Nightmare’s March 2 Budoukan Bash
NIGHTMARE’s 「Nightmarish reality」 tour finished at Budokan on March 2, 2012, the culmination of three months of shows across Japan. The opening was the mood-setting “This is Halloween” from Nightmare Before Christmas as the fans clapped along. The staging was unusual right from the start, with large video screens beside, above and behind the stage and netting hanging floor to ceiling. Before the band appeared, a video began to play on the screens and a woman’s voice intoned in English, “This is not a dream,” before going on to list darkness, tragedy, sin and other deeply negative words. “One day, we can achieve a world without these things,” she said as the band began to appear. “A world where everyone can smile.”
“VERMILLION” opened the show with a flood of lasers over Budokan as YOMI’s deep voice filled the hall and fans in both arena and stands started thrashing. There was a lot of power right from the start, and from the second song, “BOYS BE SUSPICIOUS,” the band was making full use of Budokan’s expansive stage, running up the wings to greet fans on the sides. “We’re home, Budokan!” YOMI yelled. “Today is our fourth time here. Let’s make a great show together!”
“Fragment” had a unique sound, with Sakito using three different instruments to play the detailed guitar line, the pitch ranging from growling rock to a high-pitched squeal. A record scratch started “Rei-beyond the G.-“ Scrolling numbers in an antiquated script and images of clockwork spun on the screens and matched the rhythm of YOMI’s voice and Ni~ya’s barking. The fun beat had the crowd moving and the song finished with a long shout and a crazy clockwork vortex on screen. The audience then screamed as they recognized the opening for “Gianism Shi.” The members barked as the crowd headbanged to the heavy beats and flashes of light lit the arena. The song incorporated many elements from every instrument which made it feel long, but the crowd was in for the ride.
“This has been a long tour, and I’ve learned a lot,” YOMI said. “I’ve come to realize I really love Budokan. And you, our fans, you always support us, even on our long, long tours. We’re sending this song to you.”
“Aitakute (I want to see you),” he sang to the appreciative crowd as they began “Ray of Light.” Tiny lights like a field of stars lit the back screen and the image shifted to a galaxy, moving slowly with the measured pace of the song. The music and stage then turned glittery for “Suna,” screens sparkling like light on a lake surface though the rest of the stage was dark. The lack of light kept the focus on the music during the evocative song–another long one, but the musical quality kept everyone rapt despite an understated performance.
There was nothing understated about “Cherish,” with its multi-colored flashing lights and carnival feel. The fun pace had the crowd jumping wildly and the members capitalized up on the energy, Hitsugi in particular making faces and snapping dog-like at the cameras. Mid-song there was a pause and a long, breathless silence before the music came back with a crash and the party atmosphere picked up again. “ByeBye” turned the crowd frantic and what had been four video screens were suddenly split into nine, each member getting his own screen and then some. YOMI danced jerkily before going face to face with Sakito, the difference in their heights slightly comical though they seemed to be enjoying themselves immensely.
“Just as I thought, Budokan feels great! Let’s keep it up!” There were now more than two dozen tiny screens flashing red and the band and fans threw themselves into “The sorrow of deceiver,” lead by thrumming bass from Ni~ya. Fans were excited to hear the new single, “mimic,” Strong drum and bass had everyone fist pumping as the video screens rolled with creepy images of eyes, skulls, patterns, and flowers all in bold color. and the band put their energy and personality into “Dazzle.” “Last!” the vocalist yelled and green and blue lasers fired out over the arena for “$eam.” The fans waved their arms back and forth to the sound of Sakito’s high-pitched guitar, and the bass was so heavy that YOMI’s tiring voice was barely audible until he pulled it together to project in the chorus.
“Thank you, Budokan!” YOMI called as the band left, Sakito tripping over a monitor on his way off the vast stage. The encore call started up right away, and after a few minutes YOMI returned in a t-shirt. “Thanks!” He announced to the crowd that they might be making a DVD of the show, and plugged the various programs they’ve been doing. “We’re musicians. When did we become entertainers?” he joked. Announcing ZEPP shows in May, he then called out Sakito, who ran out and crossed his arms, unwilling to speak until the crowd had yelled satisfactorily enough for him. “Budokan!” he called three times. “I was really nervous, but because I was nervous, actually being here feels great!” Sakito had a lot of announcements for his side projects, from a DVD of his trip to India to a collaboration with brand Gadget Grow.
“Budokan!” Ni~ya yelled in a huge voice.
“Bassists don’t get to do that much,” YOMI joked as he let the bassist have a moment. “You’re running around a lot today. Did you sleep well? I really feel your spirit!” Ni~ya stared blankly as YOMI continued. “I want to see more of this new Ni~ya! Show me the Ni~ya I’ve never seen! Give us more, shining Ni~ya!”
