DEAD END Major Debut 25th Anniversary Live Kaosmoscape

live report - 10.04.2012 20:01

Japanese rock legend DEAD END celebrated its 25th anniversary in at Shibuya Koukaidou.

On September 16th, guitarist YOU, bassist CRAZY“COOL”JOE and vocalist MORRIE—three iconic figures of the J-rock scene—gathered for the special anniversary show, Kaosmoscape. More than 2,000 fans, both young and old, participated in the legendary band’s epic event. Although DEAD END is still a best kept secret to a lot of foreign fans, the band has been an inspiration to today’s J-rock icons, such as Kiyoharu (SADS, KUROYUME),yasu (Acid Black Cherry), hyde (L'Arc-en-Ciel, VAMPS), RYUICHI (LUNA SEA) and SUGIZO (LUNA SEA, X JAPAN), among others.

While waiting for the show to start, the fans relaxed in their seats. A soon as the show was about to begin, the upscale venue made an announcement: fans were not allowed to rush to the front row and go wild like they would in a live house.

With the lights having dimmed to complete darkness, the concert started. An instrumental version of DREAM DEMON ANALYZER’s DEEP – Ryuseihakusho began to play, and fans immediately stood up to welcome the band. Blue lights roamed around the auditorium, and the band members’ silhouettes finally appeared behind a stage screen. Then with the rising smoke from CRAZY“COOL”JOE’s cigarette as a signal, the veil lifted up from the stage and unleashed was a roll of white smoke and YOU’s guitar riffs, which took the audience instantly to the opening song, Suishoujuu.

JOE stood on the left, YOU on the right, supporting member Kei Yamazaki was on drums, and MORRIE, all clad in black, stood on the platform built behind the drum set while multicolor strobes lit up cosmic scenery. As MORRIE walked down a set of stairs to the center stage, the fans’ enthusiasm grew, and YOU further fueled this energy with his signature guitar riffs in Dress Burning. Hard and melodious at the same time, MORRIE’s hauntingly glamorous voice held the audience spellbound. Beside him, the heavy and solid picking sound from JOE’s bass lifted both the vocals and guitar while also embodying his enormous stage confidence. In response, the fans jumped and fist pumped as they sang along to the song. Thus, the band instantly turned a classy venue into a live house.

No talk was needed. The band went straight into the third song, Jigoku No Kisetsu, and its dark and heavy medium tempo set the atmosphere while MORRIE’s beautiful falsetto gently guided the fans to the dark side as he swayed. The vocalist then immediately shifted to a more powerful voice for the following number, one of the band’s classics: Danse Macabre. YOU and JOE’s backing choruses stirred up enthusiastic responses from fans.

Suddenly, drummer Kei Yamazaki caught everyone’s attention with a skilled drum solo that started the fifth song of the day, I Want Your Love, while JOE and YOU moved to the front. Kei was completely in control in playing technically demanding numbers of the band and even gave a strong accent with his powerful supporting vocals. To show their appreciation for Kei’s drum play, fans yelled his name out loud. This exceptionally catchy pop number showed a different side of the band, and the fans gave a big applause.

During the eighth song, Guillotine, MORRIE wowed fans yet again with his enormous vocal range. His deep growling voice and stage presence filled the venue with an otherworldly atmosphere. JOE’s arousing bass line ran through the song and YOU’s guitar solo provoked fans to head bang. Fans joined the backing chorus, “Take me, guillotine!” but MORRIE’s sharp eyes demanded even more from them. The show was not even a half way through yet.

As the middle part of the show came along, the band displayed its emotional side. I’m In A Coma and the all-time classic, SERAFINE, portrayed a kaleidoscope of melancholy, solitude, fragility and longing. Fans stood still in silence.

Later, flames rose from the stage and burned away that emotional mood. The band’s performance intensified and started to show an even stronger insanity that only they alone could handle. When the band started Night Song, all the fans immediately knew that it was JOE’s turn to take center stage. MORRIE actually left the stage during JOE’s infamous bass solo. All eyes were on the bassist. The red-haired veteran bassist walked around the stage and waved his fingers to provoke fan responses; every time he stopped playing the bass and lifted his fist, fans jumped, shouted “Oi!” and pumped their fists as well. As MORRIE returned to the stage, he glanced at the way all hell broke loose and was seemingly well pleased with it.

Killer numbers Embryo Burning and Phantom Nation brought forth an even more explosive burst of speed to the show. Fans gazed at YOU’s full throttle guitar solos, which involved choking, elongated vibratos and sometimes the use of the tremolo bar, while Kei’s pounding drum beat empowered the guitarist. Glowing, shouting and head banging, MORRIE was now fully in his zone. As Blackout started to play, he threw away his blue shirt and stripped to his waist. Sparks of fire literally went off on stage, and MORRIE stood tall in the center while his well-built body absorbed the cheers of fans and the multicolor stage lights.

Old and new songs made a magical, yet equally natural, chemistry as the band finished the show with Conception, Seiren, and SSS, hard numbers from the latest album. “Thank You!” For the first time, MORRIE actually spoke to the audience. Two words said it all, and the band left the stage.

Calls for an encore rose immediately after. As white smoke filled the stage floor and rays of light lit up the auditorium, the encore song Meigou conveyed warmth as if it was embracing the strong and unchanging tie between the band and fans. The touching song met a dramatic finale when MORRIE dived from the platform to the back stage as cosmic scenery also departed from the stage.

A clear cutting sound from the guitar then started the first song of the second encore: Good Morning Satellite. The song was an absolute treat for the fans from old days and also a pleasant surprise to younger fans. All generations sang along merrily with the band.

“Tokyo, how are you doing!?” MORRIE shouted. Of course, fans were ready for more. Back in the Shadow and Spider in the Brain subsequently shook the venue. “Let’s rock for the last time!” MORRIE yelled to fans, and the band closed the show with Devil Sleep.

MORRIE then said farewell to the audience with “See you again!” while JOE and YOU threw guitar picks to fans. YOU also took a photo of the fans and was the last to leave. Deeply satisfied, with some having no more energy left, the fans gave a standing ovation to the band.

Hopefully the day will come when J-rock fans outside of Japan can finally enjoy the band’s music live in their own countries. Only your voice and support for the band can make it happen.

A DVD of this performance will be released on December 12th. More information can be found here.


Set List:

01. Suishoju
02. Dress Burning
03. Jigoku No Kisetsu
04. Danse Macabre
05. I Want Your Love
06. Psychomania
07. Matenrou Game
08. Guillotine
09. Yume Oni Uta
10. Blood Music
11. Promised Land
12. I’m In A Coma
13. Serafine
14. Beyond the Reincarnation
15. Night Song
16. Embryo Burning
17. Phantom Nation
18. Calamity
19. Blackout
20. Conception
21. Seiren
22. SSS

Encore 1
23. Meigou

Encore 2
24. Good Morning Satellite
25. Back in the Shadow
26. Spider in the Brain
27. Devil Sleep
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DEAD END 09/16

DEAD END
Tokyo - Japan
Shibuya Koukaidou (formerly Shibuya CC.Lemon Hall)
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