Posted 18 February 2009 - 07:11 PM
Among many others that I'll get to later. A lot of the stuff here was older artists and composers from the last couple decades of Japanese music, and I know a lot of people here could care less about them, but for those who have a bit of history in their listening habits, this event was like a dream come true. Most of these people have been good friends and inspiration to Tsunku along the way of him creating all the music we love and cherish, and to see it all come together in this one night is really exciting. Even for newer fans of Tsunku's productions, "the whole gang" was proverbially at this event in one form or another, and performing with a live band. This is going to be a long thread, and I'll have some pictures along the way, but I'll do mostly a play-for-play of the event. Some of the pictures might be bad, but I didn't want to spend a boatload of time on this, especially since I don't know if anyone here will even care. If anyone hasn't seen this, even though its a daunting task to download a few GB of video and even possibly more of a task to watch a 3-hour long event, for any lovers of Tsunku's career, this can't be missed.
Starting off the night, they have this cool new logo to commemorate the event and some cool lighting effects:
Next, there's a weird intro thing featuring every member of C-ute, Berryz, MM, Possible, and Canary club on stage at the same time with a weird little dancing jig themed like a big band/swing song with lyrics about SharanQ. After this, SharanQ takes the stage while everyone from all those groups stays on the stage as they break into their debut single "18 months" and they all dance to it:
Next, the first set of MCs for the night show up, and they're back from the grave! Everyone should already know who they are, if you can see well enough:
Next, a short interview with SharanQ before they bring out the first non-H!P guest, who are a comedy troupe named FUJIWARA, and they sing a Tsunku Beat song with the band:
Next, MC Gaku shows up to do a slight rendition of SharanQ's "Ramen Daisuki Koike-san" to get the crowd riled up:
Afterwards, Tsunku introduces singer-songwriter Kenichi Kurosawa, who sings one of his own songs with Tsunku called "I'm Knockin on Your Door" and its a rather good song that I hadn't heard before:
Next is where the big-wigs start to show up. Extremely famous singer-songwriter KAN shows up, strangely dressed like John Lennon from the 1960s, goofy wig and old Epiphone guitar included. He starts a big ridiculous intro to his John Lennon character entirely in English, but it actually ends up having a reason. Tsunku, KAN, and Kurosawa all sing an amazing version of The Beatles' "Nowhere Man":
Next, KAN sheds the John Lennon disguise and they bring out his signature grand piano and start playing his biggest single, "Ai wa Katsu":
After KAN exits, all of Canary Club and THE Possible come out to sing Possible's debut single "Young Days":
The next section features Berryz and C-ute singing a karaoke version "Jinghis Kahn," its pretty boring:
Next they bring out the 2 remaining members of 1st gen MM (Abe Natsumi and Nakazawa Yuko) to sing "Morning Coffee":
Afterwards, Matsuura comes out to sing her newer single "Kizuna" while a lot of other people from the concert join her on stage as well as some people that don't have much to do with the concert, but are involved with the Japanese Special Olympics, since that song is the theme song for that event. Makoto and Sayumi look mad at her...:
And now for something completely awesome. I started to notice this during Aya's performance, that there was someone standing on stage that hadn't shown up in the event so far, but looked terribly familiar. At first I couldn't believe I was her, but soon after, they introduced her, and it was none other than the one and only Moritaka Chisato! This is her first public appearance and performance in 10 years. Tsunku managed to pull her out of her hiatus that she began about 10 years ago when she got married and had a child. For those who don't know, H!P acts have covered about a half-dozen of her songs over the years and Tsunku has been good friends with her as well as a writing collaborator on a number of things. She was so young when she started her idol career that even after a 10 year hiatus and a career spanning more than a decade, she's still only 39 and looking damn fine (whoo, rhyming!) Here's something no one has seen on TV for about a decade--the title card showing her performing "Watarasebashi," the song that has been covered in H!P a number of times including by Matsuura and Goto Maki:
After that, she performed one of her other biggest singles, "Kibun Sokai" with a live band as well, featuring Taisei:
The next guest is the enka legend Yamakawa Yutaka singing his popular single "New York Monogatari":
Next is another of the all-time greats of enka, Horiuchi Takao (he was on both of the H!P Folk Songs concerts as well as did his own version and many duets of Fujimoto Miki's newest single, "Okitegami,") singing a gorgeous rendition of his song "Toku de Kiteki wo Kikinagara" with SharanQ's Hatake on guitar:
Next up in the enka-a-thon is Itsuki Hiroshi (the guy who sings the enka version of "Edo no Temari Uta," which C-ute did their rendition of last year) singing one of his older songs called "Itezuru":
After this, the previous 2 guests and Tsunku all don their guitars on stage and more enka greatness ensues. No picture here, either.
