“Charice News Network” Concert Report from Tokyo, Japan
The months of anticipation leading up to Charice’s debut solo international concert from Tokyo, Japan had finally brought us all to today, the day Charice and all her Chasters have been waiting for. After a truly wonderful day of fellowshipping with the group of Chasters here in Tokyo on an absolutely beautiful day, the first group of us who had tickets to tonight’s show prepared to head over to the Zepp Tokyo arena to get in line for the standing room seats. In the U.S., when there is a concert held in an arena with standing room tickets on the floor, it is always sold as a “General Admission” ticket, meaning first come, first served in line. However, Japan being the orderly and structured society that it is, had a system in place at the Zepp arena where even those with standing room tickets were given a ‘number’ on each ticket which would identify when you were permitted to enter the standing room floor area in front of the stage. Our group of Chasters had our tickets numbered in the 600′s, meaning there would be more than 600 people allowed to enter into the arena before our turn arrived. Yet, even before that moment, there was an ‘interesting’ turn of events that led to quite a high level of anxiety being bulit up even before we got to the arena. For those of you just wanting to read the details of the concert itself, please skip past this next section until the “Arrival at Zepp Arena” section. Otherwise, let me tell you what happened ‘on the way to the show.’
Speedbumps, More Like Roadblocks Before the Show
After finishing a wonderful pre-show meal together, the group of us with tickets to tonight’s show began to make our way to the train station to head to the arena, nearly two hours before showtime at 7pm. A few members of our group needed to return to their hotel rooms to change their clothes and pick up some items before the show. Some other members of the group wanted to ensure that we secured our places in line at the arena, so they decided to head off to the arena. I told the departing group that I would return to the hotel to meet up with the other members of our group since they didn’t know how to get there on their own, and then head to the arena with the second group afterwards.
There still appeared to be sufficient time for all of us to make it to the arena without encountering any issues. As I should have learned my lesson from the last Speedbump Along the Chaster Journey, it is never a bad idea to head to a Charice concert well in advance to avoid any roadblocks that may arise unexpectedly. I arrived back at the hotel hoping to find the other members of the group waiting in the lobby after they picked up their belongings. That was not the case when I arrived as they were nowhere to be found. So the next logical decision was to call their room number, and check on their progress. I called the number, with no response on the other line. At this point, my concerns were slightly elevated, but I figured they were in the elevator on their way down to the lobby. So I waited for a few minutes, with still no sightings of the group.
The next step was for me to check with the hotel management to verify that the room number I was calling was correct, which it was. The only other thing I could do was to take the elevator up to their room and physically knock on the door as maybe their phone was not operating properly. However, once I got to the elevators, I came to realize after about five minutes of waiting and a huge crowd building in the elevator area that the elevators were not operating at that time. How could my luck be such that I would have to climb my second Mt. Everest during a Charice event up eight flights of stairs to knock on their doors? However, there was no other option at that point.
So I began that task, clothed in a warm winter sweater and a thick winter coat. Needless to say, I finally reached the top of the stairs feeling rather uncomfortable, but hoping with every Chaster ounce within me that they would respond at their door. Much to my chagrin, that was also not to be. With all options exhausted, the only possible conclusion was that I had somehow missed the group leaving the hotel as I was on my trek up those flight of stairs. So I rushed back down the eight flights, and began to run out the front doors when I saw one of the members of the group, Arz, walking around the lobby of the hotel. I yelled out to him, and asked where the rest of the group members were. To my complete and utter shock, Arz replied that he did not know where they were, as he had just been with them not too long before that moment, but when he returned to their room after he was ready, they were no longer there.
I commented to him that there was no possible way that his group could have just left him at the hotel, and he agreed that was just simply impossible because they had planned to depart the hotel together just moments before. I then ran through the several options again (e.g. calling the rooms again, checking with hotel management to verify that I was calling the correct room numbers, and then just told Arz that the only other possibility was that they had somehow actually forgotten about him and left him at the hotel! Now, it was only one hour before the showtime, and we now had to rush over to the arena on the train. But as we made our way out of the hotel, I turned to Arz again and said, “There’s just NO possible WAY that they could have left without you!” So we decided to head back into the hotel one last time to knock on their doors again.
