Saturday, May 09, 2015

SCANDAL 「HELLO WORLD」 in Singapore, 21st Single To Be Announced Soon

This is a MEGA concert report brought to you by XDantheManX Online in collaboration with Nakitty Channel. Many thanks to SOZO for the media invite and of course, SCANDAL for the unforgettable night!

Japanese pop-rock girl band SCANDAL スキャンダル returned to the shores of sunny Singapore for a one-night concert at The Coliseum as a stop on their jam-packed 「HELLO WORLD」 World Tour 2015 ヘローワールドワールドツアー. The girls are no stranger to the country, having performed thrice in the past- including at AFA X's I Love Anisong アニソン大好き concert and their last solo concert, ENCORE SHOW アンコールショー two years back. Unlike their previous lives, there was little promotion for their latest show and a press conference was not organised this time around.
It was a quieter affair as they landed in Singapore under the radar the day before the concert and spent much of the next day reveling in the tranquility and vivacity of Sentosa. In fact, it felt like a remarkably heartwarming reunion with the fans as the ever-charismatic HARUNA greeted the fans with "久しぶり、シンガポール! (Long time no see, Singapore!) Let's have fun together!" and launched into a rousing performance of "love in action", an vibrant and upbeat track from their new album "HELLO WORLD" to fervent cheers from the crowd.

MV for Satisfaction with scenes shot in Singapore!

The energy of the ardent crowd only continued to soar as the girls transitioned into their second song, "Satisfaction サティスファクション", undoubtedly their most-heard song worldwide, having been used as the theme to one of Microsoft's Windows 8 commercials. "Woah oh woah oh," the concertgoers chanted fervently as they threw their hands into the air. Next up was their major debut single, "DOLL", which jolted the fans into a state of heightened excitement as they twirled their towels in the air and sang along with TOMOMI and HARUNA, who were leading song vocals alternately for most of the night.


TOMOMI playing the bass in her cute scorching red and black outfit

There was some time for the crowd to catch their breath as the first MC segment of the night came up next. HARUNA introduced the different members of the band- bassist TOMOMI, clad in a scorching red and black outfit, the youngest member, drummer RINA and guitarist MAMI, sporting her signature golden-blue hairstyle. Every member commented that it had no doubt been a long time since their last visit and professed their love for Singapore to the crowd, eliciting animated squeals and screams from the fans. Especially striking was TOMOMI, who if in her eye-catching dress was not already outstanding enough, had to express her deep gratitude for the audience by replying with "Thank you lah!" in true Singaporean guest artist fashion when the public responded unanimously to her question of "Do you love me?"


The ever-charismatic leader of SCANDAL, HARUNA!

SCANDAL dived into their second set next, comprising mostly of fan favourites which marked their rise to international fame, with an electrifying performance of "Shunkan Sentimental 瞬間センチメンタル", the ever-invigorating Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood ending theme and the indefatigable audience ascended into SCANDAL Heaven. Shunkan Sentimental is my favourite SCANDAL song of all time and I am sure many others felt likewise too, from the way they were bouncing up and down like exuberant rocket bunnies. Without sparing a second, the girls rocketed immediately into their next hit single, "SCANDAL BABY", the first track from their debut album, and topped off their energised second set with another recent crowd favourite, "Kagen no Tsuki 下弦の月". The reaction of the crowd was as you would expect, beyond words. To use words like unparallelled, vehement and fervid would be a hefty understatement.


A photo of RINA on drums because we do not have a photo of her playing the guitar

After another brief interaction with the audience, HARUNA announced that they would be playing a few new songs from their new album, HELLO WORLD and thus, the next act began. SCANDAL broke into the heavy and powerful "Onegai Navigation お願いナビゲーション" the next moment, what could be best described as a fast-paced eclectic mix of rock, dance and vocal prowess that would be sure to get you off your feet, if you had not already been livened by the previous sets. Their new album songs are not weak; that would be one thing you would go home feeling assured for the night. The next few songs, solos by each member, lightened up the mood a little, with MAMI's "Hon wo Yomu 本を読む", albeit one of the slower numbers of the night, drawing much ardor from the crowd. TOMOMI's "Canned Beer 缶ビール" struck an uncanny consonance with my surroundings as I caught sight of a middle-aged man sipping from guess what- a cup of draft beer as the song played. Rounding off the quaternity was the serene and easygoing number, "Oyasumi おやすみ", with RINA solo on vocals and guitar to much glee from the crowd. As much as it might be a slow song, no SCANDAL song is actually slow.


