Abs of Steel! Cheeky Parade Perform Intense and Physical Live at Akasaka Blitz!
After spending their spring traveling across Japan and training via their “Cheeky Boot Camp” live house tour, Cheeky Parade was ready to show their gains when they took the stage at “Cheeky Parade LIVE 2015 Cheeky MONSTER～Fukkin Dai-Hokuran-Kai” at Akasaka Blitz on June 28, 2015.
The World Standard (aka Wa→Suta) was the opening act, performing “Doki Doki♡today” and “Inu-Neko. Seishun Massakari” as the audience scrambled to take pictures and video of them. This was followed by a short skit where Hina Nagai, Seran Mizorogi, and Asami Watanabe, dressed in gaudy fluorescent athletic clothes and afro wigs, lead the audience in some aerobics in order to warm-up for the live.
The dramatic pipe organ intro of “SINFONIA 〜Apocalypse of Monster〜” seeped into every crack and open space of Akasaka Blitz as 9 large pictures of the midsections of the members of Cheeky Parade were lowered down from the rafters. As they were introduced, each member took a dance solo. “Check It Out (Heavy Metal version)”, replaced the playful electronic blips of the original with crushing guitars and whipping hair as Cheeky Parade got their fans riled up under the dimly lit stage.
The stage lit up as Cheeky Parade moved right into their popular early song “BUNBUN NINE9′”, the fans chanting the MIX during the long instrumental intro and the members names as they sang their verses and popped and locked through the dance break. The pace slowed slightly with “Tactics” but Cheeky Parade’s angular robotic dance moves were sharp and precise.
Stopping to greet the fans, their usual self introduction was full of new information about the members and a hip-hop dance style. Citing that the name of the live was “Fukkin Dai-Hokuran-Kai” (Abdominal Expo), Yuriya Suzuki pointed to the pictures hanging above the stage and asked the audience how their progress was in working out their abs was, stopping them from attempting to lift up their shirts. Splitting the venue in half, the members lead the fans in a “Cheeky Monster” chant battle, resulting in a deafening roar.
Fists shot skyward and elbows flared out as Cheeky Parade launched into “Kizuna PUNKY ROCK!!” under red stage lights, the audience chanting loudly. Things reached a fever pitch with “C.P.U.!?”, several small mosh pits breaking out on the floor area. Midway through “C.P.U.!?” the music stopped and it was decided that in keeping with the theme of the live, Momoka Kodakari and Mariya Suzuki would do sit-ups while the rest of Cheeky Parade finished the song. Of course, they would be expected to keep singing their parts at the same time. Momoka had her belly patted while it was pointed out that her picture was a drawing and Marin Yamamoto challenged her to show her professionalism by accepting the challenge. Momoka struggled and took several breaks, wearing a pained expression as sweat poured down her face. The back of Mariya’s military shirt was soaked as she stumbled off of the table.
The roles reversed as Momoka’s voice became more powerful with the following song “Challenger” and Mariya continued to wince while attempting to keep up with the modified choreography, which now incorporated additional core-crushing moves. Members slipped offstage during the mid-tempo “Fly Higher”, leaving Yuna Sekine, Mariya and Yuriya Suzuki, Rino Shimazaki, and Momoka Kodakari to spread their wings and get the fans excited with some heated footwork.
Asami Watanabe, Seran Mizorogi, Marin Yamamoto, and Hina Nagai returned to the stage in camouflage for the intense “Dance Anthem” before Rino Shimazaki appeared to test their core strength. Yuriya Suzuki moved a limbo bar across the stage as the four attempted to pass underneath it. With Hina jumping over the bar and Yuriya purposely moving the bar slightly lower for Asami after Rino commented that her breasts were getting in the way, it was an impressive and hilarious break between the songs.
The stage went dark and another short skit, this time featuring Momoka Kodakari and Mariya Suzuki as yellow and red monsters. Mariya sneezed and Momoka’s panel fell to the stage, which escalated to them taking jabs at each other.. Mariya commented that Momoko makes a face like a gorilla sometimes which was met with criticism of how Mariya likes bananas too much. They scampered off stage as a countdown began.
