Yesterday I had the pleasure of going to the first VISUALIVE in Fukuoka. (The next one won’t be until June.) So here’s a brief report with spoilers, spoilers, and did I mention:
Okay, I figure everyone who doesn’t want spoilers is gone by now. Anywho…
I was in the 22nd row on the first floor which gave me a good view of the stage. I couldn’t see much detail to people’s faces but my eyes aren’t that great even with glasses on, maybe. Before the show starts we’re warned of the possibility of there being an earthquake during the show, and that should that happen, we’re to be careful and follow instructions.
The show started only about five minutes late, which I’ll say counts as on time. The wall at the front of the stage is divided into two parts with semicircular openings in the center so that when closed they form a circle, inside of which is projected a red moon. When the show starts the doors separate, revealing a screen divided into long vertical sections. When the narration is projected onto it, it looks like a letter (the vertical writing in the vertical spaces).
The opening scene of people getting stabbed and shot with arrows and Yoshitsune twitching felt too long. I was like JUST START PLAYING THE MUSIC ALREADY I DON’T CARE ABOUT YOUR HEIKE FANFIC. When it finally does start I’m so surprised by the music switch that “ARROW” hits me like a cannonball. Once the video ended people with light sticks turned them to “white pink” as we’d been instructed to do for the first part of the show. GACKT is in his Maro/Sephiroth clone outfit and throughout the songs does a lot of posing and moving his hands around above his face as if he had spiderwebs caught in them and was trying to look at them and remove them very slowly. The band seemed rooted to their individual spots on stage. It felt a bit too static but I liked the music.
There was another video, so we turned off the light sticks. This one showed Yoshitsune in the outfit from “Sakura, Chiru” going to visit some dude. There’s some dramatic looks exchanged and Yoshitsune gets up and walks past him right as he decides to kneel before him(?). We see Yoshitsune walking away in profile with jump cuts. Thus begins the second part of the show. The light sticks say to turn them to green but everyone turns them red so I follow suit. Here we have “ZAN” (it was funny seeing GACKT trying to headbang in that outfit, especially because of the eboshi [the tall black hat]; he couldn’t go down all the way [I suppose because of the hat] so it looked more like upper body twitching than head banging) and the awesome “Kugutsu ga Gotoku”.
After this point my memory’s a bit iffy as far as what came when. I think it was at this point that Yuki Kimisawa appeared onstage in blue jeans and a jacket with no shirt underneath. He introduces himself and jokes that he could tell he wasn’t the one we wanted to see, but that that’s okay because he could tell how much love we have for his big brother. He goes on to talk about how GACKT had been ranked #1 in a survey of “Artists who seem like they’re fictional characters but are actually real.” Then he listed the top three reasons why he seems that way according to the survey. The first one was “He seems like he would live in a castle.” Yuki read it and immediately followed with “But he DOES! He’s got this crazy house with waterfalls and stuff!” The second one was “He seems like he would go around riding a white horse”, and Yuki energetically says “But he DOES ride a white horse! He owns a horse even though it’s not necessary to ride a horse!!” The third one was “He doesn’t seem human,” and Yuki shouts, “He’s not! He’s not human! He doesn’t sleep, he doesn’t eat, he doesn’t poop! He’s a robot! 100% robot!”
After this part he gives us instructions for the choreography for…I think it’s “Koi no Friday”. He says “Women who have light sticks, take one in each hand and do these motions. For those women who don’t have them, you can just use your hands. Men who have light sticks can use them, and men who don’t can just use their own stick.” Which gets a laugh out of the audience. He then tells us that when GACKT says some particular thing that we’re gonna repeat a word three times. The first one is “Koi,” which we’re to say by making a “come here” gesture with the light stick so I’m thinking it’s just the imperative form of “to come.” The second word is “yoi,” said with a gesture like drinking from a cup so I assume it’s the “yoi” for “drunk”. The third one is “pai”, said while thrusting the light sticks away from one’s chest, so I figure it’s from “oppai” which means “boobs.” Then he tells us that we won’t need to use this until (the third song from now?)…I didn’t catch it. He tells us to set our sticks to rainbow mode for the third part (it says the third part is meant to be blue on the sticks…oh, it just now occurs to me that maybe they changed it after they had the light sticks made) and walks offstage.
