Tomoyasu Hotei – All Time Super Best Tour

Tomoyasu Hotei-All Time Super Best DVD CoverThe “All Time Super Best Tour” was a celebration of Hotei’s 25 years as a musician; the track list (at the end) has songs from BOØWY and COMPLEX as well as his solo career (including two previously-recorded covers). This is the tour final 2006.06.03 at Saitama Super Arena; the DVD was released 2006.06.28. It is a two-DVD set; the concert is on disc one and is two hours, the encore is disc two and is another hour. It came in a cardboard sleeve with a 24-page photobook (mostly Hotei, but a couple of pages of the band members) and an insert with credits and lyrics to the songs performed in the main concert (but not the encore) on one side and a picture on the other. It was directed by Hiroyuki Nakano (any number of music videos, including several of Hotei’s, and a few films, including Samurai Fiction, starring Hotei). I have to assume that what’s on the DVD is very close to what the audience saw; there were only three weeks between the concert and the DVD release.

I really enjoyed this; I love shows where everyone looks like they are exactly where they want to be. Hotei himself, the band, the crowd all looked thrilled to be there; there were several songs with crowd-provided backing vocals and occasionally main vocals. I like Hotei’s music well enough (though his voice is an acquired taste) and a lot of it is very upbeat (sounding, at least; I have no idea about the lyrics) which lends itself well to a very high-energy show. The lighting was good, and there were a minimum of random body part shots (the occasional dramatic hand did show up occasionally); one of the cameras was (deliberately) shaky, but other than that, I had no complaints. This was really just five guys on stage playing; the stage itself was fairly basic and there were no effects besides lights. I was pleasantly surprised by how much screen time the band got and was very surprised that the other guitarist had multiple solos; I’ve seen concerts of full bands with less even coverage of band members.

The first several songs were all upbeat (or at least fast-paced). The keyboard player had a moment in the spotlight at the beginning of “Devil’s Sugar”, and “Battle Without Honor or Humanity” was one long solo with both the bassist and other guitarist having brief solos. After that was an MC and then two acoustic songs (everyone seated). The next couple of songs after that were slow songs; on one of them, Hotei didn’t even have a guitar, and let the other guitarist have the spotlight for a full solo (he had a few short ones in other places, but this was the real thing). It was kind of disconcerting; Hotei had no guitar, it cut to a closeup of the other guitarist’s hands, and then when it cut back to Hotei, he had a guitar (though watching it more closely, it faded out on him walking back to get it), and Hotei had a solo at the end. For the acoustic and slow songs, the focus was on Hotei almost exclusively, with an occasional shot of other guitarist and a few of the drummer.

There was an intermission after the slow songs; there were varying degrees of costume changes: full outfit for Hotei and minor changes for the band. The songs after the intermission were the more upbeat sort; the crowd was on its feet and moving for this part, singing the first half of “Dreaming” and all of the choruses. There was a short drum solo during “Dancing with the Moonlight”, but the camera was mostly on Hotei for it (that’s one of my biggest general concert video peeves: if there are solos, focus should be on the soloist.) “Velvet Kiss” (the last song for this part) was a slower-tempo instrumental (one long solo, slower only in comparison to the previous songs).

In the encore, there was a short MC and band introduction at the beginning and a few backstage clips at the end; they leave the stage and return twice before the end. The band are all in tour shirts; Hotei starts off in a different shirt, but changes into a tour shirt eventually (he changes both times they leave the stage). These were all fast-tempo songs, with the crowd on its feet and singing along for a large part of it. There was a bass intro to “Poison” and the other guitarist had a short solo there; he called them both by name. By the end, everyone looks tired but still happy to be there, and the crowd is really into it as well. Hotei himself is practically glowing, and everyone is very emotional at the end.

I thoroughly enjoyed this, though I did have a few minor annoyances. Hotei’s dress sense is interesting (sparkly! purple boots! animal prints! need screencaps!) and his stage mannerisms occasionally bother me. A few of the songs dragged a little. I’m not sure how much guitar-playing Hotei was doing while singing; he had a guitar most of the time, sometimes was probably playing, sometimes was going through the motions, sometimes not even trying. The “going through the motions” is the sort of thing that’s more obvious on a DVD and I kind of wish I hadn’t noticed it here; I started paying too much attention to his hands trying to decide whether or not he was actually playing. I don’t really care whether he was playing or not; he was obviously playing the solos, and the other parts were being played by someone on the stage.

