Sakamoto Maaya, Part 2 of 2: Countdown Live 2012-2013 - Tour "Mitsubachi" Final (DVD) Commentary

From the Mitsubachi Diary.

To view Part 1, where I go over the packaging and first press bonus details, click here.

Hi all. Ten billion years (3 months) ago I wrote about Sakamoto Maaya's latest concert DVD release, Countdown Live 2012-2013 - Tour "Mitsubachi" Final. A link to that post is above.

Today I am here to finally share my thoughts on the performances with you.

As much time has passed, I contemplated whether or not there was a purpose to following through with this post. I wrote notes on the performances as I watched the DVD. It seemed appropriate to share what I thought about each performance. But then a month passed, then two and three, and I was stuck wondering what the point was. Who cares what I thought about the performances? The songs are songs we know already, there's nothing new, so why?

Well a friend convinced me to do it anyway (shout out to you dear Maxi) so here it is. But this will be briefer than originally planned because, again, why?

One of the highlights of this DVD for me was the performances of songs that I had yet to hear live by Sakamoto (regardless of whether she has or hasn't indeed performed them earlier in her career). These songs included "Ame Ga Furu," "Spica," "More Than Words," "Praline," "Yasashisa Ni Tsutsumareta Nara," "Mitsubachi To Kagakusha," "Shimashima," "Action," "Nekoze," "Loop," etc., you get the point - there were a lot, which was awesome.

And I just realized my notes on the first third of the DVD are gone. What?

Anyway, I love hearing songs live for the first time, especially songs from Sakamoto's time with Kanno Yoko, like "Bike," "Pilot," and "Shimashima." There's something about seeing songs that have been with you for years finally being performed live. That's what I always look forward to when there is new footage of Sakamoto available.

Then there are the songs that are wrung out for all they're worth, like "Magic Number 123," "Get No Satisfaction," and "Kazemachi Jet." Speaking of which: while I normally don't care for "Magic Number 123," I thought it was neat that they labeled it "~countdown edition" on the DVD track list considering the fact that, in the middle of this 'numerical' song, the countdown to 2013 indeed happens. I like how they stop the song temporarily as the new year approaches, and it's nice to hear Sakamoto so excited for it as she talks, nearly out of breath, to the audience while running around the stage. I also like the transition back into the song. As for "Kazemachi Jet," I have the opposite reaction: I am perplexed by the "~mitsubachi edition" label, as I did not detect anything different about this performance of "Kazemachi Jet" in comparison to all the others. What about it makes it the "mitsubachi edition," aside from the fact that it is part of the "Mitsubachi" tour (in which case, every song is a "mitsubachi edition"...)?

I had quite a few favorite performances on this DVD. I'll give my brief thoughts on them below:

"Bike": So I love "Bike," and I love that it was performed live in this DVD. But I feel so bad to admit that the middle of it had me confused and (initially) slightly disappointed. Sakamoto was singing, and then suddenly her backup vocalists, Kazco and Haruna, were taking over and she was gone. It's because I'm a terrible person and only want what I know and love, and I know and love Sakamoto and bought this DVD to see Sakamoto perform live. Anyway, it became clear that they were having their solos, as eventually did all of the band, while Sakamoto was changing clothes. Now I've come to appreciate that part of the song, because, after all, even though I want to see Sakamoto perform, she is incomplete without an amazing band to bring her music to life.

"Buddy": I think Sakamoto performs this song much better here than during her "In the Silence" tour. Still, I cannot understand why there are always maniacal flashing lights whenever it's performed. In any case, "Buddy" is just one of those songs that's meant to be performed. It has so much energy in it that it's at its best live.

"Mitsubachi To Kagakusha": If I had to pick a favorite performance from this DVD, it may have to be this song. I always liked "Mitsubachi To Kagakusha" - the music and the lyrics - but recorded, it was always slightly flat and therefore not a song I turned (turn) to often. Live, however, it's another story. It's so much catchier and fun to listen to. I especially love the bridge where Sakamoto, Kazco, and Haruna respond vocally to each other.

"Eternal Return": This is one of the songs that I've heard live before thanks to a previous purchase (it was an LE bonus on one of her singles, I think, amongst other live songs), but I'm so glad I got to see it live. "Eternal Return" is one of my favorite songs from Sakamoto's You Can't Catch Me, and it's another song with a lot of energy that's a pleasure to hear (and see) live.

