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Utada United 2006

Utada United 2006

by tomba on December 22, 2006 · 86 comments · AddThis

Utada United 2006 Poster Artist: Utada Hikaru
Product Code: TOBF-5506
Release Date: 2006.12.20
Debut Ranking: #4
Label: Toshiba-EMI

It’s only been a month since the release of her last single, “Boku wa Kuma”, and Utada has finished the year off by releasing a DVD of her summer tour, “Utada United 2006”. Being a HUGE Utada fan, I was obviously pleasantly surprised when the tracklist contained almost all of her singles (with the only obvious ones missing being “for you/time LIMIT”). Unfortunately, I was also disappointed by the appearance of some “Exodus” songs, which I felt were complete crap.

Although the cover of this DVD is bland and uninspired, the set is completely different. Utada and the band stand on this oval-shaped platform which seems to be a giant screen too. There is a giant screen made up of lights at the back, with some thinner movable strips which are also composed of lights. It is amazing how good the images look on it (especially from a distance)! However, when the camera focuses on Utada, you can see that the lights do not show well close up.

OPENING, Passion

Passion
Passion

The concert starts with Utada’s head on the screen, with cherry blossoms floating past her. It is the same as the “Ultra Blue” commercial, but this time, she blinks! This is played to “OPENING”. Nothing big here until Utada pops up from under the stage. The music for “Passion” starts playing and Utada sounds amazing! The instruments are almost identical to the actual recording. A great start to the concert. I did notice that Utada seemed to be really weird with her microphone stand. She keeps sliding her hands down it and pushing her head back. I know this is probably part of the actions she was told to do, but it was just awkward…

This Is Love

After a 5 second pause, “This Is Love” starts. I have never really liked the song, but after listening to her singing it live here, it’s starting to grow on me. Utada walks around the stage and does weird actions (putting her hand up and putting it down very quickly). What was truly bizarre was the doves in clouds that was displayed on the screen. Don’t they usually show the artist singing in the background so people from the back of the stadium can see? However, Hikki seemed really energetic and it’s promising up to be a great concert XD.

traveling, Movin’ on without you

traveling
traveling

The ending of “This Is Love” is sequined into “traveling”. The crowd goes wild as this is one of Utada’s most popular songs. The video of “traveling” plays on 2 strips of the screen and on the platform itself. Right after the “Can you keep it up…” part, the music for “Movin’ on without you” starts. This song has never grown on me. It is here that I realize that concerts WOULD be better if they used a backing track instead of back-up singers. There is virtually no chance of a mix-up (Ashlee’s was a drummer’s mistake, not a technical one!). Also, the weaker parts of the song are made stronger too, giving it an overall more enjoyable experience.

Sakura DROPS, FINAL DISTANCE, First Love

“Sakura DROPS” was up next, and the beginning composed of Utada moaning (recorded of course). She then sang the beginning part acapella with a strong echo effect. It was so completely not what I had expected, and I was caught off-guard. “FINAL DISTANCE” was the emotional-expressive piece of the set, and Utada seemed close to tears towards the end. “First Love” was sang perfectly after a little bit of mc-ing, but nothing outstanding to report.

Devil Inside

Devil Inside
Devil Inside

After a 3 minute recording of a poem? (not really sure since it’s in Japanese), came the part I dreaded the most – the “Exodus” songs. Scary noises – thunder and demonic sounds were played, which signaled the start of “Devil Inside”. This was what the screen was perfect for. The sudden change from black to red, and the devil playing the cello: it was a visual treat. Utada changed costumes too. What was absolutely surprising was how good Utada sounded though. She sounded strong and confident unlike her showcase in New York a few years ago (or was it just last year?). The only disappointing fact was that she didn’t sing “The Scumfrog Radio Edit”.

Kremlin Dusk, You Make Me Want To Be A Man

“Kremlin Dusk” was the perfect opportunity for Hikki to showcase her vocal range. The lyrics are terrible, but the scales were astonishing. She also looked like a princess – a black leathery modern one anyways. This was also the only non-single song, making it obvious that it’s there only to showoff her vocals. At the end, when she repeats the same phases over and over again, she looked like she was having a seizure though. Nothing special about “You Make Me Want To Be A Man”. Mediocre performance for a mediocre song.

