LOVE COOK Tour 2006

by Aprilis on April 1, 2007 · 7 comments · AddThis

LOVE [99] COOK
Screencap of Ai-chin from the concert.

Exactly one year ago, Ai Otsuka’s second national tour LOVE[99]COOK began in Fukuoka on April 1st 2006. After a month, the tour came to an end on May 9th 2006 in Ai’s hometown Osaka. Although this tour only had 11 tour dates (3 less than her debut tour, JAM PUNCH), the concert halls are a lot bigger. And in a sense, this is like an “upgrade” from the previous tour. A DVD from the May 9 concert filmed at Osakajo Hall was released on July 26, 2007. Not only did the DVD debut at the #1 spot on Oricon, it was also the 12th best selling DVD of 2006. The oversea version DVD and VCD were released on August 16, 2007.

At first glance, the tour title ‘LOVE[99]COOK Tour 2006 ~Mascara Mainichi Tsukete Masukara~’ might seem very weird, but there’s actually a special meaning behind it and it can be broken down to 3 parts. The first and most obvious part is LOVE COOK, which is the name of Ai’s third album. In Japanese the word ‘Ai’ means love, which is why all of Ai’s album thus far has the word ‘love’. On an episode of Music Fighter, Ai explained that the word ‘cook’ represents her birthday, which is September 9th. In Japanese this is pronounced as Kukku (クック) and if you say this fast enough, it sounds like ‘cook’. The second part of the title is [99], which also represents Ai’s birthday. Celsius translated Ai’s July 18, 2006 dairy entry from her official site, which explained the meaning behind the phrase ‘Mascara Mainichi Tsukete Masukara’ which roughly translated to ‘I wear mascara everyday’. In that dairy entry, Ai wrote:

It seems like my live DVD is coming out soon, and it will give you a “I Wear Mascara Everyday” kind of feeling.
What it that feeling like?
A feeling that will brighten up your eyes.
Whether it’s smiling, laughing, or crying – those “everyday” feelings you get.
Also, your heart will brighten up with brilliance just like your eyes.

A concert that will make you smile, laugh, cry and much much more, that was what Ai promised us. Well, let take a look at this tour and see if it really give the audience those “everyday” feelings.

 

-opening-, love is born

Osaka Ladies
Left: The two ladies that were interviewed on a busy street.
Right: The clock counts down to 5:09.

The concert starts off with a pre-recorded clip on a busy street. As if that wasn’t weird enough, two ladies start talking about random topic. The interviewer interrupts their conversation and comments, “You two are really pretty.” To which the two reply, “Mascara Mainichi Tsukete Masukara!” A totally random clip, yet it manages to set the tone for the concert.

Next is a beautiful promotional video about science. No I’m just kidding, but the clip does look a lot like a promotional video for science. While the screen was flashing with breathe taking nature scenes, from time to time we see a digital clock that reads 5:07. When the clock reappeared, it reads 5:08 and finally it changes to 5:09.

Rating: ★★★★½

 

5:09a.m.

5:09am

As the digits 5:09 fades from the screen, we see Ai standing at the centre of the stage with a huge coat that covers her from head to toe. Towards the end, Ai turns her back towards the audience, swings back and forth while holding to the end of her long coat. A smoothing yet eerie scene: it reminds me of witches and their ritual dance…

Overall, this was a strong start to the concert. The only complain I have is the band, mainly the guitar. When the band is suppose to blow the roof off at the climax, the guitar just doesn’t come in strong enough. If they can turn the volume up just a bit more, it will be a a perfect performance.

Rating: ★★★★½

 

Bidama

Bidama
Suzuki... mimicking Ai-chin?!

The light comes back on, and the long coat is gone! Ai presents herself in a simple shirt and skirt, brown cowboy boots with a big smile on her face. As the music begin, Ai bounces around the stage and claps along to the beat. The camera starts to focus more on the band, and here we see some old and new faces.

This performance isn’t anything special. But it is that simplicity and seeing how the band and Ai bring the stage to life that makes this performance so enjoyable.

Rating: ★★★★★

 

drop.

Some of you probably aren’t familiar with this song, because it is the b-side song in Planetarium. The tempo is very similar to Bidama, so it’s understandable why they choose this song. Again, nothing really happens besides seeing the band and Ai really enjoying themselves. I love the way they set up the lights at the end because it shows that Ai is more than willing to let the band have their share of the spotlight.

