Toshi – “Grace” Live

To be honest, I bought this because it was extremely cheap and because it had Chachamaru on guitar. I’m not particularly a fan of Toshi; his voice annoys me (never got into X Japan because of it, though I like some portion of the member’s solo works) and I don’t like his music enough to compensate for his voice. I put him in the category of “people who should not sing slow songs” (along with Chachamaru, among others), and there were a lot of slow songs on this. I don’t know why his voice annoys me and I don’t mind Chacha’s; they are very similar. Toshi’s voice is stronger, but there’s just something about it that grates on my nerves. I do like a few of his songs, though (and “Love Dynamics” sticks in my head). This was a VHS release from 1995, featuring shows at Nippon Budokan (3.16) and Urawashi Bunka Center (4.5).

I enjoyed this more than I expected to, though I would have liked it better with less slow songs. The early parts of this weren’t very exciting or energetic or intense. Toshi didn’t seem to really get into it until “Spacious Love” (there must have been an intermission; he had a new outfit), and his energy level remained high for for the rest of the show. The crowd seemed to enjoy it, even the early parts, so maybe it was just me. Toshi’s voice was a little rough in a couple of songs, but was for the most part decent. They left in the MCs, which I like, even though I can’t really understand them.

This is Toshi’s show (understandably) and the band is an afterthought, unfortunately (and I expected this). Even when I’m not watching for specific people, I still want to see the people who are actually playing the music, and even when I don’t care about specific members, I still think they should get equal time. The only members who got significant air time were the guitarist (thankfully) and the bassist; it was especially annoying because I couldn’t tell how many people were on stage. At about 45 minutes into it (out of 110), I fast forwarded to the end to check the credits to see if it was two different nights and if he had two keyboard players (yes to both). I was fairly sure of the two different nights (Chacha’s shirts were very different and at one point changed mid-song), but I wasn’t sure about the keyboard players. Shusei Tsukamoto was definitely behind Chacha at least part of the time and it was obvious there was one on the left at least part of the time, but the one on the left hadn’t been clearly shown, so I wasn’t sure if it was Tsukamoto in a different place on the other night or a different person on the left. There was one shot where there was someone with a ponytail on the left, but it could have been one of the backup singers. The few shots of the backup singers did show a keyboard player in the background, but the light was bad and I thought it was Tsukamoto. The other keyboard player was occasionally in the background of the singers, but only had a couple of close-ups of his own; the drummer was often shown from the back and only had a couple of shots from the front (though he too was occasionally in the background; he was center stage).

I’m not sure how much of this was taken from which show; a lot of the crowd shots were obviously Budokan. Either all of Toshi was taken from the same show, or he wore the exact same thing at both. He did go from wearing a blue suit with a solid yellow shirt to wearing a mostly yellow but patterned shirt with the blue pants, though. Chacha was mostly from the same show; his outfits were very different, but one was only obvious in a couple of songs. The bassist’s outfits were different, but not immediately obviously so; I think both were black and white, but different amounts of each, so it wasn’t easy to tell at a glance which he was wearing. The drummer had a black shirt and a red shirt; sometimes it switched in the same song (one of the cameras was behind him, so he was on screen a lot). The others weren’t really on screen enough for me to notice what they were wearing, really; I think the sax player had on the same or similar outfit whenever he was shown; Tsukamoto had a very loud shirt whenever he was shown, but it could have been two loud shirts. VHS means pausing and finding specific moments is a pain.

Musicians:

Guitar: Yukihiro “Cha Cha MARU” Fujimura (藤村幸宏/茶々丸) (introduced as Chachamaru)
Bass: Hisafumi Maeda (前田久史) (goes by and was introduced as Jimmy)
Drums: Kozo Suganuma (菅沼孝三)
Piano & Keyboards: Shusei Tsukamoto (塚本周成)
Keyboards: Masahiko Terada (寺田正彦)
Sax: Takeshi Abe (阿部剛)
Chorus: Megumi Okino, Rieko Sakai, Yasumi Maeda

Names as credited (punctuation and capitalization as shown); kanji for some of these was not easily found.

Songs:

  1. New Horizons — some pre-show behind-the-scenes
  2. Asphalt Jungle — bassist in the spotlight briefly (thankfully; it’s a very bass-heavy song)
  3. Love Dynamics — female backup singers who look like they belong in the 80s; ran up one side of the stage, patting Chacha on the head on the way, ran into the wall coming back
  4. Dear My Friends — MC before; keyboard player (Tsukamoto?) was actually shown
  5. Moon Stone — Tsukamoto’s hands (I assume)! bass solo and acoustic guitar solo! I didn’t realize the words “Moon Stone” were in this until I heard Toshi sing it (it’s lyrics Toshi/music Chachamaru; it’s also on Vienna’s Unknown and Chacha’s English pronunciation is not great). On the CDs, it’s called “Moonstone”.
  6. Everlasting Love — acoustic, slow
  7. YOKAN — another short MC before; still acoustic; prominent bass, and percussion (the first time he was shown from the front); Chacha had a line to sing (no backing vocals, just a random line, and there’s no rational reason why Toshi’s voice annoys me but his doesn’t bother me)
  8. made in HEAVEN — back to electric, but still a slow song, and a named musician: Chachamaru
  9. Spacious Love — probably an intermission before; there was a costume change for Toshi (from a blue suit and yellow shirt to a red suit, no shirt). He’s much more energetic and grinning; this is an extremely upbeat song, though; sax and drum solo; gospel-ish towards the end
  10. PARADISE — large balls or balloons for the audience, and he’s running around kicking them back and molested the bassist and played with his hair
  11. Somebody Loves You — someone threw flowers, and he caught them; bassist and guitarist switched sides; can almost see the other keyboardist behind the backup singers; lots of light (I think Budokan had the house lights on for this song). I’m not familiar with the song, but he sounds a little rough. This one’s not as cleanly edited as the others, partly because of the difference in light, and Toshi is often in a different part of the stage when the angle changes.. The mythical other keyboard player got a few shots; too bad his head was turned. Much interaction with the audience, Toshi had a camera, and introduced the band, and each member had a solo. The other keyboard player had a more exciting solo than Tsukamoto. Only two chorus members for the introductions (Megumi and Rie). Left afterwards
  12. Beyond the time — encore? I didn’t know Toshi played piano. Yet another outfit (tour shirt, the design on the shirt matched his necklace). I fast forwarded through this; am generally not interested in any singer+slow song+piano
  13. Carry On — another brief MC, Toshi with a 12-string acoustic; Chacha also has a tour shirt and is the only one who changed and was playing slide guitar!
  14. Beautiful Harmony — another MC, another slow song; a bit more intense than the earlier ones
  15. Grace — another slow song. fog and a backing track (more fast-forwarding; it looked like the singers were there, but no one else was); everyone came out for a bow (and the bassist had a tour shirt on)
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One Response to Toshi – “Grace” Live

  1. agymah shabazz says:

    Hi

    My name is Agymah Shabazz and I am trying to locate an old friend of mines her name is Yasumi Maeda . I am a good friend of her’s from Boston MA. would you please give her my email address : agymahshabazz@ yahooo.com .

    Thanks

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