live report - 08.02.2012 11:01

SCANDAL shows girl rock at its finest.

After finishing their successful Asia tour which took the girls to Hong Kong, Taiwan and Singapore, SCANDAL started on their SCANDAL VIRGIN HALL TOUR 2011 “BABY ACTION”, which saw the quartet perform in venues all across the countries. Halfway through the tour, the girls performed in Nakano, Tokyo. It was crowded on the square in front of Nakano Sun Plaza Hall and the audience that had come to see SCANDAL’s gig tonight were predominantly young males, with a few female fans scattered around.

The opening band of the evening was 7!!, pronounced as "Seven-oops." The band hails from Okinawa, and was formed in December around female vocalist NANAE. The band consisted of two female members — vocalist NANAE and drummer MAIKO, and the male guitarist MICHIRU and bassist KEITA. They were dressed in colorful outfits, which fit their upbeat pop-rock music and cheerful behavior on stage.

They started their set with the song Fallin’ Love, their major debut single from March 2011. The fans jumped along enthusiastically, waving their arms up in the air whenever NANAE gestured for them to do so. Even though they weren’t the main band of the evening, the audience rocked out anyway. They ended their set with their most recent single Bye Bye, a more nostalgic sounding song that seemed appropriate as their last one.

After a while, the lights were turned off again, and the boys in the Sun Plaza hall began to cheer. Sweet-sounding background music started to play, sounding like a Disney movie. Then, a baby-blue treble-clef was lowered at the back of the stage, with a bright pink bow around it. Its lights twinkled merrily, but then a loud slam was suddenly heard and it was dark again. The clef fell behind the stage, alarms beginning to sound and flashing lights on the stage began to shine and rotate rapidly. Two metal fences were lowered next, clicking into place with a loud slam, giving the stage an impression of a dark alley in a neighborhood on the wrong side of town.

The audience cheered loudly as the girls appeared on stage, all four of them dressed in black outfits with white accents and short skirts or shorts, combined with a pair of heavy Dr. Martens boots. Main vocalist HARUNA sported a new haircut, which was blonde and shoulder-length, and guitarist MAMI had gone blonde and had her hair in a long ponytail. While the fans still cheered them on, they started with the first song of the evening: LOVE SURVIVE.

After they welcomed the fans in an MC, the letters "BABY ACTION" appeared at the back of the stage, twinkling. Scandal nanka buttobase was up next, the audience rocking out to the upbeat rhythm and the girls sharing the vocals and stepping to the beat synchronized. HARUNA and TOMOMI shared the vocals, each of them having their own distinct voice with HARUNA sounding a little more nasal while TOMOMI was higher-pitched and fierce.

For DOLL, they first cheered the audience on and then HARUNA and MAMI put their guitars away, exchanging them for guitars shaped like the cute SCANDAL kitten. Still, the guitars and the girls were the only cute things in the show, because they put down a solid, heavy rock sound, showing that girls could rock hard, too. The crowd screamed loudly as they played DOLL and used their towels to wave along to the music.

As expected, the set list contained most songs from their newest album BABY ACTION. A special moment was the song Dobondobondo no theme, featuring TOMOMI and MAMI in red Adidas tracksuits, a cap and big sunglasses, posing as hip-hoppers. They started to rap on a hip-hop beat, alternating the parts between the two of them and doing a pretty great job at it. “Come on, come on!” they cheered the audience on, who replied instantly whenever a microphone was pointed at them.

During the next MC they talked about their equipment, the kitten guitars. They said that there were no amps needed for them because the kitten’s feet were amps. “Isn’t it cute?” they asked the fans, who cheered in response. They explained that the guitars were on sale for their fan club, and then laughed at themselves as they sounded like sales women.

They continued with a funny anecdote about drummer RINA then, who had wanted to practice her vocals at karaoke. She felt embarrassed to go there by herself, so she pretended to be on the phone with friends who would be waiting for her in the karaoke room. Once she got there, feeling terribly embarrassed, she found out that the SCANDAL song she wanted to practice wasn’t in the machine, so in the end she sang a cappella, because her visit to karaoke would have otherwise been a waste. The audience laughed at the story, and then it was time for the next song: Appletachi no dengon.

For HARUKA, the lights were turned off and it was silent on the stage. In the audience however it wasn’t, with several male voices calling out to their favorite member. A spotlight then shone on the stage and HARUNA was illuminated as she sang the first lines of the song a cappella. Compared to the other songs that were bursting with energy, HARUKA was a little bit more subdued, but with a catchy chorus that had everyone wave their arms along. After HARUKA it was time for another MC, and they talked about their releases of that year, their gratefulness for their fans and their upcoming concert at the Nippon Budokan. “Everyone please come!” they concluded their chat.

After SCANDAL BABY, the four girls said their goodbyes to the audience and disappeared from the stage. The hall was dark, and the boys started to scream the girls' names and for an encore. After a while of shouting, the girls finally came back to play. This time, they were dressed in SCANDAL tour shirts. They rocked out for the last two songs, the "BABY ACTION" letters in the background flickering. Then, while background music played the four of them bowed to the fans at the front of the stage. The band members' names were called one by one, each of them receiving a loud applause. They thanked and waved at the audience for one last time and then disappeared from the stage again.

Set List 7!!

01. Fallin’ Love
02. Ai no kotoba
03. Lovers
04. Bye bye


02. Sparkling
03. Scandal nanka buttobase
04. Sono toki, sekai wa kimi darake no rain
05. DOLL
06. Shoujo S
07. Shoujo M (short version)
08. Dobondobondo no theme
09. Appletachi no dengon
10. Maboroshi Night
11. Tokyo skyscraper
12. BURN
14. Pride
15. Very Special
16. Shunkan Sentimental
20. one piece
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