We arrived early to get goods, and then lined up to go inside right when the doors opened. The accoustics in the area where people got the receipts with their seats on them were really echoy, so we could hear the screams of people who got good seats as we waited to get scanned in. Interestingly, there wasn't a bag check at all, and once we got to the head of the line, we showed our barcod and got our receipts... and saw that our seats were in the arena! Always a good way to start the tour (and in fact, I was in the arena for the first show of Neverland, as well; clearly we have goot luck for NEWS's early shows?)
We got to our seats with plenty of time to spare, and were amazed to find that they were right on the aisle, only maybe 10 rows back from the stage. We had an amazing view of the main stage, which was also the center stage this time around. There were letter-shaped baloons spelling out "Epcotia" on a spinning turntable on the stage, with screens above the stage. As we waited, they showed the Safety Video from the album several times, which was a little odd, as usually they save that for the opening video? But we watched it maybe three times before the woman's voice from the "inter" tracks on the album played, introducing herself as the captain of the space liner Epcotia, Coatee Tiptree (still trying to figure out if this name has any significance, lol), and telling us a bit of information for our "flight." She explained that the ship was staffed with four attendants named Koyama, Tegoshi, Masuda, and Kato, and that in case of emergencies, we would need to fasten our seatbelts and hold hands with the person next to us.
From there, they started playing the safety video again, but instead of ending where the video ended on the album, it continued to a video of the members preparing the ship for launch. First, Koyama was showing turning things on and pressing buttons and such, then Massu and Shige, and finally Tego (though something about the way Tego was doing it sort of made me laugh, because it was very flashy and didn't really seem like a professional... idk, attendant on a spaceship? XD It was just very Tego and it was cute and funny). They showed the ship preparing and then launching into space before the intro music to Epcotia started to play.
The way the stage was set up was a round center stage that was the main stage, with a large set of sort of rounded screens above it, in a cylinder shape. The screens could go up or down, so that they touched the stage or, alternatively, were very far above it. When the safety video had started to play, they had gone down to be touching the stage, but when the music started, they began to rise up, showing a blow-up spaceship in the shape of the Epcotia liner in the video. We could hear the members singing live (they sounded different from the recording), but we couldn't see them... until they were lowered down from behind the screens and it was revealed that they were hanging from harnesses! It was a very cool intro. After another moment, Juniors appeared from inside the spaceship, each holding a piece (in a similar fashion to the Neverland train, but it was especially coold because I couldn't tell at first that it was going to break down into smaller pieces at all) and moving out to various places on the stage. NEWS disappeared inside the cylinder of the screens again and the center of the stage rose up, and then when it came back down, they were standing on the stage, no longer in the harnesses. The Juniors took away the parts of the spaceship as NEWS finished out the song. Their costumes were sparkly red pants with a sparkly purple cloak/jacket type thing over top of them. I personally didn't like them as much as the Neverland uniforms, but they were still quite nice! Tego's shorts were cute, and Shige was wearing some very nice tight pants.
There was a brief blackout after Epcotia ended, and when the lights came back up, the members had ditched the jackets and were wearing red tops to match the red pants. They sang Kingdom next, facing us. If this is of use to anyone seeing the show later, there are only two arena sections, A and B. They face the A side for the majority of the show, but face the B side occasionally, particularly in the second half. Since we were lucky enough to be on the A side, they faced us for all of Kingdom!
Surrounding the mainstage were two smaller round stages on the front and back / Arena A and B sides, then two longer trapezoidal side stages on the right and left, which were sort of like wings on a plane (or spaceship?). For the next song, Twinkle Star, they each moved onto one of these connected stages in the four directions. Shige came towards us (yay!), Tego went to the B side, Koyama went to the right, and Massu went to the left. The choreography for Twinkle Star was really nice, and I appreciated how much Shige has clearly worked really hard on his dancing skills over the past years! I know he still makes fun of himself for being bad at sports and dancing and such, but he really looked so good, and that's coming from someone who did ballet/modern/contemporary/etc for about 18 years and majored in dance in university, so I promise I'm not just being swayed by my love for Shige. XD; I really enjoyed watching him, and he also seemed to be having a lot of fun! Last year, Shige seemed tired a lot of the time, so I was really glad to see him letting loose and enjoying himself.
