SuG onemanshow 2013 update ver. 0

Live Report

by chi.yow, posted January 19, 2014

Yoyogi National Stadium’s Second Gymnasium was abuzz with excitement on December 29—the reason being SuG’s return to the visual kei scene with “SuG onemanshow 2013 update ver. 0.” A late start only helped add to the atmosphere of tense anticipation as it had been an entire year since the band had paused their official activities in the very same venue. When the lights went down, everyone was ready to welcome the heavy positive rockers with open arms and screams of joy.

A light show displaying the title of the live and SuG’s logo played on the thin curtains before the piano intro for “0 song” filtered in, bringing a surge of nostalgia as the ballad had been the final song for the pre-hiatus live. The curtains were inexplicably closed, even as vocalist Takeru’s soft vocals welcomed the crowd back while guitarists yuji and masato, bassist Chiyu, and drummer shinpei could be seen playing through the back-lit meshes. However, this was only the calm before the storm as “gr8 story” kicked off the revival with a bang—literally. A stage cannon was set off once the curtains dropped to fully reunite the audience with the band.  The pop-ish song had the audience waving along as per Takeru’s cues, with yuji throwing up his arms to beckon the crowd to raise their energy higher. Following with “Life 2 Die” Chiyu took a turn in running out to the end of the right side ramp while Takeru led the crowd in a round of synchronized side-to-side headbanging. The vocalist held his hands to his ears in an “I can’t hear you!” gesture to encourage more calls.

“Good evening, this is SuG! We have returned!” Takeru shouted out repeatedly, receiving calls of “Welcome back!” each time. “Thank you for waiting. There are so many people here today, even after so much trouble. We apologize for that.” Receiving reassurance from the fans that they were forgiven for the year long hiatus, SuG brought out “39GalaxyZ” which Takeru referred to as their “best song” in homage to their fanclub’s name. Back-up dancers bearing sparkly pompoms came out to cheer along to the playful and upbeat song, assisting the band members in prompting the crowd to clap and jump. As masato took center stage for his guitar solo, yuji and Chiyu had their own headbanging session at their side of the stage. Red flickering lights and a warped Japanese traditional intro then marked the beginning of “-bushido-FREAKY.” Takeru flashed his palm out to the audience at set intervals as he traveled about the large stage before the song finished with another round of mass headbanging.

The starting guitar chords for “UMBILICAL” were received with a brief moment of cheers before Takeru’s sweet and emotional vocals changed the atmosphere into a more serene and melancholy one. The vocalist held out the last note as the song concluded before the stage was plunged into darkness. masato reappeared via spotlight moments later to fire off a series of guitar riffs before being joined by shinpei for a full-out jam session. shinpei’s solo highlight contained a succession of rapid drum lines before he was rejoined by masato who brought their session to a smashing finish that smoothly transitioned to the creepy sounds of “welcome II.” For this, Chiyu and yuji returned as well, followed by Takeru sporting a pink fur coat for the popular dark rock tune of “mad$hip.” This had the crowd jumping and shaking the venue as the vocalist half-rapped, half-sang the lyrics alongside the heavy guitars and crashing cymbals. yuji enthusiastically joined with the others in headbanging along to the aggressive noise. Chiyu ran down the right side ramp during “R.P.G. ~Rockin’ Playing Game” to call for more energy, kicking as he plucked his bass strings. Takeru quickly threw aside his coat to better dash about the stage, holding his hands to his ears once more to get the crowd to sing along. “Shall we dance together, everyone?” Takeru cheekily asked before the silly and infectious “Koakuma Sparkling” sounded out; prompting everyone to follow the vocalist as he waved his arms about. Not being one to stay still to such a catchy tune, yuji leaped about the stage until it came time to play out his solo.

