Looking back, its been a great 10 years. And so, naturally, we ask oursevles, 'what is next?' and although we have not explicitly confirmed this, I believe the natural answer, from both for us and our fans, would be 'Going forward, let's continue to make our journey together.'
We don't want our fans to think that these 10 years is it and we stop here. My wish is for fans to continue to say 'Yes, we will continue to support you and continue this journey with you.'
- Sakurai Sho '5x10 Tour pamphlet'
'Thank you, and let's move onwards together ' was the general message of the concert. I sort of understand why the tickets went to generally people who had been fans for a long time. The songs, the costumes, there was alot of memory in there, it was like a trip down memory lane for both the fans and them.
Day 1: Perfect blue skies, and a ground temperature of about 31 degrees. I arrived at Kokuritsu about 30 minutes before starting time, and saw the flags fluttering gaily in the wind at the top of the stadium, as if beckoning to the crowds below to come join the party that was about to unwind. There was a constant cool breeze flowing through the stadium and I thought that I would be melting under the sweltering heat, but was pleasantly surprised by how cool it was up on the stands. They started about 10 minutes late and the crowd was getting figety, with calls of 'arashi, arashi!!' being audible around the stadium.
The stage setup: It was not disimilar to last years. It was pretty much like last years, except for this tall, crane-like structure at the top of the 聖火台, or the Olympic torch.↓↓ and wires extending out of it, stretching from one end of the stadium, where the 聖火台 was, to the top of the main stage on the other side of the stadium. There were 2 giant screens on either side of the 聖火台 ↓ to cater to the people sitting immediately at the either sides of the stage, on the far end of the stadium, couldn't really see the screens on the mainstage.
There was a circular center stage, like last year, with hanamichis extending out from either side of centre stage. The back stage extended up to the 聖火台 via the gondola, which were not 5 individual moving 'lifts' like last year, but it was actually a moving stage, where the five of them could get in together and move freely around in it. All round the circumference of the stadium where long, bluish structures, which were actually contraptions which shot water jets up into the air. Fans sitting on the first few rows, get prepared to get wet at the end. : )
Front stage was similar to last year, with 2 giant screens and more sub-screens all over the stadium.
Just before the start of the show, there were alot of screaming from the people near the back stage,I couldnt see their faces, but it seemed like some JE guys had come to see the concert. All I could see were some brownish curls (in singapore, they would be totally Ah-beng) which looked sort of Pi-ish and Toma-ish. (turns out that Pi, Toma and Ryo were there, with Ogu-san too, I believe)
Opening song: Ok, I lost my bet on this one, it wasn't Believe. They started with a song that 100% unexpected, but 100% appropriate, now that I think about it. 感謝カンゲキ雨嵐。 Usually sung in the encore, it was now the opening song, which really matched the theme of the concert.
How they came on, it was also unexpected. But...... bouncing on the wires across the stadium?! I was expecting something more simple, but with more oomph. Like last year, it was simply done, the song was simple, but their entrance via centre stage had the effect of more creating more ripples in the crowd. Fans want to see their faces , especially at the start of a concert. Last year, training your binos on centre stage to focus on 5 guys dancing was easy. Try training for binos on 5 guys bouncing and flapping in the wind above you, in the end, I gave up and looked at the giant screens.
(The flying must be Jun's idea. :P My first reaction was to look for Sho and yell 'Shochan, DAIJYOBU!!!???!!! He was smiling and waving, but he wasn't his usual bouncy self.) So they were floating from front stage, across the arena seats, and to the 聖火台 where they moved into formation for the 2nd song, Step and Go, upon which they got onto the gondola and moved down back to backstage, and then centre stage.
Costumes: It was stylish, take goodness, they didnt have any costumes which had feathers, flowers or pincushions of any sort but proper costumes which didnt make my jaw drop at their ridiculousness. There was one suit, which hovered on that border, a shocking pink suit with electric blue sleeves turned backwards. :P~~~ OKKKAAAAYYY, I guess 5 guys dancing in shocking pink suits were would be acceptable under such circumstances. Afterall, this is a JE concert, they need some razzle and dazzle and a jaw dropper or two.
Sound system: This is my main gripe. From where i was, it was muffled and at certain spots, I could hardly figure out what songs they were singing or what was being said. I remember it wasn't like that last year. the music was clear and audible, even from right at the top of the stands. My friends, who were sitting at back stage, didnt have this problem, it was all clear and audible to them, but for the people sitting towards the sides, the sound was noticably bad. When Aiba came on for his solo, he looked very good, and the dancing was good, but it wasn't until the chorus that i realised he was singing Pikaanchi cos I could hardly hear him!
