by Chua Wei Ling
Did you manage to catch Visual Kei band Alice Nine when they were here over the weekends in Singapore? Consisting of Nao (drums), Tora (guitar), Hiroto (guitar), Saga (bass) and Shou (vocals), for two nights only, they held two performances at The Singapore Airlines Theatre at LASALLE College of the Arts, and fans were treated to 2 hours of glorious hits from the band per night that involved loads of jumping, head-banging and…er….bras.
Owing to the fact that the band knows how difficult it is for fans here in Singapore to get their merchandises, they had specially brought in an array of merchandises from Japan, which included T-shirts designed by individual members for sale exclusively at the event as well as light sticks and even guitar picks. Fans were also able to pre-order their items and collect it on the spot right before the performance or even after it via the online portal, which minimises the congestion for queues that may have formed should every purchase there on the spot.
As the signal went off for the performance to proceed, spotlight on individual members came on, and the fans screamed and shouted the names of the members. Starting with the upbeat song of PRAY, the same fast-paced songs continued for the next 3 tracks, before Shou started asking the crowd if they were enjoying themselves in English.
The interaction with the crowd was not just limited to the lead singer – Tora and Hiroto, the two guitarists of the band, constantly came up with small antics to keep the crowd amused, such as strumming on each other’s guitar instead. Drummer Nao had his fair share of the air time as well, which saw him speaking in Singlish encouraging fans to buy more of their merchandises with lines like “Buy more lah!” in the second intermission portion.
The fans were beginning to get tired from all the jumping after the 5th song, and it was with wise choice that the band started playing calmer melodies that were not as heavy metal as the previous tracks – songs such as Blue Planet and Shooting Star – a change away from all the raging tunes earlier. A slightly more acoustic version, SHADOWPLAY was slightly slower pace and with deliberate repeated chords played on the guitar as compared to the keyboard accompaniment played by Saga for the PV or the CD version.
Hiroto and Tora next each had their own solo on stage before Shou returned on back on stage. Tora’s solo style was slightly more flamboyant as compared to that of Hiroto, which was much more playful. With a change in the pace and beat of the music, Spiegel brought back the lively atmosphere to the crowd once more, having them on their feet and jumping to the beat. Tsubasa saw Tora and Hiroto leading the song, with much faster melody and louder bass, ending the performance on a really high note.
Of course, as with nearly every performance, the end was not really the end, as fans chanted for an encore, which, after 10 mins, saw Nao and Saga return on stage for a duo performance on bass and drums, this time each wearing the T-shirt they had designed (which was for sale at the event) and along with….2 pink bras. With a little light-hearted humour and fanservice for the audience, Saga attempted to get Nao to wear one before placing them atop of the microphone stand of Tora’s and Hiroto’s, of which Hiroto ended up running around the length of the stage trying to place them on Tora’s and Nao’s heads during their performances and finally towards the end of the night, threw them towards the stage. As the last note of the beautiful name ended, it was finally the time to call it a night, as the members began dishing out their items to throw to the crowd, which included Nao’s drumsticks and loads of guitar picks from Hiroto.
For those of you who missed out on the performance this year, here’s the full set list that was performed on Day 1:
2 Heart of Gold
8 Shooting Star
10 SHADOW PLAY
11 Hiroto Solo
12 Tora Solo
EN1 Saga x Nao session
EN3 the beautiful name