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[personal profile] rinlin
I still can't sleep, so I'm going to start playing catch up with my concert reports. First one on the list is Gackt!

It's finally happened. After all these years, I've finally been to a Gackt concert! On July 6th, I met up with Eri to go to Gackt's Best of the Best show at Yokohama Arena. She asked me if I wanted to go with her and got the tickets for us.

Eri and I met up early to get in line and buy goods. Thank god we did because two awesome things happened. First, we didn't have to wait outside for an hour in the godawful heatwave. The second (incredibly more awesome) thing happened after we had just bought our goods. We were about the leave the arena (because the seating area wasn't open yet) when we heard a large commotion by the doors we were headed towards. When we got there, we looked up to see what all the fuss was about. We could see that there were staff members and band members walking along near the glass balcony on the second floor. At first I thought that people were just squealing over GacktJOB members, but then, all of the sudden, Gackt himself appeared near the balcony! He was wearing a tour t-shirt and his sunglasses, and he waved to all of us, as he held his phone up to record us! I don't want to sound like a delusional fangirl (cause I swear I'm not one), but even though he was wearing sunglasses I could swear that Gackt at least looked in my general direction. (Being a foreigner in a crowd of Japanese tends to make me pretty noticable. ^_^;) It was a cool experience and probably the closest I'll ever actually get to Gackt! Eri and I had a hardcore moment of fangirling afterwards lol. And just when I thought my really fangirly Gackt days were over lol.

After that, Eri and I went back towards the station to meet up with her Gackt friends. She knows a bunch of people through a Gackt group that she joined on Mixi. I guess they do things like have monthly meet-ups and meet at lives. Eri introduced me as her senpai from America. All of them were quite nice to me and let me join their little group gathering. We invaded a nearby restaurant and took up half their seating so that we could eat before the concert. We chatted about Gackt while we ate and Eri's friends marvelled over the times when she would speak English with me. Over the course of the meal, more and more people kept joining the group. I was actually surprised by the number of guys that were in the group. I had expected a majority of the group to be made up of girls.

Closer to the time when the arena doors opened, the group met up near the arena for group pictures. Eri, like a majority of the othe fans, was wearing her Gackt cat ears and cat paw. (I opted not to buy them to save money. Besides, how often would I wear them?) There had to have been at least twenty of us in the group and we were able to get some nice shots. They also had a small signboard that we all wrote messages to Gackt on. Then it was given to one of the group members to be put in the gift box for Gackt.

After that, we split up because many of the group members had different seats. Eri and I went to our seats. We were near the back of the arena seating, not terribly close, but the view wasn't horrible. Then, we waited for the show to start.

The lights went down and a short rerospective intro played. It showed old footage of Gackt and then showed the Mild & Wild theme of the current tour. Half of the shows on the tour were "Mild" and half of them were "Wild", each with a different type of setlist. We were lucky enough to be there on a "Wild" night! When the intro ended, Gackt took the stage! He was in a long red jacket, with an oni mask on the shoulder. He also had some kind of ridiculous braided extenions in his hair. (Dear Gackt, what is with you and braided hair extensions? You've had them numerous times throughout your career.) He started with "Doomsday". This kicked off the more theatrical part of the show, with Gackt in his elaborate costume and lots of stage and lighting effects.

We were a little far back, but luckily there was an overhead screen showing close-ups so that we could see Gackt's face. I had a moment where it was hard to believe that I was actually watching Gackt in person. He always seemed somewhat like a mythical figure from my high school days of adoration lol. He is real though and when he performs, his voice sounds exactly like it does on CD. It's pretty awesome.

Gackt played a mix of older and newer songs, I really enjoyed the older songs, but I'll admit that I don't know his songs from the past few years as well. I got excited when he played "Dispar" because I've always liked that song and Gackt and his dancers do some pretty cool dancing. He also sang "Claymore", his newest song.

My favorite part of the first third of the show is when Gackt played "Sayonara". You (one of Gackt's guitarists) started the song with his solo violin playing. He stopped, then the lights lifted a bit to reveal Gackt sitting at a piano in the center of the stage. He played piano and sang and it was beautiful. After a bit You joined in on his violin. It was just a gorgeous song.

