The Yellow Monkey recently played two nights at the Tokyo Dome in what was called “Super Big Egg 2017”. Concerts were held on 12/09/2017 and 12/10/2017, and I was able to attend the 12/10 show. Since I didn’t write up anything about the Super Japan Tour concert that I attended in 2016, I absolutely wanted to write something small about my experience at Super Big Egg. Keep in mind that I wasn’t able to take any photos inside of the venue once the band actually came out (this is very much enforced at all Japanese concerts, and there is security constantly looking at the crowd to make sure no one is taking photos.), and specific details are all from memory. The show that I went to was broadcast on Japanese TV, but I haven’t yet been able to obtain a copy of that to refer back to. Also keep in mind that while I only attended one of the two shows, the set lists were nearly identical between both. I’ll point out the minor differences as I go along. Lastly, I was sitting on Heesey’s side (facing the stage, Heesey usually tends to be on the left and Emma on the right) not too terribly far up from the floor level.
This was my first time attending any kind of event at the Tokyo Dome, and it can’t be understated just how big the area around the Dome (a series of shops and restaurants called “Tokyo Dome City”. I had lunch at the Denny’s there) is. Closer to the Dome, the area in which they were selling concert goods was immediately visible. Less expected though were the digital displays outside that would flip between a logo for the event itself and shots of the band, along with a giant board for the event on which fans could grab a marker and write messages.
Inside the Dome itself was a main stage at back, with parts that wrapped around in a circle and extended out toward the majority of the crowd, with a smaller stage at front. On that smaller stage was in fact, an inflatable super big egg! There were also a series of displays in back of the main stage that were all displaying a countdown for the start time of the show, similar to what they did during the Super Japan Tour (2016). These displays are a much more key part of this concert though. Not only did they show larger images of the band like at a normal arena show, but they also showed some sometimes amazing effects both over the top of and in addition to the band, unlike anything I’ve really seen at any concert so far.
Once the timer ticked down, the lights went off and we were shown a video reminding us that Yemon’s last show before they called it quits as a band back in 2001 was in fact at the Tokyo Dome. It had a pretty odd dubstep-y soundtrack to it, and some other weird footage that I can’t quite remember, to act as a sort of intro.
Welcome To My Doghouse
After the intro, Yoshii shouted “Welcome!” just before the aforementioned “super big egg” at the front portion of the stage gave way to the band themselves underneath, going into a song that’s usually reserved for much later in their sets.
Still on the front portion of the stage, they launched right into Pearl. The only notable difference from when they’ve performed this song in the past is that Yoshii was no longer playing the second guitar part in the original recording. It was more in line with the re-recorded version on “The Yellow Monkey Is Here”, which has only one guitar part.
Since this is a new song that came out out this year alongside the “The Yellow Monkey Is Here” collection of re-recorded songs, it definitely wasn’t surprising that it was part of the set. Yoshii’s tambourine was in full force here as well!
Nagekunari Waga Yoru no Fantasy
This was a bit of a surprise, as I don’t even know when the last time they played this song was! It was a single from the “smile” era (1995), and while it was never a big favorite of mine, it was nice to hear it again!
TV no Singer
This was one of the only differences in the set lists from the first night to the second. If you were there on the first night, you got to hear “I Love You Baby” instead. That might have been a bit of a bigger surprise than TV no Singer, but since this is also a very good song I’m not going to complain. This is the first point at which we started to see the effects on the screens in back and to the sides of the band really be utilized. There were images of the band inside of old CRT TVs displayed to the sides of them for this song.
Psychic No. 9
I was thrilled that they chose to play this song! “8” is my favorite album of theirs, and I think it has such a strong set of songs to open the album with. Psychic No. 9 is obviously a big part of that, and it hasn’t really been played since the last time they were at the Tokyo Dome in 2001 (if you don’t count when Yoshii played it as a part of one of his solo tours). Even better is that they went from this directly into…
This is a live staple so it was no surprise it was on the set, but it’s just such a great song live. A sparking electricity effect was used on the displays over the top of the band at this point. Yoshii did his normal feigned collapse onto the stage just before the guitar solo as well!
Also not an uncommon song to be played live, but I was very happy that it was here since they didn’t play it during the Super Japan Tour (2016). There was a bit of prep time before they went into this song, presumably because they needed to move a screen down in front of the band to achieve the absolutely amazing effect that they used for this song. You could barely see the band themselves throughout the song, because the screen in front of them had a sort of swirly lava lamp effect going on. Due to recent events in my life, I’m not ashamed to say I teared up a little bit here.
Pearl Light of Revolution
As has become customary for this song, this is where Yemon brought out the orchestra that they had with them on the upper part of the stage. At the end of the song the band left the stage for a bit while the orchestra continued to play variations on the outro for awhile. Unfortunately this didn’t end up going right into Subjective Late Show, as is sometimes the case.
Since there’s a pretty heavy orchestral presence in the recorded version of this recently released digital single, it made sense that they did this one while they still had the orchestra on stage with them. The multi-colored lighting effects here were particularly amazing, but sort of hard to describe.
