Amidst tears, electric performances and heartfelt thanks, Lycaon said their final goodbye with a 4 hour long show, titled “MASOCHIST RED OBSCURA Vol.2 -endroll-” at Akasaka BLITZ on November 6th, 2015.
Before the live began, the empty stage at BLITZ was bathed in the red glow of a chandelier dripping from the ceiling. A large portion of the stage was occupied by a red-carpeted staircase that stood towards the back. Elegant piano music played in the background as the venue filled to capacity with fans. In the midst of all this was the constant, steady sound of a ticking clock.
The ticking grew louder and louder as the lights dimmed and the show began. Blue and red flashed and the crowd began to clap in time to the beat as drummer Ichirou (一郎), bassist Hiyuu (緋遊), guitarist Satoshi (サトシ) and guitarist Zero (零) descended the staircase and took their places.
When the instruments were all in position, the first song “追憶 / Tsuioku” began. Vocalist Yuuki (追憶), the last to appear, stood at the top of the staircase. His stage presence was unmistakable as he stood framed by a spotlight, gesturing elegantly with his hands. Satoshi and Zero were on opposite ends of the stage with Hiyuu and Ichirou on platforms behind them so all of the members were visible. During the second song “DARK NIGHT” the smoke cannons fired and the venue exploded into a frenzy of violent headbanging. Yuuki descended the stairs and moved to the platform at the front of the stage. You could feel the power of the instruments vibrating through your body as the band continued to get the crowd fired up.
They kept the fast pace going with “LIAR” followed by “悪女の微笑 / Akujo no Bisho”. The lights faded to black at the end and the muffled sound of “霊猫香とマゾヒスト / Reibyoukou to Masochist” with its eerie carnival-esque melody filtered through the speakers. The venue remained dark as Yuuki’s smooth voice rang out in the pitch black and the audience clapped along.
The intro to “覚醒 / Kakusei” had the crowd screaming in excitement and the venue was doused in red lights. The lights projected the member’s shadows in large, flickering forms at the back of the stage adding to the atmosphere. Ichirou’s drumming shone through in this performance along with a classic rock guitar solo from Satoshi. Yuuki added more drama to the performance, gasping for breath as he sang the last few lines of the song.
Without a pause, they played “月は無慈悲な夜の女王 / Tsuki ha Mujihi na Yoru no Joou”, Yuuki knelt seductively on the staircase and urged the crowd to get more excited. He told the crowd to dance and everyone started spinning in circles and jumping with their hands in the air. After that, they performed “anima” and at the end Yuuki climbed the staircase and disappeared as the venue was thrown into darkness once again.
The ticking sound began once again. The fans waiting in darkness started screaming for more; however, the minutes continued to tick by and it seemed that they were in for a longer wait.
Suddenly Hiyuu grabbed his bass, jumped from his platform and faced the audience. The spotlight was on him and the crowd began eagerly cheering as he brought the venue to life once again, playing heavily distorted, fast-paced bass riffs. The crowd would scream his name after every short riff, urging him to throw even more into his playing.
By the time the lights flickered back on and Yuuki reappeared on the stage (this time wearing a much simpler all black outfit), the fans were ready to go. The thrumming intro of “情欲のアクメ / Jouyoku no Akume” was accompanied by deep red and purple lights. Yuuki’s voice was a juxtaposition of frenzied screams, heady gasps and sultry whispers that matched the lyrics of the song and contrasted beautifully with the metal riffs.
Next was a crowd-favorite “Jesus”, which got the audience pumping their firsts violently. Satoshi stole the spotlight with an epic rock guitar solo featuring a backwards one-legged hop and his firecracker energy. “Miss. EVIL INSIDE” made the crowd go wild. Yuuki stumbled around the stage, screaming into the mic and the crowd was a mass of flying hair and flailing limbs as they threw themselves into the song. Sliding sensually down the mic stand at the end of the song the crowd screamed in delight as Yuuki asked them over and over “You wanna keep going right??!!”
