DoReMiDan Sentimental Rocking Slumber at Shibuya WWW
The Beatles and visual kei don’t have much in common, but it was the Fab Four’s “I Wanna Hold Your Hand” and other hits that greeted fans at Shibuya WWW, a tribute to the fact that while DoReMiDan may sound like a musical scale, it’s actually a Japanese play on the song title “Don’t Let Me Down.” It was that iconic song which introduced the band, and as it finished, a jazzy tune piped out from the speakers and the members took the stage.
First was drummer Reika, who gave an ear-splitting bang on the gong beside his drum kit before settling into a rollicking drum solo. The other members then joined him, coming on stage one by one to add their own instruments. Finally vocalist Makoto clapped and gestured for the audience to step it up. “Shibuya! Let’s go! DoReMiDan!”
“Kanshouteki Rockin’ Slumber” was the kickoff, unsurprising as the live’s title was Sentimental Rocking Slumber. The fans swayed back and forth with the swing melody, and Makoto stared intensely at the audience, perching on a platform decorated with a red and white checkerboard pattern. He finished with a big yell, and without pause they continued into “Rensou Yugi.” Guitarists Ken and Ryu jumped along with the audience and Makoto swung back and forth so hard in the chorus it looked like he was going to launch himself right off the stage.
“Do.O.Ru” started with tight and heavy drumming, but didn’t lose the distinctive swing beat. Makoto’s voice took on a smoky air for the jazz number. After the song, he sat down cross-legged on the platform, holding out his mic to the growling and yelling fans. Reika silenced them with another bang of the gong.
“Hey, Shibuya, you’ve got some energy!” Makoto yelled. “It’s our first oneman in five months. It hasn’t felt like we were waiting. We’ve made releases, but we really wanted to see you! So enjoy today as much as possible. I want to feel you slamming into the stage! Here we go! Dance, Dance!”
“Traveller” had a bit of a pop sound, a song to cheer anyone feeling down. It certainly worked for Ryu and Yuu, who couldn’t stop grinning at each other and tempting the other crack up. Mid-song, the tune turned synthesized and childish, and Makoto yelled over the top, “We’re really happy, thank you!” as he did a silly dance. “Shibu~ya,” He called in a sing-song as “Kuroi Hana Sen to Ichiru no Nozomi” began. The vocalist crouched on the platform as fans dived forward, rocking the stage as they’d been instructed. Makoto’s voice climbed higher as he twisted his hands in his skirt and spun and kicked, illumination shifting until he was lit from underneath to complete his “evil little child” image.
“Chou”, another DoReMiDan surprise, opened with gothic piano, incorporating elements of tango into the music. Strobes flashed onstage as Makoto reached out to the fans. “The Faust” was more like standard VK fare with its heavy drum lines that had Reika working hard and rolling his head. The heavy sound continued into “Mugen Youtou,” which brought a bit of bounce back to the rhythm as Makoto made jerky movements like a broken marionette, spotlighted as he sang an intense a capella line that rolled over into heavy bass and wailing guitar.
Makoto bit his lip and swayed back and forth when gothic intro began “Aishou Kousaten.” The audience, who had been constantly jumping, waving, and dancing for a good forty-five minutes, were allowed a rest at last as they listened to the song in rapt stillness. The lights flashed with the drum beats and Makoto screamed out the final words, transforming from cute and childish to adult and sexy in the span of a single song. The tempo picked up for “Amaririsu.” Ryu put a little swing into the song but still kept a mature feel until the last near-whispered vocal solo after which Makoto looked heavenward under applause.
“You’ve listened to a lot from us,” he said. “You’re not tired? Well, I don’t want to hear it if you are.” He mused that it was unusual for them to start a show so early (having begun at 5pm), “but since you come from so many different places we wanted to make sure you could get home on time.” Reika then slammed the gong and took the mic. “I’m feeling good, baby, we’re home!” he yelled in his Osaka accent, r’s rolling. He thanked the audience himself before passing the mic to Ken who told them he could see all the way to the back and would make sure to remember everyone’s faces. Ryu voiced his agreement.
