Posts Tagged ‘tokyo clears’

Concerts, Tokyo CLEARS Tokyo CLEARS One-Man Live; Sawabe Rion Birthday Show at Shibuya Club Glad (2018/05/12)

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After not attending Rion’s last two birthday shows, I really wanted to go to this one. In my defense, the first one I missed had a 10K yen admission, but last year’s I just skipped. When the details of the live came out, I immediately made a reservation. Rion is one of my all-time favorite idols, and I wanted to finally pay my proper respects on her special day.

I headed to Shibuya early. Since the show was basically going on all afternoon, I wanted to have lunch before I went to the venue. Originally I wanted to try the new Fatburger in the old 109 Men’s Store (People from LA should know about that burger place, or fans of Kuromochi Asuka, LOL) But I wasn’t in the mood for a heavy burger, so I had something lighter. Shibuya Club Glad is in the Dogenzaka neighborhood of Shibuya, right next to a bunch of music clubs. Tsutaya O-East, Tsutaya O-Crest, Club Asia, Club Vuenos, Womb, Duo Music Exchange are all within a block of there. I got there around 20 minus before doors, and there was a small line down the hill. Eventually I was joined by David, who saw this group for the first time the previous evening. Eventually the doors opened, so we headed in.

They charged 100 yen more than what my reservation said, but whatever. Once inside the small lobby, they were selling “premium chekis” which are basically single off-shot chekis the girls took. They are 1000 yen a piece, but you get a discount for buying multiples. There was also a flower/balloon stand for Rion’s birthday, which I took a shot of, but it was really dark in the lobby. It didn’t seem like they were selling cheki/handshake tickets yet, so we just headed inside to grab a spot.

The venue has a small floor standing area, and then two upper standing areas. The top level was reserved for VIPs and staff. I saw CLEAR’S Smile up there and a couple other idol-looking girls, and I believe Rion’s mom was up there somewhere, but I think she was lurking in the shadows. Since the floor wasn’t really packed at all, David and I stood at the back against the railing. Ultimately this was a good idea since the fans really went crazy during the show.

The show

This was the first time I had ever seen Tokyo CLEAR’S do a full 2-hour live. Normally I see them where they perform for maybe 30 minutes, a couple of times 45 minutes. I must say that their “full show” was incredibly fun. It was filled with cute VTRs, funny skits, costume changes, and they played pretty much all of their known songs.

One of the funniest parts was when they played the VTR of Rion’s friends wishing her a happy birthday. What was interesting was how many of her friends are parents. There were a few who appeared with their children. Rion is also friends with a couple of AKB48 members, but none of them appeared on the VTR. Later they played another VTR of people wishing her a happy birthday, except Rion didn’t know who any of them were. She kept saying “Dare???? Dare???” It turned out the girls went around Tokyo finding random people to wish her a Happy Birthday. One guy even sang a song about her, LOL.

One weird thing happened during the show. As I mentioned, the floor wasn’t packed at all, but there was a girl standing in front of me who during the show kept creeping backwards to the point where she was almost in my lap. I mean she had like 4 feet in front of her, why she was standing 2 inches in front of me I do not know. I was beginning to get a bit frustrated because she was blocking me from rushing the front of the stage when Rion had her solo lines. Eventually I decided the heck with it, and nudged her out of the way to head to the stage. When I came back, 1) the girl smiled at me and nodded, and 2) I noticed she was actually kinda cute. Okay, so I guess I won’t mind if she wants to watch the show in my lap, LOL. Actually, she gave me a little bit of space after that.

The first skit they did was the members having to do various manomane on command from messages on the screen. However, the second skit was this sort of pantomime of the members being on a baseball team, and Rion’s struggles to become a good hitter, done to the song Fuite Fuite. It was really random, but still funny.

The birthday part was kind of low key, she received flowers, a cake, and she made a little speech. She started to get teary at one point, but the entire group dynamic is so goofy that she snapped out of it fairly quickly. When the show ended David and I went back to the lobby to get cheki and handshake tickets. I also took a look at the shirts they had for sale, but the only shirts they had in my size were Ruka and Rin’s old birthday shirts, which I wasn’t interested in. So next time…

Chekis/Handshakes

They had one queue for Rion, and one queue for all the other members. I was around 15th in line, but wasn’t in any hurry. I also purchased a gift for Rion from LUSH, along with a small note in Japanese. So I was excited to give that to her as well. The members were all wearing their ‘Ninjin’ pajama tops, which was the last costume they wore for the encore. BTW, Rion pointed out that she is not really a fan of carrots, but they bought those just because she is the ‘orange’ member. Anyway, I wished Rion a happy birthday and gave her the gift. While she was signing the cheki I told her how I knew David, since the girls were all intrigued by him from the previous show. Rion thanked me for coming and again asked me to come back soon. She had a long line, which by this time had stretched out into the lobby. So she was kind of restricted on time. (You get a minute, but sometimes she’ll go longer) I waved goodbye and headed out of the club after finally getting by requisite ‘one-drink’ that I paid for at the door.