Thankfully, this time, the elevators were back up and running! Needless to say, they still weren’t in their rooms. Compounding my stress was also that one of the members of the ‘lost group’ was in possession of my ticket to the show! Our only hope now was for me to somehow figure out how to push the correct buttons on the Japanese train ticket machine to get the correct ticket to rush over to the arena. So Arz and I began our sprint to the train station, somehow matched the correct Japanese alphabet characters to what we believed to the right station, and then by the grace of God finally arrived at the Zepp Tokyo arena!
Once we got out of the train, all I saw was a sea of humanity outside the arena doors. Again, with the Japanese being the model of organization, the concert go-ers were all patiently lined up outside the arena based on their ticket numbers. My final hope was to run down the massive lines of people and attempt to spot one of the members of our group, as if I failed to locate them, I would be locked out of this most anticipated Chaster event. Arz and I began to run past those hordes of people until we noticed that the lines were beginning to move forward, indicating that the Zepp had begun admitting people into the arena itself. Once our group who had gone to the arena were already inside, it was a certainty that our night would come to an early end.
But of course you already know that we did ultimatley get inside the arena, as there wouldn’t be a CNN report if that was not the case. By the hand of God, just as we saw the entire line move towards the entrance gate, I could hear and see the waiting members of the group call out my name while waving their hands in the air. Truly by nothing short of a MIRACLE, we had arrived at the precise moment where we linked up with our group members, and entered into the arena at the exact moment when our group’s number had come up. Had we arrived even 10 seconds later than we did, the group may have been forced to enter the arena without us, not knowing our own whereabouts, and essentially bringing closure to this night and experience. Nothing more needs to be said about the ‘confusion’ that led to Arz somehow being ‘forgotten’ back at the hotel! Despite a MAJOR roadblock, we had all finally made it to the arena, at the exact second Zepp called our group’s numbers to enter. Despite all this, our group still entered the arena with a full thirty minutes to go before showtime. The time we had all anxiously awaited had finally arrived!
Arrival at Zepp Arena
First impression upon entering the arena: SHEER MADNESS. There were seemingly thousands of Japanese, virtually ALL of them appearing to be in their teens, twenties or thirties who had assembled on this night, for one reason: CHARICE. Despite the reports from the previous night’s Nagoya show having many ‘non-Japanese’ at the show, that was definitely NOT the case for this first show in Tokyo. I would say that up to 99% of the crowd was Japanese. Upon entering the arena, we realized that the standing area was quite large, while the sitting room seats were at the far back of the arena. I was actually quite happy to have a standing ticket as we ended up towards the center of the floor area about 6 rows from the stage. As we all knew this show would have 25+ songs on the set-list, the plan was for me to take notes throughout the show for this report, while several other members of our group were armed with their video cameras in hand to capture the show on video for CM mass consumption.
We had already received several reports from the Nagoya show that security was EXTREMELY tight for that show, and we expected nothing otherwise. Suprisingly, our Ninja Chasters had no issues bringing their cameras into the arena. However, even upon entering the arena, there was a uniformed man carrying a huge sign that had a bunch of Japanese writing on it, but for us non-Japanese speakers, one clear message: a BIG picture of a camera with a RED circle and “X” across the camera. Cameras and videotaping was strictly prohibited during the show, and I came to realize that security was heightened even more so because there was a professional video camera crew who were recording the concert in its entirety, for I assume a later televised showing in Japan.
