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Zeus

Live Report: the GazettE's World Tour "NINTH"

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Setlist:

1. 99.999

2. Falling

3. Ninth Odd Smell

4. Gush

5. Vortex

6. Venomous Spider's Web
-SE-

7. The Mortal

8. その声は脆く

9. DOGMA

-SE-

10. The Suicide Circus

11. Incubus

12. UGLY

13. Two Of a Kind

14. Filth in the Beauty

Encore:

15. INSIDE BEAST

16. COCKROACH

17. TOMORROW NEVER DIES


 

I'm in need of facial reconstructive surgery after this experience, because my jaw was on the floor the entire time.


I have been waiting for years for the GazettE to visit North America on their World Tour. Last time that I remember making plans to go, the band had elected to skip North America, and then the time after that I had prior commitments and couldn't make the show. I was hellbent on making sure I attended this one, and I made sure to bring my friend Jet with me. We were listening to the GazettE in high school during the peak of visual kei, so he's that one friend I can talk to J-Rock about in real life. He's been waiting for this experience as long as I have.

After smashing plates of chicken katsu, bulgogi, and rice, and braving our way across town through weather that threatened to pour (but didn't), the two of us arrived at Playstation Theater and was overwhelmed with the disorganization. There were a lot of fans, many lines for various purposes, and no signs to shepherd people into their place. @YuyoDrift, having bought a VIP ticket, was already in the thick of it by the time that I had arrived, and I was unable to find him. After asking around, we discovered that the line we wanted to be on was down the block and around the corner, and that line itself stretched down the block and around another corner. Organization was easily the weak point of this concert, since it seemed like the staff of the theater hadn't planned on so many people showing up. Joke's on you guys; when a visual kei band shows up in America the scene rolls out!

@YuyoDrift had reported some issues and drama near the front of the line concerning miscommunication between VIP members and heresy fan club members on who got to enter first, but all I can talk about was how the other half of the line was progressively pushed back further and further until we were about a block and a half away. While I was in line, no less than five groups of people came up to me to ask why we were all standing here. One of them offered to sell me weed and some papers. None of them knew who the GazettE were, but a couple seemed more than interested in the colorful garments of some of the more hardcore fans in line.

I need to take a moment to discuss the people that showed up. What a generational gap! There were easily 800 to 1000 people between all of the lines, and this is just what I saw. The youngest fan I saw on line was 12 or 13. The oldest fan I saw on line was in their 40s, and that person didn't look like they were escorting a relative. Some of the older people on line most definitely were parents. The most common age range was actually 18-25. There were people dressed relatively normally like myself, possibly sporting a band shirt or hoodie from a previous tour. There were some scene and emo kids wearing dark pastels and heavy make up. There were some fans who came in sporting colored hair and face paint, really pulling off the visual kei look. The most striking outfit I saw was a man in his 30s wearing a studded vest where the studs were easily several inches long, who came along with an equally as colorful entourage that could have been easily mistaken for Naruto cosplay. The stereotype about the average visual kei fan was thus dispelled and confirmed simultaneously, and I now have a deeper appreciation for just how many different types of fans there are.

I was stuck in line for an agonizingly long time listening to the people around me front their knowledge of the band, which was honestly rather painful. One person claimed that the GazettE formed five years ago, to which Jet and I exchanged glances and laughed really hard. We both were listening to the GazettE ten years ago, so clearly they were mistaken. Another person had asked when the band had actually formed, and it took them several minutes to find out it was 2002. Someone behind me in line claimed that the GazettE were K-Pop. I tried not to talk to many people in line because of this, but when you're outside for 90 minutes it eventually happens. I didn't meet anyone too outrageous and after a long time the line suddenly lurched forward and began feeding into the theater. The doors had opened.
 

