Unstoppable UPUPGIRLS (KARI) Blast Through Tokyo Idol Festival 2015!
UPUPGIRLS (KARI) may have had one of the busiest schedules of the first weekend of August during Tokyo Idol Festival 2015. Officially starting at 10:15am on August 1st at the INFO CENTRE and going until the final stage of the event, Idol Summer Jamboree Encore, it was a schedule that would have probably had less athletic groups gasping for air. Here are some highlights of just a small fraction of the appearances they made at Tokyo Idol Festival.
After a busy morning meeting fans and selling gelato, among other things, Hot Stage was the next venue on their list for the first day of Tokyo Idol Festival 2015. Taking the stage to the pulsing beats of their overture, UPUPGIRLS (KARI) jumped right in with the ferocious “Bijo no Yajuu” followed by “Zenryoku! Pump Up!!”, wrists snapping precisely.
As with their Hibiya Yaon concert, the steadily improving new song “Appaare” was accompanied by water pistols, providing some relief against midday temperatures that were like the inside of a sauna.
UPUPGIRLS (KARI) continued with their uptempo fan favorites “Jumper” and “Chopper☆Chopper”, a loud shout of delight running through the Hot Stage tent when Akari Saho’s anticipated “Saho-ban” exploded all over the stage. In case you are not clear what this is, their Instagram is full of examples from other performances (Yatsui Fes, Sunburst Fes, Fukui CHOP, Saga Geils).
UPUPGIRLS (KARI) finished up by knocking out the audience with “Uppercut” but, this was merely a warmup for the group that regularly does 2-hour nonstop lives.
UPUPGIRLS (KARI) were joined by Ciao Bella Cinquetti (formerly known as THE Possible) and You Kikkawa, completing the formation of Team Makenki, allowing them to launch into the encouraging “Mugen, Fly High!!” to keep the sweat flowing.
After brief introductions of all 13 members, “living legend” former Morning Musume member Mari Yaguchi was brought to the stage, receiving a rousing ovation from the audience. Yaguchi joked, when you use the word ‘living legend’, it makes it really difficult for me!” As the title of this rare collaboration was titled “Mari Yaguchi respected by Team Makenki”, there was no lack of adoration given to Yaguchi by the former Hello! Pro Kenshuusei. Manami Arai expressed her admiration for Nozomi Tsuji and Mini Moni. Saki Mori gushed about how much she loved Morning Musume. However, in response to Yaguchi forgetting her name, You Kikkawa jabbed back with some questions about her senior’s current love life. The lively conversation calmed down but the mood heated up with a performance of the Morning Musume. classic “Ren’ai Revolution 21”, one of the most well-known idol songs of the current era.
Ciao Bella Cinquetti took the stage next, launching into a set filled with all upbeat songs, beginning with the aggressive and sexy dance tunes “Gimme Vanilla” and “Do Me Do”.
Leader Robin Shoko Okada asked the audience if anyone else laughed when they first heard about THE Possible changing their name to Ciao Bella Cinquetti earlier in the summer. The live transitioned to the freewheeling ska-punk “Otome! Be Ambitious” and Kanami Morozuka’s cute solo song “Come On! ~Shuyaku wa Watashi da! (Omae mo na!)!~” before coming to an end with “Zenryoku Banzai! My Glory!”, fans waving their arms and singing along.
Due to the sudden graduation of Yurika Akiyama from Ciao Bella Cinquetti on August 10th, here are a few more solo pictures of her taken during the group’s performance at the Hot Stage of Tokyo Idol Festival 2015. She will be missed but, hopefully she is much happier now.
August 1, 2015
10:15am – 10:40am Info Centre Talk – w/ PASSPO
11:00am – 12:00pm Greeting Area
12:50pm – 1:20pm Smile Garden Idol Summer Jamboree: Konatsu Furukawa, Ayano Sato
1:20pm – 1:40pm Tokyo Idol Gelateria: Saki Mori, Minami Sengoku, Manami Arai
2:30pm – 3:00pm Hot Stage Live
3:00pm – 3:15pm Hot Stage Mari Yaguchi respected by Team Makenki
3:40pm – 4:10pm Info Centre Talk
4:45pm – 5:25pm Smile Garden Idol Summer Jamboree Acoustic: Azusa Sekine
6:35pm – 6:50pm Heat Garage Live
8:20pm – 8:35pm My Navi Stage Live
After a second day that was again packed full, including a Sky Stage performance where the members were wearing bikini tops, giving it the feel of a seaside summer festival, UPUPGIRLS (KARI) were still going strong by the time they reached Smile Garden on Sunday evening. As the sky had already set, it was the perfect scene for them to start with “Cylaume”, the 7 different colored pen lights swaying in the darkness.
The scrambling ska-EDM mashup “Appaare” was accented by UPUPGIRLS (KARI) flinging water balloons into the audience to cool them off as the fans danced and rocked back and forth in the thick summer evening air. Some of the water balloons seemed to disintegrate before left the hands of the members, perhaps due to their strength? These were no playful tosses; it was as if UPUPGIRLS (KARI) were trying to reach the people at the very back of the promenade.
The final performance of “Chopper☆Chopper” for the weekend had things getting crazy again, accented by a “Saho-ban” as the crowd bounced like water sizzling on a hot griddle. Just as she delivered her final chop, “Uppercut” began but, UPUPGIRLS (KARI) were far from being on the ropes. Konatsu Furukawa and Akari Saho pumped their fists as if they were attempting to smash down a door. Manami Arai and Ayano Sato shouted for the audience to give them more until the very end.
In less than an hour, UPUPGIRLS (KARI) were back on the Smile Garden stage for Idol Summer Jamboree Encore and less than 24 hours later, they were in Yamaguchi to continue their 47-prefecture tour of Japan. As one of the hardest working and most physically fit groups currently active, when it comes to power, stamina, and excitement, few groups can match UPUPGIRLS (KARI).
August 2, 2015
9:35am – 9:45am Smile Garden Radio Exercise: Akari Saho, Manami Arai
10:35am – 10:45am Sky Stage Live
12:30pm – 1:00pm Greeting Stage
1:55pm – 2:25pm Heat Garage Collaboration Live w/ LinQ
4:10pm – 4:25pm Doll Factory Live
7:15pm – 7:35pm Smile Garden Live
7:30pm – 8:00pm Hot Stage Grand Finale
8:25pm – 8:55pm Smile Garden Idol Summer Jamboree Encore
Photos by Kenji Harada
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