Rating: ★★★★½

 

MC 1, Amai kimochi maru kajiri

Ai takes a short break and greets the audience. Here she promises us she will do her best so we can really “feel” and “understand” her music. She introduces the next song by telling us a story: Just before the concert, someone gave her a piece of chocolate that left a very sweet, warm fuzzy feeling. She then proceeds to say that she wants to share this feeling with the song ‘Amai kimochi maru kajiri’. We’ll never know if Ai tell this story at every concert, but you got to give Ai credit for making such a nice introduction with the story!

The actual performance itself was simply amazing. Ai’s smile alone was enough to give off that sweet chocolaty feeling. She performs the song giving it a edgy yet sweet feel to it.

Rating: ★★★★★

 

Birthday Song

Birthday song

The performance starts off with a nice introduction on the melodica, which is very similar to the album version. This is a light fun song that’s meant to brighten up the atmosphere, let the audience have some fun and sing along. The band sings along to the chorus, giving it a heart warming feeling as if this is for a birthday party. When you least expect it, Ai asks the audience to join in the chorus while she proceeds to the piano and works her magic.

Rating: ★★★★★

 

MC 2, FRIENDS

FRIENDS

The band takes a break while Ai continues the concert with her second MC. She mentions how she just remembered that this is the last concert and how much she loves the audiences. She finishes the short MC by saying that she wish to dedicate the next songs to all the FRIENDS that are with her tonight.

This is another breath taking performance on the piano. And to give it a little something extra, a violin joins in during the middle of the song. Overall the performance was good, just two complains. One, those earrings do not match with the song or mood at all. Actually, her whole outfit doesn’t match the song. But since most of the time we only see Ai’s upper body, I’m not really bother by it. The second complain is that the violin isn’t loud enough. Most of the time the piano and Ai’s voice drown the violin, especially when the soloist plucks the violin towards the end.

Rating: ★★★★½

 

Kingyo Hanabi

Kingyo Hanabi

A green light begins to glow behind Ai, making it looks like her body is glowing with a green aura around her. After Ai sings the first line fo the song you automatically assume and expect the rest of the song to follow after it, right? Wrong! Ai only sings 2 lines of the song, and then continues to play an alternate version of the song. I know a lot of fans are disappointed in this arrangement because they wanted to hear the whole song on piano. Personally, I really enjoy this performance because it was something new to my ears.

Rating: ★★★★½

 

Daisuki dayo.

Daisuki dayo.

Ai warps up her solo section on the piano with this special song. The microphone is so clear that you can hear all the echoing from Ai’s singing. Since Ai is playing the piano she is free to control the speed and volume of it, and that works wonderfully for this performance. She delivers the performance beautifully and with lots of emotions.

Rating: ★★★★★

 

Planetarium

Vocal wise, this performance is great. Light and music wise, not so great. Let’s start with the lightings. After watching all those grand performance on TV, I was expecting something really amazing. But all they did was shine a spot light at Ai for the most part, and lights up the concert hall with a million stars towards the end of the song. Since they are unable to use the exact instruments as the original version, they have to rearrange the music with alternate instruments. I know they put in a lot of effort, but this arrangement just doesn’t work. It just doesn’t give you the same “heart felt” feeling like the original arrangement.

Planetarium

Rating: ★★★½☆

 

Cherish

Cherish

This is by far the best Cherish performance out there. Vocal wise, Ai has improved a lot since she last performed this song. But I find that she is pushing her voice so much that it makes the song sound flat and lack emotions. I like how the lights kept moving and flashing throughout the performance, it act as if it’s search for a lost love.

Rating: ★★★★½

 

Kuroge Wagyuu Joushio Tanyaki 680-en

Kuroge wagyuu joshio tanyaki 680-en

This performance should be rated PG 13 for its content. Not only does Ai tries to seduce the camera man and the audiences by getting down on one knee, she then moves on to caress Fujii (the guitarist) to which he responds with his guitar. To finish it off, Ai decides to turn her back towards the audience and make a quick costume change on stage. But seriously, if you look pass all those “sexy” moves and aren’t bother by it, this is actually a very fun and interesting performance.