Lead guitarist MAMI sporting her signature golden-blue hairstyle

It was time for the final set. The last songs. "This is a song is very special to us. Departure." As the girls plucked their guitars on stage and RINA drummed with all her might, it dawned upon the audience that the concert was nearing its end but it was not time yet. Another wave of ecstasy gushed over the concertgoers and everyone was in high spirits, soaking in the lively atmosphere, which spilled over into "Taiyou Kimi ga Egaku Story 太陽と君が描くSTORY". The moment of intimacy with the crowd really took off with "Yoake no Ryuuseigun 夜明けの流星群", the hit theme song to last year's Pokemon movie, as everyone mouthed "Oh oh oh oh Oh oh oh oh" in unison as they waved their hands and lightsticks in the air. In what was the most serendipitous highlight of the night, perfectly-timed fireworks set the night sky alight in synergy with the chorus, much to the delight and awe of the concertgoers. It happened to be so that Resorts World Sentosa has a fireworks display taking place at the same time every weekend.


The crowd continued to surge with a boundless supply of verve as every second passed until the concert kicked into high gear with an extended version of "Your Song", an especially meaningful song, one that was written by SCANDAL, together with their fans, and one that had every band member singing in turns with the fans. Afterwards, the stage erupted erupted into an explosion of heart and song as the collective energy of every concert attendee was liberated with "Image", the "final song" of the night. Everyone was having a blast-TOMOMI, RINA, HARUNA, MAMI, the fans- it was a great night to behold, it was a riveting performance, it was one night to remember. My first SCANDAL concert and I loved it!


Having checked the setlists of previous stops on their world tour, I knew there was going to be an encore. Sure enough, the fans were roaring for an encore once the girls left the stage. The question was what was going to be the first song of the encore. They had played "Awanai Tsumori no, Genki dene 会わないつもりの、元気でね" for their live at O2 Academy and "Shoujo S 少女S" for Paris so it was almost confirmed that they were going to play another all-time fan favourite from their vast repertoire of songs, or so we thought. Nakitty, who is a contributing writer on the concert report, thought that it might be "Shoujo S" as Singapore has a huge anisong following and I was secretly hoping that it would be "Pinheel Surfer ピンヒールサーファー" because it was such a catchy song. We waited and waited and when the girls returned to take the stage, it turned out to be... "Rainy".


A video posted by SCANDAL (@scandal_band_official) on

Rainy!? Yes, SCANDAL pulled off a complete surprise on us by playing a B-side track from their Departure single. I was caught off guard, being a casual SCANDAL listener and having spent the last week absorbing myself in their best singles, hoping that they would play them. Granted, it was a pretty decent rock anthem which was well-received by many of the concertgoers. In fact, I came to discover after the concert that SCANDAL had subtly teased playing the song as they had filmed themselves enjoying Singapore's thunderstorm earlier in the day and were going on about how the weather in Singapore is hot yet so amazing throughout the concert. "Does this happen usually?" they had asked about the storm and the crowd responded in affirmation with no attempt at concealing their white lie. Kudos to those who had figured out which song they were going to play in advance while the both of us were discussing cluelessly.


"Do you want to dance?" HARUNA called out to the crowd as electronic beats started pulsating around the coliseum. "Is there going to be some surprise SCANDAL concert after-party or are they going to play a remix?" I did not think to myself. The audience whooped in unison as the throbbing party bass morphed into the drum and guitar intro of "EVERYBODY SAY YEAH!" HARUNA took the lead from the start, playing her guitar with finesse as she sang the first lines of the song. Then, it was she who penned the lyrics to the song and most of SCANDAL's songs, TOMOMI's turn to sing. And it was HARUNA's turn again, and this went on for the first part of the song, just as it had been throughout most of the entire hour-and-forty-five-minutes concert.


HARUNA and TOMOMI are a force to be reckoned with together

HARUNA's deep, sublime and powerful voice, juxtaposed with TOMOMI's sweet and rich voice, is a match made in heaven. To have two distinct yet complementary voices paired together- they have gotten everything right, from the mix of instruments to their individuality down to their vocals, which is undeniably one of the most difficult to nail-this must be why I love SCANDAL so much despite attending their concert for the first time. After all, you can have a remarkable composition, a fitting arrangement and impactful lyrics but the vocals, the human voice, the soul of the music which brings it to life still plays a very quintessential and pivotal role.

