Yuki Kajiura LIVE #19 Kajifes 2023 - 30th Anniversary Live (Blu-ray releases / Box set announced for May 29, 2024)

Yuriko is definitely vocally freer to do a lot of things since after Joelle came in - net positive indeed.
Once entering the head voice range, Yuriko and Joelle can interchangeably complement one another voices due to their similar vocal frequency and placement; sometimes, it is unfeasible to differentiate who is singing at a time without the camera shots (vibratos often is the give-away, Joelle is totally able to deliver such vibratos to augment Yuriko's base). So, either can instantly register a lower voice without hindering the multilayer harmonies ;)
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Once entering the head voice range, Yuriko and Joelle can interchangeably complement one another voices due to their similar vocal frequency and placement; sometimes, it is unfeasible to differentiate who is singing at a time without the camera shots (vibratos often is the give-away, Joelle is totally able such vibratos to augment Yuriko's base). So, either can instantly register a lower voice without hindering the multilayer harmonies ;)
Love the additional points, and yes!

Yuriko has those extra gears of mask placement and heavier vibrato that she can lean in to at will to separate herself from the others. I smiled at your comment that we now need camera shots to confirm who's doing what (especially if they're singing a part in light, open-throat head voice). Joelle's even and consistent (and extended) vibrato makes that possible since Yuriko has been the gold standard from the front FJ ladies (not adding the guest vocalists) since the beginning.

The fact that Yuriko does most of it with a mostly covered/small mouth space (which is quite operatic technique if you look at Yuri Kasahara) - hats off to her technique. She rarely opens wider except she's brightening or adding mask in. She rarely belts but just uses resonance and placement to shape her vocal place and alter the effect of the total harmony.

Joelle also frees Kaori to do some more leading without having to return as much to do harmony with the others, except older songs written to focus on YKK (Yuriko-Keiko-Kaori, the original prime trio to me).

I am also very pleased that we are seeing Yuriko and Joelle bonding off-stage quite well.
Been listening to Materialise Live vol 5 recently. Well, Yuriko paired with Wakana very well, but it lacks that feeling, you know, majestic and profound impact that Yuri delivered...
Also, one more week... Eri Itou, Hanae, Asuka... I'm comingggg
Yuriko really did very well and her continual vibrato gave it that more classical sound, definitely, especially compared to Wakana's section, but on another level it's the full operatic volume and density that Yuri brings as a world-class opera soprano, and the original.
Idk if she is world class cause if i didnt follow Kajiura i wouldnt even know her, but she is certainly excellent at what she does.
Japanese soprano singers didn't seem to be renowned as much as I thought they would be : ). Typing Yuri Kasahara, or 新南田笠原, and it did not show up that much about herself. Yuri Shinanda, 新南田ゆり, showed a bit more, nothing notable. I read somewhere that stated she's one of Japanese finest vocalists and opera singers.
Since the site was down I wasn't blogging but here goes what I remmeber...

DAY2 (TV-ver) thoughts:
  • I think I enjoyed DAY1 a lot more. I don't know if I was in a worse mood but DAY2 staging/lighting/camerawork somehow felt way more bland (and impersonal? for lack of a better word) than even DAY1.

    DAY2(TV-ver) is way too packed with actiony pop anisongs with interchangable pop singers and then other tracks, which weren't that, often felt out of place for some reason? Perhaps it's just the TV-ver... perhaps not... perhaps it's just me... The setlist simply did not grab me - maybe with all the cut tracks and MCs back, it will be a better paced experience. But I already thought this TV-ver was too long and tiring...