Up next was Akaku Moyuru Taiyou, and when the intro played, I was surprised but then realized I shouldn't be, since it's about the sun... XD; I'm sure I've heard it before performed by 4 members (maybe?), but I was still surprissed when Shige started singing the opening lines! ♡ As they continued to sing, Shige and Tego swapped places, and Massu and Koyama swapped places, so now Tego was close to us. I was impressed with his dancing, as usual!
Following Akaku Moyuru Taiyou, they continued the nostalgic songs with Live. The juniors brought over harnesses, and each member was once again strapped in, this time to a wire right above them. There were tracks in a square above the stage, so once they were harnessed, each member was raised up and them moved around to another side stage. Shige was really enthusiastic about it and kept throwing his weight around and flipping upside down. It was really cool and impressive, but also a little scary! Each of the members moved around the various tracks, traveling to the opposite side of the stage before all gathering in the middle again to sign the end of the song.
After Live, the stage went dark again, and when the lights came up, there were... three aliens on the stage. I have no idea who was in the alient costumes, but I'm very curious. The three aliens were Cota, a red and blue alien with many tentacles, bonsen, a round silverish blue alien with many eyes, and Kai, a tall silver-white pointy alien who didn't seem to speak Japanese and had to have Cota translate for them. The three aliens discussed how cool the Epcotia liner was, while bickering and getting into fights with one another sort of like small children. They said we could call the Epcotia liner back if we sang a specific tune... that was the intro to LPS. First they sang it, then tried to peer pressure us into joining them by staring at us, lol. Once we all sang the intro to LPS a few times, finally the lights went out and them came up on NEWS again, this time on four connected carts on the left hand side of the stage, wearing (what I'm pretty sure is) the silver capes that they wore at the end of last year for the FNS special where they sang LPS. They started moving around the ouside of the arena, which was nice for everyone in the stands. This continued for the rest of LPS, and also for Nyaro, which they sang next. Sadly, they couldn't make a heart at the part where they usually do, because they were on the carts still.
Once they had done a full loop of the arena, they were lowered back down and got onto the left side stage for Koi Suru Wakusei. The dance for this song was SO. CUTE. It seriously hurt my soul how cute it was. Since the song has sort of a retro feel, the dance also was sort of retro, and felt very 60s. They did it once on the left stage, once on the backstage, then spent a short time on the right stage and the front stage each. It was really super cute.
Then the lights went down, and a video played of none other than Koyama... walking through the city... trying to look cool... and smoking a cigarette? That struck me as really edgy for Johnny's, so I was quite surprised. But then the lights came up and Koyama was wearing a blue sparkly jacket with stars over a mostly-unbuttoned white shirt and tight black pants... so basically the usual Koyama solo getup. He was backed by a large group of juniors, and it reminded me of his solo from White in terms of the staging. He was singing live, or mostly live, which meant that he was pretty off-key at times, and there was a lot of pelvic thrusting and other sexy dancing. Partway through, the lights went down and the screens move down to cover Koyama, and there was a video of... Koyama undressing and kissing and presumably having sex with a girl?? It was very R-rated and I was pretty surprised, but there was nothing explicit and it was also really well done and well edited to seem sexy without being explicit. Then, the screens went back up and the lights came back up and Koyama was on the stage alone, having shed his jacket and wearing only the button up shirt, now more unbuttoned and pushed off his left shoulder, exposing a nipple and also a temporary tattoo on his chest. He finished out the song like that... so all in all, it was a fairly typical Koyama solo?
Up next came Sweet Martini, which Koyama started out still half naked, lol. The other three were wearing black pants and shiny light gold button up shirts. Massu's pants were leather and sort of like hammer pants, with a loose crotch part, Tego's were basically jeggings and were tucked into fluffy ugg boots (which was cute |D), and Shige's were very loose cutoffs that came to around mid-shin length. After the opening of the song, the outer ring of the center stage rose up to hide Koyama, and he changed shirts in there to the same shirt as everyone else, wearing the same tight black pants. When the ring of the stage came down again, there was also a little bar prop/set piece there, with Koyama behind it. He served each member of NEWS a drink, which they drank before continuing to sing the song. Shige sort of sunk down to the floor, sitting curled up leaning against the bar, which was super cute.
