exist†trace One-man Tour [DECIDE]

live report - 14.01.2011 00:01

exist†trace’s one-man tour, still to wrap up with a grand finale in Tokyo in January 2011, gave fans in the capital a chance to prove themselves over the rest.

The chilly weather on November 23 didn’t faze exist†trace fans one bit as they gathered at Shinjuku Antiknock for the tour final. Heating the crowd up with an opening of Rammstein, the band entered one by one rather sedately, though guitarist miko greeted the fans with a raised fist.

“Hey, Tokyo. Are you ready?” vocalist Jyo queried as she took the stage. Facing Mally at the drum kit, guitarist Omi and bassist Naoto kicked off the first piece, DECIDE. The memorable melody of the chorus made for a great opening number, firing up the crowd without delay. miko, Naoto and Omi all leaned into the music together. A brief interlude of Jyo yelling to the crowd cut in before orurean no shoujo began with a cry of “Jump!” Climbing up on a speaker, Jyo loomed over the crowd whilst miko followed the order as well as any fan, jumping away to the fun music. Not quite as cheerful, Omi showed her love for the fans by flipping them off as the two guitarists joined Jyo up on the speakers to wrap it up.

Screaming out a series of “Yeahs," Jyo wound the Tokyo fans up to boiling point. “More than Nagoya!” she cried. “More than Osaka!” The crowd responded to every shout with more and more vigour. Letting loose a monstrous scream, Jyo launched into RESONANCE and the crowd dissolved into a mass of whipping heads. miko pitched in on backing vocals, her sweet voice contrasting with Jyo’s deeper tones to interesting effect. Climbing up on the speakers, Naoto remained deadpan throughout her laid back bass solo, which was followed by a more upbeat version courtesy of Omi up on the centre speaker. Not one to be overlooked, miko needed no solo to stand out as she jumped in time with the verse, matching the crowd’s actions even as she played.

The dark magical melody of hana no sakanai machi created a different sort of intensity that continued on into the intriguing melody of the verse. The chorus opened up with a positive sound whilst a sweet instrumental break down disrupted the flowing nature of the song for a time. The crowd was not shy about voicing their approval as the number came to a sudden end. Another memorable tune, KNIFE, had the whole crowd grooving while pumping fists. Beneath the pleasant combination of Jyo’s raw power and miko’s soft voice, Omi and Naoto could be seen getting down on the instrumental side of things while Mally constantly struck at her drums.

“Thank you!” Jyo yelled, the crowd returning her cry two-fold. Blaming Naoto for the lousy weather, Jyo smoothly guided the raucous atmosphere into a lighter and more cheerful mood, and then into a more serious setting. “This story is about a certain boy, but it’s also about everyone. He begged to be taken beyond the sky but seemed more likely to sink into the ocean. ‘Please, someone take me beyond that sky.’” The stage set, Neverland began with an emotional call of “Take me!” Intense but with a positive spin, the guitar line had heads bouncing. The gorgeous melody and repeated theme really made the number. Jyo reached out to an unseen savior while singing. Pouring raw emotion into the final chorus and singing with all her heart, she switched the phrase to “Catch me~!” her voice disintegrating from song to passionate cry.

Blaze featured a simple and steady melody. The drums and guitar stood out heavily with the occasional prominent bass line. Not particularly bright, the contrast with Neverland still made for a lighter atmosphere. A drum roll touched off unforgive you. Deep voiced, low and dangerous, the verse set a false mood of darkness as the chorus dazzled. More softly sung than ever before, Jyo’s voice blended nicely with that of miko’s. Grooving during the instrumental breaks, she exhibited the music itself in her body lines. The emotion of the number was well conveyed, whether through strongly sung high notes or low tones that chilled the bones.

The bass then took the lead for the slower, calmer Mirror, which offered a new sound from exist†trace. Jyo’s light, feminine tones gave way to growling to compliment the heavy escalation and rocking bass line. Sweeter and introduced by recorded synthesizer, Cradle showed off Jyo’s ability with ballads, allowing her to take on a strong motherly aspect to her voice. Meanwhile, the light and airy music brought to mind a sound most often associated with Enya. The inspirational lyrics tied well into the music and stood out very strongly. Beginning amidst a blackout, the reckless SACRIFICE BABY began with a yell of “Are you ready, baby!?” Slowly the lights raised upon a fiercely jumping crowd, and they were spurred on by a wicked scream. The guitars seemed to be in their element throughout, Omi once more raising her middle finger in a salute to the rioting crowd.

