Live Report Exclusive

the GazettE "LIVE 2021 -DEMONSTRATION EXPERIMENT- BLINDING HOPE" at Tokyo Garden Theater

24/02/2022 2022-02-24 01:00:00 JaME Author: Coco

the GazettE "LIVE 2021 -DEMONSTRATION EXPERIMENT- BLINDING HOPE" at Tokyo Garden Theater

the GazettE gave fans the best Christmas present they could have imagined with their long-awaited show at Tokyo Garden Theater.

© Keiko Tanabe
After the GazettE's "18TH ANNIVERSARY DAY/6576" concert, which was scheduled for March 10th, 2020, had to be canceled due to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, there were only three dates when fans had the chance to see the band live on stage in 2021. These shows were titled "LIVE 2021 -DEMONSTRATION EXPERIMENT- BLINDING HOPE", with one taking place in Nagoya in September, one in Osaka in October and the final in Tokyo was planned to take place at Tokyo Garden Theater on November 1st. Sadly, the latter had to be postponed suddenly, right on the day of the event, as vocalist Ruki was in poor health. However, on December 23rd, the time had finally come to celebrate in Tokyo and all of the fans in attendance got the best Christmas present they could have imagined.

Tokyo Garden Theater, located in Tokyo's bay area, is a huge concert hall with balconies on three floors and it can welcome up to 8,000 spectators. On the ground floor in front of the stage as well as on the balconies were seats waiting for fans of the GazettE, and almost all of them were occupied before the beginning of the show.

The lights went off and it got quiet. There was no cheering from the audience because the fans were forbidden from raising their voices or singing along due to the ongoing pandemic. Creepy background music began to play and a green circle was projected on a thin white canvas, dancing around on it until it became a logo. Through the canvas, fans could spot the silhouettes of the five band members. Ruki, in particular, was clearly recognizable in the middle. The music changed, flowing into the intro of Blinding Hope, and as the curtain fell the stage was bathed in fog and red light whilst all members were illuminated by blue light and surrounded by blue lasers. It was a fitting opening for the show, starting with the first single release from their 2021 album MASS and also matching its visual design. This striking first impression was completed by the outfits featured in the band's current photos: Ruki wearing a beige suit with wide shoulders and all of the other members dressed completely in black.

The fans didn’t wait long to join in with furitsuke (hand movements that are especially popular at visual kei shows). At the end of the first song Ruki stood illuminated by a blue spotlight, with his hands reaching out to the fans at the edge of the stage as if inviting them on a journey through the GazettE’s vast repertoire of songs.

And off they went! The next track, the dark ROLLIN', which can also be found on MASS, was perfect for headbanging and both the band and fans gave it their all right away. Without any breaks, the set list continued to GUSH from the album NINTH. Again, the lights seemed connected to the album art, using blue and green nuances. Following the short slower part Ruki jumped up and kicked the air, expressing the strong energy of the song.

After a short MC in which Ruki welcomed the fans and apologized for the long wait (due to the show's postponement), he asked the audience to dance and NOX kicked off. The track started with a short guitar melody and when it continued to the verse where a violin could be heard, laser lightning was projected on the stage and fog-like effects were created using a different technique. It was the perfect setting for the emotional song.

  © Keiko Tanabe

While Aoi, Reita and Uruha were changing their instruments Kai was keeping up the pace with the intro of CLEVER MONKEY. Just like before, only a few seconds passed before everyone joined in on headbanging. Reita pushed himself to the limit when playing the fast bassline as the spotlight was turned to him. When he finished his part he was almost on his knees, but he stood up in the blink of an eye and was ready to continue. The track continued with a part for headbanging and it seemed like there was no one left in the hall who wasn't following the band's example.

Next, the band played the sharp Uragiru Bero from NINTH. Ruki stood with his leg on the box before him at centre stage and performed rowing movements. The stage was filled with fog and illuminated by red light as he moved like a string puppet to reinforce the song's lyrics.

The energetic show continued with HOLD, which offers an especially memorable guitar riff. This time Reita encouraged the audience to clap and the fans followed his request instantly, earning a thumbs up from him before the music became heavier and he resumed headbanging.

The audience made it a habit to continue doing the one thing they were actually permitted to do by the pandemic rules: clapping. Whenever the lights went off and it became quiet the fans kept applauding until either the lights came on or there was a sound audible from the speakers.

After some thankful words from Ruki, the stage went dark and the spotlight focused exclusively on the vocalist. A creepy intro began to play as the stage was flooded with fog and a mix of green and red lights, transitioning into DRIPPING INSANITY. Again, Ruki performed dramatically along to the lyrics, bending as if he was in pain, staggering and stumbling across the stage. During the song, the stage light shifted to illuminating the band from behind and one could clearly see how Aoi was putting all his emotions in his guitar playing. Spectators who didn’t get goosebumps from the performance until this point were sure to get them soon, as the light was turned down and the spotlights switched over to Uruha as he delivered the sentimental guitar solo.

Continuing this emotional mood, the GazettE moved on to the solemn THE PALE, one of the slower tracks from MASS. The impressive light engineering of the hall was used to project dots on the ceiling that looked like stars dancing to the melody. The stage was now completely bathed in blue and, at the beginning, only the silhouettes of the five band members were visible. Ruki was drenched in red light and he performed the tragic lyrics by reaching his hand out to the fans and the ceiling.