Jet and I breezed through security, popped in our earplugs, and made our way downstairs to the venue. The line for merchandise was gigantic by the time we got there, and both of us made the decision to get good seats rather than stand in line. That turned out to be the wise move, because most of the merchandise was gone before the show even began, but not before both of us got a shirt later that night. There was a few cool shirts and hoodies that they ran out of before the show even began. Never underestimate the deep pockets of devoted fans. We were standing towards the middle of the floor at first, but we eventually decided to grab some seats shortly before the show began because we had already been standing for hours by that point. That was also a great idea, because parts of the crowd got really wild and it would have been hard to see over four rows of jumping and screaming fans. The earplugs were also a good move, because this concert was really loud. Limiting the sound to a max of 80 decibels spared my hearing a gory torture session and I was more clearly able to make out the instruments. 

 

Eventually the lights went dim and the crowd went insane as "99.999" started playing and the band members walked out to front stage. They played the first four cuts off of NINTH before the first pause, and I gotta say that hearing it live has made me enjoy these songs even more. I have a new appreciation for Reita and just how much his bass adds to the music. Heavy isn't the word for it; the bass itself sinks into the floor and pounds into your chest. He swapped bass a few times over the course of the concert as well, always slightly changing the feel of his bass depending on what songs were coming up next. "VORTEX" is the first curve ball that the GazettE threw the crowd, and then that was followed up with "Venomous Spider's Web", and I think both songs sound way better live than on the record. They fit naturally into the set and shows how much NINTH is a refinement over TOXIC. I wasn't expecting them to reach that far back. 

One of the standout moments of the show was definitely the combination of "The Mortal" and "その声は脆く". The first cut in really heavy after a second, shorter break and the first live-only interlude, which got the crowd really energized.  "その声は脆く" stole the show. This was the first proper ballad of the show, and the contrast on the guitars really changed the atmosphere of the venue for those few minutes. Ruki went all out on the performance here, adding some emotional screams to the end which made this a treat to experience. This entire show was recorded, so I'm really hoping that this exact performance of  "その声は脆く" ends up on the DVD. It needs to.

After that song was done, the lights fade and sound effects wash over the audience again before the opening riff to "DOGMA" began, and it's at this point where the crowd goes ballistic. No one was expecting this. The energy was insane, but this is one of those songs that I think sounds better in the studio than live. That's not to take away from the performance of this song, which was incredibly stellar, but more to comment on just how dense of a song "DOGMA" is. There was a bit of aural whiplash as the band transitioned into a live-only SE followed by "The Suicide Circus" next, but that set the tone for where the rest of the night was headed. Ruki addresses the crowd briefly before "Incubus" kicks in, followed up quickly by "UGLY". "UGLY" was absolutely dominant and by the end of the song the whole crowd was clapping together as the next song immediately kicked in. "Two of a Kind" was also a really powerful and driving song live, if a bit abbreviated. They went from one song to the next without enough time for the cheering to subside. I think Reita makes one more bass switch before this all begins as well. No matter what, the GazettE made sure those in the front were having the absolute time of their lives.

Ninety minutes had passed in a flash, and all too soon Ruki announced that they were playing their last song before cracking a small smile. The opening licks and background vocals of "Filth in the beauty" start up and then the crowd cheers harder than ever, and then Ruki's smile gets even bigger before he begins singing. This was the second curve ball we were thrown, and I'm really glad I got to hear one of their classics live. At this point, I looked to Jet who was already looking back at me, and he just shot me a huge thumbs up. "Filth in the beauty" was the song that got him into the band, so to end on that note was extra special for us.

The band took a ten minute break at this point and we got merchandise while the crowd was chanting for an encore. We went separately but got the same shirt for $35 (gotta support the boys) and Jet came back just in time for Kai to come back out. He picks up the mic for the first time, entertains the crowd as the rest of the band comes back, and gives the mic to Ruki for a few more words, some "I LOVE NEW YORK!!!", and then the beginning of "INSIDE BEAST" begins. At this point, we were glad they came back out at all and figured that we had one or two more songs left before the true end of the show, but I was seriously not expecting to get "COCKROACH" during the encore. This was the song that separated the old fans from the new fans, because the old fans were over the moon for getting such a throw back, and the new fans looked a bit confused over what song it was, but didn't really care because it banged so hard. This was the oldest song we got all night, and it was equally as compelling live as it is in the studio. I hope future tour dates get a crack at hearing "COCKROACH" live too. The show ended with "TOMORROW NEVER DIES", which was okay I guess, but I would have preferred "Unfinished". 

