When dreams come true, there’s always a sensation of unreality, the feeling that everything you do and see islike a dream; It’s like floating in the air. But once the reality hits you right in the face, you finally understand that what you’re living is anything but a dream, and that’s when happiness takes the place and joy becomes uncontrollable.
That’s the sensation I felt while going out of the Oberkampf station, just a hundred metres away from Le Bataclan, in the middle ofthe beautiful city of Paris, where the night will be set on fire by three beautiful japanese girls, better known as the best and most succesful Japanese techno-pop group ever: Perfume.
It’s barely 11am when I arrive in front of the venue, but there are already about thirty or more fans waiting in line, who literally slept on the floor to gain the so desired first row. I start wandering around, between the still pretty short queue and the Bataclan Café, talking to some fans who confirm that the Perfume staff arrived just an hour before, carrying all the equipment needed for the show inside the venue. Dragged by curiosity, I (kinda) sneak in front of the venue and try to see something inside: Technicians are testing the lights, and I feel like a huge internal goosebump… but no sign of the girls yet.
Walking back, I take my position in the queue, and in just minutes all the guys that the night before I had the pleasure to know at the restaurant (You’ll see everything in my upcoming video report) finally arrive. Being in queue for like 10 hours would usually be the most boring thing ever, but when you’re queueing for a Perfume show and hundreds of Perfume fans are around you, it’s basically impossible to get tired: You’d just want your life to be like this forever. Talking about Perfume, passions, life, and everything that’s positive and funny, listening to their songs on the phones (or T-shirts with speakers), and just having a good time. More people join and take pics together, and the circle gets bigger and bigger: More and more fans know each other and talk about their love for Perfume, how they discovered them, and what this special group means for them.
Suddenly, while talking with other fans and waiting in line, I see a japanese woman with short red hair and a cute face hiding at the entrance of a closed shop just near us: She’s at the phone, holding some papers and nervously looking at the queue, clearly looking for someone or something. Then I realize: It’s MIKIKO-sensei, Perfume’s choreographer, and one, if not THE, most important member of the Perfume family, following our beloved girls since their beginning in Hiroshima. I can’t even believe at what I’m seeing! The temptation to go there and congratulate to her is enormous, but since she looks very busy, I just decide to not move a single muscle, and she finally walks in front of me to reach the venue with a member of the Perfume staff (probably the guy she was looking for).
After this little but intense moment, I finally go back to my queue, that begins to get longer: It’s not even 1pm, but many other fans joined the line, and I can see with great pleasure how there are fans from all over Europe… and Asia! I get the pleasure to know more of them, some from Portugal, Spain, Germany, Italy, and even Hong Kong and Japan!
It’s around 2:30pm, and during the afternoon the biggest part of the fans is expected to arrive, but here’s when we get the chance tosee Perfume for the very first time!
I’m eating Pizza and drinking Orangina (some kind of wonderful orange juice) while sitting on the street talking about Yasutaka Nakata, when all of a sudden many fans from the first part of the queue suddenly stand up and run at the corner of the Bataclan Cafè, looking at the road just beside the venue. I run like hell with all other fans to see what’s going on, and the first thing I see once I turn the corner is a guy of the security in the middle of the street posing like a Gargoyle, and in the background a blac little Van: The girls finally arrived at the venue!
The atmosphere gets super hot: We all start to scream the girls’ name, and after five minutes, the girls finally get off the car. We can’t see A-chan, barely seen Nocchi’s hair, but Kashiyuka is clearly visible and waves at us smiling as we scream her name out loud. The feeling of finally seeing them live, even though pretty far, is incredible, something comparable to a vision of heaven. Useless to say, the only thing you could hear on the street for an hour was “They’re so cute!”… No joke!
