2009 Budokan Daikanshasai Report: Part 1
Midori, one of our founding members was able to get tickets to the「3939」concert this year. This was Masha’s first concert at the Budokan1 and she was lucky enough to spend 3 whole hours amidst the excitement, the surprises, the touching moments,….and the sweat. (I’m so jealous XD)
「Fukuyama ☆Ikinari no Daikanshasai 福山☆イキナリの大感謝祭
Eh! Never tried it? The First Time?? エッ！してなかったの？初めてだったの？?
Love Fukuyama Exhibition in Budokan!! 愛福山博in武道館」2
Here is her full report.
May 28 Morning
I set out from Hong Kong, feeling a bit excited as I board the plane and worried (that I might not be able to make it to the concert on time).
Tokyo, the skies were grey and it was raining. I said goodbye to my friend and made my way directly to the Budokan. The entire route from inside the subway station to the concert venue, was crowded with people and I could hardly move forward………Feeling a bit frustrated, I finally made it to my destination.
Inside the octagonal-shaped auditorium, a stage was set-up right in the centre, surrounded by the “Arena” seats. 4 passageways led out from the stage to the stands on the N, S, E and W sides. Another passage connected to the backstage and on top of the entrance was a big word “LOVE” (「愛」Ai).
Level 2 had the most seats: 7,846 with an extra 480 standing places at the back; Level 1: 3,199 and the Arena around the stage could take 2,946 max. All 15,000 people gathered here at the Budokan, just to see Masha.
The lights dimmed, and we could feel the excitement rising in the auditorium. Everyone focused on the stage, waiting, waiting for Masha to appear …….and then, the big screen lit up, introducing the sponsors for tonight. We all looked at it, clapping our hands neatly in rhythm with the music, and filling the dark auditorium with our beat. The clapping got louder and louder, more and more in rhythm, as the commercials ended. Everyone was craning their necks at the big “LOVE” word, waiting for Masha.
Suddenly, Souguchi-san3 popped out on the screen. Taken completely by surprise, the audience laughed and cheered.
“Are you ready for tonight’s show?” Sou-chan asked.
“YEAH~” we all answered.
It appears Sou-chan was on live at backstage. He brought us to Masha’s dressing room, we could see the encircled “FUKU” 福 sign on the drape covering the door. Sou-chan explained that Masha uses this type of drape on his dressing room in every concert.
He peeked in, calling softly “Masha~Masha~”, then he turned round to us and said,
“Why don’t I take you in to have a look?”
“Yes!!” We all shouted.
Sou-chan moved the drape aside to let us in. The camera caught a glimpse of what was going on inside the dressing room when….Masha’s Manager came and stood in the way. So Sou-chan could only ask us to watch the opening video instead.
Outside the busy Shimbashi Station (新橋駅), news vendors were giving out “Extras”. People were pushing their way in to get hold of the news. The big screen on the adjacent building was showing a news flash: a foreign news anchorwoman was saying: “Fukuyama Masaharu-san was found to have his first experience at 40!!” And the camera switched to the streets, where the reporter was asking people what they thought about it.
“That can’t be true?!”
“I’d have thought that he would have had it a long time ago!”
“I can’t believe it” (in japanese with a foreign accent)
“Oh the poor thing! If I could do….” A fifty-year old woman said.
The audience started to laugh.
Once the two-minute clip was over, cheers and screams of “Masha~~” “Masha~~” started to fill the auditorium. Masha had come out from the backstage, followed by his band. And the instrumental music for “Heart” began to play, cueing us to clap in rhythm.
He was in a dark T-shirt, with a beige coloured medium-length coat, black pants and black sneakers. Smiling gracefully, he took in our cheers and went around the stage once with his band to greet the audience. Looking around the Arena; Levels 1 and 2, as well as the audience who were at the highest and farthest away, he mouthed the words “Domo Arigato!” (「どうもありがとう！」Thank you very much) repeatedly.
After the band members got into position, a strum on the guitar led us to clap once again to the music. As Masha started to sing, the cheers and screams started once more from all around.
It was an old song from 1994 [On and On]
どこまでも追いかけて、 Wherever I go to
いつも愛を探してる I’ll always be looking for love
どこまでも振り向かず、 I won’t turn back wherever I am
いつも君を探してる・・・ I’ll always be looking for you…..
A fast paced song which quickly brought us to our feet.
Next came a slower version of the chorus part of [The Edge of Chaos] leading into Masha’s solo guitar performance. The entire auditorium was clapping to the beat. Masha’s guitar could be very exciting!
The third song we all knew well [Melody]. The moment we heard the beginning trombone, we started cheering again. Just before the chorus, he shouted “Come On!” We all stretched our hands and sang with him “Melody~~” 「メロディ〜〜」Throughout the entire chorus, we stretched our arms in and out in time with the beat. At the end, Masha gave us a big “Thank you!”. At the next chorus part, he called out “Come On!” again, so the entire audience sang and danced together as one, it felt great! He said “Thank You!” again and “Arigatou!” on the third time.
When the music died, the applause was thunderous and the screams……
“Masha~~” “Masha~~” …..filled the auditorium.
“I missed you a lot, Budokan!”
“You came even when it was pouring. Thank you, Budokan!” another roar of applause.
