J – New Blood, New Explosion at Shinjuku BLAZE

live report - 01.12.2013 00:01

J blazed out in his “New Blood, New Explosion” live on November 2nd in Tokyo.

2013 has been a great year of rock and roll for J, the fierce bassist of legendary rock band LUNA SEA, as well as for his fans. In the 16th year of his solo career, J released his 9th album, FREEDOM No.9, and finished with a nationwide tour about one week before his two-day show at Tokyo’s Shinjuku BLAZE on November 1st and 2nd. Aside from the national tour, in August J also launched the monthly Tokyo two-day shows, TOKYO 10 DAYS!! - 5 Months a BLAZE -. The fourth chapter, as he called the fourth show, was New Blood, New Explosion. On November 2nd, fans gathered at the center of Tokyo, looking forward to experience what their unstoppable tough guy had to unleash on the stage.

A loud call for J immediately rose after a black out, and one by one J’s band members walked onto the stage. Guitarist Takashi “CBGB” Fujita and drummer Scott Garrett, who have been playing support for J since his solo debut, took their respective positions with guitarist Kazunori Mizoguchi. Finally, J himself appeared with a “Here we go!!” and opened fire with the first number from his new album, Go Ahead. J’s deep masculine voice, which acquired more depth and strength over the years, grabbed fans into the song. Driving guitar riffs, pounding drums, and J’s bass line kicked up fans from the floor. Not holding back, fans exploded out with shouts and fist pumps.

“Shinjuku Blaze! I am happy to see you guys! Let’s go even higher than yesterday. So take your limits off! Are you ready!?” Garrett, with his big, powerful arms, started to give a drum beat, and every kick he made on the bass drum generated more enthusiastic shouts from fans. The second number, Love to Kill, started to play. Moving left and right, J looked into fans’ faces to draw them closer. “Let me hear your voice!” he shouted to fans during the third song, break. Fans in response shouted, “Break! Break!” as if they were trying to set themselves free.

“All right! You guys are awesome! I will play more songs from my new album, but I am not going to ask you who this song reminded you of”. Also known as an outspoken figure in Japanese music scene, J did what he does best in the fourth song, Looser. Relentless guitar riffs and a bone-chilling, heavy bass line created a mosh pit. Fans jumped around as if they were stomping on a corrupt social system that always tries to put them down. Sweat already dripping off from Fujita’s arms, the veteran guitarist played a fiery rhythm guitar while Mizoguchi gave a punk attitude-filled guitar solo.

Later, blue stage light changed the atmosphere in the venue. Another yet more medium tempo number from the new album MARIA displayed a different side of freedom. No one can reach freedom without going through adversity. J knows that well. The sixth song, Nightglow, which he described as his favorite from the album, gave a sense of embrace to fans, who shared the same pain. Every song of his has a message. “Now you are free. Therefore, what will you choose, and what will you leave behind?” J posed with the following song, right away. “I will play your favorite song from my new album. I am looking forward to seeing where you will stick your sword into,” said J with a cheeky smile on his face. “It’s time to burn”. As if every stroke of his bass guitar was unveiling their true faces, fans sung along with him and he lifted their spirits further up during the next song, If you can see me. Leading fans by example, his heartfelt voice encouraged them to step out of the fear inside. “Thank you!” J shouted at the end of the song.

J then started to play some of his classics. An explosive chemical reaction of old and new songs blazed out an unbelievable amount of energy from the stage. “Are you ready to jump around!? (Next is) Twisted dreams!!” Fans immediately started to mosh around with Garrett’s groovy high-speed drum beats and an intoxicating unison of heavy guitar riffs. “Do it!” J stepped up on top of an amplifier and provoked fans to crowd surf. It was a fun time for fans, but it was also a busy time for the security staff to help the crowd surfers with safe landing. Satisfied with seeing his fans making sure no one became injured, J smiled at them. Later, fans enjoyed Garrett’s drum solo. His superb drum play convinced them why J has trusted him for the last 16 years. “Give Scott an applause!” J handed a bottle of water to the drummer and toasted with him.

“You guys look great. Let’s go beyond the edge!” Fans immediately lit their lighters when they heard a guitar riff from J’s signature song, PYROMANIA. The song was made 16 years ago, but today it possessed an even stronger power. There was nothing left to contain the flame of passion unleashed in the venue. Fans sung along and shouted, “No one can stop it!” and J added more fuel to the fire by shouting, “Shinjuku blaze! Here we go!!” At his call, fans once again went for the wild ride of crowd surfing while a frenzy of a guitar solo escalated the chaos even more. “Let’s go crazy!” J incited fans to completely let go of themselves during go crazy. Fujita’s choking guitar solo gave a sound of triumph for fans who now reached a new level of freedom. “This is the last song. Let me feel your fire!” A night of explosions it was, as fans pulled triggers on their hearts by singing along loudly. J delivered a powerful vocal performance and gave his fans a final boost with a soul-shaking bass riff. “Thank you! Feel your fire!” he bid farewell to fans.

After receiving a call for encore, J returned to the stage and took time to share his heart with fans. “The last two days have been just amazing. It’s been a tight schedule since the tour, but I believe we both have been living fulfilling days because of it. I have not lost my voice, thanks to all the support from the doctor, tour staff and you guys. I can still shout!” Fans gave him applause. “It’s always exciting to play new songs in front of you guys. We pursued freedom in our own way, and I hope my album inspires you guys to find a new sense of freedom as well. I know we all face tough times in life. Please remember this night when you feel down. I am confident that you guys can survive anything because I have seen you going way above your limits today”. After a bit of a pause, J continued to speak. “16 years ago, I could not really play nor sing like I do today, but I have always been honest throughout my musical career. Everything I say always goes back to me. For 16 years, I have always believed in my way, and you guys always gave me inspiration to move forward. I would like to continue with this cycle and get into the new stage with you guys”. Ovation rose in response to his touching words. Comradeship would be the word best to describe the strong bond between the band and the fans.

During the encore, J once again took fans on a roller coaster ride during the song Gabriel. “Let’s burn out everything!” BURN OUT, the very first single of his, followed. J and fans made a promise by singing the last number, NEVER END, together. “Thank you everyone. I received so much energy from you guys. Let’s keep the fire burning until the end of the year. Until we see each other again next time, what ever happens to you...never say die!!!” Fans responded to his call with loud cheers. The band took the last bows and left the stage.

J is now heading to the final chapter of his monthly live events in Tokyo at the end of December. With full speed, he will go into his 17th year with his comrades.

Set List

1. Go Ahead
2. Love to Kill
3. break
4. Looser
6. Nightglow
7. right away
8. Sword
9. If you can see me
10. Twisted dreams ~Dr. Solo~
12. Go Charge
13. go crazy
14. Feel Your Blaze


15. Gabriel
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