Wonderland 2011

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nogizaka
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Post by nogizaka » Tue Aug 16, 2011 12:36 pm

If you click on 'Older' under 'Browse' on Marcellus' blog, you will eventually get back to the Sapporo concert, where he has posted some good pictures (unfortunately, he doesn't say much about the show). The Sapporo Dome REALLY looks like the mothership when you see a full-length picture of it.

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Re: Fukuoka, 7th August, 2011

Post by tokyophoto » Mon Aug 22, 2011 12:13 am

Doitsujin wrote:Three hours of standing, dancing, and clapping left me completely soaked. But I do not want to have missed any single second of this fantastic show!
Congratulations!

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Post by tokyophoto » Mon Aug 22, 2011 12:15 am

nogizaka wrote:If you click on 'Older' under 'Browse' on Marcellus' blog, you will eventually get back to the Sapporo concert, where he has posted some good pictures (unfortunately, he doesn't say much about the show). The Sapporo Dome REALLY looks like the mothership when you see a full-length picture of it.
Holy mother-! Huuuuge!

I like reading Marcellus's blog, and it's cool that he doesn't post pics of Miwa & Masa all over the place.

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Post by nogizaka » Thu Aug 25, 2011 9:16 pm

We were in a bit of a dilemma; we usually go to church on Saturday evenings, but that would prevent us from getting to bar reboot when it opened for the preconcert party. Sunday mass at the nearest church was at 12:30 PM, a half hour before the gates opened at the Sapporo Dome, which meant we would probably get there closer to 2 PM. How would we be able to go to church, get to the Dome, buy our concert goods, and be in our seats when the show started at 3 PM?

Well, DCT thinks of everything! The day before we left for Japan, we saw an e-mail announcing that the vending area would be open at 9 AM the morning of the concert- plenty of time for us to buy our goods, take them back to the hotel, get something to eat, go to church, and still make it to the Dome in time for the show. That is how we did it.

We arrived at Fukuzumi Station at 8:30; it was about four blocks walk to the Sapporo Dome from there. It was a beautiful day, not too hot, and only a few people on their way to the Dome (we could tell by their t-shirts). As we got closer, we could see the Dome perched on one of a chain of hills. It was impressive- all silver, looking like a spaceship or hovercraft waiting to take off. We passed through the gates and were directed down different hallways and avenues to a large open area roped off for customers to line up.

As with the 20th Anniversary show, there were a number of tables all displaying the available goods. This time, however, tables where all major credit card purchases could be made were included. Several inflatable 'Love Cubes' were floating above the area, and DCT music was playing on the PA system. Our timing was pretty good; only a small crowd was ahead of us. Many people were wearing DCT shirts and towels, or carrying bags from different tours. There was a small fortune in 'What Mee Mee Wants' designer items on display from the people in front of us (including several men who looked a bit effeminate in 'WMMW' t-shirts). One couple was dressed in blue and white tuxedos and tophats like the ads with Miwa and Masa. We waved hello to two ladies we had met at bar reboot the night before.

Around 9 AM, we were allowed to line up to make purchases. The credit card lines moved very slowly. Still, we had plenty of time to decide what we wanted to get and got everything we wanted to, but ended up with a pretty bad sunburn on our heads and necks. After making our purchases, we came across a 'DCT Wonderland 2011 Supplied by Pocari Sweat' circus wagon that people could have themselves photographed on (my wife recommended I should, and I did). We also located the DCT Garden Ikeda goods stand, where I bought a t-shirt. As we were headed back to the main gate, we saw the 'Good Luck' bouquets from Exile and so on. The whole experience was achieved with time to spare.

After the hotel, lunch, and church, we returned to the station. Things had changed a lot: now we were in middle of a large crowd moving steadily toward the Dome. Police were directing us across automotive traffic, and though it seemed we were moving slowly, effective crowd control got us to our seats about ten minutes before the show started.

The Sapporo Dome can be configured as a baseball or soccer stadium. The baseball diamond was used for the concert, with the stage as the outfield. There are two levels of seats, not including the floor. The Dome was remodeled a few years ago so it can hold 67,000. The stage setup eliminated the seating behind it, leaving enough room for 40,000 plus, according to Marcellus Nealy.