Member solos: I think it was a nice touch, this time, to do their songs as solos. It was nicely rearranged. As mentioned above, Aiba's solo was Pikaanchi. The dance was good and kakkoi. But unfortuately we couldn't hear him. Captain appeared as Yano Kenta (まさか！！） in his Uta no Oiisan outfit. Entering from backstage. I heard all the screaming going on there and when I peered through my binos, i was like 'OMG!! He seriously is in his Uta no Onisan ' outfit, complete with the red pom poms on his shoes!!!! XD Nino's solo was Kotobayori Taisetsunamono (だよね！！納得！！） and he sang and played the electric guitar along with it. He was very, very cute. Those hamburger hands strumming on those strings :) and he forgot his lyrics!!! XD XD XD
Sho did a hip hop version of Tomadoi nagara, which was nice and I liked his hooded sequin bad boy rapper jacket. Jun's solo was a jazzy rendition of Wish (he must really like hanadan!! there were Doumyouji scenes on the big screen) and his costume was a stylish baggy white shirt with suspenders. Looking very much like something from the 40s. I don't say it often with Matsumoto-san, but, now i do : 'I like it!!!' XD XD Maybe because the dance, his moves (OMG, he had such a 'broken wrist') reminded me very much of Takuya.
Cuteness meter: They busted the scale on this one. Ohhhhhh yessss. On a scale of 1 to 10, I give them a 20, meaning their were double of maximum cuteness yesterday.
Sho had cut his hair very short and so in the end, as there was a breeze floating throught the stadium, it was all standing up and toussled, he looked like a little boy bouncing around (when he was not flying in the air, that is). And OMG, he didnt the 'Nanchatte!!' move from THE QUIZ SHOW. Not once, but twice!!! ROFL . Rida's T-shirt during the encore was so baggy, he looked like one of those junior boys whose shirts are too big for them. Jun's hairstyle was very nice. All nicely blown and pinned up. Aiba, as usual, was in bermudas, not long pants and his hair too, was toussled up in the wind like a small boy. Nino, well, he is always cute.
Unexpected, but appreciated: When one of my friends suggested that they might do it, I poo-pooed her. But now I have to go and tell her she was right!!!! I really really didnt think they would do it, but they did it!! OMG!!!!! The whole stadium dissolved in laughter, it was unbelievable that they did it!!! After all the talk about how embarassing their debut outfits were, with their transparent suits showing off their chikubis (nipples), they appeared singing A.RA.SHI in those transparent debut suits!! And they strutted around in it, looking so happy!! Sho was a bit embarassed tho, and he had his hands crossed in front of his chest at some point!!! ROFL. Now, i want a fancam of this!
MC : They made gave Sho a hard time about his fear of heights. In the song just prior to the MC, they sang Hadashi No mirai from 5 individual platforms like 7 meters tall and he didnt his choreography in very tiny little circles. XD And during rehearsals, whilst the other 4 of them would be lifted all the way up, only Sho would have his platform unraised, and he would do it from ground level. XD He said that he was fine, but then Jun said, 'Hey remember last year during Kokuritsu when you went up to the 聖火台 and said you were fine, we saw all the footage of you gripping to the handrails!!!!' ROFL. So they made him go up on the platform, raised him 7 meters in the air and he had to do the hadashi no mirai again, all by himself (He said, 'hey is this my solo con or what!!>) XD at which he had his eyes closed when they were lifting him and he did the cheoreography again, in very small circles!!
The next thing their talked about was how Aiba appeared on the set of 'MY GIRL' . They wanted to know if he was his usual genki self when he got to the set, and would yell 'OHAYO GOZAIMASU'!!!!! or would it be just a normal 'ohayou gozaimasu.' They made him act like he was appeared on the set in the morning and he so he gave his greeting, it was a normal and subdued 'Ohaiyou gozaimasu. ' XD XD He also said that he was been getting up early nowadays for his drama filming and he would cook breakfast for himself. But Nino chipped in and said, 'he cooks the strangest things for breakky!!' Like Gyudon. XD
All these while, Ri-da- had been quiet, so finally Nino turned to Ri-da- and said, Ohno-san don't you think its time for you to start speaking!!?? XD
Fireworks and ballloons: These two were must haves, and it contributed to the atmosphere. The balloons were colourful this year, in all their individual colours, red, green, blue, yellow and green, with pink thrown in too. The fireworks were fantastic this time, it was longer than last year and had great wow effect. it was let off during the last chorus of Believe, towards the end of the concert.
Final greetings: Ri-da- started tearing and we started Kyaaa-ing! Well I heard alot of sniffing going around too, around me. XD Each of the members gave their 'THANK YOU I LOVE YOU GUYS' speech and whilst NIno was in the middle of his, fireworks went off, from the Meiji Jingu Baseball stadium next door!!!! It was a totally different event, unrelated and it had to happen during the serious moments when all the fans were sniffing away!!!! All of us were surprised and Nino was like 'Yes thank you, I know I said something so great , that they had to set off fireworks when I was speaking!!!' I think none of the guys expected that. They were taken off guard by that one. XD
The concert lasted 3 hours with 2 encores. Getting out and going home was a pain, but neverthess, it was great fun. Now I hope they will fix the sound system for the shows over the next two days.