Rating: ★★★★★

 

MC 3, Tokyo MIDNIGHT

Before continuing with the concert, Ai asks the audience to join her and enjoy themselves on this lovely this night. Charles (on keyboards) starts off by playing the intro to the songs, giving the atmosphere a very “high class diner” feel. The lightings and music are excellent. Ai loosens up, smiles and acts more herself with those random funky dance steps.

Rating: ★★★★★

 

SMILY

SMILY

There’s no stopping the party now, because were jumping right in to another one of Ai’s best selling single to date. There are no SMILY dancers, but the big SMILY logo with the big hands does appear on the big screen. Even without the dancers, this performance is just as enjoyable because the camera manage to capture the audiences’ energy and interaction with Ai. Of course we can’t forget the goofy band. Especially Susuki, who is so caught up with the SMILY dance that he almost miss his part on the keyboard.

Rating: ★★★★★

 

RAMEN 3-pun COOKING

The song starts with a “hungry” Suzuki, holding a cup ramen and a pot of water. He walks beside Tomomori (guitarist) and begins pouring the water into the cup ramen. We also see that Tomomori has a mixer like instrument in his hands, which he is using to create the disc scratching sounds.

The song has a special clip which is very random and cute, and goes with the song very well. Ai and the band show us their more childish and crazier side in this performance.

Rating: ★★★★★

 

Band Introduction

From left to right: Igarashi, Tanaka, Charlie, Suzuki, Tomomori and Fuji.

After Suzuki finishes his snack, the stage is fill with a strong smell of ramen. So in an attempt to get rid of this smell, Ai asks everyone to get wilder so they can cover the smell up. Before moving on with the concert, Ai takes the time to introduce the band.

First up is the drummer, Kota Igarashi. Kota does his thing on the drum, and as a finale he throws one of the sticks up in the air and catches it. Up next is Ryosuke Tanaka on base. To me, Ryosuke is the black sheep of the band. He’s one of those quiet musicians who don’t really make a scene. That’s why I don’t think he fits in well with Ai and the rest of the band. And on keyboard, we have Satoshi Komuta aka Charlie! It actually took me a while to realize that this spiky hair dude with a bright orange t-shirt is Charlie. I think he’s trying to get away from the “old man” image that he got from the last tour. Now things get even wilder, because Akinori Suzuki is up next. This guy lives up to his wild reputation, by performing a solo of ‘Ishikawa Osaka’ complete with a funky dance. Next is one of the gutartist, Shoichi Tomomori. Shoichi gives a rock-n-roll vibe to his solo performance, which is a nice change of pace to the concert. And last but not least, we have Kenji Fuji the other guitarist. His solo didn’t give a rock-n-roll vibe, but he does jump around the stage for a while.

After seeing last tour’s band introduction, I was expecting so much more from this concert. So I was a bit disappointed when I realized they were going to introduce them the “old fashion” way.

Rating: ★★★★½

 

U-BOAT

Before starting the performance, Ai makes sure everyone is hype up and full of energy. She then quickly teaches the audience some of the phrases to the song.

This is one wild performance. Not crazy wild like RAMEN 3-fun COOKING, but really wild-wild. Ai does her usual thing and runs around on stage. The guitarists and keyboardists move to the far side of the stages, and rock on to the song. Ai and the band aren’t the only ones that go wild because the audiences are just as wild.

Rating: ★★★★★

 

PONPON

Ever wonder how Ai has so much energy? I do. After a few upbeat songs and a short break during the band introduction, Ai continues to run back and forth on stage like she just had new batteries put inside her. The band also tries their best to keep up by running around the stage too. This is one crazy performance that certainly go out with a big “PON”.

Rating: ★★★★★

 

Haneari Tamago

Making a transition from a wild upbeat song like PONPON to a mellow touching ballad like this is hard. To make this transition, Ai chooses to dim all the lights and show a clip that introduces the song nicely. The clip ends with a single white feather floating ever so lightly. The stage lights up in the centre and what a magnificent sight! Countless of white feathers begin to fall and shortly after, Ai comes back on to the stage bare feet and in a simple white dress. Ai does a short acappella before the band joins in. Mid way through the song, the big red curtains in the back open up and reveals a mini orchestra.

The white dress made Ai looks very precious and delicate, which suits the song perfectly. Ai didn’t just sing this song, she sing it with her heart and lots of emotions.