Next, the guys moved to the back stage (towards the Arena B seats), and the rest of the lights went down, so the lighting was quite dark except for a few lights on them. They sang Madoromi, and I was once again moved by how good Shige's singing has gotten-- I was impressed during Neverland, but he's improved even more since then, and I'm so proud. ;__; The members mostly didn't move around and just stood singing the song while looking sad. It was very pretty!
The lights went out, and then the docking interlude played, while a video showed the Epcotia liner being docked into "Deep Space 10" (which made me laugh... I feel like this album and concert was full of Star Trek references, which I enjoyed). The news members each said a line about requesting docking privileges, entering the access code, initiating docking, and countind down to the docking, while they were shown on the screens wearing goofy space helmets and acting like they were operating the ship. I'm kind of confused, because since they were "attendants," it sometimes seemed more like they were flight attendants, sort of like in the safety video, and at other times it seemed like they were more involved in flying the spaceship, so I'm a bit vague on what they were going for. XD;
Up next, the screens moved up and the lights came up again to reveal NEWS in a circle surrounding a camera on a tripod with two large rods coming out of it, and with hanging mics above them (sort of like they used for the Quartetto PV, if I recall correctly). The costumes struck me as very "Massu"... they were sort of patchwork white jackets with black elements and some colors mixed in, still with the same pants from earlier. The opening bars to Chankapaana played, and after the very beginning, the screens at the top switched the footage from the camera on the stage, which was clearly a selfie camera that the members could rotate around with the rods, like a pivoting selfie stick. What ensued was total madness, and it was hilariously brilliant. The members did all right for the first four solo lines, each turning the camera towards themselves when it was their line and moving in close, away from the mic, so we could no longer hear them sing, and instead, they sort of made kissy faces at the camera from very close, and such. (As a side note, I would be really appreciative if Shige would shave his face before he goes onstage, lol.) But then as the song moved on, it was clear they were having trouble maneuvering the camera, and it sort of devolved into Shige moving it for everyone, or else gesturing frantically to try to get people to turn it in the right direction XD It was a hilarious chaotic mess, and especially when it came for them to say the spoken lines before last chorus, they got it right for Tego, Shige, and Koyama, but then somehow messed up before Massu, so he didn't get onscreen to say "yakusoku suru yo, Chankapaana," and everyone was flipping out and it was just super cute and hilarious. Then, during the "gasshoku no budou" part, Tego took the handle and walked around in a circle "picking up" each member into the screen, so that all four of them had gathered and were making cute faces and grape-related poses with the mic during that line. For the end of the song, the guys moved away from the camera and performed it normally, but the whole thing was really cute, and I really enjoyed it.
When the song ended, Massu grabbed a pair of sunglasses that had previously been hooked at the neck of his shirt and put them on, and Jump Around started. It made me laugh that he put on sunglasses to get into his rapper persona, or something. XD; But I really enjoyed Jump Around and Black Hole, which came next. Then, the lights went down and there was the sound of rain, and when the lights came back up, Massu was standing alone on the stage for his solo. The penlights this year are once again remote controlled, so he opted to have all of our penlights turned off through his solo, which was a little... weird? At least from my perspective, being used to always using a penlight in concert, having them turned off meant I had nothing to do with my arms and no way to show I was supporting him/listening? Also, I feel like he sounded way more angry during the live performance than in the recording. It wasn't my favorite Massu solo, but he did perform it very well, and I'm impressed with his rapping skills.
