PASSPO☆ Take Historic Flight at Tokorozawa Aviation Memorial Park!
PASSPO☆ climbed high above the clouds for the finale of their 2016 “Mirai Sayuu Tour” at Tokorozawa Kouku Kinen Koen (Tokorozawa Aviation Memorial Park) on November 19, 2016! More than 7 years from their very first flight (performance) on November 17, 2009, not even bone-chilling rainy weather would stop them from reaching new heights.
Petit PASSPO☆ was the opening act, getting the passengers (PASSPO☆ fans) and supporters (Petit PASSPO☆ fans) warmed up with “Samurai Girl”, “Ultra Samba”, and “Kekka Alright! Que Sera Sera!”.
Following the preflight announcement by captain Ai Negishi (Aipon), the roar of PASSPO☆’s overture filled the outdoor amphitheater, the passengers rising to their feet, waving their penlights and chanting along. Walking onto the stage, Shiori Mori (Morishi) and Anna Tamai (Anya) pulling rolling suitcases behind them, PASSPO☆ began taxiing down the runway with “Shojo Hikou”.
Continuing to ascend through the troposphere, PASSPO☆ began meal service early with “HONEY DISH”, Natsumi Iwamura (Nachu) and Yukimi Fujimoto (Yukkii) boosting Mio Masui (Miomio) in the air like a bursting popcorn kernel and the rest of the crew grilling up imaginary hotcakes.
Making their first inflight announcement, Aipon proudly informed the passengers that the flight had sold out, sending the rest of the crew into a small celebration. Miomio jumped in the air before being thrown to the ground by Anya almost as soon as she landed. Changing their usual self-introductions to play up to any Tokorozawa locals, there was definitely an air of playfulness in the cockpit, Morishi and Anya drumming Yukkii’s backside as she greeted the audience. Aipon also vented her frustration that Saturday was the only day of the week which had rain in the weather forecast, making for some chilling conditions, especially for an outdoor stage in the middle of a park. Pointing out the “happy stage” in front of the main stage, the crew deliberated as to what it might be like until Anya jumped down to it before cooly commenting that there was nothing particularly different about it.
Picking up their towels, ones made special for the tour, PASSPO☆ assembled at the happy stage, moving closer to the swirling sea of terrycloth and penlights as they rolled down the tracks with “LALALOVE TRAIN”.
Moving immediately from the railways to the vacuum of outer space as Naomi Anzai (Naomin) called out to the passengers to get more excited as she engaged the warp drives of “Cosmic You”.
Switching on their penlights, PASSPO☆ gave first time passengers a quick review on the unique personalities of their crew with the self-introduction song “7’s Up”, running up and down the steps of the amphitheater to be surrounded by the glow of their colors.
Band PASSPO☆ showed off the results of their practicing in preparation for their up coming 2nd one-man live at Shinjuku BLAZE on December 24th as they launched into a noticeably improved performance of “WANTED!!”. An audible “ooooh” of acknowledgment swept through the audience as Naomin smoothly picked through the song’s spiky guitar intro. It should come as no surprise that Nachu’s tambourine work was on a completely different level of perfection.
Riding waves of clapping hands through “Candy Room” and shuffling through “Mr. Wednesday” everything seemed to be going fine until they hit some turbulence at the beginning of “Itazura Rock’n’Roll”, possibly thrown off by the intro playback. Halting the song immediately before the song derailed any further, PASSPO☆ reset and promptly had fists pumping and feet stomping along to the anthemic tune on the second go around. Finishing up with “Love Refrain” the new song written for them by Silent Siren, it was quite apparent that in a very short time, Band PASSPO☆ had undergone tremendous growth.
Aipon explained that it was their first time to perform at Tokorozawa Aviation Memorial Park (a venue which seemed perfect for a group with a theme of sky travel) due to a lot of venues disappearing in the construction leading up to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and the tight booking of other outdoor stages. In a rare turn of events, “Perfect Sky”, the single where PASSPO☆ first picked up their instruments, was given the “dance version” treatment. Anya and Morishi belted out the intro to 「I」, firing up the afterburners as the passengers thrashed along to the emotional punk rock guitars.
The ascent continued as PASSPO☆ kept the aggressive tone going with “Next Flight”, spreading their arms like wings and kicking the air. Sounds of thunder rumbling returned as the ominous dark metal of “WING” rained down, the flight tossing about as it accelerated through “BABY JUMP ~ Tengoku he no Toujou-bin~”.
