Cheeky Parade Celebrate 4th Anniversary With an Explosive Performance at Shinjuku BLAZE!
Cheeky Parade returned to Shinjuku BLAZE to celebrate their 4th anniversary with a live on February 20, 2016. Having filled the same venue in September of 2012 to win their hard-earned major label debut, Cheeky Parade showed off just how much they had grown since then with a performance that left no doubt that they are “The Greatest Nine9′”!
Yuriya Suzuki playfully scolded the fans to not try and stand out more than Cheeky Parade, a subtle reference to their early days when things were much wilder, as she ran through the announcements on the PA system before the show started.
The lights dimmed and a single drum beat rang out and Cheeky Parade’s intro music, “SINFONIA 〜Apocalypse of Monster〜” with its Wagneresque (“Ride of the Valkyries”) melody reverberated through Shinjuku BLAZE. Marching onto the stage, Hina Nagai, Marin Yamamoto, Mariya Suzuki, Seran Mizorogi, and Asami Watanabe popped and locked to a military beat as a robotic voice recited their names, joined moments later by Yuriya Suzuki, Rino Shimazaki, Momoka Kodakari, and Yuna Sekine. The music sped up, Cheeky Parade pumping their fists and clapping their hands against their forearms as the audience shook their penlights and called out their names.
Cheeky Parade lead off with their new single “SKY GATE”, the members taking their positions on the stage as lasers cut through the darkness. In the few short weeks since debuting the song, their performance of it had grown a lot more dynamic and focused.
Yuria called out to the audience enthusiastically as Cheeky Parade transitioned into “Kizuna PUNKY ROCK!!”. Asami and Seran jump kicked across the stage and the rest of the members pumped their fists and chanted to get things heated up even more. Gliding across the stage and chopping their arms in quick snappy movements, the fans mirrored the actions with their penlights.
Thrusting out hands in the rock pose, Cheeky Parade kept the accelerator floored with the upbeat and infectious “Colorful Starlight”. The fans bounced up and down as Cheeky Parade kicked up their feet like a chorus line and waved their arms like fan-wielding gogo dancers at Juliana’s during the extravagant “bubble era” of Japan’s early 1990’s.
The music kept going as Cheeky Parade danced through their self-introductions set to a hip-hop beat. Fans threw out kechas as the intro for “Mugendai Shojo ∀” began to play and joined their voices together to begin its unique MIX. Receiving the overwhelming release of power from the audience as they continued to call out and dance along with them, Cheeky Parade seemed to answer as their movements sharpened vocals grew stronger as the song progressed. The cute and girly “Kataomoi Factory” kept pulses racing as Cheeky Parade bounced around on the stage, shaking their hips and singing out “chu chu” (kiss kiss). Fans whooped when Mariya shouted out “Daisuki!”, right before she handed Seran an imaginary love letter that ended up tossed into the audience, much to her visible disappointment.
With the rest of the group having slipped offstage in the darkness, Yuna, Mariya, Yuriya, Rino, and Momoka launched into the intense EDM of “Fly Higher”, throwing their arms back and reaching out as lasers shot out into the air.
NERFY GUINER BIEBER (Hina), and her pretty assistant girls (Seran and Asami), the exercise artist who made their first appearance at Cheeky Parade’s 2015 Akasaka BLITZ live, took to the stage, accompanied by their manager (Marin) who brought out a giant boom box. Stretching their exercise bands and vigorously curling their water dumbells, the trio kept things from cooling down. Despite the venue being packed wall to wall, a few fans attempted to follow along with NERFY GUINER BIEBER’s hectic pace set to “GARLIC&ONION”. Slipping when she ran back to grab the boom box, GUINER (Hina) shouted “happening!” instead of her usual “happy!” and reminded the audience to buy their CD (the HMV exclusive version of “SKY GATE”) as she ran backstage.
Yuna, Momoka, Rino, Yuria, and Mariya returned to the stage, remarking how hot it had gotten inside the venue but still encouraging the fans to dance along with them. Yuna asked if there were any first timers in the audience as well if there was anyone who was at Shinjuku BLAZE on September 22, 2012 when it was decided they would make their major label debut. She continued, saying that they were able to see all the faces in the crowd clearly from the stage and even pointed out that SUPER☆GiRLS had come to watch the live as well. As heads turned away from the stage to confirm the news, Momoka playfully demanded for the fans to look at Cheeky Parade too. She added that it was sort of like an “at home” feeling, mentioning how Shinjuku BLAZE had a unique yet familiar scent. In contrast, Mariya griped that no matter how many times they had been at Shinjuku BLAZE, they never seemed to remember how to get there from the station. Hina, Asami, Seran, and Marin jogged back onto the stage, claiming that they “lost their memory for about 3 minutes” when asked where they had been.
Getting the audience riled up for “BUNBUN NINE9′” with a few “Cheeky Power” shouts, Yuria stopped the song, feeling that for their 4th anniversary performance, everyone had to put a lot more power into it, even urging those watching on Nico Nama to shout along. Starting over with three rousing “yossha ikuzo!” shouts, what was to follow definitely warranted Yuria’s harsh stance as Cheeky Parade showed off what might have been their best performance of “BUNBUN NINE9′” in their 4 year history.
Transitioning immediately to “Check It Out”, Hina and Marin placing their hands on their hearts as they sung the opening lines. Shuffling from side to side on the stage, midway through the song the members switched from cheekily pointing at themselves during the chorus to whipping their hair wildly as the music ramped up from cosmic chiptune pop to a headbanging heavy metal mix.
With barely a moment for Cheeky Parade or their fans to catch their breath, “C.P.U.!?” followed, neither side showing any signs of fatigue. Running circles around on the stage, jumping and kicking up their heels and chopping the air with their hands, they were answered by the unwavering calls from their fans.
