I wasn't very happy about the arrangements at the venue for VIP ticket holders either. For a start we were kept waiting till after 6.30 to be let in which meant that inevitably the "meet & greet" would be very rushed. We were herded up to the mezzanine & put in a queue & then led down again like a bunch of school-kids to line up to greet the group who stood behind the crowd-rail, where we were supposed to "hi-touch", pick up our poster & return to the mezzanine - only to be told that it was, in fact, closed, which precipitated an unseemly stampede to be on the first row at the crowd-rail.
I was, however, greatly gratified when my turn came for "hi-touch" that RINA & HARUNA (the first two in the line-up) recognised me immediately, obviously from my appearance in the "HELLO WORLD" Tour Documentary Film DVD, & greeted me very warmly. (I also had many peole, both in the queues outside & inside the venue, who greeted me with "Hey, you're the guy in the SCANDAL DVD".)
Anyway the gig itself got off to a great start, as we all know, with MAMI's sensational "Room No.7" (they should do more of this "free-flowing" instrumental stuff - they are all such competent musicians) & followed with a great repertoire of numbers, mainly from their "YELLOW" album, but they made sure that they catered for the fans of their crowd-response classics by dropping in "DOLL" (get your scarf out!) & "EVERYBODY SAY YEAH" before finishing off the opening session with the remarkable RINA / MAMI composition - "Chiisana Honoo".
The encore was just perfect for me, kicking off with the "Jam Session" (which was clearly developed from the new middle section of ""Shoujo S"), then "Shoujo S" without the new middle section & then the all time classic "must play" "SCANDAL BABY" to bring the show to a sensational end.
They all looked very relaxed & casual, & played in a really smooth & self-confident way, very much a team. I noted that MAMI had far fewer floor-mounted "effector" controls than she has used before - perhaps relying on her skill with her guitars to produce the effects she wants. RINA didn't get much of a look-in (no solo spot for her this time) but you could see that she was working really hard on her drums. Couldn't see much of TOMOMI (except during the "Jam Session") but could see that she was bouncing around as usual, HARUNA's singing was sublime (again as usual) & I just loved her guitar playing in the "Jam Session". I was as close to MAMI as I could get & her performance was, as to be expected, faultless. A classic & memorable performance.
I was a bit disappointed that they didn't play "Heaven na Kibun", especially as HARUNA had said in an interview that it was probably the most important track on the "YELLOW" album - & they seem to have played it at all the venues on the Asian part of their tour but not in any European venues - I wonder why? Maybe next time!