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Wednesday, 15 November 2017

Beautiful: The Carole King Musical

I thought for a long while about how I should write about this and in the end decided that I will just focus on my thoughts and observations without delving into the details of the actual story of the musical. This is mainly because  the plot is readily available in the musical's [wikipedia] and I dunno,  I'd like to believe we will be getting a BD/DVD release of it eventually (maybe with MUSEUM III?) and you can then see it for yourself.




I've gone to see plenty of musicals during the course of my life, mainly in Finland and London (perhaps some in the States, but can't really remember) and find them quite enjoyable - perhaps more so than traditional plays. This was my first time attending one in Japan though, so I was quite excited about what it would be like - I was very positively impressed.

A couple of things before I get to the meat of the matter, however, because after seeing Beautiful I made a some observations about musicals in general.

The first one being that some stories reeeeaaally suit the musical format more than others. Beautiful was really great portrayed as a musical, as it's about Carole King's life (first and foremost, her career) and the songs she's written and sung. Stories where music doesn't have a natural place feel slightly odd, though are still enjoyable.

The second thing I observed was the possibility of strong cultural dissonance. For example, let's take West Side Story or Beautiful - both of these musicals kick things off in 50's NYC and paint a colorful portrayal of the USA of that time. It feels funny to have such stories played by, let's say Finns, because our emotional spectrum is [a bit on the not so expressive side]. On the other hand, it is nice that musicals give permission for reserved cultures to express joy, grief, anger and all other kinds of emotions on a larger scale than normal. This holds true for seeing a musical in Japan by Japanese too - it is nice to see a reserved, polite and quiet culture let loose and have some fun on the stage.




Anyhow, let's get on with it. What did I actually think of Beautiful? How was Nana's musical debut?

Well, I confess I went in without really having any clue about what Beautiful was going to be about, I mean sure I knew it was about Carole King and who she was, but I didn't know too much about her as a person and what she had done to get to where she is today.

Also, I am ashamed to admit my confidence in Nana's performance wasn't as high as it should have been. I guess all the silliness of the Zachou Kouens, the straightforwardness she always shows with her feelings at concerts and the cute awkwardness that shows less and less every year during dance songs kind of made me have assumptions about her acting.




Needless to say, I was completely blown away. Nana had worked hard for this, like she does when it comes to everything else too, and she truly belonged on that stage with all the veteran musical actors. It was a joy witnessing this new side of her and all this talent blooming on that stage - from her superb acting to her powerful singing so full of raw emotion. Very rarely do I feel so overcome by someone's feelings as I did during her heart wrenching rendition of One Fine Day before intermission. Nana's voice is so ridiculously powerful that it just filled the whole hall with such force that you could feel it resonating inside your body. You can see a glimpse of it on the latter half of this:




I came to also understand why Nana had been so taken by Beautiful when she saw it back when she was in New York City with her mom some years ago. It is in many ways a reflection of her own life - the life of a woman who has a passion for music and the determination to follow her dream through the ups and downs of life. Both her and Carole King start unsure about themselves until finally they gain the confidence to stand on their own two feet and blossom to their full potential. For Nana, this moment came when Mishi-P and King Records pulled her away from the toxic environment her teacher had created for her, and for Carole it came when she broke loose from her personal and professional relationship with her husband Gerry and for the first time took full credit for her achievements from then on out.



It truly is an inspiring story of some incredibly creative people (Carole, Gerry, Cynthia and Barry), who we have to thank for a lot of the great songs of the past 50 years. You might not know these people by name, but you will most likely recognize some of the songs they have written.

Another thing that took me by surprise was the curtain call. Most of it was the usual fair that I have come to expect from musicals, but what I have never experienced before was the standing ovation given to the cast every time I went to see it (yes... I went to see it quite a few times). I wondered if it was because of Nana, but this was even done for her alternate, [Ayaka Hirahara]. Here's the first curtain call for the musical run:



Another thing I had never seen before at a musical, was how humble both Nana and Hirahara were in the small speeches they gave in the curtain calls and how much they appreciated us, their audience. I was really impressed and so touched. There was absolutely no pompousness present on that stage, which I have felt way too often.





That's all for my thoughts and observations regarding Nana's musical debut, but before I finish this post here's some additional thoughts. Like for one thing, I have to say that these guys were the best:




The way they captured TV music performances from that time period was truly amazing. I would always actually be waiting for the next time they would show up to perform one of Carole's & Gerry's or Cynthia's & Barry's songs. It was just way too fun to watch.

The stage sets were also really well made. I was really fascinated by the mechanics they had for making the piano glide from one end of the stage to another so smoothly. The piano was a constant presence in each location of the musical and its movement to a different spot on the stage always signified a change in location, which was very nicely used in portraying the back and forth between Carole and Gerry in their home/office to Barry and Cynthia in her apartment.

After the musical I also did some research on the actual people it portrayed and I have to say the real Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann are like the cutest pair ever. They may have had a rough start, as you'll see in the musical, but even after all these years they are going strong. Even Sonim, who played Cynthia, was really taken by the couple and [said as much on her Instagram]. You can follow their joint Twitter account under @mannweil if you wish.

Alrighty, think I am done now. So happy I finished this right in time for #LoveTheatreDay.

Monday, 6 November 2017

Regarding S.C. NANA NET Fan Club Event VII

Considering I have a decent track record of attending all Nana-centric events, figured I should write a short informative post about the fast approaching S.C. NANA NET Fan Club Event Ⅶ.




Unfortunately, due to an unyielding work schedule and many things happening in too short a time span, I have been unable to make it possible for me to take a trip at the time of the S.C. NANA NET Fan Club Event Ⅶ. So sadly, there will not be a report from me of it to look forward to (a million years later xD). I'm pretty bummed since I really wanted to make it, this being the 7th Fan Club Event and all... would have been the best and most special to make that the first Fan Club Event I'd ever get to attend.... but, it just didn't work out that way.