The stage went dark for a few seconds and when the lights came back up, Cheeky Parade launched right into their “Dance Anthem” which began with futuristic electropop and Latin-flavored EDM before concluding with a retro big-band number complete with fluttering spirit fingers. Finally taking a break, Cheeky Parade introduced their newest song “Hungry” which will be included on their upcoming album. With its floor-pounding beats and anthemic chorus, it won’t be long until “Hungry” becomes another beloved song in Cheeky Parade’s catalogue.
The 5-song nonstop set blazed on with “Together” and their treasured indies debut single “Cheeky Fighter”. While Yuriya reminded the fans that the end of the live was quickly approaching, her sister Mariya wandered over to the girls area on the left of the stage and was surprised by a kiss on the cheek from Asami. As “Cheeky Fighter” is their oldest original song, the fans were in near prefect sync with the members, jumping and clapping at just the right moments and their voices united as they called out towards the stage.
Marin and Mariya stood at the middle of the stage holding hands and singing their opening lines of the 7-minute long “CANDY POP GALAXY BOMB!!” accompanied by the sound of hands clapping together slowly. Rambling through each member’s solo lines, Marin tagged in Momoka, Seran and Marin sneakily tapped Rino on her shoulders, and as usual, Asami collapsed after blasting out her frantic machine-gun lines. Asami regained consciousness just in time to escape the advances of Momoka, acting out the lyrics that Yuna was singing. For any other group on any other day that would have been an impressive end but, this was Cheeky Parade’s 4th anniversary, which only made it fitting that the final song of the set would be “M.O.N.ST@R”, their emotional declaration to their commitment to become top idols. Marin’s voice rang out from the darkness as fingers pierced the hazy air inside Shinjuku BLAZE. Packed with the heated fervor of a political demonstration or religious revival, the venue was once again united in their actions.
Because it was their 4th anniversary and their last anniversary as a 9-member group until the return of Marin and Mariya from their study abroad in Los Angeles, the members of Cheeky Parade shared their thoughts on coming this far.
Leader Yuna started things off mentioning how that even though she had times where she would doubt herself, it was thanks to the fans and everyone around Cheeky Parade, that they were able to come as fas as they had. Just as she got to the end of her speech, she messed up on her final “yoroshiku onegaishimasu”, causing the other members to tease her before she recovered with a cheerful “arigato gozaimasu!”.
The bloopers continued as Asami mistook Nico Nama with “niku” (Japanese for “meat”) when she was thanking those watching online. She continued by speaking hopefully about how much stronger Cheeky Parade would be when Marin and Mariya return.
Rino echoed the thoughts of Asami and added that the rest of Cheeky Parade would be doing their best to not fall behind Marin and Mariya.
Yuriya asked if the fans were tired, admitting that she was pretty tired after the 5-song nonstop set. She shared that she felt like Cheeky Parade is a group where everyone is the center and able to show off their individuality and loved by so many good people, asking Marin and Mariya to bring back some fans from overseas so that Cheeky Parade would be big enough to do arena and dome tours.
Seran mused that 4 years is longer than middle school and high school (in Japan), expressing her gratitude to the other members for looking out for her and making sure she was alright without her having to say anything.
Marin felt proud that she was able to be with the members of Cheeky Parade to share their 4 years together, adding that even though she had doubts about going overseas, she felt reassured that everyone would wait for her and Mariya’s return.
Hina wiped away tears, her voice halting as she talked about how much pressure she put on herself to be the best she can, vowing that she would keep working to make everyone’s dreams come true.
Momoka momentarily forgot the word “arena”, Mariya having to whisper it to her, as she talked about the future of Cheeky Parade. She worried that with Mariya not being around, there wouldn’t be anyone around to keep her in line when she spaced out or needed tissues, causing the other members to urge the fans to take over for Mariya in her absence.
Smiling cheerfully, Mariya attempted to finish up the talk, only hesitating when she mentioned being in Los Angeles for 2 years, her lip quivering until Hina came over to put a hand on her shoulder. She suggested that someone bleach their hair blonde or act like her until she returned. Thanking the audience and bowing, Cheeky Parade walked off the stage.
After a few minutes of encore calls, Cheeky Parade returned to the stage wearing their 4th anniversary T-shirts, which they had customized. The encore began with “faith”, the coupling song from “SKY GATE”, a downtempo track which showcases the vocal range of the members.
Gathering up the last of their strength, Cheeky Parade and their fans jumped and raised their voices for “Cheeky Dreamer” to bring the live to its conclusion. Cheeky Parade showed the results of more than 4 years of hard work in one of their most impressive and powerful performances at Shinjuku BLAZE, a venue full of treasured memories. Although it will be the last time that all 9 members will be able to celebrate an anniversary until the return of Marin Yamamoto and Mariya Suzuki, based on how strong Cheeky Parade has become, it may be outside the realm of our expectations how much higher they will rise once “The Greatest Nine9′” are together once again.
00 SINFONIA 〜Apocalypse of Monster〜
01 SKY GATE
02 Kizuna PUNKY ROCK!!
03 Colorful Starlight
04 Mugendai Shojo ∀
05 Kataomoi Factory
06 Fly higher
07 Guiner DE Exercise (GARLIC&ONION)
08 BUNBUN NINE9′
09 Check It Out (HARDER EDIT version)
11 Dance Anthem
14 Cheeky Fighter
15 CANDY POP GALAXY BOMB!!
E2 Cheeky dreamer
Photos by Mime Soga
Cheeky Parade Official site (English): http://www.cheekyparade.jp/cheeky_en/
Cheeky Parade Official Twitter: https://twitter.com/CP_official_CP
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