We’re Bros Tour 2009 Michishirube Report - Yoyogi (09.26)
first posted on Mashaplus Forums on October 2, 2009
This is my third Masha concert and my last one for the Michishirube tour. To be honest, I had my doubts when I decided to go for Yoyogi. I was afraid I might be seeing the same things again. Experienced fans have touted how each concert would have the same rundown and MC (other than 1 or 2 songs, and the photo sharing), and how professional he is, to be able to maintain that. I wasn’t sure I agree. To me, Fukuyama Masaharu is someone who has never failed to innovate and surprise, and that is why he is in the realm of top professionals. But I was going back to the same Tour. What did I expect? Was I being too harsh, too unreasonable?
Having come in contact with many of Masha’s devoted fans, I have since discovered that I am in no way one of the die-hards. It’s not good enough for me just to see him. I started out being amazed by his music, and I remain to this day, his biggest follower (and perhaps critic) in that respect. While he has never let me down with the quality of his work, I wasn’t sure how I would react this time if I were to see the same show as Yokohama again. And getting there is not like walking down the road to the nearest ticket outlet. It can be a near impossible feat for many.
But now, I am so glad that I went, and I feel very privileged to have been able to take part in an accomplishment this big and of such quality.
I also realize that his concerts are so packed with detail that it does take quite a few viewings to appreciate it fully.
- Like the way his shadow in silhouette projects onto the back of the hall, like a giant of a man reaching the ceiling (the sky?) as he enters with hands outstretched;
- Or how much the band members actually enjoy themselves playing “Koufukuron” (Inoue Akira-san on his big and small piano, Ogura-san on his ukulele), happy smiles on all their faces!
- And the projections on the big screen with each song : Sunflowers and children’s faces in “Gunjou”; the shooting star and the night sky breaking into dawn in “Nagareboshi”; the story told with the “walking feet” in “Koufukuron”; the falling star which explodes into flowers in “Saiai”, just to name a few…… Coupled with the music and his voice, his concerts are a genuine visual and audio extravaganza.
The Yoyogi concert has once again shown me what a true professional and a world-class entertainer he is. I say entertainer (for want of a better word), because to classify him in any single role does him no justice at all. I liked this concert better than Yokohama, I was more involved and enjoyed myself immensely. Perhaps it was because he sang more, but he had to cut a sizeable part of his MC as a result. Which was a pity as he is funny (not that I can understand enough). Well, I guess we can’t have both.
Some highlights of his MC:
In calling audience attendance, he didn’t ask where we came from. (For a while, I thought that was a good sign, until I saw Midori.w-san’s report.) He did check for first-timers and those who’ve been to his concerts before. And when he asked how many men were there, the whole stadium rocked with raucous calls of “MASHAAAAA”. This was by far the most I had seen of my 3 nights. “How many of you think you’re young?” Needless to say, we couldn’t let the men win. And while we were shouting our heads off, the big screens zoomed in on a westerner with his young kid who was so so cute!
There was no time for picture sharing. Masha thanked us, for enabling him to become the third male solo artist in Japan to have 10 top singles and the first (and only?) singer-songwriter to achieve it. Towards the end, he said something along the lines of “Tomorrow is the last day of our tour. It’s lasted the whole summer this year and it’s been wonderful but everything has a time to end.” And he thanked us again for our support throughout.
As for the core concert:
The rundown was similar in most parts, but the variations effectively made this into a totally different experience. The catwalk was changed from the left and right lanes into the T-shape design from Inasayama, with the horizontal lane cutting in between blocks A and B of the arena, and an accordian mount at both ends. People sitting in block B must have got the show of their lives since Masha was down that lane a lot.
The concert started with “Gunjou” as before and, the acoustics could not have been more perfect! The sound was crisp and well-balanced. We could hear each instrument well and Masha’s voice ever so clearly. It was simply marvelous, the band was superb and Masha’s guitar was top grade. It was as if they were playing right in my own living room and from “On and On” to “Sore ga Subetesa”, I was dancing in the midst of them, totally controlled by the music.