“残酷のサロメ / Zankoku no SALOME” kept the pace at maximum with the band and the crowd showing off their no-holds-barred energy. Zero spun around to the point where he had to stop for a moment and re-orient himself.
“黒のダチュラ / Kuro no Dachura”, was dark and sensual as Yuuki perched on a bright red chair in the center of the stage, dangling a wicked looking black whip from his hands. His voice was warped and multiplied through the speakers, becoming more like the sound of an instrument and complementing the distortion of the guitars. When the song ended and the lights faded to black, only the sound of Yuuki’s short breaths could be heard. In a quiet voice he thanked everyone for coming. He said that he was an idiot and he asked for everyone to please listen to the next song which expressed his true feelings.
The lights brightened and there was a piano on stage. The atmosphere was still as the band began playing “黒猫 / Kuro neko”. Yuuki sang passionately about wanting to hold and protect a lost cat in the rain. Despite the slower pace, the crowd couldn’t keep still for long and the jazzy piano melody and bassline had everyone joining hands and jumping from side to side.
The song ended and the piano began again, this time playing the heart wrenching melody of “アネモネ / Anemone”. The rest of the stage was dark with spotlights only on the pianist and Yuuki. As he poured his pain into his voice, the crowd looked on in silence. This time the words of separation and farewell felt all too real. When soft lights finally illuminated the rest of the stage, bubbles began floating to the ground, resembling snowfall. They caught the light and gave the room an ethereal feel. At the end of the song, he whispered “Thank you for the memories” and the audience applauded as all the members, except for Ichirou, left the stage.
There was silence, then the sudden crash of cymbals. The spotlight turned to Ichirou and he went wild, quickly dispelling the somber air that had settled over the audience for the previous songs. He drummed frantically, stopping only for the audience to cheer and scream his name as the lights flashed rapidly. Panting for breath, he began the jazzy drum riff for “EROS” and on cue, the other members came back onto the stage. “EROS” was followed by “ILLUSION” and then “Who’s bad psycho party”. Hiyuu and Satoshi pushed each other playfully across the stage with their instruments much to the amusement of the crowd.
At the end everyone paused for breath as Yuuki thanked the crowd and announced the next song “眩暈 / Memai”. Before the song could begin though, there was a sudden pause. The stage was still dark but there was a surprised noise on stage followed by another. The crowd strained their eyes to see what had happened. The lights came on and Yuuki looked at everyone.
“Ichirou has a leg cramp.”
While poor Ichirou tried his hardest to work out his cramp, Yuuki scolded him for not stretching properly beforehand. Eventually he had to leave the stage, asking the rest of the band to just wait a minute. Yuuki told him a minute was too long so they were just gonna play in the meantime. Hiyuu struck up a jazzy riff followed by Satoshi and Yuuki started vocalizing. Yuuki grabbed the chair on stage and told Zero to sit and take a break.
Then with their musical expertise, Lycaon treated the audience to a brand new song with lyrics along the lines of:
“Ichirou that idiot got a leg cramp.
What should we do, he’s not back yet.
Get back here!”
Ichirou sheepishly came back on stage and apologized. Satoshi told the crowd how lucky they were to get a new song!
With the crowd in good spirits and the band in working order, they began “Memai” which threw the audience into high energy and then moved right into the fast-paced, dramatic “君を壊すガラスの衝動 / Kimi wo Kowasu GARASU no Shoudou”. The song was made even more spectacular with starburst lights that complimented the complex instrumental. Once the song ended, the crowd screamed and cheered in the dark venue until a single spotlight came on.
This time it was Satoshi’s turn to show off his impressive skills and entertain the crowd. With his trademark manic energy and lively personality he whipped the crowd into a frenzy; transitioning effortlessly from classic rock riffs to heavy distortion and wailing solos all accompanied by his crazy screaming.