“Today is my first concert after we started the 20th Anniversary year.” Clap! Clap! Clap!
“And also my first concert after turning 40.” Shouts of “Yeah” could be heard amidst the clapping.
“And the first time I’m holding a concert in the Budokan.”
“Yeah~” This time the entire auditorium shook as everyone shouted together.
“Today, I’ll be standing here in the centre, as you can all see. I’m Fukuyama who’s standing right in the centre of the Budokan, right in the centre of the world, calling for love~~”
Every sentence Masha spoke was followed by loud applause and cheering.
“………from the opening video, you’ve probably guessed that our concert today is going to be different from the ones before, it’s a Daikanshasai……….the Daikanshasai of Daikanshasais.”4
“The following videos are a review of my life, what will they be about?”
Huge captions splashed across the big screen.
“This video has a lot of undisclosed content, like saying I’m not really my mother’s son……..”
The audience roared with laughter.
With that, Masha gave a brief rundown for today.
“……….We’ll have a lot of new songs today, since my latest single just came out. All in all, tonight is different from all the other daikanshasais before, we have condensed a lot of content together…….on this 360° stage.”
“OK! Let’s get on with our attendance check. We don’t have much time today!”
“Huh?” “I don’t want that!” Cries of incomprehension arose.
Masha went on:
“Who’s been (to my concerts) before?”
“Who’s a first-timer?” There was loud response either way “Hai~~~”
“Ladies?” (”Hai~~~”) “Thank you for coming. I’m Fukuyama who loves the ladies!”
“Gents?” Many loud low voices shouted “Hai~~~”
“Such a lot!” Masha exclaimed. Even the female audience sounded impressed.
“I’m Fukuyama who loves the guys!” He said laughingly with an exaggerated hand on his chest.
And this brought the house down in laughter.
Next, Masha asked for the audience place of origin -
“From Shikoku?” (”Hai~~~”)
“And Honshu?” Many people raised their hands.
“Anyone from overseas?” (Kaigai)
“HAI~~~” Scattered voices could be heard around. I shouted down as loud as I could from Level 2. The woman in front of me turned around, perhaps I was too noisy^^. But the rest of the audience started applauding as if they were welcoming these participants from faraway.
“You know Japanese well!” Masha’s wit got us laughing again.
“Finally, I want to ask about your age!”
“Who thinks you’re a young person?”
“HAI~~~~~” Everyone, young and old, responded to this enthusiastically.
“Oh everyone here is very young today~” Hahahahaha!
“Alright, let’s hear from you, Level 2?” (”Hai~~~”)
“Level 1?” (”Hai~~~”) with lots of screams
“Standing places?” (”Hai~~~”) From the farthest corners of the auditorium came these tiny voices.
“We’ve finished with the seat verification. Let’s start to watch the video! The Fukuyama Masaharu Nagasaki Chapter.”
We really seemed to be in a great rush today.
To be Continued.
1. The Nippon Budokan is highly regarded in Japan as a venue for Japanese martial arts competitions, much like the ’sacred grounds’ for the highest level of competition. As a sports auditorium, it is not the largest nor the best equipped venue for big musical events, but its importance lies in its status in the hearts of the people. Many a concert (foreign and local) have been held there. Check out its home page (Japanese).
Masha had performed in numerous AAA (Act Against Aids) concerts in the Budokan, but had once said that the acoustics were not ideal for musical events. As a result, he had always chosen other arena venues of the same (or bigger) size. But this being his 20th debut anniversary celebration concert, Masha had said that he really wanted to make this a special event as a big thank-you to all the fans who have supported him all these years. It was reported that he had planned and proposed the venue and event himself.
The Budokan has very strict rules on concert behaviour. Artists are not allowed to throw things from the stage to the audience (for fear of spoiling the floor) nor are shows allowed to exceed the 3-hour mark. Masha was given the exception to throw water cups and gifts to the audience because this was his 20th anniversary celebration concert. However, no exception was allowed for the latter rule, hence there was a constant pressure of time during this show.
2. This is the slogan for Masha’s Budokan Daikanshasai.
3. Souguchi Akihisa (荘口彰久) is a well known radio DJ and since 2004, has joined the Fukuyama Masaharu’s All Night Nippon Saturday Special Tamashii no Radio (Masha’s radio programme) as Masha’s partner. Masha calls him Sou-chan or Akihisa.
4. After his come-back in 1998 (from a 2-year sabbatical), Masha felt that he had to thank all his fans who have waited for him and still supported him through that time. From 1998 onwards, he has held thank-you concerts almost every year and mostly at year-end. The Japanese kanji「大感謝祭」means “Big Thank You Festival” and is read as Dai-kan-sha-sai. Masha’s daikanshasais usually cover 4 or more shows, and are full 3 or more hour professional concerts. It has been an acknowledged fact among fans that the quality and musical excellence shown in his live performances often exceed that of the songs on his CD, especially in the re-arrangements of his old songs.
For this special daikanshasai (as you shall see in later parts), a vast amount of content was added in on top of the songs. At the same time, ticket prices were set at the unprecedented low level of ¥3,939 ( to take the sound of “san jyuu san jyuu”, i.e. the japanese “thank you thank you”) as a form of repayment to his fans. Masha had said: “This event is all about my gratitude to you.” That’s why fans sometimes simply call it the “3939″ concert.