For ages one of the ladies in my taiko group had been inviting me to join her at one of her ‘SEAMO Days’. Her favorite musical group is this rapper named SEAMO and she travels all over this side of the country to see him perform. One would think that seeing a performer once a year or so would suffice, but she drags her kids and husband to the shows about 10 times a year hoping to quench an insatiable thirst for his music entertainment. Long ago over my first weekend of this teaching gig, I saw some shows at a large outdoor festival. Those were mostly international acts and have a completely different feel than these smaller Japanese shows, and were big reason why I really wanted to go check it out.
I put out a line to see if anyone else wanted to join in on the fun. I got a few bites, but in the end only Lorianne was willing and able to join me. Together we walked over to Takamatsu Olive Hall for our late afternoon show. We arrived right on time which meant that we had to stand in the back of the room. This was just fine for a couple of observers, though we had to share the space with a number of unlikely attendees who seemed as if to crawl out of the oddest societal crannies. Just as soon as we had gotten in and taken our places the lights were blacked and the show was underway. There was no opening act which was nice and efficient. I was a bit annoyed at how taking photos are prohibited at Japanese shows, and especially at how people foolishly abide by such a pointless rule.
Here he was in his money suit. He explained that cash was the theme of this tour, shortly before it rained down from the ceiling.
One of the unique components of the stage design was a large wheel that would be spun at the end of each song. The number that it landed on correlated to the number of spaces that he would move along on a virtual board. Each square that he landed on had an activity, with the completion bankrolling more meaningless money. This random aspect brought some spontaneity to it all, since every performance would be a little bit different. Rather amusingly, the first two times that he spun the wheel, he was required to redo the first song twice. On his third time through he seemed really bored of it and then fast forwarded to the end.
Here you can see the wheel of chance.
One of the highlights that had Lorianne and I in utter disbelief was a crowd activity where we had to bounce inflated Dragon Balls up onto the stage. Once all six were gathered there and combined with the one he produced from his pants, he was able to summon Shenron for his wish. Of course, if you don’t understand any of what I am describing I apologize, for this will only continue to make no sense.
For his wish, he asked for a synthesis of his trademark [long-nosed] tengu mask and Shenron himself! For this, he ran off stage while the backup dancers occupied our attention and the lights flashed. When he reemerged, he was wearing something akin to a speedo with the elongated Shenron/tengu combination mask affixed rather provocatively to his waist. The crowd loved it, though the two of us were nearly in shock. Was this real life? The backup dancers too ran off and back on stage and together with SEAMO formed a long dragon costume that slithered around and shot silly string at the crowed. This bit of absurdity was no doubt the most memorable of the whole show.
Imagine a combination of these three elements…
One other thing that I picked up on was how ubiquitous his merchandise was among the fans. Beyond the concert Ts, everyone had bracelets and towels to show their loyal devotion with. Not only did the true fan have all of these items, but they knew at which points of songs they were meant to be flourished about. The Japanese concertgoer is more devout of their favorite performers than in other parts of the world and to see it like this was absolutely proof of that.
Overall, we both had a great time and a lot of laughs. Neither of us really knew what to expect from the show and despite not knowing any of the music were able to walk away with another unique cultural experience under our belts. Not sure if I will need to do another of these any time soon, but I suppose if the right act were to come to town it might happen.