Inko no “have a nice day” Tour 2019.10.10 – Zepp Tokyo
I recently experienced my second FLOWER FLOWER concert and Kikino has been kind enough to let me publish a report on this concert. I previously attended FLOWER FLOWER’s “Inko no Mure Vol.4 – Christmas Night” gig at Shibuya Club Quattro on 25 December 2017 and wrote extensively about that experience here:
At the end of that report, I wrote “The chances of me seeing FLOWER FLOWER ever again are remote and I strongly urge anyone who ever gets a chance to take it.” Little did I know that less than 2 years later, I’d once again be in Japan seeing FLOWER FLOWER live on stage.
Thinking back, I consider myself so incredibly fortunate to have caught FLOWER FLOWER’s “Christmas Night” gig, which came at the end of the touring cycle for their first album ?. Nobody knew it at the time, but the “Christmas Night” gig was their last prior to the release of their second album ??????? (Spotlight). When I first listened to ??????? (Spotlight), I remember thinking how fantastic the album was. While the first album ? was almost a reaction against YUI’s pop career, deliberately rejecting traditional pop structures and production, ??????? (Spotlight) was a happy synergy of pop-YUI and FLOWER FLOWER’s ?. It was almost as if Yui recognised that some aspects of commercial pop/rock (double-tracked vocals, etc) weren’t that bad after all. Of course, everything on ??????? (Spotlight) was still sprinkled with FLOWER FLOWER’s musical magic and nobody could mistake it as pop-YUI. ??????? (Spotlight) also seemed very heavy with Mura?Jun’s influence, for both piano and keyboards, which as a keyboardist myself, I greatly enjoyed.
I knew the band was going on a headline tour to support ??????? (Spotlight) – they announced this tour during the “Christmas Night” concert before even announcing the album. After hearing the album and being overwhelmed by how great it was, I seriously considered attending this March/April/May 2018 tour. However, having just returned from Japan in January 2018, the financial cost of going back so soon couldn’t be justified. Luckily for me and everyone else, the band professionally recorded this tour and blessed us with the Inko no “have a nice day” Tour Blu-ray and DVD release, filmed at Zepp Tokyo on 9 May 2018.
Getting a ticket to the October/November 2019 Inko no “have a nice day” Tour concert was a much easier task than getting one to the “Christmas Night” concert, although some luck was involved. The “Christmas Night” concert was held in the relatively small Shibuya Club Quattro (no more than 800 people, I think) and I had to resort to the secondary ticket market to attend.
When FLOWER FLOWER announced their 2019 Inko no “have a nice day” tour, I noted there were two shows in Tokyo – at Zepp Tokyo on 10 October and Zepp DiverCity on 20 October. For those who don’t know, both of these venues are located in Odaiba and are within easy walking distance of each other. I wasn’t fussed as to which to attend, so I entered the ticket lottery for both. Each show would have advantages – the 10 October show was the first of the tour, so it would be great to experience this tour with no spoilers and a completely unknown setlist. Plus, FLOWER FLOWER had spoken of playing new songs, so anyone at this gig would be the first to hear them. On the other hand, the first show of the tour can sometimes be a bit of a “warm up” for the band and seeing a show later in the tour wouldn’t be bad either as the band would be hitting their stride with a few shows under their collective belts.
I was planning to attend with someone who couldn’t stand for the concert, so I opted to try for the seated area of the venue. The lottery allows you to select either a GA (standing) floor ticket or a reserved seat in the balcony. The seating capacities for each of the Zepp venues are documented here, with the older Zepp Tokyo being slightly larger than the newer Zepp DiverCity:
Much to my surprise, I was successful in the lottery and got 2 reserved seats to the 10 October 2019 concert at Zepp Tokyo. This is the same venue featured on the full-lenght concert release from 2018. Looking at the capacities above, it states that Zepp Tokyo accommodates 2,709 GA patrons and 1,200 reserved. I thought this meant a total capacity of 3,909 people with plenty of seats. I only found out after getting inside the venue that this is not true and there are in fact many less seats, probably around 150 or so. Hence, I was extremely fortunate to get 2 seated tickets. The confusion is probably due to different configurations of the venue. In GA mode (ie. most people standing), the capacity is 2,709 people with most of those standing and about 150 seats in the balcony. In fully-seated mode (which this gig was not), the capacity would be 1,200.
