AKFG World Tour Report
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|akfgfragments||Written on 1st December 2015 At 16:09:42|
Asian Kung-Fu Generation did a tremendous world tour, touring again in Europe and for the first time in South America and North America (Mexico). Akfgfragments team attended every show of this world tour and give you the opportunity to live (again) the shows through a complete world tour report, in which we included stories before, during and after a show. Let's go Ajikan fans !
A short notice
The world report has been translated in English, French, Spanish, German and Portuguese. We might update and correct the world report after its publication, if we do we will let you know about it. For each venues, we have merged the team members stories.
For those who have never been to Die Werkstatt, the room is quite difficult to find. It is located 2 minutes away from the subway and is hidden by a booze store sharing together a parking lot. We arrived at 15h, a group of 4 German fans were sat on sidewalk and got recorded by an English guide working with Asian Kung-Fu Generation. We got on well with him and an outset fan (like us) coming straight from Helsinki. These unlikely meetings are nice and happen on the theme of one and same passion, Asian Kung-Fu Generation.
At 16h, While a group of young Japanese fan girls arrived to queue up, we could hear the band rehearsing through the open door. Eagerness is rising, excitement is palpable. But at 18h, queue was still short and the Die Werkstatt staff were setting up fences and tents at front door. We entered into the room at 19h: bags inspection and quick frisking by security gards, bottles were cleared, tickets kept and we got a stamp on the hand.
The room is small, cosy and the stage narrow, low, to the point that Ijichi has is back against the wall. Lowering the eyes, Kita and Gotch multiple and mysterious pedals could have been seen on the floor. The shop was open and French sellers, talked about their stock. They were a little uncertain on how many items they brought with them.
The room started to be filled At 19h30. The staff reminded us the rules and wished us a nice show. After a few micro testings, many copies of the setlist were put on the stage and we managed to read it. At 20h00, in a festival of lights, the band finally arrived on stage and started with Easter. The long and awaited moment has finally come. from our point of view, we could clearly see Ijichi and Yamada diagonally. Gotch and Kita were so close that you could almost touch them. The sound at the front was so loud we could barely hear Kita's voice, but his guitar sound turned on our hearts.
Songs came one after another in a sweltering heat, with everytime the same happiness explosion in the small audience, as if we wanted to counterbalance our number with our enthusiasm. Kita was so happy to play, Gotch seemed to live every messages he was delivering to the audience, Yamada was diligent and Ijichi showed a huge smile on his face.
The show was tremendous. Between a few songs the band talked in English to the audience. Some Japanese fans asked him to also talk in Japanese. During the show, 2 German fans (the ones who were the first to be there) stood still in front of the stage, laughing between themselves, sending text messages and keept looking at their smartphones, bored to death... One of them was tall and was wearing a winter coat... They waited three quarters of the show to go away. A very disrespectful attitude towards the band when you think about they were the first queuing.
Asian Kung-Fu Generation left the stage and came back, announced they were going to play 2 more songs, audience screamed "3" ! Having heard this, Gotch announced 2 and pointed his finger at Kita. Mystery... to everyone's surprise, Uso to Wonderland started to be played. Ambiance was at its height until Opera Glasses last note, leaving us exhausted due to our over-activity.
The concert ended and no sign of the new song Right Now. The band left after Kiyoshi has thrown his both drum sticks, while picks were left alone on micro holders but not that long after a group of young girl have thrown themselves on its.
The room ran down pretty quickly and fans were waiting outside of the parking lot. Not for us, we waited for 30 minutes before having the chance to see the band heading to the bus, but suddenly turned off and started to take pictures and write signatures. The band was so patient and got so much sympathy despite everything given on stage.
The bus took away and we had difficulties to realize what happened to us, with that happiness all around us. Asian Kung-Fu Generation was available to the fans and it was wonderful.
Asian Kung-Fu Generation took over the o2 Islington Academy on Sunday 8/11/2015. Fans had come from all over Europe just to see their favourite band right in front of them. The doors opened around 8pm and a queue of around 400 fans started making their way into the venue.