As with the 20th Anniversary show, five video screens were used; one main screen with two flanking it behind the stage, and one each on the far left and right for people seated on the sides. The three stage screens projected 'Love Cubes' as Doitsujin mentioned, the central one showing a feed of the messages sent.

Extending from the main stage was a track approximating the base paths with another extension from the main stage to the center of the floor. Imagine the pitcher's mound and home plate turned toward the outfield rather than the batter's cage (I hope this isn't too confusing). The above explanation is given to help describe the placement of the five platforms: one at center stage, one in the middle of the floor (pitcher's mound), the next straight ahead opposite of the stage (second base), and two off to the right and left (first and third bases). Each of these had different functions, as we will see. Using this layout, our seats were on the first level on the left side, not quite halfway between the first and second base platforms. The rafters held the usual array of lighting equipment, as well as a series of wires and a platform hanging high above the far side of the stage; a trapeze quickly came to my mind, which turned out to be not too far off from its' actual use.

Not long after we were seated, and trying to figure out the best way to get to the restrooms, the 'music box' recording coming over the sound system stopped, the lights went down, and the screens came on. The show was beginning! Miwa and Masa came up at center stage through the platform as the band members arrived from off stage. Miwa was in tears as 'Nando Demo' started, and her voice faltered at first. That didn't keep the audience from roaring their support, and the song went on to its' powerful climax and quiet finish. 'Sono saki e' followed immediately, DCT again using Fuzzy Control as the nucleus of their stage band, and Joe playing twin bass parts with Masa. Besides MC Marse, Koh Otani, Gatz, and saxophone player Masato Honma, we were not familiar with the backing musicians and vocalist. Keita and Shige (with new member Ino-D) of AKS were joined by Goto and Ryo (AKS Jr.).

Afterward, Miwa announced "Dreams Come True in Wonderland 2011!" and officially made us Wonder Babies. She said that morning the sight from her car of all the people coming in wearing DCT regalia made her cry. She said she could not help crying, so she would sing more and more, and told us "I will make you happy." For the next three hours, the show moved quickly, with a few instrumental or video breaks to allow costume changes. There was not as much conversation as in the 20th Anniversary Concert (the ladies we sat with at bar reboot the night before told us that Masa is supposed to keep conversation to a minimum at Wonderlands so all the songs can be performed).

Some highlights:

A curtain behind the stage drops, revealing the 'Love Supply Brass Band' (from Hokkai Gakuen for this venue) as 'Ikite yuku no desu' begins. Miwa joins in on trumpet at one point (another thing DCT fans try to figure out is which instrument Miwa will play on that tour). The Band stayed onstage for a spirited version of 'Carnaval,' following which there was an announcement that the school's baseball team had just won a game which would send them to the National Tournament (the game was actually being played during the concert, supposedly);

Miwa rides a bicycle around the track singing 'Ring! Ring! Ring!' but stops to adjust her headset (something she did more than once during the concert), and has a dancer pedal her around during the remainder of the song;

Images of the planets come up on the stage screens as Miwa begins 'Jikan ryoko' with a short acapella version of the chorus, later adding a lyric mentioning an eclipse which will occur in 2012;

The left side platform becomes a mini boxing ring with ropes and is bathed in red lights for a very sexy version of 'Poison Central' with Miwa, AKS, and AKS Jr.

'The Monster' and 'Funka-Monster' are combined to showcase a large number of dancers and the band, highlighted by Gatz's cover of David T. Walker's guitar solo in 'Funka-Monster';

Juon's excellent guitar work, including a great cover of Michael Morris' intro to 'Sankyu' and the solo from 'Make me your own';

Miwa and dancers dressed in black suits with rows of lighted buttons flashing on and off performing 'Kono koi wa Hard Boiled'

Keita and Shige carrying Miwa, arms extended, down the track to the central platform during 'Jet!';

My personal highlight: Miwa in an elegant purple gown walks to the rear platform, which splits into four smaller cubes, allowing a pedestal to emerge. She steps up and rises twenty feet in the air to sing 'The Signs of LOVE';

'Ano natsu no hanabi,' the next to last song, where we were treated to an INDOOR fireworks display;

Miwa circling around the arena in a flying harness as she sang 'Ureshii! Tanoshii! Daisuki!' and finally hovering just over Masa's upraised palm! Among other things, the harness allowed Miwa to fly forward and backward and from left to right, as well as do a flip;

Masa walking offstage last with a wave and "Mata ne!"

