Gingadan 1st one-man Live

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I’m going to try not to talk too much about how much I truly love this group, because it’s coming up to their year anniversary (and therefore mine) and I’m planning a long post for that. So all I will say is that this was a very special day for me, and for them also. When they first announced they were going to do their own live, even they said they had been a little worried about it, and so were the fans. Knowing the turnout for their release events hadn’t been huge, we all wondered if it would work out for them. The good news is, it did. The venue wasn’t huge but the number of people who came to support them was pretty great. They also had friends, family, and even a few Bancho Boys members come to watch and support them, and I’m sure that made them feel really happy. It made me feel happy too, and I’m so proud of what they’ve managed to achieve with it. But like I said, I’m not going to go too much into how much I love them right now, so let’s move onto the live…

They opened with three of their upbeat songs, Connected to YouAishitemo Koishitemo and Itsu Datte Kimi Ga Suki. They were all joined into each other with just a small break in between the second and third where Yoshinari got us fired up with some chants. These three songs are so much fun to watch with great dance routines, and it was an amazing way to get everyone energised. They really started with a bang.

With the upbeat start finished, Yoshinari did a little more call and response, before they moved onto their next song, their ballad song from their second single, Massugu ni I Love You. This song is my second favourite of theirs, but while my top favourite remains there because of the memories attached, I’d say this is their best song. It always makes me really emotional because they all get so much opportunity to shine in it, it’s a decent length, and the melody and lyrics are so nice. If you hear it, you’ll understand.

SHORT PLAY

The members of Gingadan were primarily actors, being part of an acting troupe, and so it made sense for them to showcase some of this talent as well as their music skills. The play was written by Ito Daiki who was in Bancho Boys recent stage version of Crows Zero. He had written it and then he had allowed the boys to decide between themselves which role they would play.

The play began with Rui lying on a bed (that was actually a table because you know, budget), and Yoshinari walking into the room. As he stood there, Rui sat up and looked around, then stood up and left. We then went back in time.

The play followed Rui as a the main character, as a guy who moved from his hometown to Tokyo to pursue his dream of being a dancer. He left his best friend Yoshinari and girlfriend Takuko (played by Takuya, of course) behind, and he and Yoshinari (who himself was dreaming of being an actor) decided not to contact each other until they had achieved their dream. Takuko also had her own dream that one day she would marry Rui, but promised alongside Yoshinari that she would not contact him either.

Rui also had two friends in Tokyo. Yu was also a dancer, who eventually moved to New York and made Rui promise he would have a dance showdown with him some day. Taisei was also originally dancing with Rui but had to quit because of some issue with his brother. Although they didn’t part on a great note, after a phone call Rui told Taisei to contact him if he ever needed anything.

With everyone pursuing their own dreams, the scene goes back to Rui lying on the bed, and we find out that he has died in a car accident. His friends come in one after another to see him. Yoshinari is so angry with him and telling him that he hasn’t achieved his dream yet so he can’t die just yet. When Takuko comes in, she manages to calm him down and the two sit over his bedside as Yu and Taisei also come in to mourn. As they sit by his bedside, Rui sits up, looks down at them all, and then stands up and turns to bow in apology to them all, and then leaves.

They ended the play by singing their song You Go Your Way (which was actually a quote that Taisei used during the story and also a really good song to pair with the story as a whole). I need to check by listening to it on CD again, but I’m pretty certain they changed the arrangement to give each member a chance to sing. They all got to sing a part, whereas in the original I think it was down to Rui and Taisei as usual.

The boys did great with their performance in the play, and the only thing is that I wish the fans had been a little more respectful of the non-comedy moments. I was honestly trying to watch it like it was a real stage, and if you were watching a real stage then you would not so openly laugh at dramatic moments like three people standing over the dead friend’s bedside and mourning. The fans are young though, so I just wonder if they just weren’t ready to see that kind of thing.

After the play in the afternoon show, they talked a little about how they had chosen the roles they wanted, and they were particularly intrigued that Takuya had immediately volunteered to play the female role. He said his reason was simply that he wanted hair, and that wearing a wig as a male character would look weird so he had wanted to wear a girl’s wig. This is the extent to which Takuya is bitter about having no hair.