After securing tickets, I booked flights to Japan with a plan to stay for about a week with the concert being the centrepiece of the trip.
I arrived at the venue around 4:30 PM and there was plenty of activity. There was already masses of fans milling around. There was a prominent merchandise desk with all of these items:
The queue for the merchandise was long and many fans were already attired in the new items. There was separate long queue for the ¥500 vending machine which dispensed bright fluoro green balls containing random, small FLOWER FLOWER merchandise (seen on the right in the picture above). Some of these had been signed by Yui, so this was not doubt the impetus for many fans to try their luck (sometimes more than once).
There was the familiar sandwich board seen on previous tours, which proved a popular photo-op for fans:
I headed off to find some food – there are plenty of options in Odaiba for anyone seeing concerts there in the future – and arrived back around 6 PM, to this scene:
At this stage, I wasn’t sure if we would be entering via the upper door or the lower one. The upper door didn’t really look like an entry point. Remember that I thought that 2,700 people were going into the GA area at the bottom and 1,200 were seated in the balcony. Surely they’re not going to have everyone enter via the one door? I asked around and everyone else had GA tickets, so they weren’t sure about where people with reserved seats should go.
About this time, a guy in front of the lower main door started calling out ticket numbers. This was now a familiar (to me) part of the entry routine for Japanese concerts with lower ticket numbers entering first.
I killed time by visiting the merchandise desk, where the queue was now shorter. I noted that the long-sleeve FLOWER FLOWER x VIRO Wear Works jumper was already sold out. This seemed pretty odd as it was the first show of the tour and surely they couldn’t run of our merchandise at the first show – what about people at all of the remaining concerts? Anyway, I bought a T-shirt, a cap and a towel. I should mention that the cap comes with a ridiculously long adjustment strap, just in case your head doubles in size:
By 6:30 (30 minutes to stage-time), I was wondering if I’d missed the entry for reserved seats. I asked staff near the main door and they told me to wait longer. The numbers were getting pretty high now and by 6:45, the guy called on all remaining people to enter the venue. We proceeded quickly through the door, paid the compulsory ¥600 per person for drink tokens, then got into another queue to swap the token for drinks.
Inside the venue was another sandwich board, or maybe the same one that was outside before. It had started raining lightly from about 6 PM onwards. There were also bunches of congratulatory flowers for the band:
We proceeded to find the stairs and made our way to the balcony area. It was only when I arrived that I noticed that it was quite a small area. There are only 5 rows of seats with maybe 25 people per row. That explains why we didn’t need a separate entry.
Again, I had no idea of where our seats were but it turns out we’d been quite lucky – we were in the second row, almost in the middle. This is a shot of our seats looking back from the stage, taken from the Inko no “have a nice day” tour Blu-ray, which was filmed at the same venue on 9 May 2018:
Because it took so long to get everyone into the venue and people like us with reserved seats were at the end of the queue, there wasn’t much time to enjoy the atmosphere inside before the show. We probably arrived at our seats with less than 10 minutes before the show started. I wish I had more time as I would have liked to have chatted with people around me and soaked up the atmosphere a little more.
The row of seats in front of us (the front row) appeared to be the guest/VIP section. In this row, to our left, were a man and women in their late-40’s or 50’s, both of whom were holding small notepads. I suspect they were music journalists as they proceeded to scribble notes throughout the show. The women seemed particularly enthusiastic about the performance, so I’m sure she gave FLOWER FLOWER a good review. It would have been nice to chat to them and find out who they wrote for. B=PASS? Rolling Stone?
Even more interesting were the two people sitting in the front row to our right. They were an elderly couple, maybe in their 60’s or even older – it can be difficult to tell with Japanese people sometimes. They definitely didn’t look like the average FLOWER FLOWER fan. I strongly suspect that they may have been parents of one of the band members. I’m not sure which band member(s) has family in Tokyo but perhaps they were invited along to see their child on stage.
