D’s “Danzai no gunner” Tale Concluded at Shibuya AX

Live Report

by Diana Tome, Mio Nagasaki, posted September 26, 2012

D have had a busy 2012 and by the looks of it next year will be even busier with the band celebrating ten years. After touring Europe for the second time, dragging more and more fans into their unique world, D returned to Japan for a scalding summer packed with events, releases and a tour. The Danzai no gunner Tour Final took place at Shibuya AX on August 26. The crowd cheered loudly as HIROKI (drums), Tsunehito (bass), HIDE-ZOU (guitar), Ruiza (guitar) and ASAGI (vocals) made their entrance to the electro-rock intro.

The set focused on the band’s Vampire Story, a series of concept songs linked together to tell the tale of Justice (ASAGI) and his vampire warriors (each represented by a different member/element: Ruiza/water; HIDE-ZOU/wind; Tsunehito/fire; HIROKI/earth). The concept was quite interesting although, due to its rich plot, the story might have been tricky to follow for those unfamiliar with the band’s work. The instrumentals managed to convey what the often growl-muffled lyrics might not and the story came to life, fast guitar riffs, puissant drums, blazing bass lines and powerful vocals transporting the hall to D’s world of vampires, zombies and roses.

No time to waste, the powerful “In the name of justice” cracked open the doors into D’s fantasy world and the tale began with Justice (aka ASAGI) at the wheel.Like in a storm, white lights flashed under roaring drums, the force of the instrumentals stirring a sea of arms which pumped fiercely to the beat. The human wave moved back and forth for the hot “Underground road,” the ardent bass standing out with Tsunehito fiercely plucking at the strings, knees almost kissing the floor. The storm aggravated for “DAY WALKER,” white lights going wild for the heavier moments while deep growls rocked the ground to the crowds’ fierce shouts of “Oi!”While HIDE-ZOU swayed to the beat, Ruiza took the forefront for a feisty solo, thrashing his body forward in the process as his fingers caressed the strings with precision.

“The final is here! Let’s make this summer even hotter! Follow D’s Vampire Story with us!” the vocalist demanded. One by one, ASAGI introduced Justice’s four knights in the feisty “QuartetMayonaka no shijuusou,”calling each “character” to the front where the crowd welcomed them with open arms. The number proved quite refreshing and in a change to the band’s usual sound, the instrumentals varied to match each element/character. The rhythm section stood out with HIROKI powering along behind the drums, sticks descending confidently on the cymbals to add strength to the piece while the Tsunehito skipped from heavy growling to jumps and frantic headbanging.

The plot thickened as all were sucked into the story of the female fire vampire, Carbuncle, who was tricked by “Odile” (named after the black swan from Swan Lake) and rushed to rescue Justice during the strong and determined ballad, “Luminous Flame.” The combination of impossibly fast instrumentals and sweet lyrics made for a powerful piece where the galloping drums and moving bass lines excelled. The tale of the “Black Swan” followed, a dark and heavy number that rocked AX with its delightful growls and intense instrumentals, ASAGI’s theatrics and strong vocals adding intensity to the tune.

White and blue light embraced the venue for the sweet and mellow “SolitudeSaigo no tegami.” With ASAGI in the lead and HIDE-ZOU singing backing vocals, the guitars stepped up, their cries adding intensity to the haunting piece. Guitar blasting, Ruiza kicked opened “Koori no bohyou,” all hell breaking loose as the crowd moved back and forth to the heavy instrumentals and gothic backing.

With a contagiously carefree attitude, HIROKI got the crowd pumping fists in a vigorous “drum solo.”The string trio soon joined him, firing up the hall as they took the mic one by one. “Come on, AX! It’s the final! Let’s go!” HIDE-ZOU demanded. The crowd responded with pumping fists and shouts of “Oi!”The heat built up as the others added their voices and the mood was set for“Desert Warrior.” With ASAGI back on the wheel and fiercely pumping the air with the crowd, drums led the way. A red blaze embraced the hall and arms danced to resemble a sand storm.Over deserts and oceans, the band sailed the classic “Night-ship “D”.” Flags danced to the tune under a starry sky in what appeared to be a fun moonlight trip, HIROKI having a blast as they moved left and right with the crowd. At ASAGI’s command, the flags were thrust forward, HIDE-ZOU taking the spotlight for a solo, guitar stretching upward.

“Are you having fun? Let’s go!” the vocalist called out for “Dying message.” Wicked guitar riffs kept on coming, HIDE-ZOU and Ruiza moving constantly as they drowsed in the beat while the front man kept a serene attitude, forever in character. Pumping fists rose as the hall marched to war with “Eve no Keifu,” the ground seeming to shake under pulsing drums.The fierce, “God bless you,” with its interesting combination of electronics, heavy instrumentals and sweet vocals brought the rhythm section to the spotlight once more, Tsunehito’s fingers dancing over the strings for some dazzling bass lines.“Let’s go!” the vocalist yelled, heads thrashing for the thunderous “Meteomubi no koku.” ASAGI commanded the crowd, knees threatening to hit the floor as he called the crowd forward with one gesture.

