Thursday, September 1, 2016

# 12 Anniversary # 2016

A9 XII ANNIVERSARY, "NO NAME"-名前は未だ無い- 2004-2005 ONLY LIVE

And here I am, on the flight hurling me 844 km/hour away from the beautiful city where my heart remains, for some while now. During the last six months of my life, somehow I've managed this feat I didn't even know I'll be able to pull off, flying to Tokyo six times in the span of six months. And while it's all stressful and exciting at the same time, it's great because I learned a lot, and even there were some uneventful occurrences along the way, I seriously couldn't remember them now. Memories of Tokyo to me is full of laughter share with people I love, and all the precious memories built with new friends I made.

I should probably come back for another entry concluding my many journeys in Tokyo, although I really have no idea when I'm going to come back to it, seeing the many travel reports I've promised has still yet to make an appearance. But yeah, I'm going to skip into the main topic, and bring you to 28/08/2016, A9 XII ANNIVERSARY 2004-2005 ONLY LIVE, "NO NAME"-名前は未だ無い-.

Early day, as usual, although this one I actually couldn't get up early enough and left with many things I've not the time to prepare before live. It was that morning only that I manage to finish writing letters to our bassist and 2 guitarists. Needless to say, I didn't manage to catch anyone going into the venue, arriving at Studio Coast by 9.30am after meeting up with Aisu, there was already a queue for goods. We joined in and waited. It was while waiting that we finalized stuffs, mainly the anniversary card that I didn't plan on making, but I made anyway, and yes, I managed to finish my letters. A few of us has bought A9 a bottle of champagne as well to celebrate the anniversary. It was such an awesome bottle and Aisu has wrapped it so beautifully, thank you~

The champagne and anniversary card we've made for the boys this time! I hope they've got them and enjoy the gifts~!

The goods queue got long pretty fast, and we moved location twice. The hours waiting just flew by being there with friends, talking about the boys, and sharing stories of our lives during times we did not see one another. Goods sales started at 2pm, and we all got our lots, chekis and goods, after which, a busy time.

Busy with what you might ask, well, busy finding a good shot of our biases of course. It took us more than an hour, but I would say it's not bad for the hour's work. I managed to get many Saga chekis, and one shot with Shou smiling so bright that my heart melt the moment I saw it. あ~ 将さんの笑顔はとても綺麗ですね~ And I even managed to get the full set of Saga ドレカ and a set of Hiroto ドレカ for my friend, totally satisfied with my hunt there.

Saga's ドレカ, full set, along with the metal charms.
Hiroto ドレカ, full set.
There was a bit of a rush back to hotel and back, by the time we reached the venue again, they've started calling entry numbers. Aisu went in first, I follow closely and managed to find her inside the venue itself. We were standing about... 5 rows away from the stage? Not the closest but definitely guaranteed a good view. And we were near Saga side - of course, what else are you expecting from two Saga biases?

About half an hour passed, and finally the lights dimmed, crowd cheered, there was a short video showing the boys, flashing back to the past from their latest work. The boys came out on the stage, half hidden behind the closed, half-transparent curtain. "Saga's back!" I was told by my excited Aisu. Squinting to look through the curtain, it was true that I'm looking at a good view there. That patch of flawless white skin peeking out through the hole cut onto his outfit. I'm glad that through the half-transparent curtain is not the only time I get a glimpse of it (*cough* I'm sorry for typing that, but I'm not really sorry), there were multiple times during the live that he turned his perfect back to us too, without needing us to ask. So yeap, definitely full of good views from my spot right there last night.

Side-tracked, *cough* let's get back to the opening now.

The flashback ends on a familiar song title, 平成十七年七月七日, the first song starting the 3 hours long live.

Lots of songs were played, and I don't really remember that much MC-ing during the main show. As the boys played all these older songs, the night went by busily for us fans as well, busy following Shou doing furi along the music.

The arrangement of the songs that night flowed from one into another seamlessly, not just the music, but the feeling of the atmosphere as well. I'm not sure you will understand what I am talking about exactly unless you're there to experience it first handed. The feeling of the music, in the atmosphere, it flows into another smoothly. Perhaps you can get a feel of it by listening to the songs according to the set list last night.

It was not just a great live I think, it was almost perfect. It's everything I've expected this live to be, with all their experiences gained and improvements made throughout the last 12 years in the music industry, they showed it on stage that night. There was some rearrangement to some songs, and Shou's voice singing them sounds so different now - but the bright smile on his face when he's showing us the furi didn't change at all, no. His smile spread even wider when you manage to get the movements right, he will look at you with that bright happy face while nodding in approval. Like a big kid really. 将さん, 可愛い過ぎ!

