Live Report Exclusive

[ALEXANDROS] "Sleepless in Japan Tour" FINAL at Saitama Super Arena: Day 1

01/07/2019 2019-07-01 06:00:00 JaME 2490 views Author: Polina Kogan Copyeditor: Silverfaye

Live report on the first day of [ALEXANDROS]' "Sleepless in Japan Tour" final at Saitama Super Arena.


© Hata Satoshi

[ALEXANDROS] concluded the Japanese leg of their Sleepless in Japan Tour, centered around songs from their Sleepless in Brooklyn album, in Saitama Super Arena on June 15th and 16th. Below is the live report on the first day of the show.

The large main stage of the arena looked like the streets of Brooklyn, as if built from red brick and covered in graffiti, and had two runways on both sides of the stage, as well as a long runway running down the center with a smaller stage at the end of it. As a member introduction and the excited faces of fans were shown on large screens over the crowd, huge square brackets lit up, framing the stage, and searchlights went through the venue.

“Are you ready, motherfuckers?” screamed the frontman Yoohei Kawakami, and the show started with the atmospheric LAST MINUTE. A summery vibe warmed up the venue with the upbeat, energetic Starrrrrrr, fans jumping as fireworks shot over the stage, and lights flashed madly during Masaki Shirai’s guitar solo. Starting I Don’t Believe In You, Hiroyuki Isobe turned to play bongo drums, everyone’s heartbeats rising to this fast, intense song.

A rocky guitar intro with speedy drums announced the beginning of follow me; next came the explosive spit! with it’s prominent drums, fans clapping along enthusiastically. As sounds of sirens pierced the air, Yoohei screamed, “Saitama Super Arena, can you jump? Let’s go!” and the crowd complied, jumping to the heavy, dark melodies of Girl A.

Yoohei’s usually powerful voice turned into a soft falsetto, intertwining with Satoyasu Shomura’s irregular-beat drums and support keyboarder ROSE’s beautiful playing in the slower Come Closer. During the laid back PARTY IS OVER, Yoohei strolled down the long runway, cutting through the arena, making the audience wave their hands to the positive melodies of the song.

Standing on the substage at the end of the runway, the frontman asked “Can we make it snow?”, announcing the beginning of SNOW SOUND with it’s distinctly electro-pop vibes. Many bands encourage fans to sing along to their songs, so Yoohei’s fun request to sing along to Masaki’s guitar solo was pretty unusual, but the crowd followed the lead, the venue filling up with smiles. After the song was over, Masaki made everyone continue singing the chorus, voices of thousands of people resounding in unison.

Greeting the crowd, Hiroyuki proclaimed, “This feels good!” He thanked everyone for coming in the rain to the first day of the two-day show that ended the tour celebrating the release of the Sleepless in Brooklyn album, and asked them to have fun till the end.

Yoohei proclaimed “It’s time to go wild!” and as the groovy sounds of Kaiju shook the floor, giant balloons started floating over the crowd, fans having fun pushing them around the venue, and the vocalist came down the central runway looking unfazed by the balloon commotion going on around him.

A seamless transition into a combination of the short versions of MILK and KABUTO followed, and in the guitar and vocal intro of Mosquito Bite the band made the audience sing along. The arena warmed up even more clapping to the electronic intro of Kick&Spin, Yoohei and Masaki using the whole capacity of the large stage, going from side to side and urging on the fans who danced along to the catchy, festive song.

As the drum set and keyboards were slowly lowered down to the small substage in the middle of the arena, Yoohei stood on the edge of it and asked if he could have the whole audience for himself for a bit. “Those of you who aren’t showing any facial expressions right now are probably not my fans, but I write the songs, so deal with it!” he said, making everyone laugh. He introduced an old song—from the times when the band was still [Champagne]You’re So Sweet & I Love You, which started with just an acoustic guitar and vocals as Masaki came on to the substage, then gradually intensified as other members joined them one by one. Hiroyuki joined them last on crutches, as he was still healing from breaking his leg at a gig in May.

