Wednesday, March 27, 2013

REVIEW: Yuki Kajiura LIVE Vol.#9 Shibuko-Special BD/DVD


I finally got the time to write a review about the BD/DVD release of 「Yuki Kajiura LIVE Vol.#9 Shibuko-Special」!

This BD/DVD is the live footage of the fourth concert under LIVE Vol.#9; this serves as the conclusion concert after the "3days Special".

The concert had the usual vocalists (KAORI, KEIKO, WAKANA, and YURIKO KAIDA), the usual FBM, plus the addition of two guest vocalists (Hanae Tomaru and ASUKA).

I was excited because this will be the first time I'll be seeing Hanae perform her songs live! I'm also excited to see ASUKA perform 「everlasting song」 together with the stay-in members of FictionJunction.

FictionJunction's official HP was also updated prior to this release.

Suddenly, I wanted to see more from ASUKA again.

Basked in glory!

Here's the cover art of the DVD:

cover art
Pretty bluish, no? It's kinda weird seeing Yuki in the lower part of the picture and at the upper part of the picture (together with the utahimes).

2. let the stars fall down long forgotten cloistered sleep
4.I swear
5.everytime you kissed me
6.I reach for the sun
8.eternal blue
9.Sayonara Solitia
10.Kaze no Machi he
11.Toki no Mukou Maboroshi no Sora
12.paradise regained
13.Credens justitiam
16.Duran Shoukan
18.stone cold
19.Sweet Song
20.Hikari no Yukue
21.Parallel Hearts
EC1.everlasting song
EC2. zodiacal sign 

EC3. maybe tomorrow

My review:
Overall, this is an enjoyable LIVE performance. But I still want to see the other performance from the "3days Special" specially the DAY 2 and DAY 3 performance; the DAY 2 performance had Eri Ito only and most of the songs were instrumentals while the DAY 3 performance had Yuri Kasahara and Hanae Tomaru.

ASUKA's and Hanae's performances were also great! I wanna hear more from them.

M1. lotus
Nice opening song specially the overture part which builds up the atmosphere in the concert hall; the overture has some vocals that seemed to be sampled, maybe? Hanae's voice was really cold! Don't get me wrong though, I love her voice. Among Yuki's vocalist, she has an almost non-existent vibrato which is kinda good in some ways. I think.

The violin was nice because it wasn't as flat as the one from "3days SPECIAL". Partially because they used playback strings. The guitar solo after the first first was also good! 

I already heard the LIVE Vol.#7 version of this song which featured WAKANA as the main. The two live versions are both good in a different way.
I love the part when KEIKO joined Hanae on the first verse harmonization; just before the others joined.

M2. let the stars fall down
I surely do love the strings! It's simply majestic! The drum build up was also nice.

Hanae and Yuriko were also good. BUT! The harmonization is not that good compared to that of Hanae and KEIKO.

Mmm. I wish Yuki made an (more) extended version of this. Maybe add some Kajiurago in par with Hikaru's verses in 「Manten」.

M3. my long forgotten cloistered sleep
The only thing I loved from the studio version (with Emily Bindiger) was the intro instrumental part. Haha.

WAKANA and KEIKO shed a light on this song; not a fan of Emily, sorry! I'd rather listen to the overused WAKANA and KEIKO harmony than Emily's self-harmony.

Yuriko's solo "la la la" in the end.... ahhhh. so much better.

M4. I swear
But of course, KEIKO has the closest voice to Clara Kennedy! I was rather skeptic about hearing the live version of this but KEIKO did a great job with her English. Her English was very audible hehe.

The chorus was very rich! Very pleasant to the ears.

I love that guitar in the bridge!!! I also love KEIKO's "yeeeeah" in the bridge. Generally, I love it when she does that just like in 「The world」, 「vanity」, and 「Red Moon」.

KAORI's "I swear by the moon" and "I swear by the sun" was also nice! Very whispery.

M5. everytime you kissed me
Really, I love it when FictionJunction covers Emily Bindiger's songs. Their versions are way much better.

Mmmm. There is not much difference from the previous live version. KAORI and KEIKO harmony is always good. No complaints. KAORI is very good with her English too.

The bridge is the best part IMHO. Yuriko and KEIKO harmony followed by WAKANA's solo is love.

I kinda love the playback music box in the bridge too.

M6. I reach for the sun
It's the last Emily Bindiger song to be performed in this live. KEIKO was really good. This song excites me better than 「Mune no Yukue」.

Yuriko and KAORI harmony is also love.

M7. Distance
This song was also nice. I like this better than the "3days Special" because the violin sounded fuller. Well, the original had strings and this live had playbacks.

In the studio version, I loved the Kajiurago and KAORI's parts in the chorus. But it's sad that KAORI's "sono mune ni aahhhh" was drowned in the chorus.

This song is very nostalgic. It was perfect for use as Gundam SEED's ED.

M8. eternal blue
The Kajiurago was great! Specially the Kajiurago at the Bridge. Well, this is a nice song overall.

Yuriko's soprano in the chorus was very stunning. I'm stunned. I love it when Yuriko does that on songs. Also, her solo Kajiurago in the end were great! Very great.

M9. Sayonara Solitia
I was surprised when I first heard this on the "3days Special". Well, the "3days Special" version had KEIKO singing in a cutesy voice which was kinda irritating for me.

This one doesn't have KEIKO's cutesy voice. Very nice. I almost gave up on this because of the cutesy voice. Well, I did gave up on Kalafina's 「in your eyes」 because of KEIKO's cutesy voice.

KAORI and KEIKO harmony is flawless. The yummy part of this song is the violin! The violinist is kinda yummy as well! Haha. That's a joke, laugh!

M10. Kaze no Machi he
During the release of LIVE Vol.#4, I was kinda disappointed because this song wasn't performed. It being KEIKO's first Yuki Kajiura song.