Suck Of Life
There were no breaks here for band introductions, nor Yoshii/Emma kissing moments as is sometimes the case with Suck Of Life. The song was just played straight through, but none the less resulted in huge cheers erupting from the crowd once we heard that first bar of the song! I think this is also where the orchestra left the stage, but instead a brass section and two backup singers were brought on stage for much of the rest of the set. To my knowledge Yemon hasn’t used a brass section/additional backup singers since Spring Tour/Mekara Uroko 9 (2000), so this was a real treat!
Barairo no Hibi
Yoshii gave a thank you speech to the crowd as the often used live piano intro to the song played, talking a little bit about the first rock concert that he and Heesey had gone to see at the Tokyo Dome together back when Yemon had first formed. He mentioned that even though they’ve been here once before, it wasn’t any less amazing and how he couldn’t believe they were here for not one but TWO days this time around. Of course he asked the crowd to sing the last part of the chorus before shouting “Beautiful!” and launching into the song proper.
Taiyou ga Moeteiru
For as much as I feel like Yemon doesn’t really benefit too much in general from having a brass section, I do think it livens up this particular song quite a bit. This is the point at which I recall the members making the most use of the wrap around stage, and it continued pretty regularly throughout. I think the displays were showing a fiery effect around the band as well.
Apparently this song did not appear at all on the set list the previous night, and instead they went right into the following song. I clearly picked a good night to go then, since this is one of my favorite songs from Jaguar Hard Pain. I’d never heard this song played with a brass section before either, and I think it really worked!
My Winding Road
Even more than Psychic No. 9, I think this was the most pleasant surprise for me! This song hasn’t been played live since the Punch Drunkard tour (1999), and it’s a favorite of mine. The displays showed a disco ball above the band, and Emma was even at the front of the stage with his glow in the dark guitar for the intro!
Love Love Show
Yet another wonderful surprise, since they didn’t play this during their standard set for the Super Japan Tour (2016)! This song was a real experience here though, since they inflated giant women’s legs to the sides of the displays. What’s more, Yoshii shouted out that this was for “sekaijuu no oneesan” (Girls all over the world), in place of his normal “oneesan” that he speaks at the beginning of the song. At this point, models from all over the world took to the wrap around stage. They would strike and hold poses at various points during the song, “coming to life” as Yoshii would walk by them as he made his way around the stage. He would pose with them, and sometimes even wear their hats. This was probably the most fun moment of the show!
I was skeptical as to whether or not they’d play this, since it their first song during the Super Japan Tour (2016) set list. It was great to hear it with the brass section though!A cameraman with a handheld camera came running up and down the stairs by the aisle during this song, and that footage appeared on one of the displays. Since my brother and I were right on the aisle, we briefly appeared on them as well!
A newer song for Yemon, so it was pretty much expected to be in here. It’s a great live song, as Yoshii gets the crowd going by shouting “soro soro junbi…” and having the crowd shout “alright!” back during the intro.
Since this is usually reserved as a last song of some sort (whether it be before the encore or at the end of it), this wasn’t a surprising place in the set for Jam. It’s always great to hear though!
At this point Yemon left the stage, and while they prepared for the encore we got to see some footage put to their very recently released digital single Horizon. It can be found here on their official youtube channel. Note that this was not actually them playing the song though, it was simply the recorded version.
I believe the orchestra may have been back out at this point, and Yoshii was playing the second guitar part so that they could do the dual lead that acts as the song’s outro. He and Emma were looking at each other with big smiles for that.
Suna no Tou
Another song that made a lot of sense to play while they had the orchestra out with them. Since this song only came out fairly late last year, it’s still a very young song for their catalog and hasn’t been performed live much yet.
For as much as I wish this particular song didn’t get re-recorded for “The Yellow Monkey Is Here” since I think Yoshii’s vocals fall significantly short of what they were originally on Burn, it doesn’t lose anything live at all!
Kanashiki Asian Boy
This was a great way to close out the concert, as this is basically a requirement on any set list of theirs now. All of the staples were here: “The Yellow Monkey” sign coming down (though it was on the displays and not an actual sign descending this time), pyrotechnics just after Yoshii shouts “Yes sir!”, the crowd singing the chorus, Yoshii army crawling across the stage after the guitar solo…
After the final song, the band took one last lap around the wrap around stage together, waving and jumping up in the air in order to get the crowd to do it with them as well. During one particularly long instance of Annie doing it several times, Yoshii jokingly pointed at his watch-less wrist to remind Annie that they were on a schedule.
If I had to compare this concert to the one I went to last year, I would probably put this one slightly above it. It was a very single-centric set compared to last year’s (which is both good and bad), but ultimately I feel like there were way more very pleasant surprises here. Also the experience of seeing them at the Tokyo Dome for the first time almost certainly added to that. I should also point out that it seems like additional efforts were taken to make Annie’s drums and Heesey’s bass even a little bit more audible than they would normally be live, which was an extremely good thing to do. Everyone was great, but I think it allowed the audience to hear just how on point Heesey and Annie were constantly throughout the whole night.