Rating: ★★★★★

 

NEKO ni Fuusen

For a brief moment, Ai really resembles a cat with her stare and darting eyes. As the song progress she moves away from the cat image and instead, she portrays the feelings that the song’s trying to bring out. Personally, I would really like to see her re-issue this single with this precious delicate look, instead of a poor street-cat look. It probably wouldn’t sell as well, but I’ll really like to see how other fans react to this image.

Rating: ★★★★★

 

MC 4, LOVE MUSIC

LOVE MUSiC

Ai took this time to reflect on how much love and support she got from fans during this tour, and thanks them deeply for their continuous support. Ai invites the audience to sing this last song with her, and begins to perform.

Shortly after the song begins, we see that Ai is trying very hard to hold back her tears. Seeing this makes me want to go up there and give her a hug. Ai is probably still reflecting all that happened since the tour began, and is over whelm with emotions of all the love and support that her fans has given her.

Lighting and setting wise, it is all very simple. It is the feelings that Ai produces that make this performance so memorable.

Rating: ★★★★★

 

-ENCORE- MC 5, FRIENGER

The five Frienger

Ai and the band comes back out, all dress in the LOVE[99]COOK jumpsuits. Ai briefly mentions that the concert began with 5:09 while [the last concert’s] date is May 9, and that she did this on purpose. She asks the audience to welcome the 5 hardworking Friengers who had been helping to promote her 11th single on the Tokyo streets. After the audience shout out “Frienger”, the five of them appear on the second floor and begins waving non-stop.

I guess they had ‘promotion’ in mind when they added this song to the track list, because during the performance the Frienger PV was play on the big screen. The band act as the backup singers, which really gives the performance a “Frienger” feeling. But I wish the 5 Frienger will do more than just clap to the beat and make the “Fight” pose.

Rating: ★★★★☆

 

Happy Days

More running around on the stage! Just like previous performances, Suzuki helps out in the chorus and brings out his big drum towards the end of the song. The other band and staff members also join in the fun by jumping and shouting along to the chorus. The highlight of the performance is when Ai tries to climb up to the second floor using the side stage’s ladder.

Rating: ★★★★★

 

Sakuranbo

To ensure that the concert finishes with a bang, Ai saves the best for last. Just like the last tour, streams of golden ribbons explode into the air at the beginning of the performance. Ai performs the song, occasionally letting the audiences do the singing.

If you’ve watched Ai’s last tour, you’ll probably be surprised to see such a short track list. After all, there were 2 unplanned performances in JAM PUNCH. Actually, there are 2 unplanned performances in this tour too. Expect, they are not really “unplanned” for. As the band begins to gather around Ai at the front of the stage after the performance, the audience begins to chant ‘mou i kaii’, which means ‘one more time’. Hearing this, Ai gives the audience the cutes “what is this?” expression. She brings her hands up to her ears, and starts mumbling ‘mou i kai’ too. And before you know it, she starts singing Sakuranbo again and the band quickly scrambles back to their instruments. The second time around, Ai and the band only perform the first verse and the chorus of the song.

The band gathers around the front of the stage and the audience begin chanting ‘mou i kai’ again. By now Ai and the band look really tire, but still they decide to give it one more go. So once again, they perform the first part of Sakuranbo.

Rating: ★★★★★

Conclusion

the audiences
The diversity of the audiences from the concert.

I noticed two things while watching the concert that’s worth noting, and one of them is the audience. More than once, I notice a parent and a young child together. In most cases the parent is carrying the child, happily singing along and bouncing to the beat of the song while the child stares blankly at the camera. To tell you the truth, I’m surprise that a parent would spend so much money to take their child to a concert. I’m even more surprise that the parents choose an Ai concert over some “children” concerts. Besides seeing parent and child in the audience, there are also couples, teenage guys and gals, and even people in suits. Seeing such a diversity group of audience, you know Ai must be doing something right. This is what I want to see as a fan, Ai reaching out to so many different groups of people. I do take into account that does concert was film in Ai’s hometown, so it’ll only seem right that everyone in town comes out and give their support. But from the latest interview with excite.co.jp, we learned that Osaka people is very objective and will shrug off anything that they don’t like. So there might be some bias in this situation, I do believe that a majority of the audience are true Ai fans.