Following the quick succession of heavy tunes, Aipon asked the passengers if all that thrashing around made them forget about the cold. From there, the flight began banking towards the destination runway, taking on a lighter cuter tone, beginning with “Material Girl”. Anya ran over to the side of the stage, picking up a megaphone and startling Nachu with it, opening the floodgates on further antics to come.
Quickening pulses with “Kucha Love”, the members made a giant heart shape with their arms and Naomin planting a kiss on Miomio’s cheek after her solo.
The volume continued to rise at the passengers called out along to the popular “Pretty Lie”, PASSPO☆ shuffling and swaying across the stage.
CO2 poured forth from the corners of the stage, creating a dreamlike haze to fill the amphitheater for “TRACKS”, Miomio crossing herself before leapfrogging over the backs of Nachu and Yukkii, adding a bit of whimsy to a song that still carries with it the memory of graduated member Makoto Okunaka.
Up next was “Bachelorette wa Owaranai”, PASSPO☆’s song of passionate determination to keep living their lives as performers regardless of what changes lie ahead, Aipon playing the part of a blushing bride to be as the rest of the crew formed an archway for her to run through.
Circling for their final approach, “Fairy Tale”, a song which Anya explained that the crew had always wanted to perform outside (just as they had at Yoyogi Park in May), brought with it more clouds of CO2, this time reflecting the stage lights in the early evening air.
Returning for the encore, Morishi pretended to shoot an an imaginary machine gun, the passengers pretending to die. Yukkii commented that it might have been the first time PASSPO☆ had people do a wave during a flight. For “Gimme Gimme action”, Miomio almost stole the show as she was lifted up and crawled around on the stage just like the baby she plays in the MV.
Announcements included a reminder about Band PASSPO☆ at Shinjuku BLAZE on Christmas Eve, a new tour to begin in January with Band PASSPO☆ as well as PASSPO☆ performances in the same day, and “low cost flights” to begin in February. However, the last announcement was so “big” that Naomin ran to the middle of the audience before proudly revealing that they would be performing at the soon to be reopened Nippon Seinenkan on September 9th. Anya again celebrated the good news by throwing someone to the ground, grabbing Nachu and just missing Miomio who was just out of her reach.
Riding high on the excitement, a wave of energy seemed to wash over the venue as soon as PASSPO☆ began “STEP & GO” to continue the encore. Some passengers got a up close and personal view of Anya and Nachu’s usual antics as the two members wandered off to the side of the stage and into the aisles. Naomin and Yukkii joined in on the craziness in their own way, playing a game of bull and matador on the main stage.
After playfully reprimanding the mischievous members, Aipon commented that the name of the tour must have had people speculating about possible big changes for PASSPO☆ before asking if the passengers though it was cool that they were a group that could play instruments as well as sing and dance. Receiving a hearty affirmative, she thanked everyone for coming out to Saitama to see them once again.
Picking up their instruments one last time, PASSPO☆ put an exclamation point on the day with “Let It Go!!”, their indies era debut single, accompanied by the sound of cyalumes cracking. The passengers in the front rows held up 7 different colored sheets of paper to make a rainbow and letters spelling out PASSPO☆ 7th Anniversary. While they were able to power through the song, the emotion of the moment was pretty overwhelming as the usually tough Anya was unable to face forward as the tears smudged her makeup. Assured that everyone was in a similar state, she joined the others as they posed for a commemorative photo taken my Omoka Chiba from Petit PASSPO☆. As they have done at the end of their flights for a while, they took their final bow, the passengers joining hands and mirroring their actions.
With the departures of Makoto Okunaka (January 2015) and Sako Makita (December 2015), PASSPO☆ had been flying through some turbulent skies for a while but, it seems that the journey since the announcement of their re-debut with Nippon Crown during their 6th anniversary has reached a peak. It’s rare to see a group dig deep and bounce back from adversity like PASSPO☆ has so it should be exciting to see where they go in 2017 and beyond.
Photos by Kenji Harada
01 Shojo Hikou
02 HONEY DISH
03 LALALOVE TRAIN
04 Cosmic You
05 7’s Up
07 Candy Room
08 Mr. Wednesday
09 Itazura Rock’n’Roll
10 Love Refrain
11 Perfect Sky
13 Next Flight
15 BABY JUMP ~ Tengoku he no Toujou-bin~
16 Material Girl
17 Kucha LOVE
18 Pretty Lie
20 Bachelorette wa Owaranai
21 Fairy Tale
E1 Gimme Gimme action
E2 STEP & GO
E3 Let It Go!!
PASSPO☆ Official site: http://passpo.jp/
PASSPO☆ Official Twitter: https://twitter.com/passpo_staff
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