Before I knew it, it was time for the show to start. The staging was slightly different to the 2018 Inko no “have a nice day” concert, which was thankfully filmed and made available in full on DVD/Blu-ray. The instruments were set-up in approximately the same location as that tour. Sacchan’s drums were on the left of the stage, Mafumafu’s rig was next to him, Yui was next and Mura?Jun had his piano/keyboard on the right of the stage. Mura?Jun spent most of the night behind what appeared to be a nicely decorated upright piano. I couldn’t see behind the back of the piano, so I’m not sure if it was being used as a piano of just an elaborate stand to hold one of his keyboards. Photos from later concerts posted on Yui, FLOWER FLOWER and Mura?Jun’s official Instagram indicate that it was in fact just a piano:
The stage also had a runway in the centre which extended into the crowd. This runway was pretty sparsely used throughout the show, with only Yui and Mafumafu occasionally venturing out. Most of the night had all 4 members on the main stage. Perhaps the band will make more use of the runway on future shows as they get used to it.
The band entered from the left of the stage, with Mura?Jun, then Yui, then Mafumafu, then Sacchan. Mura?Jun, the undisputed class-clown of FLOWER FLOWER, proceeded straight down the runway and gave a twirl, as if it was a fashion show. I think this surprised the rest of the band, who followed his lead. Hence, the show started as a kinda FLOWER FLOWER fashion parade, with Mura?Jun, Yui, Mafumafu and Sacchan all favouring us with their runway skills.
After taking up their places on the main stage, the band launched into concert opener ??????? (Subarashii sekai). I was a little surprised at the choice of opening tracks. As this tour wasn’t in support of a newly released album, the band could pick equally from their back catalogue. In hindsight, an up-tempo “single” from their first album seemed an obvious choice. Of course the crowd ate it up and fist-pumped the air with each “oh oh” that preceded “Subarashii Sekai” in the chorus.
Next up was ? (Tsuki), another single from the first album. I sometimes think that bands (and even some fans) might tire of playing/hearing these old singles, but these two songs worked really well to open the show and set the tone.
?? (Tokei) was the third song and it was great to hear this up-tempo, catchy album-track from their second album played so early in the set. Just like on the previous tour, despite this being a heavy acoustic-guitar song, Yui opted to just sing and not play guitar. This meant that the guitar part was on tape, but this is always a trade-off in live shows. By not playing guitar (as she did with the first two songs of the show), Yui was free to walk about the stage and interact with the crowd. I remember her walking to the extreme left and right edges of the stage during this song, waving at various people and bringing everyone in the crowd into the show.
The fourth song was ??????? (Toumeina uta) from the first album. This song was out of the setlist for a while and it’s great to see it back. It’s one of the most popular from the first album and, unusually for most of FLOWER FLOWER’s output, was solely written by Yui. Yui was back playing guitar for this song.
Next up was a ???? (Seki wo tatsu), which was a surprise given it’s such an unusual song. It had been absent from the previous tour, so it was great to see this strange song performed live. I still always associate this song as a pair with ??? (Hikari), as they so naturally follow-on from one another on ?. Today, both were played, just not back to back.
? (Inochi) was next, the opening track from ??????? (Spotlight) and the track which opened most concerts on the previous big tour. I remember this song was quite powerful, with the aggressive drumming setting the tone. The drums are prominent in the studio recording, but they were pushed even higher in the mix in the live arena. I can see why the band picked this as the lead-off song for the album and the previous tour as it’s such a hit to the face.
Things calmed down a little for ???? (Coffee). I recall seeing FLOWER FLOWER perform this song at the “Inko no Mure Vol.4 – Christmas Night” gig, where it received a very muted reaction. At that time, not many in that crowd were familiar with the song as ??????? (Spotlight) hadn’t been released, but tonight it received a great reception. It was also the song where you knew it was the first show of the tour. Despite being one of the simpler FLOWER FLOWER songs, there were a few mistakes in tonight’s performance – the right chords were being played, but just not at the right time. Or perhaps not by all members at the time time.
