Finally, we come to the last part of the story of the 2002 live house tour. As always, new readers are encouraged to start from the beginning.
This time, we’ll journey through Nagano, Toyama, Yamagata, and Sendai, and celebrate Gackt’s 29th birthday! So, on with the show!
July 2, 2002 Nagano CLUB JUNK BOX
It was July before anyone realized June had ended. There were only 2 fan club events and 2 secret live shows left in the tour.
The members got into Nagano at 1:30 p.m. Today’s show was one of the secret ones. And while I thought Gackt would come in on the same bullet train, he was nowhere to be found. I asked around and was told he’d be arriving a bit past four, and probably would not be able to join the rehearsal. None of the members asked why, but their faces betrayed their thoughts: “It’s probably because of exhaustion….”
After a long trip, they’d returned to Tokyo yesterday, but that was the starting point for yet more traveling. They, too, were still exhausted. But they had no choice; they’d returned to their musical starting point, they had to get through this tour, aiming for the high level of performance necessary for the upcoming Kagen no Tsuki. They’d traveled together quite a ways, but the road ahead would be even longer.
Usually, delays are nothing to be concerned about, but I was worried about Gackt given his precarious condition. He was probably going to the hospital, too. I had a huge hunch he’d show up with a murderous glare on his face.
Naturally, the members would rehearse as much as possible even without Gackt. The party headed to the venue, CLUB JUNK BOX. It’s a pretty large live house. It could probably hold about 400 people, standing room only.
While waiting for the staff members to finish setting and checking the instruments, with Gackt’s approaching birthday on the 4th in mind, the members secretly discussed how to surprise him. The Gackt Family is a strange one because when it comes to birthdays, rather than simply planning a celebration, the focus is on how to take the person completely by surprise.
“You can’t fool Gaku with just any old trick…”
“How’s about we get someone to hijack our bus?”
“Nope…unless the bus flipped over or somethin’ like that, he probably wouldn’t bat an eye. Ahaha!”
The dressing room was filled with laughter as Kansai dialect bounced around its walls. These machinations were to come to fruition in the best way imaginable at the fan club event in Toyama on the 3rd.
The members finished autographing the beach balls they would throw out into the crowd later, and just as the meticulous rehearsal was coming to a close, Gackt showed up. He made sure of a few quick things, then the whole party headed to the hotel.
“Since I’ve come all the way out to Nagano, let me eat some Shinshū soba.”1
Gackt was all the more knowledgeable about Nagano’s famous foods for having come here before to ski. He was on edge, but seemed to be trying to make himself relax as much as possible. As you’d expect from a lover of spicy food, he added a great dollop of wasabi to his soba, and when he’d eaten his fill, he went into makeup with a satisfied look on his face.
Today, the band would once again be the last of 3 to take the stage. At 7:20 p.m. the group was back in the venue’s dressing room. It was so abnormally hot and humid there that I can’t quite describe it. It was so bad, everyone was dripping wet with sweat just from standing around. I heard that the air conditioning wasn’t working properly. Just how hot would it get on the stage? What’s more, the members were in those leather outfits. But it was no use panicking. Tonight, the members would battle against the heat and themselves. It seemed they had accepted this as yet another trial.
“My camera lens is fogging up……”
Mr. Tsukagoshi, the photographer, who hadn’t worked a show on this tour since Zepp Tokyo, was also suddenly thrown into this test. He would be taking pictures from the cramped little space between the stage and the railing. By this point, he also bore the same resolute expression as the band members.
The other bands’ performances wrapped up, and the techs began to change the set, but it was taking a little longer than usual. From stage left, I peered at the audience just beyond the railing, and could see a hundred or so people eagerly waiting for Gackt to appear on stage. They were sweating so much from the heat, it looked as if someone had dumped a bucket of water over their heads.
People started calling out Gackt’s name as they lost their patience. There was one particularly vivacious girl who yelled out, “Bring it on!!!”2
The crowd’s impatience actually had a good feel to it. At this rate, the show would probably turn out much hotter than what anyone perceived the actual temperature to be. The band members did their huddle, and as they went out to take their positions on the stage, they were enveloped in a sea of cheers. A sound rang out with such explosive force as to send the heat running. But then—!