"Dekoboko March": Although "Poketto Wo Kara Ni Shite" was still included near the concert's end, "Dekoboko March" (for short) seemed to take its place as the 'official closing song.' I don't mind, though, because one of the aspects I loved about "Poketto Wo Kara Ni Shite" was Sakamoto's involvement of the audience, and I think "Dekoboko March" carried this purpose through even better. It was great how Sakamoto actually had the audience practice the backup vocals and, once they got it, had them sing with her to the song's end. I've always admired Sakamoto's inclusion of the audience at her performances' end.

Moving on, one of the aspects I was torn about in this tour was the band. "Mitsubachi" was missing a very important part of the band (at least when it comes to Sakamoto's songs): the strings. I feel like the songs (those with strings, anyway) would have been so much more powerful if the string parts were actually performed live, with the drums, bass, piano, guitar, etc. At the same time, though, I felt that the smaller band was, in turn, more intimate, and you could tell that they were all having so much fun performing and interacting with each other through these songs. I remember the adrenaline rush I used to feel during live performances when I was in my high school/college jazz bands - even the small short-lived rock band I was part of. I could see that excitement and energy being shared between Sakamoto and all the members of the band. Music has that impact.

I know I've spoken mostly about the fast-paced, high-energy songs in this post, and there were the exact opposites in both "Saigo No Kajitsu" and "Nekoze," for example, which both featured mainly Sakamoto and the piano (I'm pretty sure the latter was only Sakamoto and the piano, but I forget regarding the former). Truth is, though, with my incomplete notes and it having been three months since I watched the DVD from start to finish, I have to say that those songs just don't stand out to me as much as those which I've discussed in greater detail. I know I enjoyed them, but that's the way it is. When it comes down to it, there are those that stay with us for years, as strong as the first listen, and those that we are happy to have, but that don't captivate us in the long run as much.

Lastly, there's the "Documentary of Live 2012 Tour Mitsubachi." These inclusions are always gems, as it's great to see snippets of the rest of the tour (since we only get to see the final tour date), as well as 'behind the scenes' from throughout the tour. I also love seeing the very end - when Sakamoto and her fellow musicians have finished performing the final tour date that we have on DVD, and celebrate a successful month-long tour.

And that's about it! I really don't feel the need to go into every song I have notes on because, as I've said before, I still wonder the importance of this post, haha. I hope what I have shared was interesting to read, though, and thanks for stopping by! Do feel free to share your own thoughts on parts of Sakamoto's "Mitsubachi" concert in the comments below.

'Til next time. ('<>')>



  1. Excellent review.

    About the Kazemachi Jet- Mitsubachi edition, It's like a shitty small mix like the "1,2,3 mix" in everywhere for Magic Number... It makes no sense.

    But well, anyway I really loved the Saigo no Kajitsu and Bike performances as well as the Yasashisa ni Tsutsumareta Nara and Mitsubachi to Kagakusha, but Buddy, I felt that her microphone was low and the lack of strings for this song was a bit dissapointing...

    Another issue was the band, it was the first time for Maaya to release a DVD with Katsutoshi Kitagawa as the band master and live arrangement (She always released DVDs with Kono Shin) and also there are Live CDs, but the point is, it marks a huge difference between these two arrangers (Kitagawa and Shin), also Mitsubachi is Maaya's longest tour, with 15 dates...

    I really wanted to see the "Roots of SSW" tour, Shin is back as the band master, also there are musicians who peformed the orginal studio versions! It's an important tour to Maaya's career. What a pity.

    Actually, this is the first time I comment LOL.

    1. Maxi!!!! What the hell!!!

      You sound so formal here, like we are simple acquaintances. xD

      ...Which, maybe, we are, But we've spoken a few times now so it's funny reading your comment when I've spoken to you about this. xP Thank you for your written response though (which is both well written and told me some stuff about the "Roots of SSW" tour that I didn't realize - and makes me all the more disappointed that we don't get to see it! ;_;)!

      ~nikki ('<>')>

    2. I'm sorry, I didn't want to be formal, I comment like this, I think it happen when I comment in English, nonono, we're not acquaintances x_x You're my friend ;_;

    3. Don't apologize! I know what you mean. =P CHISTOSO (as I say to my grandmother, 'cheese toast').