Be My Last

Be My Last
Be My Last

And the worst performance of the tour goes to…. (drumroll) “Be My Last”! It started off perfectly enough – Hikki sang with only a solo cellist or whatever. Then we reach the chorus, where she held the “Be My Last…” part too long, and the “uh HUH uh HUH uh…” part too sharp. The music didn’t accompany the second verse at all, and made it sound very… off. Utada also ran out of breath in the middle of an “UHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH” part. At the last chorus, she sounded like she was in pain and dying. Make it stop!! “Be My Last” is one of those types of songs (like “Fergalicious”) that should NEVER be performed live.

Dareka no Negai ga Kanau Koro, COLORS

MCing
Utada MCing

“Dareka no Negai ga Kanau Koro” is one of those “Why is there so much pain in the world?” songs. The screen shows scenes of suffering around the world – an atomic bomb explosion, a starving beggar, children in Africa, war etc…This completely brings down the mood of the concert, and it never really seems to recover. Although it was a pretty good performance, it is easy to see that Hikki has tired herself out and goes off-key for a few of the high notes, and struggled to hit some of the lower notes. Her voice also seems to be wearing a bit thin. Again, at the end, she seems to be in tears. The most destroyed song on the tour – “COLORS”, is next. Stripping it of its experimental pop edge, it is presented as a ballad. Here, Hikki’s voice cracks a bit. Afterwards, Utada chats a bit with the audience.

Can You Keep A Secret, Addicted To You, Wait & See etc.

Letters
Letters

When “Can You Keep A Secret?” started, my heart broke a little. The first part of the song was sang like a ballad. Then the lights switched from blue to green, and the familiar beats of the song came back. This was a gigantic improvement over the ballads she just sang. She then sings “Addicted To You” and “Wait & See ~RISK~”. Nothing spectacular there, although she did sing the ending of “Addicted To You” in a higher octave, which sounded horrible. Afterwards, she talked with the audience a bit more. Nothing special from “Letters”, although she did sing at a higher octave at the end again. “Keep Tryin’” was bad; it sounded like an 8 year-old girl trying to sing. Her voice was very worn out, and she needed a rest before she continued with the concert.

Automatic, Hikari

Hikari
Hikari

The encore came with performances of “Automatic” and “Hikari”. Hikki’s voice seemed much more relaxed during “Automatic”. She moved around a lot more, and as she was wearing a much simpler costume than before, more natural too. “Hikari” as the last song surprised me, as it seemed so much like an opening (and it was for the last Utada tour). Towards the end, confetti fell and Utada kept singing “la la la…” to the rhythm, but it sounded like an 8 year-old again.

 

What started as such a promising tour ended with the worst vocals I have ever heard Hikki sing with. The 2 hour long festivity was too much on Hikki’s vocals, and she should have considered a shorter one instead. Also, I expected more “Ultra Blue” songs, as this tour was supposed to be for support for that album. Overall, not the best work of hers ever.

Rating: ★★★★☆

 

Utada United 2006 DVD

Tracklist:

  1. OPENING
  2. Passion
  3. This Is Love
  4. traveling
  5. Movin’ on without you
  6. Sakura DROPS
  7. FINAL DISTANCE
  8. First Love
  9. Devil Inside *Utada
  10. Kremlin Dusk *Utada
  11. You Make Me Want To Be A Man *Utada
  12. Be My Last
  13. Dareka no Negai ga Kanau Koro
  14. COLORS
  15. Can You Keep A Secret?
  16. Addicted To You
  17. Wait & See ~RISK~
  18. Letters
  19. Keep Tryin’
  20. Automatic
  21. Hikari

Purchase this item: YesAsia US | YesAsia Global

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{ 86 comments… read them below or add one }

chuckster February 3, 2012 at 2:10 am

While I do respect your opinions as a reviewer, and i’m probably 6 years too late to comment, I have to disagree on some accounts on what you said.

I wasn’t an Utada fan (only knew Hikari and Simple & Clean thanks to Kingdom Hearts) until i bought this dvd outta curiosity. She was sensational, and I’m probably a fanatic now.

While you did mention that some songs were mediocre, especially Letters, i beg to differ. Her voice, especially on the lower register in the first part of the song? It left chills, because she sung it with such deep richness. It’s not just the high notes that count, the low ones do too.