It was barely the first song, but Gackt went to stand with one foot out on the railing. Nearby audience members started grabbing and pulling on his clothes. Although the bodyguard, standing alert in the narrow space between the stage and the railing, was able to hold them back, the yanking sent some of the buttons on Gackt’s costume and some of his accessories flying, scattering them across the floor, his costume ripping in parts. Granted, the audience had been kept waiting in the heat for some time, but such a reaction was still unheard of. After that, anyone who reached their hands out to Gackt found themselves in the crosshairs of his glare. He was itching for a fight; the bloodlust plain to see on his face.
“Oh shit, he’s lost it……”
The faces of the staff members stiffened as they watched from the wings. No one had ever seen Gackt like that before. But concerts are living things; fully aware that they couldn’t predict what would happen next, anxiety came over the whole crew.
In the extraordinary heat, the band members eventually flipped out too. Ren was constantly spinning around while he played. He seemed totally desperate. Chachamaru started yelling something during his solo in “death wish,” but I couldn’t catch what it was from my spot in the wings.
Gackt was, as always, trying to put on a good performance, but during the bridge to “Lu:na,” he started kicking at the hands that reached up to him, and ended up knocking down a mike stand. Mr. Asano swiftly ran out on stage, and set it up again with a troubled look on his face.
Clearly, Gackt was struggling with how to control a side of himself he’d never seen come out during concerts. And yet, well, this was Gackt after all: before “ANOTHER WORLD,” he spoke to the audience in his usual, even tone.
“Nagano……you’re something else.”
Just as it seemed his words had had a calming effect on the audience, someone grabbed Gackt’s foot, and he in turn snatched at their hair, nearly standing straight up without letting go.3 I could hear the bodyguard yelling out, “No! No!” Gackt turned to face him, scowling furiously, but the bodyguard was able to stop him. After that, Gackt was able to get through the song, and the concert was over. The band rushed out the back door like greased lightning and returned to the hotel. Really, they were fast.
In the dressing room, the staff and I absentmindedly picked up the beach balls that were supposed to have been thrown out into the audience. Everyone was soaked through, as if they’d been out in a rainstorm without an umbrella.
“It had been a while since I came close to passing out. Around the refrain of ‘Speed Master,’ my mind just went blank. I was like, ‘Wonder if I’ll be able to play “death wish,”‘ and then I just drummed desperately, trying to keep up with everyone else,” Ryu recounted after he’d taken a shower and a moment to collect himself.
Each member was still charged up from the show one hour after it had ended. The usually quiet Ren started talking in a high-toned voice.
“This heat is unbelievable! How were those kids so full of energy? It’s incredible. Seriously, that was not normal.”
Meanwhile, the murderous glare was no longer on Gackt’s face, but he seemed almost absentminded, like he was going over the concert in his head, putting his emotions in order, taking a good hard look at himself.
“…I was afraid of myself back there. If I had jumped into the crowd, I’d have gone on a rampage……”
Since it seemed he still hadn’t gotten himself together emotionally, I changed the subject.
“How’s your throat?”
“Not good. I could tell my voice gave out while singing. But I really was singing at least up to ‘ANOTHER WORLD,’ right?”
It’s not like I thought he’d recover completely having rested his throat for one night, but even so, now I wished he’d go to bed soon. However, tonight we’d be traveling by bus to Toyama, departing from the hotel in the late of night as always.
Perhaps it was after the bus had been on the freeway for 30 minutes or so. Gackt called me over, so I headed toward the back seat. It seemed he’d been up the whole time, checking his email. Without my asking anything, he started telling me all this in a whisper:
“I had acrobatics practice yesterday too, so I’m covered in cuts and bruises. Then today, before we even got started I was in the worst shape, and I wondered what would happen if I went on stage like that. I’d really lost my voice. And then, with the anxiety building, I went and did that during the show…… In that instant, it was like there was this high-speed debate raging between two sides of me; one was saying ‘You know what’s gonna happen to ya for coming at me like that, right?!’ but the other said ‘No, you mustn’t fight!’ ……I can’t believe I’d do something like that to a girl……”
Gackt had maintained a calm tone as he explained what had happened. Doubtless many feelings welled up inside him as he read the messages from the fans, and he wanted to get things off his chest. That’s the mode he seemed to be in right now. He was speaking slowly, but the tone of his voice was steady.