Last night, it's very easy to tell that Shou was very happy. Indeed, all of them were very happy on stage.

I have to admit, I'm not that familiar with all their old songs, I wasn't there right from the beginning, but I do have several favorites from that era and I'm glad to be able to listen to them. 無限の花, H.A.N.A.B.I., 赤い風車, 白夜二黑猫, 銀の月, 黒い星, these are all the songs that I love and they sang last night. And I'm so glad to hear them with their improved sound really. They've came a long way, our boys, and I could feel nothing but pride for their improvements.

I always say Shou has shown great improvement with his singing skills throughout the years, which is certainly true, but I'm not trying to be bias towards him and discredit the rest of the members. Its just that, everyone has their own focus on certain sounds when it comes to music, mine has always been the mid- to high range, which tends to pull my listening focus to the vocal and guitar. So yes, I really love the improvement shown by our vocalist. And his voice was perfect last night, his voice has shown all the improvement he has made throughout the years; they've managed to perfect all those songs they've made at the start.

If they've recorded last night's live, I want a DVD of it, or at least a live CD that I can listen to over and over again.

Meiji is one of the song I'm not familiar with, it was from a brief chat with Aisu that I found out that is a live-only song, both Meiji and Ageha. During Meiji, Shou asked all of us fans to squat down and when it's out turn, we should jump up. We will be devided into 4 portions, the right most is Hiroto's fans, follow by Shou and Nao, and then Saga's fans and Tora's fans. I've no idea what got into us, when Shou mention Saga's fans both Aisu and me were like, raising hand and went "hai" (I know I did, softly but it did sounded loud to my ears). None others did it but us two, definitely embarrassing, I felt like a dork. But that little action caught our Saga-sama's attention, and he glanced over at us, and lifted us a smirk. From one of us to another.

You big shitty tease! You big tease!

Apart from furi on some songs, the boys also got us singing a part of chorus from 赤い風車, which you would know if you've watch their Court of "9" live. What different for me is that, instead of watching everyone on the screen holding hands singing to the familiar tune, I was a part of it, I was there doing that with the boys and all the fans. And it felt so heart warming, looking at the boys' expressions on stage as they watched us singing to their song, there was this shade of unmistakably pride and approval on Saga's face. And Shou and Tora were just shinning with happiness (and I couldn't really see Nao and Hiroto from where I was standing...).

無限の花 was so beautifully done I've got to mention it, from the moment the boys play it, that first note in the air sounded and my thoughts jumped to a friend who wanted to be there to listen to the song but she couldn't. If this would help - which I doubt it would - and if you're reading this, JH, the song was brilliantly done. I think Saga did some fine-tuning to the music, but then again I can't be sure because it is the first time I listen to it live, like live live, and I couldn't remember much from the Alice in Wonderland video I watched... (OK, I will rewatch it again sometimes soon, after I got home). The music felt softer, like smoother, and of course as I mentioned, Shou's voice has improved so much through the years. The song sounded very good, perhaps that's all I need and have to say.

During the ending part of 無限の花, one by one the members left the stage, first Shou, then follow by Saga and Tora, and finally Hiroto, leaving Nao on the stage. He performed us a very awesome drum session to a piece of traditional Japanese music. It was very cool, Nao looks very handsome that night by the way, although my focus has not been on him. But that moment was totally his, when he's up there being all amazing and drummed out complicated patterns. The crowd gasped at several places, and cheer for Nao's name whenever he raised his drumstick indicating us to.

And the boys returned after, started Siva and Diva.

What should worth a mention perhaps, should be Haikara. That song that everyone has been waiting for perhaps, and perhaps some of you (like myself) had been wondering if Saga would do it, would he lick his bass that night. Soon as the first note sounded in the air and everyone cheered so loud. Saga did it by the way, licking his bass giving us full fan service over there. And I screamed so loud. Lol. So sorry I couldn't help myself. But you big tease! Saga you big freaking tease! I see those teasing glint in your eyes as you glanced at us out the corner of your eyes, and that little smirk hovering at the corner of your lips! He totally just paused in the middle, narrowed his eyes just to look at us all, watching our reactions (and enjoying it) probably, and then he gone back licking his bass again! He's such a tease! Damn big a tease!

