Happy X'mas with The Scooters

Text and photos by Patrick Benny for Tokyo's Coolest Sound

スクーターズOn Christmas day, I went to a show of The Scooters who got active again this year after some 30 years! Last summer was released new album "Une Manche et La Belle", and loving it I had been really looking forward to seeing them live.

I first knew about The Scooters when hearing "Scooters Complete Collection" playing in a record shop almost 10 years ago. I bought it and have loved it ever since, but the band remained a bit of a mystery to me, only knowing that Shindō Mitsuo (famous graphic designer responsible for most of Pizzicato Five's discography) was involved. I was surprised when I found out that they were an early 80's band, despite having a Motown-like sound. I never knew if it was really a band or made up from smart sampling. Seeing this show made me realize that The Scooters are very real, and very back too!

The band's line-up is fronted the 5 girls (left to right: Jackie, Beauty, Ronnie, Beat Himiko and Lucy), along with original members MC Turban Chana Jr. on acoustic guitar, Shindō Mitsuo on guitar and glockenspiel, Ishikawa Eiji on guitar, and new members Sally Kubota (Sally Soul Stew) on bass, Emerson Kitamura on keyboards, and Oya Ryoji on drums.

The show started with a cover of The Supremes' "Stop! In the Name of Love" and then "White Christmas" to set the mood for this show held on Christmas day. The first set also included several songs from their new album, and their famous cover of "Break-A-Way". The set ended with The Scooters' theme from the new album, a great song that says they're back, thanks the fans and tells them to stick around. :)

ザ・スクーターズ ザ・スクーターズ ザ・スクーターズ

1st set list (partial): Stop! In the Name of Love (The Supremes cover) / White Christmas (cover) / Love + Love / Love (Nat King Cole cover) / Break-A-Way / Loveless / Ghost / Scooters no Theme

Next was a break while DJ Konishi Yasuharu spinned records to keep the crowd dancing. His set was fast-paced, many of his mixes keeping the songs less than a minute. "Twiggy Twiggy" was a treat that made all P5 fans cheer!

The Scooters came back on stage for a 2nd set, now all wearing white outfits. The set started with their cover of "Heat Wave", accompanied on the large screen by super rare videos from TV shows back in the day (I couldn't find any on YouTube).

Then followed more new songs: "kanashii uwasa" written by Konishi-san, and "Hey Girl" by Tsutsumi Kyohei. The set also included my current favorite, "Remember" written by Ijūin Yuki, to then finish with a cover of "Shout".

ザ・スクーターズ ザ・スクーターズ ザ・スクーターズ

2nd set list: Heat Wave (Martha & the Vandellas cover) / kanashii uwasa / Hey Girl / kamisama onegai / Remember ~ano koro yume ni ikite~ / Shout (The Isley Brothers cover)

Of course something essential was missing, so it was obvious we were in for an encore. A cover of "Tighten Up" was used to introduce the many musicians, and then came the awaited "Tokyo Disco Night", their most well known hit. It was wonderful to hear it live! The show closed with a Christmas cover.

Encore: Tighten Up (Archie Bell cover) / Tokyo Disco Night / Christmas (Baby please come home) (Darlene Love cover)

This was really a great show, and rest assured that even after 30 years the girls can still sing! I had high expectations of lead singer Ronnie as I really love her vocals, and I wasn't disappointed.

On my way I bought a T-shirt designed by Shindo-san, and we ran into Beat Himiko so I told her that I hope to see them again next year. :)

Larger sizes and more photos at Flickr


"kanashii uwasa (I heard it through the grapevine)"

Tags: KONISHI Yasuharu, Scooters (click for more info)

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