It’s 4pm, and the situation gets hotter with minutes. The queue is incredibly long, it reaches the end of the street and continues around the corner. I walk all the way to the end of the queue, and all I can see is smiles and frantic excitement. More friends join us in the queue: There aren’t many cosplayers, almost no one, but many fans are blasting Perfume songs on their phones and are dancing on the street, showing some pretty impressive skills! Someone else (including me) is eating Puré Gummies that just come out from nowhere, while posing and taking pics as we have one of the best times of our lives. I’m not even exaggerating when I say that being in queue with these awesome Perfume friends is almost funny as the show itself!
In the meanwhile, some members of the Perfume Staff and Japanese TV reporters are recording all the people in queue, interviewing many excited fans. “Oh my God, are we going to be seen on Japanese TV? Can you imagine that?”. To me, everyone should really see the fun and the great feeling we all had during this day, so I hope they will broadcast as more footage as possible!
It’s 6:30pm, just an hour from the opening of the venue. A couple of shops just near the venue start to play Perfume PVs and live performances on their TVs, and many fans gather to sing and dance to the most successful Perfume songs… until the moment finally arrives. The queue starts to get compressed, and fans slowly begin to enter in the venue: After fifteen minutes or so, I finally enter at Le Bataclan. I show my almost destroyed ticket at the guy at the entrance, and run inside.
Le Bataclan is a pretty small venue, but very nice looking, composed by the central main floor and two balconies for a panoramic view of the show, for a maximum capacity of 1.700 people.
I don’t want to miss the chance to get some merchandise, so I rush to get a couple of T-shirts and a towel and reach the guys near the front row: Even though I’ve lost some time buying the merchandise, I still made it to the third row central view, a pretty nice point of view and very close to the stage. In about half an hour, Le Bataclan is finally completely full of screaming fans waiting for their favorite group to make its entrance on the stage: The lights turn off, Le Bataclan explodes in screams of joy, and the show begins.
Even though the presence of Daito Manabe walking around the venue was already suspicious, I would have never imagined to see the wonderful and epic performance of Spending all my Time (Extended Mix) featuring the Holographic projection made by theRhizomatiks genious live. It’s something you’ve never seen and that you’ll never see anywhere else if not in a Perfume show, and believe me, this performance alone is worth the price of the entire travel and concert ticket. The audience explodes as the bass drops, and seeing the girls so close to us gives an incredible feeling: After years of DVDs and concerts behind a screen, finally they’re in front of us in all their beauty. This is an unexplainable sensation, and it’s necessary to live it in first person to understand.
The epic performance that made the Cannes Lions event so special ends, the girls take off their holographic dresses, and immediatelyMagic of Love begins, and that’s when all the audience go crazy and start to jump at the rythm of the latest successful Perfume single. Not even the time to breath that Laser Beam explodes in all its greatness, and it’s a festival of lights and effects in all the venue, filled with fans extremely pumped and in ecstasy, blinded by lasers that seem shot directly by the girls, dancing and smiling in front of us. Legendary masterpiece Polyrythm closes this first part of the setlist, extremely concentrated with some of the most successful pieces of Perfume’s discography: Finally, the girls relax and stop dancing to get ready to introduce themselves to the already exhausted, but extremely happy audience.
Je suis Kashiyuka, Je suis A-chan, Je suis Nocchi…
Nous sommes, Perfume!
Hearing them speaking in French is probably the cutest things ever, and they speak it so well even if just a little bit! The audience is unstoppable, screaming the members’ name out loud, and the happiness in the faces of the girls in front of such a warm and excited welcome is evident. After talking a little bit, A-chan goes in the backstage for a short moment, while Kashiyuka and Nocchi remain on the stage talking with us (In japanese). Nocchi plays with Kashiyuka’s hair a little bit, which never fails to be perfect, acting funny as usual, until A-chan comes back on the stage and joins the fun again. The atmosphere between the girls is extremely relaxed, they don’t look nervous at all, and they’re in complete harmony with the audience that just can’t stop cheering them.