Still, all was about to be forgiven as we moved into a golden period in the set. The next song, ?? (Tomoshibi), was probably the most surprising of the night (excluding the new song). ?? (Tomoshibi) is a digital-only single and thankfully I listened to it a few times before the concert. However, the performance tonight took it to the next level. The song started with Yui singing, accompanied only by her playing solo on her acoustic guitar. Her vocals in this opening verse and the chorus that followed were really strong. I don’t understand the lyrical content of the song, but she seemed to be singing with such conviction and truth – not like “here are the lyrics and I’m going to sing them for you”. I could almost imagine her singing with her eyes closed, not that I was close enough to make this out. The full band came in with the first chorus and the song was probably the surprise highlight of the night for me.
The great choice of songs continued with the surprise selection of ? (Aki) from the ? EP. This song opened the “Inko no Mure Vol.4 – Christmas Night” gig and I can so vividly recall the moment of hearing that song live back in December 2017 – it really was a transformative experience. I was overjoyed that they decided to play it tonight as I never thought I’d hear it live ever again. The arrangement was similar, with Yui not playing guitar but the hand-cymbals (taal – I think). The main difference between the performances was that Sacchan started hitting the kick drum to keep the beat. I’m loathe to criticise a band as experimental as FLOWER FLOWER for trying something new, but this song is so fragile, so delicate that the rhythmic pounding of the kick drum seemed overpowering, out of place and unnecessary. Still, I was extremely happy to experience this song once again.
The joy continued with ? (Honou), the b-side to ?? (Treasure). This has become a live staple in FLOWER FLOWER’s shows. I’m not sure how often a band regularly plays a single’s b-side in preference to the accompanying A-side, but I don’t think the fans have any complaints in this regard. It’s become such a loved song that it was the set-closer at the “Inko no Mure Vol.4 – Christmas Night” gig and the final song on the 2018 Inko no “have a nice day” concert tour. ? (Honou) has evolved into an almost communion-esque experience, with Yui giving back to the crowd just like she has done on previous occasions. I noted that when this song was performed at the “Christmas Night” gig, Yui exuded sex appeal. This didn’t come across so much tonight – maybe Yui was in a different mood or perhaps it’s difficult to convey the same intimacy in a 2,700 capacity venue than it is in a much smaller one. This is yet another reason I pinch myself at being fortunate enough to have attended the “Christmas Night” gig.
The band kicked it up a gear for the new song ? (Mitsu). I remember this as an extremely funky song, with Mafumafu’s slap-bass being high in the mix. In contrast to everything else FLOWER FLOWER, there were a lot of English lyrics in this song. Will this sound be representative of FLOWER FLOWER’s new album? Time will tell. The crowd gave the song a huge reaction, which no doubt pleased the band as it was the song’s debut performance (as far as I’m aware).
Things stayed in high gear with ?? (Kamisana), now a staple of the band’s live set. From my vantage point in the balcony, there seemed to be less moshing than at the “Inko no Mure Vol.4 – Christmas Night” gig, but maybe that was because this time I wasn’t down in it but watching it from above.
It was then time for a blast from the past with Rolling Star from “CAN’T BUY MY LOVE”. Yui had teased this on the previous tour, playing a small selection at the start of the encore at this very venue. It was great to see it fully dusted-off and back in the live space. The arrangement wasn’t that different to how YUI performed it back in the day. On the previous tour, FLOWER FLOWER’s “CHE.R.RY” was noticeably different to YUI’s “CHE.R.RY” whereas “Rolling Star” was quite samey. Not that this is a criticism – I’m sure everyone (including me!) was happy to see this rock classic played just the way we remembered it.
The energy continued with ???? (Powerful). I thought Mura?Jun’s fast-piano intro sounded a little muddy, but that may be because it was being played on a real piano this time rather than a keyboard as on the previous tours. It’s difficult to articulate individual notes when playing presto on a piano and even more difficult in the live environment. Still, the song lost none of it’s energy and was greatly enjoyed and appreciated by the crowd.
