Date: January 29, 2011
Location: Star Hall @ The HITEC, Hong Kong.
Tomohisa Yamashita (山下智久), better known as Yamapi (“Yama P”), is an actor, solo artist and a member of the Japanese boyband NEWS. He is best known as Dr. Aizawa Kousaku in Code Blue, Fuji TV’s ratings champ modeled loosely after Michael Crichton’s ER. Yamapi’s no non-sense character has won him plenty of fans, especially teenage girls who would probably trust this fictional doctor more than their real-life ones. But Yamapi the TV heartthrob may soon give way to Yamapi the solo superstar. Last Saturday’s gig at Star Hall kicked off Yamapi’s first-ever solo tour throughout Asia, and if it becomes the big hit that it has been hyped to be, and with a dearth of superstars who could sell out wherever they show, Yamapi would stand a good chance of becoming the next superstar in the mold of Takuya Kimura, the reigning dual-mode (i.e. TV and singing) big wig. Like most of the concert productions for artists of Johnny & Associates (Kimura-san is also under Johnny’s far-reaching media empire), this one featured plenty of pyrotechnics, Star Wars sabre-like lasers, and a long aerial platform that revealed itself from a catwalk protruding from the center proscenium. This platform would bring Yamapi aerially over and closer towards his fans during the show. Yamapi’s musical style is varied, with high-energy electric rock interspersed with mellower, more contemplative ballades. His first solo album, “Supergood, Superbad“, was released on January 26 and sported a hip-hop sound with a heavy dance beat. His live-show delivery style includes a mixture of choreographed dance moves and the occasional eye contact that would instantly melt the young girls’ heart. The audience, mostly young, fashionable and still in high school, would beat in mid air their glow sticks in unison, with the music as the rhythmic backdrop and Yamapi as the chief conductor. They would scream at such moment when the chief conductor would make eye contact or draw closer to them by traversing along the catwalk. The 8-strong band (keyboards, guitar, bass, drums, and a string quartet), two brass players (saxophone and trumpet) and three backing vocalists ran the musical end of the show. ABCZ, an accompanying act with 5 boys, provided some moments of acrobatic sensation and comic relief, but otherwise wasn’t impressive enough to stand out on their own.