After a 15 minutes (or maybe a little more) MC, perfect to gain back some air and relax our legs that never stopped jumping, the tracklist continues with one of the best hits of the LEVEL3 era, which is Spring of Life, followed immediately by the very first touching song of the show, and also one of the best Perfume B-sides ever: The beautiful SEVENTH HEAVEN. Hard to hold the tears in front of such joy for both eyes and ears: The girls dance like angels in the light, smiling at the joyful sound of this love song, and it’s totally a Seventh Heaven vision. The next song is the wonderful Spice, one of the most appreciated A-sides of the JPN era, in all its synchronicity and revolutionary/fresh sound.
The girls leave the stage, and suddenly the Handy Man instrumental starts blasting the speakers of the venue, and a video interludeappears in the stage screen: Everyone takes the time to drink a little bit of water and breath properly, except for me, still jumping and screaming like an idiot to the instrumental of one of my favorite Perfume songs of this era. The video clearly reminds the style of the Triangle Tour introduction, with pics of the girls looking like absolute and beautiful divas (they can totally do it) and nice effects.
This enjoyable and very well made video interlude finishes as the last note of Handy Man resonates in the venue, and immediately the girls appear on the stage as Daijobanai begins: I’ve never been a great fan of the Mirai no Museum single in general, but hey, this song live is a total BLAST! I immediately find myself singing (somehow) this super fast and catchy song, while getting completely stunned by the impressive choreography. MIKIKO-sensei can always bring up a song with her choreographies, and this one isn’t an exception at all: Funny and entertaining!
It’s Electro World time! As the Techno-pop anthem for excellence begins with the historical Nocchi solo, the whole place goes on fire, with a super powerful bass that could make the lovely Bataclan crumble down in any moment, but the excitement and the energy from the 1.500 and more fans jumping and screaming could hold the weight of the Tour Eiffel. Unforgettable moments!
After a travel in the Electro World with our girls, it’s time for the P.T.A. Corner! Exactly as you can imagine, the interaction between the girls and the audience here just reach the maximum level, and A-chan is just the funniest entertainer ever, singing Queen’s most famous song “We will rock you”, following the rythm of the heavy bass beat.
And it’s exactly when the bass stops and A-chan screams “FAKE ITTO!” that one of the moments I was waiting for the most arrived: I love this song so much that I started to jump so high that I almost skipped a row flying (sorry to those who were near me). During the chorus of this song, I watched twice all around me in the venue and it was spectacular to see all these fans jumping at the same time: Never seen so many happy fans together!
After two of the most symbolic Perfume songs ever, Dream Fighter and Chocolate Disco, the sad sensation that the concert is about to finish slowly comes to my mind: The temperature inside the Bataclan is absurd, and both the girls and the entire audience are completely exhausted, even though the lovely triodoesn’t show the minimum sign of tiredness. A-chan announces the last song of the night, and kindly asks to the audience to move their hands in the air as she says so, and that’s how MY COLOR begins, with many hands following A-chan’s movements.
The song ends, the girls thank all the fans and walk towards the backstage and, obviously, as they walk out the stage, the entire audience start to scream for more, and in about five minutesthe girls come back for the encore, sadly, the last song of a wonderful night that no one wants to finish.
There’s a choice of three songs for the encore, and the girls will kindly let the audience choose which one they should perform: NEE, GLITTER, or LOVE THE WORLD?
A-chan: LOVE THE WORLD?
A-chan (In japanese): Ok, put your hands in the air when I say the name of the song!
But every time she says the name of each song, everyone put their hands in the air, making everything pretty confused. The Bataclan is literally on fire: These guys really don’t want Perfume to go away! A bit confusing, but funny for sure, and as many fans scream “All three of them!!!” A-chan says smiling “Relax, keep calm!”.
At the end of this funny moment, the song is finally chosen: NEE!
Seeing the epic foot dance live is truly amazing, and this historical song from the JPN era truly has some power live, especially thanks to the wonderful choreography and the Techno sound that keeps the exhausted audience in front of them jumping. The final heavy bass drops, the girls take their last pose, and the song ends: The show is over.
