(Written in September 2013)
If you know me, you know I basically worship Tsunku and obviously the opportunity to see him perform with Sharan Q was something I wasn’t going to miss. But first things first…
This being my first show in Japan, there was basically one main concern I had before the show: getting drunk. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to get so wasted I don’t remember ever being to the show in the first place (though this has happened before). It’s just that in my experience, a good buzz at a show is crucial to my overall enjoyment of it. It might be silly, but music just sounds better to my ears with a little bit of alcohol in me, you know?
As to why all this was an issue is because alcohol and live shows in Japan was something I really had no prior knowledge of. Obviously bringing your own booze is probably not very well liked anywhere in the world and I wasn’t about to do that, but I didn’t even know if Zepp Nagoya served alcohol in the first place, and if they did, could you buy it throughout the show?
Luckily my worries proved to be unnecessary. I solved this problem by enjoying a couple of pre-show 9% chu-hi I procured from the nearby Seven Eleven, and then a couple of drinks actually inside Zepp. You could indeed buy drinks freely throughout the show, but seeing as there were assigned seats, I timed getting my drinks during breaks so as to cause minimum amount of annoyance to others. In any case, my comfortable buzz was successfully achieved.
The show was around two and a half hours long if my estimates are correct. Here’s a setlist I fished off Google that looks to be pretty accurate:
01. Sonna mon darou
03. My Babe Kimi ga Nemuru Made
04. Medley: Tottemo Merry Go Round / NICE BOY! / Ai Just on my Love / Koi wo Suru Dake Muda Nante / Tokai no Melody / Tomodachi wa Imasu ka?
06. Konna ni Anata wo Aishiteiru no ni
08. Single Bed
-20 minute intermission-
-Taisei corner (Hey! Mr. Obocchama)-
09. Baby! I NEED YOU
10. Osaka Elegy
11. Taxi Driver
12. Ame no Naka
14. Come on! Bokutachi no Mirai
15. Namida no Kage
16. Ramen Daisuki Koike-san
17. Zurui Onna
18. Sora wo Mina yo
20. Power Song
21. Joukyou Monogatari
I’d wondered about Tsunku’s voice a bit beforehand. He’s had trouble with his throat for some years now and there was one TV performance a while ago where his voice sounded particularly rough. His voice really sounded like it was in top form that night though and he didn’t seem to have any issues at any point throughout the show. Hatake’s guitar playing was f’ing amazing, Taisei with his outfits made as little sense as ever, and Makoto with his hat to hide his penis haircut was a cool ass dude.
The setlist mostly consisted of singles and I didn’t have any major gripes with it. For the most part I got to hear all I wanted to. My Babe, Konna ni Anata wo Aishiteiru no ni, Iiwake, Joukyou Monogatari… and I was especially glad to hear Power Song, one of my favorite Beatles-y Sharan Q tunes. Of course there were the Zurui Onna and Single Bed as well (Hatake’s guitar solo on the latter was amazing).
The audience, by the way, was probably around 90% women like you’d expect. It was mostly women in their 30’s and 40’s, but there was a surprising amount of younger women, too. In front of me was what looked like a mom and her 7 or 8-year-old daughter who was rocking out with a glow stick, too.
On the topic of Makoto… he really seemed to have a lot of fans, at least around me. There was especially this one woman who was obviously a hardcore Makoto fan, screaming his name every so often, calling him cute, yelling out references to things he’s written on his blog before… and just being seemingly pretty fucking excited to be witnessing Makoto live, which I thought was cool in a kind of surreal way.
All in all, it was a great show, and really there’s no other band I would’ve rather had been my first show in Japan. And Tsunku — although perhaps his pants weren’t as tight anymore as they were in the 90’s — was just as unnecessarily sexy, manly and good-looking as he’s ever been.
I leave you with one more useless anecdote from the evening. Perhaps my biggest culture shock moment (if you can call it that) so far happened as I was lining up to the men’s toilets during the 20-minute intermission in Sharan Q’s show.
I guess I shouldn’t have let this surprise me seeing as it was Japan and all, and maybe it only caught me off guard me because it was only my third day in the country, but man, I have never seen a line to the toilet as flawless as that one. I joined a group of 30 or 40 guys that proceeded to the toilets in an efficient and organized fashion. I’ve been to many shows in my time, but I don’t think I’ve ever even stood in line to go to the toilet at a show. In Finland it’s always more of a “every man for himself” type of deal with drunk shirtless dudes pushing each other to get in and probably more than half their piss ending up everywhere but the toilet.
Another thing that struck me about that line of guys eager to pee was how damn quiet it was. I’d kind of gotten used to the people staring at me thing already, so as I lined up there before the men’s toilets with the 40 or so other guys, I was surprised when suddenly I noticed I could no longer make eye contact with absolutely anyone. It was almost as if everyone was avoiding each others’ gazes; like we were all ashamed of what we were doing there. No words between anyone were spoken, except for this one guy to let the guy behind him know he could go first.
But all things must pass, and soon enough my bladder had been emptied. As I proceeded back to my seat to watch Sharan Q do their thing, I had to bid farewell to this fine group of Asian men.