Formation time. 

Luckily, I was not the only newbie there, and thus did not feel horrible about my slow uptake on everything. Thank goodness, however, for years of dance and rhythm training--otherwise, I might have been a bit lost. And thank goodness also for the nice girl beside me, who readily involved me in team motions (mainly hand-holding moves, which were fun and surprisingly full of camaraderie) and didn't mind grabbing onto my shoulders for N-Formation. I did get left out of the robot dance, though, simply because there was an odd number of people in my row. Oh well, it was fun to watch. 

Needless to say, I now understand why everyone in the audience began the concert with a round of 「お願いします」(onegaishimasu, roughly translated to mean that you're counting on everyone) and ended with 「ありがとうございます」 (arigatou gozaimasu, thank you). 

Oh, also, the YAMATO Music Challenge. And YAMATO dance. I'm not sure how to describe that segment of the show, other than the fact that it was amazing and awesome and one of the most amusing things I have ever seen. 

(... got you again, alliteration.) 

If only it was on youtube. I could show you. For now, however, you're just going to have to take my garbled word for it. YAMATO is awesome.

And of course, no live is complete without goods.

Let's see, a wristband, two postcards for 500 each that were really for earthquake relief (all proceeds donated), and... what, what's this?

That's right my friends. I caught a pick and a drumstick. Oh yea.

The pick (MASATO's) was completely a surprise--he threw it out when he first picked up his guitar during the second song, and I couldn't even see where it went. Then, however, I felt something land in my outstretched hand...

I think I might start carrying it around as a good-luck charm, that's how strangely amazing it was. 

The drumstick was more intentional. At the very end, all members began chucking things--water bottles, picks, drumsticks. I didn't catch another pick, despite the number being thrown out, but when YAMATO came to my side of the stage and began peering out to see who to throw to, I jumped up and down like the maniac I am. He then pointed at me (or the girl in front of me, but let's go with that first assumption),  and lobbed it out with astonishingly good aim. I say it was iffy who he aimed to, because it bounced off that hands of the girl directly in front of me, and into my waiting grasp. She did not, however, fight me for the stick (merely said うらやましい [urayamashii, I'm jealous] once things settled down), and I wasn't about to give it up. I'm sure there was some concert etiquette keeping her nice about it, but really, that's pretty cool. 

So, yes, this was not only the most amazing concert, it was also the luckiest. How cool is that?

Oh, and one more thing.

叫 (Kyou), the bassist, came out afterwards to hand out the earthquake relief postcards, and shake hands with whoever bought one. Though it took me a while to determine exactly what was going on at the head of the long line, I jumped in and pulled out my thousand yen bill. (I rethought and pulled out more when I saw the wristbands.)

As expected, I wound up being a little bit in awe when I finally reached him, and told him that I was nervous. He asked why, and I told him that the whole experience had been way more amazing than I had expected. He thanked me, and asked me what I wanted. I got my wristband and two cards, and wonder of wonders, he unwrapped the wristband and put it on for me

... that was unexpected.

It's likely I started glowing red. 

I shook his hand, grinning like a dork, and he told me to come again. 

Oh, and the best part?

He did not bat an eyelash at the fact that I was (a) a foreigner and (b) likely the only one there. Not a pause, not a "where are you from" not a "oh you're so good at Japanese." Nothing. Just treated me like a regular fan.

And that, my friends, is worth a lot

This is Edo, signing off with a sore neck and more great memories than she knows what to do with. 

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