To reduce traffic, we were released from the arena by sections, but it was still very crowded on the way out. Attendants worked like policemen, letting so many people move in one direction, then stopping the flow to let a group go in another. The giveaway of the remaining bottles of Pocari Sweat created a different kind of congestion, but it was worth getting the bottles, as we were seriously dehydrated from standing, singing, waving, clapping, and shouting. Upon leaving by the South Gate, we walked in a huge crowd toward the station, and realizing we would not be embarking anytime soon, stopped to eat at a restaurant. The station was quiet by the time we got there, and had a relaxing trip back to our hotel.

We thought the song selection was an improvement over the 20th Anniversary Concert; even though some songs were shortened versions, the 'Medley Mode' feeling was not there, and although I wished I had a setlist, not knowing what song was next was kind of exciting. Of course, the sound, the lighting, the effects, and the performances were excellent. Everything went off as well-rehearsed as it must have been, although being the first show, there was no feeling of tiredness or routine from the performers. I imagine the first show of a tour always has that 'newness,' no matter how much preparation has been done. Although our seating gave us a good overall view of the stage, track, platforms, and screens, their location between the left and rear platforms meant that the performers were never close to us, a disadvantage of a large venue. We have to agree though, that Wonderland is a must-see event.

On to New York!

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Post by Jei » Fri Aug 26, 2011 8:17 pm

Fantastic review, nogizaka! Thank so much for sharing :)
Yes, on to New York :)
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tokyophoto
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Post by tokyophoto » Sat Sep 03, 2011 5:12 pm

That's a really great review -- I'll be there soon for the 2 Tokyo shows.
I'll be interested to see what changes/stays the same.
Masa is supposed to keep conversation to a minimum
That's funny. I love his MC time on the DVDs...

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Post by tokyophoto » Sat Sep 03, 2011 5:13 pm

I just read the 2 Osaka shows got postponed because of the weather.
I'm glad I'm not in the group of foreign visitors affected by that.

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Post by newrynyuk » Sun Sep 04, 2011 10:30 am

tokyophoto wrote:I just read the 2 Osaka shows got postponed because of the weather.
I'm glad I'm not in the group of foreign visitors affected by that.
Wel, I'm in Osaka now and I am DEVESTATED that the concerts were called off.

It didn't look good when I arrived in Osaka yesterday morning, the rain was already starting to fall and had gotten really heavy when I went to the baseball game at the Kyocera Osaka Dome (in hindsight, that's where the Wonderland shows should have been on!).

It never stopped lashing down. By the evening, it turned into a torrential downpour that cleared the streets, even in the Namba entertainment district. I had tickets for Sunday's concert and was very concerned. When I got back to my hotel at midnight (utterly drenched!), it was confirmed Wonderland 2011 was postponed and Sunday's concert was definitely off. Turns out that the stage and lighting crew were staying in the same hotel. They told the hotel staff, who subsequently told me.

The next morning I went along to the Nagai Stadium anyway. By the subway exits and at the stadium entrance, there were officials holding up placards saying the show was off because of poor weather conditions. Announcements about rescheduling and refunds will be made on the 9th of September. The day I fly out of Japan! I told those officials I had come all the way from London to see Wonderland 2011 in Osaka. They were very sympathetic, and apologetic too, even though it wasn't exactly their fault.

To say I'm disappointed would be to belabour the obvious. Don't get me wrong, I will still be enjoying my stay in Japan. There's a football match, two baseball games, some friends to visit and no end of shopping and sights to see. But all this was planned around seeing Wonderland 2011 in Osaka. Without this, there is an enormous unfillable hole in this holiday.

Not so much dreams come true as nightmare becomes reality.

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Post by nogizaka » Sat Sep 10, 2011 9:53 am

The Osaka shows have been rescheduled for November 17, 19, and 20 (an extra show was added to try and accomodate everyone who was affected by the cancellation). The Kyocera Dome will be the venue this time. More info at:

http://news.dctgarden.com/

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Post by tokyophoto » Mon Oct 03, 2011 6:20 am

Here are some pictures from my trip to Tokyo for the 9/17-9/18 shows at Ajinomoto Stadium.

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Last edited by tokyophoto on Mon Oct 03, 2011 7:02 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by tokyophoto » Mon Oct 03, 2011 6:47 am

I attended the 9/17 & 9/18 shows at Ajinomoto Stadium.

