“We Went to angela’s Concert and Beyond”
- Live Tour 2018 “Beyond”
- Sunday, February 24th 2018
- EX THEATRE ROPPONGI, Roppongi
Intro: National Live Tour and Beyond: angela!
Among fans of anisong music, the name of this particular band made up of two core members, KATSU and atsuko, must be extremely familiar. Yes, angela is the band who has performed countless theme songs for various anime—most notably the one who did all the theme songs for Soukyuu no Fafner series, and most of theme songs for the popular series「K」. angela closed 2017 with the release of their new album, titled “Beyond”, which is a nod to the upcoming sequel in Soukyuu no Fafner series: Soukyuu no Fafner the Beyond. They began 2018 with a National Live Tour, which started on January 13th in Aichi prefecture and ended with two live concerts in Roppongi, Tokyo, after journeying through five different prefectures including Hiroshima, Osaka, and Kumamoto.
Being a long time angela fan, Honey-chan and Bee-kun have been super pumped to go to the final concert of the Beyond National Live Tour in EX THEATRE ROPPONGI. The venue is a livehouse that has the capacity of more than 1,500 standing people and about 900 seats, and while this time it is a standing concert, Honey-chan isn’t at all worried because angela’s fans—familiarly known as Gelakko (ち”ぇらっこ), which could loosely be translated as “the Gela kids”—had never been rowdy in the middle of a concert. Before the concert began, of course, we all lined up to get some coolly designed Beyond Tour goods. This time, angela had gone with more geometric, intricate designs with Beyond Tour emblazoned over simple black jackets and shirts, hand bands, tote bags and charms. They’re all super cool!
The stage, similarly, was much more simplistic than angela’s usual style—which had always been colorful and silly. This time, the stage only consisted of a cool-looking geometric design hanging on the backdrop of the stage, spelling out “Beyond”, and everything felt very sophistically simple in silver, black and white. When they entered the venue, Honey-chan found out that a small part of the venue had been sectioned off for ladies-only concert-goers with an amusing sign that said “The Brides Section”. Honey-chan is no bride, but she’s not going to pass up the chance of a special section with more room to breathe while the concert is going, so she decided to split up from Bee-kun and go to the Brides Section for the concert.
Performance: Towards 15 Years and Beyond!
The lights dimmed along with the intro of Beautiful Day playing, as one by one, the supporting band members settled into their places on the stage, before finally, KATSU and atsuko both came out. atsuko looked extremely gorgeous with her short black-and-white dress while KATSU wore a tight black pants with a really cool-looking vest, both costumes cut with a similar geometrical design that echoes Beyond Tour’s overall theme. Beautiful Day opened the concert with KATSU playing DJ on stage—a rare sight for fans who are not in the fanclub and can’t go to fanclub events! atsuko led the audience with her usual powerful vibrato and singing voice, and before long, everyone is already jumping up and down echoing atsuko every time she sang out “Beautiful day, Beautiful world!”
When the song ended, atsuko talked a little bit to the fans, joked about how angela had not gone on a National Tour but on a World Tour, which drew everyone’s laughter. She seemed excited that they were finally on the final day of their tour, and playfully divided the audience into two before asking the audience on the left side of the stage to shout “finally!” and the right side to answer “final!” over and over. With this, the next song began playing: the opening theme of Aho Girl, Zenryoku★summer! Excitedly, the audience joined angela by snapping their towels up above their heads during the chorus.
After a brief MC part, the next song kicked out and sent the audience wild with the popular Boku wa Boku de Atte, which was the opening theme of Ajin, originally sung featuring the popular anisong duo fripSide. Not giving the audience a chance to breathe, KATSU and atsuko led everyone straight into KIZUNA, the last ending theme of 「K」series, which promptly sent a number of fans into tears despite the upbeat melody of the song. Kataritsugareshimono, the theme for Excellent Japan Nipponrettou Saihakken, followed suit and the entire venue was rendered silent in the face of atsuko’s hauntingly powerful vibrato and vocal.
There’s a moment of reprieve from the high tension for the audience as atsuko took some time to remind everyone about the special bonus for some of angela’s CDs that were sold at that time. KATSU followed it with the amusing talk about how they decided to have the Brides Section for today’s live, and mentioned that he’d drawn the sign for the Brides Section by himself. It was a very well-drawn Minnie Mouse, cute enough that even Honey-chan wants to take it home for herself. As if answering the talk about the Brides Section, they then launched into the only wedding song track in Beyond album: Michishirube, which had been the ending theme for angela’s radio show for a while now. atsuko’s powerful voice turned beautifully sweet for this song, though her vibrato was still showcased very well, while the Brides Section, including Honey-chan, went wild when KATSU finally came over towards them and indulged them with fanservice. Honey-chan is a hundred percent sure that at that moment, everyone in the Brides Section would have loved to offer themselves to be KATSU’s bride! Afterwards, the ending theme for Excellent Japan Nipponrettou Saihakken, Ano Natsuzora, followed with KATSU showing off his beautiful shamisen performance.
It’s not angela’s concert without atsuko telling silly stories about the band members’ daily life, and this time in MC talk, she told us the hilarious tale of how angela’s manager has a really hard time waking up early in the morning. It’s okay, Manager-san, we all might laugh about it but Honey-chan knows how hard it is! LOVE LOVE Sweetie came next, one of angela’s pre-debut songs that had all the veteran fans screaming in delight, followed by SEVEN STORIES, the theme song for 「K」series’ upcoming seven movie episodes, 「K」Seven Stories. Seemingly reluctant yet used to dial up the high tension, atsuko and KATSU followed it with another theme song; this time for the Soukyuu no Fafner the Beyond, Prologue –Kimi no Mukougawa-, atsuko’s hauntingly beautiful voice turning the entire venue solemn in memory of how painful the Fafner series is.
