The Fangirl Adventure Log

Zepp Tokyo 2013 – My Evening With Rain: Round One

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Monday, November 25, 2013

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Yes, it was FINALLY happening.

I am going to try to remember as many of the details of this adventure as I possibly can but since we were not allowed to take pictures or video during performances here in Japan, I am going to have rely on my memory to help relive and tell about my very first true blue Rain concert.

The first hurdle was getting to Tokyo, the next was getting to the venue to meet up with Hina (Cloud Japan) to pick up my tickets. Then, it was all about standing in that line waiting for the dude with the megaphone to call my ticket number so I could go in and grab my spot for the night.

But let’s back up a moment because we (Cloud USA-ers Maria Cammarota and Tammy Harriel were with me) had to head out for the day first and foremost to find the house Rain was to rock that evening – Zepp Tokyo. We found the right train, took the ride and got to the Tokyo Teleport station stop, stepped out of the station and could not see the venue anywhere!! Asking the random bus drivers was a bust. However, when they put together music and concert, they had that a-ha moment, directed us, and we were on our way.

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Venue found. We were in the right place but we still had to locate Hina to get the tickets AND we had to load up on Rain goods which were set to go on sale in front of the venue doors at 1:00PM.

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But first….fangirl moment when I eyeballed this hanging from the rearview mirror of a huge equipment bus parked alongside the venue:

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Oh indeed, for a split second I thought about trying the door handle just to see if I could set that staff pass free and wear it as an accessory! This is a thought any loving fan in their right mind would have if they wanted to meet their beloved idol…right?

Procuring tickets for these shows was a difficult task and not without moments of uncertainty, anxiety, anticipation and ultimately relief. But if anyone ever has to work with Heidi and/or Hina (Cloud Japan), you will be set and ready to rock and roll. Heidi helped me apply for tickets, Hina delivered the tickets. These two Clouds are doing the rest of us such a service by making sure WE all get a chance to experience Rain. My other Rain fairy godmother is Michiko Ikeda. If there was one thing I knew for sure through ALL of this was that I was going to have a ticket for each and every one of Rain’s shows in Tokyo! Breathe……..breathe!!!

Before going in we spent time mingling with Clouds and we were often asked where we were from and many were amazed that we took the trip to Japan JUST  to see Rain. Yes…..we most certainly did (well, I did anyway….LOL). I have to say that one of the best things about this whole experience was meeting people I already had a connect with on either Twitter, Facebook or both. I was ECSTATIC when I got to meet Thai Clouds Superdog Spinz and Rainna Su Cha!!!

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In addition to being totally cool beyond comprehension, they are both so adorable and sweet!

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Clouds begin lining up at 5:30PM, doors open at 6:00PM, and the show starts at 7:00PM. I cannot explain the feeling of utter excitement when the doors to the venue opened and we started going in. Each ticket number is called in sequential order, literally one by one. Wait, the dude was calling numbers out in Japanese. I can’t count in Japanese. What if I missed my number??? Every now and then I would ask the ladies standing behind me what number we were on and then proceeded to count along with him – that didn’t always work because he was announcing things in between! Uffffft! Still, l managed to enter as my number (100) was called mostly because the Clouds by me gave me a loving shove to get moving!! 🙂

When I entered the venue I was amazed at how small it was. SMALL small – like no matter where you stood, provided you did not have someone tall in front of you, you were going to catch all of the action. I ended up in the second row from the stage, a step or two left of center and oh what a spot that ended up being. Prime real estate to be able to see everything as it unfolded on stage. It was a spot right behind a Cloud I met at the West Gate in Seoul back in July – Mikako!!! Rain’s reach is far and wide but we Clouds are most certainly connected and the world (Rain’s World) is that much smaller. I cannot even begin to explain how excited I was. And, nothing was going to prepare me for what was about to unfold. Oh my god….I feel my heart racing at the thought of various moments of the evening that were just outrageously amazing. Rain is good, people. Rain is really, REALLY good.