While I agree that, yeah, some weren’t perfect, considering someone who had just spent the 2 hours singing on stage, man, i’d be honored if I were at that concert. That lass put up a damn good show, and any fan would be moved to tears just seeing how she performed.

Not enough credit is given for ‘Sakura Drops’ which was probably her best song for the night, vocally. It just proves that, Utada Hikaru, is probably one of the best young vocalist from Japan, because every part of the song, from the lower to higher register was rich with soul.

I also thought she only sings a lotta pop or ballads, until she belted out ‘Kremlin Dusk’ and ‘you make me wanna be a man.’ While you may think the lyrics of Kremlin Dusk is crap, you gotta reflect back on what she’s saying. The lyrics are – poetry in motion. And when she went from the rock ballad to the rock phase of Kremlin Dusk? I almost jizzed my pants.

While you may be entitled to your own opinions, I feel disappointed that you didn’t give her enough credit, and blamed her for things she probably did not have control over.

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Emi August 15, 2011 at 6:27 pm

I loved every song that Utada sang in the concert. I thought she sounded fine, honestly. I didn’t suspect that she was sick or had allergies at all. Sure her voice sounded a bit more… I guess “raspy” but it sounded great. To me, she performed perfectly :)

While I agree that everyone is entitled to their own opinion on the songs, parts of this review sounded overly harsh and slightly unnecessary (“she looked like she was having a seizure though”).

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Nyo May 10, 2011 at 3:25 pm

Didn’t she dedicate “Final Distance” to a fan that died?

Could explain the almost tears.

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PoeticVampire January 23, 2011 at 7:21 pm

Geeze. What a dick. You suck as a fan like really. Sure she struggled through the end of the concert, but that just means she was giving everything she had with no restraint. She battled through the pain of an allergy sever enough to have a dr tell her to stop the tour, just to give this concert to her fans. I am so greatful to her for her sacrifice. Watching her pain and her voice crack make me love and adore her all the more. The woman won’t quit on her fans despite the harm it may do to herself. You could’ve shown alot more respect for her in the review. Exodus was not the best of her albums, but I still enjoyed the things she shared through it. And I loathed you make me wanna be a man until I saw her performance of it. And lyricly the worst part of Exodus was “you’re easy breezy and I’m japanesey” Those words stopped me dead like “wtf Utada!?! Japanesey?!? Really?!?!?! WTF!” But I still enjoy the album because I love hearing the woman create and sing. She’s an amazing lyricist, singer, composer, and performer. It warmed my heart to watch her give so much of herself in this concert. Now if you will excuse me, I’m off to try finding it at a reasonable price so I can own it.

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Mochi UNITED STATES September 3, 2010 at 8:39 pm

Okay, first of all, as a {probably bigger} Utada fan, I respect, adore, and absolutely enjoy every moment I see or hear her.
If I ever saw her live, I’d probably faint.
But, that aside, her vocals had flaws, but that’s because, in her Exodus songs, she practically screamed. She gave an immensely powerful performance, especially during You Make Me Want To Be A Man, and Kremlin Dusk.
Not one song she has ever produced, written, sang, or liked is crap.
Do you even know what her lyrics mean?
If you look up the lyrics, you can never be certain. Unless it’s in English, in which case, I’m not even sure you completely understand either.

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KimiE UNITED STATES August 5, 2010 at 11:13 pm

dude, in my opinion that was her BEST concert ever. she was allergic to something on the stage but she was still able to sing so beautifully. for some reason, i liked her voice like this. :) do utada baby.

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TiV0 FINLAND June 3, 2010 at 4:45 am

Well if you complain so much about her singing. Why don’t you sing 2 hours in a row. Of course, there will be voice problems. Do it yourself then.. :D but anyways I think she sounded good and she’s amazing. ;) Well in Kremlin Dusk first of all, you have understand the lyrics then say whether it’s crap or not. If you have read Edgar Allan Poe’s poem The Raven then you’ll understand the lyrics.. ;)

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patrick AUSTRALIA February 10, 2010 at 1:00 am

You are far too opinionated. This was an amazing concert and yes, there were some faults (particularly in Darekano….), but over all, it was AMAZING!