After an hour, Asian Kung-Fu Generation made their way on to the stage energised from the cheers of the fans as they kicked off the night with Easter. At some point, Gotch introduced each member of the band – guitarist Kensuke Kita, bassist Takahiro Yamada, drummer Kiyoshi Ijichi and ended with “My name is Gotch…. I’m not Harry Potter” which made fans laugh.
The night continued with a positive and happy vibe as fans heard variations of older and new songs – to which they danced to, played air guitar to and lastly sang along to.
A bunch of the akfgfragments.com French team and friends gathered at 14:00 at the front of the venue then we formed quite a nice group with more friends and site crew coming from all parts of France and London. Fortunately, the weather was okay, no rain nor too windy.
The very front of the stage and with the little akfgfragments crew we were, started to ask for the band followed by the whole audience. "Ajikan! Ajikan! Ajikan!", the roadies started to come on stage and checked every instruments. They acted as a band on stage and had their little moment of glory since we all praised them. That was really fun.
The band finally showed up and started with the song Easter. During the whole show, the very front jumped, cried and sang. Well, good and usual concert stuff. Gotch "talked" in French, "Merci", but he said it well, thanked everyone for coming to see a Japanese band outside Japan, and added to the audience while looking at Kita a "Je t'aime". It was funny. We really could felt like Asian Kung-Fu Generation weren't not used to that "international image" they have now. The show was amazing, everybody was into it, even at the balcony (hello Ishac). The whole band enjoyed so much to play there and for us to listen to Kita's Uso to Wonderland was a "surprise", everybody only got eyes for him, it pleased him a lot of course.
Once the show over, roadies threw so many picks on the ground. Meanwhile, we were waiting for the AKFG staff. Someone of them told us that everyone (including Asian Kung-Fu Generation) were so happy to come back in Europe and never thought they would have been here 20 years ago. We believe the 2013 European tour was some kind of an experiment. Also, we were told the show in Germany was average, like a difficult beginning, the crowd wasn't into it. Then London show was good and Paris tremendous.
We followed the AKFG staff to the backstage where everybody was actually starting to pack their stuff. I didn't know the reason at first but they had to leave the venue to let another band in.
Gotch first signed The Future Times magazines, from number 01 to 06 including the special issue with Dave Grohl on the cover. We told him with honnesty that it was a wonderful magazine, he signed them all with such happiness on his face. I showed Kiyoshi Phonotones albums and the drum stick got from 2013 show in paris, he laughed he was happy since it's his "solo project". Since I love some songs he made, we were both glad.
The manager was among the staff (thing I ignored and did meet him 10 minutes before the show starts) and had a gift for all of us! That was totally unexpected ! we were handed over an envelope with
We handed over the "Ki/oon records 10th anniversary book" to get it signed since Yusuke Nakamura signature was already on it. I asked Gotch who signed it, he looked at it and said "Nakamura san ?!", looking at me with eyes wide open. That was cute and fun because we are both fan of Yusuke Nakamura work. Remember that even though Yusuke Nakamura work with Asian Kung-Fu Generation and is considered as the 5th band member, they barely meet and talk. The last time they met was for Wonder Future release, Gotch said they didn't talk for two years before that day !
We were told that we had 10 minutes before leaving. We showed him the Eizo 9/10 collector with every Asian Kung-Fu Generation album released so far, as well as indies stuff. We wanted to show him all the covers and let him know that we didn't want to bother him with this since they were in a hurry and had LPs to sign instead. He litteraly picked everything in his hands and signed every covers. We felt happy but at the same time embarrased, it wasn't a priority. Thanks to this, we know that Gotch favourite album is the girl on Surf Bungaku Kamakura booklet, Kiyoshi played with Caramalman and were so glad to see their indies stuff. The whole band signed everything, it was crazy. To you Asian Kung-Fu Generation, if you read this, I'm sorry for the extra work.
The funny part is that while we were told to leave in 2 minutes, Gotch looked at our stuff and like a child full of curiosity, started to pick up every LPs and sign them all. The whole band couldn't sign them all but that will be for a next time.
The band then went outside, exhausted by the show and the trip. Nevertheless, they stayed a little to sign CDs and take pictures with fans.
To conclude that day in Paris, Asian Kung-Fu Generation staff was tired as well as the band, this world tour wasn't an easy thing to do and manage, but they gave everything that day and we all supported them until the end of the European show. We are very looking forward to see them again !