?? (Odori) was a great song to continue the energy of the gig. This song is such a slow-burn, taking a long time to get to the chorus. Much like Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used To Know”, once the chorus gets there, it’s a monumental, joyous, release. This was truly reflected by the band tonight. Yui and Mafumafu both ventured out onto the runway for this song and Yui was more into this song than perhaps any other song of the night. During the joyous choruses, she was jumping, spinning and singing with her face looking at the ceiling, microphone held above her. The crowd gave back as well, making this song an absolute highlight of the set.
The band closed the main set with ???? (Bye bye), the closing track from ?. This already experimental song is kinda like the band’s play-thing, undergoing constant revision and modification for each new tour. Tonight was no exception and there was even a sneaky keyboard sample from ??????? (Subarashii sekai) snuck in during the arpeggio bass introduction. The re-worked ???? (Bye bye) crescendoed as usual and the reverberation at the end of the song signalled the end of the main set. The band gave a few waves and retreated back-stage.
The crowd almost immediately began the chant for an encore. In a nice touch, some people started singing the scat chorus to ? (Tsuki) – the “oooo da da da da” bit. Soon, all of the crowd was singing along, summoning the band back to the stage.
After a short break, the band returned to the stage. In a surprise choice for me, ??????? (Startline) was the first song of the encore. This may be the band’s most played song – it’s certainly the band’s most released live song. There have been 6 different official live versions officially released, on CD and/or DVD:
- Secret Live At Shibuya WWW (26 March 2013) [from the 2-CD edition of the ?? (Treasure) CD single]
- Live At Shibuya Club Quattro (7 October 2013) [from the DVD which came with the CD/DVD edition of the ? album and also released on the 2-CD edition of the ???? (Mannequin) CD single]
- Live At Ebisu The Garden Hall (30 June 2017) [from the bonus tracks included with the downloaded edition of ??????? (Spotlight)]
- Christmas Night – Live At Shibuya Club Quattro (25 December 2017) [from the DVD which came with the CD/DVD edition of the ??????? (Spotlight) album]
- Hibiya Outdoor Great Concert Hall – ???? Have A Nice Day ??? Tour (1 April 2018) [from the Inko no “have a nice day” Tour Blu-ray and DVD]
- Zepp Tokyo – ???? Have A Nice Day ??? Tour (9 May 2018) [from the Inko no “have a nice day” Tour Blu-ray and DVD]
- It was even played by Yui in her recent surprise street-live performance in Sapporo on 11 September 2019:
After not playing it in the main set, I thought we were actually going to have a FLOWER FLOWER concert without hearing it, but the band pulled it out for the encore. I’m not sure if I would have made this selection for the first song back after the encore break. Don’t get me wrong – it’s a lovely song, but it’s also a slow to mid-tempo song whereas perhaps the crowd were looking for energy. Still, the band clearly loves playing it and everyone appreciated hearing it.
The final song for the evening was ??? (Hikari), which was a great choice for a concert-closer. It starts with a bang and then builds from there. I described it as a “wall of sound” in my previous concert review and it was all that and more tonight. Both the band and crowd were really into it and everyone was swept up in the chorus, which is easy to sing-along to as it only has vocal sounds and not words.
I was really hoping for more – the previous 2018 Inko no “have a nice day” tour had 3 songs in the encore – but ??? (Hikari) was the last song for the night. Just as on the previous tour, ?? (Nichijou), the closing track from ??????? (Spotlight), played over the PA and the band took their bows and took turns using the microphone to thank the crowd for coming. Before I knew it, the concert was over and the lights came up.
We filed downstairs at a glacial pace. At most big venues, while entry may be through only a few doors, staff usually open up lots of exit doors to allow the crowd to exit more rapidly. Not so at Zepp Tokyo. Everyone filed downstairs and joined with the GA crowd in trying to slowly get out the same single door that we all came it. In what made it even slower, the merchandise desk had been set-up inside and people were queueing for that on one side of the exit corridor. There was also a queue on that same side for the ¥500 vending machines, which had been moved to this area. On the other side of the corridor, people were taking photos of the congratulatory flowers. The effect of all of this was that around 2,700 people had to move single-file through a small space to get out of the venue. This could have been much better organised. Perhaps if it hadn’t started raining outside, the merchandise and ¥500 vending machines may have remained outside.
