What do you think is the better option: Going to a show of an idol group you like alone or accompanying a friend to his favourite idol group, which you don’t care about. I was to find out on Thursday, 26.03.2015, when agreeing to attend a show by Up Up Girls at Shinjuku ReNY with Caio, his most favourite group right now (though he mostly really cares for one member). When first coming in contact with Up Up Girls, they convinced me with their first album, featuring a mixture of electronic and rock songs. But they now changed their style to pure electronica and even emit the rockier songs of their output from their shows. Such a pity, as I really wanted to see them at least once perform メチャキュン♡サマー ( ´ ▽ ` )ﾉ, one of my most favourite idol songs ever.
The show was going to start in the evening but because events were held only before the live and merchandise had to be bought even much earlier, Caio insisted – as a true fan – of going there in time. I had nothing against it. Apart from buying the PASSPO Live DVD the day before and looking for a certain poster magazine which featured Ayano and Moechi as well as the new issue of Idol read with an interview of Kai, all from Bellring Girls Heart, I had no plans. Of course the one person who arrived at the venue first was me. Caio came waaaay later and we immediately queued up for the merchandise sale. Surprisingly the line was rather short, I guess the reason for it being that, as it is often the case with Up Up Girls, only the super fast group akushukais would take place – no 2shots or at least individual akushukais. Another one of those reasons why I never got into the group. But anyway, I bought myself the tour shirt, which I liked from its retro-coloured look. Well, “tour” shirt may be the wrong term here, as no indication of it was being displayed on it, not even the usual tour dates on the back. If my memory serves me right I received two event tickets for the purchase. But as I didn’t like the group or the kind of event itself, I was sure I wouldn’t use them.
I am not sure what Caio bought but it should have been mostly photo sets which got him four event tickets. As I gave him mine as well for lack of better use of it, his stack now amounted to six tickets – even too much for him. Totally understandable, as in the rush the event is held, with only seconds for each member, a real conversation is impossible. Even with frequent visits you always had to “talk” with all the members, a very difficult task in itself, or even skip some of them to concentrate on your chosen one. I doubt that even the members have fun with such a handling of events. But we weren’t there yet. Caio, in his attempt to get random pre-photographed One Shots, bought me the new album as a present and got – two(!) photos of Akari, a member he didn’t care about. I wonder what he did with them afterwards. At that time I had to endure his constant quarreling about it – “Why Akari?” – “And even two of them! Why not two different members at least?” Fate can be cruel. But thanks for the album!
As the event would take place much later on, we had time to roam around Shinjuku, were in Tower Records I finally found my much-sought-after poster magazine.
We then got us something to eat and a coffee, until we went back to participate at the event. Well, Caio anyway. It was held as expected: The girls were lined up near the bar area and fans were able to do the fast group handshake. Caio was able to endure two of them but then refused to do any more for the hassle it is to pass by every member only for seconds. Me in the meantime were standing at the side lines and observed the situation. But honestly it wasn’t interesting in the least. What is enjoyable is when fans do cheki poses and extensive chatting during individual talks, but this type of group concept is just boring. The advantage of it, for the members at least: The whole ordeal was finished after about 30 minutes. So more time to rest. When I re-assembled with Caio again, he handed me one of his King’s Blade light sticks for the show. I decided, instead of putting it to red for Minami to use green for Moritee. She is tall, less famous and according to Caio has an affinity for foreigners.
It took a while until the entry for the show began, so if my memory serves me right we again went to some café to kill time. But when it started we had to realize that the tickets Caio purchased were one of the last ones, although he bought them pretty early after the sales announcement. And really: Except from two or three people after us we were the last to enter. Result: Entering a completely filled venue, with the only available space being in last row. But at least this gave us some room to move and a place for our baggage/jackets. ReNY is not that wide anyway, so it still provided a good view to the stage, of course without any chance of the girls to notice us.