"EVERYBODY SAY YEAH! EVERYBODY SAY YEAH!" the crowd echoed frenetically as they leapt into the air in sync with the band member. The ebullient TOMOMI rousing the crowd while MAMI and HARUNA expended every quantum of energy left to play their guitars as best as they could with RINA, drumming home from behind, as buoyant and effervescent as ever.

"One last time! EVERYBODY SAY YEAH!" It was farewell. It was heartfelt gratitude for an amazing night. They loved each other deeply, they hoped to see each other again. They might be reunited in a year, or maybe two, again. No one knows. Only time will tell (and only your support can make it happen). Nonetheless, this was an unforgettable night and wonderful memories were made. Memories that would be cherished and treasured dearly. As TOMOMI tweeted later, "シンガポール公演、一生の思い出になりそうな予感。 (A feeling that the Singapore performance will be a memory of a lifetime)."

SCANDAL was in top form all night, delivering a stupendous performance worthy of a world-class act. The intensity and vivacity of the crowd was a living testament to that. Until we meet again, let this not be the final goodbye.


SCANDAL posing in front of the concert venue the day before the concert

 Time for some thoughts about the concert. Collaborating with me on the concert report this time is Nakitty from Nakitty Channel, a longtime fan of SCANDAL since 2009. Do head over to his blog too.

Nakitty: It’s been quite some time since I’ve last attended a SCANDAL concert. The last one was their concert held in SCAPE around 2-3 years back. I got my first exposure to SCANDAL when I was introduced to their MV way back in 2009. It’s quite new for me to see an all-female group doing rock songs. And they’re musically talented too! The members themselves composed most of the songs, notably their bassist TOMOMI. They pen their own lyrics and also have the looks and charm to boot. They kind of rubbed onto me and got my first taste of their live performance during AFA 2009.


Coming into my first concert and having some knowledge on the team's background, history and songs, I felt that this concert was a pretty excellent one, appealing to both old and new fans alike with a mix of older fan favourites such as "DOLL" and "Shunkan Sentimental", to songs from the new album for the most die-hard fans who listen to every single, be it A-side, B-side or unreleased and even, recent popular singles of last year such as "image" and "Departure". From what I gathered from some of the fans, the setlist for this concert was definitely more balanced compared to that of the ENCORE SHOW concert two years back, which featured many lesser-heard B-side singles. If given a chance, I would definitely return for a Scandal concert again. As I had gushed plenty about OLDCODEX in my previous post on Lantis Festival, rock never dies and J-ROCK is the best there is! Add to that the fact that SCANDAL's girls are alluring and very much likable and we have a clear winner for Best Rock Group here.

A photo posted by SCANDAL (@scandal_band_official) on

Nakitty: For this concert, they played some classics such as Shunkan Sentimental, DOLL and SCANDAL BABY. They included songs from their Hello World album too! A first for this concert was that each member took turns to sing solos. And Rina Suzuki (my own personal fave member!) took a reprieve from the drums and played the guitar! Crowd interaction was there.  DOLL is most fun performance as it's the only one you can twirl your towels in the air. A sea of lightsticks illuminated the venue and fans were notably high on the music being dished out. VIP fans who attended the hi-touch event, gave good response. There's a difference in atmosphere for this concert. Perhaps due to HARUNA interacting with the crowd in English. And during their performance of
Yoake no Ryuuseigun
Yoake no Ryuuseigun
Yoake no Ryuuseigun, fireworks were found shooting in the sky nearby. Though they were very likely fireworks for another event altogether, it does complement the song well.


My sole gripe and what I gathered from several other concertgoers was that the sound system did not do justice to SCANDAL's fantastic performance. Some concertgoers were dissatisfied with the sound system as it was "sub-par for such a world-class venue" and that the sound was too muffled for the song lyrics or MC segments to be heard. In addition, feedback was received that there was poor instrument separation and the guitars, drums and bass could not be distinguished clearly over the speakers. Personally, I felt that the night started off slightly weak, but gained traction as discernible adjustments were made over time. The sound was overly loud and sharp in the early stages, with TOMOMI's naturally high voice approaching ear-piercing levels. As "love in action" played on, the sound quality picked up and I found myself enjoying SCANDAL's performance of "DOLL".

If the technical and perhaps, venue-dependent issue, could be resolved well, the concert would be an impeccably executed and flawless one.