But certainly not under B7Klan management.
Worst promotion in the entire world
We promised to write about B7klan promotion. The announcement of Asian Kung-Fu Generation performing in Europe was made 4 months before Cologne show by the Asian Kung-Fu Generation staff. Around August, a new promoter called B7Klan appeared and was in charge of promoting the event in Europe and nobody here have ever heard about them. B7Klan is to Torpedo Productions what Ki/oon is to Sony Music Japan, a sub company managing Asian bands.
When tickets were available online, what a surprise: Cologne ticket cost 39€, London 45€ and Paris 35€. Plus, these tickets were only available onto their site. Regarding Paris venue at La Machine, that has more capacity than London and Cologne, no tickets could have been found in places where people are used to buy some (Fnac for instance) ! Since everybody is connected to social networks, the promotion sure had been intense there.
The best part is that two days before Cologne show, they paid a fan to giveaway like 1000 flyers to huge Japanese shops in Paris. Owners and customers either said "Wow so cool but it's too late for me, if only I knew about it sooner" or "wow great, I didn't even know they were coming, but I can't go there". A few days after the show, a few people said on Twitter "I didn't even know they were coming !! I'm disgusted".
To give you an idea, Bishi Bishi, former promoters in 2013 have sold out Paris venue, tickets cost 25€ and were available everywhere in France and they did active promotion.
For the price we paid, I am that close to say B7Klan robbed everyone. A company, who is in charge of promoting a band and earn money through fans free active promoting is something we cannot stand at all.
Unfortunately, there won't be any live report from our staff. However, we are trying to see who went there and can write something about the show.
On November 15th, 2015, Asian Kung-Fu Generation performed they first ever Brazil live. Ever since the performance was announced, fans from all over the country have been anxious and excited. Many of us have been following the band for 10 years already !
It was a Sunday and people started lining at the venue at 9am. The fans were really organized and set everything so people wouldn’t cut the line when the venue was about to open at 6pm. During the day, the surroundings felt like a party. As fans started to gather around, people would start singalongs with Ajikan songs such as Senseless and Aru Machi no Gunjou.
The staff arrived around 3:30pm and people in line cheered everybody. Soon after, someone from the AKFG staff left the venue saying they had a problem with their equipment and they needed to find a new one to buy. He asked Akfgfragments Team member Victor for help since no one speak portuguese among the staff and with the manager, left to try to find what they needed.
It was an insane search! Asian Kung-Fu Generation’s band engineer informed that they need a very specific transformer, from Japan voltage to Brazilian voltage. It was even harder because the performance happened on a Sunday and a national holiday (Proclamation of the Republic).
Transformers were finally found in a tiny shop selling random stuff such as pots, knives and house decoration at the Japanese town in São Paulo.
At 6pm the doors opened and the public started gathering around inside. The merch sold out really quickly (T-shirts, key chains and wristbands – no albums nor tote bags)! Some fans missed it since they went straight to the front row.
People in front of the stage started singing some songs by themselves, just like in the line, such as Senseless, Blackout, Yuugure no Aka, Flashback… Then, suddenly the background music stopped and the tension rose up. Gotch came carrying a Brazilian flag and the audience went crazy singing “Ajikan! Ajikan! Ajikan!”.
Asian Kung-Fu Generation started playing and didn’t stop for almost 8 songs before saying anything. Meanwhile, the audience was really excited from the start, singing all the words to the songs. During Re:Re:, a fan climbed the audience fence, showed Gotch his eastern youth t-shirt and then jumped into the crowd. Everyone went even crazier after that.
Gotch played Senseless wrong again. During Loop&Loop they started wrong and had to start again and in Kimi to Iu Hana they forgot to start the solo part and played it a little longer. They were really amazed when the crowd was singing Uso to Wonderland really loud. In Blue Train the audience in front of the stage did some kind of choreography, putting their hands to the right when Gotch played, and to the left when Ken played. During some songs like Mugen Glider and Solanin, they were singing even the guitar riffs!