Yet our Ninja Chasters were determined to get their videos to capture the historical moments on video. Before getting to the full set-list, I want to thank the Ninja Chasters tonight for their courage in seeking to capture the video from the show for the benefit of the Chaster community. Unfortunately, every time each Ninja Chaster attempted to record a portion of the show, they were stopped by a security guard, who threatened to confiscate their cameras the next time he saw them recording the show. Tintol, one of the fearless Ninja Chasters for this night, disregarded the security guard’s warning THREE separate times, pretending not to understand the guard’s orders each time, in order to execute the Ninja Chaster mission. However, it was clear after the third warning that she and her camera were on the verge of being evicted from the arena. The same story held true for our other fearless Ninja Chasters, JustCharrie and Joycelyn. Sadly, between the three of them, they were not able to capture any quality videos from tonight’s performance.
As tonight somewhat served as a ‘preview’ mission to aid the second group’s chances of obtaining a recording of tomorrow night’s concert, three additional Ninja Chasters will seek to evade the grips of the security guards and obtain some recordings tomorrow night. Their chances may be greater if the reason for tonight’s vice-grip on security was due to the fact that tonight’s show was being recorded professionally by a video crew for a likely airing of the full concert on Japanese T.V. sometime in the future. So finally, it is time to get to the full set-list. Having written CNN reports for Charice’s past shows in which she only sang 2-5 songs, I knew beforehand that I would need to take copious notes during the show to accurately capture the details of the concert after hearing about the possibility of 25+ songs for this concert. The need for a more detailed report was heightened with the knowledge of the extremely high security prohibiting videotaping at the concert. Let’s start with setting the stage for the concert:
Charice Japan Tour 2011 Tokyo Zepp Set-List
Pre-Show Opening Ambiance: By the time 7pm hit, the ENTIRE arena was completely PACKED with a standing audience going all the way to the back wall of the arena, and every seat in the sitting area filled to the brim. There was an ELECTRIC buzz reverberating throughout the arena. The crowd, again 99% Japanese, mostly in their late teens to thirties, were clearly anticipating the appearance of their fellow Asian Pop Superstar on stage. The environment inside the arena surpassed any scene I had ever witnessed at any prior Charice event, to include Toronto and the DFF Las Vegas shows. I was overcome with the realization that every single person in the arena had come solely to watch and listen to Charice, a girl whom most of them likely had no clue about less than one year earlier before the release of her international debut album. I realized then, that Charice HAD ARRIVED, at least in Japan. Sure, the arena was not a 10,000 seat stadium, but there were several thousand who paid over $100.00 each just because of their love for Charice and her music. There was no doubting that Japan had truly fallen in love with Charice.
Now, onto the entire set-list for the concert, with my comments from my notes following each song:
1. Opening Intro/Rocketeer: Entire arena fades to black as Charice Japan Tour 2011 glows on the huge screen behind the stage. Then, a large “C” appears on the screen, followed by an “H”, an “A”, an “R”, “I”, “C”, and then “E”. Set on a black backdrop, diamonds on the screen begin to fall from the ceiling to the floor. Then we hear the full LIVE band hit the first notes to a familiar tune on the radio lately: Rocketeer (song by all-Asian pop group in the U.S., “Far East Movement”) Although I don’t listen to the radio much, I could identify the opening chords to this song. The band plays the opening keys, then we hear the all-too familiar, MAGICAL voice of the Princess. Arena goes dark, and spotlight shines on the rear of the center stage, as Charice makes her grand entrance in her ‘hello world’ moment as an international Pop superstar. Dressed in black, sleeves rolled up, looking COOL and SHARP. Crowd is in a frenzy, and once we are able to see Charice’s face, we see that familiar SMILE, and then those cool steel eyes focus as she builds the energy to break into the WALL OF SOUND that would take over the arena at that moment.