KEIKO's voice in this one wasn't as soft as the studio version. Still, I yearned to listen to live version of this.

Yuki's favorite part of the song was the Kajiurago part. I also loved that part because the different emotions seemed to overflow.

I'm kinda missing the extra sounds in the original, though; that percussion instrument in the studio version.

M11. Toki no Mukou Maboroshi no Sora
Mmm. Surprisingly, I love the live version than the studio version.

Yuriko did it for me again. I love it when she overlaps the chorus.

I thought the four of them would be singing the Kajiurago. Mmm.

WAKANA's voice is powerful as usual.

M12. paradise regained
I was surprised they performed this song. I don't like the original version that much.

I was again surprised when WAKANA did not sing this using her Falsetto voice. Well, sometimes her falsetto is good as that of 「land of water」 and the chorus in 「here we stand in the morning dew」. SOMETIMES, it's not.

M13. Credens justitiam
I really enjoyed listening to the studio version albeit that was very short.

The live version was so much longer; about 200%. This also features two verses, a bridge, and ending verse.

The difference of this live version from Kalafina's cover 「Mirai」 is that this sounded more playful and childish; 「Mirai」 was too pop-ish for my taste. Also the bridge melodies were different; the verse melodies were of course the same.

Again, I love Yuriko's overlapping chorus.

M14. L.A.
Mmmm. No observable difference from the previously released live version.

I wish for more Yuriko Kaida and KAORI harmony. They are really great together; on songs where KAORI is the main and on songs where Yuriko is the main.

M15. Himeboshi
Oh my gosh. Eargasmic!

I love WAKANA and KEIKO version but this is also worth loving! I can feel the emotions on Hanae's voice. Her soprano paired with KEIKO's voice is heaven.

The emotion is overflowing!

Brace yourself, more Hanae to come! Haha

M16. Duran Shoukan
Again, the Hanae and KEIKO harmony is very lovable. I just love the ominous feeling of this song.

There's also another Hanae and Yuriko harmony on the second verse; better than 「let the stars fall down」.

M17. Mezame
The highlight Kajiurago song from the live!

I'm speechless. I love this. I totally love this. Somehow, it less energetic than the usual FJ-only live version; partially because Yuriko was cut out from the verse and WAKANA was cut out from the chorus.

My gosh! That soprano voice of Hanae is very good! Eargasmic! Haha.

The WAKANA and KEIKO duet on the bridge was left unaltered. Which kinda gave the song more power (for me).

Also the climax part just before the end was shocking. Good job on that Hanae! That was really surprising.

Sadly, this is the last Hanae song in the live. I was kinda hoping to see her 「Kara no Kyoukai」 songs; specially M19+20 and M24.

M18. stone cold
Yey, another powerful song!

This is the best Japanese song in the live. You can see that from the reaction of the people! Haha. They were all standing and air fisting.

The KAORI and Yuki harmony in the first verse is lovable.

My favorite part of this song was the supposedly third verse just before the bridge where a layer voice is added in every line; First line (KAORI), next line (KEIKO joins), next line and beyond (Yuriko joins).

Also, Yuriko doing the Kajiurago while having that sexy body movement. Hehe. That was nice!

M19. Sweet Song
True to its name, this is really a sweet song.

KAORI is the main vocalist of this song. She did a good job with the English, IMHO. Also, I think this is the best English song in the live.

The KEIKO, WAKANA, and Yuriko Kaida harmony was also great as well. I love it when FJ performs a Tokyo Konsei track and able to make it into an almost another version.

M20. Hikari no Yukue
Finally, a live version of my favorite FictionJunction WAKANA song.

The intro part from the original was cut out.

WAKANA did a good job singing it. The Tokyo Konsei part was changed into a KAORI, KEIKO, and Yuriko Kaida harmony. The Kajiurago was really the best part of this song but I think the harmony kinda drowned WAKANA's vocals a bit.

I also love Yuriko and KAORI's "kastiya... kastiya".

M21. Parallel Hearts
The violin was way better than the "3days Special". I hated the flat performance from the "3days Special".

IMHO, I love the studio version better than any of the live version of this song. I wish Kajiura retained Yuriko's "aaaah" on the bridge. I also wish she retained the at least the playback "tick-tack-tick-tack" effect just before KEIKO's bridge.

But among the live version, I love this the most. Because the utahimes weren't as tired as the other versions.

EC1. everlasting song
There's nothing to hate about the Kajiurago intro. The Kajiurago was ethereal. I'm elated. Also that violin solo is also worth the love!

ASUKA was actually a secret guest vocalist in this live. The audience were really surprised when she appeared. Haha.

Yuriko and KAORI retained some of their parts while KEIKO and WAKANA didn't. But I was actually surprised that the FJ-only version was arranged in that WAKANA does the chorus for Yuriko's part while KEIKO does the chorus for KAORI's part. It's as if Yuki was actually planning to invite ASUKA right from LIVE Vol.#2.

It was fun watching ASUKA sing. ASUKA's voice is indeed expressing freedom.

Because of this, I'm now hoping ASUKA will appear on FJ's new album. Soon. Yes, I still believe on  FJ's second album. I hope Yuki compose new songs for ASUKA.

I remember in an interview that she's sorry because she invited ASUKA to sing only one song.

EC2. zodiacal sign
This is a perfect encore song IMHO.

It was fun watching Yuki and the uthimes singing together. Also that choreograph, although not as elaborated as Kalafina's, was nice.

EC3. maybe tomorrow
Nice ending song for a great live!

I specially loved the bridge when all four were harmonizing.

Top 5 Favorites
1. Mezame
2. stone cold
3. Sweet Song
4. everlasting song
5. Credens justitiam

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