Ayumi Hamasaki Countdown Live 2014-2015 ~Cirque de Minuit~ -concert review-


I wanted to write this review before the Bluray / DVD comes out in two weeks and base it on my actual memories from this awesome event. I wrote a rather long post about how I got the tickets, about my seats and what I bought at the venue, you can check it out here.

Similarily to Rock 'n' Roll Circus Tour 2010 the concert started with clowns / acrobats performing stunts but luckily it wasn't as long, R'n'R Circus has almost ten minutes and then full intro, this time it took about 3 minutes and the first song started withough further ado.

One thing worth noticing is that we always comment on Ayu's background singer Timmy's look which is always very pink and reminds me of extreme gay clubs or maybe BDSM, something like that and this time it was similar but when I saw him I had a blast, he was wearing a skirt (wait for it) made of plush octopus legs! OMG xD I'm not sure but was he speaking German while entering the stage? I know German but I'm not sure what he was saying.
01. Duty

The beginning of Duty was mindblowing, at first I though it was simply how music at such big concert sounds live (so close to the stage) but in TV version you can hear the same effect (though it's less stunning of course), the music is like a wind blowing and apocalipse coming down at you, combined with the blinking lights it made me speechless (I'm not a screaming type anyway but still...). First thing I noticed about Ayu was her red lips which is rare for her and suits her, she had a beautiful dress and she looked stunning with the brown hair. The vocal sounded live from the very beginning, it was a bit dry at first but in a positive way, however, in the chorus she revealed the whole power of her voice at once. I love Duty as a song but this version was a whole new experience. The scene was amazing, other dancers were acting out some kind of circus rehersal, some were preparing equipment, some were cleaning the floor with mops, there were aerial dancers, all of them had a spot in this song. Then Ayu stripped off the lower part of the dress which was in fact a skirt. In the last chorus music kept on disappearing while Ayu's vocal shined and I got goosebumps. 10/10

02. Microphone

I love this song, it was almost as awesome as during Rock 'n' Roll Circus Tour but the vocal was a bit worse (keep in mind I compare DVD to TV version, live it was perfect but now after re-experiencing it I can spot minor flaws, still it's hard to compare DVD version of Rock 'n' Roll Circus Tour to TV version of this CDL but I can't say they were on the same level, let's just wait for the DVD). The stage was very similar to Duty, there was no change in the song itself. Awesome performance. 10/10

03. Energy Blasts

Back then I remember being disappointed that there's an interlude already after just two songs but after rewatching that part I really came to like this song. It was also the first time anyone came to the center stage, I was surprised to see Yo-chan so thin and a close up of Timmy. If you ever wonder if they just keep smiling to the camera I will assure you that everyone esp Timmy and Princess Yoko were catching eye contact and making faces to fans all the time. 8/10

04. GAME

Game was performed quite a few times in the past so I expected a performance similar to the ones we saw before but then I saw Ayu fly in the air and perform aerial dance with no safety equipment, I couldn't comprehend what's going on. Her recent concerts were so boring, how come I managed to attent to such a stunning one and it was only third song. I felt like a lottery winner, I had a total blast. 10/10

05. my name's WOMEN

Aww, I love this song, it was around the time it was released when I became Ayu fan so it's special to me and I'm glad I saw it live. The performance was kind of stereotypical, it's always performed with whips and chairs and there was nothing new there but being standard was not a flaw. It was the first time Ayu came to the center stage and I couldn't stop staring at how pretty she is (and how close to me) 10/10

06. 1 LOVE

I used to like this song but I didn't replay it often after 2007, each performance of this song was always in cages and I was expecting the same thing but this time they used screens and light and it was definitely refreshing. 9.5/10

07. End roll

If only Ayu was singing it it would make my life complete. Miccie may have a nice voice but you could tell by wathing the audience that people (and me too) love this song and having it performed by someone else was not satisfying. Lot's of people were singing along quietly 7/10

08. Zutto...

I wasn't a fan of this song before seeing it live, I was too much in love with Last Minute and Walk to give it a proper listening but during the concert it enchanted me, it was really sweet with Ayu lying on the moon and then 'falling asleep'. I love how her little feel were dangling in the air through this performance and her dress was wonderful as well. 10/10

09. Last minute

I love this song, the whole single was just perfect beyond words and I had a hard time deciding if I love Last Minute or Walk more. Even though Ayu's vocal wasn't perfect during this song the music itself was so much better than in the studio version. The performance reminds me of Count down performance from Rock 'n' Roll Circus Tour 2010 (she had similar dress, was barefoot and moved in the same way) 10/10

10. Tears

It was so annoying to have something interrupting the trilogy. The interlude itself was ok and I liked the love story presented by the aerial dancers but I skip it because I can't wait for the next song. 6/10

