Cheeky Parade celebrated their 5th anniversary with a pair of live performances at TSUTAYA O-WEST on February 19, 2017, their first as a 7-member group following the departures of Marin Yamamoto and Mariya Suzuki for Los Angeles to study abroad the previous summer.
The evening performance started on an emotionally charged note with “M.O.N.ST@R”, a lone spotlight shining down on center stage, the place where Marin would be during the beginning of the song, the venue erupted into a series of cheers and calls, the fans pointing up to the heavens along with the members. The excitement continued to build as Cheeky Parade transitioned into “BUNBUN NINE9’” the voices of the fans increasing in volume as they shouted out and shook the floor with their jumps. Riding the rising tide of the audience’s hot-blooded support, Seran Mizorogi riled them up even further as she and Cheeky Parade popped and locked across the stage to “Tactics”.
Greeting the crowd, Cheeky Parade let them know that Marin and Mariya were watching the concert in Los Angeles via Nico Nama before introducing themselves, Rino Shimazaki suddenly letting lose a pair of shouts as she was overcome with enthusiasm. Reminding the fans that it was their 5th anniversary, Cheeky Parade resumed the festivities with “Let’s Party!”, swinging their arms like gogo dancers and churning up the air with their towels. Seran snapped a selfie and Rino won a group-wide janken (rock-paper-scissors) tournament mid-song to claim the privilege of singing a solo lines and a hug from Hina Nagai.
Tutting and shuffling to “Check It Out”, the members switched between smoldering hip-hop moves and cheekily pointing at themselves and firing imaginary fireballs into the audience. Flashing lights engulfed the venue as the mechanical percussion of “Lost + Found” rattled from the speakers, joined by gritty guitars and percolating synthesizers as Cheeky Parade whirled and jabbed the air.
The extraterrestrial sounds of “SKY GATE” rolled in like a thick fog, the members slicing through them precisely with their vocal harmonies and fluid choreography. A robotic voice signaled the start of the “Dancer’s Anthem”, a revamped remix of their 2016 medley showcasing Cheeky Parade’s fierce footwork which won them a raucous round of applause. Finally taking a short break, Yuriya Suzuki looked right into one of the video cameras and asked Marin and her sister Mariya if they were still watching. Recalling all the things they did in their 5-history, their appearance in New York was one of the popular answers but, Asami Watanabe was particularly touched that she had been able to perform in her home prefecture of Tochigi. Regardless, they were all in agreement that there were still a lot of places that they wanted to go to.
As they showed off their new oversized Harajuku-inspired outfits, Yuriya exclaimed, “We took off our pajamas!”, Seran pointed out the badges and how their favorite words in katakana adorned the sleeves of the jackets. Pulling up their hoods, Cheeky Parade unleashed the foot-stomping dance rock of their upcoming single “Shout along!” (release date: April 26), spinning and kicking aggressively. With an infectious hook that’s easy to sing (shout?) along with and punchy choreography, it’s sure to be popular with those who liked their previous single “Hands up!”.
Moving right into fan favorite “Colorful Starlight”, Cheeky Parade turned up the heat once again as they waved their hands and kicked up their feet like a chorus line. Yuna Sekine urged the fans to match their intensity as she reminded them that the “last spurt” of the evening was at hand. Mirroring their 4th anniversary performance from a year earlier, the following song was “Mugendai Shojo ∀”, the fans roaring out a MIX as Cheeky Parade jabbed the hot air and sung from the depths of their souls.
Initializing the opening sequence of “C.P.U !?” Cheeky Parade zipped around the stage, kicking up their heels and delivering imaginary kendo strikes as they cleared the song’s various stages. Revving up their engines, the members zoomed through “Hands up!”, Rino shouting for the fans to keep up with them. Asami unleashed a fierce jump kick, punctuating her pleas for the fans to get even louder as Cheeky Parade shuffled and swayed through “Cheeky dreamer”. Ending in a group hug, the members left the stage and pictures of Marin and Mariya appeared on a screen as recordings of letters they had written for the occasion played over the PA system.
When the lights turned back on, the emotional climax of the day came as Cheeky Parade performed “WE ARE THE GREATEST NINE9’” dressed in the outfits they had worn on their 4th anniversary. Hina and Yuriya reached out where Marin and Mariya would be during their parts, the members fighting through tears as they crouched down during Mairiya’s solo. Looking out into the audience, Yuriya exclaimed that many of the fans were also crying before leading the group in thanking them and leaving the stage.
Returning after a few minutes of passionate encore calls, the members thanked the audience individually for sharing their special day together. With lyrics appearing on the screen at the back of the stage, Cheeky Parade asked the fans to sing along with them during “faith”, holding out their microphones. Yuriya thanked the fans again, asking them to keep supporting them, receiving a loud shout of agreement in return. A lot of things changed in the year between Cheeky Parade’s 4th and 5th anniversary but, as long as they keep working hard like Marin and Mariya are in Los Angeles, their efforts will produce results that fans should be able to “Shout along” with from all corners of the world in the near future.
Photos by Nathan Gey
02 BUNBUN NINE9’
04 Let’s Party!
05 Check It Out
06 Lost + Found
07 SKY GATE
08 Dancer’s Anthem
09 Shout along!
10 Colorful Starlight
11 Mugendai Shojo ∀
12 C.P.U !?
13 Hands up!
14 Cheeky dreamer
15 WE ARE THE GREATEST NINE9’
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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