Tak Matsumoto Tour 2016 -The Voyage- Nippon Budokan Tour Finale Live Report

Posted on May 22, 2016

Nippon Budokan

Tak Matsumoto’s latest solo endeavour takes a different turn compared to his last solo album 「New Horizon」 which was inspired by his previous work with Larry Carlton. His new album 「enigma」 is the product of Tak’s self-reflection regarding his career and his musicianship. Even now, it remains a mystery to him if he has become the musician he is supposed to be. An enigma. On this tour, titled 「The Voyage」, Tak Matsumoto takes the audience on a journey through his career, supported by lighting effects and videos.

This is the first time for me to go to one of Tak’s solo shows, and I was very excited to see what kind of performance Tak has got in store for a big venue such as Nippon Budokan! I am used to instrumental guitar performances by the likes of Steve Vai and Joe Satriani. However, not in such a huge venue.

Before the show

We arrived at Nippon Budokan quite late because we were doing some sightseeing at the Imperial Palace beforehand. I think it was around 3PM. It was a very hot day and we had to wait quite a while as we got in line for the tour merchandise. The charity post-its were already sold out. Probably because of the huge support for the recent Kumamoto earthquake. Having bought our merchandise (I only got a T-Shirt), we were waiting near the parking lot to meet up with the rest of my friends. Coincidentally, that’s also where the tour truck was parked.
Soon after we’ve all gathered, the doors to the venue opened and we made our way inside. I’m always very nervous as I approach the ticket gate. Will I get a good seat? I’ve been to Nippon Budokan before as I saw Mr. Big there in November 2014. I know that even if you’re on the first floor, you get quite a nice view of the stage. So I was more or less optimistic despite my nervousness. Turns out that luck wasn’t on my side this time either. We got seats for the second floor, center, in the back. While one could see the stage well, it was farther away than it seemed. What’s more, the stage lights would blind you from time to time… luckily it wasn’t as bad during the show because the lights were moving at a considerable high speed. So the blinding was only momentary.


View from the second floor. Quite in the back.

While waiting for the show to start, the venue already set the mood for the upcoming show: Sound effects such as waves washing ashore, birds chirping, and wind blowing. There was no rock music playing or anything like that. Just the blue’ish light and the sounds.

The show

Soon the venue would turn pitch-black as the band members made their way to the stage. Tak was the last to make his way on stage, ready to start the engines for the voyage that lies ahead. Matsumoto opened the show with 「Dream Drive」 that featured a big engine on the screen on the back. The album’s title track 「enigma」 followed thereafter, setting the stage for the overall theme. On the screen in the back a ship sailing the sea was shown. The third song, 「Vermillion Palace」, kind of served as a 「B’z no LIVE-GYM ni youkoso!」 with 「Welcome to the Vermillion Palace!」 shown on screen during the song.


Source: Barks.jp

It wasn’t until after the 4th song on the set list that Matsumoto took the microphone and welcomed the audience. “Today, the five of us will let our instruments sing. Please enjoy the show!”, he said, moving on to play one of his most iconic songs, 「Koi-Uta」. A lot of songs were supported by their respective music videos or promotional footage shown on the screen in the back. 「Koi-Uta」 was such an example. I was very delighted to see that Tak threw one of his less played songs into the mix as well: 「Theme from Fist of the North Star ~The Road of Lords~」 and 「THE THEME OF B.J.」 are currently unreleased. There has been a huge demand by fans to release these on CD, but at least Tak provided us with a bit of fan service by performing said songs live.


Source: Barks.jp

The most memorable moment for me was the performance of 「The Voyage」. The video shown on screen showed a summary of Matsumoto’s whole career: from solo debut, to B’z debut, to now. It also showed some previously unseen footage such as Tak as a child. The enigma epilogue concluded the main part of the show, which prompted Matsumoto to say a few words: “Thank you very much! I hope you’ve enjoyed the show.”, he said. He continued “I called this tour 「The Voyage」 because I imagined it as the journey through life. Everyone has good things and bad things happen to them in their lives. How about we accept them for what they are and continue our journeys!”, which prompted a big applause from the audience. He then also said a few words about the recent Kumamoto earthquake and how he thinks that it is amazing how Japan comes together in times of crisis to help one another. Afterwards, Tak used the occasion to introduce all band members.