Hopefully though, sacrificing this event will mean that I will be able to attend LIVE GATE in January, but at the moment I can't even say that for sure. My life is in a bit of a flux right now...

In any case, I will let you all know!
... so you don't wait months and months for a report that is never coming. ( ^-^;;)

Friday, 3 November 2017

NANA MIZUKI LIVE ZIPANGU 2017 千秋楽 at Saitama!

Finally my last report is here! It's a bit bare boned as I poured all my love to the first Saitama night. You'll get to see this one for yourself on the BD/DVD real soon anyway, so maybe it's fine. Right? :3 Now that I have LIVE ZIPANGU out of the way, I'll probably write about Beautiful next. Maybe.


(For report on LIVE ZIPANGU 2017 11本目 at Niigata, go [here]!)
(For report on LIVE ZIPANGU 2017 13本目 at Saitama, go [here]!)





Goods
Queued up again today for the today specific Nanette pin and the phone case was sold out again. :< guess I will have to order it through the FC online sale later. I guess there only being iPhone cases before really made this universal smartphone one a rare treasure.

Today's calligraphy wasn't as cute as yesterday's, and instead just focused on the fact that it was the final concert tonight. :3





Inside SSA
Tonight our seats were at the very back in the stand, so we had perfect visibility of the whole venue but at the cost of seeing Nana close up even once. :< Definitely lost to our seats yesterday hands down.



SET LIST:
01. WILD EYES
02. Hatsu Koi
03. Junketsu Paradox
MC1
04. BRACELET
05. Stay Gold
06. ETERNAL BLAZE
Cherry Boys -Showcase
07. STAND UP!
08. Dear Dream
MC2
09. Pray
10. ALONE ARROWS
11. Eden
Team Yo-Da -Showcase
12. Please Download
13. Dramatic Love
MC3
14. POWER GATE
15. TWIST&TIGER
Onanadori -movie
16. Hime Murasaki
17. Etsuraku Camellia
MC4
18. Mysterion
19. Don't be long
20. UNLIMITED BEAT
MC5
21. Meguri au subete ni
Encore:
22. RODEO COWGIRL
23. Young Alive!
MC6
24. Zettaiteki Koufukuron
25. Hana wa Saku
26. STARTING NOW
Encore II:
27. SUPER GENERATION (A cappella)



Outfit #1 - Traditional Kimono




01. WILD EYES
When the song started I felt a bit melancholic knowing that after tonight this would all be over and I wouldn't get to experience this again (apart from BD/DVD much later... well, not much later anymore lol). It always hits pretty hard when you've had a more amazing live/tour.


02. Hatsu Koi
Yessss! I noticed today that my eyes tended to wonder to the lyrics of the song that were flashing in the big screen on the stage, which was a bit of a shame since I would have liked to keep my eyes on the Japanesey Nana. It did make me wonder though if I should give this a whirl in karaoke sometime.


03. Junketsu Paradox
I started thinking today that it was kind of unusual to have Junketsu Paradox as a permanent song on the list, as usually it would rotate with METRO BAROQUE. Then again, just because I heard it this in all my LIVE ZIPANGU concerts doesn't mean it actually wasn't rotating. :3


MC1
Welcome to the final night of LIVE ZIPANGU! Nana talks about all the sevens regarding being in Saitama now again like yesterday (I forgot to mention actually it had also been 7 years since the last winter tour she had as well). She's been going all around Japan for ZIPANGU - from Hokkaido to Okinawa and now here in Saitama.  She then said something about a morning swim in regards to her anticipation for today.


Outfit #1 - Revamped



04. BRACELET
Cue in Tom-kun's amazing piano opener! The epic reverberations when all the instruments kick in didn't reach too well all the way back to our seats, making me remember bittersweetly the feeling of being encompassed by the song back in Niigata. (T^T)


05. Stay Gold
This was a really nice surprise tonight! Though, I wish it had been there last night as the friend who was with me then really likes this song.


06. ETERNAL BLAZE
EtaBure time!! This is maybe one song where it is beneficial to be seeing the whole venue, since looking at the orange penlights is a delight.


Cherry Boys -Showcase
Nothing to add here from the little I remembered on the previous nights.



Outfit #2 - Uniform Dress



07. STAND UP!
One more motivational boost from Nana. Stand up and make a change! I hope this keeps popping up in lives a lot from now on too, as I can surely use the warm encouragement from time to time. :3


08. Dear Dream
Yay, thanks for giving me this instead of Clutch!! tonight! Come to think of it, it's a bit of an interesting rotation as these songs seem pretty different to me.


MC2
Nana talks about her outfit.  It's like a captain from comics she says. Time for the mawatte -call! For the mou ikkai Nana gets all of the Cheribo to do it with her. Nana explains the next corner, mentioning MTV Unplugged, and goes through all the previous pairings and songs. It never ceases to amaze me how she memorizes this stuff for every tour she does. Tonight it will be Pray with Ryutan. He comes with the white mask from his introduction and is beat boxing at first, trying to get Martin to join him in rapping. Then he tries to escape with Sho-chan saying that they have become normal ojisan. Then it is serious business.


09. Pray
Man, this was a really nice treat. Bass really isn't the sort of instrument you'd normally play on its own but the way Ryutan works it, he makes it seem like the most natural thing.


10. ALONE ARROWS
I'm gonna miss hearing this live, the CD version just doesn't have the same kind of impact. orz


11. Eden
Time to breathe in the wintery air of Eden!  Sadly this time, I remembered the PV with its excessive hands on chest action. Nuuuu, let me just enjoy this song!! orz


Team Yo-Da -Showcase
For some more on this, check my earlier posts... though there isn't much as my memory on these is very hazy.


