A9 returned to Singapore for their comeback tour that also included some Asian countries other than their homeland Japan. Singapore was the second last stop in their tour around Asia, and that was the second time that the band had come to Singapore for a solo live performance. This time they held a two-day concert—we could see how much love they have for their Singaporean fans! That being said, the concert did not attract only Singaporean fans, but their beloved fans from other countries as well.
The concert was held at the Singapore Airlines Theatre, at the center of the city. Hours before the concert started, fans already queued up for the concert goods, and we’re mingling around the space in front of the entrance to the theatre. Like day 1 of the concert, there were fan-made banners laid out on the floor for fans to pen their messages to A9. These banners were later passed to the members themselves, after the concert.
As the theatre lights darkened, out came the A9 members, Hiroto (on guitar), Shou (vocals), Nao (bass), Tora (guitar), and Nao (drums), decked out in white, to the high-pitched screams of the audience. The concert began with Phoenix, starting with Nao’s strong drumbeats, which instantly got the audience head banging. Without any break, they lunged into the next song, Heart of Gold, and to a series of other upbeat songs.
After the fourth song, it was time for a break, and for A9 to greet the fans. “Hi! Good to see you again!” said Shou. He was dressed in a white sleeveless shirt, with ripped jeans and silver sneakers. “Let’s make it…more than yesterday?” he added, a little unsure about the last few words. He then went on to ask if any of the fans were at day 1 of the Singapore concert. The majority of the crowd replied with loud cheers, and Shou said in delight, “Ahh, awesome!” Then, in Japanese, he said, “Let’s get pumped up today too!” He then led the audience in clapping their hands to the start of the next number, Blue Planet.
As the A9 fans did their furitsuke (hand movements) during the song, there was a sea of white, with ocassional green and red, bracelets. The bracelets were part of the concert merchandise, and could sense any hand motion and light up. Tora, Hiroto, and Shou were also wearing them on their wrists. This song was very easy on the ears, and I’m sure anyone listening to it for the first time would be able to enjoy the song as much as the fans.
A9 then moved back in time to their first album, bringing us the song, Velvet, another song that is perfect for head banging. Shou led the fans to shout, “Hey! Hey!” to the beat of the song, and near the end of the song, he said, “let’s jump!” It was very fun to follow the band members’ lead throughout the concert, as they bang their heads or wave their hands from side to side, depending on the music.
Hiroto enticed the audience as his body gracefully moved to the music while playing the guitar. His movements would catch anyone’s attention immediately. Shou pulled out his concert towel and led the crowd to wave their towels in the air for the next song, Ryuuseigun. After the first part of the concert, which comprised of lively songs, they transitioned into a mellow section, with Shou serenading the fans with his powerful voice, in a series of ballads, including Scarlet and Freesia no sakubasho (The place where freesias bloom). Hiroto, dressed in a white shirt, skirt, pants, and boots, displayed his skills with melodious guitar solos while kneeling down.
Nao, Tora, and Saga left the stage momentarily, leaving Hiroto and Shou on stage. Both of them sat at the center of the stage, with Shou resting his left arm on Hiroto’s shoulder, bringing to us a ballad version of the song, White Prayer. This ballad version really showed off Shou’s powerful vocals, and it also had a beautiful tune that the fans could sing along to.
It was time for Hiroto’s solo section, as Shou exited the stage and out came the rest of the members. He changed the mood of the concert with his soulful guitar riffs. Our eyes were glued to his fingers running up and down the fret board. Then it was Tora’s turn for the guitar solo segment. His style had strong and catchy rhythms, which got the crowd doubly excited, shouting, “Hey! Hey! Hey!” to the beat. Shou then returned to the stage and A9 dived right into the next song, Spiegel, yet another lively song that feels good to head bang to. “Are you having fun? You’re really awesome! Let’s not lose to the fans yesterday! Let me hear your loud voices!” he shouted.
Nao took a moment to introduce the concert merchandise of the “Rebirth-Tensyou” tour. He took this chance to showcase the Hokkien and Singlish words he had learnt as well. “Singapore! Singapore! Singapore! I’ll be introducing the merchandise! Ho bo (are you alright)? Fans on level 1, ho bo?! Fans on level 2, ho bo?! Are you enjoying yourself? Buy my goods hor (please buy my goods)!!”He introduced the tattoo stickers, blue concert towel, the light sticks, and the t-shirts. His comical MC made the fans laugh and cheer in delight. At the end, he even added, “I am (a) handsome guy!”
With Tora’s powerful guitar riffs, A9 moved into the last part of the concert, with the familiar number, Rainbows. The next few songs were also nostalgic ones, like 九龍 (Kowloon), 春夏秋冬 (Shunkashuutou) and TSUBASA.
To the fans’ surprise and utter delight, Hiroto even came down from the stage to get up close with the audience. After saying their goodbyes, the members left the stage one by one, but of course that was not the end. The fans immediately started to shout “encore!” until A9 came back on stage. At that time, there were already many bras strewn all over the stage, thrown by the fans of course. There was even a pair of panties! Saga returned to the stage first, and proceeded to pick up all the bras and hang a few on each of microphone stands, not forgetting the drum set’s microphone stand. Nao joined Saga on stage, and began their solo section. They were in perfect synch as they rocked the audience with their wicked beats.
Without any break, the band dived straight into ハイカラなる輪舞曲 (Haikara naru rinbu kyoku), one of their heavier rock songs. In the middle of the song, Saga suddenly kissed Hiroto on the lips! The concert was sure full of fan service! It was also certainly not short of instrumental solos, as they hit us with more guitar solos and also a drum solo by Nao!
Before the last song, Shou said a few words to the audience, not forgetting to thank them for their “lovely presents”. “Thank you all for supporting us, we will definitely be back! We’ll see you guys again! That’s a promise!” He also urged them to sing along to the last number, すべてへ(Subete e). It was an emotional song, very apt for closing the night.
Everyone had a wonderful time with A9 but the show had to come to an end. The members said their thanks once again and bade goodbye to the fans. Hiroto gave his thanks to the fans by holding his guitar high and pointing the neck part towards each part of the audience.
For the V.I.P ticket holders, it was not quite the end of the night yet, as they could enjoy a handshake session with the band after the show! It was indeed an enjoyable concert, and we hope that A9 will come to Singapore once again to perform in the future!
After the Singapore live concerts, A9 went on to perform in Kuala Lumpur the following week. A9 will also be having a Christmas live at EX Theater Roppongi on December 25, and participating in “Tokyo Chaos 2015” on New Year’s Eve, along with many other bands like MUCC, Heidi, MERRY, and jealkb. Do check them out if you happen to be in Tokyo!
A9’s setlist 24102015
2. Heart of Gold
3. 道化師 (Doukeshi)
4. 銃弾 (Judan)
5. ブループラネット (Blue Planet)
7. 流星群 (Ryuuseigun)
9. フリージアの咲く場所 (Freesia no saku basho)
10. WHITE PRAYER
11. Hiroto’s session
12. Tora’s session
15. 九龍 (Kowloon) -NINE HEADS RODEO SHOW-
16. 春夏秋冬 (Shunkashuutou)
1. Saga×Nao SESSION
2. ハイカラなる輪舞曲 (Haikara naru rinbu kyoku)
3. すべてへ (Subete e)
Report and watermarked pictures by Elenaril. Other pictures belong to BLACK BALLOON.