Then after the first MC, someone decided to turn (or leave?) the guitars volume up. Full blast. Masha’s mic as well, loud loud loud. “It’s Only Love” and “Milk Tea” somehow lost their touch, despite the high quality of the band and singing. (I’m glad it was better for the next day) But “Phantom” was still able to create serious chills. That is how strong the song is. And “Koufukuron” is the ever cure I guess (love the tinge of Beatles in the middle). Half-way through, I found myself bobbing around again, and suddenly I realized that the problem seemed to have been fixed.
Next, he walked straight up to the junction of the T and began the Inasayama Medley. The acoustics were back to normal. I still cannot believe how beautiful his voice can sound just on its own. Honestly he doesn’t need any music backing. “Good Luck” and “Tooku e” made my heart melt, this was what they call the moment of eternity I guess, and I didn’t want it to end. The songs may have been written to suit his range, but they show that he is one hell-of-a songwriter. Perhaps this is his biggest strength? And perhaps it was also time to bring us back to reality, therefore the sudden change in mood with “Tabibito”…..
And I’m glad he did, for the next part was the highlight of the entire concert. The part where you’re one with the audience, and you cannot control your arms and legs, and you scream your heart out at the band solos and of course, his guitar, in fact, whenever you get a chance to. The Rock Part. 7 songs from “vs” through “Peach” and “Gang” all the way to “Sou”.
And how can I leave out the fake ass? Of course he had to have a new face for Yoyogi. Same O-back but with the words “千秋楽” (senshuuraku, i.e. final stage) on one cheek. Then of course, he had to spread the cheeks to show us ….his Fuku 福 logo….right in the middle of the cut. Next he hung 2 bells and a scroll down the ass and with his back to us, asked Ogura-san to pull the string which opened the scroll to show the words “代々木最高!!” (Yoyogi is the best!!). Try to imagine him swaying his fake ass with the 2 bells and a long strip of paper hanging down between his legs. We..were..hysterical.
Without waiting for us to breathe, he went straight into Gang. Not much action here, perhaps he saw all the kids in the hall, or perhaps he thought our hearts couldn’t take any more excitement. But the music was enough. I also got to hear “Red x Blue” live for the first time. What can I say? For the man who wrote “Phantom” and “Koufukuron” in the same space of time, one can only marvel at the variety of music that he can produce. Of course, the arrangement for “Red x Blue” is a big factor (he arranged it himself in the CD), but the basic melody has so many variations, I felt like I’ve been taken on a rollercoaster ride, or a great adventure. In fact, like many of his songs, ADDICTING is the word for me. Thank you Masha!
By “Ashita no Show”, we realized the concert was ending. Maybe Masha felt it too, for the song was a bit difficult for him. For someone who could sing so strongly without backing other than a guitar, I find it hard to believe he would have problems here. But the loudspeaker was in the way and we couldn’t ascertain with his face on the big screen.
When it was time for Kiss Shite, huge balloons appeared in the arena. A staff tried to carry the balloon onto the 2/F for us, and failed, for when they burst, hundreds of tiny balloons came out. Because of our seat, we couldn’t get any silver strips or hearts from the previous songs, so we went crazy jumping for the balloons. In the end, the man sitting in front of us caught two and gave one to Midori.w-san and myself. I don’t know about Midori.w-san, but I was seriously considering smooching him up if it weren’t for his wife next door.
The final (acoustic) encore was, to our huge surprise, “Tokyo ni mo Attanda”, sung live for the first time after the 2007 Daikanshasai. It was like an old friend. The fan behind us was crying her heart out and I was quietly singing to it. Masha was saying goodbye and arigatou. He didn’t stay long on stage after that.
Arigatou Masha, for everything and a wonderful wonderful summer. Thank you for all the hard work. Thank you for this 20th anniversary present to us fans. And next time, I will be there.
Queuing for goods (This was taken before noon on 26/9 - more than 100 people already)
This concert report was cross-posted from MashaPlus Forums, Masaharu Fukuyama International Community. (Registration required to enter.)