On exiting the venue, everyone was handed a folio with promotional flyers for upcoming events. The top flyer was for FLOWER FLOWER’s tour:
Interestingly, at least at the time of printing, the ZeppDiver show in Tokyo was sold out but this show was not. Thinking back to before the gig, I do recall that there was a “buy tickets for tonight’s show” sign above the ticket office, so perhaps some were still available for the show tonight.
I noticed in the slow-crawl out of the venue, that many items advertised at the merchandise desk had “sold out” stickers plastered across them. Again, I wonder how a band can run out of merchandise at the first show of the tour. Surely there should have been more than enough to meet demand. Perhaps the staff underestimated demand and just didn’t bring enough and would have more for future concerts. Still, FLOWER FLOWER are leaving money on the table, which seems pretty bizarre.
Some other thoughts, recollections and comments are below:
There was a decent amount of banter from the band between songs tonight. FLOWER FLOWER have never been the best at inter-song banter, but tonight was a pretty good effort. If you watch the 2018 Inko no “have a nice day” concert film, there is a lot of dead-space between songs. Between many songs, there is typically 10 seconds of silence with no talking from the band or sound from the crowd. I always think this must be slightly energy-sapping for the band. Anyway, tonight there were three main topics in the banter.
Firstly Yui introduced Mura?Jun as “Matsu-Jun”. Mura?Jun then spent some time correcting Yui that he was not Jun Matsumoto from Arashi but Mura?Jun. Of course, Yui continued to refer to him as “Matsu-Jun” throughout the night, which prompted repeated correction from Mura?Jun. It was pretty funny, but as they say, maybe you had to be there.
There was also a lengthy discussion as to which Mario-Kart character each member of FLOWER FLOWER was. As the rest of the band talked about it, Sacchan appeared to be getting frustrated or bored. When it finally came time for Yui to ask him which character he was, he responded that he had no idea as he doesn’t know anything about Mario-Kart. The prompted a mock-lecture from Mafumafu to Sacchan. It reminded me of the scene in “Pulp Fiction” where John Travolta’s character Vincent Vega, in response to a question about a TV pilot, responds “I don’t watch TV”. For his troubles, he got a lecture from Samuel L. Jackson’s character Jules Winnfield along the lines of “But you are aware that there’s an invention called television, and on this invention they show shows, right?” Tonight, Sacchan was the Vincent Vega to Mafumafu’s Jules Winnfield: “You are aware that there is a game called Mario Kart and in that game they have various characters?” Anyway, at the end of this lengthy period of banter, Sacchan was assigned the Mario-Kart character of Princess Peach, which he quickly accepted so they could get back to playing music.
The final recurring banter was the band expressing that everyone keep safe as typhoon Hagibis was approaching Japan. While we stayed safe during the typhoon, which peaked in Tokyo on Saturday night (this concert was on a Thursday night), my return flight to Australia was cancelled and I ended up having to remain in Japan for a few more days and eventually got an alternate flight home, which cost me a bundle of money. Thankfully my travel insurance came good and I wasn’t too much out of pocket. Still, my inconvenience was minor considering the devastation and loss of life inflicted by the typhoon, so I consider myself lucky.
I note that the concert at Zepp DiverCity on 20 October was professionally filmed. The setlist was almost identical to the show I saw tonight, with the only difference being the order of the first 3 songs. I really hope that it is released in full so I can re-live this live experience and everyone who couldn’t attend the tour could get to experience it too. I’m sure the band had polished the songs a little more in the intervening concerts – the filmed Zepp DiverCity show was the 4th of the tour. Not that tonight’s performances were sub-par, but it’s always a safer bet to record a later show in the tour rather than the first one.
