JACK IN THE BOX 2018 ~LAST BUDOKAN~ at Nippon Budokan

live report - 04.24.2019 20:01

Christmas all over again!

After two years of absence JACK IN THE BOX, the renowned music festival hosted by the agency MAVERICK DC GROUP, returned in 2018 for its last installment at Nippon Budokan during the Heisei era! For those unfamiliar with this festival, JACK IN THE BOX is a J-rock and visual kei festival first held in 2007 that gathers both MAVERICK DC GROUP artists such as MUCC and SID as well as a variety of special guests.

In addition to the groups’ individual performances, what makes this festival unique is the “super bands” created just for the occasion. For example, some fans may remember the special live session where HYDE from L’Arc~en~Ciel and TERU from GLAY sang two iconic songs by their respective bands together. What’s exciting is that each festival is different and you never know what surprises the organizers have prepared for you (hence the name “JACK IN THE BOX”). The 2018 edition featured NOCTURNAL BLOODLUST, UNiTE, DEZERT, MUCC, SID, three super bands during the all-stars session and a very prestigious guest: RYUICHI KAWAMURA, the lead singer of the legendary group LUNA SEA. Without further delay, let’s take a look back on the highlights from this very special show!

It was a cold day in December, but a massive crowd made the trip to the iconic Nippon Budokan for the event. After being rocked by the visual kei/metalcore band NOCTURNAL BLOODLUST during their first appearance at the festival, then having danced with the refreshing and facetious band UNiTE, the time had come for the MDC all-stars session to begin.

The first session band, SORA with Naughty "RESPECT" stars, was composed of Ken from L’Arc~en~Ciel on vocals, Miya from MUCC on guitar, Sacchan from DEZERT on bass, Aki from SID on chorus and SORA from DEZERT on drums. All of the members know each other well and the audience truly felt it. If one had to find a word to describe the set, it would be “mesmerizing”. Of course, the songs that were chosen played a part in creating that feeling, as they performed MUCC’s Wasurenagusa, DEZERT’s TODAY and Ken’s Speed. However, it was so spellbinding mainly because the combination of each talented member on the stage created something that felt authentic. A special mention must be given to the duet during Speed where Ken and Aki sang the popular song together.

The second band was called THE YELLOW MONCHHICHI2 in a tribute to the famous (and recently reformed) rock band THE YELLOW MONKEY. The entire four-song set list for their performance consisted of tracks from the veteran band’s repertoire. The roster was composed of Tatsuro from MUCC on vocals, Shinichi Ubukata from Nothing’s Carved In Stone and ELLEGARDEN on guitar, Aki from SID on bass, ex-Fujifabric member Fusafumi Adachi on keyboards and Shinji Matsuda from THE BACK HORN on drums. The covers were all impressive because, while they could have just performed the songs without putting in any particular effort, Tatsuro’s deep and powerful voice transformed the songs, making them sound as if they were from his own musical world. The audience could feel this atmosphere especially strongly during the performances of JAM and Bara iro no hibi.

The biggest surprise was yet to come. The third and last band of the all-stars session was called SIAM SID, and it featured two members of the famous 90s group SIAM SHADE: HIDEKI on vocals and NATCHIN on bass. Completing the line-up were Shinji and Yuya from SID, on guitar and drums respectively, and Taizo from Kra on guitar. They performed a 100% SIAM SHADE set list. It was obvious from the looks on the faces of the people in the audience that they were thrilled. Fans even got the pleasure of hearing 1/3 no Junjou na Kanjou, a song that is the equivalent of X JAPAN’s Kurenai for SIAM SHADE fans.

After a few minutes of break, the visual kei band DEZERT began their set. After seeing their performance, it is only fair to say that they are truly underrated. They managed to captivate the audience with an eclectic set list. The two most memorable moments were the combination of the drums and vocals during TODAY and the explosive bass solo during Hentai.

However, the best performance of the night was offered without a shadow of a doubt by MUCC. They both literally and figuratively burned up the stage like none of the other bands before them. The most glaring example of this was during the song Mr. Liar. Imagine the Budokan turning into a huge nightclub full of lights, with electro and metal riffs ringing out and all of the members of the band wandering to the fours corners of the stage and dancing and headbanging along with the audience. With only seven songs they showed a glimpse of their amazing range of musicality. Jumping from the jazz-rock of TIMER to the metal sound of Ranchuu and the ballad Melt, the set list was well-balanced. Their performance was concluded with Sei to shi to kimi and some pyrotechnic effects.

To conclude the festival, SID appeared on the stage. Actually, the whole event was also being held to celebrate their 15th anniversary, which is why they had the honour of being the last band and performing a longer set of 10 songs. The celebration was well-deserved, as they are amongst the few visual kei bands who have ever performed at the Tokyo Dome and they still have a large fanbase they can count on.

From their set, there was one particular moment above all that was truly moving. Before the sixth song, Mao invited a very prestigious guest onto the stage: RYUICHI KAWAMURA, the vocalist of LUNA SEA. This special collaboration was a touching gift for Mao, as RYUICHI is the one singer he admires the most. The song they performed together, Futsuu no kiseki, was the perfect ballad to hear RYUICHI and Mao’s voices combining into one. There was nothing left for the fans to do other than to let themselves be swept away into the world of imagination as they listened.

At the end of the show, all of the bands and guests came onto the stage to perform the song Celebration together. The show ended in a deluge of confetti. Overall, the promises offered by the event were kept. There were great bands, great guests, many surprises, many emotions and, more than anything, great music! We can’t wait to attend another JACK IN THE BOX in the future!

Set List

1. Punch me if you can
2. Juusou
3. the strength I need

1. ice
2. Shiori
3. Insekikei studio panda
4. Cocky-discuS
5. -Hello music-

SORA with Naughty "RESPECT" stars
1. Wasurenagusa
3. Speed (with Aki)

1. JAM
3. Bara iro no hibi

1. Glacial LOVE
2. 1/3no juunjou na kanjou

1. [New song]
3. Chouchou
4. 「Hentai」
5. 「Pictogram-san.」

2. Ranchuu
3. G.G.
4. Jiko kenno
5. Melt
6. Mr.Liar
7. Sei to shi to kimi

1. Ajisai
2. Aribai
3. Dear Tokyo
4. Milk
5. Sono mirai e
6. Futsuu no kiseki (with RYUICHI KAWAMURA)
7. V.I.P
9. Memai
10. one way
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