Up next was Shige's solo, and... I'm going to need Shige to explain it to me, lol. Last year, I had already read about Ayame before the show, but this year, I've been pretty busy and didn't have a chance to check for him talking about it in magazines and such. However, the performance was extremely artistic and also extremely mystifying, so I'm looking forward to his explanation on Jweb that will hopefully come out in the near future. At any rate, first, Shige walked on wearing a winter jacket and shivering and blowing on his hands to warm them up. He was wearing really odd round 70s sunglasses and the same loose black pants, and he was barefoot and wearing those same modern dance foot coverings that help you turn and move around while barefoot. He walked from stage left to stage right, holding this little thing that looked sort of like a white mic, except for at the end, instead of the mic part, it was a round light bulb. He sat down on the side stage, looking at the main stage as juniors came out with long white sticks with the same lightbulb at the end, and danced with them. In the center of the juniors was someone wearing a motorcycling helmet with an eyesheild, a loose winter jacket similar to Shige's, black pants, and silver high heels. It was difficult to tell if they were a man or a woman, but before I saw that they were wearing heels, I assumed it was a man. I assume the point of the helmet was to hide what the person's gender was, anyway. That person danced while Shige sang, and then eventually Shige came back to the mainstage to dance with that person, doing some pretty impressive modern/contemporary dance. Then, the other person took off the shoes and handed them to Shige before running over to where Shige had been sitting, taking Shige's place watching while Shige danced in the center of the juniors, holding the shoes. At the very end, he put the shoes on, then took off his sunglasses at the very end when he says "Hyouon." It was all very artistic (as I mentioned before, I have a dance background, and it strick me as very artistic on a contemporary dance level), and I enjoyed it, but I have no idea what it was supposed to be about, so... please explain, Shige. XD;
The juniors then danced a bit with the lights while Shige presumably changed (this part was very similar to the transition between Ayame and Brightest last year XD;), and then NEWS came back out wearing the same black pants, but they had changed to white tops and white sequined jackets. Koyama's was cut like a blazer, and Shige's was a bomber jacket style, but I don't recall what Tego's and Massu's were, I'm sorry! Each member went to one of the four smaller stages on the front, back, right, and left of the main/center stage, and while they were singing, sakura petals started blowing out around them, which was a really pretty effect! Massu was the closest to us, and it was cute that at first when the flower petals blew out, he looked really pleased about the cool effect, but then they started to blow in his face, and he got flustered and tried to brush them out of his face, and then went back to being pleased with the effect XD It was just very... Massu XD
Next, they sang It's You on the main stage, during which there are parts that only Massu or only Tego are not singing, and during those parts, the other three sang and just Massu or just Tego danced, which was... interesting, but cute? XD; I enjoyed it. Then, they came out onto the front (Arena A side) circle stage and all sat on the edge, and the stage rose up and rotated around while they all sat next to one another to sing Hoshi ni Negai wo. This was really, really close to where I was sitting, so I had an amazing view, and I noticed that Shige had one of the temporary tattoos on his ankle. I also noticed that his legs were totally clean-shaven! The guys started to goof around, and first Koyama put his legs on top of Tego, then Shige put his legs on top of Koyama's legs on top of Tego, and Tego was sort of laughing and complaining, and it was really cute.
After the song ended, it was time for the MC! The voiceover came on and said that they had reached the "talk center," at which Massu started singing some sort of background music. The other guys were confused until he started making the distinct noise from the original Pokemon Gameboy games of pokeballs being put into the healing machine in the Pokemon center, then they all were like "ohhh" and started laughing XD; Massu explained that "talk center" made him think of "Pokemon center" and they all laughed that they recognized it because they grew up in the "Pokemon generation" XD;
(I want to take a moment to apologize that my recounting of the MC is all from memory; I don't have an audio recording and I didn't take notes, so if I'm missing anything, I apologize! But this is what happened to the best of my recollection.)