Ah, I screamed so loud. *cover face*

Saga changed bass after that, some technical issue? Or is it hygiene issue? I've no idea. His mom should be there and watching after all. ;-)

Lots of headbanging at the last few songs, and gyaku dive, which is definitely the cause for the aching on the left side of my neck and left shoulder right now. But it was so much fun! The many gyaku dives though got me a bit disorientated, because of all the moving left and right, and back and forth, by the time they ended the concert and went back stage, I kept having the feeling that I've somewhat ended up at Hiroto side of the stage? But I have not, it was just a persistent feeling that has got me kept looking at the stage and wondering where I am standing. It was a very strange feeling (and I was starving, I had been hungry since before the start of the live, perhaps that contributed to the disorientation).

The fans chanted encore loud as ever, if not even louder, none of us was ready for the night to end, even when it has actually ended. I believe all of us wanted to see A9 more, listen to them singing more songs, go crazy and have fun with them. It didn't take long for the boys to come back out on the stage for the first encore of the night, in - wait for this - school uniforms! They came out in school uniforms along with their thick makeup, it's like, well, it's like old time seriously.

And to tell the truth, Hiroto actually looks like a student - we have already establish the fact that that boy has not age a day since 12 years ago. And Shou looks like the most famous student of his year in those Shoujo Manga, one that every girls in the school have a crush on.

Tora, Shou and Hiroto came out arms on each other's shoulders. At first Hiroto is the only one that appears without a jacket, it didn't take long for Saga to take off his - and loosen his tie - and then Shou too, took his jacket off.

They played Shunkashuutou in the school uniform - not surprising, I knew they going to sing that song the moment they appeared in uniforms, seriously - and then 銀の月, 黒い星, that I really love. The boys went back in once again, and another round of encore sounded through the hall, louder than before and more persistence. They took a while, changing into their Anniversary tee before walking out again. For the first time they all wears the same design - at least among all those lives I've attended, this is the first I see - and after another round quick MC-ing, they broke into another familiar tune, 葬園 - 名前も無き君へ -.

They played total of 4 songs in the second encore, all the fun songs. The crowd cheered loud when first note of G3 sounded in the air, and there was another round of head banging and gyaku diving, such fun. The last song wrapping up the show was Time Machine, another that I've been waiting to listen to them play live. Its also an emotional moment for some fans I'm sure, I think I saw someone crying among the crowd there~! Beautiful song, I really wanted this live version to keep.

The boys took pictures with the crowd at the end there. Shou told the photographer to please take a good shot, don't miss out Saga's expose tights there. Saga obediently leaned down even lower so to show more legs in the pictures.


So backtracking, I shall cover bits and pieces that I missed out above.

At one point in the live, Shou asked us to call the members by names. So we were to call Nao like Na-o, Saga as Saga-sama, Tora as To-ra usual, Hiroto as Hiropon, and Shou as Sho-u all done with that cute intonation. You'll probably get it if you watch Haikara live performance where they have the member names calling part. The wonderful thing is really listening to Shou going on with that cute intonation himself, that guy, can he be any cuter. He can do some pretty good cutesy high pitch too! Hahaha!

There was some MC-ing throughout the live, although I could never remember between which two songs they did that, neither did I remember/ catch much of the contents. I do remember that Shou talked to Tora first, and Tora has this beautiful smile on his face all the time that's all I could recall. The second round of MC-ing that Shou brought our attention to Saga. There was this part where he was talking about his outfit - which of course, is something that must be mentioned. Shou said something like well, Saga-san is showing his tights today, and his back - on which Saga has been very nice and turned back to show us that perfect back, again - and initially he thought of making Saga to show his stomach too. Shou has also mentioned something about when they first put on these costumes for the photoshoot, and he saw Saga right after he finished his makeup, his immediate reaction was like "Oh hey, long time no see!". You should be there to see Saga's smirk to that comment! And also the reaction he gave to Shou's asking us "So Saga-San is very sexy (in this) huh?"

Yesssss~ sexy to the max!

By the way, Saga was smirking into the crowd waaaaaayyyyy too many times throughout the live, in the way you can tell he's very proud of himself - for still looking this way and rocking it even though it has been 12 years perhaps? He also kept sticking out his tongue and biting his lower lips when he glanced into the crowd, those actions should definitely be illegal for him to do!

