Well, now that I’m at it, I’ll just go ahead and discuss AraFes 2012 Concert. Actually I initially intended to catch the Beautiful World tour, but wasn’t quick enough to grab it. So, when AraFes – Arashi Festival – was up, I decided not to miss this out.
It was a 3.5 hours long concert held for only two days at Kokuritsu. Beforehand, polls were released for songs fans would like to see live – single, album, and coupling songs. Those requested the most were then concertized. So, it can be said that AraFes was for the fans, the realization of fans’ dreams and wishes. Just Arashi and Arashic, no back-dancers this time. Ii ne~
Although the songs were all voted for, including the solos, they didn’t differ much from what’s usually sung in previous Arashi’s concert tours. Yes, there are songs I haven’t heard of before, but mostly are familiar ones. The format and sequence also stayed intact – songs, greeting, songs, talk, songs, thank-you speech, more songs, two-three encores. Maybe the order isn’t something to play around with, so no complaints there. Good news is, new arrangements were introduced here – to fans’ delight, to my pleasure.
AraFes kicks off with animated illustration of girls primp up and head out to Kokuritsu. Cute~ Arashi then appear under five of the many balloons placed on stage. Animated Arashi with real members’ voices projected several times as fillers, announcing one thing after another – the origin of the concert, which song topped a category, the schedule for Popcorn tour etc.
First highlight is during Aiba’s solo, Friendship, wherein the other four members come on stage and back-dance the number. After quite a harmless song with cute big red palm gloves, Jun takes over the heightened platform to sing one of his bolder solos, Shake it! The air heats up as the members shake their bodies in quite provocative moves
– there’s hip rotation, pelvic thrusting, Jun’s bare top. I frankly paid little attention to the front-man, too engrossed witnessing how happy the members were – Sho’s ever-present wide-smiley face, Nino’s incredible shakes, and four short duet collaborations – which then makes the number highly hilarious than pervy. Never thought I’d enjoy Jun’s solo this much (I did mention in Beautiful World’s album review that I unexpectedly liked this song) but at 45-minute mark, I found a favorite. An absolute keep!
It is soon revealed that members being back-dancers for other member’s solo was also requested. An idea that never crossed my mind. I always regard solos as time for other members to rest, but this turned out to be probably one of the most brilliant ideas ever! But damnit now I look forward to the rest’s solos expecting the same treatment.
So, I keep thinking “when will the others show up?” while Sho performs T.A.B.O.O on that vast stage, accompanied only by recorded VTR on the big screen above him. It looks awkward to watch – didn’t he feel a bit lonely doing all that all by himself? The other four finally join him in the final chorus, and though I’d like them to appear much earlier, that made up for it. Alas, that’s it. Nino goes solo on the overly-danced Gimmick Game (I firmly thought it’s gonna be Niji) – there’re just too many movements; nice outfit tho’. So does Ohno on Rain – the members dance in the VTR shown, but I’d rather have them dance in real-time, live, and in person v_v
Aforementioned, new tricks were introduced here. This time conveyor belt made an appearance, transported the members from one end to another without the need to walk or run. Cool creation or mere laziness? Like the fans, each member also had a particular song they’d like to sing live (named ‘OreFes’ hehe), and drew sticks to decide on which songs’d be sung:
Nino’s Sketch? (penned by Sakumiya to commemorate their 5th anniversary and given to 100 cho-lucky people only)
Sho’s Green? (an unreleased song performed once during Dream A Live)
Ohno’s Kiss kara hajimeyou? (“nande sono kioku suki nansuka?” “Kiss kara hajimeyou dayo!” Hahaha, oh Ohno…)
Or Aiba’s Hey hey lovin’ you?
Eh, how about Jun? He didn’t pick a song? He says it’s something he wants to do instead – and to answer Sho’s curiosity, it’s indeed approved by the agency. Hee. What is it…?? It’s… DJ-MJ.
The mash-up is another eye-candy. Jun can always come up with fresh nice ideas.
La tormenta follows, though not half as momentous and impactful as its AAA 2008 execution. But then we have Tokei jikake no umbrella performed next. I love love LOVE the outfit!! The choreo’s not too bad, though its rigid renaissance-lady-like side walk is risible. Another favorite performance is Love situation, the song I fell in love with upon seeing it at 2007’s TIME DVD. It’s still my favorite non-single dance-number. Really love the rendition, the only song shown through four different angles on screen. I was torn between who to watch at first, but worry not, I can always rewatch it again and again, and again and again, and I don’t think it’ll ever be enough.
And since TIME, we don’t get too see many impish moments (especially from dorky Sakumiya pair) or skinship (that can be seen during Shake it!). They probably didn’t get caught on tape, but it also makes each fleeting instance, when they do get seen, a treasure. Like one priceless Sakumiya moment during Hadashi no mirai’s bridge 😀 Last but not least, Nino ties the sweatband towel the ramen-man or mochi-man style, and Sho dons that red head towel not seen since TIME’s tour. Natsukashii na~
All in all, AraFes is an enjoyable project and I had fun watching it, throwing my hands up like the attendees did, rocking on my seat, and mimicking the easier hand choreography.
Rating: Erm, concerts are meant to be enjoyed, I believe no one can really rate one. Fair enough?
Wookay, next in line: POPCORN \o/ *till I get my hands on it*
Arafes (2012) – Kokuritsu stadium
Concert Tour © Johnny & Associates
ARASHI: Aiba Masaki, Matsumoto Jun, Ninomiya Kazunari, Ohno Satoshi, Sakurai Sho
~stills captured from the video subbed by mirei~