When the countdown hit zero, the stage lights flashed and Cheeky Parade appeared in their new outfits, their right hands pointing to the heavens. Marin Yamamoto sang the opening lines to “M.O.N.ST＠R” a capella, the music kicking in as her finger joined the others. The audience joined in jumping and pointing along with the members as they sang of their dreams to be #1. No matter how much you might have liked the MV for the song, until you have seen it live, you may never fully understand why Cheeky Parade decided to go with a live performance for it. Songs like “M.O.N.ST＠R” are why it is essential to go see a group live. Don’t make excuses, make it happen!
While the members twirled and struck sexy poses to show off their new outfits for the first time on stage, Yuriya explained that it was a more mature look than their previous outfits, and reminded the fans that “M.O.N.ST＠R” was just one song from their double A-side solo being released on July 15th. Using that as a segue, Cheeky Parade performed “Colorful Starlight” for the first time. A pulse-pounding rock song, it was easy for the fans to follow along as they chanted and shouted. The bridge of the song shifted to a more familiar chiptune-esque electronic sound accompanied by a formation dance breakdown before switching back. Once the fans hear it a few more times and figure what to do, expect “Colorful Starlight” to become another exciting song in Cheeky Parade’s intense lives.
The fans got even louder as the intro for “Mugendai Shojo ∀” followed, dancing along and calling out to one of the group’s most energetic songs. Cheeky Parade pointed to their fans as the crowd rocked from side to side to “Together”. Mariya Suzuki reminded them that it was the second half of the concert and that if they didn’t use their voices, it would soon be too late before enthusiastically singing her lines. The floor shook as fans jumped up and down to “Cheeky Dreamer” and “Cheeky Fighter”. Often idols will ask the audience to become one with them during the performance; this was one of those moments. Waving their arms like an ouendan (Japanese cheerleading quad), it became difficult to tell who was giving energy to whom as the air became electrified.
Cheeky Parade ended the 6-song nonstop set with the epic 7-minute long “CANDY POP GALAXY BOMB”, Momoka Kodakari and Mariya Suzuki holding hands as they sang the opening lines. The members tapped Rino Shimazaki on the shoulders as she delivered her frantic lines and Asami pretended to collapse after her own rapid fire solo. Yuna Sekine, Marin Yamamoto, and Yuriya Suzuki provided a calming element with their soaring vocals but it’s difficult to really say that any one member played just one part as “CPGB” might be a song that most purely displays the individual personalities and versatility of Cheeky Parade. As if that wasn’t enough, they threw signed balls into the audience! As a further show of appreciation to all the fans who had assembled at Akasaka Blitz and watching across the world on Nico Nama, Cheeky Parade ended the main performance with “HAPPY DAYS”.
The encore began with a rare performance of “Zettai! Love Magic”, a song from Cheeky Parade’s days as Street-sei (iDOL Street trainees) and the audience came alive, powered by nostalgia and adrenaline. Yuna Sekine delivered a heartfelt thanks to the fans while acknowledging that their continued support would be important for them to keep climbing their way to the top. The evening came to a close with another performance of “M.O.N.ST＠R” which was possibly even more emotionally charged than the first time. Tears began to mix with sweat as the members lost themselves in the moment, singing about their aspirations while looking out at their fans cheering them on. Mariya Suzuki fought back sobs as she struggled to keep singing and dancing.
Cheeky Parade’s summer is just beginning with Girls Street EXPO 2015 on July 12th, release events for “M.O.N.ST＠R/Colorful Starlight” beginning on July 15th, SEKIGAHARA IDOL WARS 2015 on July 20th and Tokyo Idol Festival and a-nation performances just down the road at the beginning of August. It will be exciting to how much more they become capable of as they continue their journey to the top.
00 SINFONIA 〜Apocalypse of Monster〜
01 Check It Out (Heavy Metal version)
02 BUNBUN NINE9′
04 Kizuna PUNKY ROCK!!
07 Fly Higher
08 Dance Anthem
10 Colorful Starlight
11 Mugendai Shojo ∀
13 Cheeky dreamer
14 Cheeky Fighter
15 CANDY POP GALAXY BOMB!!
16 HAPPY DAYS
E1 Zettai! Love Magic (Remix)
Cheeky Parade Official site (English): http://www.cheekyparade.jp/cheeky_en/
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