Dolly: Iris in Wonderland Tour Final at Shinjuku BLAZE
The lights went down and colorful glow-rings came to life, the crowd swaying them right and left with the funky beat of the intro. For the next couple of hours Shinjuku BLAZE was transported to Dolly’s bohemian world.
The show kicked off with the feisty “Koushoku no canary” which allowed band and crowd to warm up for what was yet to come. The audience jumped cheerfully to the catchy tune, hands rising for a slow, repeated wave. The scenery created by the light-rings helped set the mood and vocalist Mitsu did the rest. The outfit made him resemble a lion-tamer and he lived up to it by taming the crowd in a performance that testified his superb vocals and strong stage presence.
“Are you ready?” he asked with a harsh yell for the energetic “Alice in Dizzypit.” The choreography was one of the highlights with the crowd alternately swaying and squatting as they held hands in a giant human chain. While fans flashed hearts at the members between jumps, Hachi took the forefront for a savvy bass riff. The crowd responded to the first notes of “Music’s Cube” with claps and a mischievous grin was Mitsu’s only warning before, with a jump, he set the instrumentals free. Hands signed hearts at the vocalist but he kept it cool, thrashing his hair to the drums. The tone got harsher, Mitsu growling fiercely as “the evil Mitsu” (as he would later put it during the emcee) made his first appearance.
“Welcome all!” With a sweet smile, Mitsu surveyed the crowd. “Let’s make this the best final! I want to see you all dancing for ‘JULIET.’” Jazzy and hot, bass pulsed through the song in a warm spell that got the crowd dancing along with Mitsu and Hachi, the latter sparing no smiles as he continuously interacted with the crowd. Piano joined in while Masa, fingers moving rapidly over guitar strings, helped out with the backing vocals. The sound ceased and the vocalist slowly leaned forward in a deep bow.
He rose slowly in the darkness, a puppet coming to life to disconsolate piano. “Kuroneko Catherine” showed yet another face of Mitsu, a deep solo engulfing the hall as he swiftly went from sweet to piercing and defiant. The instrumentals joined in, guitar ruminating in a sad, resigned plea. The number ended in the same way as it started, with a haunting vocal solo. A harsh beam of light fell over Mitsu’s face, giving him a demonic aura as he dramatically stared at his blood-red gloves. Amid whispered cries, red light flooded the hall for the gory intro of “Shinshoku Rosetta.” Piercing cries rose over Tsuguki’s vigorous drumming with guitar and bass adding some hot riffs to the potent number.
Dark and smooth. “Late Carnival” took the hall on a spiral ride with guitar and bass sharing the spotlights. The rhythm eased and hardened in waves, Mitsu’s voice multiplying in a repeated echo for the finale under sharp drums. “It’s show time!” the vocalist called out before the feisty “GOTHIC PARTY.” Light sticks sprouted among the crowd, moving right and left in unison. Masa’s guitar blasting, the crowd clapped joyfully, and Mitsu’s voice sharpened, his words cutting the air at the end of each verse.
The vocalist’s somewhat sweet appearance, which existed for most of the previous songs, seemed to vanish for the next wave. Mitsu’s feral growls mingled perfectly with the hot bass and fast drums for “Spiral into Decadence,” the crowd thrashing heads with the three men in the front. “Are you ready for more?” Claps brought Hachi forward for “[R],”Masa joining him before, without warning, the tune grew heavier, fists flashing up to accompany Tsuguki’s every harsh hit. Evil Mitsu took over in one of the night’s hottest surprises. Weaving his voice effortlessly, the front man became a fierce stage animal, bent over himself growling before suddenly throwing his head back, mic held high as a dry scream pierced the air. Out of their safe zone, Dolly remained impressive both musically and performance-wise.
“This is fun!” the vocalist confessed with a satisfied grin. “No one’s saying anything, but it’s OK. I’m used to it,” he added impishly as he pretended to ignore the crowd and his bandmates.
“What is that you guys are using?” he asked the other members, pretending to have just noticed the towels they each carried.
“Oh, I thought the towel was white but… look! If you turn it around, it’s yellow and it has our logo!” the drummer pointed out as he flipped the towel around in childish disbelief.
