Tanasonic’s lucky number

Tanabata is the Japanese star festival happening every year on July 7. For some reason Yoko Kanno chose this date for her biggest live ever to celebrate her composer carrier 15th anniversary in the anime industry. She played with the number 7 a lot; the date, the ticket price, the start hour… So now it’s my turn to play as well, writing this article exactly 7 years after it happened!

Tanasonic, aka the Super Dimensional Tanabata Sonic (超時空七夕ソニック), happened on July 7, 2009, in Saitama, 1 hour north of Tokyo. It took place in Saitama Super Arena and was a mindblowing 3 hours long concert hosted by Yoko Kanno, along with the Seatbelts, Maaya Sakamoto, Origa, Yamane Mai, Steve Conte, Scott Matthew, May’n, Megumi Nakajima, the choir Gey’s Ax and the full Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra. Did you get why “Super Dimensional” now?

Review

7:00pm ~ Opening

Once the lights were turned off, after a brief introduction on Early Bird, the main projection screen displayed the main anime Yoko Kanno worked on :
– Vision of Escaflowne, on Flying Dragon
– Cowboy Bebop on Tank!
– Brain Powerd, on Ark
– ∀ Gundam, on Moon
– Arjuna, on Awakening
– Wolf’s Rain, on shiro, long tail’s
– Ghost in the Shell Stand Alone Complex, on rise
– Ghost in the Shell Stand Alone Complex 2, on TORUKIA
– Genesis of Aquarion, on Aquarius
– Macross Frontier, on Triangler (fight on stage)
Then, another video showed a spaceship heading to the Earth, along with some spotlight play, until the lights turned on and showed Yoko Kanno’s musicians on stage.

Megumi Nakajima. Origa and May'n during the rehearsals (photo: Steve Conte)
Megumi Nakajima. Origa and May’n during the rehearsals (photo: Steve Conte)

7:08pm ~ The 5 female vocalists

At first, a TORUKIA recording was played, but each recorded instrument was progressively replaced by its live version. After 2 minutes, the Gabriela Robin chorus was sung by the 5 female vocalists who just appeared immobile at the end of the stage. Each vocalist was dressed in her own style, May’n’s outfit was a very shiny blue dress. Then another 2 minutes later Yoko Kanno and her two pianos -a red grand piano and an electric one on top of the red one- appeared on the center of the stage from a lift. She was dressed in the same red leather outfit she wore during the Cowboy Bebop concert. The vocalists walked slowly from the end of the stage to some spots around the piano and the next song began.

rise @Tanasonic (bootleg)

Origa made a few steps toward the stage and sang inner universe with Maaya who performed the Benedict Del Maestro part. Origa came back to her initial spot and May’n and Megumi came towards to sing Lion. There seemed to be a lot of Macross Frontier fans in the crowd who were yelling “Yay! yay!” during the introduction and the middle bridge of the song. Ah, otakus…
After that, Origa performed player, Maaya performing the backing voice. However the Heartsdales’ rap was replaced by a crowd warm-up by Yamane May in English.
Mai Yamane stepped toward the stage, and the 4 other vocalists lined up behind her to back her up on Want it all back. The Seatbelts Horns made an appearance during this song and the next one: What planet is this?! where Mai Yamane joined the 4 vocalists line.
Finally, the vocalists came again to their initial spots around the piano and performed the main chorus of Chikyuu Koumei.
Then everyone disappeared except Yoko Kanno.

Yoko Kanno and the female vocalists
Yoko Kanno and the female vocalists

7:40pm ~ Yoko Kanno’s Solo

She first performed Shichigatsu no Rakuen ~Extra thanks~, a piano solo medley of Rakuen and Innocence Green. An alternative and shorter version of this music was released in the brochure sold in the concert brochure among the concert goodies.
Then, two female dancers appeared both dressed up in a yellow chick outfit and did some choreography on a piano and strings version of Tachikoma no Iedashi. The strings players were not visible. Near the end, the two chicks tried to disturb Yoko Kanno by pushing some very high keys on the piano and then some low keys. Yoko Kanno tried to make them leave by playing only in the low range of the piano and in a stronger way, but she finally stood up to join Yoshiyuki Tomino and Shoji Kawamori toward the scene. Together they performed the original version of Hatodokei.
The two directors left and a male dancer dressed in a black cat outfit appeared on Cat Blues and altogether they performed a curious choreography.