Outfit #3 - Idol Dress



12. Please Download
Goodbye Please Download, may you not show up in a live for quite some time. Sincerely, me.


13. Dramatic Love
Ooh, yay! I love Lovely Fruit, but in away I was happy to get to hear Dramatic Love again. I just really love the cutesy dance for it so much.


MC3
Nana idol corner! She mentions again how she is thirtyse... *coughcough*. She is still going to perform in miniskirts like this when she is 77 years old! Talks about how she's been exercising with the Cheribos while going around Japan for ZIPANGU. Don't remember exactly what they've been doing but she asks us to look at her legs!

Also, I am not sure but the announcement for the スガフェス (SugaFes) might have been here? With Mr.Children and whatnot! Nana is worried how she will fit in with her genki songs.


14. POWER GATE
Oh! POWER GATE for tonight! Somehow I hadn't even noticed that it had been missing on the nights I attended before, but now that it was finally here it was really obvious.


15. TWIST&TIGER
One more time, the musical feels before the actual musical! Honestly I will never stop getting cheered up by all the fun I see everyone having on stage, it's just so therapeutic.


Onanadori -movie
For the description, go to my Niigata report!


Outfit #4 - Classy Visual Kei



16. Hime Murasaki
Yes, bring it on one more time! It felt pretty bittersweet that my time with this Hime Murasaki would now be over, after all the years that I waited for it. Still, I have to be grateful that it got such a prominent role in LIVE ZIPANGU just as it deserved.


17. Etsuraku Camellia
I was trying to not blink at all during this, because the dance with the paper doors is just so mesmerizing and I wanted to remember it forever. Probably wasn't the most effective plan, but it was all I could do in the moment.



Outfit #4 - Revamp



MC4
Nana talks about the bird again of course and how she named it Onanadori because everything about it has a 7 in it (weight, height, width). It is the final boss form. She says how she got to be like Sachiko in NHK Uta Gassen previously and how she now understands her feelings. She thinks it's a shame that the bird has already now served its purpose and joked that if someone who is okanemochi  (rich) wants to buy it they should. Nana then talks about the video and Gennosuke. The filming for the video took 3 days and she apologizes for troubling the Japanesey places for so long. Also, Aniki has arrived just like yesterday. Nana goes to bug him and he is very cute in explaining why he is here tonight taking part.


18. Mysterion
My one last time to enjoy this before it's gone for who knows how many lives! I just really have a special soft spot for this song.


19. Don't be long
The miracle that is SCARLET KNIGHT has made way for the return of Don't be long tonight. I am a bit sad to see it go because of my revelation last night, but at the same time this is better because that means that last night indeed was an exception, a special one off thing.

20. UNLIMITED BEAT
Time for tonight's Symphogear fill! Aww, yeah! Tonight I could fully enjoy this since there was no emotional smack in the face before it. Still in awe at how intense this sounds live.

MC5
Time for the last song.. but first she still needs to bug Itaruvich. He does one of his pun tangas with multiple puns regarding Saitama and ZIPANGU at her behest. Of course Nana has to as well. First is Ji BANGU ("ji" is how you usually read 自, which refers to something of your own, like in 自分 = myself or 自宅 = (my own) home and "bangu" of course the Japanified way of saying "bang") and she mimes like she is shooting herself. Of course we wanted a mou ikkai... so the next one she comes up with is ZIPPER nnguuu (choking herself with a zipper). After all the puns she talks about the Nanoha movie and its upcoming recording. Nana announces she will be doing the theme song again. Banzai! Next song is for us all!


21. Meguri au subete ni
I had kinda hoped for a sneak peek of the Nanoha song but I will just as gladly take Meguri au subete ni again.


Encore call!
Really sad that the ZIPANGU experience is so close to coming to an end... it's been such a wonderful ride.


Outfit #5 - Encore



22. RODEO COWGIRL
Nana makes her entrance going around on the oxen cart again! Somehow I already forgot that this was the towel song even though this is the 3rd time for me to be hearing it. Woops, had to scramble for my towel.


23. Young Alive!
Since our seats were on the back stand today, we got to see her kinda close during her cart ride. Didn't really compare to yesterday's goodness but it was something at least. :p


MC6
Shassu! Nana really likes mentioning the 777th episode of smile-gang. She also talks about Beautiful and the thing with her bangs. Mentions that there are a couple of English songs and demonstrates how she mumbles at English lessons. Nana then makes the announcement for Fan Club Event 7 in November! Banzaiii! Maybe we can make another world record (last time was something related to chulu chulu chulu pa ya pa)?


24. Zettaiteki Koufukuron
Time for the heart-wrenching section of the concert. Hnnghh. Somehow I am never quite ready to hear this in its full raw glory.

Since today is the final, there's a special guest! Koiichi Yamadera! He comes out and makes some jokes and also tells us that when Nana asked him to be there tonight he thought it was a joke at first. I dunno... I do think Yamadera-san is really talented and probably a great guy too, but this all just seemed in such stark contrast to the heartfelt tribute Nana gave to the victims of the earthquakes the night before. It really left a bad taste.


25. Hana wa Saku
And because of that I didn't enjoy this song as much as I would have otherwise. I really love this song, but not like this. orz

After the song he leaves and Nana tells us about the time when she asked him about doing this at one recording they were at together. Nana was like "how about it?", then Nana's manager was like "How about it?", and basically a lot of other people were then also like "How about it?". So it happened, and Nana exclaimed how it was so amazing for him to be here tonight!


26. STARTING NOW
Time to shake off the weird feeling left by the previous song and focus solely on jumping along to STARTING NOW.


Encore II!
I was wondering if Nana would show up for something more since it is the final of the tour after all, and she did, but not to do quite what I had hoped.


