- Live Tour 2017 “NAKED MAN”
- Sunday, April 26th 2017
- Toyosu PIT, Toyosu
Intro: On A Livehouse Facing the Sea: Suzumura Kenichi!
Though it’s her first time going to Suzumura Kenichi’s concert, Honey-chan is extremely excited. She has, after all, been a rather long-time fan of Suzumura Kenichi—both as a seiyuu, a stage performer, a radio personality, and singer! She’s no stranger to Suzumura’s singing voice, as he’d sung countless character songs, most notably as Hijirikawa Masato in Uta no Prince-sama, and even performed several anisongs, including the ending song of 2016’s anime Handa-kun, "HIDE-AND-SEEK".
Under Lantis, Suzumura released no less than six original albums and at least twelve original singles. Bee-kun got roped along this time because the venue will be a standing concert in a livehouse called Toyosu PIT, with a capacity of 3,103 people total. A live house concert could get pretty rowdy, after all!
Compared to the previous Suzumura Kenichi concerts she’s seen on DVDs, Honey-chan thought the stage arrangements was much less impressive: there weren’t much of decorations of note, only the band instruments arranged in a three-tier platform on the center back of the stage. The merchandise sale, however, was quite impressive and unique. Alongside the common concert merchandise like towels, jackets, photo collections, and T-shirts, the goods on sale included knitted hats, pouches, necklaces, acrylic bangles, backpacks, and mugs. Even though the merchandise table opened at 13:00, fans have been lining up since as early as nine in the morning!
Once they entered the venue, with Bee-kun’s help, luckily, Honey-chan managed to secure a place in the fifth row, less than ten meters away from the stage! Despite the excitement, Honey-chan still had to stand for another forty minutes among other fans, who are mostly female, but ranging in age. The lady who stood behind them and kindly greeted Honey-chan said she was past thirty years old, but the tiny girl standing in front of Honey-chan can’t be older than fifteen years old!
Performance: Here comes the heroes who will save the world, NAKED MAN!
They all struck a pose just like all those sentai teams on Sunday morning TV, before kicking off the concert with “Life is like it”, which is a 60’s jazz with bassy drums and really funky bass, perfect to lead the audience into jumping and dancing along. The energy kept going as they went into the second song, “sleepy monsters”, with saxophones adding to the classy, jazzy tune, changing the atmosphere to a calmer one without lowering the energy.
The third song led the long-time fans of Suzumura into frenzy—“ROBOT” and “Persona” was met with screams, and the entire venue erupted into a united chorus as his backing vocal in “in my space”. Time for the anisongs next: Suzumura cranked up the energy again with the ending theme of Kamisama no Memo-chou, “Asunaro”, and the ending theme of Code:Breaker, “Shiroi Karasu”, which once again sent the audience into jumping and dancing.
With the energy reaching its peak, however, Ono Daisuke once again cut in, narrating that the setting on stage has now become a hotel! NAKED MAN—or in this case, more accurately, Suzumura Kenichi—must complete various missions to obtain the three syllables needed to form a keyword for the treasure box. This gave the audience a proper break from the heat and tension of the first few songs, but Suzumura wasn’t in a hurry to get back the build-up energy. This is where the ballads came in: “Yuugure no Time Travel” followed Suzumura’s short talk about how he thinks everyone in this world is connected, its jazzy tune of piano and sax got the audience swaying along with the beat, allowing everyone to enjoy Suzumura’s rare falsetto, executed perfectly with a smile. “Tsuki no Uta” comes next, undoubtedly one of his best ballads where he could show off his vibrato, and “Poker Face” ended this ballad section with a quiet, fragile piano melody combined with guitar riffs in chorus and Suzumura’s emotional singing that fits the tender lyrics. Honey-chan really wasn’t surprised to hear sniffles from the audience as the song came to a close.
The live tuned back up the energy with “Saa Mieharimashou” and turned even more interactively playful with “CHAPPY” and “Simple na Mirai”, inviting the audience to clap along and sway to the sweet, playful sax. The playful mood got cranked up even more with “HIDE-AND-SEEK” and “A-I-U-E-Ongaku” in response to OnoD’s last mission: open the treasure box with the power of music and the keyword previously obtained! Suzumura led the audience shout the three-syllable keyword to open the treasure box, and the entire venue burst shouting the word “Kizuna” together, which translated into “bonds”. The treasure box revealed a lone harmonica, and to the excited cheers of the audience, Suzumura jumped to the center front and broke into the intro of his newest hit song “NAKED MAN”, playing the harmonica along with the guitar cry, inviting the audience to clap and shout along together in the chorus. The live closed up with “Home Sweet Home”, its cheery, folk music tune, managed to send audience into happy tears as they raised their hands and wave along to the music.
If other concerts called out their artist back out by yelling “Encore!”, the fans of Suzumura Kenichi apparently had their own tradition. Bee-kun and Honey-chan were extremely impressed when the 3,000 people in the venue started humming the chorus to Suzumura’s debut song, “INTENTION”, which was also the name of the seiyuu agency he’s founded himself. Suzumura and his band members went back out to answer the call with the exact song he’s called out with, and delivered a heartfelt encore with alternative rock sounds his fans are most familiar with: “Brand New” brought his fans singing along the powerful chorus, and the entire concert closed up in a cheerful mood with “SHIPS”, where Suzumura called for his audience to whoop along together. It was a satisfying, fulfilling end to a very fun live!
Outro: This is Suzumura’s brand of playfulness!
The playfulness of everything does not stop at that concept though—the execution was impressive. Suzumura did not only engage his audience through his songs, but also throughout his MC dialogues: from drawing the audience into a discussion of what exactly is Tokyo’s specialty to performing hilarious tasks on stage like juggling balls and funny monologues to promote his merchandise in order to save his band members from being mind-controlled. At one point, a mission required him to choose one of the audience to help give him a theme, and Suzumura played a roulette to decide on the four-digit numbers given to the audience upon entering the venue.
The songs are no less playful. For example, Suzumura purposefully called out different parts of the audience to do the whoops in “SHIPS”—from simply “boys” and “girls” to the funnier groups of “people who wear T-shirts” and “people who are in their thirties,” and “people who are above forty years old”, which interestingly still got a considerable number of people whooping. He also acknowledged the blue lightsticks and light-up acrylic bangles his audience are wearing, claiming that, just as Toyosu PIT is a venue that faces the sea, he felt as if he himself is singing while facing the sea in the face of the blue lights that the audience presented. The entirety of the live was a staged acting performance on top of music performance, from the very beginning to end.
At the end of the show, Suzumura Kenichi also announced that his 10th Anniversary Live has been decided! It would be held in Pacifico Yokohama, October 8th 2017, and the tickets would start selling the day after this concert ended. What sort of fun performance would Suzumura brought to the stage on his 10th Anniversary Live, Honey-chan wondered excitedly. And with a last final bow and striking hilarious sentai team poses, NAKED MAN and Suzumura Kenichi exited the stage, leaving the audience with smiles and laugh, and the feeling of maybe having played around too much.