Beloved Japanese idol group Momoiro Clover Z performed the Tokyo stage of their 15th-anniversary nationwide tour, serving as the finale on Oct. 14 and 15. Starting in July and weaving in summer festival appearances, the commemorative tour spanned four months, featuring a total of 12 shows, with all of them being sold out.
On a bright October Saturday, an outbound rapid train departing from Shinjuku was bustling as usual, but with one remarkable distinction. The passengers were sporting the colors of their favorite member via merchandise; Kanako Momota’s red, Shiori Tamai’s yellow, Ayaka Sasaki’s pink, and Reni Takagi’s purple. All were journeying to the same destination; Momoiro Clover Z’s 15th anniversary finale show.
The contrast became even clearer after getting off the train at the station closest to the night’s venue. Groups of fans carrying Momoclo merch were everywhere, and it didn’t take a while to understand this unusual scene was proof of the inclusive community for fans regardless of age or gender, as they celebrated their reunion and shared the excitement of this much anticipated day.
As the clock approached the start time, the stage lights gracefully receded, unveiling the quartet on stage. Elegantly attired in sleek black dresses, they departed from their iconic multicolored uniforms, underlining the tour title “QUEEN OF STAGE.” The concert kicked off with the 2011 classic “Hashire!”, which had been newly arranged for this special tour. Mononofu (the name for their fans)’s energy already reached its peak as they enthusiastically chanted along with the song, a common closing number for the group’s performances.
Following was Momoclo’s renowned fight song, “DNA Rhapsody,” accompanied by six dancers clad in white. The atmosphere resembled a Broadway performance more than a traditional idol concert, proof of the unique artistry they’ve developed over their remarkable 15-year career.
“Let’s enjoy the night,” the four members said as they pumped up the crowd and hopped on top of moving platforms to approach the fans on the opposite side of the venue. Navigating through the audience, they performed concert anthems like “Gorilla Punch -ZZ ver.-” and “Nightmare Before Catharsis,” both of which were also highlights from their May show titled “Yoyogi Mugendai Kinenbi Momoiro Clover Z 15th Anniversary LIVE.”
The concert lineup went beyond their classic tunes. A standout moment of the night was undoubtedly the newest single “MONONOFU NIPPON feat. Tomoyasu Hotei,” made in a collaboration with iconic Japanese guitarist Tomoyasu Hotei. As they switched their outfits to align with their individual member colors and delivered a flawless performance of the song, the fans reciprocated with an escalating level of energy in their chants. Throughout this four-month tour, the bond between the group and their fans has grown stronger, cementing a deeper connection even when performing the newly released track.
Seasons also changed during the tour and the four revealed to fans a side of them that’s more in line with your average millennial than one of a scene-leading idol group through stage banter. Sasaki talked about her current challenge with autumn hay fever, which she didn’t experience the last time they performed at this venue in August. On the other hand, Tamai expressed her enjoyment for the season, particularly the scent of the plant osmanthus. Momota reminisced about the days when they used scripted stage banter, meticulously memorizing every word. However, they’ve since discarded scripts, embracing spontaneous dialogue during their performances. This transition also mirrors their remarkable 15-year journey in the industry.
As the concert neared its grand finale, the energy surged even higher. Following the relaxed and seasoned banter, the audience was treated to a medley, offering a nostalgic journey through their history, featuring actual music video footage from their debut onwards. Within the medley, an array of songs spanning their career was showcased, from early classics like “Momoiro Punch” (2009), “Pinky Jones” (2010) and “Saraba, Itoshiki Kanashimitachi Yo” (2013) to their 15th-anniversary song “Ichigo Ichie” (2023). Additionally, significant milestones from their career, such as their 2012 debut at Nippon Budokan and the 2014 National Stadium performance, were featured as part of the backdrop. It wasn’t just a journey through the evolution of an artist; it was also a testament to how teenagers transformed into top artists, enduring numerous challenges along the way. It effectively illustrated the message from the lyrics of “The Golden History” (2018), featured in the medley, which talks about growing stronger with every passage through different eras.
Though fans may have encountered the group in various eras or through different songs, we all gathered that night to commemorate the present state of Momoiro Clover Z. It was a moving experience for more than just a few fans, some of whom were brought to tears.
“Nothing feels right other than ending our 15th-anniversary live tour with the song we’re most attached to,” Momota beamed and they proceeded to perform their major debut single, “Ikuze Kaitou Shoujo.” This song marked their TV debut and symbolized the immense time and effort they invested in their early years.
Within the 2-hour and half set, the four showcased footage from across their 15 years together over 25 songs. “You’re not alone” is the theme running through their songs, and the four members embody this concept perfectly. They have established a warm and inclusive community that embraces fans of all ages, from young girls to parents and their years-long remarkable effort to instill the belief that “illuminating the world with smiles and music,” a bold aspiration in our complex world, is not only possible but essential.
As the quartet left the stage, Mononofu resumed their chants for the encore, creating a magical atmosphere with hundreds of glow sticks shining in a mix of colors. What came as a surprise was that they announced a new single “Chikai Mirai,” written by Yujin Kitagawa of Japanese duo Yuzu, which is set to be released on October 27th. And the audience was lucky enough to witness the very first performance of the song.
After sending off the dancers, the four members remained on stage to deliver their final song, “Hoero.” Momoclo gave their all in their signature style, and Mononofu responded with an eruption of cheers, concluding the show on a particularly high note.
However, the anniversary show didn’t mark the end, as a mysterious teaser appeared on the backdrop immediately after the performance. This teaser heralded the start of a new chapter: the production of their seventh album in the coming year. Momoiro Clover Z didn’t conclude their anniversary celebration with a sense of nostalgia. Instead, they left their devoted fans with a surge of anticipation that would persist until the moment they reunited with Mononofu another weekend.