And Kremlin Dusk does not have crap lyrics. ‘Born in a war of opposite attraction…’ – Those are deep lyrics that are only improved by the intertextuality of Poe’s ‘The Raven.’ Furthermore, Devil Inside and You Make Me Want to Be a Man were VERY good.

You have too many negative things to say.

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Mrs. Mario Maurer December 8, 2009 at 1:34 am

stop the hating. I was never Hikaru fan and this concert made me one

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Keith July 6, 2010 at 9:55 pm

Excellent point. And “Keep Tryin’ is THE Reason I’M a fan.

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Zander June 22, 2009 at 1:05 am

I am also glad that I watched the videos before reading this review. I have to say, despite what happened on some of the songs that Hikaru preformed, her performance was still amazing. When I first heard her songs “Kremlin Dusk” and “You Make Me Want to Be a Man” on “Exodus”, I thought there wasn’t anyway I could possible like them because of how the music was presented. But how she performed the song live made me retract my opinion on that song. The deliverance and performance stood out because of instruments that were used during the song. It made me admire as a artist even more because she “rocked out” and how gifted she was vocally.

Therefore, mediocre isn’t the word I would use for her those songs. I believe it was one of her best performances and despite whether her voice was strained. She sounded exceptionally well to me and her concert was one of the bests I have ever seen.

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Skylight June 9, 2009 at 8:39 am

She damaged her vocals during this tour. That’s why her vocals weren’t the best. I don’t care though, I still love her.

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Destiny UNITED STATES April 15, 2009 at 10:42 pm

Are u kiddin me!!! The concert was amazing, better than any concert i had ever seen!!

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blob FRANCE April 9, 2009 at 7:54 am

“Nothing special about “You Make Me Want To Be A Man”. Mediocre performance for a mediocre song”

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Jessica April 3, 2009 at 7:12 pm

Wow, am I glad that I watched the whole show before reading this review. IMO, I thought the whole concert was consistent throughout, and that Utada had really outdone herself. Although, I do agree that her album Exodus wasn’t the finest piece of work, but I’m really glad that she chose to sing two really good tracks from that album; Devil Inside and Kremlin Dusk. All in all, I really enjoyed it as a whole. (:

I hope that you would put more of the positive points to balance out your reviews. I honestly don’t think the concert was not as mediocre as you deemed it to be. Rather than JUST noting all of those flaws, why not add comments that highlights her performance that does Utada justice? Anyways, that’s just my two cents.

Oh, and I’m glad you added a clip, so people would at least give this a chance because that song really showcased the concert well, in a way.

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Raul February 8, 2009 at 2:02 pm

Yow! I guess the reviewer is correct in many ways…

I have to admit, I’m a big Hikki fan, really, she’s the best for me… be it songs or live…

However, Utada United is the “least favorite” of mine… The reviewer mentioned “Be My Last” and “Colors” not bein’ performed well and I have to agree…..

What grew into me are the pop songs… During Bohemian and Budokan perfs, i really liked the ballads… now it’s reversed with Utada United… pop comes first and then the ballads…

my opinion ^_^

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Hikki Fan January 17, 2009 at 7:34 am

You dont really sound like a Hikki fan, you complain about the concert much more than compliment it. Utada Hikaru is a really good singer and she always sounds good. “FORGET ABOUT THE BAD STUFF!” I loved the concert (every part of it)

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Michelle UNITED STATES January 16, 2009 at 1:36 am

I read that Utada is allergic to the wood that was used for the stage, and so she had to strain her voice. Doctors told her to stop singing, but she continued anyway because she didn’t want to disappoint her fans. When she sang Dareka no Negai ga Kanau Koro, her voice was already starting to crack. It also sounded to me like she was trying to endure the pain she felt from her allergic reaction to the stage. I don’t think anyone would go that extra mile to please their fans.

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Tyler January 4, 2009 at 10:59 pm

All I have to say is I would love to see anyone sing 21 songs with as much passion in such a short period of time and still sound audible. I think Utada Hikaru is a wonderful singer and I think she does amazing for the circumstances. Yeah I think she just wanted to push herself and give her all and in the end her voice couldn’t keep up but I still didn’t mind it that much when her voice did creak and stuff. Still better than anything I could do.

