Hekiru at Ohmiya Sonic City
This concert exceeded all my expectations, and threw in more than a few surprises. It started late, close to 6 o'clock, in fact. The lights dimmed, and the curtains parted just enough to let Hekiru through. She wore a dark outfit? The stage at Sonic City is really really close to the seats, and Hekiru stood right at the front. Soft, ballad music... Then she began to sing the opening phrases to Dakishimete, slowly, gently. It was a really strong opening to the concert in the sense that it made a great impact on everyone. Most people expected Just My Love to be the opening number, so we were taken completely by surprise, and more so by the ballad-style beginning. Then the curtains lifted and the band swung right in. The stage was small, and the way it was set up it felt intimate and cozy. The first thing Hekiru said was "Atsui ne!" Then "Demo, sore demo ii ne! Motto atsuku shimashou!"
The first part was Baby blue eyes songs. I really liked this version of Jun a lot. Then after was Sore tte ii ne. Now, I hate this song, but I have to admit, it's pretty fun at a live. Hekiru looks like she's really enjoying herself when she's singing it, and I guess that's what counts.
Then came the With a Will songs. It had been one year since Hekiru had a concert at Omiya Sonic City, because last summer the fans really raised a ruckus and as a result they were barred from performing there for one year. Still, the security guys were a real pain in the butt. They dispersed all the crowds away from the hall until right before the concert. But that didn't detract from the electricity that was building up... Hekiru said, "It's been one year! Now let's sing some songs that we missed!" (At the last concert tour, Hekiru hardly sang any old songs, mostly songs from BBE.)
And, my prayers were answered! Super Girls Funky No. 1!!
But... Isn't that a little different? Harmonica? Eh? Different beat? Hekiru screaming notes in weird places? Completely different from the Super Girls I knew. But it was really good! This song, together with Anata no namae and Infinity, made the biggest impact on me. The way Hekiru was playing those notes... @_@ I never thought I could say that Hekiru's singing was sexy, but this just blew me away.
Then I think it was a costume change. I don't remember when the first one took place, but Hekiru first took off her coat, then she changed costumes twice after or something. Couldn't really tell what she wore. ;_;
I had been sweating like mad because of the fast songs before, but Hekiru sang two slow ones so I cooled off. I don't like Yuugure no Jogging very much, but I guess Hekiru does because she sang it ballad style at Starting Legend '96 Summer Special as well. Then Anata no namae.
Oh, how to describe this. It was... amazing. Hekiru's voice was sublime. Good lord she has improved so much! This song was sung almost perfectly. In fact, the falsetto was far cleaner and much more beautiful than on the CD. I was awestruck as the notes washed over me. I might have forgotten to breathe.
Then the new songs! 3 new songs, with the giant screen kicked in to display images of Hekiru and words and scenery... The first one, Fly Away, I really really liked it! A lot! Can't wait for the CD! I hope it comes out as a CD single soon. I would hit all the concerts just for this song. Before this, I was thinking, maybe 11 concerts is too much, dunno how much I would get out of it after the fifth or sixth time, but now I want to hear Fly Away as many times as possible! It's a hard, minor key song, right up my alley. The second and third songs didn't make a particular impression on me; in fact, the third song I have no idea what it was like because I was too busy watching the footage on the screen of Hekiru at the Okinawa photo shoot! There was one scene where I thought she was in a white swimsuit (Hekiru in swimsuit? Uso!) but it was actually a spaghetti strap evening gown. The video showed only her face and shoulders, so I only found out when I looked at the tour pamphlet. Hmmm, personally I don't like it. Don't think Hekiru and evening gowns go together.
Then it was costume change. The video was "Shiina Hekiru no 'Kyou mo ee zo!'" It showed Hekiru doing crunches, acting like a talk show host. She introduced one guy, who does a lot of the major grunt work like changing guitar strings and stuff. Then he demonstrated this funky skateboard-like contraption along the hall. Then at the end of the video, Hekiru said something like, "Tsugi mo ikou yo! Kimete misete yo Get Back!" and we all cheered!! And the song started as Hekiru popped out!
Hekiru sang the classic fan favorites that I had been wishing for, nonstop! It was awesome! I screamed and punched the air and jumped and everything. Thought I was going to collapse at the end. Hekiru must've been completely exhausted; she was staggering towards the end, but still genki! I did screw up on Shoujo bakudan, but oh well. This was the most wonderful part of the concert.
Then Hekiru sang Graduater, and everyone joined in of course. Then, my other wish granted!! Infinity!! But the arrange was a little different... The guitar solo I love wasn't the same. Hekiru's voice was pretty gone by then. She sounded rough, but she still managed to pull it off really well. And, when she sang "True Love" she dragged, and I mean she REALLY dragged "Looooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooove". It went on so long, audience and band completely silent, just Hekiru's one high note going on forever and forever and forever, bright white light on the stage, I felt like I was trapped in a time loop, until she finally faded away. Impressive, but maybe a bit too much? But I still love Infinity so much. I almost shed a tear.
AN-KO-RU! AN-KO-RU! AN-KO-RU! AN-KO-RU! AN-KO-RU! AN-KO-RU! AN-KO-RU! And so we struck up the encore chant, and finally Hekiru answered our calls! Kaze ga fuku oka! Of course she would never end a concert without this song! She said, "Thanks so much for clapping. You hands must be all red! Hmmm, shall we make them redder? Let's heat things up!
Then after was Dakishimete. I had expected this. But then, instead of the usual 2 songs for encore, she sang a third one?! It was Go Wake Up!! Oh yes! Hekibou, you rule! What a way to end a concert! I've never screamed or waved my arm so hard in my life. Go Wake Up!! is definitely a real crowd-firing number. When the last note faded away I don't think there were many people who weren't gasping for breath. I know I more or less collapsed on the little separating ledge in front of me. Then the usual thank yous, and then "Sei no," "WANT YOU!!" "YAAAAAAY!!!"
I was surprised that Hekiru didn't sing Koi no Race Queen or Moon Light, and I was hoping she would sing Kiss ga tarinai, but overall I think the song selection and ordering was excellent. And at 23 songs, more than I could have hoped for... All in all, I think this concert tour's definitely on the way to a huge huge success. And this one concert ranks way up, close to Budoukan, or even Starting Legend "Dash" at Omiya in spring 1995. Speaking of which, I really want to see the legendary Eggman concert which is supposed to be the very best, exceeding even Budoukan's performance. But there's no way they would release that. ;_;