Nogizaka's set-list summary above is pretty thorough. The set list was identical for both shows in Tokyo.

Because I joined the fan club, I got a Power Plant cool ticket holder to wear around my neck (glad I had it, because it got windy) and a voucher for a free hand towel (glad for that, too, because it was really hot).

For the Saturday show, I had seats near stage left in the upper section (think the upper tip of a horseshoe), and for Sunday, I was almost dead center across from the stage in a lower section (like the curve of the horseshoe).

They mentioned during both shows that they were recording for TV on WOWOW (and also I imagine for the DVD).

It was insanely hot & humid both days, and I'll admit my love for Pocari Sweat has grown because of that. On the 2nd day, my female friend bravely got in the 45-minute line for the bathrooms in the goods area. Everyone found places to relax in the shade until the doors opened.

The trains had a special schedule this weekend for the DCT event. Since it was sold out (50,000+) each day, they added more trains and there were plenty of police and DCT staff guiding traffic along the 3-block walk from the train station and the Stadium.

Each day I arrived a few hours early to beat the train traffic and buy goods. The first day was no problem, and I picked up a towel, a tour book, the DCT eco bag, and the cool designer key ring. On the 2nd day, whoever arrived late was out of luck -- there was a staff member standing next to the large goods billboard with "sold out" stickers that he added to various items throughout the morning. (Ladies' T-shirts -- always the first to sell out!)

I saw --seriously-- not 1 other White American at the Stadium either day, and my presence was an immediate source of friendly conversation for the people in my seating area. DCT fans in Japan are still amazed that there are fans in America. "You mean the English songs, right?" is the usual follow-up, so with my (limited) Japanese we had some fun with the few Japanese lyrics I had memorized. DCT fans are really friendly, and everyone's there to share a specific feeling of love & harmony.

Miwa's wire-work was really a crowd-pleaser. She's like Peter Pan up there sometimes, and always looks very comfortable. She flew around the whole stadium a few times during the show, and even the high levels got some up-close attention.

During both shows, Miwa had a lot of in-ear monitor problems, and even went back to the stage one time to press her head against Masa's monitor. Of course she's a 22-year professional, so it wasn't that obvious, but it wouldn't surprise me if she re-records some vocals for the TV / DVD broadcast.

Overall it was a great, high-energy show both nights. The set list covered old & new songs, and the stage production was really colorful & magical.
(I am getting a little tired of "Fuzzy Control!" plugs during the live shows. Of course, they're on DCT's label, but... I really came to see DCT.) Masa's MC time was quite short compared to past shows, but maybe that's the casualty of adding 4 years' worth of songs to every new Wonderland.

The absolutely stunning moment to watch for on the upcoming DVD is the "Signs of Love" performance as Miwa ascends on a single pillar high above the audience. The wind was blowing her hair and gorgeous purple gown, and she had perfect delivery, including the soft kiss goodbye right before she steps backwards into the air... to float back to the center stage.

Thanks to current Yen rates, the trip was more expensive than I'd planned, but it was an irreplaceable experience.
Last edited by tokyophoto on Mon Oct 03, 2011 2:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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nogizaka
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Post by nogizaka » Mon Oct 03, 2011 2:14 pm

Nice review (and pictures!) tokyophoto!

I'm pretty sure I was the only gaijin at both DCT shows I attended; I got a lot of (surprized? amazed?) looks when I was walking around.

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Post by tokyophoto » Sat Nov 12, 2011 6:29 am

Just got an e-mail from Power Plant about the 2011 Tour Photobook.

DEFINITELY picking this up.

http://store.dctgarden.com/item/dctb-111109

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Tokyo concert on TV

Post by Doitsujin » Fri Jan 13, 2012 1:06 pm

WOWOW (Pay TV in Japan) aired the concert of 17 September at Ajinomoto Stadium, Tokyo on 17th December (see http://www.wowow.co.jp/music/dct2011/). Maybe you can find a recording on the web. But you'd better refrain from downloading for copyright reasons and wait for a DVD/BD release.

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Post by edharmer » Mon Jan 16, 2012 3:05 pm

When I went to see them in LA at the Wiltern they had a full recording setup going. I wonder if/when they are going to release that footage via DVD/BD. I'd love to have a copy of the concert I went to.

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