I can’t believe I’d do something like that to a girl. Surely, no one could. Gackt had had a very strict education as a child, and even in his adolescence, when he was always looking for a fight, striking a woman was unfathomable. It’s a matter of common knowledge amongst fans. And yet, just a few hours ago, that very man had pulled a girl up by the hair…….
As he reflected on the night’s events, Gackt seemed to be afraid of the side of himself that had never before made an appearance at concerts.
“When I was taking a shower, I thought about my state of mind back in the days when I was always cut up from fights. Everyone always used to tell me that when I snapped, I’d be laughing while fighting, even if I was bleeding. I remembered that feeling. Once that switch flipped inside me, it didn’t matter if someone was friend or foe. I naturally learned how to control myself with age, but…I wonder if what came out tonight was my true self. That part of me appeared when I was wrestling with the villagers in Madagascar, but during a concert? ……Do you think it’s happened before, Mr. Hirose?”
I fell silent. An old memory came back to me.
“At the Malice Mizer concert in Yokohama Arena (September 1998), you had this look on your face like you were just overwhelmed…I think I saw something similar tonight.”
Gackt’s eyes became distant as he searched through his memories.
“That’s right……I did many things during that Yokohama show that I have no memory of doing, just like tonight. I remember the things I saw, but I don’t remember my own actions. Someone told me I had yelled out, ‘I’m gonna kill you!’ but really, I can’t believe that at all……. Hmm, well, thanks for your insight. ……I’ve gotten some messages about tonight’s show saying ‘There were so many people in the audience with bad manners, it was horrible,’ but I don’t think it’s that they had bad manners. Everyone had been fighting hard to bottle things up inside themselves, but then they just exploded. If that’s the natural flow of things, it can’t be helped, now can it?”
Certainly, whether it’s a concert, event, or even a sports game, if organizers have a problem with the audience’s behavior, all they have to do is stop the show and kick out the troublemakers. By not doing that, Gackt and Mr. Asano acknowledged the fans’ actions as falling within the range of acceptable behavior. That’s not to say the fans should do whatever they please; people have to act according to common sense and good manners. But what exactly constitutes “common sense” and “good manners” can vary depending on people’s particular interpretations of those things. It’s a difficult question.
“Live shows are scary because they really are living things, huh? ……Thank you. Rest up until we get to Toyama,” Gackt smiled weakly, ending our conversation at the back of the bus.
I’ll add here the sequel, as it were, to the Nagano Incident:
“Since then, I’ve gotten an email from the girl whose hair I pulled in Nagano. She wrote, ‘Gackt, it seemed like you lost your mind, and then you went and did that to me. Please remove my name from the fan club.’ I replied, ‘Don’t worry about that. Are you hurt?'”
The live house tour proceeded, giving plenty of food for thought along the way. Gackt spoke as if he was thoroughly chewing on the words “it seemed like you lost your mind.”
“Say, that night, did I really look that scary?”
“I can’t remember it for the life of me,” he laughed dryly.
Well, only three stops left on the tour now.
July 3, 2002 Toyama CLUB MAIRO
The bus arrived in Toyama ahead of schedule, at 12:15 a.m. Before going to the hotel, Gackt and some of the staff headed to a convenience store.
I heard a voice idly grumble, “There’s nothing in this town…”
At this hour, there were barely any signs of life in the area near the convenience store, which was far from the city center. Even Gackt was able to get what he needed without paying much attention to his surroundings. After doing their shopping, the party went to the hotel.
Today, the 3rd, was the day before Gackt’s birthday. Excited by the thought of celebrating, the fans would gather around the venue from early in the morning.
By the way, the venue’s name is read “ma-i-ro.” I thought it was “ma-ri-o” for the longest. Several of the members were under the same mistaken impression.
Mairo was not a large live house like the Zepps, rather it was but one floor of a multiple-tenant building. Yet the audience area was fairly wide, and the stage was a decent height. I got the impression the venue would create a pleasant sense of unity.
“What a curious town,” Gackt muttered, laughing, as he gazed upon the streets of Toyama from his hotel window. “It’s so modern you’d expect there to be many people, but there’s no one in sight. The area around the station seemed like it would be busy, but it’s not. This is good, this weirdness.”
He would touch upon this topic later, during the show itself.
There was still time before rehearsals. Everything was calm and peaceful. But as for Gackt’s current condition, the phrase “battle-scarred” was most appropriate.