I think next was the part with the dancers in just their jeans and jackets, and GACKT shirtless. I was concentrating so hard on the drum game during “WooHa Baby!” that I forgot to ogle the dancers properly. I couldn’t keep up with the game anyway so gave up for the last verse.
I think that next “Mirror” started. There’s the usual call & response section of “yeeow!” and the “tadaima/okaeri” game (during which he scolded the people on the second floor for not mirroring his direction, I guess; we on the first floor “nailed it” mwahaha) before going into his talk portion (“MC”)…
Okay, wait, I really don’t know what order things happened in at this point. So let me just make bullet points of everything. This is NOT a chronological list.
- There was a video from Yoshitsune Hiden where GACKT and (the woman playing a male character???) kiss, but then a bright green “PAUSE” comes onscreen and we see that it’s Seito Kaicho showing the Camui Gakuen students a video. He says a bunch of stuff I don’t remember, and it turns into them “training” to be ikemen by going on this obstacle course thingy. GACKT takes two tries to do the thing and in the end gives himself 24,000,000 points for his efforts (in contrast Val ended up with -2600).
- GACKT came out to throw water into the audience. He threw the last pair of bottles super far (the one on the right side—the Chacha side—he threw up to second floor balcony but they couldn’t catch it and it fell to a woman on the first floor, I couldn’t tell where the one on the left side went. There was also someone in the front row that was apparently trying to get too close when begging for one of GACKT’s straws so he playfully stepped away and quickly handed them the straw instead of letting them take it from his mouth.
- He made the usual joke about being too old to do this stuff. He said, “I’m not good at acting cool,” to which some people responded with a sarcastically surprised “Ehhhh?” and GACKT pretended to beat them up with his microphone. He went on to say, “No, really. Like, just now I had wind blowing on me, right? That doesn’t usually happen. There isn’t wind going around making me look cool.” Then he says the same line about “I’m really, really not good at acting cool,” the audience responds the same way, GACKT air-flogs them again. So he says, “No, really. Like, I was standing around posing like *does Maro’s pose, a leg up bent at the knee, arms out bent at the elbows* with those crazy long nails, and I’m thinking, ‘If your nails get that long CUT THEM!'”
- He also made fun of how he used to have to flick his head to get his hair out of his eyes, and that now he’ll sometimes try to get this hair out of his eyes smoothly with one finger even though he keeps it short.
- GACKT apologized for coming out onstage without his cat ears. So he looks offstage and asks for someone to bring them to him. A while passes…and GACKT says to the audience, “It’s taking so long because they’re back there fighting over who has to come out here, like ‘No, I don’t wanna!'” Finally someone from the crew comes and gives him some cat ears. GACKT makes the same gag about being too old to wear cat ears, the audience starts yelling that he’s cute. He says, “No, imagine a 43 year old man walking into a convenience store and saying ‘I’d like to buy these [cat ears]’, what would you think? Seriously?”
- Somehow at some point of this talk portion…I don’t know what happened, maybe someone in the audience said something? GACKT said, “No, no, I’m not wearing any underwear so I can’t take my pants off.” The audience start egging him on, so he says, “Okay, fine. If all of you take your bottoms off, I’ll do it too. You have to get completely naked on the bottom. Leave your tops on because we’re filming this though.” Then he makes the same joke about “waving [his] own stick” that Yuki had made earlier. And he keeps talking about waving his dick around then suddenly stops himself. He apologizes. “I am so sorry. I got carried away. Everyone who came here with children, please forgive me.” (I happened to see at least 4 children in attendance.)
- GACKT said he had something serious to talk about. He started talking about the earthquakes in Kumamoto. He mentioned that the venue they were supposed to use there for the VISUALIVE had been damaged, and that it would take a year to repair it. So he reached out to his Kyushu people to find another venue, and found one, and are going to do a show in Kagoshima on the 21st (of May?), and that the information would go up on the website that night after the show. (Something to this effect has gone out in the G&LOVERS newsletter.)