Prior to the lights dimming, the Clouds began chanting for their prince ‘Jung Ji Hoon, Jung Ji Hoon, Jung Ji Hoon!’ I can only imagine how this must pump him up. As the lights dimmed, the large screen at the back of the stage begins to play a video that opens with a few rain drops falling into a complete downpour as lightning flashes and thunder booms from the speaker system: Nagoya Nov 14-15 BOOM Fukuoka Nov 18-19 BOOM Osaka Namba Nov 20-21 BOOM Toyko Nov 25-28 BOOM!

Cue Rainism. There is a door set back center stage and when that thing opens up and all you see is his shadow as he is standing there…….words cannot describe the feeling. It was magical, magnificent, heart-stopping, exciting and intoxicating all at once!!! He launches from behind that door into Rainism with a vengeance and it is explosive. And there he was SO CLOSE. OHMYGOD!! Rainism is every bit as intense and provocative as every version of it you see out there today. But when you see it live, it is intense because the energy Rain emits is potent and powerful. Then there is the crew and they are dancing and moving across the stage with as much intensity as Rain. Frankly I do not know how the stage did not start on fire!!!

Without pause he goes into a raucous rendition of 나 (Na) from his first CD. Dear lord. The man sounds as fresh and vocally strong as the day he laid that track down in the studio. But then it was time for Michele to lose her mind when the opening strains of Touch Ya began to play. One of my all time favorites, it was absolutely AMAZING to see this one performed live. The only way it would have been better was if he were backed by a live band. Still….it was HOT.

I believe it was after Touch Ya that we got our first video break. The video breaks were a blast. Even if I could not understand anything, I still got the gist of what was going on and during the 4th show, I was finally standing with Michiko who graciously translated everything for me. But the bulk of the videos were basically the back story of Rain preparing for the Zepp Tour and also a day in the life of Rain. Probably a preview of the reality show yet to come. BUT, one of the best parts of these videos was that in one of them he gave us a little preview of the new music that will be on his upcoming CD. He is in his car at the time when he shares a very short clip and cuts it by saying that’s enough coupled with that gorgeous smile (didn’t want to give too much away). NOTE: The clip he shared sounded smooth and rather R&B-esque. It sounded really good.

When he returned to the stage, he was up top towards the back of the stage lit gloriously and sparkly as he sang 알면서 (Knowing) from the second CD. JUST PLAIN BEAUTIFUL. From here I seriously cannot remember the exact order of songs but I think I can remember everything he sang.

The songs from the first show that stood out for me the most were (not in the order they were sung):

Hip Song – he gave us the Ji Hoon backside view during the grind – but as sexy as that man is….he still managed to be playful as he looked over his shoulder and just smiled at the end of the grind. (By the way, this song stood out all 4 nights…it is just the bomb live but this first night it was completely off the hook. The crew was on high-octane and Rain was on fire – I will never forget it.)

Bad Guy – OMG, this one is soooooooooooooooooooooooooo amazing live. It is one of his songs that I have always wanted to see performed live. I loved every minute of it all 4 nights. Just LOVE!

Love Song – He started this song seated at the edge of the stairwell on the left hand side of the stage. He sang the opening so soft and gentle – almost plaintive. Definitely different than the studio version. The stage lighting was dark and blue hued. It was so gorgeous. Rain is such a consummate artist. He knows what looks good to the eye. I felt Rain sang this song with far more emotion than the studio version. For me, it was heart wrenching.

Instead of Saying Goodbye – This one was perfect every night. I just get the feeling that this song is very special to him and the he just really enjoys performing it. It is fun and he works the entire stage during it, has so much fun with it, encourages audience participation, is soooo playful and it is also the encore song.

How To Avoid The Sun – With the video screen filled with a huge burning sun and him standing on the platform above the stage on the right – this looked glorious. He eventually made his way down to the main stage and sang his freaking heart out during this song. This man is filled with so much soul, I don’t know how he manages to contain it sometimes. Rain feels his music to his core and when he shares it, it burns and burrows into yours. You may be able to avoid the sun….but there is no way to escape the Rain!

One – Hot. That simple.

I’m Coming – This one comes after a short video break showing clips from the MV itself where he is dropped from the sky with the wings. He emerges from behind the door center stage and at this point he is now wearing sweats and one of his hoodies – I cannot remember if he was wearing a baseball cap this first night, but he had it on the last two for sure. He looked all ‘hood and hip hop – SO HOT! His dancing during this one is off the chain – he gives us every hip movement that has been a part of this song’s choreography from the beginning and to see it up close like I did – indescribable. (Yes, the shirt does get lifted….THUNK!)