“Tokyo, this tour final with you is tons of fun!” Jyo cried, then she laughed about the false tone despite her sincerity. At this point, she asked drummer Mally to stand up on her stool in order for the crowd to get a good look at her, cooped up as she was at the back of the low stage. Then, launching into the final section with ROUGE, Jyo yelled “Hey!” in a thundering voice. A hot guitar riff soon had the audience pumping their fists to follow Omi’s sturdy example whilst miko cutely battered the air. Throughout the number, a sinuous undercurrent kept the crowd moving. Then Jyo cycled through each of the members, the fans raising their voices to repeat each name as introduced; miko returned the favor for the vocalist.

“We are?” Jyo prompted, borrowing X JAPAN’s signature call and response. “No! We are exist†trace ! Three, two, one – Jump!” she cried, the fans cheering as they complied and the band grooved and danced away. “Winding up for Tokyo, JUDEA!” the vocalist announced. A wicked growl headed up the song. Complete with heavy rhythmic guitar interspersed with the occasional bass solo, the growl continued throughout, letting up only for the darkly sung chorus and occasionally forcing miko to take over the vocals as Jyo let rip. liquid had the crowd instantly tossing their heads. The combination of strong drums, double guitar, deep bass and dark vocals vibrated through the fans and created a sense of danger. The band moved about the stage, surveying the crowd and getting into the music, Naoto occasionally breaking her stoic persona to toss her long hair back and forth over her bass.

“Tokyo! Raise your fists and sync your hearts!” Jyo cried. Closing up the set, the dark gothic sound of VANGUARD featured the two guitarists up on the speakers for their duet. They shared a heartening grin and soon, with all of the members lined up on the speakers, Jyo encouraged the crowd to sing in her stead. The exciting final chorus led into an outro full of shouts, Jyo finally jumping off the speaker on the very last cymbal crash before the band made their way off with the occasional pick thrown into the crowd.

However, responding to the fans’ cries, the band was back in no time with a shout of gratitude and sporting tour shirts. The fans then called each member forward to hand over flowers. Jyo wondered aloud where hers were and was not disappointed as she, too, received a massive bunch. “Happy birthday for next week, Mally!” one fan called. Jyo then asked the crowd for a favor in the form of helping them record a special comment for the Sendai visual kei store Little Hearts. The original idea of filming a comment in the midst of a live had the crowd thoroughly exited, and despite Jyo’s nervous false start, they played their part well. The vocalist then ducked offstage, leaving Mally to babble in her absence before coming back with an all important prop. “Are your heads ready to roll?” Jyo prompted, the crowd answering by throwing their heads about to the fast, heavy tune of Venom. Next, the prop Jyo had left to retrieve came into play. During forward, fists and towels whirled atop the exotic guitar line, and the vocalist herself led the charge. A melodic guitar duet still managed to keep up the pace, keeping the constant array of towels in the air. Turning her back on the crowd, Jyo encouraged more and more out of them with a rolling fist. “miko’s thrown her back out!” the vocalist laughed as the vigorous number came to an end. “Tokyo, thank you!”

“Three days is really very short, but it feels like it’s been a long journey. I hope that this song, complete with all of your waving hands, will carry everyone through to the additional tour final in 2011. Bye bye.” The thoroughly cheerful owari no nai sekai indeed saw an army of hands waving to the music through the instrumental parts. Meanwhile, Omi sang coolly with Jyo through the verses, with miko adding a lower harmony to the chorus. Introducing the lead guitarist for a solo, Jyo stepped back as she cried “Omi!” The fans all spread their arms wide throughout the vibrant guitar solo, Omi wrapping it up with a raised fist. Then the crowd took over the chorus at Jyo’s request. “Good work, all of you!” Jyo approved. “This has been exist†trace!” The members continued tossing their heads, yelling and pummeling the air until the very final chord of the night. Mally jumped up on her stool for a bow. As Jyo asked, the crowd raised a chain of hands, and everyone jumped together to finish the concert with a sense of unity. Amidst cheering and applause, the band took their leave, though the two guitarists lingered, reluctant to part with the atmosphere which carried on even after they were gone.

Set list:

-Opening SE-
02. orurean no shoujo
04. hana no sakanai machi
06. Neverland
07. Blaze
08. unforgive you
09. Mirror
10. Cradle
14. liquid

EN01. Venom
EN02. forward
EN03. 「owari no nai sekai」
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