Predictably, after the solemn song, the MC talk turned to a discussion about the Tour’s theme itself: Beyond. atsuko cajoled everyone by talking about how the Heisei era in Japan will soon be beyond everyone. One of the important announcement breaks here, then: angela will also go beyond their limit, as they’re going to take charge of not only the opening, but also six different ending themes for all 「K」Seven Stories movies! The entire venue roared up with excitement as everyone is now looking forward to July 2018, and atsuko added that for the first time, angela would also be creating songs for the Blue and Green Clans.
Following the announcement, angela kicked it up again with a song from 「K」: To be with U! , quickly followed by the exciting, yet haunting opening theme from Soukyuu no Fafner EXODUS, DEAD OR ALIVE. The audience readily answered atsuko’s singing in DEAD OR ALIVE, shouting along “Itai, itai, itai!” and “Cry, cry, cry!” as the song peaks everyone energy. From this tension, angela blasted LOVE★CIRCUS next, easing the audience back down with a cute pop-jazz track in the Beyond album, before launching towards the more ballad songs with Koko ni Iru yo next, followed with the haunting Calling You from the movie BLAME! that brought out DJ KATSU again.
Afterwards, we got an even more important announcement! This year, 2018, angela would be celebrating their 15th Anniversary since their major debut, and they would be holding an Anniversary Live all the way at the Stellar Theatre in Kawaguchiko, where they would play to the natural backdrop of none other than the gorgeous Mount Fuji! The Anniversary Live would also have a collaboration train where you could hear atsuko and KATSU voicing train attendants. While this wouldn’t be their first live in Stellar Theatre, the last one had been such a blast that both angela and their fans are all looking forward to it already!
It was only proper that this announcement was followed by their major debut song, the theme of Uchuu no Stellvia, Asu e no Brilliant Road! Before the song begins, though, atsuko taught the audience a simple dance that everyone does together in the chorus part of the song, which was really a lot of fun! And as if to drive in the point that their 15th Anniversary would only mean angela going even further beyond their limit, they blasted out Dream on, the ending theme to Black Clover OVA, once again pushing the audience energy level up and leaving it there as they waved and returned backstage.
With such a high tension remaining, of course the Encore call began straight away! However, the group who came out next was not angela, but Domestic Love Band—the alter ego band of angela! Be careful, they might be as hilarious as angela, but they’re rougher and more badass! As a guest, Domestic Love Band delivered their only song in Beyond album: Omae wo Kizutsukeru Yatsu ni Koko de Sayonara wo. They returned backstage afterwards, prompting the audience to once again do the Encore call, and this time, angela came back, laughing and apologizing about how their “juniors” had sneaked on stage, but asking the audience to support Domestic Love Band anyway because they’re good people! Really! Honey-chan and Bee-kun almost couldn’t stop laughing.
The second Encore delivered Shangri-La, to which the audience promptly pulled out all their towels for the infamous Shangri-La towel dance. Everyone danced along, excitedly waving and snapping their towels, throwing them up before jumping to get them back. Still excited to involve the audience even more, for the last song in the Encore, angela taught everyone the fun dance for KINGS, the opening theme for 「K」, and cajoled everyone to jump up together at the line “Big Bang!” and made a cool human wave at the line “Big Wave!”. What an extremely fun way to close the Encore!
Outro: angela and fans as one, going Beyond!
On their 15th year since their major debut, and 25th year since they formed the band, both atsuko and KATSU had definitely gone through a very long journey together in the music and entertainment industry. However, it really does say something about their determination, that on their 15th year after major debut, instead of telling the fans that they have been doing this for fifteen years, they chose to tell us that they’re going even further beyond their limit!
One of angela’s trademarks that sets them aside from other anisong groups is that angela has always engaged and involved their fans intimately. They are never hesitant to pull the fans into various ways of interacting while doing concerts. Different songs have different dances, and a lot of their songs prompt the audience to answer the lyrics, which pulled the audience to be more involved in live concerts instead of simply watching, waving lightsticks and silently singing along. For example, in DEAD OR ALIVE, angela invited everyone to answer song’s lyric “Itai, itai, itai!” which translated to “Pain, pain, pain” by telling them to put all of the pain and hardships they feel into the shouts so both KATSU and atsuko could accept them instead. For Zenryoku Summer, they cajoled fans to jump and wave the towels as well as divided the audience to make two line of choruses that answer one another. It creates a sense of being one and unified, which makes it easier even for first-timers to feel included and involved. Even the angela fanclub call themselves the Gelamily—angela’s family—proudly putting themselves in the role of core support for the band.
For angela, what matters is living, doing their best, and going Beyond along with their fans. They joke about being old, cajoled the fans who were born in Shouwa era, and told the fans born in Heisei era that they would feel old very soon, too. As KATSU said, “What makes us angela is that we might be no-good people, but we’re living the way we are anyway! We have lots of irrationality, too! So everyone, let’s live on even if we’re all no-good!” Honestly, it could not be more well-put. Even if things are rough, even if we’re all weird, even if we all feel like we’re no good at all, we have to keep on living and go beyond! As silly as it is, it does leave the audience with renewed hope and determination as angela waved goodbye, with a promise of meeting again soon and going beyond, together.