Yoko Kanno and Steve Conte during the rehearsals (photo: Steve Conte)
Yoko Kanno and Steve Conte during the rehearsals (photo: Steve Conte)

7:52pm ~ Scott Matthews

Everyone left and Scott Matthews appeared toward the scene from another lift, and performed the original version of be human.

Steve Conte and Scott Matthew (photo: Steve Conte)
Steve Conte and Scott Matthew (photo: Steve Conte)

7:56pm ~ Macross Frontier triangle

The lights turned off to allow Maaya to position herself at the end of the stage, Megumi on the right and May’n on the left. Everyone turned to the center to the stage where Yoko Kanno was sitting at her piano. Some birds noises started and Maaya performed a slow and a capella version of tune the rainbow.
Then Megumi performed VOICES in a version slightly different from the original where the music notes were all higher. Maaya did some echo voices during this performance.
Finally, May’n performed a different arranged version of Diamond Crevasse, very close to the one performed during the Macross Frontier Galaxy Tour concert but with a full orchestra this time.

VOICES @Tanasonic (bootleg)

8:10pm ~ Gravity

May’n and Megumi left the stage, Maaya stayed at the end of the stage and performed the original version of gravity. The instrumentation sounded exactly like the CD version!

May'n, Steve Conte and Megumi Nakajima (photo: Steve Conte)
May’n, Steve Conte and Megumi Nakajima (photo: Steve Conte)

8:14pm ~ Steve Conte

Steve Conte appeared toward the stage and performed the original version of THE GARDEN OF EVERYTHING with Maaya.
Then Maaya left, a guitar was lifted up and he performed Could you bite the hand alone.
Finally, he performed the original version of Call me Call me.

Yoko Kanno and Steve Conte (photo: Steve Conte)
Yoko Kanno and Steve Conte (photo: Steve Conte)

8:27pm ~ The Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra

Steve Conte left the stage and Maaya came toward the piano and began singing Yakusoku wa Iranai with Yoko Kanno playing the piano. Then the original version was performed but at the middle, just before the bagpipes bridge, Yoko Kanno ran to the end of the stage, Maaya behaving as she didn’t expect her to do that, and the big black curtains opened to reveal the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra. Yoko conducted the orchestra who played a different version of the song bridge and then they finished the song with Maaya.

8:31pm ~ Macross Frontier

May’n and Megumi returned and May’n performed Iteza☆Gogo Ku Ji Don’t be late. Then Megumi did a brief Ranka Lee speech, but she was still calling her partner May’n, and she performed Seikan Kuukou as May’n left.

Maaya Sakamoto and Steve Conte (photo: Steve Conte)
Maaya Sakamoto and Steve Conte (photo: Steve Conte)

8:41pm ~ Medley

The medley began with only May’n at the end of the stage performing an original version of Genesis of Aquarion along with the chorus Gey’s Ax. She asked the crowd to sing the chorus with her “Ichi mai nen to ni sen nen mae kara aishiteru” (一万年と二千年前から愛してる) together.
Then Megumi appeared on the What ’bout my star intro, May’n introduced her, and they performed the song together. It sounded a little like in the Nyan Nyan Service Medley because Megumi sung some Ai o Oboeteimasuka lyrics and May’n sung some Watashi no Kare wa PAIROTTO lyrics still on the What ’bout my star music. Then they performed the Welcome to My FanClub’s Night refrain together.
But suddenly, the introduction of Platinum was sung by Maaya who appeared at the end of the stage in a pretty colorful dress, while May’n and Megumi left the stage. Maaya sung the song first couplet and the bridge.