27. SUPER GENERATION (A cappella)
Nana still came back to, not properly sing something more, but to let us sing SUPER GENERATION with her. This has happened before, but don't remember what live exactly. I could of course find it from the depths of this blog I suppose, but nah. :p

Friday, 15 September 2017

NANA MIZUKI LIVE ZIPANGU 2017 13本目 at Saitama!

I only took 2 weeks for this report! Whoaaaa! Such an improvement from the usual. Then again, this was my favorite from all the LIVE ZIPANGU concerts I went to and once you read the report you'll know why. It felt really special for a handful of reasons and I am really glad I got to experience it. This night really made ZIPANGU become one of my favorite lives so far.


(For report on LIVE ZIPANGU 2017 11本目 at Niigata, go [here]!)
(For report on LIVE ZIPANGU 2017 千秋楽 at Saitama, go [here]!)





Goods
I repeated my mistake of times past and once again underestimated the cold of Saitama. Figured that surely it couldn't be too bad in March, but nope was wrong. The queuing seemed to also be one of those times when things didn't run as smoothly so I got to spend A LOT of time standing about freezing to death. Definitely my favorite past time. Forgot to mention in my previous post that the smartphone cover had sold out, so was hoping to get it today... but nope, on that too. Sold out AGAIN (It's okay, I got it through the fan club later). 

So, I didn't realize this at Niigata, but Nana had actually done a sort of "the calligraphy of today" thing for each concert during LIVE ZIPANGU. As in, she did the calligraphy herself. Today's was "umasugiru" which can be either taken as "too good" or "too delicious". Going by Nana's fondness for food though, I would go with delicious.






Inside Saitama Super Arena
So today's seats were a lot better than I had anticipated. We were almost right beside middle stage!! Haven't been this close in a while so it was super exciting. And thennnn, the opening movie! You can find the description for it in my previous report.



SET LIST:
01. WILD EYES
02. Hatsu Koi
03. Junketsu Paradox
MC1
04. BRACELET
05. Tears' Night
06. ETERNAL BLAZE
Cherry Boys -Showcase
07. STAND UP!
08. Clutch!!
MC2
09. STORIES
10. ALONE ARROWS
11. Eden
Team Yo-Da -Showcase
12. Please Download
13. Lovely Fruit
MC3
14. SUPER GENERATION
15. TWIST&TIGER
Onanadori -movie
16. Hime Murasaki
17. Etsuraku Camellia
MC4
18. Mysterion
19. SCARLET KNIGHT
20. UNLIMITED BEAT
MC5
21. Meguri au subete ni
Encore:
22. RODEO COWGIRL
23. Young Alive!
MC6
24. Zettaiteki Koufukuron
25. Hana wa Saku
26. STARTING NOW


Outfit #1 - Traditional Kimono



01. WILD EYES
Nana was revealed from inside a giant peach (momo) just like how Momotaro was born. It was a nice touch as it made me look back fondly on the previous Zachou Kouen.


02. Hatsu Koi
The grandeur of this song was really amazing today as well - albeit in a different way than in the small venue of Niigata. There, it had instantly moved through you as it made it's way through the small space, but here it instead surrounded you. It was really, really cool.


03. Junketsu Paradox
The last of the powerful opener trio!! I kinda wish I wasn't enjoying this so much, because it makes the songs pass so much quicker. (>-< )


MC1
Nana wishes us all welcome and then starts listing  all kinds of sevens related to ZIPANGU and tonight (such as 2017, the tour starting on 7.1., it being her 7th time in SSA - the first one being LIVE FORMULA and the previous LIVE THEATER).  She teases that maybe something special will happen tonight...?



Outfit #1 - Revamped




04. BRACELET
Tonight this didn't seem so out of place after all the Japanesey starter songs, I guess because I knew it was coming. I even got goosebumps from the opening tunes. I have to say I like how this whole tour actually feels a bit more mature than the summer tours that tend to be upbeat.



05. Tears' Night
Tonight's wintery song. This kinda fit the flow better than Crystal Letter I feel. I can never really get enough of that powerful instrumental bit in this song. 


06. ETERNAL BLAZE
Blaze it!! I was so glad that the Cheribo intros were coming after this because I was so into jumping along to EtaBure that I could really use a bit of a breather afterwards.


Cherry Boys -Showcase
Nothing really to add here. Same stuff as what I wrote about in my Niigata report - Cheribos having they own Japanesey fun, which was a pleasure to watch. 


Outfit #2 - Uniform Dress



07. STAND UP!
For this song Nana appeared on the middle stage, right beside us! I can't help but think that because she saw our foreign faces, she spent less time facing our way during the song. xD I'm probably just imagining it though. Also, noticed that during the line :

「理想の大人」になれる日を未だに追いかけている
("Risou no otona" ni nareru hi wo  ima dani oikaketeiru /
 I am still chasing the day I can become "the ideal adult")

Nana said 「理想の自分」( "risou no jibun" / "the ideal me") instead. I kinda like when this kind of stuff happens, especially when it isn't just another part of the song that she happens to sing in an incorrect verse but something original. It makes me think about WHY it happened. Did it reflect Nana's current feelings somehow? Of course we'll never know for sure.


08. Clutch!!
Somehow I enjoyed Clutch!! more tonight than I have before, maybe it was because I was so into it before I actually realized it was Clutch!!. Not that I mind though, I like it when songs grow on me, even if it takes a very long time to happen.


MC2
Nana is so proud of her outfit and gladly answered our mawatte! -calls. For the mou Ikkai she gets Martin to join her. She then proceeds to make fun of his rapping. She asks what he has done so far this year and he's like "I've slept". He's been very sho ene (using just a little energy). Nana talks about Okinawa and how they went whale watching. Nana's impersonation of the air sprouting out of their backs was priceless. She then explains the special corner of ZIPANGU and lists the previous pairings and songs for the duets. Tonight is Kado-D's turn and the song is STORIES. Kado-D tells that his family is not here tonight (Nana asked), because of a fever but his kid told everyone to say "papa ganbatte" (=dad do your best) so of course we do.


