Where to begin? It has been two days since Sunday, and yes the daytime was events where countless and numerous stories can be shared or reminiscence about, such as what happen ten years or six months ago. Two acts of totally different tragedy though…one violence and one nature. 9/11 is going to be my personal thoughts though. I lived through it.
Fast forward roughly about six hours later, I found myself in a definite controlled violent scene. Center and about five to eight bodies back from the stage was spent for NAP UTATANE Tour 2011. New York was the second to last stop to this three band show, and for the $30 I paid, it was worth, the hours, the pain, and the loss of hearing. Am I willing to do it again? My answer is a definite yes, added with the ability of being able to fight my way to the front of the mosh pit, and some other reminders to remember. This event happened because I learned that the Pillows were going to have a concert here last Thursday, and then finding out two of my fellow J-rock loving friends were going with two other friends of theirs.
NAP UTANE is an acronym for The Noodles, All Ages, and The Pillows. UTANE, I think is shortening for Song is really fun. Uta for Song, Ta(noshi) for fun, and (desu)Ne for is it…without the question mark. I probably am thinking too much, but that is the name of this 2011 tour and collaboration.
I didn’t start considering standing room concerts, until last year, after my Utada Hikaru experience, and realizing that Japanese artists do and will tour the Unitied States. Prior to that my experience has been with getting the opportunity to see Japanese artists perform at conventions.
The Pillows haven’t toured the U.S, since their last one in 2008. However there were a few fans for the other bands as well. I was standing in a relatively tame mosh pit crowd when the first band began with All Ages, an American band from San Francisco. They’re the best opening band I heard in the concerts I have been to so far. The bassist was interesting, he was doing some pretty lascivious actions with his tongue. The stereotype still remains, does the length of their tongue signal how well will they perform oral? (You don’t need to answer this question, just food for thought.) So he ended up stripping down to his red undies at the end. The only low point of this band, was being pelted in the face with water from the lead guitarist. My reaction to being pelted with water, this early in the night, was a loud seven word expletive. If it was Toshi from X Japan, then yes..bring it all on. The lead guitarist, and the bassist both jumped off the side of the stage to surf the crowd briefly, and I watched this with some interest, since I have never seen crowd surfing with my eyes before.
Second band was The Noodles, who have also toured with The Pillows before. They are a three female Japanese band. Their music playing was great, but they definitely needed to get into the set before they shined. I think it was also between the sets changing, did my friends and I smelled someone smoking a cigarette.. needing his nicotine fix and finally getting high with reffer. That pot smell lingered for the rest of the concert.
The third band was the Pillow. Cries of “Pillows” “Pillows” energized the crowd, and the mosh pit literally exploded. Bodies packed tighter, forming either a human wall or a human wave and temperatures heated up. I literally moved forward or back with the pit. I realized also during the set that my friend and I lost our other friend as we were defending our spots in the center. I was also busy defending my bag from getting lost. Up to this point, I had my bag between my legs, but as the Pillows began, I feared for my bag. So I may have lost my spot in the mosh, as 1-2 people surged past me. I was lucky, someone shined their cell phone light for me, so I was able to keep my bag safe.
Still in the middle of all this, The Pillows were singing, and from what I can confirm and not in order, they sang:
- I Think I Can
- Last Dinosaur
- Little Busters … everyone including myself were singing the chorus.
- Hybrid Rainbow
- Crazy Sunshine
- One Life
- Swanky Street
- Ride On Shooting Star
Plenty of FCLC songs, and this may have been the setlist. As the show closed with the last song and encore, I was able to find my friend who I though was lost in the mosh. She had an interesting experience of being the only girl in a circle of other guys. My other friend fought his way to the front, and as the encore came on with the group, my friend and I were subjected to five people crowd surfing over the top of our heads. Keeping my glasses on proved to be a battle for those 3-6 minutes. It certainly felt like forever. The show ended with a bang, and as the crowd streamed out of the theater. My friend and I, walked out..well I wobbled out with rubbery legs. Definitely first time in such an intense mosh, for my friend this was her second worse, her first worse was VAMPS at Irving Plaza where she couldn’t even breath. With the heat and press of the pit so intense, we were literally wet with sweat to the point it felt like we had a pretty stinky shower. Thinking back, I recalled that the bassist for All Ages raised his arms to exposed his pits. XD
We waited a couple of minutes for our other friends, and they came out with some great The Pillows keepsake, for one a thrown guitar pick, and for the other an autographed cd from The Pillows.
Reminders next time for a concert, wear contacts, and don’t rely on there being a coat/bag check, because there weren’t any. Also stay hydrated, though the staff made everyone throw away all bottled drinks, which was not so great, I forgot that would happen. Coming down from that adrenaline rush, the local 7-11 with its late hours and bottle sales never looked as great. I definitely tried to take some images with my cell phone, so the quality didn’t come out, but it is here.