To whoever is out there still reading this, a belated Happy Hanukkah, Winter Solstice, & Emperor’s Birthday; Merry Christmas, Happy Festivus, and Happy Any Other Holidays.
To any new readers, here’s the Table of Contents for the previous parts.
May 31, 2003 Nippon Budōkan (Third Day)
We did an interview for uv magazine immediately upon our return to Tokyo from Fukuoka. The focus was on “Tsuki no Uta,” which was to be released on June 11th. I want to look back on what Gackt said as he was right in the middle of the accelerating MOON PROJECT, including his thoughts on Jōgen no Tsuki.
The lyrics to “Tsuki no Uta” include the words “the two of us,” which are enough to associate with the kind of relationship that Shō and Kei had in MOON CHILD. Gackt also said so.
“Yeah, I think that’s fine. I leave it up to the listeners, because I think it’s better not to say who it is.”
However, the “Tsuki on Uta” in the live shows was clearly more than just an extended version of a particular scene in the movie, since it would be impossible for Child Shō and Adult Shō to exist at the same time.
“In the concert version, it’s not that we’ve gone back in time from the timeline of the movie, it’s that we’ve gone back from a point much further in the future… In my mind, I’m not paying attention to it being linked with MOON CHILD, because as I go, I’m thinking, ‘This song goes with this scene,’ but within the larger story of MOON. The story of ‘Tsuki no Uta’ isn’t part of MOON CHILD‘s timeline. To be exact, it’s different from MOON CHILD but it’s in MOON. ‘Tsuki no Uta’ comes much, much later than the movie.”
Certainly, both “Tsuki on Uta” and its b-side “Hoshi no Suna” bring to mind an image of Shō, long after he’d disappeared in the movie’s last scene, trying to send a message to either Kei or somebody else.
“You can imagine that the story doesn’t end with that scene, right? Actually, there’s more beyond that story, but that’s…well, I’d rather not say. Ahaha…”
Through the laughter, I asked, “So basically, there’s MOON CHILD, and if you add what happens afterward, it becomes MOON, right?”
“Yeah, something like that,” Gackt nodded.
“How do you feel when you’re singing ‘Tsuki no Uta’ onstage?”
“It’s like meeting your past self and being healed by them. There’s a version of yourself inside you that never changes, and they’re incredibly weak, and a crybaby, but now, the one saving you is that version of you that you thought was weak. They’re the one helping you now…”
So Jōgen no Tsuki even included this element of looking back on your inner self. I continued by asking Gackt what he felt now that he’d completed six shows of this exciting, epoch-making tour.
“My right leg feels funny. My heel and ankle have gotten shaky. The parts I hurt have gradually gotten worse. But well, it’s like…I made it this far somehow, right?”
As written before, Gackt had sprained his ankle in Sendai.
“That time, seeing the consequences of my error gave the dancers a glimpse of what could happen to them. Even though they’ve got better reflexes, they probably thought it was scary. Flying over people’s heads in a darkness so deep you can’t even see, trying to stick that landing on intuition alone… And you’re wearing boots, and the floor’s real hard. The day I hurt myself, when it was time for the show, three people turned to me and yelled, ‘Woooo!’ They yelled, ‘We’ll pull this off for sure,” they were telling themselves that. I was moved to tears. With this attitude, I knew we’d make this tour work. It made me happy.”
I nodded heartily. This time, Gackt, the band, the dancers, and Kanata had come together with a level of solidarity far higher than there had been on any previous tour.
“The fans really get into it. I felt it in Fukuoka especially, though there seemed to be many first-timers, too. But more than that, this time around, my desire to have my thoughts ‘reach all the way to the back’ is being amplified; I have this huge feeling that everyone’s pushing me forward. I feel it from the band, the dancers, the staff; I feel that I’m protected by this great force. More than ever, I feel like I can do this because I’m not alone. I’m confident these shows will just get bigger and better. So how’s Yokohama Arena gonna turn out? What if it’s completely off the charts? Ahaha…”
Everyone’s desire to push each other forward created an ideal relationship. Anyone could tell from down in the audience that the people on stage were totally responsive to each other.