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Anthony September 16, 2010 at 1:22 pm

I know I just hate how she was bashed in this damn review she gave a stunning performance do us all a favor people before you go bashing someone about their performance you try and sing that many songs and see how long u all last.

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iJam November 14, 2008 at 7:13 am

This was a fantastic concert, and all you do is drag it down. Hikaru was amazing and her performances and songs were nothing short of perfect.

You seriously need to get over yourself. Some of the songs you complained about were some of the better performed ones.
Yes, she may not be the bet live singer, but she writes/ composes songs that are difficult to perform live.

And you’ve got to remember that she had an allergic reaction to the wood in the stadium that partly damaged her vocal chords, so she couldn’t sing as well.

And anyway, people who are saying that the concert wasn’t good at the end, you’ve got to remember that she sung for almost 2 hours straight! Wouldn’t that tire even the best singer out?

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tiggles AUSTRALIA July 3, 2008 at 5:56 am

Her live performance of the Exodus songs were great I thought. Although I don’t particularly like the originals I thought her vocals and the deep bass in the background did it for me.

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InRi June 28, 2008 at 11:19 pm

I’m super curious as to why there hasn’t been anything on Utada since this article. She’s released a number of singles and even a full blown NUMBER 1 Selling Japanese Album (Actually the highest selling Female Album of the Year so far and the NUMBER 4 Best Selling Album of the Year so far), not to mention an upcoming English Album.

Very frustrating, and being that this was the last Article on Utada, this was the only place for me to post this off topic message. (-_- )

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RC June 18, 2008 at 2:39 am

T_T
Utada Hikaru, is AMAZING in EVERY aspect when it comes to music.

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chihikari UNITED KINGDOM June 1, 2008 at 8:13 am

this concert was what got me starting to like her!

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lucky_c May 7, 2008 at 4:48 pm

I find it a little funny that people are complaining about your review. Everyone’s entitled to their own opinion, right?

However, I read somewhere that Utada was allergic to the type of wood that they made the stage with or something? Which will most likely explain her voice during some of the songs. Also, there were a few costume changes, which might’ve made her tired? Idk.

This concert made me fall in love with a few of her songs, though. [This is Love, Moving on Without You, FINAL DISTANCE, and the original version of Be My Last. :D]

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IR April 21, 2008 at 12:33 am

I’m rather surprised that nowhere on this site is anything typed up about Utada’s Brand New Album “HEART STATION”.

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koji UNITED STATES April 20, 2008 at 3:20 pm

Geez, the author of this review sure does complain a lot… Ambiguity, no?

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vince AUSTRALIA April 1, 2008 at 3:57 am

Ah? for me Be my last is artistic only the cielo is the musical accompaniment and a solid vocal mezzo sopranist and amazing vibrato and melisma or hikki is a perfect match.

You make me want to be a man also surprises me. The sudden shift from kremlin dusk to you make me want to be a man enjoys me. specially the belt at the end of the song “you make me… you make… you make me want to be ah ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!” the principle of music is there. it lifts my mood depending on the song.

oh i said to much! ehe cheers!

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Jie MALAYSIA March 11, 2008 at 2:32 pm

I have watched all of her performance on youtube… All in all, the performances are great. I would give it a 4.5/5.

The main highlight of this concert would be the excellent stage and the magnificent stage lighting. The band was way too cool. Another highlight of the concert would be the unique music arrangement of some of her songs.

I do enjoy this review… However, I have to say that the reviewer is too harsh on certain aspects of the show, particularly on Hikki’s voice and the Exodus songs… The reviewers review on the Exodus songs sound a little bias… But I do like the review though as it doesn’t sound fanboyish…

It is true that Hikki’s vocals are not consistent here. There are some songs which she did very well, and some songs which she fared poorly, like Be my last.

I do feel that this concert could do better with an opening with more “oomph”.. The way she makes her appearance lacks the “oomph” which artistes like Madonna and Ayumi do… Nevertheless, Passion was a wonderful performance with its mixture of both the ballad and the original version.