The musicians:

VOCAL&GUITAR : 布袋寅泰 — Tomoyasu Hotei
GUITAR : 大西克巳 — Katsumi Onishi (profile, can’t find a personal site)
BASS : Ju-ken (new site)
DRUMS : 酒井愁 — Shue Sakai
KEYBOARD : 岸利至 – Toshiyuki Kishi (aka tko)

Backing vocals were provided by Toshiyuki Kishi (anything that needed harmony), Katsumi Onishi, Ju-ken, and the crowd.

Katsumi Onishi records and tours with various people, but also works for a part of Avex Trax as a composer and arranger (the source of the profile). Ju-ken and Shue have been in various bands but mostly support others (occasionally together). Toshiyuki Kishi is currently an official member of abingdon boys school (which may explain why he wasn’t on Hotei’s recent tour; he’d been touring with him since 2000, recorded through Ambivalent, and Hotei mentioned him recently) and has had a lengthy career as a keyboard player (recording and touring), composer, arranger, and remixer. tko and Shue have recently (late 2007) started a project together: Two Tribes.

Tracks (times are chapter lengths; dates are earliest album releases):

Disc 1

  1. Before the Show (0:45)
  2. Good Feeling (2:12) (intro/entrance)
  3. Bad Feeling (5:30) (first song)
    from BOØWY — BOØWY, 1985.06.21
  4. Be My Baby (4:55)
    from COMPLEX — COMPLEX, 1989.04.26
  5. Glorious Days (4:36)
    from GUITARHYTHM 1988.10.5
  6. Surrender (7:32)
    from GUITARHYTHM IV, 1994.06.01
  7. Starman (9:04)
    from GUITARHYTHM II, 1991.09.27
    David Bowie cover, from The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars, 1972.06.06
  8. Devil’s Sugar (6:13)
    from GUITARHYTHM II, 1991.09.27
  9. Battle Without Honor or Humanity (11:54)
    from Electric Samurai, 2004.03.31
  10. MC: Thank You for 25 Years (5:57)
  11. さらば青春の光 (6:21)
    from GUITARHYTHM IV, 1994.06.01
  12. LONELY★WILD (8:22)
    from GUITARHYTHM III, 1992.09.23
  13. Nobody is Perfect (5:34)
    from Tonight, I’m Yours, 2000.01.26
  14. Fly Into Your Dream (13:21)
    from GUITARHYTHM II, 1991.09.27
  15. Intermission/One Bullet (3:26)
  16. Russian Roulette (4:29)
    from Scorpio Rising, 2002.03.06
  17. C’mon Everybody (4:07)
    from GUITARHYTHM 1988.10.5
    Eddie Cochran cover, originally released in October 1958 as the B-side to “Don’t Ever Let Me Go”
  18. スリル (Thrill) (5:28)
    from King & Queen, 1996.02.28
  19. Merry-Go-Round (5:05)
    from GUITARHYTHM II, 1991.09.27
  20. Dreamin’ (4:47)
    from BOØWY — BOØWY, 1985.06.21
  21. Dancing with the Moonlight (7:23)
    from GUITARHYTHM 1988.10.5
  22. Velvet Kiss (5:30)
    from King & Queen, 1996.02.28

Disc 2

  1. Encore = brief MC + band introduction (3:21)
  2. Song For Us (4:15)
    from All Time Super Best, 2005.12.07
  3. バンビーナ (Bambina) (4:56)
    from Tonight, I’m Yours, 2000.01.26
  4. Poison (left the stage after) (7:22)
    from Tonight, I’m Yours, 2000.01.26
  5. Dance Craze (4:46)
    from BOØWY — BOØWY, 1985.06.21
  6. Beat Sweet (left the stage again after) (6:47)
    from BOØWY — Beat Emotion, 1986.11.08
  7. Twisted Bon Voyage (5:04)
    from Doberman, 2003.09.26
  8. Captain Rock (acted like it was the end: everyone came to the front and took a bow, but went back and picked up their instruments) (6:30)
    from King & Queen, 1996.02.28
  9. Supersonic Generation (6:26)
    from Supersonic Generation, 1998.04.29
  10. Identity (the last song) (5:39)
    from Monster Drive Party, 2005.06.15
  11. Finale/Mirror Ball (everyone came to the front and took a bow and was reintroduced, staff came out for a bow) (1:50)
  12. After the Show (2:14)
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