Then there was today, May 31st at the Budōkan. I had the utmost confidence that on this day, the band and the staff would be praising each other for putting on the ultimate show, and that they would be able to send the audience off filled with a thousand emotions.
I passed through the streets of Tokyo in the unstable mugginess created by an extratropical cyclone, opening the doors to the Budōkan a little past 3 p.m. But what’s this? The rehearsal was already over. Normally, at this time they would be right in the middle of it. What had caused this unusual progression?
As I stared up at the nearly empty stage, the keyboardist Igao passed by, so I asked him how things had gone.
“We moved quickly today. We only rehearsed ‘Lu:na’ and ‘Fragrance,’ and it was like that was good enough. Now there’s so much time until the show, I don’t know what to do. Ahaha…”
There suddenly came the sound of a downpour. But of course, it wasn’t the rain outside, it was the water screen.
“We souped up the system today,” Mr. Asano beamed.
I looked closely and noticed the volume of water had been increased, producing a crisper image on the screen. Just what you’d expect from Gackt’s staff. Every day they relentlessly pursue the next stage of the show’s evolution.
“It’s powerful, but still unstable. During set-up yesterday, a pipe burst and soaked the floor. We’re in Apology Mode! Hahahaha!”
Mr. Asano seemed so cool being able to laugh it off, it actually gave me chills. (LOL)
While the water screen check continued, by some coincidence, the torrential rain outside suddenly stopped. It would soon be showtime.
“It’s our third day at the Budōkan, so I think all of you understand the energy here and how to see it, but don’t let that make you take it lightly… Let’s do this!”
Each venue’s stage and audience seats give off a certain energy, but the energy gathered in the Budōkan was, apparently, unique. With its circular interior construction, it seemed wide, but the seats were close; the way energy gathered within it differed from that of sports venues with rectangular shapes. This is something that only people who stand onstage can pick up on. But the bigger the venue gets, the greater the volume of energy released from the stage. That always puts a burden on Gackt. I saw everyone off while praying that they wouldn’t waver before this peculiar energy, getting through the show without a hitch. As it turned out, at least in my opinion, it was the best show of Jōgen no Tsuki thus far.
The band let loose from the first song. Their confidence was clearly backed by the experience of the previous shows, which had become their very flesh and blood. The somersaults in “Lu:na” were their best yet. The forward roll which was inserted to lessen the impact of the landing was well executed.
The relaxed singing of “Rain,” which had come to serve as a barometer for the state of Gackt’s throat, gave everyone all of the feels.1 His movements were also good. The show continued with the same tension, and despite the incredibly long talk portion in the middle, it maintained its high level. The fact that the audience’s final round of applause was the most intense of the tour so far also demonstrated what a wonderful show it had been.
“Wasn’t that great?! Though the stage was way too hot, ahaha!” Chachamaru uncharacteristically blurted out after the performance. Everyone was dripping sweat, but I could see the look of satisfaction on all of their faces. It was a spectacular “first day.”
I felt satisfied on the way home, fully confident that tomorrow’s show would come out with the same power. Although, the turbulent skies robbed me of the privilege of seeing the moon…
June 1, 2003 Nippon Budōkan (Fourth Day)
The approximately two-week period from the new moon to the full moon corresponds to the waxing moon (jōgen no tsuki). This exists in total opposition to kagen no tsuki, the waning moon, the two-week period from the full moon to the new moon. The effects of these periods on the human body are also opposites. In contrast to the purification the waning moon brings about, the period of the waxing moon is a time of stocking up, of absorbing that which will become energy.
Gackt and company, having absorbed the power audiences gave them, reflected on their past selves and atoned, had gained a new energy. Had yesterday been the climax of that? It’s said that the waxing moon’s effects strengthen as it gets closer to becoming a full moon.
