Matenrou Opera, Eyes of Justice Tour Final

Live Report

by Diana Tome, Mio Nagasaki, posted June 2, 2012

Matenrou Opera rocked a sold-out BLITZ at their Eyes of Justice Tour final on May 4. The hall went dark to a dramatic intro revealing white curtains behind which human shadows shifted. As the bodies behind the curtains moved, the shadows grew, some big, some small, arms stretching towards one still figure.

An intricate pattern resembling a veiny blue heart crept over the shadows, pulsing on and off in time with the dark chants that now engulfed the hall.  The heartbeat grew faster and the curtains opened to reveal Matenrou Opera, Sono in the center surrounded by haunting figures whose bodies were dyed in tar. Dark rags around their waists, they moved like broken dolls, contorting their bodies as if pierced painfully by sound. Unfazed by the creatures surrounding him, Sono violently spread his arms wide, causing them to fall to the ground and with a blast. “Justice” engulfed the hall, fast and strong with ardent guitar solos and fervent drums. The song built up and Sono bent forward, thrashing his head violently to the deafening beat. Taken back by the pure violence and power of the instrumentals, the figures fell to their knees, contorting to the tune. They reached their hands to the sky and white lights came shining down, a single red ray falling on Anzi who looked to the sky in a fierce solo. With a last, deafening yell, Sono ended the song and the hall went still.

“Let’s go, Tokyo!” Blue lights and a goth chorus welcomed “Otoshiana no soko wa konna sekai.” The song built up and slowed down to strong drums while Sono moved restlessly to stress his words. With characteristic simplicity, he took the mic for a short emcee. “Tokyo! Welcome to eyes of Justice! It’s the tour final… and it feels good!” The band got right back to business with “Dennou paranoia.” The song opened with some fervent bass lines, Yo keeping it cool as his fingers traveled over the strings. Sono was simply unstoppable, jumping and dancing to the funky beat and the crowd joined him, arms in the air while Ayame flashed smiles at the fans.

“Are you ready for some headbanging?” The response came right away as hair flew right and left for “Diorama Wonderland.” Anzi, Ayame and Yo twirled in unison to the drums, making full use of the stage. The instrumentals blasted fast and strong, mingling intriguingly with the sweet, melancholy vocals. The headbanging continued with the classic “Sexual Entrapment” and its hot bass lines and choreography.  Sono’s vocals were superb for “Apoteosis,” the stage rocked by a black human wave as band and fans moved dangerously to the beat. Yu crossed the drum sticks in the air, letting them descend heavily. The guitar carried the song to its end with a sweet chant, making the transition to “AGE” very smooth. The sweet ballad allowed the crowd to appreciate Sono’s vocals to the fullest and Ayame’s piano added a sweetness to the tune that contrasted with the crowd’s effusive shouts of “Oi!” while lights washed over them.

Sono stole the spotlight for “21mg.” The beginning was unimpressive but as it grew stronger the heavy drums and strong vocals gave a refreshing power to the piece. Stressing each word, Sono stomped his feet, singing evolving into crying. As if to comfort him, Anzi approached the center and the song ended with Sono on his knees singing to the guitar.

Two instrumental pieces followed, heating up the crowd. “Dr&Ba Solo” testified Yu and Yo’s combined skill, energy, and crowd control, Anzi and Ayame joining them with some fervent moves for “Just Be Myself.” Then, like a pounding heart, the drums welcomed Sono back onstage for “Nurashita kuchibiru de kisu wo shita,” a refreshing piece where rock and goth melted perfectly, Sono’s theatrics adding a strong edge to the piece. He came in slowly, dragging the mic stand with him. He kept it cool, moving lightly to the beat but as the song grew heavier, the movements became harsher.

“This tour has been awesome! With every live, the crowd’s response became hotter and hotter.” As Sono spoke, Yo started dancing and the crowd laughed. The vocalist glanced at the bassist and back to the crowd, his eyes returning to the Yo who bowed apologetically.

Yu got rid of his jacket in anticipation for “IMPERIAL RIOT” and at his signal jets of smoke flew up, creating a white curtain between the stage and the crowd. “Mermaid” was just as hot, the band jumping in unison as the song kicked off. While Ayame adopted girly poses, Yo did what he does best, plucking some smooth lines from the bass. Purple and white lights flashed like fireflies among the crowd, creating beautiful scenery as the audience waved them right and left between jumps. The song was warm and positive, emulating the siren’s alluring call before the final crash.