First, Koyama brought up that Shige had changed his shampoo to a really fancy one. Shige admitted that he had changed it, and Tego chimed in that Shige is now using the brand that Tego also uses. Shige commented that that made sense, since he knew Tego had been using his, and that he often notices his lotions and hair products being depleted little by little. Koyama replied that they all considered Shige's stuff community property, and they all use his products all the time. Shige was complaining off and on in response as they chatted about how they all used Shige's stuff, but then someone remarked that they should register their fingerprints in Shige's phone so that they could use it whenever they wanted it, and in fact they could register everyone in the arena that day, because Shige's phone was community property, and Shige started yelling "OI!!! WHAT ABOUT SHIGE'S PRIVACY?!?!?!" which was hilarious and adorable. Perhaps to calm Shige down, Koyama pointed out that he also used Massu's body cream today, and Massu was like, yeah, I noticed partway through the first half that you smell like me, lol. Shige was like that's really weird, in response to Koyama smelling like Massu XD;
That led to them asking Tego if he even bothered to use products such as body cream, and Tego replied that he did use body cream, just at home, from a big bottle. They asked what about his hair, and he replied that he properly uses oil on it every day, and he goes to the salon once every two weeks to get treatment for the damage, to get his roots touched up, and to get his eyebrows re-dyed. Koyama said he was worried Tego was going to go bald, but Tego said it was fine because his genes are good, and every time he gets his hair dyed, the stylist asks if the dye stings or burns on his scalp, but it doesn't hurt him at all. He said that his grandfather and father both weren't bald, so he should be totally fine. Massu replied that it wasn't possible to tell based on past generations because they were the first generation to dye their hair so much, and certainly Tego's grandfather and father hadn't been blonde. Koyama joked that Tego's hair was just all going to pop off one day in one go, but Massu's analysis that it was based on their generation made Tego go on a long joking rant about millenials (making fun of how other people tend to talk about millenials, or, more literally, the basically equivalent Japanese term, "yutori sedai.") Shige exasperately asked how this was even related to the current conversation?! XD;
Next, they talked about how Massu was on Pon, and he mentioned that when he had gone on his first show on Monday, he had showed a picture from the Hokkaido shows. He talked about how he was in the center of the photo, and he was kind of embarrassed about that. Tego jokingly responded that Shige and Koyama should show it on Bibitto and News every as well, to which Koyama jokingly-exasperately asked in what situation would he be able to just show a photo from his private life on the regular news?! XD
I'm not sure how the conversation turned this way, but they next started talking about people starting out the new year, as most schools and jobs start in April in Japan. They asked people to raise their hand if they started a new school or a new job or anything like that, and then Tego asked why it was that new company employees always travel in packs? It's true that around this time of year, you see clusters of young people in suits walking places together, and Tego joked that by fall, everyone would be walking by themselves or in groups of two or three max. XD;
Somewhere in the conversation about starting new jobs and schools, Tego did some sort of impersonation (maybe it was of Fukuyama Masaharu? I don't recall), and then Shige mentioned how Tego was good at impersonations and told him to do one from Spirited Away. Tego looked confused and eventually did some sort of impersonation that sounded nothing like Chihiro from Spirited Away, and someone pointed out that Shige probably meant Princess Mononoke, not Spirited Away, because Tego can do a good impersonation of a character from that movie. This led to them telling Tego to do impersonation of the character from Princess Mononoke (sorry that I'm not too familiar with the movie; I've only seen it once about 15 years ago), leading into an impersonation of Fukuyama Masaharu, and then finishing with an impersonation of Totoro. Tego did his best, but it came out pretty ridiculous, and everyone had a good laugh.
Next, they asked who was watching New Couples, and talked about how embarrassing a lot of the things they have to do on the show are. But while they were talking about it, the voiceover came over the speakers again and said, "Attention Tegoshi-attendant, please express the concept of the universe through a pose." Tego fell to the floor asking why it had to be him, and the others explained that at every venue, one of them was given a prompt, and they didn't know beforehand who it was going to be. Tego whined about it for a while, saying that in the three shows in Hokkaido, it had been "Shige, Shige, me," to which Massu responded that it should continue in the pattern of "Shige, Shige, me, Shige, Shige, me," saying "me" even though he was referring to Tego. XD; Shige said it seemed more likely that it would be Shige, Shige, Tego, Tego, Massu, Massu, Koyama, Koyama, but the'd have to wait and see. Tego whine some more, but then said he had to take off his rings to do the pose. The others were all like, what sort of pose is this even going to be?! But he took off his rings, and then did a bridge, randomly. XD;;; The others all exclaimed that it wasn't the universe, just a regular bridge!
