Once again the energy of B’z hits America in full force. After July 2011 ‘Long Time No See’ tour’s success, they are back again and covering a span of North America with seven stops this year. Their fifth performance at Silver Spring’s Fillmore was met with robust enthusiasm from local fans and even non-local ones who have flown down from all over USA and Japan just to see the B’z live up close and personal.
Having sold more than 80 million albums over a career spanning 25 years, B’z is one of the best-selling music artists in the world, releasing 46 consecutive number 1 singles and 24 number 1 albums. Their impressive portfolio solidified their work as a staple in the Japanese music scene. They are famous and well-respected for their successful experimentation with blues, rock and pop, and the set-list for “Into Free” was duly planned to reflect the many years of their outstanding career. Their healthy range of songs selected included 1991’s “Mou Ichido Kiss Shittakara” to their 50th single and 2012 release “Go For It Baby.”
Just moments before 8 p.m. the lights dimmed out to excited screams as the audience was treated to an impressive introduction of the band members on stage. Tak Matsumoto entered with a bow and an energetic shred as Inaba Koshi jumped out onto the platform to address the crowd in fluent English. The set-list started off with an early 1990 classic “Easy Come Easy Go,” showcasing Inaba on an acoustic guitar playing alongside bluesy riffs from Tak’s updated rendition of the song.
B’z put on a crisp yet intimate performance with each song flowing naturally from one to the other. Each song was improvised with ad-libs and additional feedback from Tak’s soulful guitar, a beautiful and familiar complement to Inaba’s melodious voice. Aside from the songs in their rewritten English EP, other songs that were originally released in English were also performed, such as 2005’s “Brighter Day” and classic fan-favorite from 1998, “Home.”
1994 was the peak of their blues sound as it marked the release of their album “The 7th Blues.” Soon after, the legendary single “Motel” was released and when Tak’s riffs worked out the introduction to that song, the crowd went wild. Inaba soon stepped in with a heartfelt rendition that was emotional and strong and true to the blues. Straight after that was a surprising excerpt of the Star Spangled Banner courtesy of guitar virtuoso Tak Matsumoto, a touching piece that was comparable to the legendary Jimi Hendrix’s version.
B’z clearly knew how to put on a show as Inaba encouraged crowd interaction, engaging the audience with dancing and singing in unison. Folks as old as 60’s and as young as five were spotted within the people that were gathered at the Fillmore that night, mustered into timed shouts and singing by Inaba in between a powerful execution of “Juice.”
All in all it was a fantastic and inspiring performance that was energetic and masterful. The remaining two stops for the “Into Free” tour is the Best Buy Theatre in New York City and the Gibson Amphitheatre Los Angeles! Did you manage to pick up a charity wristband? One hundred percent of the proceeds will fund the rebuilding of homes in Japan that destroyed by last year’s earthquake and tsunami disaster.
The Setlist is as follows:
Easy Come Easy Go
Go for it Baby – Kioku no Sanmyaku
Mou Ichido Kiss Shittakara
It’s Show Time!!
Into Free – Dangan
Report by: Roxanne
Edited by: Deb & Ali W
- Smooth Jazz Guitarist Tak Matsumoto Releases 2nd Album Outside Asia “Strings Of My Soul” (astonishretail.typepad.com)
- Grammy Winning Guitarist Larry Carlton Collaboration with Tak Matsumoto on Cover of “SUKIYAKI” (astonishretail.typepad.com)
- B’z To Kick Off North American Tour September 17th (jrockrevolution.com)