11. Walk

I didn't find it special after first listening but after second or third I was already wondering if I like Last Minute or Walk more. Eventually I felt obsessed with this song, I love the lyrics, I love how every breath while singing it and I love this performance which was a mix of the beginning of Progress from Power of Music Tour 2011 and Marionette from Arena Tour 2008. Ayu cried at the end but finished the song, the vocal was definitely worse here but I loved it anyway. This is my personal highlight of this concert 10/10

12. forgiveness + countdown

I love the most basic, album version of this song with all it's delicacy and I'm not fond of the changes she did to this song in recent tours, especially the additional instruments but I like the idea of this performance with dancers holding hearts. Around this time I was checking the time as it was close to midnight and I couldn't imagine the count down in the middle of this song. 8.5/10

Around the end of the song all dancers one after another lifted their hearts and small messages started to appear on the screen and then Ayu's New Year message showed.


"Even though everything changes this place remains the same"

Personally I find it very true, despite all the bad things going on around, this concert was a safe place where troubles disappeared for a short while. At least this is how I understood it back then, it was a simple but at that time a true message for me.

And then the count down started. It was a surreal feeling to experience it live after more than ten years imagining it and watching it on DVD.

The balloons were released but none in my area so there was not a chance for me to get one.

13. progress

Though similar to other performances it was slightly worse vocal-wise but still put the audience in frenzy (at least in my area), it's an awesome song but I feel like it got lost among so many hits (like seriously there's no bad song in this concert, this is crazy). 9/10

14. SURREAL ~ evolution ~ SURREAL

Awesome choice after fast song that is progress, the weird thing is I was probably so happy to hear it live in the middle of a crowd (it was performed during R'n'R Circus Tour in 2010 but I was sitting in some dead zone with little people or some that were not having any fun at all) that I did not realize it had different arrangements, the only thing I catched was that instead of Yo-chans solo guitar there was violin solo performed by Otsuke (?). This is performed in every concert and it doesn't get boring, pure magic. I surprisingly did not cry at all (and I was expecting it hard) but during evolution I almost did. I guess the fun I had overcame the feels. I burst with laughter when Ode to Joy interrupted evolution and sung this part in my mother language. You'd think Japanese people are sick with those songs aready, the crowd was crazy, everyone waved and sang along, it was insane. 10/10

15. NOW & 4EVA

At first I hadly recognized this song, now it's my favourite one from Colours album and probably in my top something of best Ayu songs of all time. Not the best vocal during stanza, awesome bad@ss vocal during chorus. I love the lyrics of this song and I had another blast as they prolongued the ending, instead of singing the last line "Let me love you forever" twice like in the studio version, it was repeated many many times and I fell in love with this song at that moment 10/10

16. AYUReady

I seriously needed a breath. Not a chance. After less than a minute the famous AyuReady chanting started. You can see me in the TV version during this song, maybe I'll find a better shot in the Bluray / DVD :3 10/10

17. DJ -forgot his name-

This was epic, actually after first concert on the 30th this was the part I wanted to relive the most, I don't go to clubs and I actually miss this kind of music but whenever I try to find some I never like it while here it was a mix of several songs, one better than the other. I even slightly wish that Terminal which was the last song would be performed next as a whole song 10/10

--- encore ---

18. Movin' on without you

I like Utada Hikaru, she has plenty of great songs but I never liked this one so I must say Ayu did an awesome work here, she refreshed it a lot, the new arrangements and vocal worked wonders and it was really enjoyable live. 9/10

19. XOXO

I can't say it's my favourite song but it works live, it's funny and they made it shorter which was a good idea, the visuals were awesome. 8.5/10

20. Lelio

The beginning was hard to embrace but after few listening you can sing it "Lelio, lelio, lelio, lelio, lel, lel, lel, lel", Ayu trolling us again, this is the sister song of Sparkle, just as funny and consuming and it had great visuals. 9.5/10

21. Boys & Girls

I've been waiting for this for so long and it was beyond perfect, the singing, the atmosphere, the waving, all perfect 10/10

22. how beautiful you are

It's not my favourite ballad so I think this is my only real disappointment and the only moment when I'd chose something different. Ayu's voice was very chipmunk during stanza but the chorus was beautiful and after a while I enjoyed it more than usually. I also managed to catch one silver ribbon! 8/10

23. Born To Be...

I don't mind this song and I appreciate new arrangement but I don't like it as an ending song, maybe because I associate it with an opening, it was the beginning of Arena Tour 2006 A. It made me feel like the concert was lacking a conclusion but well. With this much perfection I can let it pass. 6.5/10

Concert rate: 9.1/10