“Everyone feeling good?” Yuu called in his high voice. “Louder!” he growled, dropping an octave. The fans responded with barks of their own as he made a devil horns sign. Reika rang the gong again, signaling an end to the chatter.
“Awesome!” Makoto said. “Let’s make some more memories. Show us your energy and strength if you have the confidence! But I think you’re going to lose to us up here!” They dove into a heavy beat with “World End.” Fans threw themselves over the bars as Ken peered out over the crowd, and Makoto finished with a big scream. Hair then flew to “Paraphrenia” as Makoto crouched on the platform, reaching his hand over the thrashing crowd. The guitarists took a strong stance, instruments wailing, and Yuu got down on his knees to play. The musical assault continued with the equally heavy “Blind Android.” Makoto let his death voice roll, holding the mic out to the crowd so they could growl along with him.
He posed on one leg and peered like an intrepid explorer as they began “Tasogare Trapezium.” Marching guitars came forward to rock with the audience, and the fans jumped left and right, bumping into the bars and each other. “This is really fun!” Ken exclaimed, “I can see everyone, I’m really excited!” Naturally, this statement prompted Makoto to run over to the guitarist and check just how excited he was by sticking a hand down his pants. Ken squawked as the fans laughed.
“Let’s get hotter!” Makoto yelled post-molestation. Towels appeared inexplicably in almost every hand, and fans whipped them around their heads in time with the kicky beat of “Seishun Rollover.” Makoto whipped his at the audience before putting it on his own head. Ken and Ryu took the platform for a double guitar treat before Makoto threw his towel and then missed the catch, directing the crowd with his hand instead. “Yeah, Shibuya!” he called, panting slightly from the hard run of songs, “Can you give us some more?”
“Time Machine” began with a chirpy, synthesized melody and the band kept in restless motion until the wind-down where Yuu and Ken played close together, foreheads touching, as Makoto gave a big scream of “Thank you!” The next song, “Sai,” was low-key, and the audience waved their lights with the music, Makoto using a pen light. He pointed it at the audience while Reika was spotlighted for some heavy, deeply rhythmic drumming.
The crowd chanted for an encore and after several minutes the band returned, now wearing t-shirts and looking refreshed. While most of the members wore the tour shirts, Makoto wore a shirt from their Black Peace Now collaboration.
“I think this is the earliest we’ve ever started a live,” he said, taking a seat on the platform. “You know, in the middle of the show my back started hurting, but looking at all your smiles, I feel better.” He smiled back at them. “Until today, I thought it was still summer. We’ve had the tour, a fan club trip, and suddenly I realized–summer is over! I can’t wear skirts anymore!” This was met by a loud yell of protest from the fans. “Okay, so just this once more, then I’m going to give it up.” The fans protested even louder, and Makoto laughed. “Let’s finish summer with a hot encore!” The audience cheered.
“We’ve done “World End” at every show so far, and it’s really great! I’m not saying we’re great, I mean, you guys are great. The song has gone over really well, and I think we’ve really grown. Please keep supporting us. Oh, here.” He casually tossed a handkerchief to a surprised fan in the front row. “Today has many meanings. It’s been one year since the Raison live, six months since the Great Tohoku Earthquake, ten years since 9/11… I’m really grateful to everyone. Are you still having fun? Should we do an encore? When the encore is over, summer is over.” The fans complained and Makoto shrugged. “Summer is like that.”
A big drum roll lead into “Kibou Toshi.” Yuu rocked out hard on bass and the audience sang along. “Down By Low” was the jazzy number that took everyone back to the feel of the beginning of the live, and Reika swayed back and forth as he drummed. Makoto swung his skirt, revealing red gym shorts underneath and pointed at the jumping crowd. Mid-song, he paused and led the crowd in a series of member calls. “Thanks!” Makoto finished as the lights turned blue. Next came one of the more unusual songs in DoReMiDan’s repertoire. While it’s not uncommon to hear a visual band incorporate jazz and swing, the country twang and bluegrass stylings of “Hello!! Brand New Day” were certainly unique. Makoto busted out a harmonica to join in enthusiastically with the other instruments. With a big jump to finish, the band waved and exited without another word.