The attack came with “Murder Scope,” its fast and strong riffs followed by more heavy numbers that gave the band a chance to move around and interact with the crowd. For “Adult Children,” the crowd headbanged jumped, and yelled stridently, excitement mounting for the powerful “INDEPENDENT.” Drums and guitar blazed and the crowd moved as one, flashing arms up before rolling forward violently. In turns, Anzi, Ayame, Yo, and Yu took the spotlight, cheered on euphorically by the crowd. “ANOMIE” ignited the fuse with its catchy lyrics and choreography that got crowd and band jumping for the chorus, fans crossing arms gracefully for the slow sections and waving in unison for the finale.

One of the night’s highlight was “New cinema paradise.” Blue light shone gently and torches came to life, accompanying the slow intro before blue turned to a hellish red. Yo moved freely to the beat and the crowd followed suit while Sono’s voice carried high and solemn. The hall froze, the only movement onstage coming from dancing flames as the vocalist took full control of the piece, instrumentals hushed. Anguished cries engulfing the hall as Sono, on his knees, sang strongly without the mic in a dramatic ending.

“I want to sing more but unfortunately we’ve reached the last song! Many people gathered here today to see us, some from Tokyo, some from Osaka, some from abroad. I am really glad that so many people are gathered here through music. We will keep on healing wounds and protecting this safe place where you can all return to. We leave you with the next song to share this feeling and express our love!” The sweet and determined “Kizuna” ended the set, the song going from sweet to sad in light waves before becoming more fierce and positive. A yellow ray flashed through the room like sunlight, Sono tilting his head back welcomingly while the guitar, bass, keyboard and drums followed close behind, faithful and supportive.

The encore demand was swift and the crowd didn’t have to wait long before Matenrou Opera returned. The emcee that followed was adorably awkward, keyboard going off without reason and Ayame bowing countlessly while the band laughed and the crowd let out shouts of “How cute!” Between Sono’s “I know I’m not good at emcees!” and Yo falling on the ground from laughter (and lying there for a whole minute to Sono’s faked-outrage) band and audience bonded over words before the talk became serious.

Ayame’s confession was touching. “It’s our fifth anniversary, isn’t it amazing? I wonder how old I was when I met the other members. I didn’t have many friends growing up so for me to do something like play with the same four people for five years is outstanding. In my life, I never had that before…  Let’s grow old together!”

“As musicians we have to go through very hard times. Most people don’t know it but actually there are more hard times than the good ones but when I see you all here, it’s all worth it!” Anzi added.

To express their appreciation, Matenrou Opera graced the fans with their first song “Ruriiro de egaku niji.” White stars twirled as the mirror ball moved, a ray of blood falling on the guitarist while he took the lead. The growls and jumping made for a smooth transition to the classic “Hiai to Melancholy,” towels twirling to the tune between pumping fists and growling.

Silver tape blasted through the sky for “Magnolia,” light sticks back as the crowd waved to the catchy tune. With the hall united by the music, all voices sang in unison. Throwing picks, drum sticks, water bottles and even t-shirts to the crowd, the band bid farewells only to return a few moments later for a last song. “We haven’t done a second encore for this tour!” Sono confessed while Yu and Yo made their entrance shirtless. For the next few minutes, the front man teased the two. “Are you ready for more? Jump!” With a yell, the vocalist summoned the explosive “honey drop” in a memorable finale that saw Matenrou Opera at their best.

Between the band’s powerful music and playful attitudes, it was one of those performances that makes an irreversible impact on the crowd. From theatrical beginning to rocking finish, Matenrou Opera gave their fans one hell of a show.

Set list

  1. Justice
  2. Otoshiana no soko wa konna sekai
  3. Dennou paranoia
  4. Diorama Wonderland
  5. Sexual Entrapment
  6. Apoteosis
  7. AGE
  8. 21mg
  9. Dr&Ba Solo
  10. Just Be Myself
  11. Nurashita kuchibiru de kisu wo shita
  12. IMPERIAL RIOT
  13. Mermaid
  14. Murder Scope
  15. Adult Children
  16. INDEPENDENT
  17. ANOMIE
  18. New cinema paradise
  19. Kizuna

Encore

  1. Ruriiro de egaku niji
  2. Hiai to Melancholy
  3. Magnolia

Encore 2

  1. honey drop

VK Exclusive

There are 11 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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