THE ALFEE Neo Universe 2013
Grateful Birth II
Nagoya Congress Center Century Hall, December 14, 2013

The entire reason I wanted to go to the Nagoya concert was because I used to live in Nagoya, and studied at the university that is literally right next to Nagoya Century Hall, where the concert was held. I also wanted to see Takamiy’s Shachihoko guitar in person. Shachihoko is the mythical protective fish of Nagoya — he’s gold and has a mean look on his face, lol. “Shachi” is a golden dolphin and “hoko” means horns, so two gold Shachihoko are erected on Nagoya Castle’s roof to look like horns. 

On the same day of the concert, however, my dear aunt suddenly passed away from a severe asthma attack, so I almost decided against going. However, if there is anything that makes me feel better, especially when I’m unable to make it home for the funeral, is music. So, I went, and although at first it was quite hard for me to really feel energetic, I could eventually focus on the music and forget sadness for a while. 

The first few songs were the same as the Tokyo live (and I guess the rest of the lives as well lol), Final Wars!, AUBE, and Hoshizora no Distance. After that, there was a short MC and introduction by Sakazaki, then the band played Koibito ni Naritai (I Wanna Be Your Lover), Christina, Traveling Band, and Stand Up, Baby. Then, they began another MC. 

This MC started off again with just Sakazaki, while Takamiy and Sakurai walked off stage. Sakurai joined Sakazaki after a few moments and Sakazaki asked him, “Why were you born?” to which Sakurai answered, “To sing on this stage!” There was a bit of banter between them and Sakazaki asked again, but this time Sakurai answered, “To sing in Nagoya!” which was followed by a round of applause. 

So Sakazaki then asked Sakurai to sing for everyone, so he sang Yuurakuchou de Aimashou (listen to original here) like he’d done at the Tokyo live (which was actually in Yuurakuchou). Sakazaki cracked up after he was done, asking, “Why are you singing about Yuurakuchou in Nagoya?” Sakurai went into talking about how he once had a date with a barista in Yuurakuchou (from what I understood, I might be wrong, lol), and he then sang, “Yuurakuchou de Nomimashou” (let’s go drinking in Yuurakuchou). 

After this, Sakazaki for some reason began to imitate several different celebrities, such as Takenaka Naoto, which was the funniest to me probably because it’s the only celebrity I could tell he was imitating haha. Then he did an impression of Murata (?) and sang a bit of enka. After this, he introduced Takamiy to the stage, and just like the Tokyo live, Takamiy and Sakurai sang Hoshi Furu Machikado (Street Corner of Falling Stars, original here). Takamiy put on a much more high pitched, almost girly sounding voice and he and Sakurai got very close while they were singing, as though they would kiss! Hahah… 

To finish this MC, Sakazaki asked Sakurai to introduce the tour pamphlet, which he did to hilarious infomercial sounding piano music. 

They resumed music once again and played NOBODY KNOWS ME, Rainbow in the Rain, and Glorious. Then, it was time for Takamiy to do an MC. He talked about the new GLORIOUS single and about how the song GLORIOUS is over 8 minutes long. He asked us all if that was too long, and if the fact that it is so long was a bad thing. He mentioned that no matter how many times you listen, its a song of hope. He said that he wrote it because the THE ALFEE’s 40th debut anniversary is just around the corner. He said something about how the band and their music has a light that you can’t see with your eyes, that being the light of love. 

At this point, Sakazaki and Sakurai had joined him back on stage again. Takamiy asked them when their Eiko no Hibi, or, Glorious Days, were. Sakazaki’s response was, “Ha?! The most?” and he proceeded to say when he was twelve years old. This went into Takamiy cracking up and a really quick banter between the two that I couldn’t understand… however the entire time, Sakurai was doubled over with laughter and pointing at Sakazaki. 

Sakurai said that his Glorious Days were when he was an elementary school fourth year, so, about 10 years old. This lead into another difficult to understand banter during which Sakazaki and Takamiy started to talk over each other and to get Sakazaki to hush Takamiy started going, “Ch ch ch ch ch ch!!” I think at this point, Takamiy called Sakurai “Tensai Bakabon” (Genius Bakabon), an old manga about a not-so-smart boy (Bakabon) and his apparently insane father??? 

At this point, Sakurai started teasing Takamiy and talking about how when he was young he had a lot of girls around him all of the time. Takamiy said something along the lines of “You’re full of bullshit” (as we’d say in America lol), and began to crack up and yelled at Sakurai, “I know lots of your secrets!” in order to make him stop. Well, finally they asked when Takamiy’s Glorious Days were, to which he answered, “Now!” This was followed by more conversation I couldn’t understand but they kept making weird motions with their hands lol… 

Then Takamiy said their meeting was a miracle. Awww. They met when they were around 19, it seemed, so in honor of that, they started up the music again and played — well, 19 (nineteen), along with Ai wo Oshiminaku (Love Freely), Koi no Hono (Flame of Love), Kotetsu no Kyojin (Steel Giant), and two favorites, Masquerade Love and Promised Night. Promised Night was especially beautiful… being as close as I was to the stage (row 5!!), I could see the members very well. 

After, this, they bowed and went off stage and the audience immediately began yelling for encore. They came back after a few moments and played Just Like America and It’s For You~Elegy. 

Now it was time for the goods promotion! Sakurai had gone off stage and came out again, wearing a kimono, cowboy hat, and carrying a sword. The horse from Grateful Birth was no longer a stick horse but now a head attached to a push-cart. As he came out, Shito Shito Picchan (a comical enka song sung by children from an old samurai TV show - you can listen here) was played through the speakers. He was asked, “If you’re a samurai, why are you wearing a cowboy hat?” the answer to which I did not catch. 