The show ended and members of the Akfgfragments Team gave everyone on the front rows Mirai no kakera masks. When Asian Kung-Fu Generation came back to the encore, they were really surprised. They performed Loop&Loop, Kimi to Iu Hana and gathered around for a while. Gotch then announced, even though it wasn’t on their setlist, they had to perform Mirai no Kakera since everyone had masks! Everyone went crazy and there was like 4 or 5 people jumping in the crowd again. They played Opera Glasses and the show was over.
After the show, they put a table on the vip area for the band sit and meet and sign items. Everybody really was deeply touched. A hour after the show, AKFG English guide came outside and called the Akfgfragments Team. The manager lead us to the backstage and the band was there, taking some rest. They were all very kind to us.
Ken was really happy and kept calling Victor, the guy who helped the staff to find transformers, “superhero”. We gave Gotch some Brazilian CDs as a present and explained what they meant. Asked them about Denpatou and Gotch said Denpatou's interlude was inspired by Samba (Brazilian rythm), which made us very happy. We gave him some Brazilian food, Arthur gave Yama-chan a baby pacifier and a baby lotion. Everyone laughed. Then we took a picture everyone together.
Gotch recognized Arthur as someone “famous in his hometown”. He then proceeded to tell us, during the Shimada performance of the Landmark Tour, Arthur rushed to the stage after the encore asking for an autograph, saying he’s from Brazil and asking them to perform here someday. Gotch signed and the audience were happy for Arthur, everybody started clapping and congratulating him. Gotch said Arthur was famous in Shimada and asked for a photo, so he could send his friends. Arthur then said “put it in your Instagram account!” and he did it soon after (https://www.instagram.com/p/-IBW_lsxYf/).
Then, the manager told us that they didn't have much time and we had to leave. We thanked them and left. Outside, other people were still there waiting for the band to go out and everybody cheered a lot when they entered the van and left, with a lingering promise of coming back again soon.
Asian Kung-Fu Generation Argentinian show was held on November 18 but since of the band arrived at the country the day before. We could say everything started the 17th, this implies fans who were searching the band hostel, in which airport they would arrived and so on. Since it was the first time for the band to come in Argentina, fans were really excited. Even some of them followed the band through the streets near the hostel were they stayed and catch them eating in a restaurant a few blocks near the hostel.
The next day, Wednesday 18th, the band arrived at Teatro Vorterix at 13:00 pm for sound test. Some fans were already queuing since early in the afternoon to be the very first and to have a chance to see the band. Leon, team member of both Akfgfragments and AKFG Argentina, was in the line very early in the morning to meet with the AKFG staff and get the Argentina flag signed by the fans, a gift for the band. The idea of both fan team was to give for each band member an Argentinian football t-shirt with their names and number 10 written in the back when they would arrived at the theater. Due to the security staff, Leon gave only one t-shirt, without knowing which member it was for… Luckily, he gave Gotoh’s t-shirt.
Everything went really fine, some fans were anxious, others arrived to buy the tickets at front door and the overall mood was great. The ticket selling was very good and the place was almost full 20 minutes before the beginning of the show. The ones who bought it via internet had the possibility to buy the VIP ticket, which in first place, gave you the privilege to get inside than the general tickets. However, a few days before the show, Noix Producciones (the producers who brought the band to Argentina) revealed VIP’s will have the chance to meet and greet the band two hours before the show !
Fans who had VIP tickets went inside earlier and met the band. The four members were sat at a table newt to the entrance where they signed whatever fans brought with them like papers, CD, and posters. They also had the possibility of buying a poster signed by Asian Kung-Fu Generation. Those who got inside for the meet and greet, stayed inside since that time and had the possibility to buy official merchandise such as t-shirts, keychains, bags and posters. One little curiosity was some t-shirts were made in Mexico while others were brought directly from Japan, some of them were signed by the band. Not sold apart, but randomly.
Finally, the doors opened at 20:00 pm precisely. Matias, other team member, was the last one with the signed flag to arrive at the theater but with no luck of getting inside due to security politics from the theater staff. The show exactly started at 21:00 pm, with Easter, Little Lennon, After Dark and Soredewa, Mata Ashita without interruption. Every guitar solo, riff were sung by fans, Ken was really happy, and excited for this, even when they introduced themselves, crowd went crazy and sang the names of each band member. Due to the heat of the place and the pressure of being at front row next to the fences, Gotch was somehow worried because a couple of fans fainted and were taken away by the security in front of them.