“Our songs keep meaning more and more to me as the years go by. Even though every one of these songs is full of the messages I want to convey, they just keep growing in meaning as time passes. Everyone, our time today is short but I want to continue to convey these feelings to you. Thank you, even after one year, for being here. Next year, we will make it even more wonderful but for now, please listen.” Following up the heartfelt and sincere declaration with “Mujouken Koufukoron,” Takeru poured out more of his heart to the crowd; his sweeter vocals evoking memories of a bittersweet past and fading until the last verse was almost a whisper. “Kuchizuke” then followed with soft guitar chords before Takeru began to croon—alternating between calm and solemn vocals and emotional wailing in accordance to the music as carnival and merry-go-round images nostalgically drifted across the backscreen.

DJ yuji then made his appearance to break up the somber atmosphere after the consecutive ballads; scratching and spinning a crazy mix before Chiyu sauntered out from stage right with his saxophone, sending fans into cheers of delight and surprise as the duo transformed the venue into a giant modern jazz club. As Chiyu showed off his more extensive saxophone repertoire, yuji picked up his guitar once again to join the bassist at center stage, jamming out for a few more moments before the dark and eerie “Lollipop Kingdom” called masato and shinpei back to the main stage. Takeru took a place at the top back platform, overlooking the audience as he sang and making an impression of a deranged marionette for “Pastel Horror Yum Yum Show.” The backup dancers returned in more provocative outfits, joining Takeru to lead the audience in the choreography. A toy box intro played before shinpei’s drums took over for “Howling Magic;” the lights reigniting the stage to reveal a guitar-bearing Takeru. “Come on, everyone!” Takeru called out to encourage the audience to clap in sync with the violins.

“Are you having fun Tokyo?” Takeru queried repeatedly. “I was so nervous last night that I couldn’t sleep and I almost tweeted ‘Yesterday’s live’ instead of ‘Tomorrow’s.’”

yuji explained enthusiastically to his bandmates’ looks of confusion after his outburst: ”It’s been one year since we’ve been on the stage together so of course I want to yell out, ‘Yeah!’”

“Today’s been really amazing. We’re back! Thank you for today, even though time is short,” greeted Chiyu.

masato moved up to his microphone next, his comments mainly about some of the troubles they had faced, to which yuji once again injected a random “Yeah!” but shinpei kept his remarks short and simple with, “It’s been a year, and today’s been the best so far.”

Takeru took back the microphone to share his stories of how he had tried studying things like English… and barbequing… but nothing had felt quite right. “Standing here again, I thought, ‘This is where I belong.’”

Following the members’ reflections, the heavy guitars of “Toy Soldier” sent the crowd right to SuG’s version of boot camp—the first enthusiastically carried out set of orders including saluting and marching to the beat under the playful direction of General Takeru. Other rules included putting all of one’s energy into having fun and the members gave an example with a mock “shooting” using their instruments. “You’re not done yet, right? Keep going!” “☆GimmexGimme☆” kept the crowd’s energy high as the playful song injected another dose of cavity-inducing sweetness to the atmosphere; the band members happily running about to different areas of the large stage. Closing their main set with the free-spirited “Fukanzen Beautyfool Days,” Takeru directed the crowd to jump and yell along to the chorus while shinpei kept the beat with a large grin stretched across his face.

The calls for an encore came immediately—the audience members eager for more after a year of separation. Evidently, the band felt the same as they quickly returned and restarted the show with the funky “sweeToxic” that once more had the crowd jumping along. The dancers also made a re-appearance, eluding to the erotic undertones of the song with their scantily dressed manner. Following up, Takeru left off singing the first verses of “Vi-Vi-Vi” in order to encourage the crowd to keep their energy high for the cutesy number.

“It’s really been a long time. Thank you for the encore call! It’s been one year. Everyone, I’m happy that you all waited for us, even with all the things that happened: Thank you.” Takeru then prompted shinpei to take the mic to address the fans once more.

“It’s been one year, and it’s been an amazing day. I am incredibly happy and thankful to be standing onstage with everyone again.” It was an emotional moment for shinpei as he fought to hold back tears after this statement, thanking the audience after a pause to collect himself.