If I'm not wrong, Shou talked to Nao on the next MC session and to Hiroto at the last. I remember Hiroto touched on the way they designed their stage, which was with many long traditional Japanese fabrics hanging from the ceiling to the ground, that give a very Japanese feels to the stage. It was so beautiful and I hope they show pictures sometimes soon. I remember Hiroto talking about this is the feeling to the theme today. It's fitting, reminded me of the visual kei style A9 started off with (at least from what I read, their initial style/ theme was a mix of traditional Japanese with Western influence? Correct me if I am wrong). In some way, the design of the stage really gave out a restart feeling that the boys has been emphasizing on this live.

Funny little part, after Hiroto finished talking, there was some fans there kept calling Nao's name like "Na-o, Na-o, Na-o, Na-o~", Shou heard that, and he was like, "Do you want us to go back (to talk) to Nao-san?"

Hiroto seems to be pretty preoccupied that night that he kept missing out when the other members were talking. First was Nao, when they was introducing their goods. They were talking about the premium box. Nao started to talk about the sake but Hiroto kept talking too, resulting in Nao went like "are you listening (to what I am saying)?" And the second time was during the second encore, where Shou was talking, but Hiroto was busy taking pictures of the crowd which got Shou went like "I am talking here," Hirotoさん, please pay more attention, alright?

During one of the songs, there was this part where Shou sang with an arm held out (like he sometimes do), and Hiroto went over and leaned into Shou's embrace as he plays guitar. During G3, Shou put his arm around Saga's neck holding him close letting him growl into his mic. And somewhere in the first encore, Tora swung his dreadlocks in circles several times.

I heard that Hiroto kissed Shou on the lips sometimes in between Kousai Strip and G3, and Shou got this very embarrassing/ cute reaction to the kiss. Sadly, I've missed that. :( I must've been distracted by our Mr. Sexy right there, or something... XD

Speaking about our Mr. Sexy, Hiroto carried him in princess style at the end there. And they held hands, bowed to the crowd before going in back stage one last time that night.

Announcement for future live were shown at the end, it seems like they are having a revival of A9 Channel on Christmas~! And it will be a White theme Christmas live on 24/12/2016. Following, in January, "Black Period" black theme tour! What's really exciting for me though (and Paige is here grinning very wide, very very wide) is the fact that they're going to have a live on 19/01, MY BIRTHDAY~ Guess who is so going back to Tokyo in winter next year~

Well, if there's not a snowy Christmas for me this year, at least I can hope to see snow on my birthday? I might regret it though, it would be COLD~

It was a wonderful and beautiful live, I am sure this little piece of blog entry I have here isn't even enough to cover half of how amazing the live was. If this is an anniversary signifying the restart of A9, I really look forward to see what they've planned for us in the future, the music they'll do, the live they'll play, and everything else.

The night ended with us headed off having quick supper nearby, we tried demachi (for 15 minutes), but we didn't manage to see anyone going off from the venue (except some backstage staffs that's it). But, perhaps lady luck was with us that night, we still manage to see Nao-san going off, just right after we braved through the wind and the rain back to the train station. Aisu was like, "Can we rest here for a moment?" We all agreed. But it was several seconds after that that out the corner of my eyes, I spied a familiar figure. Someone wearing all black with a giant red bag, and a slim backpack that look strangely familiar, hmm... And the hat and the mask covering his face, he was wearing glasses. I gasped, waving my hand to catch the girls' attention and I was like "Nao Nao Nao!" he was just heading up the escalator to the station. We went over to tell him "Otsukaresama" before he went off. While well, we didn't manage to see all 5 of them going off, it was lovely enough that we get to tell Nao that at least. A surprisingly beautiful ending to the amazing night.

As usual, I hope you had fun reading my little adventure in Tokyo. Feel free to comment/ send me correction if something I've wrote above is not what happened exactly. And for more reports on the anniversary live, feel free to check out @itsmisho_o on Twitter. I might be back to put up some random entries regarding my trips to Tokyo, but if I don't do that, I will totally see you again in November, when I will once again head to Tokyo to see our beloved A9, going on an FC Trip with them.

Picture spam below~ I hope you enjoy them~!
Studio Coast! Took this after the live's over.

Inside the venue with Aisu, so glad to have know you, and found you inside the venue as well.
From the photo exhibition. Don't ask me where is Tora at the bottom set, because his picture was missing when I was around to look at them. Beautiful photos nevertheless.
Closer shots of Saga's ドレカ.
The beautiful portable battery.
The new sensu (fan).
Metal charms from the lots.
Some shots from the artbook~
And new flyers~

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