    The cuts were once again somewhat surprising to me. Only including "Mezame" with Hanae was wild. That said, I would've cut "Numquam vincar" from the opening instrumental section - the stringfest just felt like it was going on forever after "prelude to Act 1". :p
  • Ze Kalafina section.
    Not my favorite songs but performance-wise I didn't really mind anything except for the wild gesture choreography. Sorry, that will always annoy me, lol.
    To me Joelle was great - certainly different than ogs but I liked it. "to the beginning" kajiurago in the intro and song proper felt nice.
    TV-ver gripe: shame they included two actiony anisongs but cut Kimi no Gin no Niwa.
  • Ze JUNNA section.
    Following anisong-of-the-strings with another anisong-of-the-strings was just adding to a boring pile. Thankfully "Taiyou no Kouro" was a breath of fresh air to me. Loved Yuriko and others, too. The song makes me smile. One of the highlights of the night for me.
  • Ze LORD section. Weaksauce. Sadly. :(
    Not giving Kaori a solo when she only stealthily appears 40 minutes into the concert was certainly a choice. :/
  • Ze Eri section.
    TV-ver gripe: following LORD with "a song of storm and fire" instead of "I talk to the rain" is just piling the sameness on again. It was okayish other than that...
    "ring your song" got me invested again. :D It was just beautiful.
  • "KOTONOHOKA YAWARAKAI"... I really enjoyed it - the mood is different enough from what came before and particularly because Yuriko is so excited that it's also very different from the album version... Edit: Oh yea, and Kajiura seemingly singing during the bridge.
    But remember that PARADE documentary from December? The one with Kajiura's demo and a clip of KajiFes?
    So... there's this one Kaori line in the 2nd refrain ("tori no katachi no") which is different in the demo AND in the documentary's KajiFes clip compared to the album version... Why is KajiFes TV-ver like the album again? lol.
  • Ze ASCA section.
    "Hibari" was cute, I liked hearing it with piano and non-Hanae kajiurago. Unfortunately because ASCA came out of nowhere and with a ballad and I was so focused on her looking scared (hope it's nothing more serious than that) that it just got lost in the mix of everything. Perhaps with "Yakou Toryo" before in the full setlist it will fit better.
    "Kimiga mita yume no monogatari" was just a whole bunch of nothing to me. Sry. I did like the new lead-in to the song.
  • Ze Aira Yuhki section. I don't even know what happened.
    The video and audio was not matching up so after a while I just launched PARADE... Oh boy...
    I focused on "Sekai no Hate" vocals only and did not compare the entirety of the live to the album version, but the parts that I did listen to I could swear were the album vocal take. Not even studio h4cks or another recording... just the album vocal take. Checked a part of "everlasting song" later and it's the same thing. Dafuq?
  • Ze hack See-Saw section.
    "Yasashii yoake" somehow works yet again. I love Chiaki's og obviously. I liked YUUKA's cold take from the 2days live and I also like Joelle's approach here, which I guess falls somewhere inbetween Chiaki's and YUUKA's. Maybe the song is just that good? :D
    "Kimi ga ita monogatari" was perfectly safe. I thought maybe it'd be more obvious what the English is but nope, still just a deciphering candidate, lol.
  • Ze KOKIA section...
    All the YES... but both songs felt very weird in the setlist...
  • Ze "Mezame". I'll be honest, I just did not care at this point and skipped...
  • Ze KEIKO... anisong-of-the-strings with wild hand choreography.
  • Ze YUUKA covers.
    "Kouya ruten" was okay. Much like Senya ichiya it is very much a storytelling kind of song so I think whoever is choosing songs for rito is doing a good job. It's different from YUUKA's take but she works it and I like it.
    "Silly-Go-Round" was fun. At least vocally, lol. The visuals are low tier&no energy like much of the concert.
    "cazador del amor". I don't want to be a hater. Whoever is choosing songs for LINO LEIA to cover is not doing a good job.
    "nowhere". I really don't want to be a hater but this was not the right choice for ASCA either. Jump all you want but there's just no energy there.
  • Ze "zodiacal sign".
    Fun interactions but for some reason didn't feel like a climax after all the YUUKA bangers (performed better or worse).
  • "into the world" was okay but I did not have much left in me at this point and there's still the whole encore left... In all honesty I wish this was the end, it's better than "Parade" as a closer.
  • ... but then comes Eri and "red rose" and it's my favorite of the night. Hands down.
    The audio-only Eri version from live releases never grabbed me - it just felt weaksauce in comparison to the pounding synth-heavy Yuri original on FICTION (which I love). However... Having Eri hamming it up on video made it sooooooooooooooooooooo much better. The sass. The drip. Just have a whole concert with Eri giving no fucks. The solos were pretty fun too. Maybe 'cause Eri got me in a good mood.
  • "Parade" I thought was better than the album version, which always felt like everyone had an off-day...

too many stringtastic pop songs, too many guests, no breathing room, too long...
but also YES to that "red rose" with Eri and the fan.

edit: some of ze typos
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I agree day 1 was much more enjoyable. Day 2 songs were way too pop oriented and everything did just blend together. The performances were good but I desperately need Kajiura to update the setlists, did we really need to hear Mezame again?