09. STORIES
While I was really excited to hear a violin solo this time (being a violinist myself), it's a bit of a shame that it was STORIES again for this corner as that's what I also heard in Niigata with Kenny. Anyways! I think Kado-D was a bit nervous as he sounded a bit off key in the beginning, but he soon got past it and man it was so goooddddddd. I really wish this song would have gone on forever.


10. ALONE ARROWS
I was really looking forward to hearing this again and as expected, it sounded super intense in a big venue like SSA. Really happy to get to experience it on both ends of the venue size spectrum, since this song ended up being such a pleasant surprise live.


11. Eden
I'm glad that Eden was permanently on the setlist instead of rotating, since I haven't heard this song enough many times live yet. I guess it'll become one of those songs that we only really hear during winter lives, if we do hear it.


Team Yo-Da -Showcase
Same stuff as in my previous report, with the addition of a bunch more Team Yo-Da members with their own Japanesey twists that I sadly don't remember. 


Outfit #3 - Idol Dress



12. Please Download
This song still didn't redeem itself for me. Even my fiancé who actually liked Please Download a lot when listening to it from the album, unlike me, had to admit that it kinda feels flat live - it just doesn't have the excitement and punch that most dance songs do. Hope it won't show up too often in the lives that follow after ZIPANGU. Unless you happen to really like it, then I will wish for it to show up for you!


13. Lovely Fruit
Oooh, Lovely Fruit!! For this song, Nana once again came on the middle stage! It was really awesome to get to see this so close up, even if most of the time she was facing some other direction.


MC3
For this, Nana's still on middle stage! She talks about the idol corner thing and again jokes about how old she is already. She talks about her seiyuu kouhai (3 of them?) and how they sing her songs... She says she could have that kind of group herself any time with other "onee-san" like Yui Horie. She also mentions that Yo-Da's Mika is getting married and if I recall correctly she bumped into something related to that in Okinawa...? I could be wrong though. xD


14. SUPER GENERATION
Today was once again SUPER GENERATION's turn. Would have liked more variety here, but guess that will be happening tomorrow. :3 I can't be too greedy....


15. TWIST&TIGER
Seeing Nana singing this with more Team Yo-Da dancing on the stage tonight really had me hyped for the musical that was to come (more on that later once I get as far as my musical reports...). I honestly can't get enough of how much fun they're having on stage - so glad they can do this stuff for a living. 


Onanadori -movie
For the description of this, please check out the Niigata report! The most important part is Gennosuke-samaaaaaa!! <3


Outfit #4 - Classy Visual Kei



16. Hime Murasaki
Nana showed up on stage elevated between two enormous wings. It wasn't a a thing to ride around on this time like it usually is, but these wings were so huge and beautiful that it was magnificent in its own way. Also as an added bonus, Aniki appeared! I'm so happy that Hime Murasaki got the extra Aniki oomph to it, as it's such a powerful and emotional song.


17. Etsuraku Camellia
I was really looking forward to seeing this and the beautiful Team Yo-Da behind paper doors choreography again. It was of course in grander scale than in Niigata, since there were more dancers now in this big venue. It is ideas like this that really made me fall in love with LIVE ZIPANGU and I don't think I have felt so giddy at a live since LIVE FLIGHT.


Outfit #4 - Revamp



MC4
Nana talks about the wings. They are apparently really heavy (2.7 tons) and they definitely look it too. She says how she feels like the Sachiko-sama of the seiyuu world. [Sachiko-sama] is an enka singer who has the tendency to pull similar kind of shenanigans during her performances. She also mentions Gennosuke again and the possibility of a new Basilisk (which has been confirmed now btw), which she finds very odd since all the characters are dead. A lot of Team Mizuki are Basilisk fans. She tells how back in the day when Nana did the recording for Basilisk the rest of the cast were her super senpais. They did some sort of "test" for her. Sugita was there too and said he'd kill her or something if she messes up..? xD Aniki is here!


18. Mysterion
I love this song way more than I should (it honestly feels like a bit of a guilty pleasure) and am really reveling in getting to hear it multiple times during this tour. I always thought that it is a great example of Nana's talented voice use with the quick alternating between high and low notes in the chorus.


19. SCARLET KNIGHT
The familiar opening bell toll sent me flying into a state of great excitement, but also confusion. I had been keeping tabs on the song rotations for LIVE ZIPANGU and this surely hadn't been a part of it. I couldn't make sense out of it -why would she sing this tonight?- until Itaruvich appeared.... and then it hit me. It hit me really hard. Let me explain.

I am sure all of you have had the pleasure of hearing the undisputed best rendition of SCARLET KNIGHT Nana has ever sang live, namely the [a capella version] she sang at LIVE THEATER. The choir accompanying her was lead by Itaruvich's lovely wife, Eri. I actually mentioned stumbling onto her English blog in my [LIVE THEATER report]. What you might not have heard, however, is that she had been fighting an unforgiving illness for a long time and sadly passed away around Christmas in 2016. Itaruvich hadn't participated in LIVE ZIPANGU so far, most likely due to the unbearable grief he must be dealing with.

So SCARLET KNIGHT popping up and Itaruvich showing up for that particular song tonight (not to mention this being the same venue, Saitama Super Arena, as for LIVE THEATER) must mean that this was all a beautifully thought out tribute to his late wife. I was really touched that Nana managed to find a way to honor her memory in such a grand way without taking away the privacy of Itaruvich's grief, as talking about it and explaining it to all of us during an MC would have done. She did it for him and him alone - it was not meant for us to make the connection.