“Instruments singing isn’t so bad, right?”, Matsumoto asks the audience, which in turn applauds, prompting Matsumoto to say “Alright, then let’s play a bit more!”. This cued the encore of the show, starting with a medley featuring 「RED SUN」 which is one of Tak’s hidden gems. The song is only available on a compilation album from 2004 which is hard to obtain these days. Matsumoto’s signature song 「#1090 ~Million Dreams」 later concluded the show.

After the show

After the show, we went to a restaurant in Roppongi to be able to go to the Tak Matsumoto Night at the Hard Rock Cafe afterwards. After a lot of eating and drinking and talking about the show and various other things, we made our way to the Hard Rock Cafe on foot. As we arrived, a group of fans was already taking pictures together with Tak Matsumoto’s poster hanging outside the Hard Rock Cafe merchandise shop. We made our way into the Hard Rock Cafe, only to realize that most fans were already gone. I expected it’d be really crowded, but I guess a lot of people chose to go home instead. We enjoyed it nevertheless! They played a lot of TMG footage as well as Tak Matsumoto solo footage. It was very cool to have a couple of beers while enjoying some good music by Tak Matsumoto.


To sum it up, it was a very enjoyable instrumental live show! I personally would’ve liked it if Tak talked a bit more, but I think it was his intention to let the instruments speak for themselves. The show was really well thought out and the special effects supported each performed song visually, fueling your own imagination. The best way to enjoy the show is to just let go and let the music take you on a journey. A journey through Tak’s career and life. If there’s something “bad” to say about the show, it is the fact that one of the biggest rockers on Tak’s latest album, 「Rock The Rock」, wasn’t performed on the entire tour.

Tak Matsumoto Tour 2016 -The Voyage- at Nippon Budokan setlist

Includes guitar used for each song!

1. Dream Drive
・Unkown Handmade Futura Style
2. enigma
・Gibson Flying V Korina 50th Anniversary 2008 #8-8163
3. Vermillion Palace
・Gibson Flying V Korina 50th Anniversary 2008 #8-8163
4. Step to Heaven
・Gibson Flying V Korina 50th Anniversary 2008 #8-8163
5. Koi-Uta
・Gibson Les Paul Standard 1959 #9-1156 Reissue prototype
6. Hana
・Gibson Les Paul Standard 1959 #9-1156 Reissue prototype
7. Theme from Fist of the North Star ~The Road of Lords~
・Gibson Flying V Korina 50th Anniversary 2008 #8-8163
8. Theme from ULTRAMAN
・Gibson Flying V Korina 50th Anniversary 2008 #8-8163
・Gibson Flying V Korina 50th Anniversary 2008 #8-8163
・Gibson Flying V Korina 50th Anniversary 2008 #8-8163
11. 99
・Gibson Les Paul Standard Gold Top 1956 P-90 #615315
12. Wanna Go Home
・Gibson Les Paul Standard Gold Top 1956 P-90 #615315
13. Hopes
・Gibson Les Paul Standard 1959 #9-1156 Reissue prototype
14. Under The Sun
・Gibson Les Paul Standard 1959 #9-1156 Reissue prototype
15. Drifting
・Gibson Tak Matsumoto Firebird Vintage Sunburst prototype #1
16. The Voyage
・Gibson Les Paul Standard 1961 #15712
17. Mystic Journey
・Gibson CJ-165 EC #02227034
・Gibson Tak Matsumoto Firebird Vintage Sunburst prototype #1
18. Ups and Downs
・Gibson Tak Matsumoto Firebird Vintage Sunburst prototype #1
19. enigma ~epilogue~
・Gibson Tak Matsumoto Firebird Vintage Sunburst prototype #1
・Gibson Flying V Korina 50th Anniversary 2008 #8-8163
・Gibson Flying V Korina 50th Anniversary 2008 #8-8163
22. #1090 ~Million Dreams~
・Gibson Flying V Korina 50th Anniversary 2008 #8-8163

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