We’ve arrived at the longest chapter of The Air Moon, Chapter 4: Kagen no Tsuki. This bad boy comes in at 84 pages! Given its length (and also the fact that I’m much busier now), I’ve decided to take this chapter at smaller chunks at a time than I did with the live house tour chapter. As such, there will probably end up being more parts than what’s currently listed on the Table of Contents page, but, well, like the Pirate Code, those divisions are “more what you’d call guidelines than actual rules.”
Anyway, I’ve labelled this Part 0 because these 3 short pages chronicle the days before the tour actually starts.
So, as the leaves begin to change color for us, let us travel back in time, to the fall of 2002.
Chapter 4: Kagen no Tsuki
MOON CHILD Press Conference & The Night Before Kagen no Tsuki
A few days after I’d wrapped up my coverage of MOON CHILD in Taiwan, Gackt also returned to Japan, albeit for only a few days, to participate in an event for Nippon Broadcasting System. But as soon as that finished he went right back to Taiwan, finished principal photography for MOON CHILD, and finally returned to Japan, with no regrets.
I met him again on September 10th, at the press conference for MOON CHILD held at a Tokyo hotel. Gackt, HYDE, Susumu TERAJIMA, Tarō YAMAMOTO, Anne SUZUKI and the director, Takahisa ZEZE, gathered for the conference, and with a great deal of reporters crowded into the venue, the event proceeded energetically.
“HYDE, Wang Lee Hom, and myself are vocalists; we make music while taking pride in being musicians and artists. We made this movie with the belief that there’s no wall dividing actors from musicians. This time, as we were shooting the movie, every time we heard the word ‘Action!’, it felt the same as…how to say it…like when we’re singing; we got a feeling that was very similar to what we feel when we’re up on stage.”
Gackt spoke in a very calm manner.
This is something I always feel from Gackt when he’s answering questions at this type of press conference, but I get the impression he speaks slower than usual to cool down the reporters, who are tense and seem to be in a rush for answers. There are few people in the mass media who specialize in covering music, covering Gackt every day and even going to his live shows. That’s why it’s important for Gackt to speak at his own pace, giving off a calm vibe and dispelling people’s preconceived notions about him. I think that’s to be expected from someone who has learned how to set his own pace the way Gackt has. However, I do have the impression that some reporters end up confused instead…
The most remarkable thing about the press conference was a comment made by Tarō YAMAMOTO.
“I was really worried about making such a big movie with two people who don’t make their living in film, but from the very first day, they had an incredible look in their eyes. The attitude with which the two of them took on the filming, their attitude towards work, it was very earnest. Seeing them like that made a truly big impact on me. I realized the importance of never forgetting that rush you had when you first started working on something. I think that attitude comes across very clearly in this movie.”
The memory of Gackt and HYDE tackling the movie shoot with so much fighting spirit floats up before my eyes.
Certainly, people often make a point of explaining that Gackt and HYDE aren’t in the movie industry. However, Mr. Yamamoto must have felt stimulated by working with them precisely because, as musicians, they give off a vibe different from that of actors. Those two are always sincere; the fire in their eyes doesn’t burn hotter or cooler depending on what they’re doing.
It would be a while yet until the movie’s release, and Gackt had to take part in many promotional activities in the meantime. Even after the press conference, he had to see to other movie-related matters, and had a mountain of work assigned to him, all the while working in rehearsals for the tour Kagen no Tsuki. Or rather, he had to make it so that everything he did centered around the rehearsals themselves.
Once October rolled around, preparations for the tour proceeded at fever pitch.
The show must make the audience feel this one part of the epic MOON PROJECT by embodying, on the stage, the inner mind of the protagonist of each song from MOON. Those who later see the movie will surely experience a new layer of emotional depth. But for that to happen, the first step is to get a solid grip on Kagen no Tsuki, and put on wonderful live shows.
As with the live house tour in the summer, I headed to the studio in the city where the final pre-tour rehearsal of Kagen no Tsuki was being held.
“Just how many days have we been holed up in this studio? We also recorded the English version of ‘Juuni gatsu no Love Song’ while we were in here, so I’ve lost all sense of time. *Laughs*”
Chachamaru greeted me with a smile, but all the band members had taken on an unhealthy hue, and had a wild look in their eyes as if they were just about to blow. Tension ruled the air in the studio, and I instinctively put some distance between myself and the band, observing the proceedings from a safe corner.
The biggest difference between this and the live house tour is that the stage is significantly larger. Of course, beyond Kagen no Tsuki lies Jōgen no Tsuki, with a bigger stage still, so they have to strengthen their performance on stage with that in mind.
During the live house tour, the members had mostly ad libbed their movements, reacting to each other moment by moment. But this tour requires directed, coordinated movements. With Gackt at the center, everyone was engrossed in checking the choreography while practicing over and over again.
On top of that, it was also necessary to carefully rehearse the songs that hadn’t been performed during the live house tour, such as “Kimi ga Matteiru Kara,” a totally new song that hadn’t been released yet. The arrangement needed to be polished in places, and they ran through it countless times.
“For the most part, we haven’t rehearsed any of the new songs enough…”
Gackt came over to talk to me during the break, and I replied:
“But at the same time, isn’t that part of the nature of live shows? Songs grow and change as the band masters the performance. What’s wrong with that?”
“Yeah, I think it’ll play out like that……but I don’t like how we’re so pressed for time. I don’t like when things get down to the wire like this,” Gackt explained while wiping away the sweat covering him.
Compared to when he was doing the live house tour, his throat now fared remarkably better, and he didn’t have a fever. It seemed like he could take on the tour in good condition.
“My throat’s fine for now, but I can’t really know until the shows actually start. This time, there’s a lot of really intense action, like wire work. My muscles are super stiff from practicing that. I’ve got aches and pains all over…”
“By the way, I was surprised to see ‘Lapis〜Prologue〜’ on the set list. Isn’t that a song from the Mizérable EP?”
“I don’t play the piano during this tour, but I wanted a song with that texture. Then Asano called me and said ‘Let’s do this song.’ *Laughs* I said to him, ‘I knew you were gonna say that.’ I was a bit worried that maybe we put in too many ballads, but I think all the songs connect well.”
“Well, ‘Lapis 〜Prologue〜’ comes right after ‘rain,’ so the rain connects them together.”
In the course of the conversation, Gackt looked up with a sigh, then said:
“This is our first hall tour without Masa. It’s like there’s this gaping hole…it feels kinda lonely. But once we get on stage, we do what we have to do. Part of me can just do it, but there’s also a part of me saying, ‘I have to do it.’ I think all the band members feel the same way. Everyone has their own path…”
Maybe the previous two hall tours had popped into Gackt’s mind.
Even at this point, when the band had already gone through the Masa-less live house tour, his presence had been so big that his absence was still heart-wrenching.
But, it seemed that what Gackt was really doing was telling himself, ‘It’s okay. I can do this without Masa.’ It also seemed like he felt he mustn’t forget what it’s like to be a beginner. Whichever it was, he became tenser as he headed into Kagen no Tsuki.
With the band once again repeatedly running through “Kimi ga Matteiru Kara,” I left the studio.
As those of you who read the previous tour documentary books know, during a tour’s dress rehearsal and on the first day, the backstage gets engulfed in a storm of critiques and evaluation meetings. I wonder, what kind of constructive debates will be carried out at the start of this tour?