Iwasa Misaki ‘Love Live’ Solo Acoustic Concert at Shinjuku Sumitomo Yasuda Life Hall (2017/05/07)
This is actually the second solo acoustic live concert Wasamin has performed. The first one was back in September, which I didn’t attend since the ticket sales took place while I was in California, and it sold out before I got back to Japan. Like last time, it is part of the Nagara Pro concert series, six performances over five days at this venue. Wasamin’s show would be the finale. And unless I misread, these were among the last shows being put on at this venue, as it is going out of business later this month.
Wasa-Min Fan Club members were given priority ticketing, which we applied for at the same time as her July concert preorder back in March. When general sales started, we had not gotten official word whether or not we had scored tickets, aside from Ichikawa-san, Wasamin’s manager blogging that we shouldn’t be worried about it. (BTW, we have the same issue today, as the general sale for her July concerts this morning, and none of us have gotten any word back on our pre-applications) Finally, around two weeks ago, I received a special delivery in the mail. My ticket to this show had arrived. It was 11th row, almost dead center. Not quite as good as I expected given I pre-ordered, and the hall only has 20 rows. However, it is a small venue, and it isn’t like I haven’t had countless up close and personal experiences with Wasamin in the past, right? So what if I didn’t have the greatest seat this time. But before we get to her show…
Wasamin’s concert was scheduled for 5:30pm. However, there was also a matinee scheduled at the same venue for another Nagara Pro artist. And since both Wasamin and her manager have been attempting to promote this group, I decided to score a ticket. It was only 2000 yen anyway. Not to mention, I really do like Minyo Girls.
Minyo Girls ‘Challenge Stage Vol. 2’ Concert at Shinjuku Sumitomo Yasuda Life Hall (2017/05/07)
I arrived around 45 minutes before doors, and there was already a considerable line, which is important to note since there weren’t assigned seats for the early show. This venue is in a weird spot. If you have ever been out the JR Shinjuku Station West Exit, it exits underground into sort of a subterranean mall. The easy to miss venue was behind a shoe store to the left, near the Keio Station. Even the ground level entrance was hard to find, with just a small sing over a small non-descript door. Anyway, I scanned the line for any other Wasafans, who are known to go to Minyo Girls shows, but I only found two. Eventually we were let in, and I skipped the goods line for the time being to try and find a seat. The center section was filling up all the way into the upper half of the venue. But upon closer look, the side sections were practically empty! I hustled closer and closer to the stage. Could it be? Yes, the front row left side was available, save for the aisle seat. I grabbed the seat one off the aisle. I couldn’t believe I scored such an incredible spot given how far back I was. By the way, if you have never seen Minyo Girls before, here is a PV…
While I waited for the show to start, I wondered about the pre-show music they were playing on the P.A. It was some familiar sounding J-pop group, I just couldn’t figure out who. I tried to use Shazam, but my wi-fi wasn’t working this far below ground. Also, I noticed a bunch of fans (all in the front row) had on Minyo Girls Happi Coats. They were really sharp looking too, however I was surprised to see so many wotaku being into them. Eventually the show started…
I won’t bore you with too many details since this is supposed to be about the Wasamin concert, but Minyo Girls put on a really fun show. I also didn’t realize that they do have a few standard J-pop songs in their repertoire. (Those songs I tried to Shazam, it was them!) My front row left side seat was perfect, since my favorite member Yuua was right in front of me most of the show. However, it was the other girl I like, Miyabi, who kept making eye contact with me. At first she seemed confused by my presence, despite the fact that this is the FOURTH time I have seen them. But eventually she started interacting with me a little bit. Yuua, on the other hand, barely acknowledged me, or anyone else. She mainly focuses on performing. Eventually, like many NagaraPro artists, they did a photo-op portion of the show, which lasted for two songs. I took lots of pics.
As we left the hall the members were at each door saying goodbye to the audience, and handing flyers with the setlist (with which CD each song is from), and pictures of the members. Neither Yuua nor Miyabi were at the exit I chose. However, Yutori, who was the original center of the group was there. As she handed me a flyer she exclaimed. “You are a Wasamin fan, right?” Nice to see somebody in Minyo Girls remembers me. After all, I have taken a photo with Yutori on two previous occasions. I immediately went to the goods table. I wanted to che out this Happi Coat. It was exactly the same as Wasamin’s, except different color, and a Minyo Girls design. Also, it was like 40% cheaper than Wasamin’s! So I bought one, along with Yua and Miyabi button sets, as well as their first CD (which I do have, but it is in the U.S.) They gave me a cheki ticket. I went to use my ticket, but they told me it was for a full group shot only. So I went back to the goods table to pick up the other CD, which gets you an individual cheki. I thought I already had this CD too. However, upon closer inspection I realized this was a different CD entirely. It was just that the covers look so much alike. I put my Happi coat on, and prepared for my photos…
As I was putting the coat on, I caught someone staring at me. It was Ichikawa-san, Wasamin’s manager. She was laughing at me. So I said “Don’t tell Wasamin!” The issue was who would I pick. Originally I thought I would pick Yuua, but then Miyabi was playing with me throughout the show. Then there was Yutori, who remembered me from before. I eventually went with Miyabi.
