After taking on the world with their DOGMATIC WORLD TOUR, the GazettE returned to their home grounds for a nationwide standing tour. They held a two day semi-final for DOGMATIC [ANOTHER FATE] at Shin-Kiba Studio Coast on August 1st and 2nd.
The room went dark and the rich sounds of “NIHIL” set the atmosphere for the show. Spotlights shone out towards the crowd, obscuring their view of the stage. As the beat dropped to the heavy electronics, red, blue and white lights began flashing rapidly and the band entered amidst screams and cheers from the fans. Vocalist RUKI was the last to enter, taking his place just as “NIHIL” transitioned seamlessly to “DOGMA”. URUHA and AOI’s guitars were harsh and loud in the darkness as they strummed the heavy intro. When KAI and REITA joined in, the entire audience threw themselves forward and began headbanging in unison.
White lights were pointed both towards the band and towards the crowd. Their flashing created the interesting effect of making the band appear to be moving in slow motion in an almost inhuman manner. The lights also bleached the appearance of the fans and, together with everyone’s dark hair and clothing, created the effect of a multitude of bone-white arms reaching out from a sea of black.
“Today is the semi-final but let’s go as crazy as usual!”
The crowd cheered their assent and with the simple command of “Let’s dance!” the next song “DERANGEMENT”, began. The heavy dubstep intro thrummed through the room and everyone began jumping in time to the music. The force of the jumps set the whole building shaking and the effect only spurred the band into making the performance even more intense. The spotlight shone on URUHA for his solo and the audience stretched their arms towards him in a classic show of appreciation. KAI’s drum beats resounded heavily as he pounded away towards the end of the song.
Then as abruptly as the song ended, “VENOMOUS SPIDER’S WEB” began, prompting the entire room to scream in excitement and begin clapping in time to the catchy beat. RUKI swung his hips slowly from side to side during the slower verses, getting the crowd even more animated.
It was during "DEUX" that there seemed to be slightly less finesse in the vocals, which made sense considering the semi-final the day before. However, without ever taking away from the quality of the performance, RUKI made up for this by putting even more emotions into his delivery and playing up his impressive theatrics. Falling to his knees, he clawed at his chest and bowed his head as he continued to scream into the microphone.
The result was a more raw performance that worked well with the passionate playing from the rest of the band. KAI’s drumming sounded amazing, echoing through the room as it built up to the crescendo of the song. The very last note was an incredibly drawn out scream from RUKI that lasted until you saw every last bit of breath leave his body and he collapsed once more to his knees.
In the charged silence, the band remained perfectly still as spotlights slowly fanned out towards the waiting crowd. Then the unmistakable start of “OMINOUS”. RUKI’s voice began in a broken whisper as he sang, “Sleep, count me down...” then gradually gained power along with each layer of music. Both URUHA and AOI added more embellishments to their solos, which sounded richer and more complex and worked to highlight their individual styles of playing. At the end, the music ended so abruptly, the resulting silence was almost tangible. Dark red lights swept the crowd followed by the sound of murmuring voices. KAI’s drumming resounded through the dark, beginning the next number, “WASTELAND”.
The band paused for a moment for another MC then and RUKI commented on how visible everyone was in that livehouse. One of the definite benefits of an all-standing tour was how close the band and the fans got to be to each other.
“Let’s have fun with all our energy!!”
He got the room energized again with constant screams of “Let’s go!” answered by screams of the fans, then the GazettE dragged them on another whirlwind of a performance with “INCUBUS”. The crowd all raised their fists and began chanting in unison, then everyone went wild headbanging. Standing at the edge of the stage, the members looked over the crowd and encouraged them to go even crazier. Immediately after, the harsh beginning of “HEADACHE MAN” blasted through the room and without losing momentum, the band continued with another aggressive performance. The fans followed suit and began moshing and crowdsurfing, sending a constant stream of bodies rolling over towards the stage. The whole room became a wonderful mess of flailing limbs and raw energy.
“ATTITUDE” was right after and the whole room was screaming “UNTIL DIE” at the top of their lungs. RUKI and REITA shared the center platform, with RUKI grabbing REITA’s sleeve and yanking him closer, much to the crowd’s amusement.