I felt so sad after realizing all this. May Eri rest in peace and know that she is loved. Itaruvich is even holding a [memorial concert] for his wife now a year after her passing.


20. UNLIMITED BEAT
I'm glad something like this followed the heart-wrenching SCARLET KNIGHT so I could drag myself out of the deep pit of feels. It is pretty much an undisputed fact now that nothing can get you as fired up as a Nana Symphogear song live. They just ooze so much energy and fire.


MC5
Now Nana goes to bug Itaruvich. I kinda wondered if they were going to talk about his wife after all, but they were just up to their usual pun shenanigans. So, he makes a pun about the English in "Saitama Super Arena", which I can't recall now properly.  Nana then talks about the upcoming Nanoha movie, Nanoha: Reflection, and how the recording for it is next week. It'll be a new chapter in Fate's life, as so far Nana has played her as a very young girl and then suddenly a grownup. This time it'll be between the two extremes as Fate will be a 5th grader in primary school. She does the usual talk about Beautiful as well, about her bangs and the PV. Then it's time for the last song, which is for all of us.


21. Meguri au subete ni
It was time for some self-reflection once again as the live rendition of this is so powerful. You just really want to say yes when she tells you to face everything head on. I wish I could jump start myself like this every day, I feel I'd get a lot more shit done.. :3


Encore call!
Sniff... so sad that we are already so close to the end. (T^T)


Outfit #5 - Encore



22. RODEO COWGIRL
Time to lighten up the mood a bit with this live's towel song. Still can't say I am a huge fan of it, but still fun nonetheless. More fun tonight actually, since Nana went around on a traditional looking cart pulled by some oxen.


23. Young Alive!
This was a surprise! An extra song she didn't sing in Niigata! :o Bring it!! Wasn't expecting Young Alive! at all, but it felt very welcome to keep this night going a bit longer. :3


MC6
Shassu! Again Nana mentions the777th smile-gang and how it's almost to 800th now! Nana thanks everyone for listening to this obaka (silly) radio show of hers and Misato's. She mentions some of her achievements so far and how perhaps next it will be time for LIVE WORLD where she goes around the world? Considering how Nana has a tendency to make all her dreams a reality, I wouldn't be too surprised if this does end up happening in the future. Next song is for all of us, of course. It always makes Nana tear up.


24. Zettaiteki Koufukuron
It was really nice to get to hear this together with my fiancé. I got to thinking that how the simple repetitive nature of the whole song radiates a very raw form of feelings of love. Like, it's really hard to express that to someone, so in your awkwardness you maybe hope that if you repeat it a few times the magnitude of your feelings can get across to the other person. 


Bonus MC
Today is the 6th anniversary of the great earthquake. Nana talks of her feelings about wanting to do something. She mentions how she did something with her friend Mika-chan back then and last year  she released the anime star version of Hana wa Saku with Yamadera-san. So just tonight as a special thing she would like to sing it for us.


25. Hana wa Saku
This is turning out to be such a night of feelings. It was clear that Nana was still feeling the sorrow for all the victims of the great earthquake and she put that all into singing this song now. It was amazing to hear Nana sing all of it herself, as the recording had her paired up with Yamadera Koiichi.


26. STARTING NOW
After the heavy overload of feels, it was nice to get a bit of a cheering up at the very end. Tonight had given me a lot to think about and mull over in my head, so shaking it up here by jumping up like crazy felt very refreshing. 

Afterwards, Nana was doing her usual rounds from one end of the stage to the other in order to bid farewell to everyone. When she started making her way to the middle stage that we were close to, my fiancé suggested we'd make a heart with our hands together by each of us making one half of it. He figured that it could be something that'll catch Nana's attention.So we did that when she was waving in our direction and she answered our <3 with a <3!! Wahhhh, so happy!

Thursday, 31 August 2017

NANA MIZUKI LIVE ZIPANGU 2017 11本目 at Niigata!

So half a year later I finally manage to squeeze out my first (FIRST! orz) LIVE ZIPANGU report. It has been hard juggling work, the desire to change some stuff in my life and a torn muscle in my right armpit. I'll probably keep the next reports a bit shorter and focus on the most interesting stuff, so hopefully that will streamline the process a bit. Well, onwards!


(For report on LIVE ZIPANGU 2017 13本目 at Saitama, go [here]!)
(For report on LIVE ZIPANGU 2017 千秋楽 at Saitama, go [here]!)




Goods
Took a while to find the queue since the staff had been nice enough to let it grow inside the venue rather than taking it outside right away (like it was the [last time] I came for a concert in Niigata). When it was almost my time to buy stuff I saw a lady with a camera filming stuff around the goods counter, so I hope my gaijin face won't make it into the LIVE ZIPANGU -making of material. (>-<)


Inside Niigata Prefectural Civic Centre
It was so nostalgic being back inside this venue, as this was the first place I ever saw Nana. I still remember how excited I was back then (and still am) to get to see her do her magic live. It kinda made me feel the weight of everything that had happened in my life since and made me hopeful that maybe me being here again might mark the beginning of a new chapter in my life. My seat was quite far back in the first floor, though since the venue is very small it felt like I was very close to the stage regardless of that. I really wish Nana still did more of these smaller concerts, but since her fanbase has grown so much it wouldn't really be fair for everyone anymore.


The concert
Opening movie time! We see Nana in traditional Japanese attire, putting on her make up and getting ready for something. Really, really pretty. After the movie, a few members of Team Yo-Da take the stage to do a bit of traditional Japanese dance, which was beautiful to watch and got me really pumped up for LIVE ZIPANGU and all its Japanese influence. After they finished their dance, then...