“I’ll try,” the bassist deadpanned.
Next was guitarist Hitsugi, who took a moment to admire the crowd. “This is a nice view. It’s too much. I feel funny.”
“Where do you ‘feel funny’?” YOMI leered as the camera focused on Hitsugi’s hands folded in front of his crotch.
“It’s a secret!” the guitarist answered before changing to less lecherous talk. “Yesterday, we had an in-store at Little Hearts. I lost a game and as punishment I had to yell “Little Hearts!” during the song, so I did, but there was no reaction. Did anyone catch it?” Only one girl raised her hand.
“It’s your birthday soon!” YOMI announced. A childish “happy birthday” tune struck up, and RUKA wheeled out a chocolate fountain with an assortment of strawberries, marshmallows, and other delicious things. Those were not meant for the birthday boy. Instead, YOMI held out a large mushroom. He dipped it in chocolate and held it out to Hitsugi as the rest of the band began to partake in the more typical fondue fare.
“Ugh, I’m crying,” the guitarist choked out as he tried to swallow the chocolate-covered fungus. “Shall I give you a strawberry?” YOMI asked before holding up something very different, a chocolate-dipped eggplant. “That looks dirty,” Hitsugi commented about the phallic vegetable before gamely taking a bite. “How is it?” YOMI asked. “Honestly? It’s horrible,” the guitarist answered, and he was finally treated to a chocolate covered strawberry. “I’ve got chocolate in my piercings,” he complained after finishing, though he admitted the strawberry was delicious and he was touched by the gesture. “I’m happy to see so many people gathered here. You only live once. You have to cherish your life.”
RUKA was already behind his drum kit, apparently hoping to avoid comment. “Give Hitsugi a birthday message!” YOMI told the drummer.
“Welcome,” RUKA said, a comment on the fact that Hitsugi, the youngest in the group, had reached his ’30s.
“Anything else?” YOMI prodded.
“Really?” YOMI asked, trying to get a little more out of him.
“Sorry for the interruption,” RUKA said, finished, and the fans began to protest.
Immediately YOMI jumped to his defense. “Hey, you try being up here! It’s hard!”
The encore started with the chilly “Rinne,” blue lights like falling raindrops lighting the stage. It led smoothly into “SLEEPER” with sharp drumming and oriental guitar line. The fans flicked their hands in the air in time with the beat.
“Mr. trash music” had electronic distortion over YOMI’s voice, which masked some of the vocalist’s tiredness. The fans jumped and moshed around their chairs, and Ni~ya made the most of the strong bass line. YOMI doubled over to headbang along with the fans. “Nightmare Japan is starting,” they growled as the stage displayed the full nine screens again, giving double shots of the members as they played heavily.
“Throw yourselves around!” YOMI yelled as the crowd went crazy below him for “Kyokutou Ranshin Tengoku.” “Last!” he screamed, stripping off his shirt, and the members crowded at the front of the stage to thrash together. RUKA took up a strong beat and the fans began to sing as the video screens showed lightning-filled clouds. “Nightmarish reality Tour Final 2012.03.02” filled the screen as the number finished. “I love you, Budokan!” YOMI called as the band exited again.
YOMI and Ni~ya then returned, arms around each other. “Today has been a really great live,” he said, but went on to note that it was almost the anniversary of something much more somber, the Great Tohoku Earthquake. “It was the first major quake of our lives, and we were shocked it was our home. We feel really grateful just to be living and doing our shows after all that destruction. We’ve been collecting money and volunteering and we’re going to keep working to help our hometown and we’d love for you to help us. We want to send the love of our fans to Tohoku.”
On that emotional note, the band began “Star[K]night” and fans raised and lowered their arms with the music. The song had a quiet power and fans swayed with the music, some joining hands and raising their arms over their heads. YOMI managed to pull out the song’s strong notes before the fans took over. Then the music sped up to a hyper-pop version of the melody and the song was played to a dizzy finish.
The band then ran to the wings to high-five close fans and thank the crowd. YOMI opened his arms wide and Sakito ran into them for a ridiculous romantic embrace as Hitsugi tossed out picks. “We’ll be back, just wait!” YOMI yelled. After such a visually and musically appealing show, no doubt fans will be eagerly awaiting that promised 5 appearance at the famous hall.
- BOYS BE SUSPICIOUS
- Gianiasm Ku
- Rei-beyond the G.-
- Gianism Shi
- RAY OF LIGHT
- to for
- The sorrow of deceiver
- Star Spangled Breaker
- Mr. trash music
- Crash! Nightmare Channel
- Kyokutou Ranshin Tengoku