This past weekend I headed on over to Anthology Film Archives in New York City to see a showing of the Perfume World Tour 3rd documentary. The film shows KASHIYUKA, a-chan, and NOCCHI as they head to five different cities around the world for their third world tour: Taipei, Sentosa, Los Angeles, London, and New York City.
The first stop on their world tour was in Taiwan. Right away, the viewer becomes aware of the work ethic these girls have. During their pre-show rehearsal, they found that the flow of the setlist wasn’t quite right and wanted to adjust it. This also means that the flow of choreography from one song into the next had to be adjusted, since some of their songs utilize props or handheld microphones (as opposed to microphone headsets). It is during this beginning segment that you see how much input Perfume has: while all of their songs are written and composed by Yasutaka Nakata and all of their dances moves are choreographed by Mikiko, Perfume themselves make a number of comments and suggestions. This took me by surprise, since I had assumed that they simply would listen to what their choreographer or manager would say. Instead, the culmination of this performance (as well as others on the tour) truly felt like a collaborative effort. While some may think that it’s unprofessional to make so many last minute adjustments, since everything should have been figured out before leaving Japan, I would disagree. To me, the documentary shows that the women are always thinking about how the audience will receive the performance. Most people would be reluctant to make even a few adjustments to something they had been working on for months, but Perfume thought of what would truly be best for the performance, and everyone did what they could to make it work.
Their next stop on the tour was in Singapore. For this stop, the documentary showed Perfume exploring the area a bit, including a visit to the famous Merlion statue. In addition to showing the group enjoying themselves, though, their stop in Singapore also made it apparent how aware Perfume is of the language barrier that sets them apart from their fans. At every stop, the women are shown rehearsing lines in the country’s language so they can communicate with the fans better. For this stop, though, there was a fan in the audience who had translated for them once before. They mention her on stage, and she pops out of the audience and takes on the role as translator once again. Perfume’s dedication to not only putting on a good show for their fans, but being able to interact with them just as the group would with their Japanese audience, is quite admirable.
Los Angeles, United States
Perfume returns to Los Angeles, this time to put on their first US performance. They had been to L.A. previously for the premiere of Cars 2, in which their song “Polyrhythm” is featured. It was quite amusing to see them walk along the Hollywood “Walk of Fame” and get excited seeing John Lasseter’s star. Another amusing segment involves In ‘N Out Burger. KASHIYUKA receives a package from a fan that consists of a T-shirt from the restaurant, as well as a little employee hat. The trio also make their way to the restaurant’s drive-thru, and a-chan mentions In ‘N Out’s “animal style” quite a few times. Unfortunately, there were some difficulties as well. Throughout the tour, an LED display was set up behind the stage, showcasing various visuals while Perfume performed. At the beginning of their performance in L.A., though, the screen doesn’t work. The trio goes on without it, and it starts working again further into their performance. This mishap culminates into a touching moment between the trio and their choreographer Mikiko, and it shows just how much everyone wants to make this tour as perfect as possible.
After their L.A. performance, Perfume headed to London, where they had performed once before. During this segment, a number of the fans are shown, including a little girl dressed in a Perfume costume. While fans are of course shown throughout the documentary, seeing her dressed up like them really cements how diverse the group’s fans are. At one of their other performances, as well, there was a middle-aged Australian couple. Perfume’s music and style has hit a chord with a number of people, no matter the age or location. During their London performance, though, a mishap occurs once again, this time on the part of Perfume themselves. The documentary shows the trio sitting back stage after their performance discussing how it went. NOCCHI then recounts how she skipped some choreography and was thrown off. They all have a nice laugh about it, though, with Mikiko coming in to discuss their final stop on the tour: New York City.
New York City, United States
This show seems to be the one that Perfume was most anxious about. Living here, it always surprises me how many people want to come to this city and say that they were able to “make it” here. Despite them performing in Los Angeles, KASHIYUKA calls New York the “mecca of show business.” All of their excited energy from throughout the tour is apparent in their New York performance, and the show goes off without a hitch. After their performance, Perfume and their staff head to a celebratory dinner, during which the chairman of their record label presents each member with a bouquet of flowers. While thanking everyone that helped them with this tour, the trio makes it clear that they want to return to New York again; next time, though, they hope to take on Madison Square Garden.
I’ll admit that I didn’t really know too much about Perfume before watching this documentary. I knew a couple of their songs, but I had simply viewed them as a techno-pop girl group. I was quite surprised by how much input the trio had over their tour and all of its elements: I had assumed that they would simply be told what to do by their staff, rather than Perfume being leaders for their staff to listen to as well as collaborate with. The trio also had quite a bit to say about one another and their journey as a group thus far: the documentary is peppered with individual interviews of a-chan, KASHIYUKA, and NOCCHI. Fans of Perfume won’t be disappointed, and even those with a casual interest in the group will find the documentary interesting.
Check out the video below to watch the music video for Perfume’s single “STAR TRAIN,” which was made just for the documentary and plays during the end credits!
Other international screenings of We Are Perfume – World Tour 3rd Document have been confirmed: check to see if there’s a screening near you!
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