Between this and the next part of the show, Gackt and the band left the stage, while a Camui Gakuen video played. In the video, Gackt is the student council president of Camui Gakuen. In it, he's teaching the other band and staff members (who are all dressed as students) how to be cool like him. He then makes them do a couple different tasks to up their coolness level. The first task involved having two of the members walk towards and extremely high powered fan, while Gackt and the rest of the members threw things at them. Then next task involved Gackt having to walk across a balance beam while the other members shot volleyballs at him from there volleyball practice machines. He got hit a couple times, but almost made it to the end of the beam before he fell off. He then complained about how much getting hit with the volleyballs hurt lol.

After that Gackt and the band took the stage again, in more casual outfits, and performed an upbeat set. They played "Mirror" which is one of my all time favorite Gackt songs! I was really happy! Gackt played guitar too and had us sing along. Then, I had almost forgotten about the 10 minute break Gackt takes near the end of the song to yell back and forth with the audience. He would complain that we weren't yelling loud enough and have us yell back even louder. He would yell to us too. I don't know how that man has any voice left at the end of the show lol.

After that, it was time for "U+K", another classic! Just like I'd seen in all of the videos, cat mascots ran out on stage and danced around cutely while Gackt sang. It was silly and adorable.

After this Gackt disappeared from the stage then reappeared wearing his own set of cat ears. He then proceeded to give the longest MC I have ever head at a concert. It was definitely more than half an hour. He started off by chatting a bit about the cat ears and joking around about how he just turned 40, but he was still wearing cat ears. You big dork. Then had had a long period of call and response yelling with the different sections of the audience. He'd yell out "ただい~ま!" and the audience would yell back "お帰~り!". Gackt would tease the audience by purposefully forgetting about the center seating and only coming to them when they waved their cat paws in the air and made a cute fuss about it lol. Then he rambled a bit more and called out the JOB members on stage. This was about the point when I think that them MC actually should have ended. The JOB members are cute, but I did not need to heat them each give a five minute MC/call and response with the auidence. My attention span started wandering a bit, wondering when we were actually going to get back to the music. Gackt, honey, I love you and I enjoy hearing you talk, but when I'm at a concert, I'd like to hear more music than talking.

After that very long interlude, it was on to the rest of the show. This brought us to the parapara portion of the night. It was time for "Koakuma Heaven"! While Gackt sang and danced, a DDR-like video played at the front of the stage, showing us how to follow the dance moves. It was ridiculous, but actually a lot of fun. XD It's the kind of thing were you would have felt stupid if everyone else in the audience hadn't been doing it, too. A similar video played while Gackt sang "情熱のイナズマ" and we all danced along. My favorite part about this section of the concert was seeing Gackt dancing along to the parapara. He's such an adorable dork! He clearly knew the dances well. He also had the hugest smile on his face during all of it, like he was having the time of his life.

Then it was time for "Another World", another classic which Gackt also played the guitar during. He sang "Jesus" and it made me want to headbang. We were so close to almost headbanging, but I don't know how much crossover there still is between Gackt fans and v-kei fans these days. He ended his set with the lovely "君のためにできること".

He said goodbye to us and I thought the concert would be over then, but another video began playing. It showed an image of smoothly rippling water, while Gackt spoke. The screen then lifted to reveal Gackt and his band, clad in Heian era clothing, to perform the last song, "サクラ、散ル". Half way through the song, all of the sudden the stage was filled with people sitting, dressed from head to toe in traditional white outfits and wearing oni masks. Petals began to fall on stage, looking like a mix of snow and sakura. It was quite beautiful. The stage closed and that was the end of the show.

Eri stuck around to meet back up with her friends, but I left as soon as the show ended so that I could get back to April's place on time. The show was fun, but (thanks to Gackt' never-ending MC) it lasted almost three and a half hours. ^_^;

Even if I'm not as big of a Gackt fan as I used to be, it was definitely a fun experience! I'm glad that I've gotten to see him at least once during my stay in Japan, since he was really my introduction to J-rock back in the day. And he does put on a very good show. :)

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rinlin

January 2014

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