I ended up in Sapporo by myself after being unable to sell my second ticket. Considering I went to the first show with The Most Adorkable Human Being in the World this show felt lonely for me even though on a technical aspect it was probably better. The sound in the Nitori Bunka Center was superb, far better than that at the Fukuoka Sun Palace. Don’t know whether that was due to better acoustics in the building; a better sound system; immediate previous experience in the hall for the sound team with this being the second Sapporo show; something else entirely; or a combination of all of those things. This time I could feel the music pounding in my sternum; anything that doesn’t produce that sensation isn’t loud enough. I even had a little bit of ear ringing this time. (I’ve probably been killing my hearing with loud music, ahaha…)
The first thing that I noticed was different was that the text of the Oath of the Peach Garden now comes up on the screen, using the classical spelling(?) 違えど instead of 違うとも which is what I’ve been hearing GACKT say in the recorded version of “ARROW”. When I first heard the spoken part as warera umareta hi toki wa chigau to /mo warera onaji hi ni shinu koto wo negau I Googled it like that and came across the phrase spelled with chigaedo not chigau to mo, but I thought maybe GACKT was keeping things modern. Now I’m not entirely sure which one he’s saying. Also the last spoken part comes up as またきっと出逢えるさ (mata kitto dearu sa “Hey, we’re sure to meet again”).
For the Fukuoka show I forgot to mention how beautiful the little 1-minute interlude after “ZAN” that has this music box music is, but today I noticed it anew. Not just because I was hearing it again, but also because I was closer this time (13th row) so I could actually see the dry ice smoke making curlicues about GACKT in his Heian Era robes. Why is this song not on the album?! Well, I’m assuming it’s not. I had preordered the limited edition of LAST MOON from the GACKT Store Global but then they pushed back the release date so the album is waiting for me in the States while I’m here in Japan. orz But I digress.
I think I remember the order of things now. It’s:
- Intro video with flower, narration, and lots of people getting killed
- GACKT singing as Maro (the eyebrowless Sephiroth clone); the songs are ARROW, Hana mo Chiyu, Returner ~Yami no Shuuen~, RIDE OR DIE, and Akatsukizukiyo
- Video that takes place nine years before [the first section, I assume] of Heian Era Robes Yoshitsune walking somewhere, this one dude freaking out about it, then running on ahead to tell this other dude that Yoshitsune’s coming, and when the other dude hears it he gets this “OH SHIT” look on his face and drops his sake saucer, but then when the three meet with Yoshitsune everything seems cool, until Other Dude asks Yoshitsune “What’s behind you isn’t human, right?” and Yoshitsune answers something I don’t understand.
- GACKT singing as Heian Era Robes Yoshitsune; songs are Utakata no Yume, ZAN, some short song that ends with yume no naka no boku wa tada anata wo mitsumeteita (IIRC, which means “Inside the dream, I was just staring at you”), Kugutsu ga Gotoku
- Video from the second Moon Saga play(?) where Yoshitsune kisses Nori but then Nori dies and Yoshitsune gets sucked up into a vortex or something but then we see that it’s a video that Seito Kaicho is showing the students of Kamui Gakuen’s Ikemen Kenkyubu (Ikemen Study Club).
- In this video, what the boys are to learn from Yoshitsune Hiden is about one on one fighting. They invite some women sempai to participate. I assume they’re real athletes, but I didn’t recognize any of them. There’s a kickboxer, a wrestler (Rina was her name I think), and a dominatrix (They said “the SM Club” LOL). Since they might end up fighting women, the guys have to fight with their hands tied behind their backs. First, the dancer Madoka goes up against…I can’t remember, one of the guys. Was it Val maybe? One pushes the other out of the sumo ring very easily, and gets -240 points while the loser got -2,400,000 or something like that from Seito Kaicho. Next, Sato takes on Rina. She knocks him down easily enough but then when she’s trying to prep a pile driver (I assume) he grabs hold of her right leg. Eventually she pins him down for long enough, and just for show, at the end she picks him up and tosses him out of the ring. Last, Seito Kaicho is to fight…Hiro from the Sumo Club. I think he’s a real sumo wrestler. But then a message came up on screen that said “To be continued in Saitama” and the audience groans/whines.
