DIR EN GREY ended their “TOUR16-17 FROM DEPRESSION TO ________ [mode of VULGAR]” with an intense two-day final at Shin-Kiba Studio Coast. The venue was filled to the max with fans ready to go wild together with the band and the room was sweltering with pent-up energy.
The show began when the large screen set up at the back of the stage began showing projections that resembled the inside of a computer. Eventually a distorted face became gradually visible in the network of lines and angles. Smoke seeped across the stage as the band took the stage amidst the cheers of the crowd.
They began at a relentless pace with “THE IIID EMPIRE”. The members immediately moved to the edge of the stage, engaging the crowd and getting them into a frenzy. Kyo calls out to the guys and then the girls, rousing them with his screams. The song ended with a brief moment of darkness then spotlights shone on Shinya who began the jazzy drum beats to “ASUNAKI KOUFUKU, KOENAKI ASU”, Additional lights began flashing in the room, resembling multicolored stars, enhancing the upbeat atmosphere. Kyo was dancing on the platform at the front of the stage and the crowd followed suit by waving their hands in the air.
“FUKAI” was slower and the room was filled with green and purple lights that made the stage appear dipped in watercolors. Kyo’s falsetto rang out clearly in the room, bringing out the emotion of the song. When there was a break before the bridge, the crowd quickly filled the silence with their intense screaming. When it was over, the room faded to black again. An ominous noise sounded in the dark, then deep red lights poured over the audience before going dark again. Die began the intro riffs to “MARMALADE CHAINSAW” and the whole venue began to headbang violently followed by aggressive chanting. Kyo was crouched on the platform, surveying the crowd and encouraging their excitement. The lyrics began bouncing around on the screen at the back, displayed in lurid letters and everyone sang along to the chorus. .
“AMBER” was next, and the lights went dim again. Kyo’s voice was deep and low, blending in seamlessly with the solid hum of the instruments. The performance was more subdued and most of the members kept still, save for Toshiya who was prowling around the stage. A video showing a clear blue sky and a slow pan-down of a cathedral was the backdrop for “Un deux”. The slower pace of the song together with the heaviness of the instrumentals created a rich atmosphere that was no less intense that the heavier performances.
The room went dark again then murky orange lights projected out towards the crowd. The anticipation was thick in the silent room, until Kyo’s cry pierced the silence and the room began headbanging without abandon to the beginning of “audience KILLER LOOP”. The video on screen showed a girl tied up in an abandoned room, held captive by an unidentified figure. The combination of the disturbing imagery and the heavy pounding of the bass and drums was an intense assault on the senses. Kyo’s constant gasps and pained screams only furthered the unsettling yet powerful theatrics that most have come to expect from DIR EN GREY.
“SHOKUBENI” built up the atmosphere even more with intense melodies that forced their way into your mind, accompanied by frenzied headbanging. There was a break in the music and Kyo filled the silence with deep growls that morphed into screaming as he twisted his body likewise on the central platform. The music began again and the entire room sang along with the final chorus.
The room went still during “Tousei” as the members poured even more focus into their performance and the audience watched, transfixed. Each instrument was clearly audible and echoed through the venue. Kyo’s cries layered over the slow, melodic guitar scales and the heavy thrumming of the bass was hauntingly beautiful. The shadows of the members were projected onto the back of the stage during “Rinkaku” and loomed over the still-quiet crowd. Die and Kaoru opened with a slow dual guitar melody. It was impossible not to be impressed at Die’s aggressive guitar strumming as he kept the intense energy throughout the entirety of the song.
The lights were doused abruptly at the end and from the dark, the sound of Kyo’s slow, deep growls could be heard. Dim lights dyed the stage red and Kyo’s form was the one one visible as he snarled like a caged beast. He crawled on the platform and began wildly grabbing at the empty air, contorting himself into painful looking shapes. His voice and the lights eventually faded out into darkness and they began the next song, “KASUMI”. It was illuminated by pretty lighting and standout drumming from Shinya.
“NEW AGE CULTURE” seemed to drag the listeners back into reality and opened with the sounds you might hear in an everyday restaurant or diner. Kyo began dancing and the rest of the crowd followed suit, jumping in time to the beat. This was a song to have fun and the other members kept the energy going, chanting into their microphones. Without stopping, they moved right into “я TO THE CORE”.
“DIR EN GREY” written in large letters was projected onto the screen along with an animation of a laughing skull. The band moved around the stage, getting the audience hyped. Kyo and Toshiya threw their arms around each other, throwing the crowd into a cheering frenzy. Die even put down his guitar and crouched over the edge of the stage helping to get the audience riled up. The song had the room buzzing with energy and was followed by “Sustain the Untruth”, continuing their no-holds barred performing style that must have had the audience reeling. Provoking images of a person in fetal position holding their heads in their hands, followed by rapid-fire clips of man-made disasters was the setting for the song. The crowd all sang the chorus, doing their best to match Kyo’s impressive falsetto.
The final song was “Revelation of mankind” which was a more subdued performance but still had a profound effect on the crowd who all sang along. Kyo dropped the mic solidly to the ground and left the stage, leaving the rest of the band to play until the end. Shinya kept pounding at the drums and Toshiya was stomping around the stage and going wild on his bass. The crowd loved it and continued to show their excitement. The members had hardly finished exiting the stage before the fans began to shout relentlessly for an encore.
It wasn’t long before they returned to the stage to grant their request and kicked off again with “OBSCURE”. Everyone let loose headbanging and the band were moving around freely on the stage. Toshiya was swinging his massive bass around and Kaoru moved to the center of the stage to grab more of the attention. Kyo commanded the crowd to “sing” and stood with his arms outstretched as the audience sang at the top of their voices. The band performed their latest single, “UTAFUMI” which earned a riotous response from the crowd. Kyo was writhing and rolling on the ground and making inhuman noises. Toshiya practically tore his shirt off in the heat of the moment, leaving it to hang in tatters. The crowd was a single chaotic mass of bodies, responding to Die and Kaoru’s fervent riffs and Shinya’s rapid fire drumming.
They followed with “INCREASE BLUE” which had everyone jamming and singing as colorful lights flashed around the venue. Finally, the band paused for breath and Kyo addressed the crowd.
The audience screamed their enthusiasm and Kyo continued to whip the room into a frenzy for the final song.
When the beginning of “CHILD PREY” began, the crowd went insane, singing along at top volume. Die grabbed a couple of water bottles, dousing the heated crowd. Everyone seemed determined to put their all the song and the final moments were pure chaos. The crowd continued to scream their love and appreciation for the band long after the music ended and until the stage was empty.
1. THE IIID EMPIRE
2. ASUNAKI KOUFUKU, KOENAKI ASU (明日無き幸福、呼笑亡き明日)
3. FUKAI (腐海)
4. MARMALADE CHAINSAW
6. Un deux
7. audience KILLER LOOP
8. SHOKUBENI (蝕紅)
9. Tousei (濤声)
10. Rinkaku (輪郭)
11. KASUMI (かすみ)
12. NEW AGE CULTURE
13. я TO THE CORE
14. Sustain the untruth
15. Revelation of mankind
EN2. UTAFUMI (詩踏み)
EN3. INCREASE BLUE
EN4. CHILD PREY
Photo credit - Mime Soga（曽我美芽）