Recaps: GEM & SUPER ☆GiRLS

12 Aug

blazeGEM “Non-stop Zenryoku Live”
@ Shinjuku BLAZE
July 31, 2015

It was a hot day in Tokyo. I should copy and paste this for every recap.

I attended two concerts at Shinjuku BLAZE; the early show was GEM, followed by SUPER☆GiRLS in the evening. The concerts were sponsored by either Adidas or New Balance (which would determine the group’s attire), and they shared the same format: 60 minutes of non-stop performing and a high-touch at the conclusion (or group handshake if you purchased a single). 

I arrived 30 minutes before the venue opened and was surprised that the merchandise booth had already closed. Since I’m near the end of my GEM fandom, I was undecided whether to purchase anything further (specifically the new member penlights and wristbands), and this conveniently resolved that dilemma. Unfortunately, this also meant I couldn’t purchase GEM’s new singles, which was somewhat important because the three singles are music card-only and have yet to be uploaded anywhere due to their limited availability. I would have liked to share them with the other overseas fans.

I also noticed the SUPER☆GiRLS tour bus was missing. At previous BLAZE concerts, the bus would hilariously ramble down the alleyway before parking at the entrance, allowing fans to see the members arrive and leave, and also take 2-shots with the bus. There is currently construction directly outside the venue though, which explains why the bus was absent.

Side rant: Something I find extremely annoying about concert venues in Japan is the staff’s insistence on fans not causing any inconvenience to others in the area, despite fans doing nothing except patiently waiting for the venue to open. There was a lot of shade in the area, but the staff kept forcing everyone to stand in the sun, because they claimed there was interference with traffic. Which is absurd because there was very little foot traffic because of the construction, and even when pedestrians did walk through, the street was wide enough for fans to queue and for others to walk through unobstructed. This is something that happens all the time in Japan: staff meddling and forcing their customers to stand in inconvenient areas because of nebulous reasons that are completely out of touch with reality. I typically blatantly disregard their instructions because I can simply remove any evidence of being a fan and I’ve transformed into a tourist who just happened to be standing outside the venue. I think it’s barbaric to make people wait in the sun and I revel in disregarding illogical procedures.

Back to the recap :P My ticket number was B6, so I would enter after the “A” tickets, which designate SPC members (iDOL Street’s fan-club). There were 289 SPC members in attendance and once FC tickets concluded, my number was quickly called. After entering the venue, I received a Maidoru card (which has a keycode for iDOL Street’s FC), got a drink, and set up SaRana fan headquarters center stage about eight rows back. On stage was a large digital clock, which would be used to keep track of their 60 minute live (although both concerts went 20 minutes over because of encores and raffle drawings). The concert didn’t sell out, therefore there was some room to move around.

GEM recently debuted new outfits (for “Baby, Love me”) which are their best ever imo, but today they would wear Adidas attire, because all six of the iDOL Street concerts this week were sponsored by either Adidas or New Balance. I’m pretty sure Adidas makes super-short shorts and tight-fitting tops and camis, yet the GEMbers took the stage wearing running pants, leggings, and t-shirts!! Running pants! Leggings! T-shirts! Not even tight-fitting Ts! Or transparent! This was the greatest injustice ever!! And then they proceeded to discuss in great detail how “kawaii” their outfits were. There were a lot of pervy fans in the audience, please don’t insult our intelligence!

After explaining that the giant clock would ensure they performed non-stop for 60 minutes, they briefly left the stage. The GEM overture began, which is a dance number they do to begin concerts and also when fans chant the names of the members. Chisami recently went on a self-imposed hiatus, but despite her absence, there was a noticeably loud chant for her during her part. I haven’t found the setlist for the concert, probably because the GEMbers who normally share those updates on twitter or their blog were too busy since TIF, IDOL NATION, and a-Nation, began the following day. They performed their complete catalog, except DANCIN’ DANCIN’ DANCE!! and Maya’s solo song, Emerge. This was the first time I would hear their three music-card singles, which are their best songs imo, and their upcoming single, “Baby, Love me!,” which I think sounds like an E-girls song. I really like it though, because it’s Rana-centered (and I’m a Rana>Maya fanboy) and the choreography is cute.

After the concert concluded it was announced the high touch would begin in 10 minutes. In the hallway outside the stage area, the GEMbers had lined up youngest to oldest and it was… umm… well, here’s a recap. 

