Rayflower LIVE 2014 SUMMER

Live Report

by Maya Kawaguchi, posted January 19, 2015

2014 has been a busy year for Rayflower; actively performing live, going on tours, and successfully executing their oneman final at Shinjuku BLAZE in March. The band then kicked off their summer with a strikingly vibrant, sold-out oneman at Akasaka BLITZ that no doubt swept away the packed venue.

2014 has been a busy year for Rayflower; actively performing live, going on tours, and successfully executing their oneman final at Shinjuku BLAZE in March. The band then kicked off their summer with a strikingly vibrant, sold-out oneman at Akasaka BLITZ that no doubt swept away the packed venue.

The lights dropped abruptly before numerous blue glints began to swirl through the house. Bright illuminated then white-washed the stage. By the time the lights gradually allowed for a normal vision of the stage, the members—keyboardist Keiichi Miyako (SOPHIA), guitarist YUKI (ex-Λucifer), bassist IKUO (BULL ZECHIEN88), and drummer Sakura (ZIGZO)—appeared to a welcoming roar of applause and shouts. The roar was at its maximum when vocalist Takayuki Tazawa (ex-Waive) set foot onstage.  

From start, the band got the audience warmed up with the melodious “SOCIAL NETWORK GENERATION.” The audience swayed their hands to the upbeat tune as the band’s energetic vibe swept the show into full bloom. “Are you ready, Akasaka?” shouted Tazawa as the heavy “NIGHT SHADE” stormed in with hundreds of fists shooting up in the air. The exuberant energy released by the band constantly gripped the crowd—Tazawa’s avid vocals especially empowering the music. YUKI’s elegantly performed guitar solo had the crowd swaying their raised hands back and forth while Miyako’s fingers raced across the keys. Piano flowed smoothly as the temperately-paced rock number “Garbera” gave a further boost to the mood. Abiding by the rhythm of the music, fans fluttered their hands while Tazawa stretched his hand in the air with a satisfied grin.  

As his satisfied expression burst into words, Tazawa shouted, “Akasaka! How are you? We are Rayflower!” The venue erupted into cheers before he resumed with, “It’s been approximately six months since our last live but it seems like just yesterday. You know what? We have been waiting for this day to come. Though we are not youngsters at our age, as a band, we have a ways yet to go,” the vocalist joked. “I hope we can put all we’ve got into the live and let you all enjoy this time!”   

The venue heated up as the live resumed with “Border Line,” YUKI and IKUO providing hefty backing vocals. Hundreds of hands swirled in the air to the chorus as Tazawa urged the fans for more, placing himself closer to their grasping hands. It was Miyako’s time to shine as he geared up with a handy portable keyboard for a brilliant solo which was the highlight of the song. “Uragiri no nai Sekai made” followed with a fiery start as lights flashed from the back of the stage, sparking violently to the energizing music. Despite the extensive high-tones of his voice, Tazawa sang quite deeply, showing off his unimaginably wide range. Blue light swirled slowly for the next number, “libra,” which drew the venue into a mysterious atmosphere. Though deep in nature, there was a vibrancy to the song brought about by the haunting illumination of Miyako’s solo. Then, the light and groovy “Kizuna” followed with Tazawa keeping the rhythm by tapping a hand to his head as he urged the crowed to follow suit. YUKI’s dancing guitar put spice into the music as “Shinjitsu no Mori no Naka de” had the audience fixated to the stage. Within the number, each member presented a breathtaking solo, starting with a dynamic show from Miyako on his portable keyboard and moving on to IKUO who raced his fingers across the chords, bringing about a melodious bass line. The spotlight cast down on Sakura next as he stroked an intricate rhythm and came to rest on YUKI who brought about a refreshing guitar line to cap off the solo series. Not to be forgotten, the astonishingly powerful vocalist had his say as his strong performance led the way to the end of the song, earning cheers from the audience. 

Tazawa began his emcee somewhat out of breath. “Are you all enjoying it?” Cheers and shouts filled the venue to confirm. A story of Sakura’s smoking took over for time but Tazawa resumed with an announcement: “We are filming this live today so it will be on DVD! When the DVD is out, please tell your friends about it and spread our name! Anyway, other announcements will follow later. As I said before, there are things that can only be made here, right now, so enjoy the show with us!” 

Applause arose as the band readied themselves for the next song, “Aoi Ito.” A mirror ball rotated slowly as the mid-tempo ballad flowed throughout the quiet venue. A variety of tempos and tunes intricately intertwined in the music as Tazawa sang out mightily. Following this came an encouraging number called “Words Of The Wise Man~Toki no Okurimono~.” Slow yet uplifting, this song wrapped the venue in a bright melody that kept the fans in an appreciative state from start to finish. 

