LIVE REPORT: A9 @ LASALLE College of the Arts [Re:birth -Tensyou- AsiaTour 2015] Day 1

Once again, we welcome A9 to the sunny shores of Singapore! Before we get things started, do check out our previous review about them at Toyosu Pit from just two months ago!

Read about Day 2 here!

Despite the ongoing haze situation in Singapore, the tour was thankfully not canceled or postponed as the event was held indoors. Last year, I was given the opportunity to check out their Asia Tour and this year had the honor seeing them here again! What was probably better than last year was that they would not be rocking Singapore for just the one night, but two this time! I arrived at the venue a few hours early and was amazed to see the amount of fans awaiting them already. As the concert was held at a campus theater, it had a very different feel compared to your usual outdoors live as everything was just more organized.

After a long wait, the members of A9 started appearing on the stage one by one, each with their own spotlight shining down on them. The crowd was already hyped up to get the concert rocking, especially from "PRAY." By the way, of all the members, Hiroto probably stood out as the most well dressed!

Show (Vo.) and Hiroto (Gt.)
A9 then started off the concert with their first song, "Phoenix!" Somehow, it was pretty much expected (in a good way!) as this song definitely has the right vibes to kick-start something big. Immediately after was "Heart of Gold" and this one practically threw the crowd into a rock-induced trance. The third song, "Doukeshi," continued to keep the crowd going with its fast tempo. It literally gave me the feeling of going into a trance myself!

The crowd was of course not about to settle down just yet, especially when this was followed up by "Judan!" Honestly, the songs included from "Ginga no Oto" are really tightly written and I hope to see A9 upholding this high standard in their work for future releases as well. At the end of this song, Show greeted the audience and asked if everyone was ready for more. Of course, everybody replied ecstatically and the next song, "Hana," was on! One particularly heart-warming moment here was when Hiroto blew a kiss to the audience! Next up, Show began encouraging everybody to wave along with him for "Blue Planet." This song was where a lot of the interaction between the members really started to shine through and I suppose this was one of the things most of the crowd had been anticipating! I really appreciated the ending here too, when Show faced Tora and sang the last verse directly to him. Following on was "Ryuuseigun," where Show led us in waving our towels in the air with him! It was really amazing that at this point the high energy of the crowd had barely gone down a notch.

Saga (Ba.) and Nao (Dr.)
"Shooting Star" was next. Of course, I couldn't resist humming along to the lyrics! I don't know about the rest of the crowd, but it gave me a sense of belonging and I'm really thankful that they came all this way. Then was "Freesia no Saku Basho." I enjoyed this song in particular because I could sense their feelings being infused with the song as they performed it. Touching stuff.

An intermission occurred then where Saga, Nao and Tora left the stage, leaving only Show and Hiroto. This segment made the gig quite unique as we got to hear "SHADOWPLAY" being played a little differently. After Show sang the first few verses, there was an extended solo instrumental by Hiroto! The pace of the song was slower, giving it a much gentler feel. Overall, I actually enjoyed this version more than the original! Spectacular work from the two of them. Next, Show then left the stage and the spotlight focused on Hiroto alone for an amazing guitar solo. Soon after, the other members (except for Show) came out and started jamming on their instruments again, with Hiroto remaining in the spotlight!

Tora then took over Hiroto's position and by now I was expecting each of them to perform their own solo part. It turned out a little differently than I expected; a few minutes in and I began to feel like I was attending some instrumental rock band's concert... I was simply in awe at their versatility! Unfortunately though, it seems that the solo segment ended with Tora (or had it...?!). Anyhow, Show came back on stage and the song I personally had been waiting for started playing "Spiegel!" One highlight here was the way Tora began hyping up the set, especially when he started running around the mic stand!

Next was some very welcome interaction with the crowd, with Show making sure we were all having a good time so far and thanking us for coming. He then handed over the spotlight to Nao! Nao gladly introduced himself and asked us, "Hou bo?" in Hokkien, which means "Is it good?" Of course, the crowd responded very excitedly and Nao then came back with a "I am very good lah!" twice. It really brought the band and the audience closer together as it showed he was making an effort to blend in with Singaporean culture. He then took the opportunity to introduce some of the band's merch.

Hiroto (Gt.), Tora (Gt.) and Show (Vo.)
Show then took over again, gaging out the readiness of the crowd. "Rainbows" was announced and participation playfully encouraged, with Show asking for us to sing and clap along. It definitely worked! Throughout the whole song, everyone was over the moon. Following this was "Shining," another one of their songs that I found myself humming along to. I should also mention that throughout their performance, Show had been saying thank you to us all for coming it was something the audience really seemed to appreciate. Show then checked if everyone was "saikou" before moving on to the next song, "Shunkashuuto." I believe everyone who saw Show's bright smile during the start of this song was mesmerised! Also, Nao displayed some godly drum skills manoeuvring his drum sticks between small breaks. Once again, the expression of thankfulness from the four of them standing side by side... It was a beautiful sight, especially with them all dressed in white!

The only real "lowlight" was when Show declared the next song to be their last. However, the fans 'accepted' it and rocked along to "TSUBASA" all the same. At the end, all the members left the stage and the crowd settled down momentarily before starting to chant, "Encore, encore!" After six whole minutes of chanting, Saga and Nao finally came out again! You guessed it! The solo sessions were back! Things seemed to take a turn for the more "casual" side of A9 as well - they both came out with two pink bras, hanging each of them on a mic stand. Then they led the audience into a roaring finish with an awe-inspiring display of instrumental skills. It was rare to see Saga interacting with the crowd openly and touching too, when he declared "I love you" towards the end! Soon after, Hiroto, Tora and Show the returned to the stage.

Show(Vo.) and Nao(Dr.)
The next song, "Haikara Naru Rinbu Kyoku" began and halfway through, Hiroto flung the bra from his mic stand into the crowd! Show then requested the audience to call out the band members' names, leaving some time in between each so it didn't get too confusing. First up was drummer Nao, then bassist Saga, guitarist Tora, guitarist Hiroto, and finally, vocalist Show! This was followed by a guitar battle between Tora and Hiroto, before Hiroto placed the other bra on poor Tora's head. Looks like Hiroto won! Next, another solo by Tora, before Saga deciding to take the bra away and Hiroto reclaiming it to now place on...Nao! A powerful drum solo ensued - the crowd was ecstatic!!

After some more thank yous from the band, the final song of today's show started playing "the beautiful name." A poster that some of the fans had signed earlier that day was then displayed on the stage with A9 once again expressing their heartfelt thanks. Tora seized the moment by taking over one of the cameras and filming the crowd, before all the members left the stage and, like last year, Hiroto gave the final thank you speech. Promising Day 2 to be even better, the Day 1 show then officially ended and an exclusive handshake session was held for VIP ticket holders. Thank you to BLACKBALLOON for bringing A9 to Singapore and to all the staff involved in make this event a success!

Read about Day 2 here!

1. Phoenix
2. Heart of Gold
3. Doukeshi
4. Judan
5. Hana
6. Blue Planet
7. Ryuuseigun
8. Shooting Star
9. Freesia no Saku Basho
11. Hiroto Section
12. Tora Section
13. Spiegel
16. Shunkashuuto
EN1. Saga x Nao Section
EN2. Haikara Naru Rinbu Kyoku
EN3. the beautiful name

Photo Credits: ROCKSIN
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