Let’s just get right to it, shall we?
May 9-10, 2003, Nippon Budōkan (First & Second Days)
This was Gackt’s first time putting on a concert at the Nippon Budōkan since going solo. It would also be the first time there’s a show at a large Tokyo venue just one week after the start of the tour, but, well, this whole tour would be at arena or arena-level venues. You can probably imagine how everyone was dashing about right from the get-go. I had no doubt they would put on a show packed with more energy than the first, given how much they had matured from doing Kagen no Tsuki.
I got to the venue past 5 p.m. Unfortunately, for these two days of shows at the Budōkan, I couldn’t get in before Gackt due to other work obligations, so I couldn’t report on all the prep work as I usually do.
Anyway, I hurriedly made my way into the muggy venue.
I greeted Gackt as he was coming out from the makeup room.
“Hello. How are you today?”
“My legs hurt. Doing acrobatics on a rigid stage is really tough on the legs… At least I feel a little more at ease mentally since there was a four-day break after the first show.”
So now it was more than just his ankles—which he’d injured during Kagen no Tsuki—that were giving him trouble. Still, watching him walk away full of fighting spirit, I felt confident he’d do just fine. It was right about time for the show to start.
Since I’d gotten a seat through the agency’s good offices, I went to sit down and watch the show. Oh, that’s right—many readers probably think that I always watch the show from a seat, but in all this time, since MARS ~Sora Kara no Hōmonsha~, this hadn’t happened before, not even once. No matter the location, the seats for various people involved with the tour and such are always full, so I always stand and watch in an aisle alongside the wall. This time, for these two days, it just so happened that there was extra room in these normally reserved seats. And yet, I realized that in the case of a Gackt concert, I felt like I couldn’t be myself sitting in a chair. I decided to turn down the seat tomorrow.
While feeling strangely uneasy, I turned my attention to the show.
Oh no, the sound was terribly muddy and dull! The acoustics of the Budōkan must change drastically once it’s filled with people. I could imagine the crew working frantically. Luckily, they got the sound to be much clearer by “Doomsday.”
As far as the stage direction, this time Gackt came out wearing the souvenir jacket from “Tsuki no Uta.” This was changed from the first day, successfully shortening the space between songs. He didn’t do it in the souvenir jacket yesterday,1 but this song is closely connected to MOON CHILD, and since Kanata appears on stage as well, it’s probably better to perform it in a jacket that reminds the audience of Sho.
When the show got to the call-and-response part during “Mirror,” as vast as the venue was, the distance between the stage and the seats seemed to disappear as the performers and audience became unified.
“First floor stands! Second floor stands! ……First floor stands!”
This bit where Gackt draws laughter from the crowd by skipping over part of the audience had become standard during Kagen no Tsuki. The cryptic call (LOL) “Tattaka-tattaka-taa!” was also a carryover from the previous tour. It felt like everyone had come home to the Gackt World they were used to.
“It’s been a long time, Budōkan. Has it been five years? Last night, I rehearsed the dancing, and was so excited I couldn’t sleep…”
He had switched to a hand mike for the talk portion.
After that, the members queued up and did a sort of line dance during “Soleil,” and unified the audience even further with their cheerful staging. Then the show moved to the quietness of “memories.”
Wish the audience would clap more here.
That’s what I wrote in my notes.
Sure, it wasn’t as if this was the end of the show, because there was still “Chapter 4,” which was the encore. However, I felt like if Gackt and Job could move the audience to clap more after “memories,” that would mean they had elevated their performance to an even higher level yet. All that said, after Chapter 4, this time there was something I hadn’t even thought to expect!
After “birdcage,” what with its tremendous, overpowering lights, the music from the MOON CHILD soundtrack rang out from the deserted stage. There was a great stir as everyone remembered the events from the movie. Those emotions combined with what they were already feeling from the concert, and the venue was moved into thunderous applause. From my seat, I could even hear people weeping softly around me.
“So this is it! He spoke with the staff in private after the first day, then he told me the ending would get better. So this is what he meant!” I muttered to myself in my excitement.
This stage direction neatly wrapped up the show, leaving everyone with a wonderful lingering sensation. It was too wonderful.
