GEM Sparkles Brilliantly During Their 2nd Anniversary Live at Akasaka BLITZ!
GEM celebrated their 2nd anniversary in front of a sold out audience on June 28th at Akasaka BLITZ but, they were already setting their sights on the next goal, the legendary Nippon Budokan.
The World Standard (aka Wa→Suta) was the opening act, kicking up their heels and getting hands clapping to the country-flavored “Chiisana Chiisana” and heating things up with the flamenco-inspired “Lan Lan Jidai”. Because Wa→Suta is actively encouraging the use of social media to increase their popularity, you should be able to find a lot more pictures and videos if you search for #tws_live or #わーすた.
Spotlights at the back of the stage were momentarily obstructed as the 10 members of GEM made their entrance, casting shadows. As the beat dropped on “Girls Entertainment Overture”, GEM sprang into action, taking dance solos as their fans chanted their names. The festive holiday mood which had been set by the classical music, including Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, playing as the audience had begun filing into Akasaka BLITZ, came to its logical resolution as the first song of the afternoon was “Star Shine Story”.
Taking an early break to greet the audience, leader Yuki Kanazawa commented how hot it was just after one song and teased that Maho Iyama had not started crying yet. However, Nana Minamiguchi was the one to become overcome with emotion on this special day while she introduced herself. Kanazawa continued by reminding everyone that it was also the day that GEM was releasing 3 music card singles as a segue into the next song, “Delightful Days”, a cool mid tempo dance number with a floor-stomping beat, aggressive choreography and a spoken solo by Maho.
The mood shifted dramatically with the light jazzy piano and acoustic guitar-driven “Like a Heartbeat” with its free-flowing choreography and the soaring vocals of Chisami Ito and Rana Murakami. Rana and Chisami were joined by Maaya Takeda, Yuu Morioka, and Jurin Kumashiro as they got hands waving to the smooth hip-hop/R & B sounds of “You You You”.
Chisami and Jurin were replaced by Yuki Kanazawa, Maho Iyama, Kako Oguri, and Sara Hirano for the third and final new song, “No Girls No Fun”, an anthemic dance song that switched back and forth between cool and fiery. Maho called out to the fans to raise up their hands, clap along, and jump up and down as the intro to “Do You Believe?” already had them doing so out of habit. The 1st floor standing area was transformed into a sea of penlights as the fans danced along with GEM to the infectious party song, the stage going dark at the end.
When the lights came back on, Chisami and Maaya were the only ones on stage, going back in time to their days as members of w-Street Nagoya with a piano duet arrangement of “Kitto For You!” The other members returned to the stage in shorts and thin hooded zip-up tops, talking about how much things had changed over the past 2 years, poking fun at leader Yuki Kanazawa’s sweaty feet. Eager to change the subject, Kanazawa remarked how much taller everyone had gotten, how many fans had shown up to see GEM, and was the first to express her wish to return to the “birthplace” of the group, the Nippon Budokan.
On that note, Kanazawa introduced GEM’s “starting point” song “Speed up”, to the overjoyed shouts of the fans as it was the first song performed by GEM. Not content to just show how much they improved on their oldest song, a breathtaking dance break was wedged into the middle of it, right before the tempo sped up. The trip down memory lane continued with “Do it Do it” (from the same single), arms chopping through the air and feet gliding across the stage sharply and precisely.
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