“Everything hurts. I could barely get up out of bed.”
It seemed he wasn’t thinking at all about the fact that tomorrow was his birthday, so something would probably happen today.
The sound check started at 4:30 p.m. The venue had really good reverb, and the members were elated with the strong, typical live house sound. They jumped into the rehearsal with plenty of energy, as if to strengthen Gackt, who was saving his energy for the real deal. Halfway through, You’s monitor stopped working and the rehearsal was interrupted, but the show started without incident.
The opening video played on the screen. Most of the audience sang along to the music. The crowd was fully in Birthday Mode. There had been a warm sense of unity among the fans from the very beginning.
Well, that was to be expected. After all, before doors opened, a flyer had been passed out to fans as they lined up, explaining the surprise party that would come later in the show. A few dozen fans were even given party poppers. Of course, this was all kept secret from Gackt. The audience, staff, and band members were already united in their desire to celebrate Gackt’s birthday, and their positive energy pushed him onward as he struggled with his failing voice.
Gackt came onstage with a wild look on his face, like he was trying to break the curse of his unstable throat from the very first song. He relaxed a little during “Fragrance,” but “rain” strained him to the maximum, pushing his body to its outermost limits. Yet, precisely because of that struggle, the unfolding performance became even more convincing. The way it turned out, this version of “rain” sounded the best of the whole tour. A similar phenomenon had occurred during the tours MARS ~Sora kara no Hōmonsha~ and Requiem et Réminiscence ~Chinkon to Saisei~; the audience became transfixed by Gackt’s each and every move as he continued to walk the tightrope between consciousness and collapse, yet once he got across, Gackt’s movements became mysteriously light, such as when he gave You a kiss during “Soleil.” The members also moved heartily, and the audience was able to have fun right along with them.
After that excellent live set was the Video Treasures. But even after that finished up, the projector screen didn’t retract. Usually the screen went up and Gackt came out for the Talk Corner, but this time, the screen would serve a secret purpose. Hopefully Gackt wouldn’t stop to think about its unusual continued presence.
Called up by Mr. Furumoto, Gackt appeared on stage. He was carrying a mike, but staggered a couple of times. It was the fist time seeing him like that. He must have been completely exhausted, standing up by sheer force of will alone…….
During the Q&A Session, Mr. Furumoto read questions from fans who had traveled all the way from Chiba and Kagoshima, and a friendly atmosphere pervaded the venue. But just then, suddenly, there was a loud noise, and something was projected unto the screen.
“Five, four, three, two, one! Happy Birthday!”
Simultaneously, the crack of the party poppers echoed through the venue, and signs in honor of Gackt’s birthday sprang up amongst the audience. A cake was carted onto the stage, and the band members reappeared with smiles on their faces. Gackt was speechless, but having grasped the situation, his expression clearly showed how deeply moved he was.
The members took the mike in turn to address Gackt.
Chachamaru: Get more sleep.
You: You’re always taking us by surprise, so we gave you a dose of your own medicine.
Ren: I’ll always be rooting for you.
Ryu: How old are you now?
The audience yelled out in response to Ryu’s question, “462!”
Ryu: Alright, let’s keep going! Three, two, one!
The audience yelled out in unison, filling the venue with their voices. A teary-eyed Gackt hugged each member one by one, then took the mike, but couldn’t get any words out.
With exquisite timing, a fan wittily yelled out, “Take care of yourself!”
“You can do it!”
“Do your best!”
Words of encouragement came from everywhere in the crowd, and Gackt was finally able to speak.
“I am doing my best!” Gackt continued as cheers filled the live house, “I promise, I’m gonna return the favor to all of you!”
As thunderous applause took over the venue, the autographed beach balls were thrown into the crowd.
“I’ll never forget you!” Gackt shouted out, and with that, the video for “ANOTHER WORLD” came on. The curtains closed on a tremendous high.
After the show, I watched as the fans left from the raised spot the staff had taken in the venue. Everyone was bubbly and happy. I think the fans who had had the good luck to be here tonight must have felt, from the bottom of their hearts, that they were truly fortunate. That’s how intense of a live show it was, that’s how moving an event it had been.
Back at the hotel, Ryu was pigging out on cake. He was in a much better mood these days, and he would continue to go wild during shows.