All good things must come to an end, but in this case that end was also good. All members of the band retired from the stage rather quickly; Kai took a picture with the crowd before departing too. Both of us had a train to catch, so we slipped out fast as hell after the show ended, but I heard afterwards there was a meet and greet for VIP. I wasn't on that line, so I can't report much on that. Considering how we've missed some bands that we'll never get to see live and how infrequently the GazettE are in town, Jet and I are both glad we went. We'll definitely be in line for the next visual kei concert to hit New York. If you're on the fence about buying tickets to go see the band, I would say go. If you have even a passing interest in visual kei, seeing one of the biggest visual kei bands of all time live is something words can only partially describe. If you really like the GazettE, you owe it to yourself to go.

Just keep in mind that they're going to be playing mostly their new material, so don't hold your breath expecting old classics like "Katherine in the trunk" or "Crucify Sorrow" to show up.

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A live report that's 12 paragraphs long and only spends 6 paragraphs on the show. You know you're attending a VK show when food and the pre-show line antics make up a bulk of the review.

Edited by geist
autism

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51 minutes ago, geist said:

A live report that's 12 paragraphs long and only spends 6 paragraphs on the show. You know you're attending a VK show when food and the pre-show line antics make up a bulk of the review.


Something that surprised me about the concert is that it is a lot shorter than I expected. 90 minutes is a generous estimate. I was expecting a 2 hour show honestly. It isn't a stretch to say that those fans who came dressed to slay spent more time on their outfit than they did in the concert hall. I probably spent equal amounts of time in the theater and outside of the theater on line.

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21 minutes ago, Zeus said:

Something that surprised me about the concert is that it is a lot shorter than I expected. 

Tbh it felt short af to me too but then I looked up diru's setlist when I saw them in la years ago and it was the same number of songs so idk maybe it's a normal length 

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50 minutes ago, geist said:

A live report that's 12 paragraphs long and only spends 6 paragraphs on the show. You know you're attending a VK show when food and the pre-show line antics make up a bulk of the review. 

I'm honestly impressed @Zeus spent some time mentioning what it was like in line that evening. It allows those who couldn't attend a vivid picture of what it was like during the chaos haha. The last time they played in NYC it was just as bad, organization wise, but this time there were 2X as many people in attendance so I could only imagine the frustration with the staff at that venue.

 

I was actually staying at a hotel right across the street and so I had time to stalk the line the day of. People were hounding the staff about when the line could get started haha I think it was about 2-3PM before the attendees started gathering like seagulls. It was getting crazy. By 4:30PM just the VIP line had to be split into 2-3 groups, with some of the people in line trying to get a system going so we could go use the restroom/eat and not lose our spots for the next hour or so.

I can't even imagine the line for the general admission....

 

Oh and regarding this:

4 hours ago, Zeus said:

What a generational gap! There were easily 800 to 1000 people between all of the lines, and this is just what I saw. The youngest fan I saw on line was 12 or 13. The oldest fan I saw on line was in their 40s, and that person didn't look like they were escorting a relative. Some of the older people on line most definitely were parents.

Definitely noticed the age gap this time around. It was insane. Youngest fan for me was probably 14/15, with the oldest I saw being like 40.

It was the usual fan base aside from a few parents who had no idea what they were dragged to go watch (some were asking who they were lol).

In a way it was cool to see all these people because sometimes I forget that VK is not the only scene that the GazettE adhere to.

I'll agree that some of the naivety was cringe-worthy haha but no one knows everything, right?

 

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I'll be seeing the band in Santiago, Chile, tonight, so I can maybe share some experiences and see how different or similar it was, but from your description the fanbase seems similar.

Fans here have been camping outside of the venue for as far back as Wednesday. They crazy.

