May 25, 2003 Marine Messe Fukuoka
Today’s venue, what with its wide field and capacity of almost 9,000, made you feel as if you were in Yokohama Arena. The ceiling was high, and the uppermost portions, on which the spotlights were set, had rope ladders hanging from them. These were so long they created the effect of being literal “stairways to heaven.”
Gackt discovered the ladders before the rehearsal. He studied them with great interest, placed his hands on one, and was about to climb up when—
“Hey, hey! Quit it, you’ll wear yourself out! Sheesh…”
With one word from Mr. Asano, a mischievous Gackt reluctantly got down from the ladder.
There was a little bit of time before the rehearsal was set to start, so I decided to talk to Gackt while he stretched. The topic of conversation naturally turned to how surprisingly powerful Kanata’s performance during “Tsuki no Uta” was.
“Kanata’s a real prodigy, isn’t he? He can intuit what you’re trying to say from just a few words. Though he was nervous at first. You need courage to stand onstage in front of 10,000 people, after all.”
Kanata was in seventh grade. There was still something innocent in his expression, but it was a well-known fact that he worked with confidence on the stage.
“Sometimes he may look a bit like a girl, but on the inside he’s a strong young man. If you say to him, ‘If someone dear to you were to be walking towards you from over there, what would the look on your face be?’, he can grasp that in his own way. That’s not such an easy thing to do at that age.”
Little Kanata’s power, which made even Gackt have a kind of respect for him, was sure to lead him to an extraordinary future. Throughout the tour, he often ended up sharing dressing rooms with the dancers, and gradually became quite friendly with them, so maybe he’ll soon become interested in dance. Maybe we’ll see him dancing in a Gackt show someday…
Once the rehearsal started, Gackt was practicing doing a forward roll immediately after landing the somersault over the dancers for “Lu:na.” A-ha! Doing it this way, he could lessen the impact from the initial landing, making the move easier on his legs. This is how the living thing known as a “tour” evolves.
Gackt watched the “Fragrance” rehearsal from the seats. As usual, he was yelling out advice.
“KAZUYA! Don’t rush through your moves, it’s important to move deliberately. …The part where the black-costumed dancers stood up looked good today. Everyone, put all you’ve got into it, down to your fingertips!”
KAZUYA, the youngest of the dancers this time around, was suddenly given a role that put him in the spotlight, so he often became a target for Gackt’s severe critiques. Backstage, he sometimes let the immense pressure he felt show on his face, but he was desperately taking all the blows knowing how important they were. From this, you could also see clearly how reliable YOSH, the dance leader keeping it all together, had become.
“If I could get the one-handed round off down, that would eliminate the shaking…”
Gackt continued practicing acrobatics breathlessly even as he made his way back to his dressing room. This was a grueling tour, one which would make people unfamiliar with Gackt’s history say, “Do you seriously need to be doing all that?” In Sendai I’d noticed how awfully hollow his cheeks were, but now it seemed to me that gave him a certain air of austerity. Of course he and the band members will age, but if they become unable to move well, they won’t be able to put on the show they aspire to. Naturally that leads to them putting a great deal of strain on their bodies, and being unable to beat fatigue. This was a cycle he would never be able to get out of so long as he was standing on a stage.
Well, now it’s time for the huddle, then the start of the show.
This venue was truly spacious. The standing room only area was packed, too. That being the case, I figured I should check to see if the performance was getting through to the people way in the back, and stared at the stage from the space furthest from it.
Suddenly, I was overwhelmed by how big Chachamaru’s movements were during “Speed Master.” His spins during the interlude got sharper day by day, making them even more powerful. You, Ren, and the others, what with their stately postures, also had good stage presence, but Chachamaru’s vigor caught the eye more. I was reminded of how I’d thought, “Was Chacha always this big?!” on the first day of the red-hot live house tour. Now I was having the same thought in Kyushu again. I was also reminded of something Gackt had said a while ago.
“As far as Chacha, honestly after the Rebirth tour I thought, ‘He’s complete now, is there any room left for growth?’ But after MOON, once we got into the live house tour, he most definitely showed growth. I think it was partly due to how he felt about Masa leaving. Chacha was the one who felt most strongly that we could keep going even without him.”
The faces of the Gackt Job members were practically radiant with the strength of their will, and the feelings they released out into the audience definitely reached even the furthest corners of the venue. But perhaps there were many people seeing the show for the first time; from beginning to end, the atmosphere was restrained, as if people couldn’t quite process what they were seeing and thus stood there overwhelmed. That said, the tremendous cheer that erupted from the crowd when Gackt reappeared on stage for the the encore “birdcage” was louder than ever. It may have taken a while for the crowd to warm up, but the ending was truly wonderful.
Up till now, all the hall performances in Fukuoka had been at the Sun Palace, where enthusiastic cheers rang out through the venue from the very first song. It seemed the change of venue to an arena also changed the audience’s vibe. I hope that for the 2004 tour, the reaction this time will be taken into account to create an even more passionate concert. I’m sure it will be so.
[To be continued in Chapter 6, Part 5]