PLANET DANCE (From Fire Bomber 1st Live)
ICONIC SCENE: Ugh.
RELEASE DATE: August 25, 1995
Okay, I’ve seen Fire Bomber live once, Yoshiki Fukuyama solo once, and Chie Kajiura solo four times. Every time, it’s been an awesome show. Especially the Fire Bomber section of the Macross Crossover 30 Live in 2012. That’s one of the best concerts I’ve ever been to in my life.
However… if I had gone to this show, I would’ve been severely disappointed. Because it’s not really Fire Bomber, it’s the voice actors. And as we all (now) know, Nobutoshi Hayashi and Tomo Sakurai didn’t do the show’s music.
So yes, to step back a bit, Volume 7 of the Macross 7 series on VHS and LD (containing episodes 25 to 28) didn’t have a Macross 7 P*L*U*S short attached, but rather had the performance of “Planet Dance” from this concert. This “Fire Bomber” concert was held May 21, 1995, at Nippon Seinenkan (a second concert, with a similar set list, was held September 2 at Nakano Sunplaza, which has a little more “geek cred,” being across the street from the famous Nakano Broadway, a destination for otaku the world over… also, the fact that that that was two weeks after this video got released makes me think that this video was probably mostly an advertisement for that gig). From the video, it looks like the audience is primarily men in their twenties… so, probably guys who saw the original Macross when they were kids, and stayed with it.
The band is pretty good, although replacing the main guitar riff of “Planet Dance” with a keyboard is… not a wise choice. Hayashi and Sakurai (who, I should add, have both changed their names in the intervening years… Nobutoshi Hayashi is now Nobutoshi Canna, and Tomo Sakurai is now Tomo Sakurai. With, um, a different kanji for her surname) both do their best, but the truth is that, as I said, this isn’t a Fire Bomber concert. It’s a cover band, basically. An authorized cover band with impeccable connections to the show, but not the same people who sang the songs in the series or on the albums. And to underscore that, and let the audience know just how much they were missing, Yoshiki Fukuyama and Chie Kajiura came out for the encore. Just the encore.
Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated…?
Luckily, this never really happened again (well, after that September gig, at least). By the late ’90s, Chie Kajiura had gone on a long hiatus, while raising her daughter, but she came back in 2007 for some Fire Bomber shows with Fukuyama (and an all-new Mylene cover album, called “Gift 25,” which has to be heard to be believed) and later resumed her solo career. The future may be somewhat in jeopardy (more about that later, maybe, although I honestly don’t know much about the circumstances), but at least from 2007 to recently, if you went to a Fire Bomber gig, you’d be getting the REAL Fire Bomber, not just Basara and Mylene’s speaking voices. And even if you aren’t a big fan of Macross 7, they put on a hell of a show.