I must say this has me wanting to see more of their ‘one-man’ live events. So I will probably be watching their performance calendar with that in mind going forward.

CK in Tokyo

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Events, KissBee, Tokyo CLEARS Hisashiburi CLEARS, Hisashiburi KissBee! (2018/03/26-29)

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It had been quite a while since I had last seen Tokyo CLEARS and KissBee perform.  I last saw KissBee in early December, just before I headed to California for the holidays.  For CLEARS, it had been much longer.  almost eight months.  It’s unfortunate since I really adore Rion from CLEARS, and I had developed quite the rapport with Tanifuji Misaki from KissBee.  But such is life, when I decided I needed to curtail my idol spending.  Indie idols were the first casualty.  That said…

This week I noticed that 1) CLEARS was doing some free lives in support of their debut album, and KissBee had just started promoting their own debut album.  So here were some chances to visit these groups without a big admission layout, see a performance, and talk with the members for the cost of a CD.  I was in.  First up, CLEARS…

Tokyo CLEARS at Shinseido Sunshine City, and Naka-Meguro Club Try

I actually went to two different CLEARS events for their new album, “We Are CLEARS”.  The first one was on Monday at Sunshine City in Ikebukuro, where they were doing an in-store live along with Gunma CLEARS.  They had two events scheduled, at 5pm and 7pm.  I didn’t think there was any way I could make it to the early show, which was fine.  However, I arrived earlier than expected, and was actually there by the time the live was just ending and the handshake event was starting.  But I decided to stay hidden, and just wait for the later show.

I came back around 6:20pm, and was checking out the rules/benefits of the event, when all of a sudden the door to the dressing room opened, and out came Rion.  Her manager had their dinner.  Rion immediately spotted me, and completely lit up.  “Kurisuuu!”  Rin Asahina also came out to see what the commotion was, and waved to me.  Anyway, my next stop was to do the preorder, but I didn’t understand the benefits at all.  They were quite confusing, and looked like you had to buy multiple copies of the same version, and some video shooting.  I was like “Screw that, I’m not buying five albums just to do benefits.  The people at the cash register were kind of confused too, and went to ask the group manager manager.  Ultimately what the chart didn’t say was that you could still do normal benefits with the purchase of one or two CDs, like chekis and handshakes and whatnot.  So I preordered the limited version, and got three tickets.  I was ready to go.

It was 7pm, and there were literally like eight fans standing there.  WTF?  So I got a spot front and center.  Since there were so few people, nobody was really doing any calls.  Just clapping.  At one point I started calling for Rion, and she pointed her microphone toward me.  The crowd did fill in a bit as the show went on, then some random foreigner came fumbling into the live with her camera raised, and they had to stop her.  Later there were a group of little kids who came by, and we cleared the front of the stage for them to dance along.  It was very cute.  They stayed for the entire rest of the show.

I had three tickets, which I was going to use for a signed cheki with Rion, and an unsigned cheki with Sayuri.  Rion was going on and on about how she missed seeing me, which I also repeated back to her.  I really did miss her, possibly more than any of the other idols I hadn’t seen in a while.  I also mentioned that I sometimes have a hard time figuring out when and where they are appearing, and it was mainly because I saw her tweet that morning that I was there.

Sayuri was a lot more opportunistic.  When I mentioned that I came for the release event, she immediately asked when I would come again, and mentioned the actual release event on Wednesday.  She made me pinky-promise to come.  I remembered reading that it was only 1000 yen to get in, so I was like “Sure, I’ll come.  It is fairly close to where I will be anyway.”

Fast forward to Wednesday…

I had a couple hours to kill before the live, so I went to Devilcraft to grab a couple of quick pints.  I stayed a little longer than expected, and was rushing to get over to Naka-Meguro in time for the show.  It was odd though, I had never seen this many people on the Hibiya Line all the way to the end.  It wasn’t until I got there that I realized why…

It turns out that Naka-Meguro is a huge Hanami-Sakura Viewing spot, since the river cuts right through the middle of the area.  So there were tons of people pouring in and out of the station.  I finally made it out, and tried to figure out where Club Try was, which I had only been to once before.  It took me about five minutes to figure out I went in the wrong direction, and had to backtrack through the huge crowd to the other side of the station.  I was worried that I was going to miss the beginning of the show, arriving at 7:02.  I got upstairs, and paid my admission.  Luckily, I misread the time.  It didn’t begin until 7:15.  there were still a few seats left, so I grabbed one in the third row, but not before buying the regular version of the CD.  This would afford me a signed cheki with Rion, and mean that I had one of each CD version.