The audience wouldn’t settle for that and began calling for another encore. Soon Makoto returned with a cell phone in hand. “I’m tired,” he sighed, holding the phone up to the audience, then moving behind the drum kit to try and angle a better shot. “I’ve taken a picture at every live so far,” he explained, fiddling with the phone and looking slightly perplexed, “but this isn’t mine and I don’t know how to use it.” After a few failed picture attempts, the rest of the band returned to the stage, Reika trying to squeeze into frame as Makoto finally got a picture of the audience. The members then sat around the drum kit.
“So I thought we’d do one more,” Makoto began, and the audience cheered. “I really like this place. It’s awesome that we can see everyone. If we did Budokan, there would be what, 20,000 people? Impossible. You guys would have to call everyone you know.” The audience assured him they could, and he laughed. “It doesn’t matter, I like it here. I like seeing your expressions and being able to know what you’re thinking.” He turned to the other members for comment, offering the mic to Ken.
“It was great,” Ken said, “Today…today was the best.” Beside him, Reika began to blow on his cheeks.
Makoto scrunched up his face. “What are you doing?”
“…I’m crying,” Ken was forced to admit, then waved the mic away.
Ryu spoke next. “I was really moved, especially in Time Machine, the way it gradually built up, getting hotter and hotter…this has been the best summer ever.”
Yuu was less sentimental. “I’m starving!” he announced when it was his turn to speak. “Usually I’m really energetic, but today…ugh. But I kept going!”
“I was looking forward to this show more than usual,” Reika said. “Today, summer has passed, and we did the summer songs.” The rest of the tour, however, had an unintended consequence. “I gained like 8kg during this tour!” “You should show off your stomach,” Makoto teased. “Half the fans will probably be repulsed, but half will think it’s really cute!”
Makoto thanked the fans again for supporting them with so much love. He gave the announcements for the next tour, including a promising round of twoman shows with Sugimoto Yoshinori and a November 25 oneman live at Shibuya Star Lounge. “You have to come!” he told everyone.
The band took their places again, and Reika twirled his drum sticks to kick off “Aozora Generation” with its almost 60s feel. The fans sang the chorus and the band was clearly touched, looking almost stunned at how strong their voices were. Before it ended, Makoto tackled Ken with a hug before they all moved to center stage to join hands.
“Please come see us again,” Makoto said, looking a little choked and teary himself. “This was a good summer.” They all jumped together. This time, Makoto was the last to leave, walking left, right, and center to give each portion of the audience a deep and respectful bow.
Though the band was gone again, the audience began calling hopefully for a third encore and to everyone’s surprise, the band returned. “We thought it was too short!” Makoto told them. DoReMiDan gave it their all for “Wakaban Kikou,” the true finale. The audience clapped in time with the cheerful beat and the song had a triumphant feel. Everyone swayed back and forth, using the last of their energy to keep their hands in the air.
“Thank you! See you next time!” Makoto yelled, tossing out a water bottle. Reika threw his drumsticks, and Ryu and Yuu hugged tightly. “Be careful on your way home!” Makoto called, and the fans applauded and continued to do so long after the band had gone.
On this meaningful day, DoReMiDan gave the fans an exciting and emotional live sure to stick with them, just as their faces and joy are sure to stick with the band for a long time to come.
- Kanshouteki Rocking Slumber
- Rensou Yugi
- TravellerKuroi Hana Sen to Ichiru no Nozomi
- The Faust
- Mugen Youtou
- Aishou Kousaten
- World End
- Blind Android
- Tasogare Trapezium
- Seishun Rollover
- Time Machine
- Kibou Toshi
- Down by Low
- Hello!! Brand New Day.
- Aozora Generation
- Wakaban Kioku
There are 24 photos in this visual kei exclusive.