After the band reappeared, they played “ROSE” followed by “雨音の輪舞曲 / Amaoto no Rinbukyo” which sounded even more dramatic in the cavernous hall. There was less movement on stage and in the crowd as Lycaon displayed their skill and the crowd quietly listened. When the song and lights faded out, only the sound of Yuuki breathing softly into the mic could be heard. He urged the crowd
“Tonight, please don’t cry.”
But even as he said that, you could hear the barely concealed emotions in his own voice. He then said that it’s probably impossible to ask that of the crowd seeing as it will definitely be impossible for him. In the hushed, heavy silence he asked that everyone please listen to the next song.
In their final performance of “マリーゴールド / Marigold”, Yuuki put all his feelings into the song, singing directly to the crowd with the rest of the band making the song even more beautiful than before. Flower-shaped lights swirled and danced in the darkness of the room as the lyrics implored the crowd once again not to cry.
The atmosphere after was so heavy that Yuuki told the crowd “Lives are supposed to be fun!”
From then the band brought the pace back up with “アヴァンチュール / Aventure” and everyone began dancing along. Next up was “Psychedelic Jelly”. Smoke cannons were set off throwing the venue into chaos. The music felt even louder than before, and at the end Yuuki screamed into the mic, “We can still go!!” “赤い林檎 / Akai Ryuugou” was less of a frenzy but just as fun. The crowd jumped back and forth while all of the members played and spun without abandon.
Then the words that no-one wanted to hear.
The last song for the night was “Gossip” and everyone put their all into the final performance. The fans switched from ruthless headbanging to swaying from side to side. Satoshi took a running start, jumped onto the platform and played side by side with Zero for the solo. When the song ended the fans all made hearts with their hands and screamed for their favorite members. Yuuki thanked the crowd once again and all the members left the stage one by one until only Satoshi was left. He grinned at the crowd and spoke to them in English; “THANK YOU BABY!! I love love love love love love love love love love you!!!!”
Once the stage was empty there was no way the crowd was going to let the band go so easily. Everyone began chanting for an encore. The chanting continued incessantly for over 20 minutes until, finally, the lights came back on. The crowd screamed their appreciation as the members all came out dressed sharply in suits. Satoshi and Zero grabbed their acoustic guitars and without a word, Yuuki began to sing “ジプシー / Gypsy”. His voice echoed through the livehouse as the crowd looked on in appreciation.
At the end Yuuki thanked them for the encore and then the band let loose with “飴と鞭 / Ame to Muchi” followed immediately by “BALLAD”. The crowd was giving it their all, clustering together and moshing while the members stood at the end of the stage as close to them as possible.
When “BALLAD” was over, there was a pause and Yuuki was crying this time. He told the fans in a broken voice over and over how much he appreciated everything. All the other members nodded in agreement and the crowd cheered their love and support. The last song of the encore was “麻薬 / Mayaku” and the fans displayed their most elegant furitsuke of the night.
When it was over, Yuuki left first then the instrumentalists gathered together facing the crowd before leaving one by one. Before the lights could even dim properly, the crowd began chanting for another encore.
This time they didn’t have to wait long as the band came out for a second encore. Before they played Yuuki told the fans that there have been hard times, fun times and so many things have happened. He asked that they please listen to the next song which described their determination to fulfil their dreams regardless. They performed “琥珀色 / Kohakuiro” which ended in a beautiful crescendo of sound that faded out as the crowds’ applause grew.
Determined not to have their fans stay quiet for too long the next song “RED RUM” brought the venue back into full rock’n’roll spirit. Immediately transitioning into “The [1st] degree genocide holic”, the energy soared higher and higher. This song was not about finesse or performance. The aim was to get the crowd and the band to go as wild as they wanted. Zero and Satoshi ran around on stage, switching places and the crowd pumped their fists in the air. Then Hiyuu and Zero shared the platform while Yuuki got the crowd to scream more and more, telling them “Your voice is too low!”.
