DuelJewel O-East Tour Final and Hayato’s Farewell
DuelJewel’s tour final at O-East on February 2 was more than just the end of a three-month tour: it was the final show for vocalist Hayato, who, due to vocal complications, will be taking an extended break from the band. All this made for a high-voltage evening.
Flashing lights and synthesized, Latin notes greeted the members, the cheers loudest for Hayato who entered last and posed. The opening number, “eternal,” gave fans confidence that whatever they might face, Duel Jewel was committed to a solid performance. Hayato showed off his dazzling trademark smile as they went into “Polaris.” . Band and fans alike wore blinking rings and Hayato sang at high pitch as an equally ethereal melody led into more upbeat music.
“62” featured a grinding, electronic beat while “against” was accompanied by jets of dry ice. Hayato directed the fans to mosh back and forth across the floor and grinned in amusement at the chaos.
The mood then shifted for “Life on…,” a song about the challenges and excitements of moving on to new phases of life, an especially poignant theme for the show. Everyone waved along as the band sang “bye-bye” and the number ended with a big drum finish.
“Tokyo!” Hayato called. “After three months on tour, we’re finally here!” He tried to encourage the crowd to give it their all for this last show, but the fans began to laugh out of turn as Yuya and Natsuki were playing with floating specks of dust, their light rings, and finally each other as Natsuki tried to stick a pick onto Yuya’s sweaty arm. Hayato looked confused by the antics but pressed on all the same.
“Sweet Engage” featured electronically enhanced, synthesized vocals and a quick melody as sweet as the title. As it finished, fans began to bark for “Yuki no Hamon,” the strobe flashing with the catchy beat. Hayato stretched and posed on the platform as heavy drums and some fancy guitar work from Shun carried the song. Plucked keyboard notes followed by an operatic chorus and frantic instrumental led into “Shinen no Nocturne.” Hayato’s upper range stretched into feminine falsetto while the musicians showed off their talent in the complex score. After the heady number, the band took a short break and the classically influenced melody “Key-1145” played as pinwheels of yellow and green light created atmosphere. The lighting changed to dramatic red as the violin music reached a crescendo and Hayato bowed deeply before the band dove into “Room-1145.” The song was the heaviest yet. Dry ice again flooded the stage as the light alternated between bright white and deep red like heavenly clouds and hellfire.
Japanese chimes and flutes in “Oborozuki” made for a versatile performance with electronic and traditional influence. Hayato’s operatic voice fell into a lovely, measured chorus, and then the song gradually increased in tempo until Natsuki gave a big jump and his bass notes led into “Vamp Ash.”
“Are you enjoying the final?” Hayato asked. “We’re super-ultimate-enjoying it! This is the best time. Life only comes once and you have to live it!”
Picking up with “ASHTAROTH,” the members engaged the audience. Natsuki took a violin bow and sawed it across his bass strings. Next, clapping led into fist pumping for the rowdy “NIGHTWALKER.” The violence continued for “Moon Struck,” Val picked up a cool beat and the crowd shouted out. Hayato headbanged so hard he nearly fell off his platform, but Yuya owned the song, strutting around and pouring passion into his guitar while the crowd crashed together in a tangled mosh.
Natsuki and Shun headed up the driving sound of “Sin” with bass and guitar. The band expressed their famed charisma throughout the number, putting on a big performance for the last song of the set. When they left, Hayato departed with one of his famous ninja kicks.
Sporting tour shirt, they soon returned, Val, Natsuki, and Shun in the pink version and Hayato and Yuya in the purple. “It’s after-school time!” Yuya announced, and they sprang into “Akatsuki,” sounding clean and refreshed. They ran around the stage, Hayato almost crashing into Natsuki before the bassist hopped up on the platform with a wink. Shun’s leading guitar kept the cheerful feel of the song and there were smiles all around.
“Hell yeah! the guitarist screamed. He talked about his recent weightloss, the dangers of Valentine’s Day chocolate, and the VK diet. “Broccoli! No oil!” he said, repeating “no oil” in English for emphasis. “Instead, ponzu! [citrus-infused soy sauce] Then chicken. How should we cook chicken when on a diet?” “Boil it!” the fans shouted back. “Then konyaku [jellied root]. What do we do with konyaku? Open it!” he answered himself, though not much else can be done with the side dish. He then took a poll, asking who thought he should slim down more and who liked him on the round side. The crowd turned out to be in favor of the chubby version, which pleased Yuya to no end. “Hayato! Look!” He pointed to the raised hands.