2. Crazy in Love: (song by Beyonce, whom Charice again referred to as one of her idols) I thought I had heard this song before, but wasn’t quite sure. I thought to myself, “Could this be one of Charice’s new dance songs on her next album?” Of course, I later found out from Eve that it was Beyonce’s song. All I know is this: the song ROCKED the arena. PERFECT song to get the party started inside the Zepp Tokyo arena. In my scribbled notes, I wrote down, “SOUND”, as in a WALL of SOUND hitting the arena face-on. Now the MOST IMPORTANT observation of this commentary: DANCE, DANCE, DANCE. And then, DANCE again. OMC. We had been hearing about Charice practicing, rehearsing her dance moves for this concert tour. OMC. FIERCE moves on the stage. Like I have never seen her before, like an uncaged LION showing the world what she was holding back for the past years. BOOM. Movements of her entire body, perfectly synchronized to each beat of the song. Wow, a picture of what we all knew was there, Charice combining her crazy vocal skills with her love of dancing, now choreographed for a full-on Pop Superstar concert show. And that look on her face, each time she moved her body to the music, FOCUSED, FIERCE, FEROCIOUS. OMC. Crowd absolutely LIT-UP, and we’re just getting started.
3. Empire State of Mind: (Jay-Z, Alicia Keys) Can Charice really rap? Put any remaining doubt to rest here. Charice starts off the song with Jay-Z’s rap part, and without saying anything more, this girl CAN rap. But a rapper who can sing as well? Goes from Jay-Z’s rap directly into Alicia Key’s chorus. OMC. Pure ENERGY behind the vocals; there is no doubt now that Charice has come out with a VENGEANCE for this night’s show. Tokyo Japan’s first introduction to Charice on the grand stage is one of a power R&B masterclass performer. So THIS is who Charice is, a bona-fide teenaged R&B superstar who can take some of the most popular R&B tracks and lift them to a higher level of power and vocal precision. Crowd continues to LOVE every second of it.
4. Replay: (Iyaz) One of the non-Charice songs I really loved from recent days, but I love it even more now that I’ve heard the way Charice sings it. Gives it her own flavor, her smooth voice, and reminds me that this girl can sing virtually any song and make it sound even better than I have ever heard it before.
5. Pyramid: Okay, so the first original song of the night, with a smooth transition (mash-up) from Replay. I was hoping Iyaz would make an appearance for this show, but Charice carried the song perfectly fine. Crowd immediately recognizes the song and maintains the HIGH-ENERGY level that has not dissipated for one second since her opening song now 5 songs ago.
6. Only Girl: (Rihanna) Just so we’re clear, Charice isn’t singing the entire songs above… all of the songs thus far and this one are seamlessly “mashed-up”, so the flow of the progression from song to song continues to keep the crowd at a feverish rate. Recollection of this song: POWER VOCALS.
7. Telephone: (Lady Gaga/Beyonce) Another mash-up, seamless transition from prior song. Crowd immediately recognizes opening chords and screams their approval. Charice is just having THE TIME OF HER LIFE up on stage. She is beaming with her signature smile, transitioning to fierce dance moves with that focused stare out into the crowd. Charice is moving from one side of the stage to another, back and forth, without any hint of awkwardness at all. She is OWNING the stage AND the crowd.
8. Firework: (Katy Perry) Another song I could recognize, but couldn’t recall the title immediately. As is the case for every song up to this point, VERY catchy melody, crowd fully engaged, and Charice still having the time of her life. Our little Charice has really grown up now. She doesn’t look like a little kid in any way on stage. The only impression she gives to the entire arena is of an artist who’s announcing to the world, “Here I Am, I’ve Arrived.” Another song that sounds good as the original, but taken to another level vocally with Charice’s one of a kind gift.
9. I Love You: Ahhhhhhh, okay, let’s all take our first deep breath of the night. Charice asks the crowd, “How are you Tokyo?!” The crowd roars with approval. Then to the delight of all, particularly to the long-time Chasters, a band-member hands Charice, a GUITAR!!! An acoustic guitar to be specific. We yell with joy. Then, absolutely the most BEAUTIFUL version of I Love You I have ever heard follows. An acoustic, ballad version of I Love You, now my new favorite rendition of the song, even though I absolutely love the Remix version. What versatility to take a song in so many different directions, and hit a homerun each and every time. We are all officially in Chaster Heaven now.