This show featured four of the CLEARS groups.  Tokyo CLEARS, who I was there to see.  Then you had Gunma CLEARS and CLEARS SMILE!, neither of which really grab me.  Then there was Chiba CLEARS, who I had never seen before.  OMG…

The girls in Chiba CLEARS were adorable.  All of them.  I was watching them, deciding which one I wanted to meet, but I was having trouble deciding.  There were like four of them I liked, including their brand new chibi member, LOL.  Each group did two songs in the live, and then appeared all together at the end.  As they were setting up for the handshake event, I went and grabbed my prerequisite drink.  I also went to check out Chiba CLEARS’ system.  (All the groups have their own sales tables)  They weren’t selling the CD, they were doing a preorder for something else.  I had no idea what it was, and didn’t feel like spending any more cash, so I will have to meet Chiba CLEARS another time.  I went to line up for Rion…

I still had a slight buzz from all the beer I drank earlier, so I boldly decided to tell Rion that I had checked out some of her old gravure work that was on YouTube.  This stuff is all from about 8-10 years ago, before she was in Ebisu Muscats.  I confirmed that she was a teenager when she did most of those gravure DVDs.  Anyway, I told her that she was a very cute teen.  She said she hoped to see me again soon, and I was on my way.  I went to do a little Sakura viewing on my own before getting back on the train for home.

KissBee at Village Vanguard, SkyTree

It has been a while since I have posted her about KissBee.  Actually, I was getting ready to do a post in December about all the release events for their last single, but I got sidetracked by the holidays, and ultimately never wrote it.  I prefer going to their CD events since they are usually free, as opposed to their non-release events, which usually cost upwards of 3000 yen to get in.  Since this is an album promotion, I probably won’t be going to too many events.  In fact, they have already been promoting the CD for a couple weeks, and this was the first event I had been to.  It was quit convenient though, since I had an appointment near SkyTree, it was easy for me to come over after I was done.

 

KissBee’s new album is called “Pop Honeycomb.”  And like CLEARS, there are two versions, although both versions are the same price.  I got there over two hours early, and the shop hadn’t even started setting up for the show.  So I went over to the food court and got an early dinner at Gindaco.  After wandering around for a while, I headed back to the venue, and saw that the regular fans had already camped out their front spots.  Which reminds me, a small rant…

Back when Wasamin first started her solo career, I noticed that many of her big fans often stayed in the back of the venue when she had events.  Eventually I asked them why, and they said because they are already big fans, and see her all the time, they would rather let newer fans have those spots, so hopefully they become big fans of her too.  I have always taken that philosophy to heart, and usually stay out of the first few rows at Wasamin events.  So I have to be honest, when I see these KissBee fans ALWAYS taking these spots, never allowing anyone else to be in the first row, it kinda rubs me the wrong way.  I once mentioned this to one of the KissBee fans (not one of the front row guys) and he seemed surprised to hear me say it, but he understood.  Anyway…

The other big change is that two of the members seemed to have left the group.  Well, I’m not sure if they left, or are on hiatus, but they are not promoting the CD, aren’t on the cover, and aren’t even listed on the website anymore.  This includes my #2 KissBee girl, Maeda Reon.  I knew Maeda was on hiatus, since I read her Twitter.  I asked what her current status was, and they said she is still considered on hiatus.  I feel badly about that, but it makes things easy for me, as I will focus all my attention on Misaki.

Another interesting issue, this particular Village Vanguard has a history of being over-regulating when it comes to idol events.  In fact, it makes me wonder why they have these events at all.  Fans aren’t allowed to do “calls,” they demand the volume of the music be kept down to a surprising low level, so “not to inconvenience other shoppers,” and they try to stuff everyone into this tiny little space, regardless of the amount of people there.  Luckily, this time they allowed the music to be at more acceptable levels.

It was the usual KissBee live, four songs with a couple of MCs, then it was time for 2-shots and handshakes…oh and the high touch, which is free for everyone.  They weren’t offering the group cheki at this event, but they DID offer a shamekai option, which I suggested to them before.  “Why not give a choice to the fans, and shamekai don’t require you to use any film.”

Anyway, I took a cheki with Misaki-chan, and then later lined up for a handshake, and to have her sign the cheki.  As usual, Misaki had the longest line, and I was toward the back of it, but I eventually got my turn.  She had asked why I hadn’t been around, and I explained that I had cut back on idol events for financial reasons, but I did enjoy their CD promotions, so I would come to a few of those.  I also mentioned that I liked her new hairdo, and the bangs looked really cute on her.  BTW, I also like the album costumes.  To be honest, I thought their costumes for the last two singles looked cheap and ugly.  These are definitely an upgrade.

And that was it.  I had a busy weekend planned with all the 48-group Saitama Super Arena concerts, which I will talk about in my next post.

CK in Tokyo 

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