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2 hours ago, Zeus said:


Something that surprised me about the concert is that it is a lot shorter than I expected. 90 minutes is a generous estimate. I was expecting a 2 hour show honestly. It isn't a stretch to say that those fans who came dressed to slay spent more time on their outfit than they did in the concert hall. I probably spent equal amounts of time in the theater and outside of the theater on line.

My thoughts exactly. A very quick show, I guess you could say I was expecting more.

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1 hour ago, Komorebi said:

I'll be seeing the band in Santiago, Chile, tonight, so I can maybe share some experiences and see how different or similar it was, but from your description the fanbase seems similar.

Fans here have been camping outside of the venue for as far back as Wednesday. They crazy.

Here in Brazil we are camping since Tuesday. The concert is on sunday lol

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there was actually a well-organized numbering system that a few fans set up for VIP, not sure about GA. but i went around noon, planning to stay there all day, but i was instead given a number and told that i could go and come back as i pleased. when i came back around 5pm, the people in line let me in without issues when i showed them my number. the staff was something else though. lmao. scary and unprepared, i think. but everything went pretty smoothly despite it!

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It made me really happy to see the wide range of people who were interested in the concert. :) Oh boy about your line experience. I had it pretty easy compared to you! I just had to listen to someone and her friends talk about her boobs and the way her outfit revealed them for an hour or so before the line thankfully shifted her away, lol.

 

So much agreement on the beauty of this show's その声は脆く performance, I was blown away. I am one of those fans who favors the older stuff, mostly for nostalgic reasons, but this concert was absolutely worth it. Could really tell how they were enjoying themselves up there.

5 hours ago, ricchubunny said:

Here in Brazil we are camping since Tuesday. The concert is on sunday lol

Holy smokes!

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Dallas did the numbering system too, which was nice. Were a few people who tried to cut in line though and even threw attitude when they found out it was fans enforcing it and not staff. 

I wish I had gone to New York because the setlist they got was my dream one, but I'm happy with what I got anyway because they threw back with Hyena and I loved that song when I was in High School just because of Reita's bass and it was amazing to hear live. He really is great to watch live.

Lines for GazettE shows are wild though so that's half the experience lmao 

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I will come to write here as soon as i have time, but i wanna ask....... Is Uruha excited like this in every single concert?
Because i swear i never saw this guy like that. He was so excited that he was almost throwing himself at the crowd lol (he actually gave his guitar to the crowd play it hahaha)

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4 minutes ago, ricchubunny said:

I will come to write here as soon as i have time, but i wanna ask....... Is Uruha excited like this in every single concert?
Because i swear i never saw this guy like that. He was so excited that he was almost throwing himself at the crowd lol (he actually gave his guitar to the crowd play it hahaha)


He definitely wasn't as excited as my show, but he did show his side of the stage tons of love! Reita was the show stealer at NYC, going up to the front to play next to Ruki several times. Aoi was the most reserved out of all of the guitarists on stage.

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Despite the show being really good, it did feel very short. Shorter than the last time they were here even. 

 

Also my personal opinion is that it's worth it to do VIP once but $200 for a quick handshake is a bit much. I mean I paid for it mainly to be upfront with my friends but considering how short the set was as well. It was a good show but I'll probably hang in the back the next time. (If I go)

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As mentioned in earlier posts, the fans, not the staff, enforced the numbering and spots. The numbering of VIPs, the creation of separate lines for VIPs and GAs, were all arranged and organized by the fans themselves. In fact, the staff organizers seemed almost nonexistent. There was no line/spots that indicated where people should line up except for a few small metal barricades set up right outside of the livehouse. Also, there was also some odd discrepancies as to what the organizers reportedly said said vs. what actually happened (i.e. apparently the organizers said the meet and greet would happen before the concert even though that clearly didn't happen; they supposedly said fans had to be in line by 4:30pm, but that didn't quite matter since the staff never came outside to do a check) Aside from those oddities, everything went pretty smoothly based on where I was standing. It was also interesting to meet and listen to the many different types of fans that were attending the concert that day.