10. Officially Missing You: (Tamia) Never heard this song before, but without sounding redundant for the nth time so far, sounded beautiful sung by the one and only. Mash-up transitions back to I Love You acoustic version, and closes this beautiful piece.
11. Just the Way You Are: (Bruno Mars) First time Charice begins a conversation with the crowd. She shares how she’s been told that she’s not “good-enough”, or “beautiful-enough” so many times in her life, but tells the audience, “Don’t believe that, You ARE beautiful, believe that, JUST THE WAY YOU ARE.” This is coming from a girl who can say that to an older crowd without coming off naive at all in the least bit, leaving the crowd feeling affirmed by these beautiful words. Then she sings that message to us, and asks the crowd to join in on the chorus.
Two quick reflections: I’ve seen the last few episodes of American Idol, and have heard several contestants sing this song during auditions. Each time, always thought that Bruno Mars’s vocals were vastly superior. Then I hear Charice sing it. Need I say anything more? The path layed before her is one of destiny, but I wonder if there would be ANY doubt whatsoever that if Charice would have competed on American Idol, the competition would have been over on day 1 of auditions. I could hear the three judges telling her, “The competition’s over, it’s done, you’re the next American Idol.” Sure, that would be the fast-track to global popularity, but you know what, I’m kind of glad we’re experiencing this Chaster journey, “Just the Way It Is.” It’s been a PERFECT ride thus far. Tonight is a glimpse of what’s to come.
Second quick realization: It’s gonna be HARD for Charice to have the crowd sing ALONG with her during her shows. She asked us to do so for this song, but the thing is, her KEY is just WAY too high for the normal human being, even for some who feel they can carry a tune now and then. I tried, and couldn’t reach the notes she was singing, so I just sang along at a full octave lower. How can we sing along with her when her range is just leagues beyond us simpletons?
12. Crescent Moon: Charice asks the Japanese audience to sing along with her in Japanese. I love this song, and I love the way she sings it. The backdrop of a crescent moon on the screen was pretty cool too.
13. The Truth Is: One word from my notes: VOCALS. Pure vocals. Control over every aspect: tone, pitch, volume. The song is a vessel to display her instrument’s prowess.
14. I Will Always Love You: YES! I’ve seen her live 5 times before, but never heard her sing this live! I was hoping for the full medley, but we get in return, the ABSOLUTE BEST rendition of this song I have ever heard her sing. Maybe it’s because I’m finally hearing it sung live? Others who had heard this live before still agree with me that this rendition was the BEST ever. Power and control, perfect pitch. 10/10. Mash-up closes the song with a return to “The Truth Is.”
15. Baby Boy: (Beyonce) I have in my notes, “Baby”, and Eve says it was a Beyonce song. Not completely confident about this one, as I didn’t recognize the tune. Other words from notes: STRONG, DANCE! Yes, it was a HOT dance number. Charice was back to full-on dance mode, and loving every minute of it. When the performer’s having a blast, the audience can’t help but share in the performer’s Joy. Joy fillls the arena. She gets the crowd involved again, “Say Hey,” “HEY!”, “Say Hey,” “HEY!” Smile is back.
16. Rude Boy: (Rihanna) Okay, so Charice LOVES Rihanna. Second song of the night from the R&B powerhouse. First topic of contention I’m sure for the Chasters community. Let’s just get to the facts: Charice tells the audience, “Tonight, you’re gonna see the other side of Charice.” Then she begins to sing the song. She’s not dressed provacatively in any way, same outfit as before. But okay, I never paid attention to the lyrics of this song before, but yes, they’re fairly suggestive. She sings the song slower, and I lean over to Eve and mouth, “whoa, can’t believe she’s doing this song!” Eve responds, “yeah, I can’t believe it either!”
