Kitaro in Concert

Looking back, I realised the soundtrack of my childhood comprised almost the entire genre of music. Each member of my household play different tune. I’d hear Elvis, The Beatles and Michael Franks from my mom, classical, big band, swing, and calypso among others, from my dad. Then there’s my 3 older siblings who are just as varied, my brother likes all type of rock, my sister likes pop, and my big sister likes whatever she thinks cool. Of course don’t forget the odd dangdut coming from our maid’s radio.

I don’t if it was my big sis or my bro since their taste sometimes overlap. All I remember is that some of the music they played just goes on and on. One of the contributor to these cacophony of sound is Kitaro. So, when Babeh asked if I want to see Kitaro, I said why not. Always welcome the chance to see live music.

So there we were last night, at JCC after waiting what seems like forever, nearly 50 mins from the published time, watching Kitaro live on his world tour. I must say, it was better than I expected. Yes, his songs seems never ending but I was fascinated by the mixture of sounds and instruments he used to make up these songs. There were at least 7 keyboards, 3 Taikos, a drum kit with timpanis, violin, guitars, and some wind instruments I-have-no-idea-what-their-names-are. His band consists of 2 keyboardist, one that looks like rhythm keyboard, a violinist, a guitarist and a drummer. Then there’s Kitaro the man himself who played the rest of the instruments.

Since he doesn’t sing nor dance, his shows makes full use of lights and colour. He also used a projector, projecting mostly landscapes and planets. All the band wore black, he wore a sleeveless coat over his dark gear, but even the colour of his coat is quite subdues, purples and greys. Well at least that’s how it looked from the tribune. Thus the play of light and colour that enhanced the mood of his music. Red and blue, during the percussion time, the light also plays with him, going on and off according to the beat.

Like most musician, he shared the light, focusing on each player solos. On one song he even share the light with a half-sphere disco ball, placed on the stage. Him and the band are completely dark, the light only shone on the ball bouncing off lights to the ceiling. While it is wonderful to look at -babeh thinks it’s cool, I said, it’s just a disco ball. He said but usually it’s hanged on the ceiling. uh, okay then- and certainly complements the music, for me the effects is not unlike being in a planetarium watching comets and stars chasing each other. I half expected a commentary, saying something like, “And now… the andromeda star is chasing the sitara comet. This only happens once in a blue moon…”

But seriously, it was a good concert. We were taken on this amazing audio-visual journey that really moves you. My favourite bits were the percussions. I don’t know how he does it but he made those drums ‘sing’. With the help of the rhythm keyboard to set the mood I swear somehow the drums just sing to us. It funny cuz drums don’t usually have a melody like say, a violin. They play a beat. But not on Kitaro’s hands. Cool!

Certain songs took me back to my childhood. Back to Menteng, playing with my cats while my siblings stereos blared out from their respective rooms. I got a bit sentimental on those songs. It reminds me of when I used to go watch prog-rock concerts with my brother. I bet he would’ve enjoyed the concert as well.

Then suddenly it was over. I look at my watch and it was 10pm! We’ve been entertained for nearly 2 hours. It just fly by. That’s how wonderful it was. Kitaro talked to the audience 3 times. First was after 2 songs where he said that the last time he came here was 15 years ago! Then he thanked us for our support for Japan. Second time was the end of the show, he introduced the band members before playing an encore. Finally he closed the show, said his last thanks, and exited with a bow.
I noticed a band member put his hands like the way I was taught in jiu-jitsu many years ago. interesting.

Thank you so much Babeh for taking me to see Kitaro. I like it a lot! Here’s to the next concert. Whatever it is 😀

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