Natsuki then tried to take the mic and tripped over the cord twice, prompting the crowd to jokingly start up another encore call as he tried to sort himself out. “I didn’t plan anything to say,” he said, which was belied by his preparation-heavy emcee. “So, Shun really likes this character, Chris (STEINS ; GATE)..” In case the audience wasn’t familiar with Chris, he brought out a cardboard picture of the character. “He calls his iPhone Chris. His PSP wallpaper is Chris. He even has the drama CDs.”
As Natsuki revealed this dark secret, the guitarist looked mortified. “So let’s bring out Chris for him!” Shun fell over as they brought out a cutout–not of the cute anime girl, but of Chris Matsumura, the gay aerobics instructor from a popular Japanese quiz show. “We even put Chris on his guitar!”
Shun panicked, looking for the picture on his guitar and Natsuki launched into a spiel about how he’d been forbidden from tampering with Shun’s new guitar… so he instructed the staff to bring out an older one and Shun turned the guitar to see that Natsuki had indeed stuck a picture of the less-than-desirable Chris on its glossy finish. “I did it for you!” Natsuki said sweetly, though Shun was not appeased.
“Shun’s comment chance!” Hayato announced, giving the guitarist a chance to defend himself. “Chris!” the fans chorused, forcing Shun to admit “Okay, before the show I watched a video of Chris.”
“You know, sometimes I have nightmares about being on stage in my underwear,” he said, and a few cheeky fans yelled for him to take it off. “Okay, who wants to see?” A few hands went up. “Who doesn’t want to see?” Oddly, all the hands directly in front of Shun went up. As he talked, Natsuki carefully attached Chris M. to the speaker nearest the guitarist.
Leader Val had more serious talk prepared. “When the trouble (with Hayato’s voice) was first announced, I got so many e-mails from our friends and people in the industry. I was happy to know we’re a band who is so loved. A lot of people told us not to stop. I think these past two years we’ve been making our best music yet. If we stopped now, could we really pick it up again later? So we’re going to continue, even without Hayato. Of course, we have to treasure the time he is here, and this isn’t a sad ‘Goodbye, Hayato’ live. We’re still going to be a Duel Jewel similar to the old Duel Jewel, and even if he’s not singing, Hayato will be involved in other ways. You can still see Hayato sometimes, and you can see us a lot!”
Finally, it was time for Hayato to speak. “Before, I felt like this might be my last time on stage at all. I was very uneasy. Yet after the first show on this tour, I felt so hot and passionate, more than before. I’ve enjoyed this tour so much and it’s echoing in my heart. I’m glad I could meet everyone, even on days I couldn’t sing well. To me, this is a chance, and it can even be a new start. I’m happy the rest of the band will be continuing because it means I have a place to come back to. I want you to support the four of them, and I’ll definitely be back! That’s a promise.” Bringing the words home, “Yakusoku no Uta” started with melodic guitar, and Hayato’s smile was as bright as the stage lights.
“Otsukare Summer” gave Natsuki a cool bass riff and fans swung and threw their towels in between clapping and jumping to the hyper fun song. Yuya initiated call and response time, cozying up to each member in turn with puns and affectionate teasing that earned him an “I love you!” and kiss from Natsuki, and the cold shoulder from Hayato.
The fans threw themselves violently over the barrier bar for the classic “Trust” with heavy headbanging—Hayato corralled fans into the front-stage thrashing pile while Natsuki jumped in to nosh with the crowd and spit water at close range from back onstage.
Streamers exploded for “Will～andante～”. Val’s tsking kept the positive energy up and the fans sang along. Hayato’s own voice was flagging despite his passion and the fans took up the song, all the instruments quieting to listen. “Thank you!” Hayato called, giving a deep bow followed by another flying kick. The band then held hands and jumped together before leaving.
Surprisingly, that wasn’t the end. The lights came up and the band returned for “Tales.” The music had a triumphant sound, the band putting a lot of energy into the music and dancing, brimming with confidence even at this point of uncertainty for their future.
“I’ll see you again!” Hayato called as Yuya attempted (and failed) to carry him off the stage.
DuelJewel proved their determination to take their recent bad fortune in stride and continue on with the support of friends and fans. While Hayato’s speaking voice croaked alarmingly, his vocals hardly showed the strain. ROKKYUU looks forward to Duel Jewel’s continued activities as well as Hayato’s eventual return.
- Life on･･･
- Sweet Engage
- Yuki no Hamon
- Shinen no Nocturne
- Vamp Ash
- Reincarnation Flow
- Moon Struck
- Yakusoku no Uta
- Otsukare Summer
There are 39 photos in this visual kei exclusive.