The finale was fantastic tho. Red Rose was such a treat and I fuckin loved Eri with her fan. The pipes playing was a little messy but the energy on stage made up for that.
Well, the best of both days was KEIKO enjoying, did you see her face? She's living the moment. I'm soy happy she's in the team.

Some thoughts:
After so many Kalafina concerts, the performance of the firsts songs are nothing special for me but having Yuriko at the backing vocals elevates the quality. She's so necessary... everywhere.

I always missed a scat or something on The main theme of LORD after the first chorus. Live version doesn't fix this...
Live version of "ring your song" is always a yes. And if a flute is added, then is a big yes.
Oops, they cut 2/3 Hanae songs. Really don't care because it's the same as the vol#17. And why did they use a sepia filter just for Mezame? xD

FJYUUKA covers:
rito showed a big potential with her "are wa tsuki no yume ka". C'mon, give her a Kimetsu song, he~he.
But again LINO has disappointed me. Less dances, more power, dear. What happened to her in this vol? Why isn't she using her pitchy voice? First "cazador del amor" performance that I couldn't enjoy, but special mention to the accordion arrangement cause Yoshiaki saved the song.
Silly-Go-Round meh but nowhere... well, it's nowhere!
Yes, I missed Yuuka in this event :(

red rose, that track that Yuki adds to the setlist for the musicians to let go and clearly I can enjoy it a lot. Obawo giving to his theremin a brief participation was out of place as well as the cello but I like it lol
The ICONIC Rie wasn't that iconic because Eri's big feather fan stole the show.
After all, I have to say that I prefer the version from vol#15.

Yuki calling the vocalists was a thing.
-Hikaru touches a particle of skin of Keiko -> People freaks out lol
-"On guest vocal: Yuuki Aira!" (she proceeds to dance with her hands) lol
-KOKIA getting out with shoes now, someone knows why she performed barefoot?
-"On vocal: LINO LEIA." And something about cazador del amor... what did she say?!?
I always missed a scat or something on The main theme of LORD after the first chorus. Live version doesn't fix this...
It's because we're used to Han Hong's version. XD
-KOKIA getting out with shoes now, someone knows why she performed barefoot?
Not that I'm an expert but I think she's barefoot in every live I ever watched. Must be her thing.
It's because we're used to Han Hong's version. XD
I know but something tells me that still it needs vocals or some instrument rather than strings in that gap. I didn't feel this in any other song.
By the way... about nowhere... do we think Yuriko has no idea what the kajiurago/Engrish in that song actually is either? lol. I feel like with every performance she simplifies/slurs/nananas/whateveryouwanttocallit that one pre-chorus part more and more... It's actually hilarious, lol.
Madoka and Kalafina section:
- I truly adore Numquam Vincar, but idk adding it that song after Prelude to Act 1 made the whole section felt incredibly long, and not in a really enjoyable way.
- It's such a random choice to insert storia in between Magia and Kimi no Gin no Niwa, because it's like a random insert in Madoka block, and it didn't fit quite well.
- I don't really enjoy Joelle's voice in storia, but she was fantastic in to the beginning. Basically the best to the beginning live ever.
- Hikaru was okay, I guess.

JUNNA section:
- Keiko made Umi to Shinjuu more enjoyable
- Taiyou no Kourou (or whatever it is I forgot): I kinda don't remember lmao but iirc it's one of the 2 songs where Kajiura made Joelle stand doing nothing for like 90% of the songs. Just let the lady rest for awhile lol

Main Theme of LORD: I gotta be honest, was never a big fan of this song. Some parts of it reminded me too much of she has to overcome her fear and the main theme of Princess Principal while being less enjoyable than both. Joelle was phenomenal though. Everyone did great.

Eri section:

- NO WHY DID THEY CUT I TALK TO THE RAIN. Now I have to wait for the BD :(
- a song of storm and fire was great despite me kinda being almost over this song lol
- ring your song was beautiful

Koto no Hoka Yawarakai: love Keiko and Yuriko here.

