From time to time, I will revisit my old fan blog and I spotted this pretty long and detailed crazy fangirl review. It actually allows me to relive that moment and reminded me why I’m so into “SHOCK”.
The “SHOCK” series
We know that this “SHOCK” musical series started from 2000, as “Millenium SHOCK”, evolving to “SHOW劇・SHOCK” in 2001-2002, “SHOCK is Real Shock” in 2003, “Shocking SHOCK” in 2004, and finally settled for a new storyline as the current “Endless SHOCK” in 2005 to date.
First “SHOCK” encounter in 2005
I first watched this musical via DVD for the early years, and my first live encounter for “Endless SHOCK” was in 2005. It was an unexpected opportunity to watch both Tsubasa Imai and Ryo Nishikido playing as W cast for the rival character of Koichi. That was the trigger for a series of crazy chasing after this musical in the following years.
7 times in 2006!!!
That was the number of times I have watched this musical in 2006. No, I didn’t travel 7 times to Japan or stayed 2 months there. In fact, I was in Waseda University for a one-year exchange. Well, I did make full use of my time there to study hard and play hard! Not to mention the other Johnny’s related concerts and events. *oops*
My only “regret”
I think I have “religiously” watched the show every year except in 2007 and 2009(?). My only “regret” was not watching the one with Toma Ikuta as the rival character in 2007. It’s always interesting to see the chemistry between Koichi and this rival character, and this chemistry changes when the rival character is played by different actors. After Tsubasa and Ryo, we had Toma Ikuta, Yara Tomoyuki, Uchi Hiroki and recently Yuma Nakayama. They are of course all from Johnny’s Jimusho.
Anyway, here’s the review of the 2012 show that I extracted from my old fan blog. I think this is also the last time Tsuyoshi Yonehana and Shingo Machida have appeared in this musical. They kind of graduated after this year.
Endless SHOCK 2012/03/09
After waiting for 1 1/2 years, finally, I met Koichi at Imperial Theatre again.
I was supposed to meet him last year but due to the fateful earthquake on 3/11, all shows after that were cancelled. It still pains me to think about how it must have been difficult for him to accept that decision, but I guess there was nothing else they could have done about it.
C row centre block!!!
I was getting really excited ever since getting the tickets in early 2012, because they were possibly the best seats I could have ever got. C row centre block. I was trembling with joy when I entered the all-so-familiar theatre… the place I’ve worshipped so much. I’m so worried that I will puke halfway through the show coz it’s just too close to the stage. Imagine sitting like the 1st few rows when you go watch a movie. I thought I may suffer from the same experience. But obviously, the outcome was different.
It was the first time I actually could enjoy the show fully, coz I handed over my coat to the reception counter, and left my bags to the locker. It’s great to feel light entering the theatre like this. It’s more hilarious when I was asked to show my ticket by an usher when my hubby could just pass through. tsk Unfair! Just because he’s wearing a suit, doesn’t mean he is one of the staff okay!
The show starts with OVERTURE and there he was standing, as shiny as ever. His presence is so overwhelming even though his body is so tiny. That guy really needs to eat more. I could see his ribs so clearly!!
Then it was the Off Broadway shows with NEW HORIZON – the song that always made me want to clap and dance together. Then it was the backstage scene, where I think there was an adlib part where Uchi said he bought the ring from Uniqlo… it’s the proposal(?) gift to Rika. (FYI, I don’t really like the lady who plays Rika this time… she may sing well, but couldn’t really dance/act. oops ) Anyway, I was starting at Machida/Yonehana from time to time, and oh my these boys are really putting in so much strength in their performance. I’m starting to change my views about the 4U. / ex-MAD boys too. I like their “ganbatteru” vibes in SHOCK, muchx2 more than their presence in KinKi/Koichi concerts.
The scene on the rooftop where they will sing the ballad is a new song – ONE DAY. A really pretty ballad which I hope they will release it in some way… maybe another soundtrack or DVD since the show is really different this time.
The story progress is quite fast, and the scene is now to World Adventure which I could really enjoy watching America. I was like “oh there she is… Akasaka Mari…” She’s the dancer who has been in SHOCK ever since it started. She has really aged quite a bit, but still as powerful as ever. Because the seats were so close, I could not really get a good overview of the entire stage such that I actually missed the illusion tricks during Jungle. That’s why for a SHOCK maniac, it’s highly recommended you go watch the show at least twice, one on the first floor, one on the 2nd floor.
And I think one of the best highlights for me is to see Solitary up close without the aid of binoculars. It’s just soooo mind-blowing and he’s totally kakkoii in that black shimmering suit. dies a million times How can anyone pull off such a sexy performance??? melts away I could hardly blink because I’m afraid I may miss out any possible move of that sexy body. LOL!