Her follow up performances (This is Love up to First Love) are strong, especially after “remixing” the some of the songs… It gives them a different and fresh feeling…

In contrast to the review, I find the Exodus songs the best part of the show… Devil Inside sounded so cool, especially how it transits from a gothic feel to an energetic dance song. Kremlin Dusk (her best song from the album) was very good. I really love the lighting and the screen… It was cool… However, Hikki sounded like shouting into the microphone towards the end that the tune was kinda lost, so the performance could have been better. It was magnificent nevertheless due to the amount of energy exuded.

While I never really like YMMWTBAM, this concert made me liked it even more. I was surprised at how they can make such a mediocre song with an irritating beat into such a magnificent song that exudes so much energy. In fact, this is the best performance in the concert.

Be My Last wasn’t that great though, partly because it is stripped of all its instrument until all thats left is a cello… I think Hikki wants to show her bare emotions via this song… It would have been better if the original version were to be performed. Towards the end, she looked soooo weak and vulnerable, though I think it is intended.

Her vocals for Dareka aren’t really the best, but the performance was great due to the slideshow at the back. Colors shocked me…. I prefer the original, but this version ain’t too shabby either… It feels fresh, so I like it.. :)

CYKAS… while I never liked this song, I love it in the concert.. Maybe because it is placed after the ballads, so it lightens up the atmosphere…

Addicted to You up to Letters are quite good actually, but she does sound a little strained singing them… I wouldn’t call the keep tryin’ performance like an 8 year old girl… That would be better to describe an Ai Otsuka concert, but definitely not Hikki… She just sound extremely tired…

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Haruka Tenou January 23, 2008 at 10:30 am

all i have to say, is that it doesnt matter what the japanese press says much, as we think over here in the states or in the western world (Australia included lol). Its obvious no matter how many people try to defend it that the begining of the tour was DA BOMB! but towards the end, with “be my last” I was actually disappointed. Simply beacuse her voice was cracking in some notes and i noticed she couldnt hit the notes she does in the album. BUT i also admit that if your singing for an x amount of HOURS your voice would get a little tired ALSO….BUT ALSO to suport my opinion, is that RIGHT AFTER be my last, she sung letters PERFECTLY! and once again the very song after that she sucked BADLY at ‘keep tryin’, why? Beacuse she simply put in too much into Letters, so one song she nails perfectly, the next suffers a little beacuse of it. Thats just what i noticed, id like to see if other plp think the same way as i do……Oooo!! wat about that new stuff wit ne-yo? hehe, kiss & cry +beautiful world single was real nice, so i hope her new material is even better! GO HIKKI!!!

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IR January 21, 2008 at 4:16 am

Kate:

I love how you make your opinion out to be a widely accepted opinion of Japanese Media.
I just love it. But here’s reality for you. Just come in and state that’s what you think. That’s all good. Don’t come and try to make your opinion bigger than it actually is.

The fact is, you can’t be sure that others in the Japanese Press shared your opinion and pointed it out unless you actually came across a magazine/newspaper/TV Program that said so.

I would like to say that Utada is in no way “Poor Live” and she isn’t “Inconsistent” in her performances and she doesn’t write songs that you finds difficult to perform live.
These are all my opinions and I won’t grant them anymore warrant than I grant yours.

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Anthony UNITED STATES January 16, 2008 at 8:03 am

WOw this review was utter crap!
I enjoyed Utada United from the beginning to the end. Plus the Exodus songs were amazing.

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Kate December 15, 2007 at 1:15 pm

You forget people, this person is a REVIEWER and entitled to their opinion? I’m sure that in the Japanese press there were many people who pointed that, why yes, Utada Hikaru is quite poor live and finds it difficult to maintain consistency in her performances. She writes songs that she finds difficult to perform live.

Having said that, the first half of this tour surprised me in a good way. I found the opening set quite well sung. I even like Devil Inside and some of the Exodus stuff.

In the end though, you have to admit, even if you’re a fan, that Hikki wasn’t at her best towards the end of the tour.

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mincefan UNITED STATES November 21, 2007 at 10:03 pm

I like the concert so much!=D She is just awesome…hay nako…talaga yung boses nya ang maganda!!!=} Plus I liked the begin of the concert it was THE BEST!

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Waku UNITED STATES November 21, 2007 at 12:05 am

I got 3 words for you
“GET OVER IT”
Jesus. You complain a lot about one of the greatest concerts ever.
I loved them all and the fact you get huffy over a few little things is a little ridiculous.

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