After the concert, Gackt passed out as usual. I wondered if he had been curious to know how the audience reacted to the new stage direction.
The afterglow from last night’s new ending after “birdcage” still followed me as I got into the venue past 5 p.m. (again) on the 10th.
Speaking of “birdcage,” the brightness of the lights this time… I thought about them as I went around the venue. Rehearsals had just ended.
Not that I counted them, but there were easily 100 moving lights alone set up on the stage trusses. I don’t think it’s something you see much, not even for large-scale concerts of other contemporary artists. Of course, this was all so that he could bring this world to life the way he wanted to; I’m going on the assumption he wouldn’t do all this solely for the sake of being flashy.
Scattered around the dressing rooms, I found some pretty tired-looking people. YOSH greeted me with a “Mornin’…” and an energy drink in one hand, but there was no energy in his voice at all.
I peeked into the make-up room thinking I’d greet Gackt, but he was limp in the chair as he was having his hair done. He was in no condition for chit-chat. I expected he had been in the recording studio for the upcoming single release of “Tsuki no Uta” even in the four days since the opening of the tour at Makuhari Messe.
“I’m still nervous, in a weird way. I wonder if my body will hold up… I learned the hard way that you’ve gotta keep your movements big. Without worrying about the venue being wide or big… It would probably be better if I thought of it as being like Ōmiya Sonic, huh?”
As I was talking with You, Gackt came out into the hallway, having finished his make-up.
“Hey. What did you think of the ending yesterday?”
I answered his question with a summary of my intense reactions.
“I knew it… That’s good. Wish we had played it on Day 1…” Gackt’s expression changed to one of regret.
Next, I spoke with the dancer HAYASHI. He was the last to leave the stage after “Fragrance,” and had the task of caressing Gackt, so he had a great deal of pressure on him.
“Whaddaya think of ‘Fragrance’?”
“I think your dance gave off a more risqué feel at the Makuhari show, since your movements were bigger. Maybe the more erotic version’s better?”
I gave him that bit of advice, then it was already time to start the show. Everyone got into a circle for the usual huddle.
“Alright, it’s our second day in the Budōkan. If we put our heart and soul into it, we’ll reach the audience for sure. Let’s show them the Number 1 show in Asia… Let’s do this!”
It was very much like Gackt to say “in Asia” rather than “in the world.”
Today’s show ended up having a coherent, relaxed atmosphere more than anything else. That’s not to say it had lost any of its passion. Basically, over the past two shows, they tweaked various details, doing the best they could to create a performance with the highest level of finish they were currently capable of. It’s not uncommon for tours to fall into this rhythm by the third or fourth day, and usually, at this point they would start to add new elements, gradually “upgrading” the show. Today they had reached the point where they could say, “We’re very high quality, but we can go even higher.” That’s the impression the show gave me.
Gackt was able to let loose on stage in a good way from the first half. He spoke in an unusually enraptured tone.
Oh, that’s right. HAYASHI made his moves during “Fragrance” really big, increasing its level of creepy eroticism. Well, it’s up to the viewers whether they feel this dance is “creepily erotic.” But a dance which didn’t make the viewers feel anything at all would be pointless; today the dancers seemed to be putting the finishing touches on a choreography designed to make people feel something.
Anyway, at Tokyo performances you see an extraordinarily high number of industry people. In their eyes, had today’s concert been worthy of the title Asia’s Number 1 Show?
[To be continued in Chapter 6, Part 3]
1. Hirose said that on the first day, there was a costume change between “Doomsday” and “Tsuki no Uta,” meaning Gackt came out with a different outfit for “Tsuki no Uta.” But here Hirose says Gackt came out in the souvenir jacket from this same song, meaning the costume change is in the same place. So, maybe on the first day Gackt changed from the long black overcoat thingy to just the tank top and jeans, whereas on this day he put the jacket on too so he wouldn’t have to put it on later. Or maybe there was another outfit altogether. Also, Hirose uses the word “yesterday” but this page of this section seems to be only about the show on the 9th; there was no show on the 8th. Perhaps he got a little mixed up here? ⤴