The Never-ending Story of Juice=Juice Begins: 1st Budokan Live Report
Juice=Juice began a new era with their first Nippon Budokan live “Juice=Juice LIVE MISSION FINAL” on November 7, 2016, having completed the 225 small but important steps that paved the way to their historic concert.
The number “225” played an important role as on May 2nd 2015 at Nakano Sun Plaza, the members made a declaration to hold a solo concert at Nippon Budokan during 2016. They thought that the target was out of proportion with their popularity and capacity. In order to make up for that deficiency, they decided to hold a concert tour titled “Juice=Juice LIVE MISSION 220” which included 220 concerts across Japan and they accomplished their goal with their 220th concert at Matsuyama Salon Kitty on October 22, 2016.
After Tsubaki Factory performed “Hitorijime” to warm up the audience as the opening act, Juice=Juice was broadcast live on the screen from backstage. They looked a little bit nervous but were also filled with the excitement of standing on the Budokan stage. As the arena went dark, the glow of thousands of penlights in the five colors of Juice-Jucie’s members shined brightly. A laser beam formed each member’s shape and asked the audience “Are You Ready?”. The direction helped by the newest technology now becomes one of their specialities.
Sayuki Takagi appeared at the top of stairs, with Tomoko Kanazawa and Karin Miyamoto in the middle, and Akari Uemura and Yuka Miyazaki at the bottom, Juice=Juice’s dream performance began with “Erabareshi Watashitachi”. Running up and down the stairs, they sang and danced as if they did on a flat stage surface, showing the strength gained through 225 concerts. The difference was more clearly shown during their debut single “Romance no Tochuu”, as they no longer looked like girls but mature young women.
Followed by a short self-introduction talk, the members launched into “Ijiwaru Shinai de Dakishimete yo”. Although the lyrics may have seemed too adult-like when it was released in 2013, now helped by the pink and blue lights, the mood matched the members very well. Moving out to the center stage and continuing with “Mirai e, Saa Hashiridase!”, the audience was moved to tears by the phrase “Next Generation has come! Let’s go to our future! Juice=Juice!”. Hello! Project is currently at a major turning point where senior members ℃-ute and Momoko Tsugunaga (in a sense all the members of Berryz Kobo and ℃-ute) are leaving however, Juice=Juice made a strong case for their inclusion as a group capable of leading Hello! Project into the future.
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