Akishibu project “Change The World” During Sold Out Akasaka BLITZ Live!
Akishibu project celebrated a triumphant homecoming of sorts when they returned to Akasaka BLITZ, the place where they took the stage for the first time as idols, for their sold out 4th one-man live “Change The World – Mirai wo Yumemiru Bokutachi wa-” on March 22, 2016.
After a series of short announcements by a very excited Hinako Kera, there was a video opening with the sound of crashing waves and the members standing on the seashore, Pachelbel’s “Canon in D” washed in, accompanied by slow motion footage of them as the sun filtered through the cherry blossoms on the trees on a riverbank. Paper hearts fluttered down from the rafters as the members ran onto the stage, greeted by the glow of waving penlights and cyalumes and shouts from their fans.
Leading things off with their beloved song “New World”, any nervousness the members of Akishibu project might have had, melted away as they swung their fists and smiled out at their fans. Metallic streamers shot out from the stage at the beginning of the second song “Manatsu no Serenade” as the members slapped the sides of their shoes to the peppy midtempo rock. The mood jumped up a few more notches with another favorite, “Midaregami Fighting Girl” which was ushered in by a thunderous MIX lead by Emiri Otani and a swift barrage of “Kera” calls for Hinako.
Rocking through “Be yourself” and ending with a triumphant air guitar strum and point toward the heavens, Akishibu project took a short pause to greet the sold out crowd in Akasaka BLITZ. Overflowing with excitement at seeing their biggest audience in their short history, the members vowed to give their all for a performance to remember. Natsumi Ishikawa called attention to their sparkly new outfits from their second mini-album. Hinako joked that she heard a lot of fans saying she was the cutest one.
The music shifted toward the electronic end of Akishibu project’s catalog beginning with “Candid Love” and “Rival”. The fans received a welcome surprise with the return of the last of the previously “sealed” songs “Everyday!”, raising their voices and chanting as the members box-stepped and shook their heads like schoolgirls helplessly in love.
A slide show documenting the various lives and events in Akishibu project’s history played before giving way to archival footage of Yue Miyatani’s appearance at the 2012 Asia Diva Audition before she returned to the stage to talk about the song that had taken her all the way to the finals and lead her to join Akishibu project, “Dear Best Friend”. Despite having song the song “more times than she could count”, perhaps the pressure of performing it on the stage with the other members for the first time was too much to handle as she quickly halted the music and asked to be given a chance to start over. With the tension broken. Yue and the other members showed off the singing ability that they had been diligently working on.
Yue thanked the audience again for listening to a song which had given her so much encouragement and asked them to someday love it as much as she does. The sentimental mood lingered with the first performance of “white” a song with lyrics written for Emiri Otani, who would be graduating from Akishibu project on April 17th. Miiro Taguchi requested that the fans wave white (Emiri’s member color) cyalumes, and a soft glow filled the venue.
Shifting gears immediately, pillars of smoke shot out from the stage and the audience erupted as the members stomped fiercely through “Akishibu Way”. Keeping the pedal to the floor, Akishibu project went right into the next song “Answer”, moving quickly around on the stage and lyrics streaming out of their mouths like a roaring river. Any nerves that Yue had 4 songs earlier were completely gone as she yelled for the fans to get more excited in between belting out her lines and pumping her fist emphatically. As the smoke of battle cleared (figuratively), the futuristic synth melodies of “Change The World” rang out through Akasaka BLITZ. The music dropped out in the middle of the song, Yue and Yuna harmonizing their lines acapella before the beat came back in.
As the others were catching their breath, Hinako announced that Akishibu project would be starting a series of regular lives at Shibuya Mount Ranier Hall in addition to the ones they had already been doing at Twin Box Akihabara. The next announcements came in the form of a video opening with Hinako sobbing while vowing that the group would grow stronger right after Emiri had announced her graduation on March 9, 2016. Dramatic music played as CG images of the 7 members appeared and dates for their next tour flashed on the screen: Tokyo (April 29), Yokohama (May 8), Osaka (May 14), Nagoya (May 15), Fukuoka (May 29), and Tokyo (June 15). However, the biggest news of the night came when it was revealed that Akishibu project’s 5th one-man live would be held at Zepp Tokyo on August 22nd, a venue almost twice the size of Akasaka BLITZ!
After a few moments of reflecting on the heaviness of the announcements as Akishibu project prepared to take on their next set of challenges, Natsumi Ishikawa and Ami Iseki riled up the audience before they closed out the performance. Swinging their arms and whipping their hair to the blocky EDM rhythms of “One”, they began their “last spurt”. Continuing with the cheerful breezy pop of “flower x flower”, Miiro nonchalantly patted Saori Funaki on the head as they sang together. Towels whipped through the air during “Restart”, the members tossing theirs into the audience for some lucky fans at the end. Leading a call and response, the fans were near deafening as they shouted and bounced along to “Kagayaki License”. Individually thanking the audience for helping make the live possible, Akishibu project joined their voices with those of their fans for the last song “Sora no Kanata”.
Returning to the stage after several minutes of encore calls, Akishibu project threw signed balls into the audience while singing the cheerful, chiptune para-para mashup “Love & Paradise”, Saori Funaki softly punting one towards the back of the venue. Taking the customary commemorative picture with the audience behind them, Akishibu put an exclamation point on their historic one-man live with another previously “sealed” song, “Dream in a sea”, Balloons floated down from the balcony as the members and fans shuffled from side to side together.
Akishibu project came a long way since their sold out 2nd one-man live at TSUTAYA O-EAST in January of 2015. They released 2 mini albums, had their first tour, had their first overseas lives in the Philippines and Thailand, and made the seemingly impossible come true as they sold out Akasaka BLITZ. While it may seem daunting that their next step will be doubling their numbers as they aim to fill Zepp Tokyo, based on the amazing growth that Akishibu project has had in just one year, it’s too early to count them out just yet!
Photos by Nathan Gey
01 New World
02 Manatsu no Serenade
03 Midaregami Fighting Girl
04 Be Yourself
05 Candid Love
08 Dear Best Friend
10 Akishibu Way
12 Change The World
14 flower x flower
16 Kagayaki License
17 Sora no Kanata
E1 Love & Paradise
E2 Dream in a sea
Akishibu project Official site : http://akishibup.net/
Akishibu project Official blog: http://lineblog.me/akishibuproject/
Akishibu project Official Twitter: https://twitter.com/AkishibuProject
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