Puffy live!!


Last night I went down to L.A. to see Puffy (known in the States as PuffyAmiYumi) play the House of Blues. My companion: the estimable Jonathan Crow, who says he remembers the day I first played him their debut single (the never-bettered “Ajia no Junshin”) in the car while driving around Tsuchiura. So, amazingly, it has come to this, eight years later. Tamio Okuda’s “idol” group kept on keeping on, and now is poised to go American pop-sub-culture mainstream with the premiere of their Cartoon Network show next month. They’ve scored a hit with the theme song to the Teen Titans cartoon, a level of American saturation most Japanese bands would only dream about.
It helps that they have good songwriters and producers (Tamio, Andy Sturmer, Velveteen), a crack back-up band (known as Dr. Strangelove, aka Tamio’s backing band), and they can actually sing in tune (in harmony), something not often called up in the ‘gambatte’ culture of Jpop.
This concert ended up costing a lot of money. Sure, tickets were $20, but after Ticketbastard service charges, that went up to $32. Then because it was at the House of Blues on Sunset (“located in a cool part of town with no parking”) we had to valet park, a whopping, criminal $15. Fortunately, the tour T-shirts blew and I felt no need to get one.
We waited in a line that stretched down Sunset, and got in just after Puffy had finished their second song. And we turned up on time, too!
Anyway, the band just focused on their most rockin’ numbers. “Jet Police” is a good ‘un, as is “Akai buranko”. In between patter was written up on crib sheets and they were cute in an exchange student way. I expect most new fans assume the two are in their 20s, whereas they’re crackin’ on into their 30s.
They encored with “Ajia no Junshin” which just capped off the night for me. Ahh, pop satisfaction. Who woulda thought I would have ever seen this live?
Because they are promoting their Cartoon Network show, they came back on after and taped a song for a New Year’s Eve concert for the network. We were asked to pretend it was now Dec. 31, 2004 and we counted down to one. A net full of balloons hanging above the crowd failed to break and instead, like a giant white sausage, floated down on to the crowd. It will be interesting to see how that gets edited…
UPDATE: If you’re curious about the “service charges,” here’s the breakdown, for the two tickets I bought:
FULL PRICE ADULT US $20.00 x 2
Total Building Facility Charge(s) US $2.00 x 2
Total Convenience Charge(s) US $7.70 x 2
Order Processing Charge(s) US $3.75
ticketFast Delivery US $2.50
TOTAL CHARGES US $65.65
I won’t even pretend to know what the difference is between the “convenience charge” and the “ticketFast” charge. You mean I should pay you money for the use of an online database and sending me a pdf file? It’s not like you even had to use ink to print it out. Nobody helped me, so who had to process this? My judgement? These are bullshit charges that Ticketbastard makes up.

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