- Next is the band introduction done by the unseen English speaker. I noticed that YOU signaled the audience when the “Do you want him?” question came, so everybody said Woooo this time. (Well, not that I can know for sure that YOU didn’t do this at the Fukuoka show, since I was on the Chacha side that time.)
- Then I think One More Kiss is next? But then when does the tossing water into the audience thing happen? Guess I can’t remember after all. LOL But some guy on the 2nd floor leaned way over and down to catch the water bottle GACKT had thrown in that direction. I thought he was gonna fall! His buddy actually had to pull him back up, that’s how far down he leaned over. Not worth risking your life for dude!
- The survey Yuki talked about this time was “The top 3 artists who are probably narcissists”. I didn’t recognize the name of the top one, but 2nd was Takuya KIMURA and 3rd was GACKT. Yuki said that GACKT isn’t a narcissist. He is so not a narcissist that he doesn’t even know what the word means. The reasons people thought so were…I can’t remember, but one of them was “They seem like they always have a spotlight one them,” and Yuki said, “He does! He does always have a spotlight on him! He’s always saying, ‘My future’s so bright I can’t see it’, right? That’s because of the lights shining in his face! If it weren’t for that, he’d be able to see it!” The other one may have been “They seem like they always walk around naked” because Yuki said something about the only person who should be walking around naked as often as GACKT does is Yoshiki (from X Japan). Oh, there was also something about showering too much.
- The call & response part in Mirror didn’t last for nearly as long as it had in Fukuoka, I think. But the Hokkaido audience was much more unified. Maybe not as loud (at first, I think I riled my section up once I got into it because I am LOUD and can sustain a scream for at least 10 seconds but probably 20 although I don’t know because I’ve never measured it and also the people who notice I’m a foreigner start feeling like their Japanese pride is at stake if they don’t keep up with me—it’s actually kinda annoying because I wish they would just scream because it’s what GACKT wants us to do) but certainly more unified.
- However, GACKT’s talk portion (“MC”) was really long. Really really long. He did some of the usual bits, this time mentioning that the reason he’s calling this the LAST Visualive is that he doesn’t know how long he’ll be able to keep doing this, and that it had taken 7 years between RRI & RRII (he also made fun of the fact that he had called the tour Requiem et Reminiscence as he stumbled over the pronunciation of the second word, eventually calling it just “RR Two” but then he had to clarify that he was saying “RR TWO” not “RR Tour” [in katakana English “Tour” and “two” sound nearly the same]) so therefore if he kept doing this he’d be 50 by the time of the next VISUALIVE. Someone screamed out that that was fine and he said, “No, wouldn’t it be creepy if some 50 year old went like this to you with these long nails?” and he made his little reachy clawy Maro gesture. Then he said, “But it’s not just me. I mean, look at my band.” And the other members come back out on stage and he says “Look at this nice Grandma. She’s 78 years old still playing the guitar. She hit menopause and can still play, isn’t that great?”
- The other interesting thing in his talk portion was about what I assume is Hokkaido dialect. So I didn’t understand all of it. Apparently in Hokkaido (among friends I assume) when making a phone call the person receiving the call picks up and says “Dousha?” (“What’s up?”) and the person who called says “Nanmo” (“Nothing”) or maybe it was “Nanbo” I couldn’t quite tell. Anyway GACKT said that’s strange because if nothing’s up then why did the person call in the first place. He said he really liked it though, and that it was a part of Hokkaido culture that should be preserved. He said that maybe many people won’t understand it, but that if they just think of it as “like that American thing” it would make sense. So he says, “Dousha?” while making a weak rapper-esque gesture, and answers himself “Nanmo” while gesturing with the other arm. He said, “See? Doesn’t it seem American?” and I couldn’t help but say “amerikappokunai wa“ (“no it doesn’t seem American”) but not too loud as this was the dialect part of the show which I thoroughly enjoy when I’m in Fukuoka and I didn’t want to turn it into the GACKT Please Stop Playing To Stereotypes Educational Hour. So the people started saying “Dousha?” to him while trying to mimic the gesture and he told them they were doing it wrong, and I couldn’t help but want to tell him that he’d did it wrong too.
