On Sunday June 17, I went to see Vanilla Beans who were holding their 4th one-man live. I had been to the first held in December 2009 (report), and have seen them many times at various other events since, but it had indeed been a long time since I had seen a full show of theirs.
This show was held at Shibuya WWW, currently my favorite venue as it reuses a theater screening room though the seats have been removed but the floor where the audience stands goes up in a stairway fashion towards the back. This usually gives everyone a good view of the stage, although this show was sold out and the place was quite packed. It was still a pleasant show though as Vanilla Beans fans are very well behaved, as long as you don't mind most people clapping their hands the whole time when not mimicking the girls' dance moves. I do the same or at least sometimes try. :)
The show started with a guitar solo, making me wonder when Marty Friedman (ex-Megadeth Tokyo resident) would walk on stage, though this didn't happen. Instead Vanilla Beans appeared quickly, wearing their outfits from latest single "Choco Mint Flavor Time". The show started with the song I had been most wanting to hear, "1969nen no Drag Race", a cover of Ohtaki Eiichi! Followed "Afternoon-a-Go-Go" and "ashita wa ashita no natsu ga kuru" (both from 1st album "Vanilla Beans"), and also Pizzicato Five's "Baby Portable Rock" (a rare track found only on their limited "Stairway To Heaven" single, but often included in their set list). Next was original song "Doctor, onegai" (from latest album "Vanilla Beans II"), one that features Araki Yūko (mi-gu, The Cornelius Group) on drums.
Then came a little break where the girls guided the audience through their entire discography shown on the large screen, and they then proceeded to sing each of their singles in order: "U love Me", "Nicola", "sakasaka Circus", "Love & Hate", "D & D", "toki no kakera", "Choco Mint Flavor Time". Then they left the stage while we were shown a making-of video of their latest video clip for upcoming single "Non-Section". When they came back they were now wearing the white dresses from that clip, and of course that song was next, followed by "?" ("Question").
Set list part 1: Guitar intro / 1969nen no Drag Race (Ohtaki Eiichi cover) / Afternoon-a-Go-Go / Baby Portable Rock (Pizzicato Five cover) / ashita wa ashita no natsu ga kuru / Doctor, onegai / U love me / Nicola / sakasaka Circus / Love & Hate / D & D / toki no kakera / Choco Mint Flavor Time
Enough of the obvious, it was now surprise time! Lisa and Rena took turns singing their solo covers of Yamashita Kumiko, as heard as B-sides of "toki no kakera". Lisa sang "Stop Stop Rock'n'Roll", while Rena stood a few seps back but still singing chorus and doing some sync'd dancing, and then the roles were swapped for Rena's "hoshi ni natta uso". That was great!
The best had yet to come! kodomo Beans ("children beans") were invited on stage, 4 young kid girls with the same haircuts as Rena and Lisa joined to dance for the following songs. They were really good too! Before they started they first threw original Vanilla Beans Tirol chocolates at the audience, who were asked to eat them during the next song "C-ba-san no uta", about their gourmand manager. Followed "koi no Theory" (another of my favorites) and a cover of Pizzicato Five's "Tokyo wa yoru no 7ji"!
It was already time for the last song, "hitotsu no uta", a song about enjoying the same song at the same place as other people, relating to Vanilla Beans singing together or for their audience.
Set list part 2: Non-Section / ? (Question) / Stop Stop Rock'n'roll (Yamashita Kumiko cover) / hoshi ni natta uso (Yamashita Kumiko cover) / C-ba-san no uta / koi no Theory / Tokyo wa yoru no 7ji (Pizzicato Five cover) / hitotsu no uta
Of course there was also an encore. The show finished with pop songs "Yes? No?" and self-answer-song to Nicola, "älskar dig"!
Encore: Yes? No? / älskar dig
By the way, this show was being recorded for an upcoming DVD release! Can't wait to see it again!
Vanilla Beans have an upcoming photo book and single (yet to be posted here), and will tour record stores for promotion. Here are Tokyo dates for these as well as other upcoming shows.
June 23 - "Tower Records Presents POP'n'Idol 02" w/ Negicco, Passpo, Berryz kōbō, etc.
June 26 - Tower Records Shibuya B1 Stage 19:30 (Free)
June 30 - Shosen Book Tower Akihabara 13:00, Tower Records Akihabara CD shop 15:30, Sofmap Amusement Akihabara 8F 18:00
July 1 - Harajuku KDDI Designing Studio 13:00, 15:00, 17:00
July 17 - Urbangarde vs. Vanilla Beans @ Shibuya Take Off 7
August 4 & 5 - "Tokyo Idol Festival 2012"
More info on their official site.
"Choco Mint Flavor Time"