The fans at the back did a gyaku dive running up towards the front and jumping onto the backs of the persons waiting there. They repeated this as the members on stage played a violent riff. When the song ended and everyone was out of breath, Yuuki said that for Lycaon, they were extremely lucky to have the chance to tour the country, to see so many different places.
“Today in Akasaka Blitz, even though it’s the very last, thank you for your voice, your love, your memories. Even though it’s the end, I want to hear your voice until the very last second.”
Feeling the end getting closer, the crowd could no longer hold back their feelings. You could hear the sobs escaping the crowd and the faces of everyone on stage was in shadow, trying their best to stay strong. In the silence that came after, the venue was plunged into sudden darkness and the band played “shadow”. They began the song in the dark but then the lights came on and silver tape showered out towards the excited crowd. The crowd screamed like crazy and the energy was high, despite getting closer and closer to the end.
At the end, all the members grouped together at the center of the stage. Zero who had been smiling gently the entire live, was crying quietly. Yuuki raised the mic, lowered it, then raised it again.
“What can I say? I don’t know...”
The crowd was crying again. Much louder this time.
Each member had the opportunity to give a final message to their beloved fans starting with Ichirou. He told the crowd and the band thank you. For being able to work towards the same dream together, he was extremely grateful.
The mic was passed to Zero who held it for a moment. Keeping his head down and his eyes hidden, he bowed and handed it back without saying a word.
Hiyuu said that he was so thankful for the chances they had to go to different places and seeing everyone’s faces.
Then it was Satoshi who told the crowd, “If there were words better than “the best” and “I love you”, then I would say them to you. I love you. Thank you.”
Zero had completely dissolved into tears by the time Yuuki got the mic again. He said thank you once again from the 5 of them and they all bowed then left the stage. The fans applauded until they were out of sight and then the sound of the clock started its ominous ticking once again. The crowd chanted “Encore, Encore!” in time with the clock.
Eventually, the band came out one last time. The members all took their positions on the stage. Heaving a sigh, Yuuki looked at the crowd, “Wow, I guess we’ll end with this song”. Arms outstretched, Yuuki stood on the platform as Lycaon played their last song “Last Dance”. The clock began to tick again during the song and the disco ball overhead lit up. The venue was bathed in soft twinkling lights.
When the song was over, the band all stayed on stage in silence. Each member was illuminated by a single spotlight. The ticking of the clock grew louder until it felt almost deafening. The audience was gasping and crying and the air was stifling. Yuuki raised the mic to his lips.
“Ichirou, thank you for being there”
The sudden sound was jarring as the clock stopped. Ichirou’s spotlight went out and he vanished.
Then the ticking started again and the fans, realizing what was happening, started yelling “No, no, no.” but Yuuki continued.
“Hiyuu, you are so kind.”
“Zero, let’s meet again.”
“Satoshi, you’re the greatest guitarist ever.”
One by one, the spotlights faded away as Lycaon disappeared from their beloved fan’s eyes. Until it was just Yuuki, standing on the platform. A single spotlight left. The crowd was in hysterics, praying for it not to end.
Taking a breath, Yuuki faced the crowd.
“Now I must say farewell...”
悪女の微笑 (Akujo no Bisho)
霊猫香とマゾヒスト (Reibyoukou to Masochist)
月は無慈悲な夜の女王 (Tsuki ha Mujihi na Yoru no Joou)
情欲のアクメ (Jouyoku no Akume)
残酷のサロメ (Zankoku no SALOME)
黒のダチュラ (Kuro no Dachura)
Who’s bad psycho party
君を壊すガラスの衝動 (Kimi wo Kowasu GARASU no Shoudou)
雨音の輪舞曲 (Amaoto no Rinbukyo)
赤い林檎 (Akai Ryuugou)
飴と鞭 (Ame to Muchi)
The [1st] degree genocide holic
Photo Credits: Lycaon Official Staff
Thank you Lycaon and Shimizu Entertainment for this opportunity!