This week was the release of Vanilla Beans' 2nd full-length original album "Vanilla Beans II"! They are now touring several record stores around the Kantō area in a promotion rush, but it all started on release day Wednesday July 20 at Tower Records in Shibuya. A large audience of maybe some 300 or more people filled the live space located downstairs.
Negicco started first, showing up in brand new outfits and opening with my favorite, "Gatter! Gatter! Gatter!" (a word game with the "gata" from "Niigata"), which somewhat reminds me of Pizzicato Five's "Tokyo wa yoru no 7ji" ("the night is still young"). They then left the stage briefly and came back with a dozen of negi (Niigata's famous "soft skin welsh onions") that they threw to cheering fans, and then sang "negi negi Rock". The next songs they sang were "kanzen kōryaku", "Disco!! The Negicco!" and "Plastic Star". For the last song, lead track "Get It On", they asked permission to remove their shoes because their feet were starting to hurt as they're not yet used to dance in high heels. Negicco talked about having been together for 9 years already, they've come a long way!
Next up were Vanilla Beans, the set opening with their new theme song "Vanilla Beans" at the end of which Rena and Lisa entered the stage. As soon as Rena reached for her mic she joked by greeting the audience "konban negi-negi!!" in the Negicco way. :)
The first song they sang was their biggest hit, "Nicola", and then a cover of Pizzicato Five's "Baby Portable Rock". Then followed new songs from the album, rocking tune "Doctor, onegai!" about a strange boyfriend, followed by ballad "Summer vacation". Last but not least was the album's beautiful lead track "älskar dig", hearing this song gives me goosebumps every time from the fact that it's a follow-up to "Nicola" and the chorus' catchy bassline.
Then it was time for the photo session, where fans who had bought either of the CDs (technically everyone as it was the condition to see this show) were invited on stage to pose along. Of course I took my turn to stand between Rena and Lisa who both recognized me this time. :) The caption at the back reads "Welcome to Northern Europe!", haha!
On the way out was a giveaway of goodies including backstage passes and private items from the girls. I was out of luck though and only got the consolation prize, a small but cute badge. Of course I had been lucky enough already so I'm not complaining!
A few words on Vanilla Beans' 2nd full-length original album "Vanilla Beans II", which is really a great album with many good songs. Vanilla Beans are known for doing the unexpected, and there are several surprises this time. The first is the album's jacket, idols usually have themselves on it, but here we have a little kid playing with a strange box, and a stranger figure coming out of it (watch the video below to find out more). Also, the entire album has Rena on the left and Lisa on the right channel! Another is that the album is divided in sections, songs grouped by their producer (Nakaji, Ōsumi and Takami), who else would do such a thing?! Of course there's also the surprising cover of Led Zeppelin's "Stairway To Heaven" which closes the album. Plus there's a beautiful song that was written by singer-songwriter bice who passed away last year... These are just a few things that make this album very special.
Vanilla Beans free mini shows can be seen at KDDI Designing Studio in Harajuku tomorrow July 25 from 17:30, and at Tower Records Shinjuku on July 31 at 16:00. There's your change to get your photo taken too!
Below you can watch all of Negicco's fun set from this event, shared on YouTube by a fan.
As for Vanilla Beans, watch their new video for song "älskar dig" if you haven't yet,... or watch it again. :)