On June 20th, 2016, I had the pleasure of seeing ℃-ute’s Concerto tour final at Nippon Budokan. Even though I’ve seen them live at a release event before, this was my first time seeing their full concert. I was pretty psyched up since there was one thing I consistently heard from all my friends who are ℃-ute fans: “Definitely make sure you warm up beforehand.”
Right when I entered the venue, I got to see the super classy presentation of the stage, draped in sultry red curtains with a huge chandelier hanging above. It almost looked like some kind of vintage jazz bar. Soon, the lights dimmed and my ears were met with the overture from the latest album, ℃maj9, a short a capella number that showed off the members’ vocal prowess and harmony. A few songs later, the members got onto moving platforms that brought them to the center stage of Budokan.
In most Budokan setups I’ve seen, the center stage is connected to the main stage by a runway so that the performers can directly reach it, but this time, the moving platforms brought the members right through the middle of the audience. That was pretty damn cool, and the choice in set-up really showed a strong sense of closeness with the fans to me.
The first half of the setlist highlighted the mature side of ℃-ute, with a lot of focus on their newer album songs and singles. Then about halfway through, we saw the venue lit in green as a surprise birthday celebration for Okai Chisato, whose birthday was the following day. It was honestly a surprise for the audience too, but I’ve always loved how fast everyone is to cooperate in cases like these, changing their penlight colors in mere moments and keeping quiet to not ruin the surprise.
Then came the second half of the concert, filled with the group’s more powerful and energetic songs. One song that particularly stuck out to me was Hagiwara Mai’s member-centric song, Digitalic > 0 (LOVE), a new song on ℃maj9. To be honest, my impression of it was pretty bleak before the concert itself, but actually seeing the performance made it so much better!
It’s an electric digital-y type of song with more focus on a cool beat than a catchy melody, which made it a bit hard to get into by listening alone. But the member outfits paired with the choreography and flashy VTR made it so much more enjoyable on stage. I actually took a look around the venue mid-song and noticed a lot of fans had their own pairs of light-up sunglasses that the members wore for this song. If I had known I would’ve enjoyed that performance so much, I would’ve picked up my own pair before the concert.
Later on, we had an announcement delivered by Yajima Maimi about their yearly ℃-ute Day events. (℃-ute = Kyuu-to = 9/10. Get it? Eh? Eh?) There will be another concert at Budokan on September 5th, and their 12th anniversary event on 9/10 itself at Grand Prince Hotel New Takanawa.
We saw the concert end with a double encore and some of the most energetic songs to finish with a bang. By the time I was making my way to the doors, the venue was hot and steamy, even up on the 2nd floor!
All in all, I was very glad to have attended this concert and to have finally seen a real ℃-ute live. My friends’ advice to stretch properly was definitely not for naught (especially in the second half), and I enjoyed the setlist immensely, from the mature side of ℃-ute to the group known for their super energetic songs.
You could also really feel the love coming from the audience itself, and after the event, I saw many reports of other celebrities and idols coming to see the show surfacing, which really shows just how well-respected of a group ℃-ute is.
Hopefully, we’ll see ℃-ute scheduled for a concert in the US sometime in the future, so that all the North American fans who couldn’t make it to Mexico last year can get to experience the impressiveness of ℃-ute live.
Opening. Overture (℃maj9)
1. Otokoto Onnato Forever
2. Jinseiwa STEP!
4. Kokorono Sakebio Utani Shitemita
5. Saikou Music
6. Ookina Aide Motenashite
7. Tokaino Hitorigurashi
8. Kiss me Aishiteru
9. Please, love me more!
10. Hitorijime Shitakatta Dakenanoni
11. Summer Wind
12. Yokazeno Message
14. Midnight Temptation
15. Digitalic→0 (LOVE)
16. The Middle Management ~Josei Chuukan Kanrishoku~
17. Kanashiki Heaven
18. Arashiwo Okosunda Exciting Fight!
19. Jounetsu Ecstasy
20. Massara Blue Jeans (2012 Shinsei naru ver.)
21. Dance de Bakoon!
22. Chou WONDERFUL! ENCORE
Encore 1. Naze Hitowa Arasoundarou
Encore 2. Iron Heart
Encore 3. JUMP