- After the talk about the earthquakes, GACKT starts talking about something else, but he suddenly gets caught off by “Miserable.” He turns to look offstage. He seems surprised but I wasn’t sure if he really was. Then the back screen comes on with a message that says “GACKT 17th Anniversary” and something about “always together,” “thank you”. GACKT whipped around to look at it, then the dancers come out with a huge bouquet, and wheel a cake unto the stage. GACKT said he had forgotten about his anniversary, and that he had been confused when the song came on and nobody was playing. He took the bouquet, blew out the candles on the cake, and said something else. Then the dancers were about to leave and he calls after them to take the flowers back. Once they do, GACKT takes a minute before starting to speak again. He said, “Oh, tears came out. But I’m NOT crying!!!” He was clearly moved. He asked, “How many of you have been walking with me from the beginning? For 17 years?” A surprising (to me) number of people raised their light sticks. I think GACKT said in response to that that that was an entire lifetime. [Three that’s in a row, isn’t my writing grand? ^o^ Also please excuse my rampant tense switching. I’m in a hurry.]
- The band members are announced by someone speaking entirely in English. Each member gets a little hyped up intro, but when it’s GACKT’s turn, the announcer asked, “Do you want him?!” I wasn’t sure if we were supposed to answer, but…the announcer paused. For a few seconds. As if waiting for a response, but not a single person in the audience said anything. So he asked the question again and I yelled “YEEEES!” in hopes the others would get it, but they didn’t. orz Japan English Education FAIL
- The audience chose YOU to do the microphone-less yelling into the audience bit, but then GACKT did it too (but he keeps the mike in his hand, he just holds it far away).
- Finally when it’s time for “Koi no Friday” I realize that there are some homophone jokes in play with the three word things. “Koi koi koi” comes up on the screen, but each “koi” is a different word/character. First is 来い (“Come!”), 恋 (love), and I can’t remember what the last one was but maybe it was 鯉 (koi fish; carp). “Yoi yoi yoi” turns out to be…can’t remember the first one (maybe 良い meaning good?) but the second two were 酔い (drunk) and 宵 (night). “Pai pai pai” turns out to be パイ (boobs), 敗 (lose), π (3.1415). Yes, boobs, puns, and math all in one. But the second (third?) time this refrain is repeated, for “Pai pai pai” instead of パイ 敗 π there are pictures of boobs with Gakucchi heads covering the nipples.
- There was a video clip consisting of scenes from Moon Child, followed by scenes from the Diabolos tour, and then the “ARROW” music video. Moon Saga in reverse chronological order, basically.
- The very last bit of show begins with a video clip of Yoshitsune sitting by this stone admiring the beautiful moon. There are some flower petals fluttering by but I think they’re supposed to be peach blossoms given that one by one, the cast of the MOON SAGA plays show up and say stuff to him, and end with them all reciting the Oath of the Peach Garden (also heard in the spoken part of ARROW which I think says “warera umareta hi toki wa chigau to mo warera onaji hi ni shinu koto o negau” meaning “Even though we were born at different times we will wish to die on the same day”), with some variation such as “If we couldn’t have been born on the same day, then we’ll at least die on the same day.” Yoshitsune starts falling asleep, and they start calling his name. But then the scene changes and we see that that whole exchange was a dream(?) of the dying Yoshitsune, who’s last words as he sits by the stone with arrows sticking out of his body are “Kireina tsuki da na…” (“What a beautiful moon…”). At this point the screen parts, the intro to “Setsugekka” plays, and we see Yoshitsune sitting in a chair with arrows in him singing. The band members are wearing the Heian Era robes and some sort of masks, I couldn’t tell what of but from my vantage point it looked kinda creepy. They had on long white wigs too.
- After that, the credits roll.
That’s pretty much it. This whole thing came in at just under four hours. It was a pretty good show. It felt a bit slower paced given all the breaks, but…if that’s what GACKT needs to do to put on the show then okay.