My Girl and Love Is – Two of my very favorites that he does from the platform above the stage seated at a little bistro-like table. He chats a bit prior to singing telling us that the show is coming to an close which is never received well!! But he is at his uber cutest with these two songs. I am convinced if you watch and listen to him do these two songs live, you will lose your heart to him completely.

It’s Raining – I always felt this one was probably extremely intense live and I was completely right. There is this look on his face while he is performing this one that almost seems angry and what is so lovely about him is that he will lose himself in the song for moments but then come back, almost like he remembers that he is not alone and we are there – connects with us and then will go back into this zone of intensity. It is SO AWESOME to watch him do this.

I Do – For me this song is the perfect combo of sweet and swag – especially when he does the dance break. Dear GOD!! At this point he is wearing those black leather shorts, stocking tights (they are ribbed and really cool, actually, and he has some fine legs) and black t-shirt. This one was extra special for me this first night because during the song’s dance break, he positioned himself on the stage directly in front of me and went completely to town gyrating and I don’t know what……I was a deer in headlights I was so taken by surprise. Afterwards the ladies in front of me turned to thank me because they were convinced he spent a lot of time in front of us that evening because I was there. I don’t know how true that was – but we did see quite a bit of him on that part of the stage that evening and I was totally ok with that!

Really, ALL of the songs were amazing and I am probably leaving out some of my other faves of the evening but he also sang YouWith You (that one was extra special for me on day 2 – will write on that in next round), Fresh Woman (again, second night…had a little something special happen too), The Words I Want to Say (so sweet and he always added I love you in Japanese which was incredibly well-received), Familiar Face (perfect vocally and such a smooth, easy groove – sounds GREAT live).

Music is truly his lifeline – it is what breathes life into him and sustains him.  I am so happy I got to experience it. I cannot appreciate or thank him enough for his incredible talent and for sharing it like he does. He truly lays it all on the line when he steps on that stage, for real!

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(I apologize if I have not listed the entire play list.)

Round Two to follow soon….

[Image credit:  da1123 weibo]

Author: Michele

Travel junkie, veganista, and purveyor of random acts of kindness. I happen to really adore G.O of MBLAQ and his presence here is very strong. That about sums me up!

11 thoughts on “Zepp Tokyo 2013 – My Evening With Rain: Round One

  1. Hee. Now I know what you meant when you said you had a Rain moment!! 😀 MY take is that Rain knew that you’re practically his biggest fan & decided you deserved some love for going all that way to see him!! ;D And that the song is titled “I Do”???? Apt, much? *wiggles eyebrows meaningfully* ^^

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    • Oh, let me tell you…..my true Rain moment came during the second show and I am still all discombobulated over it! Had a final Rain moment in the fourth show. You do not know how badly I want to go to Singapore for New Year’s!!!

      It’s official: Rain is a drug and once you imbibe, there is no amount of treatment or intervention that will cure the addiction. It’s game over.

      I am STILL not recovered and have to wonder if I ever will be! The experience of Rain live in concert was more than I could have ever imagined it would be.

      I think I am forever changed and truly wonder how I will get back to my real day to day life.

      I don’t want to leave and, if I must, I want to go to Seoul. 🙂

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  2. 1. I didn’t know you had a blog!
    2. Followed your blog!
    3. Squeeeeeeeeing right along side you in solidarity!
    4. Isn’t it awesome that we can move heaven-and-earth to realize our dreams like this? I don’t wanna be the only one having her fantasies fulfilled this year! 🙂
    5. I love travelling in Japan! If you have the time, I can give you some excellent onsen recommendations. You may need a good soak n’ scrub after all this excitement! 🙂
    6. Safe travels, sweetie — can’t wait for the next installments!

    P.S. SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!

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    • Oh my goodness…it has been a whirlwind and completely out of control!!! I wish I could stay a few more days to recover and see some of Japan as I came here with one purpose – to see Rain!