All the live shows had turned out well ever since the Yonago stop, save for the one in Nagano, where all the members were done in by the heat. I hoped to see even more progress at the shows in Yamagata and Sendai, and channeled positive energy to Gackt as he busied himself with reading emails.
July 9, 2002 Yamagata Shōwa Session
Gackt had to go to the doctor’s and would be a little late, but the other band members arrived in Yamagata Station a bit past 1 p.m. A group of fans awaited them at the ticket gate. The group was larger than usual, but not so many as to make security guards necessary. Still, the hints on All Night Nippon had certainly been effective.
When the band members arrived at the hotel, they set to eating from the large bowl of cherries the local event coordinator had quickly sent out as a gift. They chowed down heartily, letting out a chorus of praise for the tasty fruits. With the exception of Ryu, they were all usually rather light eaters. But for some reason, today, even as they said “It’s right before the show, so this is the last one,” they could not keep from popping more cherries into their constantly moving mouths.4
Gackt had never had the pleasure of visiting Yamagata before, and when he arrived later, he also seemed delighted by the cherries. But he didn’t linger over them long before heading to the venue, Shōwa Session. Today, they would be the first to take the stage.
“My throat? It hurts so bad I couldn’t sleep. But, no pain, no gain, right? My skin’s covered in weals, they’re painful and itchy……”
Gackt was still on prescription meds for the inflammation in his throat. There was a bandage on his arm where the IV had been, and he had cold compresses all over his body to calm his skin, which was swollen from overexertion. Not only was he gargling repeatedly, he was also treating his throat with an inhaler he’d just gotten. Right before rehearsals, the space around Gackt seemed to have been turned into a field hospital. But of course, Gackt’s fighting spirit burns hotter and brighter when he’s in precisely that condition.
“I’m gonna hurl myself at them today! I’m gonna jump off the stage, run on the audience’s heads all the way to the soundboard, turn up the volume on my vocals, and run back!”
Hey, hey! (LOL) Although he was in the same bad shape as before, Gackt seemed different today as he brusquely joked around. Had he just completely shrugged everything off? I couldn’t feel the usual bloodlust seething off of him.
Even once the actual show started, Gackt’s singing and dancing were so good you wouldn’t think he was as battered as he actually was. What surprised me the most was the beauty of his falsetto during “death wish.” It reverberated with such clarity, you’d never imagine his throat was damaged. Of the whole tour, it was the moment that let one feel Gackt’s growth the most.
During “Lu:na,” of course he didn’t stage dive, but he stood with one foot on the railing and went wild working the crowd up. The people who rushed to be near Gackt seemed to be having a blast. Having brought the venue to a frenzied heat, Gackt now cooled the audience down with some marvelously-timed comments. People in the audience were yelling out, “Did you eat cherries?!” Gackt’s answer elicited many laughs:
“I ate 50 of them. I think I’ll eat about 2,000 for today.”
“Happy Birthday! Keep going till 600!”
Gackt replied with a beaming smile, “That’s impossible…ahaha….”
The atmosphere in the venue became warmer and warmer, and the band jumped into “ANOTHER WORLD.”
With staging that made everyone feel at ease, the fun night was over in the blink of an eye.
Nevertheless, live shows are living things, and each day makes one truly realize that there are many things which one won’t understand without actually doing. There are days when being in bad shape is reflected clearly in the performance, and other days when the same condition will lead to good results; sometimes the audience’s reaction is so good it gives the band strength, other times the band goes nowhere with the audience; sometimes, like today, a show will begin and end with a warm vibe, other times, the venue stays cold and harsh all night. Concerts truly have many faces.
After the show was the last night on the road by bus, from Yamagata to Sendai. The weather was bad due to a typhoon drawing near, but it probably wouldn’t cause problems for the trip.
Gackt seemed satisfied with the way tonight’s show turned out. Every inch of his body seemed to be saying, “If only we hold out until tomorrow!”
As the bus sped along the freeway, I recalled the eerily beautiful moon I’d seen on the road from Kobe to Yonago, and pulled back the curtain. The bad weather made it impossible to see the moon, and the road through the mountains was pitch black.
Speaking of Sendai……there’s Date Masamune. Suddenly, I remembered the relationship between the moon and war.
