I decided to try for the impossible this weekend - to go to
a Shena Ringo concert without a ticket and the hope that I will
get one there. Guess what?
I succeeded! Keep reading! I'll tell you more!
After arriving in Fukuoka by night bus, securing a hotel and
taking a much needed shower/bath at an onsen, I asked for directions
to the concert hall where Shena was playing.
It was way out in the country, in a small town
called Iizuka. The clerk at my hotel said it was her hometown,
so she had no problems in giving me directions.
An hour later, I walked out of Shin Iizuka station, into the
heat of summer.
I zigzagged around the depressed streets, randomly asking directions
all the way. In 30 minutes, I found the theatre - a kabuki theatre!
I was really shocked!
This was the place where Shena was going to play;
This was the atmosphere of SR's concert?
But, I'm digressing...
I arrived in front of the theatre around noon and I sat around
at the entrance gate, sweating. I brought a sign with me this
In Japanese it said, "Please sell me a ticket" and
I drew an apple on it just to give it that jazzy appeal.
One person did offer to sell me a ticket, but it was a bit too
expensive. I decided to wait a bit.
Another person, with a big smile, read my sign as he walked by
and said, "Me too!" in English. He later came back
and sat beside me. With a little Japanese and English, we had
a long talk.
He was an interesting 30ish guy, who has been to a few R's concerts.
He had a friendly way of talking and always laughed when he spoke.
After a few hours, another person came by and offered to sell
us a ticket for list price (\10,000)...but he only had one. My
graciously said, I could have it, seeing how this was my first
SR concert to see and hear.
(This was just another example of how nice people in Japan are.)
I was very grateful,thanked him many times and felt very happy
So, with ticket in hand, I waited with all the fans for the show
The fans were a sight to see. For this show,
SR asked that everyone to wear red (??? maybe because apples
are red?) Of course,
the red t-shirt was popular, but I saw a few people who wore
complete red outfits. I even saw one gorgeous woman in an red-orange
kimono, holding roses and a black umbrella. Very Cool!
The gates opened at 5:00p.m. The audience first lined up for
concert t-shirts (made only for this show) and then for bag checks
(cameras, tape players - not allowed...typical). They even did
a body check, which freaked out a few girls.
Upon entering, you were given a plastic bag to put your shoes
in and a seat cushion designed (again) only for this show. Next,
you were faced with the dubious task of locating your seat. I
sat towards the back, but this theatre was pretty small...maybe
200 people. I had a great view of the stage as well as the floor
audience. There were cameras positioned in three places for a
live webcast and special lanterns arranged in patterns on the
The stage had large shooji covering all but the edge of the stage.
The show began with a dark SR piano solo and the sound of thunder!
Then the sliding shoji on the stage were slowly moved to the
sides and there was the band! Shena looked great!!!
(I MEAN GREAT!)
She wore a light green kimono with gold flowers.
Her obi (belt) was also a gold color. Her hair,shoulder length
looked very mature on her. A nice departure from the long hair
she has been wearing for the past year.
I've been asked to explain (many times) why I likeSR. Her concerts
are part of my testimony. In this concert:
(1) she didn't play hits. She picked her more unusual tracks
from her CD's and singles
(2) She re-worked these tracks for a completely unique live sound.
With each tour, there is a reworking of sound, style and image.
Instead of dishing out a sound-alike, greatest hits package,
she offered up a fresh experience.
(3) She will always does a cover at each
show...and they tend to be ones that are not
completely mainstream hits (ex. tunes by Radiohead,Cyndi Lauper,
My basic feeling is that I really enjoy her sound,which is filled
with variety and is not stagnant.
I am still working on the words as I learn more and more Japanese.
I'm told that Shena's lyrics are the best!
She went through an excellent list of songs last night. Sweet
bone-chilling ballads, head banging rockers, bouncing pop melodies...a
Her voice was in good form and I was moved to tears by it more
She ended the show with a piano- based encore(Her ability to
play piano was quite good).
In the background was an effigy of herself, dressed in an all
white dress with blood spotting down one side, and tied to the
bamboo backdrop. The end of the concert gave me the shivers after
the last chord. The band left the stage and the audience was
silent. There was an old recording of a Japanese story tellaybe
a kabuki artist???) being played from a vinyl record.
it ended and then, again...silence.
This was truly one of the most memorable gigs that I have ever
been to. I left with only a feeling of awe, like I witnessed