This song takes the Chaster community by surprise. But should it? She’s a grown woman now. She clearly seemed to be having fun with the song, playing a ‘role’ as if acting in a movie. I recall Chasters raising a fuss over some of her dance moves from last summer’s Grammy Block Party. Sure, when I first saw those moves, it took me by surprise, mostly because I had never seen those moves from Charice before. So does this mean she’s changing who she is as an artist? I say No, No, and No. She’s the same Charice, but all-grown up now. Let’s not even get into how quick kids are growing up these days, and what other 18 year olds are up to these days. If Charice’s next album includes nothing but “Rude Boy-esque” songs, okay, then maybe we’ll talk then.
For now, it’s one song, one performance, and you know what, she gave a heck of a PERFORMANCE. Crowd loved it, even if some of her much older and overly protective Chasters like myself had that nervous smile on our faces throughout the performance. She’s not the kid in that cute little pink outfit from Starking any longer! To provide full-disclosure, she closes the song lying down on her back, and then says, “Hmm, it’s kind of comfortable lying down here, I think I’ll just stay down here for the rest of the songs.” The audience laughs with her and we’re reminded that the fun-loving jokester in Charice still dominates her inner-persona. At that moment, the shock of the prior moment dissipates in my head, and one of the highlights of the night follows.
17. Wherever You Are: (Duet with Unique Zayas) Couldn’t wait for this performance, and it delivered on all counts. Charice introduces Zayas as a dear friend, and you can tell she’s not exaggerating. It feels like a caring older brother/younger sister kind of performance, even though the lyrics are of a love song. Whenever Zayas croons Charice, she jokingly hunches her shoulder, rolls her eyes, then engages his offer and returns with her trademark power vocals. I really liked Unique’s performance; came off as a very genuine, cool guy. Silky smooth voice to boot. Two words from my notes: “Smile!” “Happy!” A joyful performance, and no wonder this song hit #1 in Japan.
18. In Love So Deep: OMC x1000! Those who know me know that this is my favorite song from her debut album. Her high register blows everyone’s socks off, but for me, it’s her low-register that separates her from the rest of the pack. No confusion on genre for this song, a strong rock ballad. Love the lyrics, “no recession gonna break us, because by love we’re bound.” This is an anthemic battlecry for our times, and I’ve always felt that it had the potential to hit #1 on the Top 40 charts because of it’s catchy hook and melody; very Lady Gaga-esque. So it appears this song may never hit the airwaves, and my fears of never hearing this song live grew with each passing performance. Once those opening guitar riffs hit my eardrums, this concert was enough for me. I didn’t need anything more from Charice this night. Charice yelled “Raise your hands in the air!”, and I wish you all could have seen the view I had of several thousand Japanese Chasters rocking to a new Rock Star as if at an Aerosmith concert. I couldn’t stop smiling when Charice threw a few head smashes (bowing her head rapidly with her ponytail flying) during the heart of this song.
19. Michael Jackson interlude: Billie Jean. OMC. Charice comes out decked out like MJ (forgot to mention that so far, there’s NO stoppage at all during the show; just brief moments where Charice goes backstage for a minute or two to change into a new outfit while the band keeps the energy going with jams. The entire concert feels like one extremely well-orchestrated piece; kudos to her Music Director who played the keys (Troy) for concocting this masterpiece.
One white glove on her left hand, MJ hat down low covering virtually all of her eyes, then the bass riff for Billy Jean hits, and the place goes nuts. MJ dance moves perfected through the summer shows, followed by a flawless MOONWALK. We’re seeing MJ’s spirit on stage. Power performance, have I used that phrase yet?
20. The Way You Make Me Feel: (MJ) If we didn’t know any better, we could have been witnessing a young MJ at 18 on stage. So THIS is what it would have been like had MJ not passed in 09′ and the London concerts had gone on as planned? I shake my head as I ponder the planned Billy Jean duel-off between MJ and Charice that never materialized. MJ knew then what we all already know. A talent like this doesn’t come around but once or twice a generation.