ASCA section:
- Hibari is a pretty song, but it's nothing exceptional
- Again, Keiko on harmony made Kimi ga Mita Yume no Monogatari more enjoyable. Her voice really tied the song together for me.
- No hate but ASCA is just such a boring and flat performer
- Oooh this is another section where Joelle was just standing there singing practically nothing

Yuuki Aira section:
- my reaction was the exact same as @grunty. They completely replaced her vocal with just the studio version in both songs lmao
- maybe it's me misremembering something but I feel like Joelle changed the whole notes in "my everlasting song" on "you are my everlasting song" part where the FJ ladies sang together
- it's probably given to them because they have less lines to sing but Kaori and Joelle singing "You're my everlasting song" on the bridge didn't have the same oomph as when Keiko and Yuriko did it on live vol.9

See Saw section:

Enjoyable. Kimi ga Ita Monogatari is much better than from elemental tour. One of the more remarkable performance by Kaori. No weirdly autotuned violin solo. Joelle was great in Yasashii Yoake.

KOKIA section:
Phenomenal. Mesmerizing. Wonderful. Highlight of the night alongside red rose. Her live vocal for Kaze yo Fuke was nearly identical to the recording session but you can tell that it's live because you can hear her voice projecting properly.

Mezame: really over this song tbh. why this song again for Hanae. Hanae's part on the setlist really didn't do her justice. No KnK on both nights was a crime.

The anisongs and cover section:

Me being biased but Keiko was phenomenal in Yuuyami no Uta. Actually much prefer this live compared to the CD version.
rito was really good in Kouya Ruten. Again, Keiko and Yuriko harmony really tied the while performance together.
Junna in silly go round was awful. Very shouty. love her energy tho.
cazador del amor: Lino Leia kinda suited this song more than obsession, but still meeeeh. I was never a big fan of this song at the first place lol. I feel like if anything Kajiura should've picked Romanesque for her
nowhere: ASCA and this song is really just not a right fit. she's boring and flat, this song is fun and festive. I don't hate her voice here, it's just her live mannerisms that really don't fit.

Zodiacal sign: very over this song but I sampled the beginning. I feel like Keiko and Kajiura's voice was mixed louder than usual, they were very audible.

into the world: Kaori and Joelle singing the reffrain together made this song sounded really messy. Should've let Joelle sings the reffrain when Kaori sings the second verse, and vice versa. I feel like Joelle was great here but Kaori's voice was mixed louder and she sounded really pushy at time, hence the messiness. Keiko sounded the best she has ever been in this song.

Red rose: Incredibly fun. Loved seeing Eri just having fun on stage. Another favourite of the night.
Parade: better than the CD ver but still a shit song to me lol

- Favorites: KOKIA, red rose, Yuuyami no Uta, Kouya Ruten

- Shout out and all the praise to Keiko and Yuriko for practically singing the whole concert on day 2. Their voices on harmony just worked together on nearly all Kajiura songs. They're the MVPs. Joelle was great when she was on main vocal (not new), but idk with Kajiura's insistence on adding her to some songs where she basically wasn't really needed. Let the lady rest. Kaori is basically relegated to an almost guest vocal role lol

- I didn't have any problem with the setlist when it was unveiled, but seeing it live made me question the songs choice Kajiura made. Maybe it was because the MCs and several songs were cut but idk the transition to some songs were not it. Felt really abrupt. Other than rito on Kouya Ruten, none of the Yuuka cover was good.

- The setlist just wasn't as artfully and thoughtfully crafted as in her 20th anniversary live. Part of it maybe because Kalafina and FJ Yuuka is no longer with her lol

Personal overall takes:
I enjoy day 1 and day 2 the same amount, which basically isn't that much. Nothing that made me want to watch the live repeatedly. Production value is low compared to Kalafina's 2015-2016 Budokan lives. lighting is eeeh at times, not even new dresses for the FJ ladies for this live.
- I think people enjoyed day 1 more simply because there's Yuri Kasahara there and this is the first time we got her on video release (other than her very minor appearance in dream port). She alone was memorable from day 1 because I genuinely don't remember anything else from that night other than her part lol. Day 2 has more new performances but they all mostly pale compared to Kasahara soo I kinda get it. They're both on the same level enjoyment for me though. day 1 for the epic greatness of Kasahara and day 2 simply for the novelty of having many songs newly performed live.
- Kajiura definitely realized too late that her 2 day Budokan live featured way too many Japanese songs so she arranged YKL20 to be a Japanese seal performance
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A few thoughts:

Joelle and Keiko seemed to have lots of fun in Day 2. Joelle owns "The main theme of L.O.R.D", her energies and body gestures are everything, and that prolonged "aaaaaa" after her dual with Kaori and before the drum kicking in again was heavenly astoundingly ethereal.

