F Budokan


ICONIC SCENE: Three divas.

PERFORMANCE DATE: November 5, 2008

(DVD/BD RELEASE DATE: October 20, 2009)

So, um, a lot has happened between the broadcast of the last episode of Frontier (September 25th) and this. This is the final (for now) concert, after the Zepp Tokyo debut (July 27) a few months previously, and the final episode of the show (again, September 25), and the Yokohama show (October 13) and the Osaka show (October 22) and THIS show (November Fifth, Guy Fawkes Day).


Look, I’ll come right out and say that the DVD (or BD) makes Budokan (home of live albums for Bob Dylan, Cheap Trick, and an Oasis bootleg) look much larger than it actually is (it seats thirteen thousand people). So yes, it’s big, but nothing compared to, say, Saitama Super Arena or Makuhari Messe. I’m also guessing that there’s a lot of post-production audio correction on this, because everyone sounds PERFECT. But I dunno… I wasn’t there (but I bet Adrian was). Maybe they honestly DID sound this good. Of course, I have no idea how much of the vocals here were actually live in the first place. Even in the US, flashpoint for the Milli Vanilli scandal, pre-recorded vocals are, I’m led to understand, pretty common at concerts.

And oh, man… May’n is wearing one of THOSE headbands… You used to see them a lot in the summer, and I’m sorry that they seem to have gone out of style. They will always look great on girls with long, straight hair.

I quite like the two trumpeters, as I’m clearly meant to, since the concert emphasizes them more than most of the other instrumentalists.

And ya gotta love Yoko Kanno playing accordion at the encore.

Anyway, between this concert and its DVD release a year later, there were a couple of events, the main one being the “Macross Launch Festival” on February 22 (2.22, Nyan Nyan Nyan) 2009 (which is CLOSE to the launch date of the Macross in the show, but not the exact date, which would’ve been (*ahem*!) February 7, 2009), in Akihabara, which, from the account I’ve read (Renato’s), was HIGHLY overmanaged, splitting the event into two (the “Daedalus Event” and the “Prometheus Event”), with a random draw as to which event you could go to. In other words, if you had come to see that adorable Megumi Nakajima sing at one event, you might have ended up with tickets to see boring old guys like Kazutaka Miyatake talking at the other, and vice-versa. Or ended up with neither, even if you had traveled from Kyoto (as Renato did).

The next big performance, though, I indeed WAS there for: the “Super Dimension Tanabata” show at Saitama Super-Arena, on July 7, 2009. Now, that was the full-blown Yoko Kanno (not just Macross) concert, featuring May’n and Megumi, and Origa (of Ghost in the Shell) (now passed away), and Mai Yamane (of Macross Plus and Cowboy Bebop), and Steve Conte (of Cowboy Bebop), and Maya Sakamoto (of, well, pretty much EVERYTHING). It really was a true EVENT, and I was thrilled to be there, as were all the people around me. Especially the guy next to me who shouted out “ALIEN!!” during the SMS Theme, which caused my friend who had gotten the tickets to burst out laughing, even though she hadn’t yet seen Frontier (as she said later: “A fat Japanese dude shouted out the word ‘Alien.’ How could I not laugh?”).

Gwyn Campbell, sometime-host of the Macross SpeakerPODcast, was also there, but we didn’t meet each other then. I did, however, hang out with Macross World member  (and all-around great guy) Josue, with whom I ended up drinking all night in Kabukicho (because the show had ended too late for him to get home to Yokohama), and meeting a couple of floozies in the process. As Josue said, “I bet they’ll never remember even MEETING us once they sober up.” They, um, probably didn’t.

But yeah, back to the concert, there’s an audience-level bootleg of it around, if you’re so inclined, and (rarely for me) I suggest you go for it, because this will (alas) never be released officially. This was the concert where Megumi Nakajima sang “Voices,” where they sold rubber ducks at the “goods booth,” to be used during “Anata no Oto” (“Ahiru no oto… *squeak* *squeak* *squeak*”), where Steve Conte shouted, “I love you!” at Yoko Kanno, which made Scott Matthew shout to her, “I love you MORE” (or was Scott Matthew THEN Steve Conte?), and where Yoko Kanno herself sat down to sing “Moon,” from Turn A Gundam, casting aside the fiction of “Gabriela Robin” (or was it Gabriela Robin casting aside the fiction of Yoko Kanno…?). It was one of the best concerts I’ve ever been to, and the more Kanno you know, the more you’ll enjoy it. Seriously, GO FOR IT.

Later in 2009, there were also a number of music releases: naturally, the single and two mini-albums for the first Frontier movie came out, but also there was a new (!!) Fire Bomber album, “RE:FIRE,” which was excellent (VF5SS didn’t like it at first, but he came around eventually), and the “Super Dimension Anthem: “Iki o Shiteru, Kanjiteiru” (“Take a Breath, and Feel It”), sung by Mari Iijima, Fire Bomber, May’n, and Megumi Nakajima. Now this was essentially a promotion for the big Macross concert coming in October, the “Macross Crossover Live AD2009X45X59,” which would feature Minmay, Fire Bomber, and Sheryl and Ranka sets (with secret guest appearances on each of the two nights, Hiroko “Ishtar” Kasahara on one night and Akino “Myung and Sharon Apple” Arai on the other). The single was wonderful (although Mari Iijima told me the song took her a mere five minutes to write. Whatever. Bob Dylan said the same thing about “Blowin’ in the Wind” (not to me personally)), but by all accounts, the concert was not a terribly great performance, as the hall was plagued by audio problems. But still, it was kind of amazing to see that Macross concerts were becoming a fairly regular thing, a tradition that continues even now, with Walküre having already played, and gearing up for some more big live appearances.



NEXT EPISODE (or is that THIS episode?): “Song of Performance, ring throughout the galaxy!”


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