After another quick break, RUKI got the crowd excited again, setting the mood for “SLUDGY CULT”. After URUHA’s catchy riffs in the beginning, the members all began moving around the stage, engaging different sections of the audience. REITA ran to the platform just in time for his bass solo then took off again. Without stopping, RUKI got the venue to begin chanting and pumping their fists in the air. The air became charged as the band began their performance of “UGLY”. RUKI’s guttural screams were even more powerful than usual and the feral, aggressive energy always accompanied this song was electric in the room. URUHA and KAI were an amazing duo as URUHA played a more technically enhanced version of his solo, supported by KAI’s rapid drumming. Riding off the high from “UGLY”, “BLEMISH” was another frenzied, fast-paced performance.
The lights faded to black and the sweeping intro of “UNDYING” started. A reverb effect was used on RUKI’s voice that made it echo hauntingly in the dark. During the instrumental break, the lights faced out towards the crowd, obscuring the view of the band and putting the music into sharp focus. A final, harrowing scream marked the end of the song as the members began to quietly exit one by one, still partially shrouded by the dim lighting. The last person on stage was KAI, continuing to drum fiercely while bathed in red lights. Then the lights abruptly switched to flashing white and the stage was suddenly empty.
Of course the fans were not ready for the night to end and they began to call relentlessly for an encore.
It wasn’t long before KAI, REITA, URUHA and AOI returned on stage all decked out in tour goods. KAI told the audience,
“Today isn’t just ‘good’ or ‘bad’ it’s INSANE!”
He kicked off the encore with his usual powerful rallying cry of “KAKATTE KOI!! (COME ON!!)” and the band began “INSIDE BEAST” which is always incredibly fun during live shows. RUKI strolled onto the stage at the start of the music and got the crowd riled up. The large black flag with “the GazettE” emblazoned on it rose into the air at the back of the stage and the energy was amazing. “THE STUPID TINY INSECT” came right after then there was a break for a final MC.
RUKI expressed the band’s heartfelt gratitude for the world tour and all the dates that they played on that nationwide tour.
“Once we do the last show at Makuhari, then we won’t see each other for a while. Although we do have a couple fests coming up.” The crowd cheered at that then he jokingly said, “You guys don’t seem like you’re gonna go though!”
He asked for a show of hands of persons going and a good percent of people raised their hands.
“I hope you guys are serious! Please come if you can. If you guys are there it’ll be much more reassuring for us.”
He pointed out that since the band doesn’t usually take part in events, having the fans there would make it easier for everyone to enjoy the performance.
“You guys know our songs and how to have fun during the performances. So if you can do that around the people who don’t know anything about us, then it’ll definitely be more fun.”
Then it turned into a back and forth banter with fans who were convincing him to take his black hat off. In the end, he jokingly asked everyone to forget the entire conversation or they would get scolded later for being so silly.
The final song was “TOMORROW NEVER DIES”. The yelling of the crowd was deafening and the venue was chaos. People were dancing, headbanging, moshing and screaming. When the music paused for the bridge, RUKI and URUHA clustered together at the center platform. At the last moment, URUHA poked RUKI and pointed in surprise at the fans who had been hoisted up on other people’s shoulders, causing everyone in the room to burst into laughter. When the song was over, the cheers seemed to go on forever and RUKI thanked every section of the audience as the band soaked up the applause.
Despite the clear end of the show, when the band exited the stage, the fans refused to let it end. They kept yelling over the PA system and over the background music until the band had no choice but to come out one more time, the happiness obvious on their faces.
RUKI screamed out “Welcome to hell!!” and the final song of the night was “KANTO DOGEZA KUMIAI”. The crowd went insane with many of the fans dropping to their knees in true dogeza style to headbang. The band were having a blast and went all out together with the fans. AOI jumped onto the platform for his solo, sticking his tongue out with mischief written on his face. Meanwhile REITA was in his corner of the stage, viciously attacking his bass with the last of his energy.
When the fans were sated at last, the band all held hands and took a bow before leaving the stage with the screams still echoing after them.
5. VENOMOUS SPIDER’S WEB
11. HEADACHE MAN
13. SLUDGY CULT
1. INSIDE BEAST
2. THE STUPID TINY INSECT
5. TOMORROW NEVER DIES
1. KANTO DOGEZA KUMIAI
Photo credit: Hiroe Yamauchi
Thank you to the GazettE, staff, Sony Music Japan and PS Company for this opportunity!