Otsuka Ai- Ai am BEST Tour

March 9, 2010 at 6:33 pm (Otsuka Ai) (, , )

1. Yumekui
2. Momo no Hanabira
3. Amai Kimochi Maru Kajiri
4. Hanikami Jane
5. Biidama
6. Kuroge Wagyuu Joshio Tanyaki 680 Yen
7. Neko ni Fuusen
8. Haneari Tamago
9. Cherish
10. Ren’ai Shashin
11. Kingyo Hanabi
12. Daisuki da yo.
13. Planetarium
15. Kataomoi DIAL
16. Frienger
17. PonPon
18. Happy Days
19. Sakuranbo

So a little bit about the different version of the DVD. Really, there are only two The one with silver text on the front is just the tour DVD. The one with gold font has a making-of DVD included, and a 40-page photobook. The Hong Kong version only comes as the Gold text. Which is what I got.

I’ll review all the contents in this one review.

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March 9, 2010 at 3:36 pm (Otsuka Ai) (, , )

LOVE LETTER – clay animation-
LOVE LETTER TOUR 2009 ~Channel Keshite Ai-chan Neru!~ (at KOCHI BAY SQUARE on 2009.04.05)
1. Bye Bye
2. 360
3. Do Positive
5. Behind the scenes

So as you should know by now, I purchased the LOVE LETTER Tour Box, which comes with her Lifehouse and Arena Tour DVDs which can be pruchased separately. I’ve done the reviews for those DVD’s, and they can be found in the Otsuka Ai section. As for this particular review, I will review the contents of the box and the extra DVD, which also comes as the second DVD with the Arena Tour DVD.

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Otsuka Ai – LOVE LETTER TOUR ~Light Terashite, Ai to Yume to Kando to…Warai to!~

March 8, 2010 at 6:40 pm (Otsuka Ai) (, )

2. Ningyou
3. OnexTime
4. H2O
5. Strawberry Jam
6. Kimi Fechi
7. Ticket
8. Shachihata
9. Ame no Tsubu, Waltz ~LOVE MUSIC~
10. 360
11. Kurage, Nagareboshi
12. Creamy Spicy
13. Do Positive
15. Bye Bye
16. Rocket Sneaker
17. Pocket
18. Ai
19. Sakuranbo
20. pretty voice
21. Himawari

As I said in the review of her Lifehouse tour, I bought the LOVE LETTER TOUR Box set, which included both this DVD and the Lifehouse tour (and one extra). What’s the difference between the two tours? Well the Lifehouse tour is basic singing with a band, not really any visuals or anything. The Arena tour is set in bigger venues, has bigger stages, outfits, screen videos, etc. And as you all know, I loved the lifehouse tour. What did I think of the big Arena production?

The concert starts off with a screen video, completely claymation. I will say right now that I still don’t entirely understand what goes on in these videos, but they’re cute. I tend to skip them though. Anyways, the opening song is “LOVE LETTER” of course, and Ai plays on a sea-themed piano wearing a tutu or sorts and very big hair. Quite interesting. Anyways, she gives a great performance, a lovely lead in, and the lyrics are on the screen! Not that we as the DVD watchers can see very well as the camera changes, but it’s a nice addition for tour goers. This goes for most other songs too, if I’m not mistaken.

She plays both “Ningyou and “OnexTime” on piano, with the rest of the band appearing and accompanying for the latter. Which means Ningyou is another beautiful piano ballad, and “OnexTime” is the first high point of the concert. I believe there is a bit of a new strings arrangement (and some more new piano playing by Otsuka), and it all works together very well as the stage lights up. It’s one of my favourite Otsuka songs, and it’s one of my favourite performances on the list.

Sadly, Otsuka gets off the piano, but now come in some more fun songs. “H2O” leads the way, which although it isn’t my favourite song by any means, it isn’t so bad. “Strawberry Jam” is a lot better though, and is more fun for me. “Kimi Fechi” is essentially the same as the recording, which is ok. It seems more fun here though, I’m not sure why. Some piano rolls lead the way for “Ticket”, which has some lush strings, and is another great fun song. Everyone seems to be having fun, and it’s nice to see her acknowledge the lead violinist, who gives a stellar performance.

The lights go dark and our next screen video comes up. Again, I’m not entirely sure what’s up with it by the end, and it’s a bit long, but there is some impressive animation. She comes out singing “Shachihata”, which gets some impressive treatment. She moves to the rectangular stage which is branched off, and she’s got a very retro set up (and a flaring dress to match). And here we see that she truly is the singer of the enormously fun song, and I love it. The best part of this is the guy with the mustache (often cross dresses; look for him off to the side a bit). Top notch.

All of a sudden things slow down again for “Ame no Tsubu”, which I had never heard before. It’s a beautiful use of “LOVE MUSIC”‘s chorus, although it can sound a tad awkward at first. Either way, it’s a beautiful song, although to be honest, I don’t think too much of the performance. But I love the song so whatever. On the other hand, I Love “360’ but the performance was so meh that I was horribly disappointed. I mean, there’s a lot to do with 50 dancers, and at first it is utilized pretty well, but it gets pretty boring really fast when they all separate. I like the Lifehouse version better.

