Airi Suzuki Returns to the Spotlight in Electrifying Solo Live Debut
After 15 years of growing into a veteran idol, Airi Suzuki stepped out of the spotlight and into another. This time she wasn’t surrounded by the other members of her former group ℃-ute—she stood by herself on stage but her presence was enough for the 4,200 fans in the audience.
From April 9 to 10 2018, Airi held a solo live concert “Airi Suzuki 1st LIVE ～Do me a favor @Zepp Tokyo～” at Zepp Tokyo in Odaiba. For many fans it was an occasion to celebrate because their longtime idol had returned to the stage after almost a year of preparing for her solo debut. By the second night, goods were running out but the excitement at the venue were only increasing.
The opening VTR, featuring the many faces of Airi, lit up the stage and stirred the atmosphere into an excited frenzy before leaping into the opening riff of the first song. Airi appeared in a glittery pink jacket and a blue guitar, welcomed by the fans’ deafening cheers. Together with her band, she kick-started the live with “Mikansei Girl”, a track from her upcoming solo album “Do Me A Favor” to be released in June 2018. The high of the first song carried over into the next as she continued with “Candy Box” from the same album. It was indeed like opening a candy box on stage, as pastel pop effects burst around the bright-eyed Airi. Without pause she rolled right into the next rock number, “Kirai Suki Daikirai”, a song from her former unit Buono!.
Airi then finally took a breath greet the fans in her first MC, welcoming everyone to another night of non-stop fun. She explained that the live would be centered around the band side of her repertoire, and trusted the fans to follow along. Wrapping up the MC, she told the fans she wanted to cheer on everyone who’d worked hard during the day and introduced the next song “Iinjyanai”. The live seamlessly transitioned into its more sentimental segment, drawing the audience in with its soulful melody and Airi’s masterful change in expression. It then took on a nostalgic turn with “Aa Koi” and “Urahara”, old songs by ℃-ute and Buono! respectively.
For the next MC Airi introduced her band members, letting the fans get to know them and call them by their nicknames. Their playful interaction on stage was a testimony to their camaraderie, and it was heartwarming to see everyone having fun as they made music together. The band then launched into the acoustic set, and Airi took off her jacket before launching into an acoustic version of “Bagel ni Ham & Cheese”. The fans clearly enjoyed this mellow rendition of the ℃-ute song. It made the atmosphere relaxing and casual, so much so that Airi occasionally tinkered on a miniature piano on stage and started a clapping game to the children’s song “Alps Ichiman Jaku”. The rest of the acoustic medley continued with “Saikou Music” and “Baketsu no Mizu”.
The next song entailed a unique presentation: a yakiniku (grilled meat) setup on stage. Airi first explained the background of the lyrics she had written herself, talking about the fantasies of a hopeful girl in love sitting next to a boy while eating yakiniku together. Titled “Watashi no Migi Gawa” (“My Right Side”), she acted out the part as she sat in front of the yakiniku set while singing. With a camera by her side, the audience could well imagine themselves sitting next to Airi. When the performance finished, there was a sudden announcement of dessert—a birthday cake rolled out onto stage to the surprise of Airi, who had apparently forgotten it was her 24th birthday the next day. Together with the band, the fans sang her happy birthday as she blew out the candles before taking a commemorative photo with everyone.
After the exciting surprise, the venue simmered into a heartfelt atmosphere as Airi sang “Kimi no Suki na Hito”, a song that expressed the bittersweet emotions of unrequited feelings. At the end of it she lightened up the mood, joking with the fans that it probably made them want to experience a one-sided love. She continued wearing her heart on her sleeve as she performed “#DMAF”, for which she had also written the lyrics. This track was the result of her desire to express her gratitude to her fans whose support had helped her. She then sang “OVER THE RAINBOW”, walking out onto the runway and waving to the fans. Starry lights twinkled across the ceiling above Airi and the audience, creating the atmosphere of a tender night under the stars.
With that, Airi moved the concert back into high energy mode. As she scuttled off stage for a brief moment, a video played on screen in which Airi explained the next song. “No Live, No Life” been written specially for the occasion, and playfully celebrated the fun of going to a concert. The video broke down the various chants to go along with the song, requesting the fans to accompany her in the performance. Airi then burst back onto stage, and immediately amped up the audience with the energetic song. Both she and the fans went all out as they sang and chanted together in perfect harmony. The thrill didn’t stop there as Airi segued straight into a medley of Buono! songs, including “So La Ti Do ~Nee nee~”, “Rottara Rottara” and “Independent Girl”. Reminiscent of her Buono! days, rocker Airi was out in full force as she hoisted a huge flag and brought the house down with “As ONE” and “STORY”.
The lights dimmed as she left the stage, and the audience promptly took over as they began chanting her name for the encore. Zepp Tokyo glowed with pink and green lights, and the anticipation the legendary idol had aroused. Airi returned to the stage with the climax on her lips, her famous opening line from “Hatsukoi Cider” reverberating through the hushed venue. The song then sky-rocketed back to full volume and the concert jumped back into a deafening roar.
In the final MC Airi, giddy with the thrill of the past two hours, thanked the fans for their cheers and reiterated how much fun it had been from the beginning to the end. With that last word, she wound up the concert with “Yes! All my family” and “Tsuugaku Vector”, one of her earliest solo songs from her ℃-ute days.
The concert ended full of vim and vigor, much like Airi who had electrified the stage with her phenomenal vocal prowess. From the classic crowd-pleasers to the highly-awaited new songs, Airi’s first live was also the first of her powerful debut. It was yet another side of the idol that the fans could enjoy—the concerts in Hello! Project had been choreographed to slick synchronization with her fellow performers, while this one-man live saw her simply having fun with everyone who had come. Thus her solo career began with wild success, full of promise for the future.
“Airi Suzuki 1st LIVE ～Do me a favor @Zepp Tokyo～”
01 Mikansei Girl
02 Candy Box
03 Kirai Suki Daikirai
05 Aa Koi
07 Acoustic Medley
07-01 Bagel ni Ham & Cheese
07-02 Alps Ichiman Jaku
07-03 Saikou Music
07-04 Baketsu no Mizu
08 Watashi no Migi Gawa
09 Kimi no Suki na Hito
11 OVER THE RAINBOW
12 No Live，No Life
13 Hikari no Hou e
14 So La Ti Do〜Nee nee〜
15 Rottara Rottara
16 Independent Girl〜Dokuritsu Joshi de Aru Tame ni〜
17 As ONE
E01 Hatsukoi Cider
E02 Yes！all my family
E03 Tsuugaku Vector
Airi Suzuki 1st LIVE ～Do me a favor @Nippon Budokan～
July 9, 2018 (Monday)
Open – 5:30pm Start – 6:30pm
Nippon Budokan (Tokyo)
Airi Suzuki official site: http://www.airisuzuki-officialweb.com/
Airi Suzuki Youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/c/airisuzukich/
Airi Suzuki blog: https://ameblo.jp/airisuzuki-officialblog
Airi Suzuki Twitter: https://twitter.com/airimania
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