Also, my group shot. Flanked by Yuua and Miyabi, nice. BTW, I attempted to talk to Miyabi about the show. However, given these girls are so young they aren’t that good at talking to their fans. That’s okay, they will get there. I was done. I would go look for lunch somewhere nearby while I waited for the evening show. I had two hours to kill…
Now for the Wasamin show…
I got back to the venue around 30 minutes before doors. Half the Wasafans were milling around on the street level, the other half underground. I met up with Side-san, who was collecting money for the fan club flowers. We normally don’t buy a stand like you see at most concert, instead opting for a bouquet that is sent to Wasamin’s dressing room. She posted a pic for us…
Eventually we were all called in to queue up. It didn’t really matter for seating. The queue was mainly to get to the goods line first. Asdie from CDs and the DVD preorder, most of the goods were leftovers from the January concert (lightstick, uchiwa, towel) as well as these phone card/cheki things that were 1000 yen each. It was quite expensive for a cheki, and I didn’t know what to do with the phone card, so I only picked one of the three different varieties.
After taking photos of the flower stands, I put on my Wasa-Happi and headed in to my seat. My seat was next to another fan club member, Aso-san (sounds like Asshole-san, as he once explained to me, LOL) I surveyed the audience to see where most of the regulars were seated. It seemed like the fan club were all seated up to row 13 (I was row 11) After that were mainly people I didn’t recognize, and nobody wearing fan club gear. I did see quite a few people near the front who I hadn’t seen before. Wasamin’s fan club has a lot of people who don’t show up to events regularly, so it is always interesting to see who is in attendance. A lot of them also have the yellow Wasa-Happi coat too. After an opening act that consisted of this creepy juggler, clown, illusionist, plus a 19-year old make enka singer, the show finally began. Wasamin singing acapella from behind the curtain. Here is the setlist, with the original artists listed. Songs Wasamin played guitar on in italics…
1. SAKURA (Ikimono Gakari)
2. Kaze ni Naru (Tsuji Ayano)
3. Cherry (Spitz)
4. Marounuchi Sadistic (Shiina Ringo)
5. Sakurairo Mau Koro (Nakashima Mika)
6. Koi ni Ochite (Kobayashi Akiko)
7. Anata ni Aitakute ~Missing You~ (Matsuda Seiko)
8. Ano Subarashii Ai wo Mou Ichido (Kitayama Osamu & Kato Kazuhiko)
9. Momen no Handkerchief (Ota Hiromi)
10. Ito (Nakajima Miyuki)
11. Hitomi (Ohara Sakurako)
12. Himawari no Yakusoku (Hata Motohiro)
En 01. Mirai e… (Kiroro)
Whenever I have seen Wasamin go a guitar performance, she has always been sitting down. However, when the curtain opened she was playing while standing up. Just Wasamin, a microphone, and a sheet music stand. Her backing band consisted of a pianist/keyboardist, violinist, and a second guitarist. Wasamin looked adorable, with her pink ‘Minyo Girls-esque’ skirt, white sweater and jeweled white pumps. Although it was funny watching her play since you could tell she wasn’t used to performing this way. She barely moved, rooted in the spot in front of the mic. BTW, her guitar playing has definitely improved from the last time I heard her play in January. She makes fewer and fewer mistakes every time, although sometimes she will mess up/forget lyrics. However, I don’t know if that is a concentration thing, or perhaps it is because she is singing so many new songs. Probably a combination of both.
So again Wasamin did an entire MC about our Happi Coats. Last week in Chiba she was complaining that hardly anyone wears their coats to her mini-live events. But here she noted everyone was wearing them. She is like “You are supposed to wear them at everything, not just the big events!” What makes it even more funny is that the very next day she had an event at Tower Shinjuku, and only ONE fan wore their coat. She was like “Jeez, only one of you brought your Happi!?!?!?” LOLZ Later she noted that there would be no enka in this performance at all.
Some great songs in the setlist. Wasamin covering Shiina Ringo and Ohara Sakurako were highlights, and I have seen and loved her performance of Momen no Handkerchief before, but not while playing guitar. In a later MC she was discussing the fan club, and what events might be in the works. It seems another Bus Tour might be in the planning stages. Also, there was a prize portion of the show. Wasamin was drawing seat numbers out of a box to win signed guitar picks and chekis. Unfortunately I wasn’t one of the lucky winners, but the odds were pretty low. She came out for one encore song, which she dedicated to her mom for the upcoming Mother’s day. And that was the show, except for one major Wasamin faux pas. SHE FORGOT TO INTRODUCE THE BAND! We gave the band a second round of applause as they exited the stage. BTW, Wasamin and her manager apologized for this on social media later on.
The show was over, but there would be a post show handshake/2-shot event taking place. I hadn’t decided whether or not I would buy a DVD or CDs, but after seeing her in that cute costume, I decided to spring the the more expensive DVD to get a shamekai. The line was gigantic, going outside the venue and down to the basement level, then looping back up the stairs. I eventually decided to brave the line, since it wasn’t getting any shorter.
I basically told her that I loved the show and her outfit. She asked me how much I loved the show. “Was it perfect?” I said of course it was! They were trying to move the line more quickly, so I quickly said goodbye and that I would see her the next day in Shinjuku. Usually we all stay until the very end. However, theater staff began kicking out everyone who didn’t have a ticket left. So I bailed. The line was still long anyway, and it had been almost an hour.
Wasamin’s second concert DVD comes out next week. I believe it is the same day as the SSK Guidebook and Itano Tomomi’s new single. So next week she will be doing 5 events, four of which are around Tokyo. I’m not sure if I will go to all of them or not, but I will certainly be attending the release day event at HMV Shibuya. Also…
I received a postcard in the mail, and I have won a ticket the Iwasa Misaki Karaoke Party later this month. I’m not sure if this means I didn’t win the ‘Saba Party’ (I sent in applications for both) which was much harder to win. However, I’m just glad I won one of the two major prizes from the 6th single
CK in Tokyo