Starting Legend 1999 Face to Face (Sapporo)
Starting Legend 1999 Face to Face has begun.
1/30 tour opening concert at Zepp Sapporo, all standing live house. It's been almost four years since the last all standing concert. So begins the new legend - Hekiru's 10th concert tour, her 131st live.
As the lights went down, a techno BGM began to play on the speakers as the plain stage remained empty of anything but speakers, band equipment, and of course a single mike stand in front. As the crowd continued to shout to the beat, Hekiru's voice began singing the chorus to "Kono yo de ichiban taisetsu na mono", really quickly. The techno remix continued for several minutes as the tension built to a frenzy, and then the band members walked on, took up their instruments and filled in their accompaniments to the song. Then Hekiru ran onto the stage and the hall erupted in cheers.
She was wearing a tight red pants and black sleeveless blouse with a thick collar of black feathers, and the same decorations around her wrist. The band swing in and she jumped right in with "invisible". At that first scream the crowd went wild! She sang and danced and shook her short hair around, and during the guitar solo she was swinging the mike stand around and ended holding it upside down behind her as she bent over screaming the lyrics into the mike in her other hand. It was just too cool!!
Then she went on to "Let me sing with soul", and "Wakaranai otoko". Lots of head banging in the latter song! When the song ended, she moved to the back and took off the feathers and put on a red jacket so she looked like she was wearing a suit. She gave a short introduction welcoming everyone. "Are you all genki?" *YEAH!* "Well, you think you're going to be fine, but soon your feet are going to hurt and you'll be wishing you could sit down!" *NO WAY!!* "For my next song, you heard the remix version, but here's the normal version. Please listen to this, 'Kono yo de ichiban taisetsu na mono'."
After "Kono yo de ichiban taisetsu na mono" came "Atarashii kaze" and "Tears". The crowd was a little hesitant with what to do for the new songs, but got into the beat of the music. Hekiru had the mike on the stand and was moving her arms and gesturing for the songs. Her expression was serious, and it made a very strong impression during "Tears" as she moved her arms in a clock-like fashion between verses.
The song ended and after she took a sip of water in the back, she made another short MC. "Here is a ballad, one that I really like." With that, she sat in a chair that had been brought on stage and sang "Watashi no mirai" to a rock ballad band accompaniment. After that, she stood up, the chair was whisked away, and she asked the audience to listen to her next two ballads as well - "Aitai" and "Zutto..." These two songs are beautiful, but were more so that day because of that sad look of concentration she had, her eyebrows pulled high as she came to the climax of each song.
When "Zutto..." ended she took another drink as the band began the intro to "This Moment". After "This Moment" was "Ganbare", and Hekiru really fired up the fans with this cheery crowd pleaser. Although it was a new song, the crowd slipped straight in, jumping and putting in calls as Hekiru ran across the stage and punched the air. With everyone intoxicated, she launched into "fly away", and the cheers and "HE! HE! HE!" were twice as loud as before! Everyone really missed this song that had been sung last summer as an unreleased track.
After that, Hekiru left the stage for a costume change. But the band didn't let up, with each member taking their turn to show their stuff to the hard rock rhythm. Just when you thought they would drop from exhaustion, Hekiru finally appeared wearing black pants, and a translucent black long-sleeved blouse (with a black slip underneath), open at the collar.
The music changed into some sort of rock/techno, and Hekiru looked the picture of a rock singer - beautiful, cool, and cute all at the same time. Then we suddenly realized, this was "Moon light"!! Hekiru started the trademark clapping above her head and the crowd could only follow in wonder as she began to sing a very rearranged version of this favourite. Then as if she hadn't mystified the audience enough, the next song, yet another hard rock piece, turned out to be "Koi no Race Queen"! This was a wonderful song, with everyone doing the familiar gestures, clapping and waving their hands and mirroring Hekiru in a fresh, nostalgic intermingling of old and new. Hekiru herself never looked happier; her eyes were shining and her mouth was wide in a wonderful smile throughout these songs. She looked so cute when she forgot a line of the lyrics to "Koi no Race Queen", bending to the side with a sudden expression of utmost embarrasment! But the crowd took up the song in a heartbeat and everyone sang together.