ELM @Tanasonic (bootleg)

Then she went toward the stage to join Origa who just appeared and they performed rise together. The end of the song transformed itself into Infinity where May’n and Megumi returned to perform a short version of that song while Maaya and Origa left. But Maaya quicky returned to perform Hemisphere, while the Macross vocalists were leaving the stage again. At the end of the song, the music of BEAUTY IS WITHIN US began, Maaya left and Scott Matthew arrived and performed the song.
After that, Origa appeared again to perform a guitar version of ELM backed up by Scott Matthew.
Then, the introduction chorus of Kiseki no Umi was played during about 5 seconds only, everyone left quickly and then an orchestral version of After, in the dark was performed by the orchestra.
Steve Conte returned to perform the first verse of Rain, then Mai arrived and performed the second verse with him.

Yubiwa @Tanasonic (bootleg)

After that, Megumi and May’n returned and Megumi performed Aoi no Ether with May’n with Yoko on the piano. May’n sung some Diamond Crevasse lyrics at the end of this song on the same Aoi no Ether melody.
Then Mai and Steve Conte returned and performed a special version of Gotta knock a little harder. At the end, the music suddenly turned into Yubiwa performed by Maaya. At the end of the song, Mai returned to perform The real folk blues. Everyone returned and each vocalist introduced the vocalist next to him/her starting from Mai. Finally, she introduced Yoko Kanno and the Seatbelts.

Maaya and Mai's outfits during the medley (photo: Steve Conte)
Maaya and Mai’s outfits during the medley (photo: Steve Conte)

9:07pm ~ Philharmonic Blue

Maaya appeared toward the stage and sung the introduction chorus of Blue initially performed by Gabriela Robin. Then Mai appeared at the end of the stage and performed the song in its original version until the electric guitar the the drums stopped near the end and let the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra continue with a special and stunning strings arrangement, conducted by Yoko Kanno, with Mai performing some humming vocals. This extended version lasted more than 8 minutes. Then Mai ended the song with the final lyrics: “Everything is clear now, life is just a dream you now, that’s never ending, we’re ascending”, while the orchestra strings were fading out.

Blue @Tanasonic (bootleg)

9:16pm ~ Encore

After a long 1-minute acclamation, the Seatbelts horns returned and performed Yo pumpkin head, while Yoko Kanno, dressed in a yellow chick outfit, danced with the male dancer dressed in a black suit. Then Tim Jensen appeared and performed Tank!, with Masato Honda who did an awesome sax solo.

Yoko Kanno dancing in a chick outfit during the rehearsals of Yo Pumpkin Head (photo: Steve Conte)
Yoko Kanno dancing in a chick outfit during the rehearsals of Yo Pumpkin Head (photo: Steve Conte)

9:23pm ~ Orchestra Medley

The thunder noise came along Gey’s Ax’s performance of Escaflowne, and then the orchestra performed the original versions of Willgem Ririku, Flying Dragon, High Spirit, DANCE OF CURSE with Gey’s Ax, Shiro, Long Tail’s, Dog Fight and the Escaflowne song was performed again. While the medley could have been thought to be finished, an almost full version of Story of Escaflowne ~ END TITLE ended that medley.

The Seatbelts
The Seatbelts

9:41pm ~ Yoko Kanno’s speech and the duck noise

The orchestra and Gey’s Ax performed SMS Shotai no Uta while everyone returned on stage in a single queue, then Yoko Kanno introduced herself, spoke a little about the spaceship and then thanked the public. Then she thanked Steve Conte and Scott Matthews in English and the orchestra in Polish. Finally she thanked the Seatbelts and the public again.

Tank! @Tanasonic (bootleg)

Then she talked to Megumi who performed a rather curious version of Anata no Oto: Yoko Kanno first played the bandoneon with her music members, and after having sung “Anato no Oto… Dokun dokun dokun” (You makes a sound like… Dokun dokun dokun) with everyone, they changed the lyrics to: “Ahiru no oto…” (The sound of the duck is…) and Yoko Kanno squeezed her yellow duck (the one sold among the concert goodies) instead of the “dokun dokun dokun”, and every crowd duck joined Yoko. Then finally, Yoko jumped and squashed her duck against the floor at the very end, which resulted in a very strange and hilarious noise.

Anata no Oto @Tanasonic (bootleg)

9:50pm ~ Gabriela Robin

Everyone left except Yoko who came back to her red grand piano, and performed a piano version of the End Title Nostalgia introduction. Then the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra played the next part and she conducted it.
After that, she turned back to the public, and stayed still until the music of Moon began, and Yoko Kanno, as Gabriela Robin, sang the song in an absolutely moving version. She was progressively joined with the Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra and then with Gey’s Ax, as she was singing louder and louder and was holding some notes for a very long moment. Then everyone disappeared, and the concert was ended.