In the Sengoku period, the commanders of samurai armies would take the moonlight into consideration when working out their battle strategies.5 In the modernized era, some even dare to sally forth on the night of the new moon. Thus the moon not only exerts its influence over all work on Earth and on human bodies, it also decides if people live or die.
Gackt’s party had reached this point as if they had been led by the moon the whole time, and the last marching orders they received were to execute the fan club event in Sendai. Of course, they mustn’t go in assuming they’ll succeed.
The final battle was in their sights.
July 10, 2002 Zepp Sendai
Finally, the last day had come.
The party arrived at the venue at 2 p.m. and began preparations. In the Sendai region, the rains continued to fall with the typhoon’s approach, and it was reported that it had already caused delays on the Tōhoku Shinkansen line. We worried that the fans coming up from Tokyo might not be able to make it in time to catch the beginning of the show.
You was smoking as he went out from the dressing room, saying, “Whether it’s the 4-song set for the secret shows, or the 9-song set for the fan club events, I put the same amount of energy into it, so I don’t feel a difference. ……Today’s finally the last day. I’m gonna rage on like the typhoon!”
Before the rehearsal, Gackt had to go over some footage for a commercial, and to attend other meetings, so he didn’t seem fully focused on the show and looked tenser than yesterday. Even so, he said as he jogged off to the stage, “Today’s the last show. I’ll do my best, of course.”
After rehearsals, the band members and staff assembled for a commemorative photo.
Gackt headed back to the dressing room, and was stretching in the hallway.
“I’m even sorer than yesterday…….”
As usual, his skin was swollen and his throat seemed to be in bad shape. Trying to shake it off, when he finished stretching, Gackt started sparring with Chad, the bodyguard.
Bam! Pow! The thick sounds echoed in the hallway.
Chad stood 2 meters [6 feet 6 inches] tall, weighed perhaps twice as much as Gackt, was of muscular build, and had achieved a certain rank in wrestling. At first he took Gackt’s punches directly to the body with ease, but gradually his face flushed, and the pain showed in his eyes.
When Gackt was called away by a staff member, Chad turned and said with a straight face, “I thought he was gonna kill me for real. Mr. Gackt’s really fired up today.”
Throughout the tour, it wasn’t uncommon to see Gackt sparring with the bodyguards, but he was dead serious about it today. He’d let fly a flurry of punches with a bloodthirsty look on his face. At that rate, not even the seemingly invincible bodyguard could withstand the onslaught for long.
I turned to look over the hallway crawling with busy staff members, and found Gackt once again on the hunt for a sparring partner. Mr. Furumoto, the emcee for the Talk Corner, gladly took him on, but……would that prove an unwise choice?
“Uwaaa!” That single powerful blow sent pain shooting throughout Mr. Furumoto’s body. He’d gotten one hell of a parting gift on the last day. (LOL) I hoped he hadn’t broken anything.
And so, the last show of this tour began.
It goes without saying that Gackt threw his heightened killer instinct into the performance full force. In perfect sync with the band, he rode the unique groove their sound created, and threw all his thoughts and feelings out to the audience.
The band took on every show as if it were the last, not worrying about tomorrow; but the tension of knowing that tonight’s show actually was the last, as well as the confidence gained from trial and error, became weapons for them to wield. I can vouch that the power these moon-guided warriors could now produce was released to the maximum during tonight’s show. The audience’s passion was also the result of them being able to get into the groove of a stabilized performance.
Although it was the last day, when taking the long-term “MOON PROJECT” into account, tonight’s show was probably nothing more than a way station on an extensive journey. However, the important thing was how the band went through that station. Everything the members had learned throughout the tour was condensed into this last show, and Kagen no Tsuki would surely serve as further testimony to their mastery.
For the first time this tour, the fan club members asked questions about the movie MOON CHILD during the Talk Corner. The project had just recently been announced publicly, so of course everyone was curious about it. Gackt explained his ideas behind the movie and spoke about HYDE, and wrapped up the movie-related comments with these Gackt-esque words:
“This movie will go against everything that you expect, but it will live up to your expectations.”
Next was “ANOTHER WORLD.” Gackt looked very touched as he sang, and the band members also seemed deeply moved. Then the beach balls were thrown out into the crowd, full of memories made on the tour, expectations for the tours to come, and more than anything, gratitude toward the fans who had made tonight’s event turn out so wonderful.