“Kurage, Nagareboshi” is the last song of the set, and it is beautiful as ever, although there definitely isn’t a lot going. It’s pretty though. Very pretty. Another long video leads us into the happy happy section of the concert, starting with “Creamy & Spicy”. I’m actually pretty impressed that she can reach that high note live; her vocals always astound me. Anyways, it’s a great way to start the fun segment of the concert.

Following up is “Do Positive” and those male dancers that she’s got are back, doing what they do best. Cross Dressing and scaring the hell out of you. But it’s all in good fun, especially with a song like this (too bad I’m not a major fan of the song, but it’s not bad. A grower, I think). And actually, watching again, those dancers really don’t do THAT much, but hey, there’s only three of them. Now for interactive audience sing along, “LIFE LOVE-CIRCLE”. As I said in the other review, I hate this song since it’s so repetitive, but her dancers put on enough of a performance for me to watch. She also introduces her band and main dancers here and lets them have their solos. Ah, it seems that creepy guy’s name is “Mondo”. How educational. But anyways, they all find a way to make it fun, and it saves the lack-luster song.

When the song finally ends, Otsuka finishes her happy segment with “Bye Bye” and “Rocket Sneaker”. Both are pretty standard performances, actually, and I was a tad disappointed with the setlist for this point, not having any hyper songs (aka “PonPon”). But it was still fun. And I love how delayed the audience is in singing back for “Bye Bye” at the end.

Our last interlude video (with a nice backing song) leads us into “Pocket”, which is beautifully sung (and has the PV on the screen?). And it’s even complete with falling “snow”! Yay! “Ai”‘s performance is saved because she doesn’t drag it on like she does for the Lifehouse tour. I believe there is a new strings arrangement here as well, so hurray for that! At the very least, there’s a new opening, and it’s lovely.

While the audience waits and cheers for the encore, a video shows up. It’s funny, because they shout for “One more!” (literally translated), and what do we get on screen? Two large Japanese men having an eating contest, desperate to eat just one more. An interesting way to keep the audience going as Ai gets ready. And she comes out looking so beautiful with her long hair! It’s so cute to see her open “Sakuranbo” with just the electric guitar, and then see the band members scramble on to make it just in time. And with any performance, “Sakuranbo” is a lot of fun, and there’s a bit (or a lot) of audience sing along here too. It’s funny I didn’t used to like this song, but now I know why it did so well. ATASHI SAKURANBO.

“pretty voice” and “Himawari” are two songs of which I’m not very familiar with, but they are both pretty fun. They’d probably more fun if I knew them. Although I have heard Ai sing the latter accompanied only by a piano (and it was so beautiful) this version fits well in the encore. There’s some talking to the audience of course, and Otsuka has some fun with words that I can semi sort of kinda not really follow.

What I didn’t expect was another screen video at this time. We get a pseudo classic Japan theme going, and all those dancers from “360” come in with kimonos (all the same of course) and swirly hypnotic umbrellas. There’s an awesome song playing in the background too, and the dancers are actually quite fun to watch this time around (as opposed to that boring “360” performance). And then we notice the paper screen and her main dancers in the middle, and it’s clear that Ai is changing behind that screen. Just when the song stops, “CHU-LIP” starts, and Ai comes out, looking dazzling as ever with a fan that has this character that has some obscure reference that I don’t know, but I don’t care. It’s a ridiculously fun performance, and it’s interesting to see the classic “CHU-LIP” dance done with a fan in hand. Also, the lyrics are shown on screen with extremely old calligraphy (that definitely looks like chicken scratch, but who cares because its cool). As the final song, it of course has to drag out a bit. In fact, the bridge drags on for ages, but for good reason; Ai takes this time to run (and sing simultaneously. How does she do it?) around the middle stage with her dancers. While the personnel do not let her close enough to actually touch the fans, she’s actually quite close at times and I’m sure the fans appreciated it. A fantastic way to end off the concert.

So all in all, it was a great concert, although the middle section had its disappointments. She’s definitely getting better with props and outfits, and her singing is amazing as ever. It also encases all of the LOVE LETTER songs, which saves me from having to get the album.

Can’t wait to see what she’s got in store for next year!

Vocals – Top notch throughout, as expected
Spectacle – Quite a bit of it, but nothing overly imressive
Setlist – What we would expect from her, with faithful arrangements
Quality / Editing – Just fine
Extras – None

Get it, definitely with the Box if you can

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Otsuka Ai – LOVE LETTER TOUR ~Channel Keshite Ai-chan Neru!~

March 7, 2010 at 5:33 pm (Otsuka Ai) (, )

3. Ticket
4. Sora to Kujira

6. H2O
7. One×Time
8. Kimi Fechi
9. Bye Bye
10. 360°
11. Do☆Positive
12. PonPon
13. Happy Days
14. Rocket Sneaker
15. Ai
17. Sakuranbo
18. Print Kurabu ~Band Shokai~’
19. Mirai Taxi
20. Yumekui

So as many of you know, I used to freeload music. But when I decided to buy it, I wondered how I could possibly get all the songs that I liked and not bust my wallet. The answer was found in concert DVD’s; they tended to encompass most of the songs I liked, and span an artist’s career. For Ai, I started off with the Ai am BEST Tour, and then the LOVE LETTER TOUR Box, (which includes this DVD, and the Arena Tour DVD, which will be reviewed later). Sadly, I never got “Friends”, the song I probably wanted most.

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