The same vibe carried through to the ballad LAST HEAVEN. Aoi and Uruha quickly switched over to acoustic guitars and Aoi started the melody of the intro alone in the spotlight until Uruha joined him. Both of them played their parts with pure passion while Reita was firmly dedicated to his bassline. Over the course of the song, Uruha switched back to his electric guitar. Given that the audience was not allowed to sing along loudly, it seemed like 5 minutes of the fans standing motionless and mesmerized. The slightly oppressive mood the song created faded away together with the glow of a single orange spotlight.

Kai clearly seemed to be having a lot of fun performing the next tune, hammering away eagerly on his drums to the intro of Ganges Ni Akai Bara from the band's 2007 album "STACKED RUBBISH". In contrast to the band's newer works, the upbeat song felt closer to the sound of classic visual kei music and fans seemed caught up in performing the furitsuke. All of the band members showed plenty of joy performing this song: Uruha spun around several times, Ruki grooved around the stage and Reita was again almost on the floor while running riot on the bass. The track ended, and when Ruki made a hand gesture over his head, the lights went out.

As always, the fans kept clapping until the lights came back on. Ruki commented in a short MC that it was a shame the audience couldn't sing along loudly, but praised everyone for passionately clapping along to the beat and stated that it really reached them.

He finished the MC with a powerful scream and moved on to INCUBUS. The band and fans raised their clenched fists along to the brutal verse before the whole hall joined in on another wild headbanging session. During this track Ruki vented all his anger with a kick towards Reita which made the bassist flee to the left towards Aoi. Uruha stepped closer to the edge of the other side of the stage, urging the fans to join in, but there was hardly anyone left who wasn't already being swept away by the performance.

  © Keiko Tanabe

After that came TWO OF A KIND, another aggressive track from NINTH. The band members' and fans' necks did not get a break. The whole night Ruki mastered every difficult switchover from screaming to clean vocals perfectly and the other members did not seem to make any audible mistakes either. For the 13th song of the night, the light engineering projected clouds all over the hall which made it look wide and atmospheric. It was a fitting representation of the seemingly endless power of the fans, who jumped along with every chorus, clapped whenever suitable and were fired up once again when Reita surged ahead to the front of the stage, spinning his head around.

Following a short counting intro from Kai behind the drums, UGLY began. Ruki hyped the fans up then changed position with Reita. The bassist called on the audience to give their all once again with a hand gesture, which the crowd instantly responded to. Ruki shouted theatrically to this metal song with all his power and during the last scream of the song he fell dramatically on top of the box in the middle of the stage and the track ended.

Without time for a break, ABHOR GOD was next. The song has clapping on the record itself, which clearly didn’t curb the crowd's excitement. Aoi, who seemed a bit reserved until that point, jumped along to the track, and Ruki danced across the stage.

For the last song of the regular set list, UNFINISHED, the stage was drenched in blue light while the band was illuminated from the behind by big spotlights. It already seemed like a great ending for the night, with goosebump-raising potential when Reita turned his back to the spectators and stood straight raising his pointing finger up in the air, almost as if in an 80s disco pose, and Ruki thanked the audience. The band left the stage and the lights went off.

When it was time to call for an encore the fans showed their dedication by applauding through the whole approximately 10-minute break, demanding extra songs. And then the members arrived and Kai started a short MC thanking all the people who had come to the show.

Following that, the intro of INSIDE BEAST began and Reita stood on the small box in front of his position on the left side of the stage, encouraging the audience to clap. While it's hard enough for fans to resist dancing listening to the recorded version, there was no holding back at all during the live performance together with the band. Uruha danced unstoppably, spinning around several times so that his black outfit whirled through the air while Reita ran from one side of the stage to the other. The second song of the encore was the equally danceable VERMIN. The lighting team used advanced laser techniques again to create an almost disco-like look and the fans jumped to the music while Ruki danced around the stage.

In another MC, Ruki expressed his gratitude again and apologized for the postponement of the show. He also mentioned the whole situation in regard to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic and expressed that he was singing today with all his power. He thanked the fans for their almost 20 years of support.

With a scream, the show continued with HEADACHE MAN from DIM, another heavy, headbang-inviting song. The fans joined in instantly and jumped along to the chorus, making the ground shake. The atmosphere was as hot as it was at the beginning of the concert, and when Ruki walked over on a little runway on the side of the main stage, the fans got even more fired up.

Before the final song, fans of the "STACKED RUBBISH" era were blessed with the massive FILTH IN THE BEAUTY. People who know the music video know how the band can lose themselves in headbanging - especially Uruha, who seemed to become a blur of hair waving through the air. Reita used the short break during the track to climb on the box in front of him again and observe the audience, before jumping back down and going back to headbanging.

The applause transformed into clapping along to the beat to start off the intro of TOMORROW NEVER DIES. Aoi went close to the edge of the stage while Uruha performed a passionate guitar solo. Towards the end of the song Reita and Uruha came together in the middle of the stage, leaning back-to-back while playing along to the anthemic track.

To complete the performance, all of the band's members addressed the fans one after the other with a few personal words, thanking them not just for coming to the show but also for their consistent support.

The members left the stage and a white curtain fell. The date of the GazettE’s formation, March 10th, 2002, was shown on it, followed by a clip with countless cutouts of music videos from the soon-to-be 20 years of the band's history. After that, an anniversary show that will be held at Yoyogi National Gymnasium on March 10th this year was announced.

Set list

03. GUSH
04. NOX
06. Uragiru Bero
07. HOLD
11. Ganges Ni Akai Bara
14. UGLY





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