“It’s been a hot tour! HIDE-ZOU, how was it?” ASAGI asked.
“It was great! Are you ready to lend us your voices and yell!” the guitarist suggested and the crowd gladly complied.
“HIROKI, how was it?” the vocalist continued and the reply came promptly.
“It’s the final, how are you all doing? Are you ready to give it your all for the last two songs?”
The blond guitarist took the mic next. “It’s been an awesome tour and I don’t want it to end!”
Tsunehito was last, his words going from a sweet, “I’m glad you are all here and to be able to see your smiles and hear your loud cheers,” to fierce a growl as he demanded “give us all you’ve got!”

The emcee ended with the promise of a new album and the announcement of a winter tour. “Next year, we will be celebrating D’s tenth anniversary! We will have a oneman live at Shibuya’s CC Lemon Hall [Shibuya koukaidou]…I wonder if I’ll be drinking a lemon like last time!” ASAGI laughed before assuming a threatening stance for “Toki no Koe.” Growls and howls fired up the crowd, ASAGI resembling a puppet master as he brought the crowd crashing forward with slow arm movements. “Come on! You can do better than that! Give us all you’ve got!” Tsunehito cried and the whole venue thrashed heads wildly to the music.

“Last!” ASAGI yelled but Ruiza interrupted him suddenly with an exaggerated, “Wait! Whose birthday is it again? Let’s celebrate it together! ASAGI-san Happy Birthday!” Ruiza lead the “Happy birthday” song while red roses were offered to the vocalist.
“I’m happy but a bit embarrassed!” ASAGI cheerfully confessed. “As a vampire, I’m getting older… 300 something maybe?”

The set continued to its end in a party mood with “Danzai no Gunner” yet the fans weren’t ready to leave just yet. With a warm encore demand, the crowd drew D back to the stage. “Thank you for the encore! It’s hot, isn’t it? Thank you for seeing us through the tour!” ASAGI said.

While introducing the goods, Ruiza spared a moment for, “The memo pad I use to write notes, usually to HIROKI. He is a very straightforward man… I say this because he always goes straight and never listens to what I say! This is a bit of an inside story I told during the tour. We were driving to one of the live houses during the tour–HIROKI was driving–and I told him,‘You need to turn at the crossing.’He said ‘OK’ but just kept driving straight!”

Despite the loose story, “Grand Master” soon got the crowd pumping the air to shouts of “Oi!” before hands became pistols in “Dangan.” The choreography was unforgettable, the crowd shooting at ASAGI’s chest between jumps while Tsunehito struck cute poses between daring midair twirls over speakers.

Encore number two brought out the acoustic guitars for the interesting “Yoru no me to ginyuushijin.” Then, all hands rose in unison,welcoming “7th Rose.” ASAGI’s vibrant performance made quite an impact as he swayed and danced to the dark tune over electrifying guitar and drums.

The crowd shouted persistently for another encore and D returned to show their appreciation for such warm support with two of the bands’ most impressive numbers. The haunting “EDEN” with its intricate actions had the hall singing in one voice in a beautiful and tender moment that testified to the bond between the band and the fans. As the five were ready to leave, ASAGI himself surprised everyone by saying “Wait, can we play one more? Let’s end it with a jump!” Everyone was more than ready to welcome the sweetly determined “Dearest you.” The choice was quite appropriate and the hall held hands in a human chain for a collective final jump to bring the show home.

Setlist

  1. In the name of Justice
  2. Underground road
  3. DAY WALKER
  4. Quartet〜Mayonaka no shijuusou〜
  5. Luminous flame
  6. Black Swan
  7. Solitude〜Saigo no tegami〜
  8. Koori no bohyou
  9. – Drum solo & session –
  10. Desert Warrior
  11. Night-ship”D”
  12. Dying message
  13. Eve no Keifu
  14. God bless you
  15. Meteo〜mubi no koku〜
  16. Toki no Koe
  17. Danzai no Gunner

Encore 1

  1. Grand Master
  2. Dangan

Encore 2

  1. Yoru no me to ginyuushijin
  2. 7th Rose

 

Encore 3

  1. EDEN
  2. Dearest you

VK Exclusive

There are 20 photos in this visual kei exclusive.

Diana Tome saw her life change when she came across X-Japan's Blue Blood. A big supporter of old school visual rock, she believes visual kei is a lifestyle and philosophy that goes beyond the clothing and the music. With a background in headhunting and psychotherapy, Diana completed her M.A. in Psychology from I.S.P.A. in Lisbon, Portugal. She now lives and works in Japan committed to keeping the VK/V-rock flame alive.

Mio Nagasaki is a freelance photographer lending her time, skills, and love for the genre to ROKKYUU Magazine.

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