Sara is my favorite member and I said: “Oshimen–>oshiGEM” and charmingly pointed to her. She replied “Eh?”
Maho was leaning into Sara and therefore overheard what was said, which wasn’t ideal when saying something lame to your oshiGEM. I said “Hello” to her and I don’t recall her response because my brain was still fixated on Sara.
Maya was next and I said, “Gets” and did the “Gets” point with my free hand (in the group, “Gets” is her thing). Then I said, “GEMs” and pointed (she also does this). She just stared at me blankly. Didn’t matter since Ranachin was next!
Rana is my second favorite (but more accurately oshiGEM #2), and I told her, “GEMbatte” and “GEMbariyei.” And… got no reaction. She was the only GEMber who didn’t say a word to me, but it felt like she stared straight into my soul… and put a curse on me. I didn’t care too much about the previous blank looks, because Sara and Maya in particular have aloof personalities, but her reaction was surprising, since she is the silly and funny one. And she invented the word GEMily to refer to GEM fans, and GEM and family don’t even rhyme! At this point, I wasn’t going to further GEMbarrass myself, and did the rest of the high touch just saying thank you to the remaining GEMbers. Which was unfortunate because Nacchi and Chanman were really warm and outgoing. Nacchi said “Please see us again!” in English and Chanman said “Hellooo” and “Nice to meet you.” I didn’t say anything to Yuki, because she has a phobia of English and she looked nervous. There was nothing to say anyway, since I already scratched sharing my GEM puns, like sempai/”GEMpai” and members/ “GEMbers.”

Overall, it was a weird experience, since half the members are introverts and half are extroverts. I can imagine their akushukais are also unique. But everyone knows I’m still a Silent Siren fan! I mean… GEM fan.

GEM setlist
All their songs minus DANCING DANCING DANCE and Emerge

The SUPER☆GiRLS concert would be in two hours, so afterwards I had lunch and passed the time in Don Quijote and the electronics store LABI, mainly to get out of the heat. I also found that in Seibu-Shinjuku station, which is a smaller station in Shinjuku just one-minute walk from BLAZE, there are a lot of discount coin lockers near the exit (100 and 200Y, compared to 300-900Y in other stations) and practically all of them were available. A lot of the fans used them and they could be convenient when attending a concert. This is also slight foreshadow to my experience in Osaka, because I would need a coin locker for the Doll☆Elements concert I would attend the following week.
SUPER☆GiRLS “Non-stop Zenryoku Live”
@ Shinjuku BLAZE
July 31, 2015

The SUPER☆GiRLS concert was sponsored by New Balance and on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being “SUPER pervy” and 1 being “somewhat pervy,” their New Balance outfits were like negative 27 million.

Ever since these concerts, I’ve been haunted by track pants, leggings, long skirts, knee-length shorts, and loose-fitting t-shirts.

In comparison, this is what they wore the day before during their Adidas-themed concert. They’re not perfect, but something something Reira’s legs.

The concert was incredibly fun though and reminded me how much I like this group. After attending several one-mans in 2012 and 2013, I only saw them one time in 2014, and they fell off my radar. Saori graduating and two years of horrible singles and music videos didn’t help. Even with the graduations, I still feel their talent and good looks are unmatched in the idol world. After seeing GEM and SUPER☆GiRLS consecutively, it also became apparent how far ahead SUPER☆GiRLS are as performers. They perform with more energy, precision, confidence, and just look happier on stage.

Similar to the GEM concert, the group performed non-stop for over an hour, which amounted to 14 songs straight. They performed several classics like Nijiro Star, Renai Rule, and Kira Pure POWER–songs they only perform at their one-mans, and even then are considered rare. The most frustrating aspect of SUPER☆GiRLS is their setlists at events like Tokyo Idol Festival and IDOL NATION, because they are completely predictable and time after time only include their summer singles. I think this is a poor tactic to both win new fans and to retain current ones. As a result, the only way to get a real SUPER☆GiRLS experience is by attending their concerts. This isn’t necessarily the case with a lot of the other elite groups, who are much better at mixing up their song rotations regardless of where they are performing, thereby satisfying casual and hardcore fans.

After performing 14 songs, they returned for a three-song encore. They basically performed a complete one-man setlist in half the time it would normally take–which kind of reveals how much filler is included in a typical concert.

During the high touch nothing was said that was particularly interesting, but it was a fun experience because the members are so friendly. I did notice that when I got to Reira, she looked at me very closely and I could feel her gaze linger on me even after I had passed. I felt like like she was going to say something more, but regretfully I didn’t look back at her. These moments happen very fast and fans are conditioned to just keep moving forward. Beforehand, I considered asking her if she enjoyed her visit to San Francisco last year in order to segue that I’m from Los Angeles, but I knew there wouldn’t be enough time. Other than that, Koume and Naapon stood out, because instead of high-fiving, both of them grabbed my hands and held them, which was unexpected. I don’t think they do that every single time and both seemed surprised to see a foreigner. 

SUPER☆GiRLS setlist
1. Hanamichi!! Ambitious
2. 1,000,000 Smile
3. Nijiro Star
4. Renai Rule
5. Renai Manifesto
6. Gira Gira Revolution
8. Akai Jonetsu
9. Joshiryoku Paradise
10. Catch the dream
11. MAX! Otome Gokoro
12. Ichatte Yachatte
13. Miracle ga Tomanai!
14. Kira Pure POWER!
15. Exit (11 member ver.)
16. Ichatte Yachatte
17. MAX! Otome Gokoro


3 Responses to “Recaps: GEM & SUPER ☆GiRLS”

  1. “Since I’m near the end of my GEM fandom”
    Aw :( Always sad when you are slowly falling out of love with something. It’s a shame you missed out on their music card singles (such a ridiculous method) but hopefully someone who was able to buy them will upload them online.