 

On 5/21/2019 at 5:08 PM, Zeus said:

He definitely wasn't as excited as my show, but he did show his side of the stage tons of love! Reita was the show stealer at NYC, going up to the front to play next to Ruki several times. Aoi was the most reserved out of all of the guitarists on stage.

For our show, aside from Ruki, Uruha seemed to be the most energetic/active, even coming up close to the fans and strutting off his stuff. It almost looked like he was ready to jump into the crowd, lol. Reita also came to the front of the stage a few times. I agree, though, Aoi was the most reserved. From what I could see, he only did something with Uruha and also came the front of the stage when the whole group joined up with Ruki. Otherwise, he was pretty "quiet" (as @platy mentioned after the live).

 

Overall, the live was short, but it was a lot of fun. It's made me more appreciative (and a bigger fan) of their music. I was also really excited when they played Filth in the Beauty and Cockroach.

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33 minutes ago, monkeybanana4 said:

 I agree, though, Aoi was the most reserved. From what I could see, he only did something with Uruha and also came the front of the stage when the whole group joined up with Ruki. Otherwise, he was pretty "quiet" (as @platy mentioned after the live).

@platy and I were just discussing this observation as well not too long ago.

Albeit a known issue within the GazettE fandom, Aoi's lack of fulfillment in the band when it comes to contributions musically or simply pitching ideas have really shown this time around. Our M&G, while amazing (I accidentally didn't attend the last M&G in 2016) it was to meet them, you could tell who was showing face for the fans, and for me it was Aoi.

 

This discussion could go on for hours but to keep it short, there has to be room for expression and creativity for all the members, otherwise we may see things turn DEG style where the members don't even sit in the same room at times. They've more than earned the right to breathe easy after so long, so why not actually go back to basics and let creativity fly? NINTH is a great example of this and I hope they continue in this direction in the future.

 

Getting back to the live itself, I also mentioned this to @platy but was the soundcheck somewhat shit for anyone else? Don't mean to sound like an ass but I noticed that Reita's bass was a tad overwhelming for the NYC stage, so the guitars sat far too back, sound-wise, for my tastes. Ruki's vocals were also slightly muddled but clear enough where no one cared. I think Kai's drums were the only somewhat "tuned to spec" instrument there. Keep in mind Kai doesn't have to switch guitars or anything but this poor soundcheck was not corrected until the encore. That's when the concert became waaaaaay more tolerable for me, and only because the techs came out to prove my suspicions and tweak things.

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The live was fantastic. I'm pleased with the set list even though when Tomorrow Never Dies came on I was instantly bored lol Apart from that, it was non-stop headbangers with a short break for sonokoe wa moroku, which sounds even better live. Like Zeus said, it stole the show for me. 

 

Ruki was flawless, I was actually impressed by his screams. His clean vocals are powerful too. I think I've been disappointed too many times by VK vocalists who sound great in studio but can barely hold a note at a live. So I couldn't get enough of Ruki's performance. Due to some sound issues, Reita's bass almost deafened me at some points, but it made me realise that he's a pretty decent bassist. Uruha was really going for it, Kai was great and Aoi... Well, he wasn't "there". He had one of those polite smiles that you put on when there's unwanted guests in the house and you're pretending to be nice. Musically he was great regardless.

 

I don't wanna make the usual comparisons, BUT not long ago I came to the same venue to see Dir En Grey. Looking back at it, it was empty in contrast to gazette. 

 

After being a fan for over a decade, finally seeing them live and experiencing how seasoned they've become as musicians was a really special experience. If Uruha had been dressed as a nun I would've given it a straight up 12/10. I'll make sure to see them again at the first chance I get, hopefully in Japan so I can hear some of the old gems. 

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I went to Cologne and the venue was super crap! They did not turn on the aircon and even before the live you were drenched in sweat. 

 

Soundcheck was also so~so, they could have tuned Ruki better. 

 

Still, the crowd went crazy, so that was fun. I liked some songs more than others, but that's to be expected. Reasonably solid performance, but it also felt very short. On the other hand, we could get fresh, cooler air, a plus here.

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