After the performance finished and the staff got done carrying out all the equipment, it was time for everyone to celebrate the end of the tour with a grand feast. It was the last day after all, and some project partners from Tokyo would be there as well; as would Igao, the keyboardist who would return to the stage for Kagen no Tsuki, and YOSH, the dancer, among others. It would be a hopping party.
Gackt and Mr. Asano gave short speeches, called for a toast, and the banquet continued.
I was seated with Tsukagoshi, the photographer, and Mr. Hirota, the editor-in-chief. Gackt came over to our table, glass in hand.
“Thank you for your hard work!”
After expressing our gratitude for each others’ work, we had a little conversation.6
As we ate, Gackt asked me for my thoughts on the whole tour, but if I had really given a comprehensive answer, it would have filled up a book. (Well, it did, in fact, end up becoming a book.) So I started off with my impressions of the new members:
“I think Masa and Toshi gave the band this kind aura, but with them gone, Ryu in Toshi’s place, You with that hairstyle, and those heavy new costumes…from the first time I saw the new band I thought it had this really wild flavor to it, and I was surprised by the change to this really manly appearance. Including you, I think it’s become a very masculine band. And, I think this uniform external roughness contrasts well with the kindness underneath, and that’s very fitting for the view of the world presented in MOON. I’m looking forward to seeing the roughness take on some delicateness as it develops.”
If memory serves, that’s what I talked about.
When people feel that they’ve finished some job, such as a tour, they tend to look back on everything that’s happened, but Gackt’s gaze was already fixed on the big job up ahead. That is, the movie MOON CHILD. That naturally became the next topic of conversation.
“HYDE is the only one who can play the role he’s in. I went to meet him in person to discuss it. We went out for drinks, and we saw eye to eye on many things……then he said to me, “Gimme 4 days.” After that, he said he was in, and I was really happy. Later he came to my house and I showed him the script, talked about it some more……”
Everyone smiled, imagining Gackt and HYDE going over things together. Gackt smoothly continued the story.
“The director said to me, ‘If we use this script as is, the movie’s gonna be 4 hours long.’ So now we’re trying to edit the script down to 2 hours and 20 minutes. There are a lot of action scenes, but it’s an elegant movie. Ahaha!”
From today, Gackt would probably turn his full attention to the movie. No, he had most likely already made the mental shift. Now, he bore an expression different from the ones he’d had throughout the tour, and in about two weeks, he would fly to Taiwan to start filming.
The end of the tour was the beginning of the movie. The full-scale “MOON PROJECT” was finally starting. While looking forward to our reunion in Taiwan, we said goodbye to Sendai and its approaching typhoon. Truly, this day all too conveniently foreshadowed the start of another kind of storm.
[End of Chapter 2] [Continue to Chapter 3]
2. I’m retconning how I translate 「かかってこい」(kakatte koi) from “Come at me!” to “Bring it on!” The latter is more convenient as it doesn’t require a pronoun for the speaker. After all, in this case, the girl in the audience was taunting Gackt, but did she mean to speak for herself (i.e., “Come at me!”) or for everyone in the audience (“Come at us!”)? It’s a nuance that’s not clear from the Japanese words alone, and a question that might not occur to Japanese people as the outburst would’ve probably just been taken as an Ironic Echo of Gackt’s own kakatte koi yell during concerts. ↩
3. Although the author could have specified the sex of the person Gackt did this to, he chose not to do so until a whole page later. It may not have been intentional, as it’s a lot easier to go without explicitly mentioning someone’s sex in Japanese than it is in English. Or maybe it was intentional. In any case, I chose to use “they” as a singular pronoun to maintain the original text’s ambiguity. ↩
5. The Sengoku period (late 1400s – late 1500s) was a century of constant fighting as feudal warlords within Japan vied for supremacy. It ended when the Tokugawa family beat and/or allied with everyone else. ↩
6. As the writer is writing for a Japanese audience, he doesn’t give many details as to what’s going on here, but anyone who’s worked in Japan and gone to a nomikai will recognize the setting. “Expressing our gratitude” probably consisted of Gackt and Mr. Hirose pouring drinks for each other and making general statements such as ‘you really put on a show tonight’ or ‘you wrote a great article the other day,’ stuff like that. The main conversation comes after the drinks have been poured & drank. ↩