And it was that terrible quarrel at the backstage… leading us up to Japanesque. I was pretty excited knowing that he will run past me in that warrior outfit, but it actually happened faster than what I expected. So well, no time to savour any fragrance from Koichi-sama. And because of the distance to the stage, it was all very real and cruel to see the angry screaming and fighting between the 2 groups, and obviously when he rolled down that flight of stairs too. OMG! It pains me to see that every time, coz it’s just so real… with the blood on his face.
End of Act 1
The 1st act ends here, and we could take a 30-minute break while Koichi takes his shower. It’s actually nice to have this break coz I could rest my eyes and stretch my body because the whole show just made me very tensed up and my eyes had to focus all the time. I even spotted Team USA boys just sitting along the corridors playing with iPad in the basement floor of the theatre. So surprising where they actually have their break.
No more Romeo & Juliet?!
The 2nd act started and that was one of my favourite costumes for In The Cemetery. The usual Shakespeare scenes but minus Romeo and Juliet. Imagine my shock (literally) when I couldn’t see the dear Romeo. Why did they cut off this part?!
Return of Koichi
And the part when Koichi came back is hilarious as ever. He came in by saying “no it wasn’t me… not me in the CM!” before he said “even though my hair is sara-sara”.. I was ??? at that until it strikes me he may be referring to the Merit shampoo CM, coz it mentions something about sara-sara hair. He even said he’s the world No. 1 sara-sara hair guy… Then as usual Rika hugged him really hard from behind when Machida and Yonehana ran into the room. Machida made some jokes about Koichi’s hair again. Terrible boys… I thought Koichi wanted to end his “wig suspicion” this year, but well old habits die hard(?!)
They went to meet Uchi who was performing a new song. I still like old version Watch Me so much more coz the new song is very “rock”, not very good music with the broadway musical type. The old song Why don’t you dance with me? is replaced by Higher, with choreography done by Travis Payne (Michael Jackson’s choreographer), and sure it is… coz you see bits of famous moves from Michael Jackson’s songs which I think they deliberately incorporated into this song.
They moved to backstage where the owner Uekusa actually came on stage with some hairpiece and tried to do the Solitary dance murmuring “Let me see… x3” which is actually hilarious. Then they had the big emotional reconciliation scene where Uchi really tried his best… and there are actually some people around us sniffing/sobbing away. And the truth that Koichi has died was revealed by Rika… which Uchi responded with a “Koichi has died?!” Wow… a new line here. Do they have to make it sound so obvious? Okay, every time they are just trying to make the show easier to understand.
What 10 wanna say
The scene for the reporters and What 10 wanna say was cut short again, and they did a reprise of ONE DAY before they enter into next series It’s a New World on the Earth where they did the flying and drum scenes. Caught a moment of worry by the staff when one of the ribbons could not be untangled correctly at one of the sides. Thank goodness it was done in the nick of time.
They also removed Naoki-san’s solo drum scene (but I think it was from 2010 when they already removed this.) but the red ribbon flying is really breathtaking, and I could actually feel the loud drum beats. Those strong biceps of Koichi, please don’t fail him. I’m like marvelled and in pain at the same time whenever I see him do this section.
Yoru no Umi
Andx3, my favourite scene – Yoru no Umi. The only scene that has not changed that much(?) since 2005. It’s still the same red shiny costume and the same choreography. I could not imagine if they are going to change the choreography because this one is really the one that pulls the strings of my heart. So so beautiful with the brilliant melody. And he collapsed at the end of the song…
The final scene came with CONTINUE and THE END. I felt so emotional when they did the curtain call with all the cast coming out batch by batch to say their thanks. And Naoki-san got to do his superb drum solo for a while as part of his way of saying thanks.
Koichi ended the curtain call with his speech saying that it’s been one year since the earthquake and that he is happy he could stand on the stage again. He also mentioned that this day marked the halfway point of the entire run this time, but this is of no concern to the audience because every show is important to the audience, and they will treat each show as the only one show and give their best each time.
Change in SHOCK message
Surprisingly(?) the message for SHOCK has changed very much from where it first started.
I have always adored the idea of having to “go on” despite all odds. But this year they made it very clear that we should all take a break if we find ourselves tired and having to “go on” no matter what is not the only way forward. I guess it’s sensible they have to change the message this way given the hard times the Tohoku/Japanese people are enduring now. I have to go back and revise all the old SHOCK DVDs again.
Thank you, Koichi and the fantastic Company.
It was a special time I had the privilege of spending with all of you.
All the best for the rest of the shows!