- Endoh Masaaki Live Tour 2017 -V6 Engine-
- Saturday, April 4th, 2017
- Akasaka BLITZ, Tokyo
Intro: Start Your Engines
Masaaki Endoh is known as one of the founders of the J-rock super band JAM Project, but he also has a career in soundtracks for anime and tokusatsu (special effect live-action films) productions since early 2000s. Endoh has collaborated and covered several famous anisongs with many artists, such as “Pegasus Fantasy” with NoB, “Butter-Fly” with Kōji Wada, “Eternal Blaze” with Nana Mizuki, “Sousei no Aquarion” with Akino, “Yuzurenai Negai” with Naomi Tamura, “Kimi to Taiyou ga Shinda Hi” with Maon Kurosaki, “KINGS” with Angela, and “DREAM SOLISTER” with TRUE, “SERIOUS-AGE” with Faylan.
In 2017, he released the third ENSON album, and like the previous 2 ENSON albums this one is also made of covers of famous anime theme songs. He released his 6th studio album in February 2017, and went on a Japan tour titled Masaaki Endoh Live Tour 2017 ~ V6 Engine~ starting in March to promote the album. He explained that the "V6" not only stands for a six-cylinder engine, but it also represents the motions of his 6th album.
Tonight he gathered his crew of talented musicians and started the V6 Engine tour in the legendary Akasaka BLITZ, in Tokyo. Honey-chan and Bee-kun, wearing tiny leather accessories and black mascara, went to the show fully charged and expecting a night full of good rock tunes.
Performance: Silver Butterflies Rain
Kicking off the show was the song titled “Engine” from his 6th album. This song sounds like an epic anthem, every single person in the crowd sang the catchy ‘Fireeeeee’. Excellent upbeat theme to start the show, the thundering bass and terrific guitar work had the crowd roaring. This song was followed by “SCRAP & BUILD” a very fast hard rock tune also from his latest album, the spotlight pointed to the guitarist while doing a solo, and the whole crowd sang along ‘yabai, yabai, yabai, yabai’. Soon after without rest came “FLOPPY” in which is the fast piano stands out above any other instrument, making this song a very emotional. Masaaki punctuated each sentence with hand motions, addressing the crowd.
Next up was “Warai no Arika”, the funkiest song so far, this one was joined with all musicians singing the chorus. Guitars were changed for “BRING IT ON!” that started off by making all the audience headbang hard to the drumming. It was followed by “OYMGSG” which is more a melodic goth metal song that features melodious synths and a big vocal chorus with driving guitar riffs.
After a short break entered an acoustic guitar, signalling the time to mellow out with “EASTERN GALE”, the theme song of MAF. This slow ballad was joined by the bassist on the backup vocals, the acoustic intro slowed-down, as a moody sequence of faded-up keyboards entered the song changing the attitude, energy, and sheer velocity of the performance.
One special highlight of the night was “Hang in There”, a very special tune for its virtuous composition which made the audience trip to a better place. This track leaned heavily on his keyboardist, who provided both backing vocals as well as a jaunty piano solo. And if that song wasn’t majestic enough, it was followed by another ballad: “Aitakute -I miss you-”. There was a bass break in the middle of the song, and then came a guitar solo, making it the most typical J-rock tune of the night.
The set continued with several other masterpieces from Masaaki’s portfolio. The band proceeded to play a slow, dreamy ballad called “LOVE SONG”. This was a mellow piano-based song with the bassist on backing vocals, decorated by a lovely guitar solo that kept going on while thousands of silver paper butterflies cascaded from the ceiling across the landscape of every audience member, it was absolute eye candy. Soon after a heavy and very familiar riff was heard, “Re:START”, the audience went into a frenzy. It wasn’t uncommon for the audience to throw their hands in the air, raise a fist.
Masaaki stirred up hysteria with the opening strains of “SPEC”, which sounded downright phenomenal. After playing the majority of their repertoire, they finished up the set with “FIRST COMES ROCK”. Given the space to jam out in one of the evening’s most traditional rock and roll moments, the crowd sang along with the neverending ‘nanana’, flipping their towels around in the air, and after a loud "ARIGATOU!", Masaaki threw his towel to the audience. Then, the band said goodnight and disappeared into the blackness of the stage…
…Only to return for a six-song encore. Masaaki & co. quickly returned. The next set of the evening kicked off with epic theme songs. They have to create a moment, and either immerse the crowd in nostalgia or break down the wall of time to carry the songs into the present. Starting with “Asu e no Michi ~going my way!” from Yu☆Gi☆Oh! 5D's, where the guitarist came on stage dressed with a monkey costume. The applause got louder, and women in the audience were screaming ‘kawaii’. Next up was ultra-emotional and popular “Sun Shines for You”, followed by “My beloved” and “Senshi yo, Tachiagare!”, the opening theme of the Cybuster series, and “Bakuryuu Sentai Abaranger”, the opening theme of the Japanese version of Power Ranger Dino Thunder. The last song of the night was “Yuusha Ou Tanjou!” the opening theme from the classic King of Braves GaoGaiGar series. With the final riffs they finally saluted the crowd, sweating it out on the stage. After that, the band exited to an avalanche of applause.
Outro: Shut Down Your Engines
The many memorable theme songs at the end made this night feel like a trip to a sci-fi alternative world. The encore was the most epic moment of the set, but the whole performance was highly entertaining. The set was full of little surprises, and the rain of silver butterflies was a lovely climax. It was explosive at the end and brought the house down. In hindsight, there was a sort of time-travelling in their performance.
Talented and energetic Masaaki did not fail to connect with the audience throughout the night. His vocal abilities were impressive and transmitted a great deal of different feelings. The highlight of the show was definitely the passion the fans had for Masaaki Endoh’s music. Also, the friendship and warmth that exists between the musicians was felt when they interacted with each other on stage during the instrumental breaks.
Overall, the show was great fun, high on drama and high on fantastic riffs and good vibes. Most of the audience stuck around to converse and grab a couple of drinks, chill out and tune down the excess of the energy of the night.
See Masaaki Endoh perform LIVE with JAM PROJECT on August 11 at Anisong World Matsuri at Otakon!
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