I have said it a thousand times. And most every AKB48 fan will say the same thing. Until you have seen the stage shows, you know very little about AKB48…
Like most everyone else, I learned of AKB48 by experiencing the singles. I don’t remember how I was introduced to the group, or who did the introducing. I just remember seeing the PV for Aitakatta, and I was in love instantly. Acchan was obviously the first girl to catch my eye, as she is one of the stars of the video. I immediately purchased the CD single, and my fandom for the group had begun.
It wasn’t until much much later that I started to learn about the group dynamic. In fact, when I saw AKB48 at Shibuya AX, I had no idea what the concert even was. I merely thought it was “a concert outside of their normal venue” much like 1st Concert Aitakatta! I knew they had “stages”, but I had no idea what that even meant!
So over the past year I have learned a lot. I have seen many of the past stage shows. I got the chance to experience the theater in person and see all of the current stages. I got an example of what it is like to be an AKB48 fan in Japan. And now I love them even more!
I was reading Cat’s post about the ABC’s of their stage songs, and it inspired me to do a post of my own. The stage songs can never get enough love! So here we go (the links are to YouTube performances)…
Team A 1st Stage ~PARTY ga Hajimaru yo~
You probably know: Dear My Teacher. You know, the “do it baby, kiss me baby” song? They are singing about their teacher, hawt!
Doku Ringo wo Tabesasete
Awesome stage song: Doku Ringo wo Tabesasete. The song is a great mix of sophistication and cuteness. It has a modern electronic music style. I love the “chu chu chu” part. And the song is an homage to Snow White!
Team A 2nd Stage ~Aitakatta~
You probably know: Aitakatta! If you know any song by this group, it would be this one…
Awesome stage song: Glass no I LOVE YOU. I wanted to pick a song other than Rio no Kakumei, which is my favorite of the stage. But “Glass” is really good too. It’s the hook that gets me, the way they end the chorus with “I love you” sounding like “ee love you” is so cute!
Team A 3rd Stage ~Dareka no Tame ni~
You probably know: Seifuku ga Jama wo Suru. The poster song for AKB48 detractors. I have never totally gotten the allegation that the song is about underage prostitution, but promiscuity, sure!
Awesome stage song: Nage Kissu de Uchi Otose. I love when Acchan fronts “cute songs”, I think it is when she is at her best! This really stood out in my memory at Shibuya AX. I also remember how cute and enthusiastic Miichan looked while performing it.
Team A 4th Stage ~Tadaima Renaichuu~
You probably know: Bingo! AKB48 were really hitting their stride when this single was released. And it’s a fun song!
Awesome stage song: Kimi ga Oshiete Kureta. A4 was the first Stage DVD I ever purchased, so it holds a dear place in my heart. Only Today is actually my favorite A4 song, but it is the c/w track to the Bingo! single so I wanted to go with a lesser known song. And I am glad to see my beloved Oh-yay getting some face time!
Team K 2nd Stage ~Seishun Girls~
You probably know: Virgin Love. For some reason I’ve always thought this song sounded really “Japanese”, especially with those “doobie doo-waa” lines in the chorus. And the lyrics are just as risque as the title suggests. I love when J-Pop idols sing about being with “more than a handful of guys”
Cinderella wa Damasarenai
Awesome stage song: Cinderella wa Damasarenai. Man, this is such a sexy stage, AKB48 goes latin! The costumes are awesome. I have always felt Sayaka pwns this song, and it is perfect for Meetan. But what really surprises me is how Kana and Tomomi pull off “mature and sexy” so well. This song, and the title track Seishun Girls are two big reasons why Team K is my favorite.
Team K 3rd Stage ~Nounai Paradise~
You probably know: Honehone Waltz. There really isn’t an easily indentifiable track here for the casual fan, although this stage is one of my favorites. Honehone is so cute. Take the yougest, most petite members, dress them up in black skin-tight tutus, and have them sing a childlike waltz? I really like it because it’s so “against the norm” for AKB48. Then again, their catalog is all over the map. So what is the norm, anyway?
Awesome stage song: Christmas ga Ippai. AKB48 has done a few Christmas songs over the years. I really like the new one on A5. But this one has to be my favorite. It sounds so festive and is the most traditional. K3 is so awesome! Hana to Chire and Ki ni Narou Tenkousei are both great songs too, but I promised to feature songs that Cat didn’t cover. Good thing this is such an exceptional stage!
Himawari Gumi 1st Stage ~Boku no Taiyou~
You probably know: Boku no Taiyou. This is not one of my faves. Granted, it has an uplifting feel to it. But it is a great example of how the songs you never hear are so much better!
Awesome Stage Song: Dreamin’ Girls. AKB48 a cappella? Gee, I guess they can sing. This song is “win” for so many reasons. The gospel-style is a musical genre AKB48 has visited on more than one occasion. It’s another example of the group’s versatility.
Himawari Gumi 2nd Stage ~Yume wo Shinaseru Wake ni Ikanai~
You probably know: Romance, Irane. This was released during my first sojourn to Japan. The funny thing is I didn’t initially like the song, so I didn’t buy the single. Instead I purchased the LE CD of “Set List”.
Mori e Ikou
Awesome stage song: Mori e Ikou and 50%. I picked two songs here because I love them both so much. In fact, H2 is an incredible stage. I highly recommend it for any newbie looking to familiarize themselves. 50% is your standard pop-song. But I love the outfits, and Tomomi and Yuko are so cute in it. I love the “Yes ga hanbun de, no ga mou hanbun” part of the dance, so cute! What can I say about Mori e Ikou other than “amazing”! It is so mature and intense. I was so surprised the first time I heard it. The way they harmonize the backing vocals in the chorus is great!
And as an added bonus, the new stages…
A5, K4, and B3
You probably know: Oogoe Diamond. It’s the current single, and closing theme to Men-dol.
Awesome stage song (Team A): Tsundere! is so freakin’ cool! Don’t let the strange costumes fool you. And I love the “attitude” radiating from Tomoni and Rie!
Awesome stage song (Team K): Erai Hito ni Naritakunai. My favorite part of K4 is the opening set before the intros. This is the fourth song. It is so energetic that the girls are drenched in sweat for the introductions. I love the way Ono Erena dances in this.
Awesome stage song (Team B): Shonichi. A review of B3 will be my next post, but here is a preview. This is the opening song of the stage. So cute!!!
I was attempting to explain to one of my clients why I love this group so much. She didn’t totally get it, but she was fascinated by the uniqueness of it all. And when I say unique, I am talking about the entire J-pop/Wota phenomenon. But the point of this post is that AKB48 has such a huge and versatile catalog, I feel people are missing out if they are judging the group by a few singles. When you dig a little deeper, you just may discover how awesome AKB48 really is!
CK in California