After the song, Charice takes her white glove off, wipes off the sweat from her brow with it, then motions to throw it to the crowd. Others throw guitar picks, and our Charice is now throwing accessory items from on stage. I was one foot away from catching that white glove. The tallest Japanese man I have ever seen beat me to it. We actually ran into him after the show, and apparently, both he and his wife are really big Chasters (pun intended). They’ve been invited to tomorrow night’s planned Meet and Greet with Charice after the show. And I’m sure they’ll bring the glove for her to sign.
21. In This Song: Lights go dark, then video montage (A Star is Born, video only) plays on screen with band playing background notes to “In This Song”. Video takes us all down memory lane, all the way back to Ellen. That kid with the VOICE is up there on screen for all to see, and it’s hard to believe it’s the same girl we’re seeing on stage tonight, aside from that same VOICE that has only matured and grown through the years. This is Charice’s anthem, and a truly special song from her debut album.
22. All By Myself: (Celine Dion) First time hearing it at DFF Las Vegas blew me away, especially with Charice hitting that final note without the bars leading her up that vocal ladder. Tonight, there were no ‘missing 4 bars’, but the outcome was the same. A Thunderous ROAR from the crowd. Did she really hit that note the way she did??? UNBELIEVABLE. Charice is not just singing the song, she is FEELING the song, and BREATHING out the song. Her face shows the depths of her emotional connection to the song throughout each measure.
23. No Air: (Chris Brown with Jordin Sparks) REALLY cool moment. The band guy now HANDS Charice the guitar, and Charice is gonna play the guitar and sing the song! Charice introduces her Music Director who’s playing the keys, a guy named Troy who’s got a really good voice and very smooth on the keys. Troy sings the Chris Brown parts, and Charice does the rest. Cool seeing Charice with an instrument in her hands aside from the one within her VOICE.
There’s a moment of silence after this song, and the thought of all the Chasters on CM who would do anything to be there as well comes to mind. I spontaneously yell out “Charicemania Loves You Charice!”, and she says, “What?” I yell out again,”Charicemania Loves You!” She says, “Who?” One last time, I yell as loudly as possible, “Charicemania Loves You!” Charice says, “Oh, Charicemania! (smile) I Love You Too!” Then she’s giggling, and begins an impromptu acapella of the Doraemun theme. Pretty cool huh?
24. Note to God: Charice shares that this song always brings her closer to God. As Charice sings the song, I look to my left, and Keiko, Eve’s Japanese homestay student from four years ago who wasn’t a Chaster before the show is weeping next to me. Tears are streaming down her eyes. I look to her front, and another Japanese teenaged girl is weeping as well, wiping the waterfall of tears from her eyes. I get teary-eyed just thinking about it. The VOICE, the HEART, the CHARICE-EFFECT. Two new bonafide Chasters born tonight.
25. To Love You More: (Celine Dion) Another fond memory from DFF Las Vegas, which comes out really soon! Honestly, I’m still so struck by the response to Note to God that I have no additional thoughts on this one.
26. Reset: First time all night Charice says something in Tagalog (didn’t understand it), and then busts out into the Tagalog rap. Crowd like me doesn’t understand a word but loves it nonetheless.
27. Halo: (Beyonce) The last song of the night. Is this right? 27 songs!!??? Concert went on for 1.5 hours straight, no intermission, no break in music. And what a way to end the show. Show started off with the MOST energy I have ever seen Charice display on stage. The dance routines were just ridiculous (this means really awesome in the U.S.) This concert felt like 15 minutes. 27 songs??? After a year of shows with 2-5 songs? OMC. And oh, by the way, the BEST version of Halo I have ever heard as well. Thought Citadel in L.A. was unsurpassable until she put some new nuances into the song, stopping short for dramatic effect at certain key parts, and hitting every single note as perfectly as a human being can do so. I look over to Keiko again, and she’s weeping again. Waterfalls rolling down her cheeks. The CHARICE-EFFECT, both physical, emotional and spiritual. How can this 18 year old lead teens to scream and cry, and also inspire those so much older than her to do things they would normally never do? Can’t really grasp that until you become a Chaster. After that, there’s really no reason to try to explain it, because as we all know… it just IS.