    Not the SUPER GiRLS bus!! D: That’s unfortunate timing with the construction stuff so fans weren’t able to see their tour bus. During TIF, I saw quite a few people excitedly tweeting about sightings of their bus lol.

    I feel like staff at idol shows during the summer just want all the fans to roast out under the sun. lol At you transforming into a clueless tourist who just happened to be outside the venue – I hope you went through a magical transformation sequence like Sailor Moon! :D

    The concept of both GEM & SUPER GiRLS shows being sponsored and being 60 minutes (sort of) is pretty neat. Bet you wished they had some bikini brand sponsoring them instead!

    omg your interactions with the GEM members during the high touch event. The puns! I bet you confused them so much, lol. At least a couple of the GEMembers talked to you in English, yay! :D

    “I did notice that when I got to Reira, she looked at me very closely and I could feel her gaze linger on me even after I had passed. I felt like like she was going to say something more, but regretfully I didn’t look back at her.”
    ^ This sounds like something from a drama or a movie. Like you finish with the high touch event and as you leave the venue sadly, regretting not being able to say anything to Reira, you hear footsteps run up from behind. You turn around– and there she is! Reira! She stares into your eyes and suddenly it starts to rain and you take off your jacket (you’re suddenly wearing one now because you obviously love to torture yourself during the suffocatingly hot summer) and hold it above your heads to keep dry. And then you kissed and got married and had babies and one of your kids was on the first manned mission to Mars. THE END!

  2. wattstax17 2015/08/17 at 3:21 am #

    Wow, I always considered my attempts in handshakes as embarrassing. But I realised I have to lower my head to you, sir. You cope far better (worse)! ;P
    I wonder why? Is it you being a foreigner, that in addition makes bad puns? Or do we have to blame your idols of choice, who by being in a less fan-friendly agency, are just not used in dealing with fan conversations (and stupid jokes)? You should seriously consider just going for a handshake with Nacchi and Chanman next time.
    Whatever the case, I liked your recap. Good work! And I am happy you ignited your love for Super Girls anew. Totally agree with your remark about their mini-lives not even close in quality to their One Mans. The set list you had was fantastic! I LOVE the Dvds by them, but at TIF they didn’t impress much. That also being the case as I watch from afar and a selling point for Super Girls is there top-notch performance on stage.
    The costumes are – lame, when considering what they usually wear. Though I am a fan of girls wearing those long shirts. Miri from Rhymeberry for example. But yes, I too would have expected more (less) from GEM and SG. Maybe Reira assumed: Hey, I remember that foreigner guy with THE hair from last year. Let us do him a favour and dress like cool American chicks. He must be so over-fed with beautiful girls in bikinis.
    What are Maidoru cards? On the other hand a non-stop live always starts to bore me. I need those little breaks to stay focused, even when I don’t understand a thing. Strange, huh?
    Also impressively strange is your loss in interest for GEM. If in relation only their skirts would be as short as your dedication-span for idols.

    On a side note: The underground walkway for Seibu-Shinjuku is also great for using, when you want to go for Blaze, Marz, Loft and whatever is located in the area. You can’t get lost and are safe from any bad weather.
    The staff telling people how to wait in line are a nuisance to me as well. Can’t count the cases anymore, where I had to wait in the blazing sun. But like you I often adopt the “I am just a tourist.” pose. It works like a charm, me sitting blatantly in the shadows while Japanese fans get hushed away.

    Thumbs down for the SG handshake. But it wasn’t your fault.

    • Shaun 2015/08/18 at 4:26 pm #

      ^^ My transformation sequence was like Tuxedo Mask. Minus the tuxedo and top hat. And I do know someone who bought the music card singles and I’m hopeful they will be uploaded :D

      “you hear footsteps run up from behind. You turn around– and there she is! Reira!”
      –wearing a baggy Adidas sweater and full-length dress! But I would gladly take that and even after 30 years of marriage, I would never complain. And every morning she will make gross pancakes, but I would eat them all and ask for seconds.

      ^ Maidoru (My Idol) was a mobile website that launched when SUPER GiRLS debuted. It was like a simpler version of dmm.Yell. Fans could vote on stuff and give points to their favorite member (which could impact their standing in the group). You received points for logging in everyday and for attending concerts and buying goods. When I was using it I pushed Reira (you can only support one member) and I was ranked #77 out of I think 1600 Reira fans. They updated Maidoru a year or two ago and it was now tied to your Japanese mobile provider, thereby locking out foreign fans.

      I’ve liked GEM for almost three years now. Fandom isn’t a life-long marriage :P

      I think I’m horrible at events because I rarely do them and I don’t like saying generic comments. It also seems like a skill that improves with experience, but I’m satisfied just by the concert.

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