Moon @Tanasonic (bootleg)

More details

Setlist

The following setlist is more detailed than the one published in the brochure which wasn’t describing the Encore and the performers.

– 01. TORUKIA
Vocalists: May’n, Megumi, Origa, Maaya & Mai
– 02. inner universe
Vocalists: Origa with Maaya
– 03. LION
Vocalists: May’n & Megumi
– 04. player
Vocalists: Origa with Maaya & Mai
– 05. Want it all back
Vocalists: Mai with May’n, Megumi, Origa & Maaya
– 06. What planet is this?!
Vocalists: May’n, Megumi, Origa, Maaya & Mai
– 07. Chikyu Kyomei
Vocalists: May’n, Megumi, Origa, Maaya & Mai
– 08. Shichigatsu no Rakuen ~Extra thanks~ (piano solo)
– 09. TACHIKOMI no Iedashi
– 10. Hatodokei
– 11. Cat Blues
– 12. be human
Vocalists: Scott Matthew
– 13. tune the rainbow (a capella)
Vocalists: Maaya
– 14. VOICES
Vocalists: Megumi with Maaya
– 15. Diamond Crevasse
Vocalists: May’n
– 16. gravity
Vocalists: Maaya with May’n & Megumi
– 17. THE GARDEN OF EVERYTHING
Vocalists: Maaya & Steve
– 18. Could you bite the hand
Vocalists: Steve
– 19. Call me Call me
Vocalists: Steve
– 20. Yakusoku wa Iranai
Vocalists: Maaya
– 21. Iteza☆Gogo Ku Ji Don’t be late
Vocalists: May’n with Megumi
– 22. Seikan Kuukou
Vocalists: Megumi with May’n
– 23. Medley (Genesis of Aquarion, What ’bout my star, Welcome to My FanClub’s Night, Platinum, rise, Infinity, Hemisphere, BEAUTY IS WITHIN US, ELM, Kiseki no Umi, After, in the dark, Rain, Aoi no Ether, Gotta knock a little harder, Yubiwa, The real folk blues)
Vocalists: May’n, Megumi, Origa, Maaya & Mai, Scott, Steve
– 24. Blue
Vocalists: Mai with Maaya
– 25. Yo pumpkin head
– 26. Tank!
Vocalists: Tim Jensen
– 27. Orchestra Medley (Escaflowne, Willgem Ririku, Flying Dragon, High Spirit, DANCE OF CURSE, Shiro, Long Tail’s, Dog fight, Escaflowne, Story of Escaflowne ~ END TITLE)
– 28. SMS Shotai no Uta
– 27. Anata no Oto
Vocalists: Megumi
– 28. End Title Nostalgia
– 29. MOON
Vocalists:
Gabriela Robin

Performers

Conductor, piano, keyboards: Yoko Kanno

Drums: Yasuo Sano
Bass: Suzuki Vagabond
Guitar: Tsuneo Imahori
Percussion: MATARO
Synthesizer manipulation: Shunsuke Sakamoto
Trumpets: (Seatbelts Horns)
Trombones and Bass Trombone: (Seatbelts Horns)
Bariton and Tenor Saxs: (Seatbelts Horns)
Alto Sax, Flute: Masato Honda (Seatbelts Horns)
Violin: Masatsugu Shinozaki
Cello: Masami Horisawa

Orchestra: Warsaw Philharmonic Orchestra

Chorus: Gey’s Ax

Vocalists:
May’n
Megumi Nakajima
Maaya Sakamoto
Origa
Scott Matthew
Steve Conte
Mai Yamane
Tim Jensen (the “cheer guy” as written in the brochure sold the day of the concert)

Trivia

Entrance time: 6:00pm
Start time: 7:00pm
Ticket price: ¥7777
Full subtitle: “Super Dimensional Star Festival Sonic” ~Next Performance is planned on the 22nd Century~ (「超時空七夕ソニック」~次回公演は22世紀を予定しております。~)

Official website

The official website opened on April 2, 2009, showing the earth from space, with a big yellow chick foot mark on it. It used to contain many information such as a QA and video links, but today the links are dead and redirect to the Victor website. The remaining message is: “Well then, let’s meet again in the 22nd century!” (それでは22世紀にお会いしましょう。)
The website played with the location coordinates, but there was a mistake at first, which was then corrected: 25°40’N + 139°46’E was changed into 35°40’N + 139°46’E which indicates Saitama Super Arena in Tokyo.

