[Image credit: Michiko Ikeda’s personal collection]
Ok, before I begin reliving the second show of the Zepp Tokyo leg of The Story of Rain Tour (2013), I want to epilogue the first show properly!!!! I completely left out the encore portion of my first post and the encores of these shows were just as much fun and filled with just as much excitement as the entire show! My bad.
Monday, November 25 2013 (Epilogue)
The encore. Think about all of the encores you may have seen in the past at your favorite shows. I love the encore. To me it is the artist’s way of saying I don’t want to leave you just yet either. For Rain, even if he were to merely come back out on the stage and stand there and wave, that would have satisfied the lot of us. Instead, he gave us another round of Instead of Saying Goodbye.
Remember that little door that sits center stage that I talked about in the first round – yes, well this is where the encore begins. The door opens and Rain is surrounded tightly by his crew and they all have their heads down and begin to bob to the beat of the song. They are all dressed in sweats and Story of Rain hoodies for the first night – I am trying to remember if it was the gray one or the black one. I think it was black for the first show. Rain’s hood is up and he is also sporting his own baseball cap. Represent! We all see how hot it looks on him so naturally we want it too (if we haven’t already purchased it)! Smart businessman…..Rain, you are your own best endorsement EVER!
Just as he does in the concert version, in the encore version he works the entire stage, comes to the edge quite a bit and encourages us all to sing along. During the dance break it, he would invariably get down and groove but the first night I believe he shoved Yong Deock out there first to get the party started. Rain always encouraged YD with his “Go Yong Deock, Go Yong Deock, Go Yong Deock!” The atmosphere during the encore is far more playful and relaxed and less structured. It’s a full on dance party – on stage and off!
This first night Kriss Kross’ Jump followed and it was just mayhem on the stage with Rain doing everything you can imagine getting his dance on. There are times when I have to wonder what an evening at a dance club with Rain would be like. I am confident all of the females in the club from staff to patrons would combust.
The song ended with them creating a train that moved across the stage. Finally, they all fell into a straight line, hand-in-hand and took a final bow. Zepp Tokyo, Round One was in the bag!
Ok, I feel better now bringing the first show to close here. The second night was HUGE for me personally.
Tuesday, November 26, 2013
[Image credit: Michiko Ikeda’s personal collection]
So, my ticket number for the second Tokyo show was 104. Oh yes….I was hopefully going to be in roughly the same spot I was in the previous night and I thought, why mess with a good thing as that position (just a little left of center) proved to be a great spot for both seeing the entire stage and for getting some prime up close and personal Rain time. He once again favored the left side of the stage a bit more in the second show.
I wondered what, if anything, would be different. I knew the song list would remain the same but thought would he sing anything differently? Would he dance more? Dance less? He brought the same full on in-your-face intensity as the first show. He is just that incredible on the stage. If he was tired, I would not have known it. If he was sick (as he had been nursing a cold in the week prior and did mention he still had a cold and he may have even mentioned having a bit of sort throat), I would not have noticed. His voice was perfect. P-E-R-F-E-C-T. His dancing, spot on, raw and intense.
The song set was the same, the lighting was the same….but what was different? Hip Song for one. Instead of the reverse back-end view as in the first show, we got the by-the-book hip grind – knees bent outward, face covered by his forearms and a slow, easy grind. Old school Hip Song is sexy, provocative and wonderful and that is what we got for show #2. And I was totally down with THAT! Also what I failed to mention about Hip Song that I will mention now is what he was wearing. DEAR GOD how did I let THAT slide??? He was still in the same suit pants he was wearing when the show started but he changed into that form-fitted gray leather jacket that looks as soft as butttt-ah!!! That jacket is to DIE FOR!!! You know….THIS jacket:
[Image credit: as tagged]
I have to go on about this jacket for a few more seconds here. This jacket looked so FINE on him. It is as if clothes have the privilege of wearing HIS body! Seriously! Furthermore, this jacket begs you to touch it. Under the lights up on that stage it looks so smooth and soft – yeah, much like Mr. Hot’s gorgeous skin. Oh, and no shirt underneath – smooth silky satin atop smooth silky satin anyone? Why yes, thank you!!!!
Whewwww……need to catch my breath. Okay, let’s continue.
The big difference for me on night two was during With You and following Fresh Woman. With You comes during the set where he has changed into the black leather shorts/pink jacket. I so LOVE him in this outfit. OMG OMG OMG!!! I know in Osaka, Clouds had a taste of Rain with his hair coiffed perfectly – but in Tokyo he let his hair down and I LOVE this look on him. The last time I saw him in person was at the West Gate in Seoul with his military ‘do. His hair in Tokyo was free-flowing, loose, wavy and delicious.