      However, what I did experience in both sight and sound, culture and otherwise (even the train rides) was amazing and fun. The Rain part, tho, was the best part of all – although my trip to K-town yesterday had me falling all over the place seeing Junsu everywhere (in addition to Rain)! I even saw collectibles of your love! I have to wonder if Japan is a bigger K-drama/K-pop land than the land which gave it to us all in the first place: South Korea!!!

      Now that Rain is headed for the US next month to begin filming his next Hollywood project, I suspect I will have some more traveling in my future – but I certainly cannot wait to make my way back here and Seoul!

      This year has been replete with fantasy fulfillment – I sometimes wonder how I could top it!!

      Thank you so much for stopping by to check out the blog – I have to tell you that Mr. JCW is HIGH on my list to join the K-shots and I hope you are ok with that!! 🙂

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  3. I cannot tell you how many times I LOL’d as I read this. So awesome, Michele. Thanks for the detail, gurlfriend! The part about his new music coming, I thought I was going to seize up and pass out, LMAO

    Hugs,
    Stephe ^@@^

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    • The part about the new music was SOOOOOO cute in the video clip. He was cruising in his car and starts to groove a little with it and then cuts it off quick and just smiles – a little tease of what is yet to come. And, like I said, it sounded GOOD!!!!! ❤

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  4. Reblogged this on Cloud USA and commented:
    Staff writer Michele’s fan account of ZEPP Tokyo, Show #1. It’s a must read. Rain even dropped a teeny little hint about his new music coming up! SO cool. — Stephe ^@@^

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  5. I love this account!!
    really…I love long fan accounts, thanks so much for sharing..

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    • Thank you!! I am getting ready to post my take on the second show……SO MUCH to try to remember without any photographic or videographic proof! I know I am leaving a ton out, but hopefully caught some of the highlights! So much goes on during the show – it is impossible to capture it all! What I can say with absolute certainty is that he is the most amazing performer ever! The way he interacts with the audience is unlike anything I have ever experienced. He is THE BEST! ❤

      Thank you so much for stopping by to check it out and for leaving a comment! ^.^

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  6. HI Michele,

    I saw the show on the 28th. By the time I got there, everything was sold out. So I was only able to get some post cards. This is my third time seeing Rain. I saw him in Korea- Rainism, Shanghai, China- The Best, and now TheStory of Rain- Zepp Tokyo.

    To me, it seemed that this concert was put together very quickly. In China, he sang to a live band. I was very sad that he did not sing in the rain, like in his last two concerts. He also did not rip his shirt off. He also did not sing shirtless. I was WATING FOR THAT!! I am glad to see some new dancers. The music was awesome! I liked the car parts, when he talking to the camera. It was in both Korean and Japanese. I was hoping to hear some new music. If this was a comeback tour, why didn’t he do anything new? I am so surprised that he was speaking in Japanese! TVXQ and Big Bang also speak Japanese. I am glad that I was not the only middle aged crazed fan there! They were all around me! It was so cute to see these nice dressed older ladies totally going APE SHIT over him!

    I can not WAIT to hear some new songs! I hope he will tour Japan again, because I will go again.

    Ali

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    • Hi Ali, sorry for getting back so late with my response. Do you live in Japan? How wonderful that you have been able to see him perform live with a live band backing him….I think that would be the ultimate. In watching the Legend of Rainism show DVD, I was blown away by the live version of Touch Ya, for example, in how intense it sounded with the electric guitars and booming drums. I thought….now this is how Touch Ya needs be presented ALWAYS!!!

      Yes, this tour seemed a bit spur of the moment but I am so happy I had the opportunity to go to Japan and see him. The small venue is such an awesome way to see and connect with him. And although we did not get Nan, the rain or a shirt being torn off, we still got some pretty hot Rain nonetheless, right? We definitely did get the leather jacket unzipped and dropped off the shoulders a couple of times and the shirt lift in I’m Coming! I’m happy with that!

      And the 4 different versions of the hip grind during Hip Song were wonderful and playful on his part. He definitely knows how to entertain!!! I look forward to my next Rain adventure!!

      Thank you for stopping by the blog and for the comments! I live connecting with Clouds! Let me know if you are on either Twitter or Facebook as it would be nice to stay in touch and share Rain stories!! ❤

      Like

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