In the evening show, they had a discussion about rehearsals. Most of the discussion centred around how much fun they’d had doing the final scene. Rui kept going on about how he couldn’t see anything because he was “dead” and his eyes were closed, and had no idea what was going on around him. Taisei said at one point it had seemed like everyone had been messing around so when he came on as the last person at Rui’s bedside he just poked him on the head. Apparently during the actual performance when Yoshi was mourning someone just said “he’s dead already” and then Takuya conveyed this to Rui by whispering it in his ear while he was lying there.

QUESTION CORNER

Before the show, they’d had a box out for fans to put questions in. I don’t remember everything that happened during this section, but I did my best to remember as much as I could about their questions and answers.

What did you want to be when you were younger?

Taisei said he had wanted to be a pilot but then he realised he can’t speak English so it was impossible (I like to think he could have learned, but he said himself he’s the kind of person who won’t do something if he doesn’t want to do it, so I understand. Also, if he had become a pilot we wouldn’t have been able to see his beautiful face on stage).

Takuya thought he’d had the same childhood dream as Yoshinari, to be a soccer player. Yoshinari then said that actually, although he loved soccer, when he was younger he’d wanted to be a swimmer.

Yu said from a young age he had always been swaying between either a singer or actor. He was very doubtful when one of the other members commented that he had achieved this dream, and said he still had a long way to go.

I forgot what Rui said, unfortunately.

What is your favourite snack?

Yoshinari said his favourite snack was “scones” (“like you get in Starbucks”, he said) and the others immediately got into a debate about whether or not they classed as a snack. I don’t think they ever really worked it out, but I’m of the opinion that it really does not count.

Takuya likes Country Mama cookies! Rui liked some other weird kind of Country Mama thing that only about 20% of the people in the room had actually heard of.

If the other members were girls, which one would you want to date?

Yu was first and said he would choose Takuya, and then Takuya awkwardly told him he would choose him too.

Yoshinari was trying to choose between Rui and Yu but got the question confused and thought that he was a girl, and chose Rui because he’s more manly. Then when he realised that the other member was supposed to be the girl, he immediately switched to Yu.

I’m not entirely sure I remember the others, but I think Taisei also chose Yu, and Rui possibly chose Taisei. But don’t quote me on that. I’m honestly not surprised that most people chose Yu because he is the “cute” one of the group.

What songs do you often sing at karaoke?

No one was surprised when Yu said he likes to sing BTS songs, and in fact the other members guessed that this was what he was going to say before he even said it.

Taisei said he tended to sing a lot of different songs at karaoke but that recently he had been singing Murasaki by Akanishi Jin a lot.

Rui always sings Bz songs as he likes them a lot!

I don’t remember what Yoshinari and Takuya said.

SOLO/GROUP PERFORMANCES

The next section began with Rui singing a solo cover song while playing the keyboard. He was so nervous especially the first time round and he said this was his first time to do anything like that, although he said it wasn’t actually his first time in that venue. He said he had performed there with a group a couple of years earlier.

As expected of Rui though, he put on an amazing performance. Once he started singing and playing he no longer seemed nervous at all. If there’s one thing I love about Rui more than anything else, it’s his talent, and it really shone through during his performance. I really hope he has the chance to sing solo again because he shone at that time so much.

After Rui’s solo, Taisei was next to perform. While I love Rui’s singing talent, I prefer the sound of Taisei’s voice, and it was such a pleasure to hear him sing a full song. Like Rui, Taisei really comes alive and loses all of his awkwardness when he’s performing, and it was so nice to really see him comfortable with doing something.

Yoshinari, Yu and Takuya were next to perform. The three of them are mostly the “dancers” of the group and so of course they did a dance performance. I don’t find it so easy to judge the quality of dance as I do of singing, but the performance was very enjoyable to watch and really showcased all of their dance skills.

