T.M. Revolution at Kokuritsu Yoyogi Kyogijo 15th Anniversary
T.M. Revolution blew 15,000 fans away on May 12 at Kokuritsu Yoyogi Kyogijo, the first show in a two-day event commemorating the 15th anniversary of Takanori Nishikawa’s solo project. The stage, with wave-like LED light pipes rolling towards the crowd and a mobile convex video screen, gave the stage an edgy sci-fi look. The screen flashed green and black with numbers, taking the crowd through a computer boot-up before allowing them access, only to split apart and reveal the vocalist.
Standing on a platform of white hollow boxes and dressed in a white suit enveloped by glowing tubes, Takanori looked like something straight out of The Fifth Element. He began “BLACK OR WHITE.” Lights ran down the pipes onstage, mirroring the tubes on the costume, as he sang with exuberant energy. The elaborate construction was quickly discarded to give the vocalist freedom to move in “Aoi Hekireki,” the platform lowering to the stage. He danced, shaking his hips to the quick guitar line and letting his cape swirl as the crowd moved along with the motions. The fans were quick to pick up the chorus and the instruments held back, giving them a chance to sing with Takanori.
“Burnin’ X-mas” was an appropriately fiery performance, the video screen faceted and glowing like a ruby as red and yellow lasers and lights lit the hall. Hyper guitar upped the already high excitement level to a fever pitch, and Takanori threw off his jacket as he sang powerfully and stomped for the anthem-like song. “Save The One, Save The All” and “Totteoki no Ohanashi~Shinsetsu Renai Shinkaron” provided a bit of a cool down, Takanori showing his sweet voice and exceptional vocal control through the slower and more complex numbers.
Though the live had been showy and surprising so far, “Yume no Shizuku” provided the biggest surprise yet as the screens moved again to reveal what resembled a giant figurine display case with twelve windowed rooms, each containing a shadowed female violinist or cellist dressed in an evening gown. Their strings accompanied the passionate song and while the classical accompaniment was drowned in the first verse, the band and orchestra quickly found a balance and created a dramatic blend of sounds. The strings were again put to surprising use in “O.L.”, creating hip-hop record scratches and sharp beats as Takanori sang powerfully, projecting so well he didn’t even need a microphone.
“Last resort” was a smooth lounge number, calming and emotional as Takanori walked the catwalk out into the crowd. The pace then picked up again, backup dancers strutting out to spin, pop, and drop with Takanori as their leader for the cracking and energetic “IMITATION CRIME” and “PIN UP LADY.” The vocalist called for the fans to jump and raise their hands to the club-track beats, and he gave a cocky smile before launching into “Albireo.” “Come on, Tokyo!” he yelled, singing and screaming his way through the rock number. He was then lowered beneath the stage as the instrumentalists continued to jam, breaking into a heavy metal riff once the vocalist was gone.
Bossa nova synthesizer beats picked up as the crowd was treated to a video montage of TM Revolution’s history. Takanori made a literally explosive re-entrance, fireworks blasting out from the stage as they began the rocking “Naked arms.” The costume change had Takanori dressed in black with signature barely-there short-shorts and thigh high boots. He showed off the ensemble, strutting for “SWORD SUMMIT” as the fans waved their hands in the air. He ran down the runway and pulled out long note after long note, looking and sounding just as fresh as he had at the beginning of the show. “Can you dance for me?” he yelled, stripping off his jacket and tossing it aside.
During “Madan~Der Freischütz〜,” jets of fire spurted upwards from the stage and sent the temperature soaring. Strong drum beats and long, wrenching notes knocked Takanori to his knees as he panted and sang. The arena got a sudden arctic shock as instead of fire the jets switched to dry ice, bathing the stage in a glowing haze for “LOVE SAVER.” Takanori held up the microphone for the crowd to sing along with the quick-paced number and as the music slowed, the lights turned a calming blue. The vocalist hit the ground again with a long scream, then staggered, glowered and writhed his way down the catwalk. Though he was making a show of being dramatically pained, his voice showed no strain.