Next is the H!P Zombie Girl Squad doing a 3-song SharanQ medley along with MM joining them later. The songs are "Tottemo Merry Go Round," "Aruiteru," and "Parara." If you can't see, from left to right, its Fujimoto Miki, Satoda Mai, Matsuura Aya, Yaguchi Mari, and Ogawa Makoto:
After this, Berryz performs "MADAYADE" in their outfits from the PV and C-ute performs "Forever Love" in their outfits made for this concert. Both karaoke tracks with nothing exciting happening. I didn't take a picture of it.
The rest of the concert is all SharanQ (over an hour worth) with a few different costume changes and all of their biggest singles being played in a row, which may not interest too many people here, so I won't go into detail, but here's a shot of Tsunku's fuzzy boa!:
This is easily one of the better viewing experiences I've had in a long time, and it made 3 hours go by pretty quickly because of the enjoyment. I urge anyone with interest to check it out, and you might find some old music you really like and there's also some (dare I say it) historic things that took place here.
Posted 18 February 2009 - 08:13 PM
Posted 18 February 2009 - 08:34 PM
That makes sense to think that, but the common thread between everything here is obviously Tsunku himself. He produces all of the pop stuff, as well as the SharanQ stuff, and also writes a vast majority of the music between all of those different arenas. This event did a really good job of really kinda drawing those lines together, though, if you're a relative outsider to his career. It presents it all in the same venue under the same circumstances, and a few of the things that didn't seem to be linked at all if you hadn't encountered it before had some sort of link between them to ease you into the transition, since each song or act had a short introduction from the MCs or sometimes one of the SharanQ members would play with other acts and explain their original part in that song or artist. If you haven't heard a lot of SharanQ's stuff, a lot of it is very poppy for being a full rock group, but then certain songs are much more full-on rock to where I could see you having no idea how the world of SharanQ came together with H!P.
I know genres aren't as hard and fast in Japanese music, but there's still some kind of disconnect in my mind between the rock band SharanQ and the bubblegum pop world of HP. I mean I can see an old Sharan Q fan from the 80s at the concert not caring for all the pop stuff at the concert.
I'm guessing a lot of what had to do with SharanQ being in charge of the Asayan project was purely based on their popularity, not so much on what kind of music they were. But also remember that the Asayan auditions were for a female rock vocalist, which Heike Michiyo actually won. Morning Musume was just an after-thought of Tsunku's (not SharanQ's) where he took it upon himself to branch off into the world of pop. He had obviously had interest in both the rock and pop worlds even before SharanQ was formed, but their popularity gave him the opportunity to start exploring both in just about any fashion he wanted. Even though the other SharanQ members have been involved in H!P every once in a while along the way, the project was originally, and still truly is Tsunku's project, but it did spawn from the audition that was supposed to be all of SharanQ's project.
Its also interesting that you mention that, because at this event, when they show the crowd, it looks like about 50% Mo-wota and then 50% SharanQ-wota, which are usually 30-40 year old women. It was a very interesting mix and you could tell that certain kinds of fans were more excited for certain acts there, like the male wotas did all their stupid chants for a lot of the pop groups and waved glowsticks everywhere, but when SharanQ was on, there would be girls screaming out Tsunku and Taisei's names like girls did to the Beatles in the 60s and not many glowsticks were flinging around. Very interesting contrast in audiences, but it wasn't in a bad way. Even when the pop groups were on, you could see a lot of the older women getting excited and dancing to the pop groups as well. Who knows if it was just for a genuine enjoyment of the music or groups, or if they just have enough respect for Tsunku and his music that they see the ties and appreciate them that way. His pop groups do have a sort of contagious energy about the whole thing, though, to where I could see it wouldn't be hard to start dancing to a song you'd never heard before because of the enthusiasm from the performers and probably some of the people around you in the crowd doing it as well.