It was a live to remember. Although it is not the end of the GazettE’s current project, “LIVE TOUR 15-16 DOGMATIC-FINAL-BLACKEST NIGHT―SHIKKOKU―”, held on the 28th of February at Yoyogi National Gymnasium, was their final live for the Japan leg of the tour before embarking on their long-awaited world tour. The tour showcased their new album release “DOGMA”, and in the second leg they also included songs from “UGLY”.
The initial plan was to have the performance start at 5:30pm. However, it took longer than expected for the fans—particularly premium ticket holders—to be seated. Nonetheless, it didn’t affect the atmosphere whatsoever, as the stadium filled with a sea of black (with a few specks of colour here and there) and fans took their designated seats.
Fans eagerly anticipated their entry while clapping their hands slowly. The lights dimmed and video played in the background, creating a dramatic atmosphere.
What happened next stunned the whole crowd. The members ascended onto small stages from different points of the stadium, with KAI being the sole member on stage, and his drum kit was also raised rather high.
Each member was still in their respective position of the stage, with REITA on left near the stage and AOI towards the back of the arena. RUKI was facing opposite AOI, on the right side towards the back of the arena while URUHA played opposite from the bassist. The red lights shining around the stadium reflected the feelings of the band and audience well, signifying both love and passion all at once. Screams of joy filled the vicinity as they performed DOGMA in separate areas. On the screen behind KAI was a projection of a church, adding to the atmosphere. Once the song ended, the four members slowly descended beneath their respective stages once again as the stadium was echoing with the madness and excitement of fans. From the very first moment, the band had gone over and beyond all expectations.
Energy started to rise even more as all the members joined their drummer on main stage and played “RAGE”, “DAWN” and “SLUDGY CULT”. They surprised their fans further as fireworks were set off, creating more excitement. The enthusiasm between fans and the band pushed each other further. With the heavy drumming, guitar riffs and resounding bass, along with powerful vocals, the stage became a platform with immeasurable intensity. The footage in the background, filled with various religious connotations, seasoned the performance with a profound feeling, as if there was more to the songs than what was originally presented.
More than just instruments and performance, Gazette are able to utilise every part of their stage to maximize their presentation. Lyrics, (particularly their English lines), were displayed on the large screen behind the band during various songs. Although it was a very simple idea, it added to the atmosphere and undoubtedly also helped fans to sing along. There was also a stunning choice of visuals, including fireworks and fire, along with well executed use of smoke machines to create a very dark and mysterious vibe. This was especially prominent within their ballads.
KAI’s solo introduction into GODDESS was particularly outstanding, allowing the drummer to truly showcase his skill in a very emotional, yet refined style of playing. Throughout the stadium, his playing reverberated into the hearts of the fans, as they listened intently and felt each beat within their bodies.
The song itself is deeply emotional, from lyrics to execution. RUKI’s singing was astounding, and it was clear from his demeanour that he also lost himself in the moment. The guitars strummed the heart-strings of the crowd, while REITA’s bass resounded with everyone’s heartbeat.
After a moving and emotional performance, the band surprised the fans during WASTELAND as fire illuminated the stage, creating a new sense of excitement throughout the crowd. They built up the momentum once again, powering through PARALYSIS, LUCY, INCUBUS and UGLY.
As they drew closer to the end of their main set, they kept the energy well-paced with BLEMISH and DEUX. OMINOUS served as a great prologue to the introduction of their new song, UNDYING.
Their headlining song to their new single has a soothing flow. It both has hard and soft elements, fusing together the ideas of a heavier song with the feel of a ballad. It starts off with a mysterious vibe, similar to OMINOUS, but then breaks into screams from RUKI, leading into a more metal feel. The song contrasts two styles while blending them together. We expect nothing less from such a high calibre band.
After the members left the stage, the fans diligently and enthusiastically called for an encore. Despite their physical fatigue, they pushed through until KAI returned to the stage, where he gave a display of love through his MC.
The encore started with INSIDE BEAST. The PV played in the background and the entire venue happily grooved along to its catchy beat. As it reached the chorus, the fans jumped along with joy. The song was followed up by VERMIN, before RUKI taking a break with the MC and mentioning the band’s gratefulness and how it had been eight years since their last live in Yoyogi National Gymnasium.
They continued with the rest of the encore. COCKROACH, ATTITUDE and TOMORROW NEVER DIES were a great combination, keeping spirits high while also cooling down the audience slowly.
As the members took leave from the stage once again, fans refused to believe that it was over and screamed for another encore. They exhausted the last of their efforts into their screams to lure the band back onto the stage once again.
Thankfully, their efforts were rewarded as the members made their way back on stage and RUKI proceeded to show his heartfelt gratitude for the tour before announcing to the audience that they still had a little more left in store for them.
As a treat for the fans, they played some old songs from their early days as a band. First was Withered Song (枯詩), followed by The Time of Spring Snow (春雪の頃), and finally, LINDA～candydive Pinky heaven～. There were happy tears amongst the audience, warming their hearts with nostalgia as the classic the GazettE songs were performed before them.
When the songs came to an end, RUKI called out to every area of the stadium before announcing that the members would also give a few words of thanks to everyone. AOI showed his love by saying that the tour was amazing until the very end. REITA opened his heart by saying that it would be a little lonely after the tour, but for everyone to keep doing their best. The mic was passed to the drummer, and KAI commented on how everyone looked so happy from enjoying themselves. Lastly, URUHA was given his turn and he shared that he felt a little strange since he didn’t feel much nervousness this time around, which made the crowd laugh, showing affection for the guitarist.
To end things in true loving spirit, the band and all of the audience joined hands and jumped together to close the tour. Once the GazettE had left the stage, the arena was still darkened and a video on the screen started to play. Announcements started to play on the screen, informing that the 10th Movement would be a DVD release of the live. However, it was the 11th Movement that truly made the hearts of all the fans go into overdrive. First, it was announced that the GazettE would hold a standing live tour in July and August. It has been years since the band has played in his fashion, so the fans were overjoyed. But, there was more. For the fans who had purchased the limited edition of DOGMA and traded in their golden ticket, they would be able to enter the lottery for the Grand Finale on September the 27th, which would be a free live.
This is truly a large gesture of love from the band to their fans which is to be respected greatly. It has been clear that the GazettE have been rising in their career and are constantly reaching new heights, so it’s beautiful to see them give something back to their fans who have supported them until this point. These men are pioneers not only in the visual scene, but also in the world of music.
the Gazette, who are now entering their 14th year as a band, are steadily rising to new heights and breaking traditional expectations. We look forward to seeing where they will lead us to next.
- SLUDGY CULT
- VENOMOUS SPIDER’S WEB
- INSIDE BEAST
- TOMORROW NEVER ENDS
- Withered Song (枯詩)
- The Time of Spring Snow (春雪の頃)
- LINDA～candydive Pinky heaven～