Samurai Sakurai’s cart was full of tour goods, however, as at every live, they had to play with the horse first. The horse was wearing sunglasses and the same afro that looks like Sakazaki’s 80s hair. Takamiy pulled it off to reveal one of those rubber heads that have samurai looking hair, which got a big laugh from the audience. Sakurai offered the horse a banana, and it actually neighed instead of barking. He said, “Oh, you’re a horse this time?” to which the horse barked. Sakurai said: “But monkeys eat bananas”, and the horse made a monkey sound. “This horse can be anything!” they commented, and Takamiy began to giggle and started throwing out more and more animals. First he said, “cat!” and the horse meowed, then he said “pigeon!” and since Tadasuke the keyboardist apparently didn’t have a pigeon sound sample, Sakazaki and Sakurai started making pigeon noises into their microphones. Takamiy then yelled “crow!” and Sakazaki and Sakurai started going “Caw! Caw! Caw!” 

They introduced the goods then, starting with THE ALFEE masking tape, then moving onto the book cover. Takamiy used the hanging pendant of the bookmark to hypnotize Sakurai into thinking he was a bird, so Sakurai became a chicken and chased him across the stage. They talked about the “ribbon shushu” or the ponytail holder, which Takamiy commented he’d been wearing earlier before he pulled it out of his hair and threw it backstage. Sakurai said something about being jealous of Takamiy’s long, cute hair. They then talked about new ALFEE TIE-UP collection of songs with the lovely bandana that’s being released including several CDs of everyone’s favorite songs. Takamiy took out the bandana to hold it up, then draped it over his head as they continued to talk about it. When asked to hold it up again, he was holding it backwards. Sakurai pointed it out and he quickly fixed it, but he was already cracking up and commenting something like, “Takamiy’s a wonderful person but he’s kind of a klutz… but we’re hard on him!!” 

After this, they introduced the snacks — sweets at first, then the senbei that includes trading cards. Sakurai talked about how one of the cards you can get is a very special picture of Takamiy in a dress from Sakazaki’s birthday, to which Takamiy kept saying, “I’m embarrassed!” and trying to get Sakurai to stop lol. The senbei is called MAKOTO — so Takamiy asked Sakazaki and Sakurai what “MA” “KO” AND “TO” stood for. They of course kept saying very random words for their answers, which finally led into a song. The song was to illustrate “Masaru no MA!” “Kohnosuke no KO!” and “Toshihiko no TO!” similar to the tune of Land of 1,000 Dances by Wilson Pickett (original here). They were even singing, “Na na na na naaa na na na na na na na na na naaa na na na naaaaa~” 

Now it was time to get back to the songs, so they performed Bad Girl (which got the crowd really riled up, because Sakazaki and Takamiy walked all over the stage and to the farthest sides). I think at this point was when Takamiy had finally brought out his Shachihoko guitar. They then performed BLUE AGE REVOLUTION and A.D. 1999 again, which brought streamers exploding from the ceiling. I was too far forward to catch any this time!! What! A.D. 1999 is really wonderful live, especially because we get to sing the last bit (Whoa, whoa whoa whoa~) with Takamiy, then he stops and holds the microphone out to the audience so its just the fans singing. It’s a fun experience. 

They went off stage again and were brought back for a final encore. Takamiy had another MC, during which he asked the other two, “Do you think we’d make it to 40 years?” Sakurai and Sakazaki both shook their heads, and Takamiy looked at the audience with a huge grin and said, “I DID!” At this point, Sakurai took off his guitar and started toward Takamiy like he was going to beat him up. I think during this MC is when Sakurai and Sakazaki started taking off their guitars like one would take off pants (I guess they were laughing about how Sakurai had started to take off his guitar to go after Takamiy), stepping out of them and then putting them back over their shoulders over and over again, to see who could do it the fastest. Sakazaki ended up winning because Sakurai’s strap got twisted, and he had to get a stage hand to help him with it lol. 

Finally they played their last two songs, The Way — and Nagoya special!!! Chikai no Ashita (The Promise of Tomorrow)!!!! It’s such a beautiful song to hear live. They left the audience with desperate cries of encore, but unfortunately did not come back on stage. However, I left the concert feeling somewhat healed and extremely refreshed. It really was a fantastic show. I can’t wait until Budoukan! I’m still holding out for them to play El Dorado! Takamiy, please~! 

SET LIST (Courtesy of alfee-fan.net)

1. Final Wars!
2. AUBE ~新しい夜明け
3. 星空のディスタンス
MC - Sakazaki
4. 恋人になりたい
5. クリスティーナ
6. トラベリング・バンド
7. Stand Up,Baby -愛こそすべて-
MC - all three
「有楽町で逢いましょう」(フランク永井) - Sakurai
「星降る街角」(敏いとうとハッピー&ブルー) - Sakurai and Takamiy
8. NOBODY KNOWS ME
9. Rainbow in The Rain
10. GLORIOUS
MC - Takamiy
11. 19 (nineteen)
12. 愛を惜しみなく
13. 恋の炎
14. 鋼鉄の巨人
15. Masquerade Love
16. Promised Night

Encore 1
17. Just Like America
18. It's For You~挽歌
Goods Promotion Skit
19. Bad Girl
20. BLUE AGE REVOLUTION
21. A.D.1999

Encore 2
MC - Takamiy
22. The Way
23. 誓いの明日