The Good News: Crowd wanted more, but it was clear the show was over, BECAUSE on the screen as Charice was wrapping up Halo were the rolling closing credits for the show as in a televised performance. The logical deduction, with the professional video crew at the venue taping the entire show and the heightened security, is that the entire show (or hopefully most of it) will be aired at some point in the future in Japan, then elsewhere as well. So we have DFF AND TOKYO ZEPP to look forward to!
Closing Points on Song Selection for Concert
One LAST quick point before I conclude the longest article in CM history: Okay, so out of 27 songs, 18 were covers and 9 were originals. Did you hear that? 9 were original songs! I really hope we don’t get into the whole argument of Charice just being a ‘cover artist’ again in this thread. This was Charice’s DEBUT SOLO FULL-SET concert, and she sang 9, I said NINE of her own original songs for this show! She has ONE, count it, ONE international album released. The fact that she didn’t sing “Nobody’s Singing to Me” convinces me all the more that Warner’s planning to release this song as a single/movie soundtrack single down the road. They’re saving arguably the most popular well-received song from public consumption, until the time is right. NSTM has never been sung live (as far as we know), and it makes sense that it’s been locked away for mass release down the road. But “In Love So Deep” did finally makes its debut, and I’m SO happy I was there to witness that in person.
For the first solo show of a new international recording artist, 9 original songs was a HUGE number, and the fact that she meshed and mashed them with well-known R&B hits that provide a glimpse as to where her next album will take her is not a bad thing, it’s a GOOD thing. It’s a lot easier to criticize song-selection when you’re watching individual youtube clips or reading a set-list on a computer screen. It’s a WHOLE different thing being there in person, being completely transported to a new place I call “Chaster Heaven”, where Charice was able to maximize and demonstrate her current utmost potential with the top hits of recent years. Also equally importantly as well, I’m sure the songs she sang today largely matched those on her ‘dream-list’ as a kid thinking if she’ll ever have a solo concert, these are the songs she would want to sing for her fans.
I went to the show with several other long-time Chasters, some who have been there from the Little Big Star days. And the consensus was one and the same. Tonight was not only the BEST Charice performance we have ever seen, but the BEST concert period that we have ever witnessed. Everyone I talked to afterwards said they needed some time to process memories from the show. Writing this report, now wrapping up some 8 hours after the last note rang across that stage has given me perspective to re-live the show in my mind, and confidently say as well, this WAS the BEST show I have ever seen in my entire life.
Open Letter to Charice
Cha, you made it kid, you made it. All those years of struggling and hardship led you to today, and you know what you saw with your own eyes: a sold-out, packed arena full of Japanese Chasters, pouring out love to their new superstar. You’ve taken over the second largest music market in the world, and I’m so sure that following suit in the largest market in the world is just around the corner for you. As I write this, I confess that I have tears in my eyes, because I am reminded of the first time I ever saw you, after you sung “I Have Nothing” for Oprah, and with tears in your eyes, and you told her, “I’m just proud of myself” for that performance you gave that day.
Charice, on behalf of every Chaster who has followed your journey, for long or short, young or old, we say collectively to you today, “We’re SO proud of you Charice, we’re SO proud of you.” You’ve really made it kid. Now go get after that next milestone you’ve set before yourself, and you know, just look right behind you, cause’ your Chasters are all there, right behind you, every exciting, heart-changing step of the way. CONGRATS on an AHNNBEEELEEBABLE NIGHT!!
by LAfan, charicemania.com
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