- During the Tadaima/okaeri exchange he kept doing it really fast for the first floor people, so the audience started chanting “Nagai no! Nagai no!” and he said “What the hell is up with that call? You want a long one? Sapporo is weird!” to which the crowd Woo’ed so he said “I wasn’t complementing you!” So he starts the usual innuendo questions (“You want a long one? Here? Right now?”) followed by the usual feigned innocence when he points to some member of the audience and says “You’re grinning too much. That face is creepy.” Then he says “Okay, fine, I’ll give you a long one. [Mine is] pretty long after all.” So he goes OkaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaAAAAaaaaAAAAaaaaAAAeriiii! and we go TadaaaaaaaaaaaaaaAAAAaaaaAAAaaaimaaa!
- For the microphone-less shouting, the audience apparently voted for Chacha. I was yelling for Sato since he’s from Hokkaido and I figured many people would want to see him do it. Well, maybe he did it for the Friday show. I couldn’t understand most of what he said, only that he ended the sentence with “chinchin” (“dick”) and GACKT said “Hey, hey, can you really have people screaming ‘dick’? How old are you?” and Chacha apologizes. So he starts yelling something else and that also ends with chinchin, and eventually it just turns into chanting, “Chinchin, chinchin, chinchin!” orz
- GACKT’s microphone-less yelling consisted of, “SAPPORO! Every time I come here, you’re so weird! But I love you for it!” and the crowd woo’d a lot.
- I think the rest of the show was as it had been in Fukuoka.
The only other thing that happened that I thought was kinda funny was that the woman next to me, after the first long GAKUTOOOOOO! yell that I let out, turned to me and said, “Batchiri!” (“Spot on!”) and made the OK finger gesture. I just laughed, but I thought it was funny because from the way she had been reacting to everything it was clear she hadn’t seen the VISUALIVE yet and I suspected she had never been to a GACKT show period because she reacted with anticipation and surprise even to the bits he’s been doing for years. GACKT actually said in his talk portion something about “I think a lot of people got dragged out to see this so it’s their first time seeing me” and she woo’ed and said she was a first timer so then I really thought it was funny that she’d basically said “Good job!” to me (in a slightly condescending way) when this is my…10th GACKT concert I think? Counting YFC & Gakuensai shows. If not the 10th then the 9th. I can’t remember if I saw YFC once or twice their first year but I definitely saw them twice their second year.
Another thing was slightly before the show. I’d been walking up and down this street in search of the ramen restaurant the hotel clerk had recommended when I said I wanted to eat Hokkaido’s famous miso ramen, but I couldn’t find it. So I just went into this tiny ramen shop, and all the customers at the counter (all men) turned to look at me and gasped. The owner told me, kinda standoffishly in English, to buy a ticket from the machine. I say “hai” and buy one for miso ramen. The men next to me restart their conversation, and they’re talking about sex, and something about how much women do or don’t want it, and I couldn’t help but think they were assuming I couldn’t understand Japanese because they were making no effort to keep their voices down. When the owner hands me my ramen he asks me, “Do you speak Japanese?” I said “Yes.” and he says “Why?” So I switch over to Japanese to tell him that I studied it in college and lived in Fukuoka for four years, that this year I came to see a concert, GACKT specifically, he tells me he likes GACKT too, that he’s a good singer. During this conversation the three or four male customers had piped down some, and then they all left. Maybe they felt awkward upon realizing I’d understood their conversation. Once I finished my ramen and was leaving he told me again to enjoy the show, and he seemed completely genuine. So at the show, when at the beginning I wasn’t really into it because I was sad about not having the one I wanted to see this show with with me, I thought of the ramen-ya-san and told myself to try to enjoy it. Ahaha…
Alright, I have three Mount Everests and a Mount Fuji of work piled up because I’ve been playing while I was supposed to be working (I’m not really on vacation, it’s more like I just happen to be in Japan but I still have work to do) so after this one mission to the KitKat Chocolatory I have to get to it! I’m not even gonna proofread this concert report! POST!