B’z New Single
2. Still Alive
3. Sekai wa Anata no Iro ni Naru
Bonus DVD: 「Still Alive」 Music Video
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Nearly two full years since the close of their last tour, B’z will soon embark on the as-yet untitled B’z LIVE-GYM 2017-2018! The tour will serve to promote the band’s upcoming twentieth studio album which is expected to be announced and released in late fall or early winter. The title for the 18-stop tour will likewise be announced alongside the album, and may come around August when the band are playing their currently scheduled music festival showings.
This is the third time the band have staged a cross-year tour, following LIVE-GYM ’90~’91 “RISKY” and LIVE-GYM ’91~’92 “IN THE LIFE”. It is also not unlikely the band will revive “Itsuka no Merry Christmas” for the first time since LIVE-GYM 2011 -C’mon- for the December showings.
The dates announced today are as follows:
Dec. 14/16/17 — Hokkaido Prefectural Sports Center
Dec. 23/24 — Fukuoka Yahoo! JAPAN Dome
Dec. 30/31 — Nagoya Dome
Jan. 7/8 — Tokyo Dome
Jan. 13/14 — Saitama Super Arena (※Performed as a Dome showing)
Jan. 20/21 — Sun Dome Fukui
Jan. 27/28 — Sekisui Heim Super Arena
Feb. 1/3/4 — Kyocera Dome Osaka
The duration of LIVE-GYM 2017-2018 may not appear in line with comparatively massive undertakings like LIVE-GYM Pleasure 2013 -ENDLESS SUMMER- and LIVE-GYM 2015 -EPIC NIGHT- that toured smaller and larger venues alike. While there will certainly be a LIVE-GYM Pleasure 2018 that picks up where this leaves off next year, it’s worth noting that 2002’s “GREEN ~GO★FIGHT★WIN~” also spanned 18 shows, LIVE-GYM 2003 “BIG MACHINE” was just 12, “MONSTER’S GARAGE” in 2006 was only 17, and “Ain’t No Magic” from 2010 was played over 19 dates.
One of the more curious oddities in B’z lore and its accompanying fandom is the origin of the name “B’z“. A great many explanations have been proffered over the years (including both competing and supporting explanations by Tak and Koshi themselves in various interviews after being asked the question innumerable times). As many now no doubt know, “B’z” is pronounced the same as “bees” and occasionally as “bi-zu” (ビーズ) as a phonetic replacement by fans in Japan though the band use the former.
In 2012, as part of the B’z LIVE-GYM 2012 -Into Free- tour that saw the band play both coasts of the U.S. and Canada, a camera crew from WOWOW followed the action and recounted it in the documentary Only Two. The title of which originates from Tak, who stated when asked about the founding of the band:
“In the beginning, I wanted to found a band with four members, but… [after meeting Koshi] I thought, ‘Only two is enough.'”
Later, when asked if he had a clear vision of the path B’z would follow, he added:
“I had a clear vision from the start: I wanted to form a band that could succeed in making hit songs, you know. That’s why I started a band with just two. In general, every member of a band is egotistic. I didn’t think it’d be well organized with so many opinions.”
As for the name they later took as their own, the most prominent explanation over the years became that B’z wanted to be an “A to Z” sort of band, a band from which you could expect any sort of music. This was shortened to “A~Z” and then “A’z“, but the poor connotations quickly made it an unfavorable candidate, which led to “B’z”. Tak also mentioned in a 1989 interview that the idea of having a “Z” at the end was the result of a casual remark by a staff member whilst they were recording their earliest demos. Another article quoted Tak as saying he liked the idea of using a “Z” in the name and thought having a “B” would be appropriately masculine, with the number of associated B” rock artists out there. Thus, adding the two together formed “B’z“. Another related rationale that emerged in the press was that the band wanted to be inclusive of their favorite rock artists, and thus the name “B’z” included “B” for The Beatles and “Z” for Led Zeppelin.
As it turns out, there’s an element of truth to most of the popular explanations out there. From the aforementioned documentary, in their own words, here is an English-subtitled account of the band explaining the way the name came about:
The first “Seimei”-themed version of the “Seimei/Still Alive” single hit airwaves today during Detective Conan and has been preserved below for those that wish to see it. The single will be released on June 14th and also includes the Detective Conan theme “Sekai wa Anata no Iro ni Naru“.
All sample videos contained in this article are publicly sourced and are reproduced here only for accessibility.
Following the immense success that was the rebooted 2006 LIVE-GYM—one that would set the tone for all B’z shows that followed—and its accompanying album, expectations were high in 2007. It was already presumed the band would have big plans for 2008 given it was their twentieth anniversary year, but what would precede it was still relatively unknown at the time. Fans speculated that the previous year’s live premiere of the English verison of “HOME” would possibly see a release in some form, but it was not there that the year began.
Instead, the first sighting of B’z activity was the announcement of their first international tie-in. The PlayStation 2 racing video game Burnout Dominator was released worldwide in March and featured an all-new B’z song in every territory entitled “FRICTION“. The song was included as a means of promoting the game primarily in Japan, but it would later be included the next year in the sequel game Burnout Paradise that was likewise released globally. The song was also published worldwide on iTunes at the same time as part of the soundtrack.
The official B’z website has been updated with its fifth countdown, this one ending at noon in Japan on Monday, May 5th. It bears noting that the source code on the site indicates as many as ten countdowns, so there should be no shortage of B’z news in the months ahead!
Additionally, the full version of “Still Alive” from the upcoming “Seimei/Still Alive” single was broadcast as part of Takuya Kimura’s radio show. Kimura, a longtime friend of the band, also starred in A LIFE on TBS for which the song served as a theme. The full version reveals that the song opens with an intro akin to “DIVE” and includes a guitar solo unlike any in the B’z catalogue to date.