SET LIST:
01. WILD EYES
02. Hatsu Koi
03. Junketsu Paradox
MC1
04. BRACELET
05. Crystal Letter
06. ETERNAL BLAZE
Cherry Boys -Showcase
07. STAND UP!
08. Dear Dream
MC2
09. STORIES
10. ALONE ARROWS
11. Eden
Team Yo-Da -Showcase
12. Please Download
13. Dramatic Love
MC3
14. SUPER GENERATION
15. TWIST&TIGER
Onanadori -movie
16. Hime Murasaki
17. Etsuraku Camellia
MC4
18. Mysterion
19. Don't be long
20. UNLIMITED BEAT
MC5
21. Meguri au subete ni
Encore:
22. RODEO COWGIRL
MC6
23. Zettaiteki Koufukuron
24. STARTING NOW



Outfit #1 - Traditional Kimono
So... wow!


01. WILD EYES
I could feel the whole song vibrating through me when it started after the Team Yo-Da dance and I was instantly reminded why it is so special to get to experience Nana in such a small capacity venue. Her strong voice just fills every corner and you. At one point I noticed that Nana's dress had gotten stuck to floor trapdoor that she had entered from on the upper part of the stage. I was fretting really badly that all her performances in Niigata were cursed and she would once again fall, though this time on her face if she tried to move. Luckily, Nana had noticed it herself and managed to yank it out before moving down the stairs.


02. Hatsu Koi
Man, the combination of this song live and the Japanesey outfit Nana was wearing made this feel so graceful and grand. It really made you feel small compared to her grace, but then we all are quite small compared to her aren't we (well figuratively, because literally she is very tiny)?


03. Junketsu Paradox
It felt really natsukashii to hear this song, since it made me remember how back when I first came to Niigata for a Nana concert during LIVE JOURNEY, it hadn't come out yet and she would only sing it for the first time later in that tour. But uhm, reminiscing aside, this was such a powerful trio to open the live with and so fitting for the theme of the tour. I am so on fire.


MC1
Nana bids us welcome! It's been 6 years since her last time in Niigata for LIVE JOURNEY. She recounts how she fell off the stage back then, woops. Nana tells us that many things went through her head in that moment when she was falling and... then ta-dah. "Okyakusan ( =customer, but fan in this case) was there right in my face and I was like.... domo (g'day)" she laughs xD lol. Wonder what will happen tonight? Hopefully nothing like that.



Outfit #1 - Revamped
Basically, just gettin rid of the kimono part.



04. BRACELET
Time for the last song not yet sung live from SMASHING ANTHEMS! It was the first song departing from the very Japanesey feel set by the songs of the beginning, but that's okay.


05. Crystal Letter
This was then the winter song of the night I suppose? xD It kinda felt out of place after the epic loaded beginning of the concert, but I guess it serves the purpose of bringing the tension down a bit so people can have a rest.... which was good considering next was....


06. ETERNAL BLAZE
Somehow I got excited about EtaBure popping up at this point already, even though I complained about it coming so early in LIVE GALAXY. What's wrong with me?! Still, it got me nicely pumped up again after Crystal Letter.


Cherry Boys -Showcase
All the Cheribos had some Japanesey thing. Tom-kun had a ladder of sorts, think it was the same kind you see people performing acrobatics on during matsuri. Ryutan had a white mask. Kenny was a ninja. Yutapon had a circle of things on his back... no idea what that kind of thing is called. (>-<) Anyways, apart from these I can't really remember what the other Cheribos had...



Outfit #2 - Uniform Dress
Kind of made me think of a marching band outfit.



07. STAND UP!
I was really looking forward to hearing this again to give me a bit of a motivation boost. I always feel so guilty when I hear it though, since I haven't been doing what Nana tells me to do. I am sorry... soon, I promise I will "stand up"! (T^T)


08. Dear Dream
I was still lost in thought when this song began, so took a while to catch onto what song it actually was. Still it was nice to hear it again.


MC2
Mawatte! And nana twirled around for us. For mou ikkai she chose Kado-D to twirl with her. Soon he will get to MC apparently (turns out it was for the Yo-Da intro) and that was the reasoning for her choice. Then she teased Sho-chan about something and then proceeds to explain ZIPANGU's special thing - singing a song with just 1 Cheribo. Tonight will be Kenny's turn.


09. STORIES
Okay........ so it's nothing new that all of the Cherry Boys are amazingly fantastic musicians, but damn getting to hear something like this where they get to shine individually just blows you away. Kenny's finger work is incredible. And damn that solo before the song actually kicked in. The way Nana matched her singing with Kenny's epic riffs was so wow.

Then for a more adult song!


10. ALONE ARROWS
Okay, wow. I have to say that I have quite enjoyed listening to ALONE ARROWS on NEOGENE CREATION, but I never expected it to be this amazing live. Nana's voice is so much more powerful and having the Cheribos playing it amplified the song a hundred, if not thousandfold. It honestly sound like a completely different song, like holy crap!


11. Eden
So happy to be hearing Eden again, as it kinda just disappeared after the acoustic live. This section is turning out to be way too epic!


Team Yo-Da -Showcase
Similar to the Cheribos, Team Yo-Da all had something Japanesey with them during their intro dance routines. Mika had an obi. Anna was playing cat's cradle. Then there was also a sword. A fan. Can't recall who had what though.



Outfit #3 - Idol Dress
Blue dress with flowery patterns, does remind me of some idol group PVs lol.



12. Please Download
I was hoping that hearing this live would improve my opinion of it, as I never particularly enjoy it when they mess with Nana's godly voice with the synthesizer. Usually, they don't really do that when she sings songs live but no such luck this time. The amount of background vocals was more immense too than I realized when just listening to this on the album, making it feel like a bit of a mess. I think for the first time ever I like a song even less after hearing it live. orz


13. Dramatic Love
It's been so long since I last heard this (or it feels long anyway), that it took my brain a moment to catch up to what this was. After I realized, I was so into it though because I really love the dance choreograph for the instrumental bit.