The girls bow to the audience, I see someone in the front row crying, and seriously, it’s hard to hold the tears after a night like this. The faces of the girls express absolute happiness, and I might have seen a tear from Nocchi’s eyes. Kashiyuka is very touched as well, while A-chan’s voice broke more than once when saying multiple times “Arigatou gozaimasu!” and “Merci Beaucoup”. But she didn’t cry in the end: She’s a grown up woman, and realizes how far Perfume went, from Japan, to all Asia, and now here, in Paris, in front of thousands of fans, after traveling through Europe. Who would have ever thought that two years ago? These girls are real Dream Fighters, and they inspire thousands and thousands of fans all over the world.
The girls give their last salute to the audience, and leave the stage. Everyone immediately take their flyers with the VOICE lyrics, excellently organized by the guys of Perfume Fans France: Everyone starts to sing, and after the first verse ends, A-chan joins the audience singing from the backstage, with a touched and cute voice, thanking everyone one last time.
People start to walk and go out the venue, but no one really feels like leaving that magic place. While queueing to go out, I reach the technicians board, and near the console, sitting while looking at the people, I see her again: MIKIKO-sensei! I try to call her name this time, but she can’t hear me. So I just wait for her to look my way, and finally I wave at her. She smiles and waves back at me, and that’s when I screamed “MIKIKO-SENSEI, ARIGATOU GOZAIMASU!”. I scream so loud that all the people inside the Bataclan hear me, see MIKIKO, and start to applaude and chant her name. She smiles and bow to the audience, and I can notice how shy and beautiful this woman is. A wonderful moment I will never forget!
I finally get out of the Bataclan, and I can breathe again. My entire body aches, but I’m so happy that I find the force to reach a near bar and drink a can of beer in an estimated time between 0,5 and 2,0 seconds. While walking, a woman from the Japanese TV wants to interview me, and the only thing I can remember is me saying “BEST. SHOW. EVER!” with a destroyed face. The camera man smiles at me, and I think that if this footage will ever go on air on Japanese TV, the security guys at the Narita airport won’t allow me to enter in Japan next time I go there.
After this short and funny moment, I reach all the other guys at Le Bataclan café to drink and have fun together after a wonderful night. Happiness reigns, and even though we are all extremely tired, we still have the force to sing many songs from the concert.
It’s late, and people start to go back home as we sing WONDER2 every time a group of fans leave, creating a sort of melancholic yet happy atmosphere. Around midnight, I decide to go back to the hotel, saluting the fans that were still drinking in the bar and taking some pics all together, the last ones of a long series.
“Will I ever live so many great moments again?” This is what I ask to myself while walking back to the Oberkampf metro station.
Probably yes. Because if a single group composed by three wonderful girls can unite, make feel love, and gather so many fans from all over the globe, it’s more than sure that we will all meet again one day. Perfume is a magic group, composed by three simple girls, but special at the same time. They’re our force, and one of the best thing that ever happened to all of us, making us feel the true meaning of love, passion and unity.
Love knows no limits. Music knowns no limits.
Perfume is all of this: The proof that dreams and love are the only thing that really matter in the end.
Thank you so much, girls!
Perfume live @ Le Bataclan – Setlist
01. Spending all my time (Extended Mix)
02. Magic of Love
03. Laser Beam
05. Spring of Life
06. SEVENTH HEAVEN
– Handy Man Instrumental (Interlude Video)
09. Electro World
– P.T.A. Corner
10. FAKE IT
11. Dream Fighter
12. Chocolate Disco
13. MY COLOR
– ENCORE: NEE
Special thanks to all the guys at Perfume Fans France and to all the beautiful people I met in Paris. You guys are the best!
Thanks also to Mario, Lorenzo and Yuka for joining me in this adventure.
Love you all!