The show itself had its up and downs. I was only acquainted with their first album, totally missed out on their second and just got the third album from Caio that day. So most of their show would be new to me. What was positive: A laser light show for the whole live and the starting songs. The negatives: The medley/remix part after the first 20 minutes in the show. This just dragged the hell out of me and I was never sure, when a song ended and another one began. Even Caio as a fan had some similar appreciation of it. The set consisted basically only of electronic songs, which added to my lush reaction to it. As you know I prefer a lot of MCs during a show. It let’s you rest a bit and prepares you for the continuing show. At least in my opinion. But especially during the remix part there where hardly any interludes. Only at the end were some. No, this group will never climb higher in my ranking.
Whatever we did after the show escaped my mind as well. Probably some eating near Shinjuku station. Anyway the next day would turn out to be special for me – a small Idol Koushien was planned, but I won’t tell much more now.
As this post is about Up Up Girls let me lose some words on their third album. To my surprise it starts with two rock guitar songs which are quite listenable, especially キラキラミライ. Good start. The follow-up electronic tracks are at least moderate. But then it continues with Enjoy, Enjo(y), a song I will never grow to like. Soon the album reaches its strongest phase, with 全力! Pump Up!! and 美女の野獣 as absolute highlights. The latter part though falls down on me again. In general it is a good album, which songs in my opinion were too much re-worked for their live show.
My Party Rockets DVD arrived by mail and I watched it already together with my sister, but at my parents who don’t have a proper sound system. I am not used to TV speakers any more! The show was rather plain in concept, as expected and by no means a point of criticism for me. The band part in my opinion could have been better. Some songs just don’t work as well as the recorded ones. But maybe this is just my initial opinion, based on the low sound equipment. Will have to re-watch to make a better evaluation. I also was surprised by hearing one song that I only knew from their lives and two songs completely new to me.
I still have to watch the full PASSPO DVD. I wanted to wait to watch it together with my sister as well, but she didn’t manage to come by so far. What I can tell: If I pause the DVD at a certain position I can be positively made out – YESSS! The cuts on the show though are nicely done but I miss a lot: Basically all the MCs are cut out, even the Makochan graduation ceremony, and of course I miss some songs which didn’t make it on the end product. I also miss the videos in the background of the show, especially when the members are introduced at the start and right before the band part. It was handled much better on the first released live DVD. Also most of the fan chants aren’t audible. So no “Aipon, Aipon” for example. Some elements of the show on the other hand work much better on DVD than when you saw it live. The medleys make more fun, as you can see the good mood of the members, especially Morishi (as ever), Naomi, Makoto and Annya. The M&M unit song Yume Passport is much more enjoyable than I remember. Also unit songs like Starting over get much more presence. Another positive is the camera work, though some of the images are badly lighted. A funny fact is the correction of the Perfect Sky intro, where Sakotee missed out on the guitar solo. I remember that clearly!
Lyrical School’s album has the same issue as the one of Up Up Girls: It starts great but the latter half is filled with slow and mediocre songs. Maybe it gets better by time…
While ordering the new PASSPO album Beef or Chicken? I stumbled about the fact, that Tsubasa Fly has released their first album. Can’t wait to listen to both!
PiiiiiiiN finally has an official website, piiiiiiin.jp. The detachment from PPP!PiXiON now complete. There were also new releases of new live recordings on their official Youtube account, but I will feature them in a later blog post.
A new great Live Video of Bellring Girls Heart was released on Youtube, featuring not only a fantastic setlist but a great camera work. A definitley must-watch, for me at least.
TIF also gets better and better, at least for me. Now even PiiiiiiiN was added to the line-up, so it now features my Top 3 idols! But this also makes it more than unlikely that I will go there in full PASSPO wota gear, to not disappoint Ayano and Hara-chan. I also “won” the free admission ticket for foreigners, seemingly even for both dates. This should enable me to use more money for events! Great! As my sister wants to join the trip now as well (she also won the free admission, as well as Shaun by the way) I made some arrangements in hotels, now staying in Kamata instead of Oimachi. But that’s fine with me and still close by.