Heavenese live concert titled, "End of Beginning" was great, and it marked a significant point in the history of Heavenese.
In a sense, Heavenese's first chapter has ended, and now the second chapter has begun.
This concert consisted of 41 performers of which 18 were dancers, making it the highest number ever.
It was meant to be a show to entertain rather than just a music concert. The day began early with rehearsal.
The excitement seen in the rehearsal was like what one would find at a movie set. There was dance, a sword fight, and a comedy routine.
Across from the stage, there was the ever present Moble Kick Back Cafe being set up for the show.
The MKBC staff were so used to this since they have opened MKBC on various occasions.
They have done this five times at O-East, and seven times during the L.A. tour.
The day before the concert it snowed in Kanto region, and on top of that, there was a 5.8 magnitude earthquake in the Chiba area. (As the organizer, I was little concerned.) All this seemed to be forgotten as a long line formed at the door before the concert. This was another opportunity to fill the venue with over 500 people.
Inside the venue, Mobile Kick Back Cafe was selling tasty items that were specially made for this concert.
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#1 The Code of the Samurai
The overall structure of this show was the same as the L.A. tour in essence. In
other words, it was the first time in Japan that Heavenese performed the way they did in L.A.
After the opening video made for the L.A. tour was played, a mysterious komuso, a Zen monk, quietly appeared on the stage bathed in an otherworldly light, playing a shakuhachi, a Japanese bamboo flute. The first song, "The Code of the Samurai", was about to begin. First, there was a spirited performance by the sword fighting drama group, Shibazaki Action Project (they didn't perform in L.A.)
The title of this song means "Bushido" in Japanese which is the samurai spirit that advocates unquestioning loyalty to the master at all costs in everything.
Their performance demonstrated to everyone "Bushido".
After their performance, Kumiko appeared, veiled in a white robe carrying a lantern. With only a bell resounding tranquilly, the light was ceremonially extinguished. This scene was produced and designed by Kaori Turner, being dedicated to the souls of the dead from the March 11 catastrophe. This ceremony for the departed souls was performed at every venue during the L.A tour. In the midst of darkness after the light went off, Heavenese appeared on the stage.
#2 All of Me
The performance by Heavenese, who tirelessly performed through the L.A. tour, became much tighter and more powerful. At all the venues in L.A., "All of Me" gripped the hearts of the audience, which added to the band members' confidence. The fans of Heavenese have come to realize that Heavenese is no longer just a local band.
#4 MC / Hallelujah
MC Marre asked the audience, "Is this anybody's first time to see Heavenese?" Many people clapped to respond.
He encouraged the audience to participate by singing, "hallelujah", which has become a regular part of Heavenese's concerts.
Just a side note, did you notice the change in the sound? Ebiut Cervantes, who was a music director for Cirque Du Soleil's "ZED" which was discontinued last February, worked alongside our sound producer, Mrs. Ishii. He helped brighten this show even more, and said, "entrust me with everything". It's a little ironic that somebody had mentioned that Heavenese's shows were beginning to resemble Cirque Du Soleil and at this show we had Ebiut Cervantes from Cirque Du Soleil.
He also contributed to Heavenese's new EP "Silk Road".
#6 Silk Road
"Silk Road" is a popular song that reflects the dramatic journey of the Hata tribe; the ancient tribe that originated in the Middle East and traveled to the Far East through the silk road 1700 years ago. At this show a niko was played for the first time in a Heavenese concert. The niko is an ancient folk instrument that originally came from the silk road. Its presence in this song brings that ancient road to life.
The niko was played by Noritugu Yamahira who plays for Yoshida Brothers.
#7 Shaminsen Solo ~ #8 It's So Easy
After two heartwarming ballads was the shaminsen solo by Heavenese member, Misa.
After the shaminsen performance ended, the popular reggae infused song, "It's So Easy" began.
The reggae rhythm flowed into Awa Odori dance giving the hall a festive atmosphere. This song is on our CD "Silk Road".
|The stage crew who have affectionately become known as "The Ninjas", unexpectedly were popular with the kids on the L.A. tour. This concert demanded more of them than on the L.A. tour in terms of the number of stage changes. Marre was apprehensive about this and thought one wrong move could lead to the concert falling apart. "The Ninjas" did the stage changes swiftly and precisely; the experience in L.A. really helped prepare them for this show.
Did you notice "The Ninjas" dancing?
They were at the side of the stage.
Large taiko solo, Bojutsu (a Japanese martial art), taiko duo, comedy routine
In the midst of the taiko drum duo, the band members meandered through the hall playing small taiko and joined the duo on stage.
Next up was the ever popular comedy routine.
Heavenese works hard to put on a good comedy routine that will not bore the audience.
Night after night we racked our brains to come up with the punch line for the show. This routine's punch line involved small explosions. Heavenese member, Airick commented that this comedy would not be used in L.A since people there are very sensitive to explosions due to terrorism. Heavenese band member, Naoya(saxophone player) has became a key person in the comedy routines.
Near the end of this segment, 18 dancers rushed onto the stage with great excitement and did the Awa Odori dance.
The audience's attention was captured as wave after wave of entertainment washed over them.
The climax of this segment was a taiko drum performance involving all the band members.
"３Ｎ１" has been upgraded, and this time a new part was added to the song.
Marre humbly admits that the band members are mostly beginner taiko players, yet Heavenese lead taiko player, Makoto Sekine, who is from Tokyo Dagekidan, is confident in their taiko ability and said, "You could play anywhere." There may come a day when Heavenese enters a taiko competition.
|This section of the show was not part of the L.A. tour and was an experiment for Heavenese.
Dancers, HIDETOMO and GON performed. Rapper, Airick mentioned that their dance looked like the praise dance that is prevalent in African American churches. (HIDETOMO and GON were not aware of this.) Many people at this show asked about the song used for their dance. (On a side note, this song has not been played oversees. The latter part of it was arranged by Andrea Crouch.)
Next up was "Lift" with a added twist.
Heavenese shamisen player, Misa was joined on stage by fellow shamisen player, Jack. They set the stage on fire.
GON's dance performance enhanced this song and drew the audience in even more.
EC Tell Everybody
Encore "Tell Everybody"
Tonight's show seemed to fly by. It was lively, action packed, heart warming; just an all around feast for the senses.
As during the L.A. tour, this show was very well received.
|For the encore the audience was treated to a duet by Heavenese's shakuhachi player DK and his wife Mizuho who played the koto.
It was a beautiful rendition of "Tell Everybody". Mizuho has read Marre's books on marriage, and she was surprised to find out that Marre of Heavenese is also the author of the books that she has read.
It was great having couples performing together on the stage. It made the show an even more meaningful. The traditional Japanese instruments and their players have brought to life Japanese Gospel music.
All the performers were on stage for the finale bringing a final bust of energy to the audience.
This show's large number of performers and big scale was unprecedented.
It was the perfect event to celebrate Heavenese's EP release and their return form their successful L.A. tour.
It was tremendously varied, energetic and powerful.
Thank you for coming out to help Heavenese start its second chapter.
Photo : Tomoshige Shimizu, Masako Tsutsui,Young Soon Ahn