MC3
Nana talks about ZIPANGU's theme - essentially different Japanesey things. Currently we are apparently in the "idol" corner in regards to clothes. She mentions her age (37) and how she just recently bought pink flower bed sheets. She also talked a lot about Sister Princess and the  15th Anniversary Blu-Ray Box. Nana does some lines from it I guess, all I remember is just her going like "pyon pyon" because it was so funny. xD


14. SUPER GENERATION
As per usual, SUPER GENERATION has appeared! Not much to say about this that I haven't already said during the countless times I have seen it live. :3


15. TWIST&TIGER
Man, this was so good! Listening to TWIST&TIGER and watching Nana and Team Yo-Da having a bunch of fun on the stage really makes me feel like this is a musical. Just makes me so happy and ready to have fun too. I wonder if it'll be like this too when Nana does Beautiful? Soon we will find out!


Onanadori -movie
I had forgotten how much I liked Toriumi Kousuke's calming voice as Gennosuke in Basilisk (can't believe he also voiced Junpei in Persona 3!! Just found that out while writing this :o) until I heard him narrating this insert movie. Man, so much nostalgia. Ehum. Anyways... the movie is about some lord who rescued the mythical Nana phoenix. One of her feathers is left with him and Nana keeps searching for it and the man who saved her. Later, the lord is ailing in health and asks Nana, who has taken human form during her search, to dance for him one last time. He has an attack during Nana's dance and drops the feather. Nana seeing this, rushes to him and saves his life with her phoenix powers. Thus the dept is repaid and she leaves.



Outfit #4 - Classy Visual Kei
Really loving the outfits this time, so elegant!

16. Hime Murasaki
Holy. Shit. Like, seriously. I have been waiting years and years to hear this live and you have no idea how much it hurts whenever I remind myself I couldn't make it to the Heian Jingu live.  Finally, this day has come and I could not have been less prepared for how gorgeous and powerful this song would feel. I have to say I really love getting the chance to listen to Nana in a small hall like this, because her voice just blasts through it and you on full force making you feel the songs with the entirety of your being. Oh the goosebumps......


17. Etsuraku Camellia
Whoa, such a strong continuation. 4 paper door panels were brought onto the stage and once the song started, you could make out the silhouettes of Team Yo-Da behind them.. then suddenly, Nana emerges with a Japanesey parasol. Damn. While quite a simple idea, I really really like it and feel it's one of the nicest things I have seen during her lives. So fitting for Etsuraku Camellia too. At one point, the four paper door panels were brought together, obscuring the view to Nana.... and once they separated she was wearing punky pants instead of the white dress she started the song in.


MC4
Now Nana kicks thing off by talking about the insert movie. Nana explains the story a bit and says the same part of town was used as in the Cheribo intro. The guy narrating ofc had to be Gennosuke. Mentions Basilisk and WILD EYES / Hime Murasaki. She mentions that she heard a rumor that there might be another season of Basilisk to which she retorts "But everyone died...." and "maybe we are not in it..." lol. xD Then she tells us that this is now the visual kei corner.



Outfit #4 - Revamp
Skirt off, pants on. 



18. Mysterion
Ahhh, too good. This was one of my top favorite songs back in the day and man, hearing it live was just as powerful and epic as I thought. Or actually, more epic than I imagined.


19. Don't be long
Somehow it felt very nostalgic hearing this, though I don't think it has been THAT long since I last did? Anyways, I let it wash over me.


20. UNLIMITED BEAT
After listening to this song so many times from NEOGENE CREATION, I had grown to like it but somehow felt it was missing the oomph of Symphogear songs. I was almost ready to lump it into the category of "well it's just like this because it is a game song" but then tonight changed my mind. Thanks to Nana's strong voice live and having the Cherry Boys playing it totally made it rocket to new heights. Like wow. Yutapon and Sho-chan were hammering those drums totally in sync. It was insane. And Nana was so into it too.


MC5
Time for the last song. Nana talks a bit about the upcoming Nanoha movie and how the recording for that is next month. She of course mentions the musical, Beautiful. Nana felt very awkward without her bangs in those promo pictures. She admires Carole King for always going straight forward no matter what. She says she saw the musical with her mom when she was in NY and really fell in love with it. So, the next song is for all of us who have come with her so far. This MC made me realize how easy it is to tell she is getting emotional because of how she ends up saying "ee...." in between her words a lot. Funny I never really paid attention to it before.


21. Meguri au subete ni
This also felt so different from listening to it from the album. I really feel like this time, more so than usual, hearing the songs live really makes a crazy difference. I wonder why? I really wish Nana would release some sort of live album or something, I wouldn't mind carrying these versions of songs in my iPod. Anyways, this live rendition really tore through my soul...


Encore call!
Naaa-naaaaaaa!! Please come back and continue this goodness. :3


Outfit #5 - Encore
This particular one is from a later concert,
can't actually remember the exact combo she was wearing tonight. orz


22. RODEO COWGIRL
Towel song of the live. I'm not the biggest fan of this song and hearing it live didn't really change it. (T^T) I guess there are just too many other good songs on the album that this doesn't stand a chance for me. Nothing special about the towel stuff either, it was all good fun of course.


23. Zettaiteki Koufukuron
Yesssssss! I was trying to prepare my heart for this all night and I think I didn't take too much damage from the emotional vibes Nana sent out. This song is definitely one who's impact gets amplified when you here Nana pouring herself into it live. I just let it wash all over and through me in that small hall.

MC6
Shassu! Nana mentions the 777th smile-gang. Not much else here this time. Next song for all of us again, and of course it had to be a genki one.


24. STARTING NOW
I never believed I'd be so excited for this as final song, but man has it proven itself to be a fun song live to enjoy and sing with Nana. It also felt good to shake off all the emotions the previous song had woken up inside me.