Next was "Me wo samase, otoko nara", and this was as usual (including another memory lapse on Hekiru's part!). By this time, we were all lost to the power of the song, screaming louder and jumping higher than ever, even in that tight space of people packed in together. Then she went into "Kaze ga fuku oka" and we gave it all our best until she finished. Hekiru was probably almost as out of breath as we were, but her smile never faded as she teased the crowd. "Still feeling genki? Sure you can still go on?! Yeah? Well, let's goooo!! ROLLING STONE!!!!" And the band struck up the song and we screamed and cheered and jumped and clapped and danced! Then it was straight into "Graduater" and we all sang together with Hekiru the strains of this song - the song first born from Hekiru's concerts in 1996, evolving throughout the years, never released until last year and still going - the symbol of Shiina Hekiru in concert.
Everyone left the stage right after Graduater ended, but we immediately began calling "ANKORU!" We called for what seemed like ages at the top of out voices, and finally, finally, the band reappeared and starting up the intro to "Dakishimete". Then Hekiru ran in, wearing tight black pants and a skin-tight thin black shirt over a long-sleeved pink shirt (ala SL'97 ~todoketai omoi~ encore costume), and said, "Everyone, sing together!" so we did, as loud as we could. The song ended, but the band kept playing, and Hekiru began introducing all the members, who played their own solos. When she came to Yoshi, the drummer, he simply stood up with his arms outstretched and only kept the beat with his foot as the lights flashed around him, then sat down, and Hekiru was like, "That's it?! Wait a second, that's all?! You can't just get away with that!!"
But she finished off the introductions and said, "Come on everyone, sing together!" and went back into the final verses of "Dakishimete". Then it ended, and the music stopped. We were all so very tired but happy, and Hekiru was out of breath and soaked in perspiration as she began thanking everyone. It seemed like the end of the concert, but when she was done, the band began playing again. It was a medium paced, hard rock beat, and we had no idea what song it was. When Hekiru finally began singing, slowly and deliberately, we suddenly realized it was yet another remixed version, this time of "Todoketai omoi". She sang the first verse and the chorus twice, then the beat picked up and as we could do no more than cheer, she went into the second verse and it became a dreamlike experience. All of Hekiru's thoughts, everything she wanted to express but just did not have the opportunity to put into words, all the trials of the last year and her renewed conviction to live life to its fullest, never back down from her ideals and dreams, and create something that would never fade away... It all came together in this one song that she sings as a promise of things to come.
Before we knew it, more than two hours had passed and the concert was over. Starting Legend 1999 in Sapporo, the beginning of Hekiru's 10th concert tour, an amazing live that far exceeded all my expectations, wiped away all the uncertain and fear of the last few months, and made me realize that Hekiru was already far ahead of all our petty doubts, had come to a close. "Any newcomers today?" asked Hekiru, and hands shot up throughout the back of the hall. "Well, at the end of a live, we always say 'Want you!' as a promise to meet again. Ready? WANT YOU!!!"
Then, probably as some weird cultural thing I have no either about, the staff handed bags of peanuts to the band members and everyone proceeded to throw peanuts into the audience. Got one from Hekiru. ^^
1/30 Zepp Sapporo - THE END. We'll meet again in Niigata.
Tour GoodsSince it was all standing, I only bought goods after the concert. I was rushed for time, so I only got the bare essentials: Concert pamphlet, both T-shirts, both telephone cards, and the Hekiko cellphone strap. I don't like the 417 design on this tour's T-shirts, but the telephone cards are really nice. Amazing how a simple change of expression can make all the difference... Hekiko looks weird. But it's the tour pamphlet that really shines this time. I would say that this is by far the best tour pamphlet, better than SL'97 ~todoketai omoi~. When I first read that it was only 16 pages, I was really disappointed, but one look at the cover and I knew I had to have it. Same outfit as the first picture in VA24, with the white wing drawn in.
There are some very moving words from Hekiru, and at the very end of the tour pamphlet is the message "And our dream goes on". It's the same message that was at the end of the SL'97 ~with a will~ tour pamplet, but this time she's aiming at something far beyond Nippon Budoukan...
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