“This isn’t something I can do alone!” he yelled to the crowd, and the fans held up their tour towels in support. “Last!” The towels began to wave as he began the groovy, ‘80s-inspired “CHASE/THE THRILL.” Rainbow colored lights raced along the stage as Takanori sang with enthusiasm, radiating pure joy. “Show me your spirit!” he yelled as the fans shook their towels to the beat. “Let’s be together until the very last!” The band finally got a chance to show off, coming out from the recesses of the stage to walk down the catwalk and headbang with Takanori. Not to be outdone, the vocalist got down on all fours, putting all his energy into a final shake. “Thank you, Tokyo!” he yelled and they gave a big final note to exit. The audience was quick to pick up a chant not of the usual “encore!,” but “Turbo!,” and Takanori’s nickname echoed in the hall.
The opening notes of “HIGH PRESSURE” made the crowd scream as quick beats heightened the audience’s anticipation. When Takanori .returned, he was clad in a t-shirt and his shorts, and joined by similarly clad dancers as the danced through the hot summer number. The crowd jumped and screamed, singing back as Takanori prompted them on the lyrics in a teasing tone. He then strutted his way down the catwalk for “HOT LIMIT,” working it like a supermodel as the stage lights glowed red and orange. “Can you get wilder? Let’s go!”
The audience kept singing, performing “White Breath” along with the vocalist from start to finish. Takanori got back on his knees to lean out to the crowd. He then continued the fan service, stripping off his shirt and tossing it to the audience as the lights flashed with the heavy bass notes. The number finished with another stomp and kick, Takanori leaving the stage once more.
For the second encore, the band returned wearing new t-shirts. “Once again, this is T.M. Revolution. I’m sorry, I’ve been calling to you but I’m late in greeting you properly! So welcome to the 15th anniversary tour final.” He went on to explain that the choice of venue was no accident. “When we were thinking about where to hold it, we considered various places but this site, holding 15,000 people, is great for a 15th anniversary!…I’ve been doing this for 16 years–I think there are even people here who have been fans from before I officially debuted.” A few cheers went up in the crowd from the long-time fans. “Maybe there are some people here who just became fans this past year?” No one yelled, and Takanori laughed. “None? That’s just like my loyal fans! Whenever I perform, I want to feel like we’re connected, I want to sing like that. I think, all I can do for you is sing, all I have for you is my everything.”
With those sentimental words they began “HEART OF SWORD-yoakemae-.” The audience waved their arms for the powerful number, Takanori adding emotional vocal inflection to the lyrics. He finished with a brilliant smile. “With all my memories, and all my feelings…last!”
The romantic “LIGHT MY FIRE” finished the show, the fans swaying with the sweet and gentle rhythm. Takanori ran to the sides of the stage making sure to greet as many fans as possible during the strong guitar bridge, and as the music swelled, confetti blew out over the crowd in a celebratory cloud of color.
“T.M. Revolution isn’t just me,” Takanori told the crowd. “It’s your band, too, and I can’t finish this without you!” He instructed everyone to crouch down to prepare for the final jump, making even the arena staff join in. “This is a weird view,” he joked as he looked out over the shortened audience. “Ready, jump!” Everyone popped up together on cue.
“Thank you to everyone!” he waved as he introduced the band members. “Let’s work hard for the second round tomorrow! Let’s meet again!” He left the stage with his support musicians and a video began announcing T.M. Revolution’s upcoming video and CD releases, including a DVD of the anniversary show and a second best-of compilation CD. With upcoming projects, tons of fan support, and Takanori’s energy and charisma, T.M. Revolution looks to continue going strong for years to come.
- BLACK OR WHITE?
- Aoi Hekireki
- Burnin’ X’mas
- Save The One, Save The All
- Totteoki no Ohanashi~Shinsetsu Renai Shinkaron
- Yume no Shizuku
- last resort
- IMITATION CRIME
- PIN UP LADY
- Naked arms
- SWORD SUMMIT
- The party must go on
- Madan~Der Freischütz〜
- LOVE SAVER
- CHASE/ THE THRILL
- HIGH PRESSURE
- HOT LIMIT
- WHITE BREATH
- HEART OF SWORD –yoakemae-
- LIGHT MY FIRE