Taisei and Rui then took to the stage together to sing a duet. Despite that they’re both the lead singers of the group, it’s actually quite rare to hear them singing together because the group parts of the songs are usually sung by all 5, with those two doing solo lines. Their voices really sounded nice together.

They ended this section by singing another cover song as a group, before…

BURN!!!

BURN is their new song, which they announced previously would debut at this live. They said at the beginning of the evening show that their outfits for the evening show (they switched outfits after the afternoon show) were inspired by the song which had a very 90s feel. The song was pretty different to their other songs so far, and I think it may take me a few more listens to really get used to it, but it wasn’t bad in any way.

ENDING

Their last song before the ending speeches was Hello Again. As a song with lots of memories, given that it was the one they sang on the day they were announced as a group last year, and as one they sang a lot during their early time as a group, this is my favourite song of theirs and I was glad they chose it as their final song. I’m sure it holds just as many good memories for them as it does for me.

During the evening show, there were some tears as expected. Yoshinari was the first to start crying, and then when Rui went to do his ending speech he broke down too. He was trying really hard not to, but eventually he just gave up and let them flow. Taisei also started crying and was wiping carefully at his eyes to avoid removing all of his make up (this kid and his priorities). So we never actually saw any tears but his eyes were super red and watery.

They talked a lot about how worried they had been when they had first found out they were going to do their own live, and how they were really happy that it had been such a big success.

After the evening show’s ending speeches, they also announced that they will be releasing their 3rd single on May 16th. I immediately started seeing a lack of money in my future, but I’m really looking forward to being able to travel around for release events again and meet the boys and fans a lot.

ENCORE

For their encore, they sang their song Summer Days. The only time I’d heard this song before was when they sang it during Amaku wa nai ze 2 when it was performed by Rui, Yu and Yoshinari only. As Rui had been the only vocalist during that performance, I was interested to see what it would sound like with Taisei singing too. I really enjoyed it! It’s a really fun song anyway, and the boys seem to genuinely enjoy singing it. Toward the end, Rui and Taisei have a mini rap battle, and both of them looked like they were having the best time. For two members who sometimes like to act too cool and not show much on their faces, it was nice to see them both letting go and just going for it. Taisei was going for it so much that as the song ended and they gave one last swing of their towels, he accidentally let go of it and it flew into the crowd. For a moment he was really worried like he really needed it back but he felt too awkward to ask for it. Luckily the fan chose to be nice to him and actually handed it back to him.

Before the evening show, a fan had been going around to everyone and passing out flags (you can see them in the picture at the top of this post) as a support project, and we were to wave them during this song. Seeing the members gradually noticing what was going on and the smiles on their faces made me so happy. Taisei noticed almost immediately but it took some of the other members a little longer, with a couple of them not seeming to notice at all until the end. Taisei was super thrilled and immediately took one of the flags from a fan at the front, exclaiming that he wanted them all to take a photo. In the end, all the members got flags from a fan, and we took a group picture of them and the fans.

AFTER-EVENT

The after-event was a send-off from the boys where they would each give us a chocolate (each member chose a chocolate they liked to give out to the fans). Unfortunately Yu wasn’t feeling good after the afternoon show, and so he wasn’t able to take part. I had noticed he didn’t seem himself towards the end of the show, so I was actually glad that they were giving him time to rest, even though it meant that I couldn’t see him that time. The whole thing went by pretty quickly, but I was happy to receive my chocolates and see my favourite boys up close. I remember particularly that Taisei told me “thank you” in English, which I always appreciate since he always says he can’t speak English at all.

Yu was able to take part in it for the evening show, and as soon as he saw me he went “ah, Josie!! Thank you!!” I’d sent him a reply on Twitter during the break between shows since he had been on there to apologise for not being able to take part in the first one, so I really hope he had seen it and was thanking me for that, but I don’t know. Honestly, I was just so happy to be able to meet them all properly like that again. The last time I’d seen them was at the Bancho Boys Christmas Live, and because all of the Bancho Members had done the send-off that time, I’d found it hard to focus. The last time I met them at their own event had been in November, and I’d missed them.

And there we have it, Gingadan’s first one-man live. I hope I can see them do another one in the future.

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