The announcement came back on, and the voice told Tego that he did a good job. They talked about the prompt for a little while longer before the annoucement came back again, this time saying that a passenger had pushed the "call" button for an attendant, and telling Tego to respond to the call. Tego joked about what direction he should use to leave the stage (should I go through the ceiling? Should I go down through the floor?) but eventually left. XD Once he was gone, Shige jokingly said that they could finally have a calm, "grown up" MC. XD;
The topic of discussion came back to New Couples, and Shige asked Koyama to reenact making paella and then saying the line he'd said with it (The line doesn't translate well, but it's something along the lines of "Seeing you eating and looking like you're enjoying it so much is enough to fill me up~"). Koyama whined for a long time about how it was so embarrassing, and pointed out that when he had been filming the clip, apparently the setting was that Shige had sent him the recipe for paella. XD; But eventually he did reenact it... but he was acting really embarrassed the whole time. XD
The discussion of saying embarrassing things turned to the NEWS ni Koishite app, where they talked about how recording the voices for that was really embarrassing. Shige asked how far everyone had gotten in the game, and said that he was "Waiting for Shige," but also that he had "dressed up Shige." I'm really tickled by the idea that Shige chose himself as his boyfriend for his avatar, and was enjoying changing his own clothes... XD; And is also waiting to play the game where he dates himself. Meanwhile, Koyama said that he'd gotten to Chapter 8 already, and was being indecisive about what decision to make. Sadly, he didn't say whose game he was playing. XD; Unfortunately, before we got any information about Massu playing the same, the announcement came on again telling them that we needed to take off again, so everyone needed to get to their seats and fasten their seatbelts, etc. XD; The guys cleared the stage, and the lights went down for the second half.
Before the lights came up, screaming came from the stands on the right-hand side of the stage, and then a spotlight came on Tego, who was standing in the aisle among the stands! He sang his solo walking along the aisle amonst the fans, and even turned to face random girls at certain points to sing certain parts. I'm sure it was very exciting for the fans close to him, but sadly, I was quite far, so I mostly watched on the screen.
Once the lights went down at the end of Tego's solo, the interlude about "first contact" with aliens played, slightly extended to include all four members talking rather than the two on the album. Then, the aliens appeared on the stage again, doing a strange dance that involved moving one's arms around. Unfortunately, bonsen had no arms, so he was upset that he couldn't do it, lol. But then they found a UFO on the stage, and wanted to ride in it. After getting into a fight about not all fitting inside it, the UFO got bigger, and they got into it, riding off the main stage and onto one of the side stages. Then, the voiceover played again reminding us that if we saw an alien we should notify flight personnel by raising our penlights. We did as the voiceover told us, turning them off once so as not to frighten the aliens, but then pointing them at the aliens and turning them on again. Then, the lights went out, and when they came back up again, NEWS was on the main stage and the intro to UFO played!
For UFO, NEWS were wearing neon pink and orange jackets and silver pants. Shige had a little skirt thing only on the back, covering his butt, which made me sad. XD; The dance really seemed like it contained oves that were an homage to the famous Pink Ladies song of the same name from the 70s.
After UFO, the lights went down briefly, and when they came back up, the unmistakable intro to Emma played, and the guys were holding their black and red jackets! I flipped out when I heard the intro; I get the sense that Emma isn't all that popular with a lot of foreign fans, but it's one of my favorite songs of all time, so I was really excited that they did it again this year! What's more, they had the Emma mic stands as well! I really enjoyed seeing them perform the whole song and choreography again.
Up next after Emma was Erotica (appropriately, I guess?), and each member moved onto one of side stages or the front/back (on the Arena A/B sides of the stage) stages. I really enjoyed the dance that they did; it involved a lot of hip swinging and such XD; The song hadn't jumped out at me when I had listened to the album (besides the fact that it was entitled "Erotica"... lol), but I really enjoy it now, after the concert performance!
From Erotic, they performed Megalomania in a line across the main stage and onto the side stages. I actually hadn't listened to this song before, but I was struck by how much the intro / background music / rhythm sound like Bambina? Does anyone else get that impression?
After they finished the song, a danger warning came up on the screen, and the voiceover told us that we had entered Warp 10, and it was possible that we would end up skipping in the space-time continuum. On the screens, the titles of the past four albums appeared in sequence, speeding up and skipping around, sometimes written in the font of one of the other albums (so for example, "White" written in the Neverland font, or "Quartetto" written in the Epcotia font), as if there were some sort of playback error. This led into a medley of Mr. White, Quartetto, Neverland, and Epcotia (the title song from each album). It was cool seeing them doing the clapping/stomping from Quartetto again, and as someone who was a HUGE fan of the Neverland tour, I was really happy to see the Neverland choreography again and hear them sing the song (complete with the element robot guys on the screen XD;) At the end of the medley, they were in the harnesses on wires again, and got lifted up into the cylinder of the screens, which then showed NEWS floating in space, as if they were trapped or awash or incapacitated.
