Amuro Namie - namie amuro LIVE STYLE 2014

review - 06.10.2015 20:01

More than four weeks among the top 10 of the Japanese DVD and Blu-ray charts aroused our interest in the release.

Since her debut in 1995, pop artist Amuro Namie has been quite successful in the genre of R&B and hip-hop. Numerous concerts, releases and years later, the singer started to tour throughout Japan with the namie amuro LIVE STYLE 2014 on August 22nd. She held 37 lives in 13 cities and attracted no less than 310,000 visitors. A live DVD and Blu-ray of the same title came out on February 11th, 2015 in deluxe and regular editions, and ranked promptly in the Japanese charts. We're taking a closer look into the DVD version.

The show is opened by an animated movie, its style reminiscent of children books where the scenery pops up after the opening. In our case, you see Amuro Namie's silhouette sitting on a coach box of a one-horse carriage, riding along a big city and oriental palaces. Shortly after, horsewoman and horse arrive at their final destination and the lady moves to the stage. Only a few moments later, the singer and many dancers start performing the first song of the concert: Ballerina. In the meantime, a video runs in the background on a giant screen that seems to continue in the fashion of the introduction video. Fitting to the song itself are the ballet-like costumes of the dancers — though the one worn by Amuro is more like a riding habit — and also the choreography of the dance which combines elements from classical ballet, especially within the refrain. Over the slightly underlying Poison they continue with the energetic ALARM, where you witness some wonderful dancing parts that aren't praised by lots of applause from the crowd for nothing. The last song from the first section is the fast and oriental inspired WANT ME, WANT ME.

After the disappearance of all dancers and Amuro Namie, an animated horse re-appears on screen. This time it seems to be wild one, galloping quickly through an icy landscape. The screen goes dark and on the left side of the stage (from our view), a well-disguised elevator opens and releases an evidently high spirited singer with two female dancers. Amuro had switched her riding dress to a green sequined dress during the transition and, without further ado, launches into Big Boys Cry with a happy, carefree and entertaining performance. The subsequent performances of FUNKY TOWN that features some kind of musical chairs game in which Amuro wins in the end, and the beautiful, cheery mid-tempo ballad Contrail where she engages her audience, are also very worth seeing. However, the singer doesn't grant her audience a real break — only a few moments after the last tunes of Contrail fade, you'll find her standing on a giant white carousel horse. Grotesque plays provocatively: female dancers loll about at rods and the singer punishes her plastic horse with a riding crop shortly before the end of the song. WHAT A FEELING directs the atmosphere into a different direction again. The two following tracks are of a calmer character.

The third part of the show starts with swinging stars and softly swaying dandelions on screen. A romantic mood is created, which is built up through the atmospheric performance of the song TSUKI. For this section of the show, Amuro Namie returns on stage wearing a stylish red-black checkered dress. With more affection — literally — the show continues: for La La La and Rainbow giant hearts decorate the stage, appearing on screen as well. During the last mentioned track, Amuro stands behind a big heart at stage center, which forms a frame around her. To the playful and fast tunes of Can You Feel This Love, red heart shaped balloons are brought to the stage by the dancers. The song also features several short solo dance intermissions that introduce Amuro's female dancers. The live then continues with sometimes cheeky and sometimes melancholic songs, before this section is closed by the emotional classic ballad Love Story.

Now, if you're anticipating the next animation to appear on screen, you'll be in for a long wait as many clips from various music videos throughout her career appear on screen. When the clips finally end, the artist, dressed in a long, black dress, is found standing in front of a gigantic, beautifully decorated butterfly performing the sensitive love song The Meaning Of us. When the angle of the camera is right, you'll get fooled into imagining that these wings are hers. This song is followed by one her biggest hits from the past: Tetsuya Komuro's CAN YOU CELEBRATE? The arrangement has been slightly modified to have a more classical style and, combined with Amuro's matured voice and the dreamy virtual background scenery with a Gothic window and several burning candles, create a very special feeling. The singer ends the song in curtsy to a cheering audience.

The subsequent darkness is torn apart by thunderous drum rolls and Amuro promptly conquers the stage together with her female dancers. Supernatural Love opens a set of songs that are of a fiery, funny but mostly fast character. Furthermore, all five tracks have another big thing in common: they possess a lot of techno influences and, together with the silver-black outfits as well as some specific dance moves at a certain point in time, the word "cyberpunk" comes to mind. Hands On Me includes the second solo dance introductions, this time with the male party of dancers.

The encore leads the mood back into a more playful and entertaining direction due to the performances of BRIGHTER DAY and CAN'T SLEEP, CAN'T EAT, I'M SICK. The whole concert is then closed after more than two hours with the cheerful love song Baby Don't Cry.

namie amuro LIVE STYLE 2014 offers a colourful potpourri of various musical styles with interesting dance moves, a rousing Amuro Namie and impressive stage settings. After the first look it quickly becomes clear why the DVD and Blu-ray sold that well. Those who haven't had contact with the music of the artist before can risk a look at a minute-long trailer regarding the release below. The quality of picture and sound is at its best.

JaME would like to thank Dimension Point and avex music creative for the friendly collaboration and the provision of sample material.
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