At this point, it’s been 20 years, but it was only 4 years at the time this part of The Air Moon was written. It makes me realize how raw the feelings still must have been.
For any new readers, here is the Table of Contents.
June 22, 2003 Makomanai Ice Arena
Gackt, who had arrived in Sapporo the previous day to get ready for the show, entered the venue at noon with a refreshing Hokkaido wind at his back.
The stretching routine before rehearsals that was meant to soothe his battered body had been refined to be the best it could be. Today, too, he went through it with the utmost care. Even after going up on stage, he continued to loosen up between flips.
Once rehearsals started, the choreography for “Lu:na” and “Fragrance” was a little off. Perhaps that was to be expected considering the nearly 10-day gap in the tour. Gackt’s tone as he yelled out instructions from the seats gradually became heated as well, but soon enough the dancers regained the same energy they’d had at Osaka-jō Hall. It was completely as if every single motion had been carved into the core of their being. It was the same for the band members; they proceeded through the rehearsal with big movements as usual, bringing it to a close.
After the rehearsal, Gackt took a liking to the curry that had been prepared for the staff, and went back for more—minus the rice—multiple times. The homemade taste was so popular that the dancers and band members, totally ignoring the Chinese food set out for them, also turned their undivided attention to the curry. Would today see an explosion of Curry Power?
On a side note, since today is June 22nd, the day before would be…?
Yes, it was the day that the drummer Kami, Gackt’s friend & fellow band member from his Malice Mizer days, suddenly passed away. Gackt’s talk before the pre-show huddle was heart-wrenching.
“It’s the end of the main part of Jōgen no Tsuki, huh? I think everyone must be feeling all kinds of things having come this far… Yesterday was the anniversary of Kami’s death. I was thinking, ‘Maybe he would’ve liked to be here,’ but then it hit me: everyone was here. I’m positive he wanted to be standing here now too. But he’s watching, so I think he is standing here. Today, there’s gonna be one more person onstage…. Thanks for everything so far, you guys… Let’s do this!”
Usually, I run back out to the audience area as the band members finish their huddle then head for the stage. But tears were welling up in my eyes. I couldn’t help it. As Gackt stood there, as if piercing some prey with his steady gaze, I put out my hand and said voicelessly, “Do it for Kami…” He shook my hand without saying a word, but there was great strength in his grip.
There were some worries over how low the ceiling in this venue was, but there were no problems with the well-tuned sound and lighting. The wonderful performance onstage continued without a hitch. It was a strong show full of confidence on par with the one at Osaka-jō Hall, with no particular flaws to be found.
Did this mean Kami had been up there on the stage after all?
During the talk portion, Gackt had been making some Hokkaido jokes, but then, as if urged on by something, he added something else.
“I wasn’t sure whether I should say this or not, but…even while singing, I got this feeling like someone else was here, so I was remembering all these things…”
Jōgen no Tsuki falls under the umbrella of the larger tale of MOON, with one of its themes being confronting your past self and atoning for your sins. So it’s understandable that Gackt would end up talking about this… It’s something I want to make a special note of. After all, the talk portion continued on for half an hour.
“There were fun times, but also times when we argued and came to blows. Before I knew it, we’d all gotten separated, and I was all alone. But after a little while, I was surrounded by some wonderful friends, wonderful friends who I could call family, and I got the feeling that surely, he must have returned to the stage, too. I think all of you can feel that this show is different from the others. That all of you and I met was like grasping the stars in the sky, so I don’t think the same friends will ever be together again, but I think that from this point can be born new possibilities… Tonight, we fly!”
Bringing the long talk portion to a conclusion, the band powerfully jumped back into their performance. They couldn’t just stand around teary-eyed forever.
Friends, family, people who are dear to you, these meetings don’t happen twice. Carrying these precious human experiences, Jōgen no Tsuki melted into the Hokkaido night.
After the show, there was a sense of relief at the dinner table from knowing that only Yokohama Arena remained. Gackt was unusually energetic.
The next day, after returning to Tokyo, Gackt went to visit Kami’s grave.
“Apparently lots of fans had gone to see him, so I think he was probably happy…”
So I heard on the 25th, when Gackt called me for my birthday.
Well then, the final chapter at Yokohama Arena was now right before our eyes!
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