With a show full of spectacular energy and vivacious drumming, followed by two standing ovations and a humorous and lively encore at the 6 p.m. show, Yamato’s performance set at the Mary D’Angelo Performing Arts Center (PAC) on Sunday, Nov. 1, was a stunning success.
This weekend marked the seventh sell-out of Yamato at Mercyhurst over the past 10 years, and as PAC director Michael Fuhrman stated in his opening address, “This is one of the most incredible shows ever to roll into Erie. It will knock your socks off.”
The performance began with “Ucyo-ten,” a sort of calling together of the drummers that then burst into a dynamic introduction full of vitality as well as humor.
This vivacious opener was then followed by the slower, more spiritual and ritualistic “To-ne,” which translates as “distant” and “sound” together. This second number did not stay slow for long, however, as it progressed into a faster and more urgent musical combination of drumming and banjo-like strings.
Next appeared “Rekka,” a comical yet also impressive drumming showdown between two of the members. This section involved audience participation as well, as the male drummer humorously gestured for the audience to mimic his rhythms with clapping – before being cheekily interrupted by the virtuosic drumming of his female competitor, of course.
“Rekka” was followed by a sort of musical game of “pass the invisible object” that involved three musicians with cymbals. This piece was full of comedy and mimed jokes, but also exhibited some notable musical and rhythmic displays.
Another strong and arresting section much like “Ucyo-ten” followed, which featured the pounding of the largest Taiko, which translates as “fat drum.”
Next came “Oto-dama,” which again combined humor with the idea of passing something down the line of musicians, but this time with six small drums and five lively drummers.
Finally, Yamato’s performance closed with another big drum number entitled “Hanabi,” or “fireworks.” This striking finale was then followed, however, by an audience-induced encore of both vitality and great comedy.
Overall, Yamato presented a powerhouse of a show. The drummers of Yamato appeared on stage with energy and persona that absolutely demanded attention. The performance was also well-balanced, with big and powerful numbers such as “Ucyo-ten” and “Hanabi” offset by the comedy of pieces such as “Rekka” and “Oto-dama.”
When asked about the show, junior Hailey Glover said, “I loved it! It was very intense, to say the least.”
“Their performance was explosive,” said adult student Eric Engel.
“The show was amazing, probably the best thing I have ever seen here,” said audience member Alethea Gaarden.
Audience member Sandra DelPorto said of the performance, “It was utterly magnificent. This was the third time I saw Yamato, and it was the best yet. If there was ever a question of whether or not there is a God, I feel that such radiance as these drummers presented certainly indicates that there is one.”