[Image credit: jysm3651]
Ok sorry about that….I had to mention that I was digging completely on his hair!
Back to With You. This was the only night he did what he did during this song and I cannot thank him enough! Maybe he needed to catch his breath, maybe he just wanted to have a seat for a moment but whatever the reason, he took a seat on the edge of the stage – inches…….and I mean INCHES in front of me. I think I am going into cardiac arrest just reliving this!
When you are that close and don’t capitalize on it you have no one to blame but yourself…right? So I did what I had to do. He looked right at me and I blew that boy a kiss. I most certainly did!! No…I did not get one in return….sigh, but I did note during show 3 he did blow a kiss out to the audience which was the only time I saw him do that. Where was I?? Oh yes, I blew him a kiss and he smiled – OMG! He smiled and waved to me. And with that, I had my moment with Rain and as ridiculous and as insignificant as it may seem, it was the highlight of my evening and one that I will never ever forget. Breathe, Michele….breathe!!!
Rain makes incredible eye contact throughout the show. He will look out into the audience in general but will take the time to focus on various Clouds and wave, smile, point, etc. If you are lucky enough to lock eyes with him – well, it is just the best feeling!
After Fresh Woman, for some reason Q Sang ended up on the left side of the stage. That night (2nd show) PK (Gori) was not dancing. I heard he was injured – not sure on that – but he was actually watching the show from the balcony – when looking from the stage it was stage right. And Rain noticed him up there right away and made a point of noticing him, especially during Fresh Woman. At the end of the song when the lyrics are ‘you, you, you, you, fresh woman, fresh woman’ the whole entire crew is gathered together pointing to someone (usually in the audience), this time they were all pointing up to PK during that part. So that landed them all, Rain included, on the side of the stage where I was situated! They were all having so much fun taunting PK up in that balcony. I checked back to have a look and PK was all chill and just drinking it all in. So cool.
At the close of the song I had Q Sang in my view and I just gave him a thumbs up. He was wearing sunglasses and the lights on the stage were dimmed so I had no idea he saw me. But, he did! He smiled and gave me a two-handed wave. CUTE!!!! So to add to my moment with Rain, I had a Q Sang bonus moment. The dancers rarely interact with the audience (that I have seen) so that was way cool! I really wish I could have met the crew at some point while in Tokyo and I will not give up hope in meeting them some day!! ^.^
I would say most of the changes that took place from show to show probably were where he took position on stage and the stage antics! There was a break after I Do (I think it was after I Do) where the crew only is on the stage getting their dance on with PK at the helm but since he was not dancing that night we got the extra special treat of Rain staying out on the stage taking on PK’s dance. Rain center stage bent forward with the crew surrounding him while he just bounces and head bangs…yeah, that is what it looked like and the crew with their hands along his back following the up and down movement. This is so hard to explain without a visual and I AM so sorry I could not get THIS on film because it was EPIC – mostly because Rain was having so much fun smiling and laughing at his own attempt to be PK in that moment!!! LOVED it!
Rain is the most engaging performer I have ever experienced in my concert-going history. The best. Hands down.
The Encore – 2nd Show
Ok…so this time, it started out the same way as the first night. This night I believe the crew and Rain were all in the gray Story of Rain hoodie sweatshirts. Rain always did a little something different during the middle of the song when they break it down and each time was as entertaining as the previous. They have SO much fun on that stage. The synergy between Rain and his crew is so evident. Perhaps it is their long history – even new crew member Kevin just falls into place like it ain’t no thing and as if he has been a part of the crew since day one. I would gather Rain is a stringent boss, so to speak – but the guy certainly likes to enjoy life and have fun. This translates to his stage immensely.
So, at the close of Instead of Saying Goodbye, Mariah Carey comes blaring from the speakers. REALLY?? Oh gawd, how I LOVE this man. To watch him sing and bop along with Mariah’s All I Want for Christmas was classic goodness. OMO – he was so adorkable!!!!! Everyone on the stage was so into it – hopping and bopping along. It was so sweet. Leave it to Rain to bring the Christmas cheer. 🙂
As he let Mariah’s entire song play through by the time they got to Jump, I think he was ready to call it a night as they all ended up leaving the stage before the close of the song. Still, it was all good. To see Rain sing along to Mariah was just delicious! Rain is super-duper sexy – to be sure. But when he shows us that sweet little Ji Hoon side – we all just melt. It is simply impossible to resist him….truly.
[Image credit: Rainy Ent.]
Round Three coming soon…….