Cute and Cool! GEM Glisten During 4th Anniversary Live at Shinjuku BLAZE!
Photo by SARU (Ayumi Saruya)
GEM celebrated their 4th anniversary with a pair of lives at Shinjuku BLAZE on June 12, 2017, their first since the addition of Hirari Nishida and departure of Maaya Takeda for Los Angeles to study abroad the previous summer. The day was split into two themes, “cute girls” (afternoon) and “cool girls” (evening) to show the different facets of the group that dazzles like jewels.
Rana Murakami, Sara Hirano, Kako Oguri, and Maho Iyama marched out onto the dimly lit stage first, spinning and moving to the thumping bass and waves glassy synthesizers of GEM’s new intro music. They were joined shortly after by Yuki Kanazawa, Chisami Ito, Yuu Morioka, Nana Minamiguchi, Jurin Kumashiro, and Hirari Nishida as the GEMily (fans) cheered and waved their penlights to the rhythm. Rana’s voice pierced the air as she sang her opening lines to “Tears in the sky”, getting the live off to a rousing start. The GEMily called out loudly as GEM marched across the stage under the cover of red and purple lights, their vocals alternating between percussive rapping and razor-sharp harmonies. The rave-like atmosphere lingered as GEM moved into their current era with “Spotlight”. Shouts of surprise and delight burst from the crowd as the musical direction took an unexpected turn with “EMERGE!!”, Maaya Takeda’s solo song.
Stopping to welcome the GEMily to the performance, the members introduced themselves according to the theme of “cool girls” although it seemed that Rana had a very different definition of the word, singing a song about her love of frogs in sharp contrast to the others. Yuu, Jurin, Maho, and Hirari remained on the stage while the others went to change outfits, noting that Maaya was watching from Los Angeles on Nico Nama. After calling out to her along with the GEMily, they playfully imitated her deep voice and wondered if she cried when her song “EMERGE!!” was performed. Maho added that the choreography for the new intro music was produced by Kako and Rana. Yuu asked if anyone had gotten the 4th anniversary goods (which had sold out long before the doors opened in the evening).
Sara, Yuki, Kako, and Nana returned to the stage in their white outfits from “Fine! ~fly for the future~”, twirling white canes in their hands and swaying to the midtempo synthpop. The tempo jumped up several BPM as Chisami, Kako, Sara, and Rana unleashed a contagious case of disco fever with the funky “Dancin’ Dancin’ Dance!”. A warm golden light took over the stage, giving off the aura of a calm morning with the members of GEM gently singing the ballad “fRiEnDs”.
After a brief theatrical blackout, Rana returned to the stage alone to begin “Delightful Days”, the other members gliding in and dancing flirtatiously behind their microphone stands to the hypnotic electronic instrumentation. Kicking and stomping their way through “FLY NOW!!”, GEM turned up the heat before leaving the stage and making way for a short video documenting their dance practices.
Returning in stark white outfits accented by their gemstone colors, GEM picked up where they left off, firing up the GEMily with the infectious “WHAT IF” and pumping up the volume with “Party Up”. Flying right into “Can’t Stop Loving”, Maho shouted out to the GEMily, starting the “G.E.M.” call and response as the others whirled around her. Jurin and Nana playfully shoved each other for control of center stage while Kako and Maho escalated a handshake into a near kiss. Exploding into “Kimi to Boku.”, a festive fusion of traditional Asian sounds and electronic dance rock that had the members and GEMily waving their hands and banging their heads. The set roared to its heated conclusion as the GEMily jumped and called out to GEM’s anthemic “Do You Believe?”, Maho stirring them up as she shouted out to them. Yuki gave her thanks to everyone who came out to see them and lead the group in taking their bows before leaving the stage.
After a few minutes of “G.E.M” encore calls, the group rushed back out, sweetening the mood as they tossed autographed balls into the audience while singing “Sugar baby” and dancing along with the GEMily. Following the commemorative photo, it was announced that GEM would be releasing “Kimi to Boku.” and “Saikyō Summer!” as music card singles on August 16th, holding an athletic meet-themed fan club tour, and holding a new series of lives at Akiba Cultures Theater from July to September. This was followed by a short video message from Maaya Takeda congratulating GEM on their anniversary and sharing a bit of her life in Los Angeles and the opening of her Instagram account, a tinge of an American accent coloring her words. The revealing of GEM’s next big one-man live to be held at Tokyo Kinema Club on September 18, 2017 surprised the members and drew laughs from the GEMily as they recalled how their manager pointed out the venue to them but didn’t let them know about the plans.
Picking up their towels and swinging them in the air, GEM transported the GEMily to a midsummer seaside party with “Saikyō Summer!”, closing out the encore with their anthem “We’re GEM”. Yuki thanked the GEMily again, promising they they would continue to work hard and return to the Nippon Budokan, the stage where they had been announced 4 years prior. Just as they were about to take their final bow, another short video began to play, showing footage from the early days of GEM. The emotional journey peaked as the intro of “Star Shine Story” began playing as a surprise final encore song, the members fighting back tears as they moved around the stage in their formation. Taking their final bows, GEM closed the curtain on their 4th year and opened the door on their GEM Victory Year.
While 2016 was a year of big changes for GEM and iDOL Street in general, it seems that GEM and Maaya Takeda are continuing to work towards their dreams, growing stronger on opposite sides of the world. With the opening of Maaya’s Instagram account, GEMily can stay updated on her progress while counting down the days until her return. Now is the time to believe!
Photos by SARU (Ayumi Saruya)
01 Tears in the sky
07 Delightful Days
08 FLY NOW!!
09 WHAT IF
10 Party Up
11 Can’t Stop Loving
12 Kimi to Boku.
13 Do You Believe?
E1 Sugar baby
E2 Saikyō Summer!
E3 We’re GEM
E4 Star Shine Story
GEM Official Website : http://girls-entertainment-mixture.jp/
GEM Official Twitter: https://twitter.com/avex_idol_gem
Yufu Terashima Daydreams of a Romantic Getaway in the MV for “Watashi wo Ryoko ni Tsuretette”!
10 Popular Text Slangs of Japanese High School Girls