Nakitty: Due to the venue, there was some sound feedback but that did not deter the crowd from enjoying the good music.The only sad part that I’ve still yet to hear them perform Namida No Regret live. But otherwise, the concert is different from the others due to the solos sung.


A photo posted by SCANDAL (@scandal_band_official) on

TOMOMI and MAMI shared most of the vocals for the night. As mentioned earlier, I like how they alternated between HARUNA's smooth vocals and TOMOMI's cuter, sharper vocals. TOMOMI was really happy, smiling, waving, jumping and looking into the crowd all night. I was also perpetually leaping into the air from where I was standing at the back and I wonder if she could see me. I thought she looked in my direction a couple of times. RINA was as cute as ever, playing the drums with her best, it wasn't easy but she sure did a great job. I could not really see MAMI from where I was standing (had to jump to catch a glimpse of her standing at the far right of the stage) but nevertheless, she played the guitar with great finesse and HARUNA was the ever charismatic leader of the group.

A photo posted by SCANDAL (@scandal_band_official) on

Nakitty: Each member has their own charm points. HARUNA (lead guitarist) improved her usage of the English language this time. She still has it in her to rally the crowd around. MAMI (guitarist) has the aura of attraction. She can show off her skills on the guitar! Though there was a part when MAMI forgot part of her lyrics, all is fine as she still can enchant the crowd. Based on accounts from the crowd, Mami was known to be charming during the post-concert Hi-touch event. TOMOMI (bassist) or Timo as her fans affectionately call her, has a unique voice. There was quite a legion of Timo fans too. During the introduction, she greeted the crowd with a tinge of singlish with “thank you lah”. Lastly RINA (drummer), ahhhh she’s such a cutie there. As mentioned earlier, her talents were not just restricted to the drums, she went down to do her solo with the guitar too.


I feel that The Coliseum is an appropriate venue for medium to large standing crowds. Even though I was standing at the back with a few other members of the media, we could still see the girls on stage from a distance and if we wanted an even better view, from an angle as the coliseum is shaped in a circle so no one gets blocked from the back, unlike a typical rectangular/square set-up. It was also sheltered overhead but open at the sides. Wind was blowing in and it felt pretty breezy, chilly and relaxing. Concertgoers could relax at the back if needed and the venue was not hot and stuffy.

As with standing concerts, in order to get the best view, one would have to purchase VIP tickets and get to the venue really early to queue and get front-standing positions. Those who are able to secure them deserve so because admission is strictly and fairly on a first-come-first-serve basis after all. If one is not such a hardcore fan, the middle to even the back rows have a pretty decent view and the tickets are more affordably priced too. It is not bad for trying out or experimenting with bands for the first time and for those who want to have some breathing space.


Looking at past trends, SCANDAL tends to release at least 3 singles and an album per year, with the first single dropping around March to May. With mid-May fast approaching and June around the corner, we should see SCANDAL announcing a new single, their first of 2015 in the coming weeks. The song has reportedly been performed in the Japan leg of their world tour. Do look out for it despite their jam-packed schedule for their 「HELLO WORLD」 World Tour, their heaviest tour to date, having already completed a staggering 31 concerts in Japan and 4 on their world tour with 6 more concerts to go in USA, Taiwan, Mexico and Hong Kong. In fact, I am guessing those lucky fans in the stops after Taiwan will get to hear them perform their new single live.

That sums up XDantheManX Online's coverage of the SCANDAL WORLD TOUR 2015 [HELLO WORLD] in Singapore. Thank you for hanging in there with us. We hope that you have enjoyed reading our coverage and see you again at the next event!


If you haven't heard already, four-time AFA alumnus LiSA will be performing her first solo concert, LiVE is Smile Always on Sat, 18 July at the Resorts World Theatre, Resorts World Sentosa. VIP tickets are sold out but if you haven't grabbed your tickets, CAT 2 tickets are still going for $98.

SCANDAL World Tour 2015 「HELLO WORLD」 in Singapore setlist:

1. love in action
2. サティスファクション
4. 瞬間センチメンタル
6. 下弦の月
7. お願いナビゲーション
8. 本を読む
9. 缶ビール
10. おやすみ
11. Departure
12. 太陽と君が描くSTORY
13. 夜明けの流星群
14. Your song
15. image
16. Rainy

 Pictures Copyright 2015 © Kenneth Lim, SOZO | Japan Music Festival and Mediacorp | Toogle.