Choice of songs
My biggest complaint about the concert, which is identical to my complaint about the “Inko no Mure Vol.4 – Christmas Night” gig I saw, was the length of the set. At the “Christmas Night” show, FLOWER FLOWER played 11 songs. Tonight, they played 18, which was great. However, the 2018 Inko no “have a nice day” Tour concert release had my expectations higher. On the 2018 tour at this venue, they played 20 songs (and a bit of “Rolling Star”). Hence, I was expecting the same number tonight. I know I’m greedy and 18 songs is close enough to 20 songs, but I can never get enough FLOWER FLOWER live. Did I mention I travelled about 5,000 miles to attend this gig?
Looking at what was dropped from the 2018 setlist tour, we missed out on:
?????? (Anata to Taiyou)
???? (Chiisana mado)
Here’s what we gained this time compared to the 2018 set:
???? (Seki wo tatsu)
I have no complaints about any of the new additions. As I noted above, ?? (Tomoshibi) was possibly the highlight of the set and ? (Aki) made a great follow-up song. The new song ? (Mitsu) was warmly welcomed and “Rolling Star” was a great choice as the sole YUI-era song. I’m assuming the band is sticking to their policy of a single YUI song per FLOWER FLOWER show. I know many people would have loved to hear CHE.R.RY (including myself), but there are so many great YUI songs to choose from and I don’t mind the band changing it up. I even enjoyed hearing the somewhat bizarre ???? (Seki wo tatsu), which was a surprise choice.
As to the songs which were dropped from the previous tour, many of these were deep cuts from ??????? (Spotlight), which the band was promoting on that tour. On the 2018 tour, they played 10 of the 12 tracks from that album, 11 if you include the tape-playback of ?? (Nichijou) as the band waved their goodbyes. Hence, I wasn’t surprised to see some of these dropped from the set. While ?????? (Anata to Taiyou) is an interesting song, I can live with it being dropped from the set. The same with ?? (Chizu), even though it did have a greater presence live on the 2018 Inko no “have a nice day” tour compared to the studio version. ?? (Ubugoe) is a pretty and no doubt meaningful song for Yui, but it didn’t translate so well into the live arena on the 2018 tour, so I was also OK with it being not performed tonight.
However, I was really disappointed to miss out on hearing ??? (Aisu), which is a highlight of ??????? (Spotlight) and I was looking forward to hearing live. I was even more disappointed that we missed out on ???? (Chiisana mado). This song, outstanding on ??????? (Spotlight), took on even greater power and meaning during the 2018 live tour as it closed the main set. It is a beautiful song, the band played it so wonderfully and Yui sang it with such meaning. If I was going to add a single song back into the set, it would be ???? (Chiisana mado). Perhaps the band thought they had enough slow- to mid-tempo songs with the inclusion of ?? (Tomoshibi) and ? (Aki). If the band could have included ??? (Aisu) and ???? (Chiisana mado), that would bring the song-count up to 20, matching the previous tour, and would have left me with absolutely no complaints.
???? (Mannequin) is an interesting case. I’m on the fence as to it’s place in a live FLOWER FLOWER show. I think it could work quite well. It was OK but not spectacular on the 2018 Inko no “have a nice day” tour DVD, so maybe the band dropped it for being not quite up to scratch in the live arena? I would have liked to have heard it live, but I’m also not devastated that it was dropped. Maybe a reworked version is on the cards someday.
As a final thought, I was lucky enough to hear ?? (Nichijou) played live at the “Inko no Mure Vol.4 – Christmas Night” gig. I think this is the only time this song has been played live. It didn’t get much of a reception that night as literally nobody had heard it before. The band now seem to reserve this song as “exit music” that they use to talk over as they say their goodbyes to the crowd. I’d really love to the band do a “fake exit” one day and, part-way through the tape-playback of ?? (Nichijou), go back to their instruments and start playing along to the song for real.
That’s it for another FLOWER FLOWER live report. Will there be more? I certainly hope so. As with everything in life, there are no guarantees. I’ve been fortunate to make my way to Japan to see FLOWER FLOWER twice and it would be so fantastic to be able to keep seeing the band into the future as they continue on their music journey. However, even if it never happens again for me, I know that I’m lucky to have experienced these two (very different) FLOWER FLOWER concerts. Again, if you ever get the chance to see FLOWER FLOWER live, don’t give it a second thought.
Thanks for reading.