Thinking back on last night’s incredible show, as I hurried to the Budōkan, I muttered to myself, “It’d be too much if there were a full moon tonight, huh? Ahaha…” But the cloudy skies above had unleashed their great store of raindrops, making it impossible to see the state of the moon.
Today’s performance would be the fourth at the Budōkan. Doors were to open at four p.m., with the show starting at five. Because of that, they ran through today’s rehearsal even faster than yesterday’s, wrapping up a little bit past three. Gackt came down from the stage, and seemed to be having a serious discussion with Mr. Asano. Perhaps he’d come up with a new staging plan?
Though the band members had returned to the dressing room, Gackt alone went back onstage to loosen up. I took the opportunity to speak with him.
“Yesterday’s show was incredible!”
“Oh? I’m glad I could ‘play catch’ with even the people in the back, but…my body’s taking a beating. After the show, I really couldn’t stand up. It’s rare for it to get to that point. ……There’s still time before the show, right? I’m gonna practice acrobatics just a little bit more.”
Gackt just had to inject his injured body with some fighting spirit. He gritted his teeth as he continued to fly through the air practicing his round off jumps. Although yesterday’s acrobatics had been executed well, it was like Gackt not to be satisfied with that.
In the dressing room were the band members and the dancers, who, like Gackt, were bursting with fighting spirit. While icing his left arm, EGA was talking about the subtle changes he’d made to the dance for “Fragrance.” The warriors’ excitement was growing as the battle drew near.
“Alright! It’s the fourth day in Tokyo! No regrets! LET’S DO THIS!”
Centered around an unusually over-the-top Gackt, the band had its huddle, then dispersed to the stage.
The humidity outdoors entered the venue along with the audience, so the mugginess up on stage was worse than yesterday’s. However, they already knew all about fighting the heat. Their performance had also become stronger than yesterday’s. With a truly wonderful flow, they jumped into “Tsuki no Uta.”
What’s this? Yesterday, Kanata had remained seated as Gackt embraced him, but today, before the last refrain, they were both standing. Maybe I was getting confused, but these were clearly different movements from yesterday’s. Was it ad libbed? Or had Gackt given some small signal? Whichever it was, just as Gackt had said, Little Kanata’s movements were pure genius.
There were fewer dry eyes in the audience today. This moving show carried the same awesomeness of yesterday’s concert through to the end. Given that it was the same venue it would be an exaggeration to say that this too was the best show of the tour, but it would be absolutely accurate to say that the results were in no way inferior.
“There’s something I wanna change at the next rehearsal…” YOSH said while wiping away sweat. They’d begun a meeting in the dressing room. I left the Budōkan in sheer awe, overwhelmed by the fact they were still not completely satisfied with their performance.
When I got home, I pulled the photo collection For Dears, published in 2000 for the MARS ~Sora Kara no Hōmonsha~ tour, down from my bookshelf. I’d noticed they were selling it near the entrance of the Budōkan before the show, and got a strong urge to look through it myself. It was a book that held many memories for me.
When I opened the cherished tome, I saw many scenes that remained unchanged from what I had witnessed earlier tonight. The major difference was how young Gackt and the members were. Of course it’s a given that the days and months will pass, yet a sigh escaped my lips as I felt the passage of time in my bones.
But please, don’t misunderstand me. This sigh was a positive one. They had grown strong; their faces reflected not only their years of experience, but also their evolution into artists with warrior hearts.
[Continued in Chapter 6, Part 6]
1. The Japanese literally says ありったけの想いを感じさせる meaning “makes one feel all thoughts/feelings.” On the one hand, Hirose didn’t write in Japanese netspeak, so I suppose I shouldn’t write in netspeak either. On the other…these words are closer to the Japanese words, and perhaps because I’ve spent too much time on the internet, phrases like “filled with deep emotion” sound hollow and disconnected from the fan experience. ^_^; ⤴