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jb May 28, 2018

Setlist: https://www.setlist.fm/setlist/joe-hisa … d0b53.html
Fairly certain it's the same setlist every night. It's almost the same setlist as the 2017 Paris show (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yKSd-4f5kwg) with a few changes -- they added "The Eternal Tree of Life" to the Laputa suite and Mai Fujisawa doesn't come out to sing the The Distant Days, they just let the chorus do it. She was the original singer on that song, when she was 4.

They ended up adding 3 more shows (Sunday 2p/Sunday 7p/Monday 2p) after the first two sold out. All 5 shows ended up selling out.

Not very good at writing full blown reviews so here are just some thoughts I had:

Positive thoughts:

- Setlist was overall very, very strong and cohesive (naturally, since the focus was entirely on Ghibli works). Much more cohesive than the 2011 La Zenith concert in Paris, which featured general Hisaishi works.  The Nausicaä suite was by far my favorite.
- Both vocalists were very good. Lisa Vroman, a soprano opera singer, sang the Princess Mononoke vocal song and Mother of the Sea from Ponyo, both in Japanese. Mai Fujisawa (Hisaishi's daughter) sang Reprise (Reprise + Futatabi vocal from the Joe Hisaishi in Budokan BD) from Spirited Away. They both sang together for two Totoro songs.
- The Laputa suite was performed by a local high school marching band and they came down the sides of the theater and filled in the rows, was a really unique experience.
- The jazz/brass performance of Bygone days was done really well, with 8 or 9 musicians coming back on stage after the Laputa suite finished to do this one song, then the rest of the orchestra came in after it was over.
- Getting to see Madness performed live

Negative thoughts:

- The first night had a lot of stage miscues. There was some confusion for the Laputa suite where the orchestra is supposed to exit the stage and the high school marching band is supposed to come in and do the Laputa suite but half the orchestra left and some stayed behind cause they didn't really look like they knew what was going on. There was no intermission and the house lights came on at this point and it was just a little bit of mayhem until it got sorted out. There was also a bit of difficulty the first night with the high school marching band playing a bit too loud and Hisaishi trying to get them to play a little softer, I think. All of this was largely corrected for the second night and presumably the subsequent performances.
- They had a solo mandolin player come out to play the Wind Rises songs and it didn't sound good the first night. I don't know if it was technical, the instrument, or the performer, but it was also corrected the second night.
- They used the English version of Sanpo from My Neighbor Totoro, which I didn't even know existed until then (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pFf-_yg6xwg). The general reaction from the crowd was similar. The Japanese version would have been much more appropriate, I don't know why they chose to go with the English version, especially when they had done previous songs in Japanese.
- The Spirited Away suite was sorely lacking and I wished they had added The Sixth Station/The Dragon Boy. Only playing One Summer's Day and the Reprise with vocals was a bummer.
- The venue itself was somewhat small but not sure this is really a negative. I'm sure it was just a case of this is what they had to work with and they made it work. I'm just much more used to the east coast halls like Carnegie Hall/Radio City Music Hall and was a little taken aback at first.


Overall, really enjoyed both performances and was glad I got a chance to see him perform again. big_smile

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