It’s fascinating to see what can change in just a few months. When I ordered the S/mile Factory concert DVD from CDJapan S/mileage was still a four member unit and their then upcoming auditions were nothing more than a mix of speculation and trepidation. Fast forward to today and S/mileage has seen its first graduation and has five fresh new submembers ready to take on the idol world. So, before we move into the future, why not take one last look back at the past with their last four member concert DVD?
The S/mile Factory concerts were made to coincide with their S/mile Factory TV show (which ran for three months). As such there are a few differences from the average H!P concert. For example there are not one but two VTR’s and they consist mostly of footage from the S/mile Factory programme. In one of them it’s shown how the S/mileage members prepared for the “rap battle” they perform in one of the MC’s in this concert. It’s a bit bizarre but highly entertaining even with my very limited understanding of the Japanese language.
The concert itself is a bit of a strange creature. On the one hand you have the obligatory mix of S/mileage singles and album songs and they certainly don’t dissapoint. While I agree that vocally S/mileage may be a bit weaker than other H!P groups during live performances (not to mention that they have a very unique sound that may or may not agree with some people) I found their performances nonetheless enjoyable especially the two (yes TWO!) performances of Uchouten LOVE, their most recent single at the time of writing.
On the other hand we have S/mileage covering a nice selection of classic H!P songs. A few Tanpopo songs are performed like I&YOU&I&YOU&I, Koi wo Shichaimashita! and Otome Pasta ni Kandou which makes sense since they have included covers of Tanpopo songs on a few of their singles in the past. They also do a rendition of Fujimoto Miki’s Romantic Ukare Mode. Fukuda Kanon especially shines here as she delivers the opening lines in a beautiful manner. The one song I did not expect was Melon Kinenbi’s This is Unmei. It’s a bit strange at first to see the cutesy voiced S/mileage girls perform this song but they pull it off quite well. That’s what I like about S/mileage, they’re never afraid to do something unexpected.
I’d also like to mention the concert venue. This concert was performed at STUDIO COAST and as such it differs a bit from the concert halls H!P groups usually perform in. The stage is lower and closer to the audience which is a nice change. Whoever was in charge of the lighting certainly wasn’t afraid to turn on all the lights at various points in the concert. It was certainly a lot brighter than some other H!P concerts I’ve seen.
All in all I really recommend this concert. I’m planning on purchasing their ~Devil Smile Angel Smile~ concert at some point in the future to compare their performances on that DVD with this one. In any case this is certainly a DVD any S/mileage fan should get their hands on. The performances are good allround and this is not only the last 4 member concert DVD but also the last one to include the recently graduated Ogawa Saki. Those two things alone make this a must buy.