The blackest night.
The final performance.
The ominous sound of a single church bell signaled the beginning of the end of the DOGMATIC 15-16 live tour. Yoyogi National Stadium was plunged into darkness as the fans expectant eyes fixed on the stage.
A massive screen on stage began to show images of menacing cloudy skies and desolate landscapes, juxtaposed with religious symbols and candlefire. The eerie sound of “NIHL” flowed through the space, beckoning the crowd into the dark, richly symbolic world that the GazettE had carefully crafted in the past year. Deep red spotlights swept across the crowd and the anticipation was palpable. The opening chord of “DOGMA”, sudden and abrupt, echoed through the venue and the intro began to play.
Red and white spotlights placed on small platforms located in each corner of the arena lit up and fog began to seep across their surfaces. Before the crowd fully realized what was happening, the floor of the platforms opened up and rising up amidst the lights and fog were RUKI, URUHA, REITA and AOI. The small size of the platforms rendered the space between the band and the audience almost nonexistent and you could hear the gasps and excited cries of the fans who were shocked to see the band appear right before their eyes. On stage, KAI’s drumset was raised impossibly high into the air like a beacon. Behind him loomed a cold image of a massive gothic cathedral.
RUKI’s low voice echoed across the venue, growling out the words of “DOGMA”. The effect of the platforms rendered the members visibly alone but their sound stretched across the venue as one. Then at the end, without a word, the members on the platform were lowered and disappeared out of sight. The image of the cathedral sunk as well, seeming to crumble out of existence.
The crowd stood in a stunned silence only broken when the band ran out onto stage. URUHA and AOI began the aggressive riffs of “RAGE” with RUKI shouting “Are you ready?!!” The stage exploded with fireworks jolting the crowd back to life and into a frenzy of headbanging. Blue and red lights swept rapidly through the air and the venue echoed with RUKI’s screams joined by the rest of the band. The energy was wild, broken only by KAI’s brief drum solo before the song crescendoed violently then fell, plunging the venue into darkness as it ended.
Following up with the equally heavy “DAWN”, there was no time to catch a breath as the band kept the crowd flailing their heads and bodies in time to the music. During the instrumental break, RUKI laughed into the mic, the sound of if almost hysteric. The music slowed for the bridge and you could hear each beat of KAI’s drumming pounding through the open space. White spotlights shot into the air then slowly swept downwards before the music sped up again, drawing the song towards the end. It ended with a guttural scream from RUKI and the crowd threw their hands into the air, cheering for more.
There was a quick MC then the band switched the energy to something more dynamic with “SLUDGY CULT” followed immediately by “VENOMOUS SPIDER’S WEB”. The punchy drum riffs of “SLUDGY CULT” got everyone dancing and jumping high into the air. During the guitar breakdown, RUKI was bopping his head and wiggling to the beat.
The crowd clapped along to the words of “VENOMOUS SPIDER’S WEB” which flashed in enormous letters on the screen. The deep pink and red lights during the verses, gave the performance a more organic, almost sultry aura. It was the perfect way to balance the rapid pace of the chorus.
A ticking sound accompanied by white spotlights restlessly sweeping the crowd was the lead-in to “BIZZARE”. Images on the screen showed a distorted face that appeared to be mouthing the low, agitated words at the beginning of the song. The contrast of the frantic and slow composition of the song was intensified in the performance. RUKI’s vocals switched effortlessly between deep tones and high pitched shrieks. The band was bathed in a cold blue light while swirls of pulsing red slithered up the screen behind them.
“DERACINE” threw the members into shadow and shrouded them in fog. Unable to see the band, it created a distance between them and the audience that intensified the lyrics of separating yourself from people. At the same time, it pushed the sound to the forefront, so that each instrument and the emotions in the vocal delivery were sharp and distinct. The screen behind them was dark with points of light like stars scattered across the surface and the crowd stood captivated.
The downtempo pace continued with “GRUDGE” and the band remained partially obscured in hazy, blue lights. Behind them, the vivid image of a flower bud opening then the bright pink of sakura petals falling before a black backdrop was starkly beautiful. The song ended abruptly and the audience applauded as the room descended into darkness once again.
A soft, gold light illuminated KAI who, without a word, began to play softly on the cymbals followed by the almost overwhelmingly intense sound of the bass drums. The sound of it vibrated across the wide space of the arena. Then the lights changed to blue and he began to play the complex beats of “GODDESS”. The rest of the instruments seamlessly joined in for another emotionally charged performance. Followed by the slow, dark guitar riffs and “WASTELAND”. Large candelabras lit up on stage, giving the impression of a church altar and an image of a headless deity with multiple arms materialized on the screen.
When the song was over, the band took a moment to connect with the audience and get them hyped with a call and response. Then they continued their unforgiving pace with “PARALYSIS”. The other members added their shouts to RUKI’s, giving the song even more raw, uninhibited energy. Without losing a shred of momentum, the crowd was dragged along for “LUCY”. It was impossible to keep still and on stage the band moved around, jumping and moshing with each other in a performance of feral energy.
The band’s harsh screams in “INCUBUS” contrasted with the gentle female singing and was tied together by RUKI’s vocals. In similar form, the crowd switched from all out headbanging and fist pumping to slow, elegant hand movements. Then the heavy distorted intro riffs of “UGLY” had the venue calling, “Death to traitors!!” and chanting like an angry mob, fueled by RUKI’s demonic shrieks. The energy reached its peak with the combination of URUHA’s guitar solo and KAI’s insane drumming. The crowd’s chants got louder and the band fed off that energy making it one of the most intense performances of the night.