As members returned to the main stage, leaving only the frontman behind, the show continued with the summery Ashita, mata, the bassist once again playing bongo drums, followed by another positive tune, NEW WALL. Masaki and Hiroyuki joined Satoyasu on percussion, while Yoohei picked up an acoustic guitar for FISH TACOS PARTY, a song that made one want to dance along to its relaxing, bright sounds.

Following that was the touching ballad Your Song, for which an adorable video of an animated CD becoming a friend and supporting a girl was shown on the big screens. The set concluded with Adventure and Arpeggio, the gentle melodies of these atmospheric songs enveloping the arena as all sang along. The members thanked the audience and left the stage, Hiroyuki “shooting” a cameraman with his crutch as he hobbled away.

Straight away the crowd started to clap, and soon red lights filled the venue. As members came out to Burger Queen, the temperature in the venue rose rapidly. The first song back was the upbeat and catchy Dracula La, fans singing along loudly to the cheerful tunes.

“It feels good!” exclaimed Hiroyuki once again. He said that during the sound check that day he saw Yoohei and Masaki having fun, moving around in the huge space, and he thought that he might not be able to take it as he had to sit down during the show due to his injury, but thanks to everyone’s loud voices he was having a lot of fun. He stated that he hopes to get better soon, and although the Japanese leg of the tour would be over on June 16th, there was still the overseas part of the tour, as well as shows in autumn that everyone could look forward to.

He introduced the next song, Tsukiiro Horizon, a new song that the band presented in its entirety for the first time on that day, with the positive pop-rock tune eliciting an enthusiastic response. After a short session-like intermission, Yoohei’s powerful, piercing voice took over the venue, and the song concluded with a lengthy guitar solo.

“Since it’s the tour final, can we come close to you?” the band asked, and once again the drum set was lowered down to the substage. The members walked down the runway to the substage, and Yoohei introduced Satoyasu’s return after he had to miss some shows since an announcement of his back issues in April.

The drummer, who had strolled down the runway leisurely in sunglasses while chewing gum, suddenly took on a serious announcer voice, apologizing for his disappearance. The crowd exploded in laughter at this unexpected change. “I said I will give back in sound, so that’s what I did. There’s still a couple of songs so I’ll put my heart into it,” he said seriously while continuing to chew his gum loudly, eliciting more laughter from everyone and joking criticism from the members.

Next came another new song that the band had played previously, but it was their first time playing it with Satoyasu. Although a standard warning to not switch on phone flashlights was made before the show started, Yoohei said that he enjoyed it when the fans did so, and that their lighting engineer was a “good guy” who would play along and dim the lights. As Pray started, the lights were indeed dimmed and fans took out their phones. Saitama Super Arena drowned in thousands of lights as the soft but powerful, moving melodies of the song resounded through the huge venue, Yoohei’s strong voice full of emotion.

“Are you ready, Saitama?” the frontman screamed, announcing the final song Wataridori. Everyone jumped enthusiastically to the catchy, energetic melodies of this hit song, shaking the floor as the whole arena lit up and shiny ribbons rained down onto the crowd in a spectacular finale.

[ALEXANDROS]’ songs brought an impressive variety of moods and sounds to their show, from touching slow ballads, through festive party songs all the way into heavier rock numbers, and never failed to impress and bring smiles to the audience members' faces. Their shows are definitely worth seeing, and you should catch them on the overseas leg of their continuing tour.

Set list

01. LAST MINUTE
02. Starrrrrrr

03. I Don’t Believe In You

04. follow me

05. spit!
06. Girl A
07. Come Closer

08. PARTY IS OVER

09. SNOW SOUND

10. Kaiju

11. MILK~KABUTO (short)

12. Mosquito Bite

13. Kick&Spin

14. You’re So Sweet & I Love You (Substage)

15. Ashita, mata

16. NEW WALL

17. FISH TACOS PARTY

18. Your Song

19. Adventure

20. Arpeggio

Encore

-SE- Burger Queen
01. Dracula La

02. Tsukiiro Horizon

03. Pray (Substage)

04. Wataridori

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