One of my favourite bands played at Shin Kiba in Tokyo tonight (May 18) and I was there to see them at what was the same place they played at in November 2010. This time they were in town to play their 38 singles (as well as a few others) over two nights at Studio Coast. You could get a ticket for both nights for a special price of 12,500 yen but due to work commitments I could only go to the second night.
I guess this was all promotion for their latest album ‘National Treasures – The Complete Singles‘ which in a way seems fairly pointless given that it was released back in October of last year! Still, I’m certainly not one to complain and was glad to see them live for the 4th or 5th time.
Like last time, I went with my school manager Shinobu and was delighted to see my ex-Tokiwadai kid student Hiiragi (now 11 years old) who was of course there with her mum who I was expecting to see. Just after we made our way inside I spotted another student who I sometimes teach, and at the end I met up with my present student Toru who I went for a conbeni (convenience store) beer with after along with Shinobu to discuss the nights events.
Support this time came from Gruff Rhys who is the frontman of Super Furry Animals but is doing some solo stuff at the moment. His band is one of those I love a few tracks by but basically always found to be over-rated and his bored and slightly depressed-sounding voice has long grated with me. Anyway, he opened the nights proceedings with a 7 or 8 song set which was a bit weird with him sat down throughout and putting on backing records whilst speaking in his thick Welsh accent. It did nothing for me but he did entertain me a bit more between songs with his banter and big placards with some Japanese written on them.
More importantly, the Manics took to the stage just after 7.45 pm starting off with ‘You Love Us’ which is a song I like but have never really loved…..until tonight when I could feel the hairs on the back of my neck standing on end as lead singer James Dean Bradfield belted out its powerful chorus. I was well happy with the first few songs before realising that they would probably all be good and I maybe wouldn’t miss the songs they didn’t play until after the concert. Even JDB needed lyrics for some of the songs such as PCP (a double A-side of ‘Faster’) and when Nicky mentioned the idea of playing a song that was a bonus track on the Japanese version of National Treasures he had no idea what the song went like!
Yet again I didn’t listen to any Manics material for a couple of months before this concert as I wanted it to feel fresh when I saw it live. I also didn’t want to know what songs had been played on the previous night but thanks to some Facebook updates from the band I did discover a few songs they had played and that they hadn’t performed ‘A Design For Life’ for the first time in ages which felt weird to them. I was happy to hear that of course as well as some other singles which are rarely played by the Welsh trio.
Setlist: You Love Us; La Tristessa Durera (Scream To A Sigh); Faster; The Love of Richard Nixon; Postcards From a Young Man; Autumn Song; Slash & Burn; Found My Soul; New Art Riot; Indian Summer; Let Robeson Sing (with Gruff Rhys); Stay Beautiful; PCP (acoustic); You Stole The Sun From My Heart; So Why So Sad; The Masses Against The Classes; Kevin Carter; Suicide Is Painless; Roses In The Hospital; A Design For Life.