Then, we were given commands in order to bring NEWS back; first we were supposed to clap, then stomp, then hold hands, then whistle, then suck in air, and then finally clap again... which moved into clapping in the rhythm of 4+fan. The lights all came back up, and NEWS appeared on the stage again as the intro music to 4+fan began.
I was really happy that they performed 4+fan again, as I really like that song, and I also enjoy doing all the call and response parts. During 4+fan, they moved onto the small carts, and as I was on the aisle, Massu literally came right by me! We were able to admire all of his rings and other jewelry up close XD; From the small carts, they moved to the larger carts, that then moved around the perimeter of the arena again.
Next came DTF, and the carts with Tego and Shige, and with Massu and Koyama intersected at the part where they usually do the goofy fanservice. Tego and Shige leaned into one another, but then Shige grabbed Tego's face and tried to kiss him, and Tego was really startled and sort of flailed away from Shige XD Sadly, this didn't get onto the screen because the cameras had switched to Massu and Koyama!
After DTF came weeeek, and the guys' carts all moved to the four corners of the arena, where they stopped and instead started to rise up higher into the air. After weeeek, the intro began to play for U R Not Alone, and they urged us to sing along, which I gladly did. I really enjoy how NEWS has so many songs that they invite their fans to join in with, because I really like that sort of thing! It was really nice to have them perform U R Not Alone again, and I enjoyed singing along during the choruses and the intro/outro. It seemed like the guys really enjoyed performing it too; they all seemed emotional, but in a good, cathartic sort of way.
They finished off the show with Innocence, going back onto the small carts to get back oto the main stage. Tego came by us this time, so we also got to admire him from very, very close. XD; Once they were back on the main stage, they introduced all the juniors as usual, and then sat on big piles of suicases that were revolving around the stage on the turntable. Bubbles also were blown from a machine, so they were floating around the stage as well. It was really cute!
After they finished with Innocence, they waved goodbye and disappeared, as the ending voiceover happened and "End" appeared on the screens. Then, the aliens appeared on the stage again, sighing heavily and saying "I guess it's over..." They decided to hold hands to go home, but then when they held hands, "End" on the screens changed to "Ending." Surprised, they let go of the others' hands, and it changed back to "End." They realized that holding hands made the word change, so then they stared at us in the audience to peer pressure us into holding hands, as well. Everyone held hands, and then "End" changed to "Happy Ending!"
From there, Tego's voice came over the speakers, singing the beginning to Happy Ending. NEWS reappeared wearing the T-shirts with the same pants from earlier. The "Epcotia" balloon letters were also put back on the stage. Of course, Massu's shirt was huge and drapey, and Tego was wearing the cap facing backwards, while Shige was wearing it facing forwards. It was really cute! They sang Happy Ending, and asked us to sing along a capella, sort of like last year with U R Not Alone (so if you're planning on going, practice the lyrics to Happy Ending XD;). Then, they each gave a final speech before finishing out the song.
Once the song was over, they thanked all the juniors again, and also introduced the aliens by name. The aliens joined them on the main stage, but Cota knocked down the "E" balloon. Shige hurried to fix it, but seemed to have some trouble, and put it back on sideways. After the guys bowed to each of the four sides of the audience, they gathered on the mainstage and we ended out the concert by calling out "NEWS!" when they prompted, "Our name is..." as usual. When the audience called out, "NEWS!" the gintape came out, and being in the arena, I was actually able to get some! This was my first time ever getting NEWS gintape (for some reason, I've had back luck for the past several years), so I was really happy!
Then, once the guys had left the stage, the voiceover came on once more, saying, "The N from Neverland... then the E from Epcotia... what do you think will come next? Have you figured it out?" while the cameras zoomed in on the E that Shige had put on sideways, like a "W." As people started to figure it out, there were lots of little shrieks of excitement (though this concept was hinted at on the album packaging as well, so we had already anticipated it.) The voiceover told us that our journey with NEWS would continue next time, and that was the end of the show!
I saw the show on the 8th as well, and I'm going to Ecopa this weekend, too, so I'll try to keep on top of my reports! Famous last words, I know, but I'm really determined to get back in the rhythm of reports this year, so... ganbarimasu!