Japanese singer-songwriter Gen Hoshino wrapped up his POP VIRUS domestic dome tour in Fukuoka on Sunday (Mar. 10) with a fun-filled three-hour set at the Yahuoku! Dome.
The J-pop superstar became the fifth male solo artist to pull off a five-stop dome trek in Japan, with eight sold-out concerts that drew a total attendance of 330,000. His previous Continues Tour drew 200,000 fans to 20 arena performances in 10 locations across the country, so this dome tour became the biggest of his career so far.
Hoshino appeared onstage and eased into the final show with an acoustic solo performance of the poignant “Uta wo Utau Tokiwa” (“When you sing a song”) with just his guitar. Then his backing band joined him to deliver “Pop Virus,” the funky mid-tempo title track and opener of his latest Billboard Japan No. 1 album.
The multi-talented artist put on a show that bridged the emotional distance between the audience and himself with a production full of ideas, for example delighting fans by suddenly appearing in the middle of the crowd, and performing a relaxed jam session on the sub-stage.
Hoshino also addressed the audience casually in-between songs with humor and gratitude, creating a surprisingly intimate atmosphere in such an immense space as only someone with his approachable character could.
The latter half of the main set consisted of some of his greatest hits, including “Bakemono,” “Koi,” “SUN,” and “Idea,” a song he explained led to the creation of the album POP VIRUS through its warm public reception. He asked everyone to join him in dancing to “Koi,” made famous in part by the innovative choreography a few years back as the theme of a hit TV drama he starred in, and then launched into another popular dance track, “Week End,” before closing the main set with the hopeful “Family Song.”
“What a great view. Thank you all so much for coming,” he said after returning to the stage for the encore. He ended his successful tour with “Hello Song,” perhaps as a not-so-subtle reminder to fans that they would “meet with a smile” again in the future, as he sings in the upbeat closing number of his latest album.
Text: Billboard JAPAN / Photo: Shinya Narazaki