The world isn’t the same anymore. Living in a pandemic state has not only taken a toll on us concertgoers but also greatly affected passionate musicians such as amazarashi. To express such dissatisfaction and disapproval, amazarashi delivered its first livestream “Mappou Dokushou Uten Kekkou”—one that eventually would end up being the most profound and emotional concert experience I’ve encountered this year.
Unlike any other concert, the stage amazarashi had prepared this time wasn’t an actual stage but a Buddhist shrine located at Makomanai Takino Cemetery in Sapporo, Japan. Not just anywhere in the area, but by the giant Buddha statue that was built for the very purpose of salvation from disasters and diseases, making this one of the most ideal locations to perform. In front of the statue, the lonely frontman and singer Hiromu Akita stationed himself, holding a black guitar while being enveloped by a sea of candles. The acoustic show would later be further elevated through projection mapping, transforming the motionless surrounding into a living ecosystem.
A significant part of experiencing amazarashi’s music—at least in my opinion—lies within the depths of its lyrics. Thanks to the added subtitles for the overseas livestream, the singer’s words were safely conveyed to the viewers.
Opening with the nostalgic song Natsuwo Matteimashita (Waiting for summer), about the fleeting memories of younger and brighter days that are shattered by the disheartening reality. This depressing song released about 10 years ago might be more relevant today than expected, it is almost as if Hiromu Akita is using this story as his cry for the pandemic to be over, a recurring theme that will remain until the end of the livestream. After all, with amazarashi’s 10-year anniversary tour being canceled, the works included in the latest EP “Reiwa Ninen, Uten Kekkou” (Year 2020, Rain or Shine) are greatly influenced by the current situation, which mindset is reflected onto the show.
Between most of the songs, the singer would deliver a poem with profound words that transitioned into the next song. It was as if the lyrics of the songs themselves slowly unraveled the true meaning of the poems, allowing us to discover the missing lines. It greatly added to the immersiveness because even the intermissions themselves became part of the experience. As for the stage performance, Hiromu Akita was like the Buddha statue himself, grounded to earth with barely any movements, and that was all I needed from him.
The projection mapping that lighted up the environment was of course a feat that undeniably created a unique display. In the beginning, its effect was small and reserved, but as the show progressed further into the midsection—the climax—it became a lot more aggressive and took more visual space. The recital of One-room jojishi had the entire Buddha statue on fire while dispatching words to burn down your old fragile self.
I always considered the messages amazarashi offered could only be sincerely felt and deciphered by people who experienced emotional pain and suffering, life and death, hope and despair, oppression, and societal imprisonment. The things only time can bring while these undiscovered emotions mature through encounters and partings in life.
However, what the show addressed was not only the perspective of the singer but also the fans’ perspectives.
Each one of the surrounding votive candles had a message sharing what the fans found inconsolable this year and some of these are highlighted above. It reminded me of what amazarashi did a few years back when they brought attention to people who were living with suicidal thoughts, through its music video Digging Holes filmed at the infamous “Suicide Forest”.
It’s incredible how relatable these messages are despite being written by people continents away—we’re all humans after all. In retrospect, I’m surprised by the significant role they played, it really made the concert much more emotional, personal, and even allowed the fans to mesh a virtual connection.
Since the show took the theme of the pandemic, it was as if a story was told from where it began and into the present, but what about the future? To end it on a high note, the last song chosen was the cheerful Starlight, a way to tell everyone to keep their heads up high and look for the ray of light, the optimistic hope for that “someday”.
Going in with great expectations, I left the virtual concert nothing but impressed. Hiromu Akita truly knows how to speak to one’s heart and his impactful words linger on and become a part of you. There’s a lot of ugly in life and life lessons ahead, but Hiromu Akita is here to tell you that you’re not alone.
Bring it on Reiwa 3 (year 2021), “Rain or Shine”.
- Natsuwo Matteimashita (夏を待っていました)
- Poetry 1
- Miraininarenakatta Anoyoruni (未来になれなかったあの夜に)
- Poetry 2
- Antae (あんたへ)
- Poetry 3
- Play Goodbye (Sayonara Gokko, さよならごっこ)
- Kisetsu Wa Tsugitsugi Shindeiku (季節は次々死んでいく)
- Poetry 4
- Mudai (無題)
- Poetry 5
- Tsumiki (積み木)
- One-room jojishi (ワンルーム叙事詩)
- Kyohiology (拒否オロジー)
- Todomeo Sashite (とどめを刺して)
- Christmas (クリスマス)
- Donten (曇天)
- Reiwa ninen (令和二年)
- Bakasawagi Wa Mouowari (馬鹿騒ぎはもう終わり)
- Poetry 6
- Yudachi Tabidachi (夕立旅立ち)
- Masshironasekai (真っ白な世界)
- Poetry 7
- Starlight (スターライト)
Photo: Victor Nomoto.
- Reiwa Ninen令和二年
- Sekai no Kaizoudo世界の解像度
- Taiyou no Uka太陽の羽化
- Bakasawagi wa mou Owari馬鹿騒ぎはもう終わり
- Reiwa Ninen acoustic version令和二年 acoustic version
- Tsumiki acoustic version積み木 acoustic version
- Tokyo acoustic version東京 acoustic version
- Karappo no Sora ni Tsubusareru空っぽの空に潰される ~ 「0.7」
- Karmaカルマ ~ 「0.7」
- Furui SF Eiga古い SF 映画 ~ 「あまざらし 千分の一夜物語 スターライト」
- Starlightスターライト ~ 「あまざらし 千分の一夜物語 スターライト」
- Shuusoku収束 ~ 「amazarashi Live Tour 2016 世界分岐二〇一六」
- Kistesu wa Tsugitsugi Shindeiku季節は次々死んでいく ~ 「amazarashi Live Tour 2016 世界分岐二〇一六」
- Shirafuしらふ ~ 「amazarashi Live Tour 2016 世界分岐二〇一六」
- Kyomubyou虚無病 ~ 「amazarashi 360° LIVE「虚無病」」
- Boku ga Shinou to Omotta no wa僕が死のうと思ったのは ~ 「amazarashi 360° LIVE「虚無病」」
- Philosophyフィロソフィー ~ 「amazarashi LIVE「理論武装解除」」
- Kanashimi Hitotsu mo Nokosanaide悲しみ一つも残さないで ~ 「amazarashi LIVE「理論武装解除」」
- Word Processorワードプロセッサー ~ 「amazarashi LIVE「朗読演奏実験空間『新言語秩序』」
- Living Deadリビングデッド ~ 「amazarashi LIVE「朗読演奏実験空間『新言語秩序』」
- Dokuhaku独白 ~ 「amazarashi LIVE「朗読演奏実験空間『新言語秩序』」
- Inochi ni Fusawashii命にふさわしい ~ 「amazarashi Live Tour 2019 未来になれなかった全ての夜に」
- Mirai ni narenakatta ano Yoru ni未来になれなかったあの夜に ~ 「amazarashi Live Tour 2019 未来になれなかった全ての夜に」