Ending with a lingering growl, RUKI told the crowd “We’re not done yet! Don’t hold yourself back!” He urged the crowd to show their most ruthless selves and the answering shout propelled them into “BLEMISH” with “DEUX” right after. “DEUX” continued to display the GazettE’s impeccable ability to weave together a performance that was simultaneously wildly fast-paced and heartbreakingly emotional and melodious.
In the stillness and dark that followed, then the slow beginning of “OMINOUS” filtered through the open space. RUKI began singing in a soft voice, like a lullaby, accompanied by URUHA on acoustic guitar. When the music began to crescendo, bright white beams of light shot into the air, illuminating the stage. The sound of every instrument was tangible and pronounced for this performance, from REITA’s steady bass notes to the heavy pounding of KAI’s drums. Fog crept onto the stage obscuring the band and it ended with a breathtaking solo from AOI.
Finally, the band performed “UNDYING”, their soon to be released single that continued in the same vein of DOGMA’s composition. Richly layered with powerful, heavy riffs during the verses tempered with melodic piano breaks. RUKI’s voice transitioned seamlessly from gentle high notes to all-out screaming. The crowd stood motionless, listening intently and the band kept themselves partially hidden in fog and shadow, making the music the centerpiece.
“UNDYING” ended with the music slowly fading out as the members left the stage quietly, one by one.
Once the stage was cleared, the venue chanted unrelentingly for an encore. Their request was granted soon enough.
KAI entered the stage first, followed by the rest of the band. He was all smiles when he grabbed the mic, telling the crowd “This is the best.” The band got the crowd fired up with a series of call and response then KAI sans microphone, bellowed “BRING IT ON” and the frenzy began anew.
“INSIDE BEAST” followed by “VERMIN” had the entire stadium in a constant state of motion. The PV for “INSIDE BEAST” played overhead, exciting the fans even further as the clapped along to the catchy beat.The band were everywhere at once, using the stage to the fullest; dancing, headbanging and jumping - however the mood struck.
At the end, RUKI told everyone how grateful they all were and pointed out that it’s been 8 years since the band played at Yoyogi Stadium.
“Compared to the first time at Yoyogi stadium, we feel so much closer to everyone. Also, everyone has become adults, wearing all black. That’s the people that we love.”
“the GazettE” logo was displayed proudly on the screen and the band brought back memories with an explosive performance of “COCKROACH”. This time though, the fans and the band of 14 years gave their all in a way that their old selves could not. The members crowded the front of the stage, performing together on the platform.
“ATTITUDE” had the venue chanting “Until I die!”, in time with the rapid beat. It was the best kind of chaos; the lyrics flashed on the screen and everyone screamed the lyrics before throwing their bodies around without a care, headbanging intensely.
They continued to push the limits with “TOMORROW NEVER DIES” right after. The large screen overhead split into five screens, each showing a band member with looks of pure exhilaration on their faces. Just before the bridge, there was a pause in the music. The screams from the crowd were deafening and the joy and togetherness emanating in the space was amazing.
At the end, the band bowed low to the crowd, expressing their gratitude with their smiles (AOI blowing a kiss) as they left the stage.
Then in true GazettE tradition, they ended the concert with “LINDA”.
The band remained on stage bowing and thanking the crowd. RUKI was the last on stage but just before leaving, he said that since the members and the staff worked so hard, they should do a jump. He asked the crowd to call the rest of the members back and then they all got the chance to speak to the crowd individually.
Beginning with AOI, who introduced himself, “Hello, I play the guitar, my name is AOI.” and saying thank you. REITA thanked the crowd, expressing his wish to keep going and doing his best hand in hand with everyone. KAI said he could see the fun reflected on the fans faces and feel their happiness. It makes him want to continue doing “the GazettE” together. URUHA mentioned that this tour was especially long but somehow, his usual feeling of nervousness lessened a lot (in response, KAI went over and began massaging his shoulders). RUKI commented that he thought the concept of the album was a bit hard to understand but he’s so grateful for the response of the fans.
Lining up, everyone held hands and ended with a jump. Then they exited the stage for the last time, with RUKI saying,
“See you later Yoyogi! Love you.”
4. SLUDGY CULT
5. VENOMOUS SPIDER’S WEB
EN1. INSIDE BEAST
EN5. TOMORROW NEVER DIES
WEN1. 枯詩 (Kare Uta)
WEN2. 春雪の頃 (Shunsetsu no Koro)
Photos via Sony Music.
Thank you to Sony Music, PS Company and the GazettE for this opportunity!
Thank you to Sony Music, PS Company and the GazettE for this opportunity!
Are you looking for more information? We have something coming for you shortly...
In the meantime, you can experience one of their highly acclaimed live performances on their tour DOGMATIC -TROIS-! Check to see if they'll be in a city near you:
The GazettE Tour Dates
You can also purchase their latest full album DOGMA, and pre-order their upcoming single UNDYING on CDJapan!
14. OMINOUS (Lyric Video)
*Purchase it on iTunes or CDJapan
DVD (Limited Edition only)
1) [UNDYING] MUSIC VIDEO
2) MAKING OF [UNDYING] MV
*Pre-order it on CDJapan