Aaron Woolfolk's Los Angeles Report

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Jei
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Aaron Woolfolk's Los Angeles Report

Post by Jei » Tue Oct 15, 2002 6:15 pm

[Thanks to Aaron for letting me reprint this here -Jei]

From Aaron Woolfolk (theyounglion@yahoo.com)

Last night was the Dreams Come True concert here in
Los Angeles at the House of Blues. Wonderful show --
despite a couple of misfires that had nothing to do
with the band or their set. More on that later.

Let me say that I have been to the House of Blues
several times, but I have never seen a concert so
crowded as it was last night -- even at other sold-out
shows. Actually, one of the HOB staff told me that
they oversold it. But after they let everyone in, as I
stood in my spot just a few feet from the stage, I was
amazed to look around and see the number of people
packed in there.

The doors were to be opened at 7:30 (despite the
tickets listing show time at 7:30), and my friend and
I got there at about 5:30. Already there was a growing
line outside. Here's a little tidbit for concertgoing
at the HOB: If you eat dinner there before the show,
you can go to a special line and be let into the
concert hall half an hour before they officially open
the doors. So my friend and I did that. A lot of other
people had that idea, though, and we were a
significant ways back in this special line. Still, we
got to a great position in the concert hall -- about
10 feet back from the stage, dead center.

It was a very good concert. They sang most of the
songs from "Monkey Girl Odyssey," as well as songs
"Aisuru Kokoro" (from "Sing or Die") and "Asa Ga Mada
Kuru" (from "The Monster"), and "Love Love Love" (from
"Love Unlimited"), which was the earliest song from
the Dreams Come True repertoire that they did. They
also sang their latest single "It's All About Love,"
and three new songs. I'd say that 70% of the songs
were in Japanese and 30% were in English.

Miwa and Masa haven't lost their stage presence. Miwa
talked to the crowd quite a bit. Masa did this funny
thing where he pretended to be half proficient at
English, and said some goofy things. (His English is
actually excellent -- in one-on-one conversations he
speaks as if he's lived in an English-speaking country
for 20 years.) Of course, their best energy came in
the songs -- Miwa dancing and bopping around,
displaying her powerful vocal proficiency with ease.
Masa had some funky moves while playing bass.

On a side note, I really enjoy listening to Masa's
bass lines. Of course he was a big, much sought after
session player before he co-founded Dreams Come True.
But listening to the CDs and seeing him perform, I'm
always reminded of just how good he really is. A lot
of bass players and drummers do some really cool
things on recordings, but get really lazy in concert
and play just basic, passable stuff on stage. On stage
Masa not only plays the complex stuff we hear on the
recordings, but he gets creative with his parts and
does some really cool things.

Miwa and Masa seemed moved by how many people were
there. (Let me reiterate once again that it was
PACKED!!) She made an emotional speech (in Japanese)
about how they were worried about the fan reaction
after Takahiro Nishikawa left the group, and if they
would still be accepted as Dreams Come True.

Most of the crowd was Japanese (and female, though
there were a lot of Japanese guys too), but I was
surprised at how many non-Japanese were there. People
of many age groups (from early 20's to late 40's, and
even a few children who came with their parents -- I
even saw an infant in a stroller), and people of all
races.

My only complaint about the evening is the opening
acts. Yes, "acts," as in plural. Both openers -- who
sang and played acoustic guitar -- were American
Sheryl Crow soundalikes who were an incredible
mismatch with Dreams Come True and their audience.
This was evident by the mostly Japanese crowd pretty
much tuning out each act after their respective first
numbers. The American DCT fans were more vocal -- some
loudly griping about having to wait through two
opening acts for DCT to hit the stage. (Mind you, some
of us had already been standing for nearly 3 hours by
the time DCT came on.) My friend cracked me up -- she
made some jokes about all of the songs by both opening
acts being about hating the guys they'd broken up
with. But for the majority Japanese female audience
there that reveres and adores Miwa Yoshida and the
mostly happy feel-good songs she sings, those opening
acts just weren't on message. I would compare it to
having a heavy metal hair band as the opening act at a
rap concert -- the wrong music for the wrong crowd.
House of Blues should program their opening acts
better.

(Mind you, the opening acts weren't BAD. In the few
moments I could bring myself to pay attention to them
-- my attention was mostly focused on my hurting legs,
my filling bladder, and the unpassable mass of people
between me and the bathroom -- I thought they were
both talented musicians. But what they were singing
just wasn't what I and the rest of the crowd went
there to hear.)

There was a personal moment between Miwa and myself. I
believe it has been mentioned that I have had dealings
with Dreams Come True (regarding a project I am
working on), and actually got to hang out for a couple
of hours with Miwa, Masa, and Taka in an intimate
setting after one of their shows in Japan last year.
Unfortunately I wasn't able to get together with Miwa
and Masa this time. I tried to arrange it (through
Japan), but I started the ball rolling too late and
couldn't get it together in time. But during the show
Miwa saw me from the stage. We waved to each other
during a song, and she sang to me for a few moments.

All in all, a great show. I had a really good time. My
friend and I wound up standing on the concert hall
floor for 4 1/2 hours (this after I intensively worked
out my legs in the gym that morning). And there was
the frustration of standing for a couple of hours
BEFORE learning there was not one but TWO opening
acts. And then there was the constant struggle to
maintain my good floor position against the power of
Japanese women trying to get as close as they could to
their icon. (I held my ground, but they kicked my ass
in the process.) But Masa and Miwa made it all
worthwhile.

I can't wait until the next time.

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