Despite this matter, audience and band were very happy, the gig was great. The moment when everything went crazy was during the duo of Rewrite & Haruka Kanata. The crowd literally exploded in screams, jumped and did the classical pogo. Following these intense moments of joy, Asian Kung-Fu Generation played Solanin and Wonder Future before the Encore.
Fans encored the band singing “Ajikan! Ajikan! Ajikan!” and the classical “Ole ole ole, ole ole ole ola, ole ole ole, cada dia te quiero mas, ooohh dale Asian, es un sentimiento, no puedo parar” also sung at band members presentation before, where Gotch was literally speechless…
A few minutes later, the band was back and Gotoh was wearing the t-shirt of Argentina Football team given to the staff at the entrance by Leon. The crowd got lunatic, even more with Gotoh saying “Messi” and showing the 10 on his back… ambiance literally was astonishing.
The gig was finally over with Opera Glasses. After the show, Leon, Matias, Alejo and Victor (from the Brazilian team) stayed at the theatre entrance waiting for AKFG staff who, minutes before, said to the four of them to wait outside to see the band and then were told to come inside. Kiyoshi was outside the staff room on stage, smoking, relaxing. There, the team gave his t-shirt and he took some pics with the team. The manager arrived and lead us to the staff room where the rest of the band was waiting. The team gave every gifts from the fans to the band, even the flag; everyone looked tired but as usual, the band was really cheerful and cool. They recognized Victor too and took photos with the team. The manager told us that they didn’t have much time and we had to leave quickly. Gotch, who was really impressed with one of the gifts, handcrafted by one of the fans, said to us “We hope to see you again” !
Outside were some fans waiting for the band to leave and took some pictures. They stayed a few minutes with evveryone, got in the van and left… leaving an enormous happiness in all fans heart.
Finally, the opportunity for Mexicans to have their long awaited live concert has come. We began to arrive as early as 11pm of the day before the concert but there were already a hard core fan waiting before us! People from all around the country began to line up in the morning and the expectation could be felt in the air.
A few hours before the show, the Meet&Greet began and with smiling faces from Asian Kung-Fu Generation, the handshake and presents began to flow. The excitement were not only shown on the fans faces but also on the band members when they were given the Mexican team soccer jerseys with their names on the back, a glass of "mole" with a recipe written in Japanese and a bottle of mezcal plus several glasses for the staff and Asian Kung-Fu Generation. An excitement transformed in awe when the manager tapped on Gotoh shoulder to show him a special guest the Akfgfragments team brought to the venue: a Gibson Marauder with the very same stickers that Gotoh had sticked on his own through the years. He got surprised, asking "my guitar ?", Kita corrected him saying that it was a true replica. Everyone witnessed how Gotoh stood up and checked up the guitar; its potentiometers "felt a little bit different" accoring to him and stickers were "put in the right place". He then proceeded to sign it on the back.
And so began a live concert preceeded by an eager and playful audience singing a mix of AKFG's songs, classic Mexican, rock songs and latinamerican opening songs of various shows of our childhood; it was all but a quiet wait for these impatient but cheerful folks.
Asian Kung-Fu Generation appeared hastely grabbing their instruments and greeting us with a powerful "Easter" performance. Playing non-stop through "Little Lennon", "After Dark" and "Soredewa, Mata Ashita". Asian Kung-Fu Generation got plenty of energy hearing all their songs sang along. Kita went all full-smile mode due a very welcoming audience with his performance on "Uso to Wonderland", a smile that wouldn't receed for any reason through the concert. A very lively concert that would show us how Yamada smile is several times!
Asian Kung-Fu Generation left the stage after "Wonder Future" and audience began to chant "Otra!" ("another one!"), "Encore" and "Ankooru", begging for the encore. Asian Kung-Fu Generation came back on stage, with Gotoh wearing the mexican soccer team jersey and hyping up the venue with "Loop & Loop", "Kimi to Iu Hana", to finish up the night with "Opera Glasses".
A night that none of us will forget.
Thanks and various links
We will never thank enough the fans for their support, Asian Kung-Fu Generation and the AKFG staff for their kindness, the akfgfragments team including photographers for being present at each venues and their time spent for the worldwide AKFG community.