Chiyu was then called: “I thought about what I wanted to say today but then I thought it would be better if I just spoke on the spot. Standing here and seeing everyone’s faces is awesome. It really feels like ‘We’re back!’ Thank you for all the messages in the past year. ”

yuji’s contribution was anything but serious, resulting in a jumping impersonation of the Funabashi mascot, Funasshi-kun. masato was hesitant to give his opinion but eventyually spoke, “I’ve working on many things about myself, trying new things. I wanted to try the drums, actually. Thank you for today. I was able to sense your feelings despite the short time. I will return those feelings fully. From here on out, please keep looking after us!”

As the guitarist took a bow, the calls for Takeru rose to deafening volumes. “It’s been a long time since I’ve smiled this much and this big. Thank you. It’s been fun today. Thank you! Thank you for all the messages given over the last year! Next year will be even better!”

Fans were then treated to a full preview of the band’s upcoming new single “MISSING,” the heavy hitting intro prompting instant headbanging madness. The new song acted as a gate to release emotions that had built up during the hiatus including a range of moods such as rage, frustration, happiness, and  notes of melancholy with varying interludes featuring Takeru’s softer vocal range between his powerful shouts alongside shinpei’s hard-hitting drums and masato’s keening guitar. SuG then cranked it up another notch with the fierce “heavy+electro+dance+punk” that sent the entire venue into another headbanging frenzy.

“The last year has been painful, hasn’t it? Thank you for today; it wouldn’t be the same without you. It’s really fun to speak! I actually had prepared a lot of things to say before the live but for some reason, all I can say is that ‘It’s been fun today,’ which is really frustrating! I tried to act cool in the pre-live interview when I said that I wanted to give a live that everyone could enjoy but I never thought before how it could take so many things in order to get that ‘fun’ feeling. I don’t want to half-ass today.” In that spirit, promises were made and the next ‘0’ installment, “dot.0,” was presented. Takeru choked up with the overflow of emotion and had some difficulties singing but yuji stepped in during those moments until the vocalist recovered. “It’s been a while. Please look forward to next year’s plans!” Takeru requested before “LOVE SCREAM PARTY” kicked the show back into high gear with an explosive energy that had everyone dancing about. Takeru squatted on the front podium mid-song to gauge the front rows’ enthusiasm while Chiyu came up from behind to ruffle the vocalist’s hair before skillfully slapping some bass notes. “Tokidoki suteki na kono sekai” then brought the live to a close with grand trumpets and one last blast of spirited energy, the audience joining in for the last round of choruses to complete the reunion.

In short, SuG made a smashing comeback at Yoyogi National Stadium before the start of a brand new year, proving that they had not lost their touch and are ready to pick up where they left off: to rock the world with their heavy positive rock. As such, they announced a tour to promote their first single release of 2014 with stops all across Japan as well as wider Asia. With shows in Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Korea on the table, SuG is back in full!

Set List

  1. 0 song
  2. gr8 story
  3. Life 2 Die
  4. 39GalaxyZ
  5. -bushido-FREAKY
  6. UMBILICAL
  7. -masato & shinpei session-
  8. welcome II
  9. mad$hip
  10. R.P.G. ~Rockin’ Playing Game
  11. Koakuma Sparkling
  12. Mujouken Kofukoron <album version>
  13. [Kuchizuke]
  14. -yuji & Chiyu session-
  15. Lollipop Kingdom
  16. Pastel Horror Yum Yum Show
  17. Howling Magic
  18. Toy Soldier
  19. ☆GimmexGimme☆
  20. Fukanzen Beautyfool Days

Encore

  1. sweeToxic
  2. Vi-Vi-Vi
  3. MISSING
  4. heavy+electro+dance+punk
  5. dot.0
  6. LOVE SCREAM PARTY
  7. Tokidoki suteki na kono sekai

VK Exclusive

There are 19 photos in this visual kei exclusive.

Chi’s interest in visual kei stems from her love of art. The unique aesthetics in combination with the wide range of musical styles within the genre have been what has kept her interest in the visual kei scene for over a decade. The main image her friends and classmates have of her is with a camera in hand, face behind the viewfinder or screen. This image is also occasionally combined with memories of running around her to avoid getting into her panorama shots.

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