“This is the time to shout out your favorite member’s name!” suggested Tazawa with an ear-to-ear grin on his face. The audience gave all they had, shouting each member’s name as they were introduced one by one with some stories to give them character. The venue laughed their eyes out at the description of IKUO’s unique sneeze, reportedly witnessed by his fellow bandmates. Though no sneeze was heard that day, IKUO agreed to catch the sneeze on camera some time for their official YouTube channel. YUKI, meanwhile, had just returned to Japan from overseas and confessed having been mistaken for a cross dresser as he was choosing girls clothes as a gift for his niece. Next, the venue erupted into even greater peals of laughter in response to a surprise from drummer Sakura who took off his hat and wig to reveal his newly shaven head while lecturing about the game Yakyuken (strip rock-scissors-paper). Keyboardist and leader Miyako then talked about how he was always excited to rehearse with the members and expressed his gratitude toward the fans. With some announcements of new goods sold on the day, the attention was focused on vocalist Tazawa once again. Briefly introducing himself with a roar of applause from the audience, he said, “It has been approximately three and a half years since Rayflower became active but only recently have we become a live band doing tours and all. Okay, shall we go to the next song? From here begins the towel zone. The red zone. Give it all you’ve got! Here we go!”

 

The live resumed with the coupling song, “CARDIO BURN” from the band’s latest single release U-TOPIA. Vivid lights flickered to the energetic beat while Miyako passionately struck the keys, standing up to urge the audience for more. Hundreds of fists shot up into the air as Tazawa travelled from one end of the stage to the other, teaming up with IKUO to ignite the audience. The following, “Make A Judgement” was a towel-swinging frenzy, with YUKI’s feisty guitar solo enthralling the crowd. “Runaway Brain” made things a lot heavier with IKUO’s hefty bass careering as the fans swing their hands to the music. The members headbanged to the beat and fans followed suit, seeing the atmosphere hit its max intensity as Sakura hit the drums hard to finish.  

Tazawa spoke briefly before the last few songs. “I feel we all learn from our fans and we appreciate all of you for coming to our lives. I am fortunate to stand here at a live and spread the culture of music to the people who are here today. Some songs we played today, we will play in the future. However, some songs performed at this venue will probably have been the last. Please keep that in mind.” 

Tazawa’s vibrant vocals brought the return of the music “Inishie.” Fans swayed their hands energetically as the live regained its power. Then, shouting out loud, “One! Two!” and tapping the drumsticks, Sakura led the venue into “Hanataba~from rose with love~.” The crowd was showered with bright light as the song grew stronger. Even after 1fifteen songs, Tazawa retained perfect fluency in his voice as he smiled at the audience, basking in the flood of applause.  

Did you enjoy the show? I believe that Rayflower has finally become a live band,” he reiterated. “This year, we went on tour in March and after a few months we are playing at this place.” Well-renowned, Akasaka BLITZ is certainly a feather in the band’s cap at such an early stage. Tazawa went on to announce that Rayflower will have a oneman live in December at Roppongi to finish the year and the audience roared their approval. 

The band then closed their live with the recently released single, “U-TOPIA.” As Tazawa and YUKI made their way to the center, hands waved in the air to the catchy music. YUKI and IKUO gave a synchronized twirl during the main melody and all of the band wore equally bright smiles as the night concluded. Enveloped in the bright lights, Rayflower thanked the audience and showered picks and towels on the crowd in return for the applause they received. 

This year has been a year of exceptional live activity for Rayflower with another tour in October and, at last, their final live of 2014 to be held in Roppongi. Before launching into the final number of the show at Akasaka BLITZ, Tazawa shared a hope worth remembering with the glowing audience: “I hope Rayflower’s lives can be a place for our fans to enjoy themselves and have fun—a ‘Utopia’ for our fans.” Rayflower’s Utopia awaits experiencing in the final quarter of 2014 and hopefully beyond as this band’s promising future unwinds.

Set List

  1. SOCIAL NETWORK GENERATION
  2. NIGHT SHADE
  3. Garbera
  4. Border Line
  5. Uragiri no nai Sekai made
  6. libra
  7. Kizuna
  8. Shinjitsu no Mori no Naka de
  9. Aoi Ito
  10. Words Of The Wise Man~Toki no Okurimono~
  11. CARDIO BURN
  12. Make A Judgement
  13. Runaway Brain
  14. Inishie
  15. Hanataba~from rose with love~
  16. U-TOPIA

Maya Kawaguchi is a Japanese native who grew up in California. She was introduced to VK in college and soon became fascinated by the genre and nagoya-oriented bands in particular. Since then, she has been surprised by the number of foreigners who are interested in VK and hopes to introduce this world to as many potential fans as possible.

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