It has been eight years since the release of UROBOROS, one of DIR EN GREY’s most acclaimed albums to date. DIR EN GREY’s 20th anniversary is coming up in February. The band has been doing -mode of- tours since 2014 in order to showcase their work spanning over the course of twenty years and to expound on the expression of ‘pain’ within each album. -mode of- UROBOROS is the latest installment. While the previous tour, -mode of- KISOU held a playful atmosphere, we were able to catch the more intense -mode of- UROBOROS on January 14th at Zepp Nagoya in Nagoya, Japan. The band had booked Zepp Nagoya for back to back shows on January 13th and 14th, the 13th seemed to set a chill over the crowd with the outside temperature, fitting for the more intense tour that played off of the elements within the album. On the 14th, we arrived to find the venue slowly being covered in snow. Fans who had begun lining up in the snow since before 9am were given white numbered tickets, spared the cold, and told to come back at 3pm when merchandise would be on sale.Even though the venue was not sold out, fans began to line up around the block in the snow with umbrellas to halfway block the freezing assault. Once numbers were called, merchandise began to sell out very quickly with many fans buying multiples of items. Outside, fans were then told to come back at 5:15 when doors would open and ticket numbers would start being called, once more to save us from waiting in the cold. Coin lockers were purchased for merchandise and food acquired as refuge from the cold, still a few diehard fans wandered close to the venue. The lottery system for tickets in Japan is one that is both convenient and inconvenient all at once. In Japan, if you purchase tickets and it is not a seated venue, you will be given a number on your ticket and that number will be called outside of the venue when doors are set to open. This is convenient because you don’t have to stand around the venue. However, in the snow it was a bit like torture waiting for your number to be called, and like a breath of fresh air when it was called and you were let inside. Once inside, fans could take photos with the large -mode of- billboard that has become a fan favorite thing to do on these tours; purchase coin lockers to put jackets in; and of course go and claim their spot inside the venue. Despite having a rather low number, because the venue was not sold out, it was easy to get a spot to see clearly. At DIR EN GREY lives I find that it is best to stand a bit closer to the doors as it gives a clear view of the stage and generally ensures I can keep my space for the duration of the live and not get caught up in the initial push. Normally at DIR EN GREY lives, when the lights go down there is a push from the back that will make you feel like you are crammed on an early morning rush hour train in Tokyo. However, somewhere around -mode of- KISOU fans began doing an initial push around five minutes before the show was set to start, and another as the lights went down.
As the lights went down, a new intro was played, where as on the 13th it was “SA BIR”. This one was completely new. Shinya entered first as usual in flowing white, while Die in a tank-cut drape shirt and scarf, Toshiya in a dapper black jacket with a white button down, and Kaoru in a v-neck black shirt with a black cardigan sweater followed to the delighted screams of fans. Kyo seemed to appear out of the shadows of the blue cascade lighting the stage in an outfit mostly made of PVC leather, gloves, harness, and a fishnet top completed the sinister look with decadent makeup as they launched into “BUGABOO”. The pace didn’t stop with “Doukoku to Sarinu” following up with Kyo doing a lot of slow-motion pop-and-lock throughout the show. The fans seemed to go wild during the verses, while during the chorus, they raised their hands, praying to their own heavy metal gods. “Toguro”, “GLASS SKIN”, “VINUSHKA”, and “INCONVENIENT IDEAL” were truly the highlights of the night of the main set. “Toguro” is always a favorite to hear live, and for this song and “GLASS SKIN”, fans could feel the nostalgia pouring off of them. During these songs the band shone the brightest, and you could tell just how much hard work had gone into getting here. With the release of UROBOROS in 2008, Kyo was having vocal cord issues. Having undergone surgery in 2012, it is amazing to see how well-trained his voice has become and the range it can now reach within these songs. “VINUSHKA” and “INCONVENIENT IDEAL” showcased guitar riffs and percussion sections that are built to tell a story with their craftsmanship. During VINUSHKA, the crowd grew quiet, baring their souls together with the band that they relate to and connect with. “INCONVENIENT IDEAL” was a treat for fans as the venue went dark except for a single ring of fire being projected at the back of the stage. Slowly, a chorus of voices began to grow, and with it the sound of a pipe organ, and a bit of “SA BIR” as the flame grew into a full sun right before our eyes. The song seemed to have a whole new depth to it with this introduction as it transitioned elegantly into the album version of the song. “Reiketsu Nariseba” and newer song “Revelation of Mankind” finished out the main set with uproarious applause and with amazing high energy to warrant an immediate call for encore. The fans were still stuck in high energy mode as the band came back out on stage, this time in more casual outfits except for Kaoru who kept his main set clothes. Toshiya wore the Hockey shirt that is being sold this tour, while Die wore the parka, and Shinya wore the ladies style of the official tour shirt. Kyo, face clean of makeup, wore a clean cut white t-shirt with a black and white photograph on the front, the same pants from the main set, and black suspenders. The crowd was giving it their all, just to be quieted down by the opening of “Kuukoku no Kyouon”, one of the more truly poignant pieces from “ARCHE”. The band picked the pace back up for the rest of the encore with “RED SOIL”, “STUCKMAN”, “Sustain the Untruth”, and “Utafumi”. All songs are upbeat, however “Sustain the Untruth” is a song that fans love to sing along with. Recently, “Utafumi” has become a fan favorite as well if not only for Kyo’s ‘finger guns’ display where the crowd mimics this motion of making guns with your fingers and thrusting them wildly into the air. By far it is one of the best songs to end a live on. At the end of the encore, Kyo stayed to clap and point at the audience, as during the live he had been coaxing them the whole time with chants of “Otoko! (guys!)” “Onna! (girls!) “ and drawn out “Nagoyaaaa!” which were met with great feedback from the crowd. Exiting the stage, he left Die, Shinya, Toshiya, and Kaoru to toss guitar picks, drum sticks, towels, and hair ties into the crowd. As always, fans were splashed with water, and scrambled to get a piece of whatever was being thrown out. As the band exited the stage, cries of their names could be heard to send them off, and we were left to wander back into the cold. Later that night, twitter and instagram began to fill up with reports of snow, and messages from band members telling fans to take care to not get sick and be careful going home. Snow poured down after the live, and yet the warmth from the band, the venue, the live, the whole experience seemed to fill the streets with happy chatter as we made our separate ways back home. -mode of- UROBOROS SETLIST. Zepp Nagoya 1/14 new intro BUGABOO 慟哭と去りぬ / doukoku to sarinu DOZING GREEN 蜷局 / toguro 咀嚼 / soshaku 禍夜想 / magayasou GLASS SKIN VINUSHKA INCONVENIENT IDEAL (pipe organ intro) 凱歌、沈黙が眠る頃 / gaika 冷血なりせば / reiketsu nariseba Revelation of mankind
ENCORE 空谷の跫音 / kuukoku no kyouon RED SOIL STUCKMAN Sustain The Untruth 詩踏み / utafumi
Report by Kala Dunaway Fb: Website:
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