The bassist was next and the crowd seemed impressed: “Hachi, you are so cool!”
The bassist grinned but chose not to address the female cries. “You can use these towels for some our songs!” he explained, trying to twirl the long towel.
“No! It’s too long!” “It’s not suitable!” the crowd shouted.
“Hey! Don’t say that it’s not suitable!” the vocalist scolded. With a naughty grin, Tsuguki warned, “Careful, don’t make Mitsu mad!” The crowd laughed and Mitsu let an aggravated sigh escape. “I was aiming for a light emcee. Don’t make me get upset. You don’t want evil Mitsu to come out!” Masa paid no attention and the other man almost stomped his foot as he pointed out, “You never hear what I say!” Mitsu was ready to continue the thought yet before he had a chance, the cue for the next song raced in and the lights fell. “Hey, wait a second! Turn the lights up, now!” Hachi and Masa tried to hide their wide grins, sharing knowing smiles with the crowd while Mitsu pouted like an annoyed child. The emcee and teasing continued, but eventually it was time to get on with the show.
The lulling ballad, “7 banme no tenshi no parade,” was followed by the sweet “Vertigo,” in which the rhythm built up while maintaining a ballad sound. Cute choreography and swift riffs accompanied the slow songs, vocals and instrumentals perfectly balanced for both. Light-sticks were summoned one more time for “Shiny Mary” and with them in hand the crowd moved to the fierce beat, drum and bass standing out. The fans hopped wildly in unison, right and left, but the hall went still for an impeccable bass and vocal duet before the others joined in, the finale angry and determined.
The pace continued fast for “Tentai escape.” Open arms welcomed the string duo to the center, Mitsu restlessly pacing back and forth like a caged animal. Towels twirled dangerously in “Orange,” bodies bending forward repeatedly to the steady drums. The chorus welcomed a warm moment as the hall joined voices for the familiar tune. “Thank you all for your voices! It was beautiful!” Mitsu spoke sincerely before he introduced the last song. With the hall enveloped in soft white and blue lights, Dolly embarked on the sweet and hopeful “Shiroi ashiato.”
The crowd wasn’t ready to go home just yet and drove the band out with their effusive encore demand. “Thank you for the encore call!” The drummer was the first back on stage and one by one, the members took the mic, sharing some stories about the tour. “You are getting much better at emcees!” Mitsu congratulated Tsuguki, adding “Your emcee in Sapporo was great!” “Thank you! I have no idea what I said then, though,” the drummer confessed with a giggle. Ready to rock BLAZE, Dolly got back to their hot numbers with “Psycho flipper” and “SCRAP BULLET [7DAYS].” Mitsu stood on the central platform, arms to the side, and with every drum beat, he moved his arms widely like a maestro. The crowd moved with him, left and right and up and down, while Hachi and Masa twirled between smooth riffs.
Bent forward, Mitsu let out a piercing growl that set all hair flying free. Crowd and band thrashed heads vigorously for “INject Candy,” a human mass moving wildly for the mosh section. Without warning, the whole hall sat on the floor, jumping in unison at the vocalist’s command for the very end. The tone eased for “Hoshi no sunadokei” with its lulling tune, Mitsu’s voice hauntingly clear over the determined drums. With the drums rolling in the background, the guitarist stepped in, all slowing down for the chorus. In one voice, the crowd sang with the band, making for a beautiful finale.
Yet one last time, the crowd drew the band out. Fast and funky, the popular “Miffy number” brought band and fans closer,literally. Mitsu asked the crowd to move forward, bodies jumping over each other as they tried to reach the front. Dolly moved forward, interacting with the crowd in a relaxed and familiar fashion. Between waves and claps, they bid farewell with the promise of another feisty tour close ahead.
- Koushoku no canary
- Alice in Dizzypit
- Music’s Cube
- SE Shift (emcee)
- Kuroneko Catherine
- Shinshoku Rosetta
- Late Carnival
- GOTHIC PARTY
- Spiral into Decadence
- 7 banme no tenshi no Parade
- Shiny Mary
- Tentai escape
- Shiroi ashiato
- Psycho flipper
- SCRAP BULLET [7DAYS]
- INject Candy
- Hoshi no sunadokei
- Miffy number