INORAN Live Tour 2011 “Hide and Seek” at Shibuya AX
A sold out show at Shibuya AX signaled the end of INORAN’s 2011 Live Tour “Hide and Seek.” A diverse crowd of all ages and genders gathered on December 10 for the show which was far from average due to an intense combination of Japanese and Western rock, with heated guitars, thunderous drums and attractive bass lines–all topped with potent vocals and superb stage presence. There was no need for encores or flashy stage paraphernalia, just pure rock, the good mood, and bands at ease on stage to set the crowd ablaze.
The stage was simply adorned with INORAN’s “Hide and Seek” single cover art cascading down the wall, while three circular metallic structures held the lights that would swirl endlessly throughout the show. Contributing to the casual and familiar atmosphere, candles were scattered all over the floor, flickering to the hip-hop tunes that entertained the patient crowd as they waited. Fashionably late, the vocalist/guitarist made his entrance to enthusiastic cheers.
Crimson light invaded the hall when “Nasty” started, and the eager crowd pushed forward trying to get closer the leading man. With a loud “Are you ready?” INORAN, accompanied by a dynamic support band, dove into “No Name.” English lyrics and a beat with clear Western influences got the crowd moving, pumping fists and swaying to the steady drums. The drummer and bassist showed great energy from the start, thrashing heads contagiously as they encouraged the fans to move. INORAN’s voice was impressive, his stage presence and crowd control worthy of praise as he masterfully balanced vocals and guitar. “SuperTramp” was introduced with a heated guitar solo under fiery lights and smoke billowed over the stage as if in reaction to the heat of the pumping fists and yelling crowd.
“Hey, Tokyo! Today is the final so let’s have a blast!” INORAN called, kicking off “Your Light Is Blinding.” A visually stunning piece, the lighter ballad with its heated guitar and bass work got the crowd singing. The bassist then took the spotlight for the opening of “Santa Ana Afternoons,” before drums and guitar joined in. The rhythm section dominated the lulling rock ballad, paired up well with beautiful vocals.
“I can see you all very well!” the vocalist guaranteed the zealous crowd before Sou. Putting aside his guitar, INORAN drowned completely in the lyrics and performance. Swaying to the ballad, he emphasized every word with his motions, deep yells mingling perfectly with the guitar’s cries. The heavy ballads continued, INORAN back on guitar for “Can you hear it?” As the lights went down, allowing the band to gather their breath, the crowd cheered. Blue lights announced “Joshua” and recognizing the slow intro, the crowd brought out their lighters, hundreds of flickering stars adding to the strong performance. Now on acoustic guitar, INORAN’s vocals were potent over the music. Lightly swinging to the ballad at first, he later began thrashing his head to pain-filled yells as the song built up.
A cheer ushered INORAN off the stage for the drum and bass session. With the same amount of dedication and energy they had displayed throughout the night, the drummer and bassist got the crowd moving, inciting them to pump their fists and shout. The guitarist joined them with some well-executed guitar lines, guitar and bass taking the center for a hot strings duet. Back on stage, INORAN addressed the fans in a casual and warm emcee saying he would like the audience to sing and give it all for the next two songs. The cover songs sent the crowd on a rollercoaster ride full of jumping, yelling, and laughter.
NIRVANA’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” was well-performed and INORAN did a good job keeping up with the lyrics–for the first minute at least! The audience sang and jumped and burst out laughing as the band stopped halfway through and the leading man explained with an amused grin, “I completely messed up the lyrics!” The second time was much better but they didn’t play the song through, instead diving into familiar (and safe) territory with the infamous hit, “Linda Linda,” by Japanese punk rock band The Blue Hearts. Completely at home, the band got the crowd dancing and pulsing to the popular tune, everyone having a blast.
As if talking to old friends, INORAN laughed and chatted, hands in his pockets as he spoke to the crowd and teased the support band. To the fans’ delight, he confessed that he would start recording soon and announced upcoming lives in March 2012. Yelling, “Are you ready for more?” the vocalist ended the emcee and moved to the next song, appropriately titled “Rightaway.” Right away indeed and without warning, INORAN leapt offstage and approached the fans. Hands flew from all sides to reach for him and there he stayed, surrounded, until the end of the song, smiling brightly as he sang and shook hands between verses. Anywhere else, this would have been a problem for the staff and security but true to Japanese manners, no-one dared to pull or push the musician. The fans just stood there as he sang and dared the crowd to clap and jump to the steady drums, even allowing some fans to sing for the crowd by pointing the mic to them.
Back on stage, INORAN proceeded to “One Big Blue” and “raize,” the crowd on fire and pumping to the smooth rhythm. “It’s not enough!” INORAN yelled, “Give me more!” The band were “Unstoppable,” as the next song suggested, headbanging and moving around before, one by one, they took the spotlight for short solos. A true rocker, INORAN ended his own solo on the floor, striking the poor guitar that lay beside him.
Thunderous drums and flashing blue lights took over for “Hide and Seek” and both fans and band gave it their all, whipping heads and pumping fists. “Tokyo, are you ready for more?” The two guitarists opened the night’s final song, “Shike.” All hands in the air, the crowd sang along to impressive guitar and bass. With a casual crowd control method that was one of the night’s highlights, INORAN bid farewell to the fans who cheered him with open arms. “You know, after this, I feel like there’s nothing else for me!” he declared with joy-filled eyes before leaving the stage.
Extremely rare for Japan, no encore followed, yet none was needed after such an intense performance, the delighted faces of the fans reflected their feelings towards the show and the musician. It was a real showcase of modernized-old-school rock–INORAN style.
- No Name
- Your Light Is Blinding
- Santa Ana Afternoons
- Can you hear it?
- Drum & Bass
- Smells Like Teen Spirit
- Linda Linda
- One Big Blue
- Hide and Seek