Announcements

The first announcement was made at the TAF2009 (Tokyo International Anime Fair 2009) on March 18~21, 2009. Although Yoko Kanno didn’t attend that event due to some recording for NHK, a representative from Flying Dog filled in for her to accept the award, and announced that she will have an anime compilation concert on July 7, 2009.

Then, an official Victor Entertainment website about the concert opened on April 2, 2009.

A video of Yoko Kanno making a presentation with Tim Jensen was posted on the Pia ticket payment website on May 8, 2009. She presents the concert dates and location and introduces the attending performers. May’n makes also an appearance on that video. They finished the video by saying “Lucky” (ラッキー) altogether, making reference to the concert date and ticket price (7 everywhere).

Steve Conte first announced himself his participation on his Twitter on April 21, 2009: “I’m booking my flight to Tokyo this summer to play & sing as a featured performer w/ Yoko Kanno on her anniversary concert – a stadium show!”. The participation of Steve Conte was then officially announced on the concert official website on May 12, 2009.

Finally, another video of Yoko Kanno was published on the Victor website on June 5, 2009, with a concert commercial.

However, most of the links above have been deleted after the concert.

Goodies

The following goods were sold on June 6, 2009 from 2:00pm to 7:00pm for the persons having a concert ticket:
– 32 color pages brochure + Shichigatsu no Rakuen ~Extra thanks~ CD bonus:
– Performers presentation, pictures and short interviews
– Yoshiyuki Tomino 1 page monologue
– Rehearsals pictures
– Gabriela Robin’s interview
– Q&A
– Stickers
– Concert staff
– Concert setlist
– T-Shirt
– Poster
– “Hiyoko Relief Goods” set containing a towel, a goods bag and a rubber duck

After the concert, everything was already sold, the only goodies left were Space Bio Charge albums.

DVD / BluRay

Official announcements made it clear very early that there was no plan of releasing any DVD / BluRay.

First, Yoko Kanno was a guest on J-WAVE radio program PLATOn on June 1, 2009 at 10:00pm, on a topic entitled “Music as job” (音楽のお仕事). Near the ending of the program, she said “There are no plans of releasing a DVD, so be sure to come to the concert”.

Then, a QA page opened on June 5, 2009 on the Seatbelts website, containing the following points :

Q8. Releasing a Live DVD is commonsensical, surely you know this? (37 years old, Industry Insider)
(D)omestic (V)iolence (D)on’t. (Commanding Officer)
It is excessively difficult to thoroughly achieve a recording of the full live, we’re terribly sorry, but right now there won’t be a product to be released. To begin with, there is no recording. By all means, please be a witness to this great event in this century. (Staff Officer)
Q9. I also applied for a ticket but I didn’t get in!! What is this!! (angry) I write in seriousness, and you should read in seriousness!! (Age unknown, Kanno Yoko)
You’re not the only one who didn’t get in… (Commanding Officer)
The anticipated number was exceeded in the pre-sales as a great number of applications were received, as a result, I’m afraid to say that in the lottery, it seems that many did not get in. There will be a chance to obtain tickets in the future. Certainly, please don’t give up your application. I am looking forward to meeting you in the assembly hall. [sales info here] (Staff Officer)

But at the end, in the concert brochure QA, the final question was something like “I don’t think I will still be alive to meet the Seatbelts again in the 22nd century, how can I do?” and the commanding officer, which is actually Yoko Kanno, answers that “The people who attended the concert will have a long life, and anyway, don’t forget that I’m a liar”. Does that stand also for the rest?

Today, 7 years later, all that’s left is some bootlegs, but who knows what might happen in 2019 for her 25th anime music composer carrier anniversary?

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