I did expect "everlasting song" to be packed with more emotions and improvements... I don't know if it was me alone, or Asuka did not convey as much feelings as her Live vol 9 counterpart. The English bridges were good and lovely with Joelle. Yuriko did not sing her solo verse "Kimi no..." so I felt a bit missing... Otherwise, the song brought some nostalgic melodies. : ) now, just listening again, why the heck Asuka's voice sounds just like the OG ost version?

Eri Itou looks so beautiful and charming. She loves a song of storm and fire a lot XD (me too). Keiko lower harmonies were haunting and prominent. Everyone loves that song o.O.

Ring your song was soooooooooooo gooodddddd. It's disgustingly amazing that I almost cried.

Why did they trim and remove 2/3 songs of Tomaru Hanae >:(??? This Mezame sounds a lot more better than Vol 17 to me? Probably because it was her signature and they enjoyed this rendition to me, unlike vol 17 for some reason?????? The staccato at the beginning does not distract me that much.

I've never listened to Kokia before, but wow...... Just wow. Her voice is like a flute.

Overall, day 2 seems to lean forward a pop-based live, so I was keen more on Eri Itou and Tomaru Hanae's performances. It's a same that I talk to the rain, Lotus, Inverse Operation were skipped. Day 1 is surely a top notch live to me, classical night.
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glad I'm the only one who thought they overlaid the studio recording for everlasting song LOL

generally disappointed with the fjy song assignments but I also had forgotten about all of these newer vocalists 🤣

"Yasashii yoake" somehow works yet again. I love Chiaki's og obviously. I liked YUUKA's cold take from the 2days live and I also like Joelle's approach here, which I guess falls somewhere inbetween Chiaki's and YUUKA's. Maybe the song is just that good? :D
it's because it IS THAT GOOD!

really enjoyed the 5-vocalist arrangement of into the world. the song benefits from the richer vocals. kinda surprised yk didn't rearrange parade so that all the guest vocalists could join in a la 2013 kajifes open your heart tho - I think that would've been a much stronger note to end on
I think into the world with its 5 vocalist arrangement is the start of Kajiura incorporating more Kalafina somg in FJ lives.

A lot of the songs are so Wakana heavy that you can easily divvy it up between the 3 FJ sopranos (Joelle, Yuriko, Kaori) and still have a "balanced" vocal lineup. And for the songs that are Hikaru-Keiko focused, they can be used to highlight Hikaru as guest vocal.

I would KILL to see red moon with a 5-vocal layered arrangement. Literally Kajiura's magnum opus but she only chose tie-ins in the Kalafina section. 😢

I won't go song by song like last time so here are some of my personal highlights:
- Joelle - LORD theme and Yasashii Yoake really show off her vocal chops, especially LORD. I wish she didn't stand at the back platform but mmm that was so good. If she can change her vocal colour to be this dark I don't know why she doesn't do it more often, I much prefer her tone here than her normal bright tone.
- Yuriko Kaida - need I say more, lol. Her Kajiurago and high harmonies especially in the Kalafina section make the songs a lot richer and I really love that they sang the normallu playback Kajiurago live.
- Eri Itou - I have to admit, she really grew on me this live. I was not a fan at all in vol. 2 but she knocked it out of the park here. Only gripe was her breath between "ivasti" and "aahh" in the opening of aSoSaF (the name is way too long lol) but other than that, 10/10. She had so much fun in red rose and I did just watching her.

- ASCA - I like her songs but she has no stage presence. Kimi ga Yume no Monogatari was something I was looking forward to hearing live but there's no energy in this performance, while the studio version has so much of it. Hibari is good though and I liked her a lot in nowhere.
- Hanae's setlist - such an amazing soprano relegated to the same songs everytime, come on.
- JUNNA - too shouty. I wonder why Kajiura partnered with her considering her vocals.
- The production values (both Day 1 and 2) - I'm not asking for much but it seems rather weaksauce. The stage is too big for them to make use of and it's really only Keiko and Hikaru who know how to work a stage that size. The rest just don't have that much stage presence (yes, even Joelle). Anyone singing at the platform at the back is just drowned visually by everything else on stage. My personal favourite FJ stage lighting-wise was vol. 11, this seemed really weak by comparison. I don't mean to complain, but it's Kajiura's FIRST Budokan live and for many artists in Japan, performing a one-man live at the Budokan is the ultimate milestone of an artist that "made it big".