The second thing that I notice is the arrangement for the songs. For more popular songs like ‘Kingyo Hanabi’ and ‘Planetarium’, Ai performed it with a different arrangement and style, something fresh and new to the audience’s ears. For less popular songs like ‘Birthday song’ and ‘drop.’, Ai performed them using the original arrangement. This is a very smart move by Ai, because she made sure to keep the audience on their toes by making popular songs “new” again and allow the audience to get a feel for the less popular songs.

Overall, I really enjoyed this concert and it certainly lived up to JAM PUNCH tour’s expectations and give the audience those “everyday” feelings. From what I read on various forums, it seems a majority of oversea fans really enjoyed it too. One negative comment that I noted was from a fan who was really annoyed by Ai’s Osaka accent. Personally I couldn’t tell that she was speaking and performing with an accent at all, but that’s probably because Japanese is not my first language. However, I still wouldn’t hold the accent factor against Ai and this concert because this concert did take place at Osaka. So I don’t really see a problem with Ai wanting to speak with an Osaka accent in Osaka.

From this DVD, we see that Ai really enjoyed herself. She poured her heart out when performing the ballads, and rocked that stage with upbeat songs. This is one of the main reasons why this concert is so enjoyable. It’s a simple theory, really. We are influenced by other’s presences. And if we’re surrounding by smiles, it’s likely you’ll be smiling too. When you have such a happy girl on that stage, how can you not enjoy the show? I really don’t mind that there are no fancy stage or fancy costume because Ai is not the type of artist who tries to make thing glamorous or big, she’s more about simplicity and details.

With that said, I hope Ai can keep this simplistic style throughout her career. Although I’m not too thrilled with her best album, ‘Ai Am Best’ and the upcoming concert, I am looking forward to see what kind of concert she’ll pull off this time.

Overall Rating: ★★★★★

 

LOVE COOK Tour 2006 DVD cover

Purchase this item: YesAsia US | YesAsia Global

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About the author

Aprilis was first introduced to the world of J-Pop through Ayumi Hamasaki's music. Through Ayu's music she was exposed to and fell in love with other J-Pop acts such as Ai Otsuka and Hello! Project. She is currently living in Japan and enjoying every moment of it.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

iQt November 27, 2010 at 1:57 pm

this is the best concert from 大冢愛 imo ^^

Reply

seku AUSTRALIA November 20, 2009 at 4:29 am

Hi

I agree with most of your views on this concert, but I thought Plantetarium was actually very well done. I enjoyed their re-arrangement especially the guitar solo, and I thought the lighting and the effects were excellent. With the concert hall lighting up, I think it is more related to fireworks than stars, as she does sing “hanabi” just before the hall lights up (not to mention the sound of fireworks), and the whole effect timed with the song really wowed me. Also, being a guitarist myself, I think the guitarist did a good job with rewriting the solo and performing it.
But these are just my views and I respect your views just as much.

Reply

RandolphCarter ITALY October 15, 2007 at 7:26 am

It’s a nice overview of the concert, and I must say I agree with most of your opinions.
Ai is simply great, not only because she sings amazingly on stage and doesn’t miss a single note (except while she’s running or jumping, but that doesn’t bother me), but also for the great feelings she delivers to the audience.
It’s rare to see someone so wonderfully sincere even when standing in front of thousands people. On the stage Ai is an open book, and precisely for this the “Love Music” performance in my opinion deserves an extra star.

Good job!

Reply

Aragami May 11, 2007 at 5:18 pm

About Neko ni fuusen, i really don’t think a street cat is something bad, a street cat is a cat full of independence and pride ^_^

So i love her like street cat, or with the look of Love Cook, anyways i love that song so much, and the way she stares (as you said), and act… The PV and in this performance are great i think ^_^

Reply

Naru UNITED STATES April 3, 2007 at 6:21 pm

I wasn’t as impressed with this DVD as I was the last one, but was still good. “Ramen 3pun COOKING” was even more hilarious live than on the CD. And “Kuroge Wagyuu Joushio Tanyaki 680-en” being PG-13 xD the whole song is slightly risque, when I saw the PV I remember thinking “Did Ai have an image change?” but it is a nice song. It is one of my favorites by her cuz’ it is so different from her other songs.

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