We have to admit that we were waiting for the Hong Kong leg of GLAY Asia Tour 2013 JUSTICE & GUILTY with heart beating even faster than usual. Shadows of cancellation had been looming over the tour, with GLAY pulling out of the scheduled dates for Bangkok and Seoul due to various reasons. So it was with such a great relief when finally we saw them walking out of Arrival Hall B of Hong Kong International Airport on May 24th, surrounded by staffs and bodyguards, and quickly mobbed by fans.
TERU, TAKURO, JIRO, and HISASHI were all smiles (they walked in that order); but they dashed by so quickly, ushered by the bodyguards, straight to the limousine lounge. Fans tried to follow, pushing each other, and some falling during the process. HISASHI, who walked at the tail of the group, could only throw a glance but could not stop to offer help to fans lying on the floor. Over-excited fans even carelessly rushed on the turned-off escalator when they went after GLAY, endangering themselves and everybody else, so that the guards needed to hark at them to keep things under control. Only when the black cars with GLAY members inside had moved away then fans stopped and looked at each other, smiles and tears, happy to witness for themselves that their favourite band had really arrived in Hong Kong.
The next day, D-day, May 25th, 2013, we arrived at around 3pm in Asia World-Expo, where the concert was going to be held. Merchandise sales would open at 5, but the line was already quite long, extending to the outer corridors. By 4 pm, there were already too many people queuing, so they were moved to the hall directly facing the concert hall. Amazingly it was done without any disorder arising – everyone was just so patient, so orderly. While other fans lining up for the merchandise sale, fanbase staffs moved around, distributing banners and instructions for the surprise they had prepared for TAKURO.
About 10-15 minutes after 5, the sales were finally open. Unfortunately, because of the limited merchandise, one person might only buy one item per type. So we were not allowed to buy one yellow JUSTICE tote bag and one pink GUILTY tote bag, for instance; they were considered of the same type, so we could only choose one. Even when finally we got our turn, the towels were already sold out. We had to make do with a Hong Kong special tee (with HK’s beloved bauhinia) and a tote bag.
We then walked around to check what fans were doing. The conditions outside the concert hall were like an impromptu party into where GLAY fans from Hong Kong and neighbouring countries poured in – chitchatting with each other, signing banners, receiving free stickers… Everyone was expectant, their faces beaming.
And when the audience was finally allowed into the concert hall, a surprise was waiting for them. On every seat, lay a printed signed GLAY miniposter, with the writing ‘We just wanna say “Thank you” from bottom of our hearts for waiting!’ on it. The concert had not begun, but there were already teary eyes in the house!
Then, a little while after the promised time (19.30), a film noir-styled animation began to be played on the giant screens (there are three screens in total, a very big one at the center and two smaller ones to the right and the left of the stage). With the lights on, now the audience could clearly see that the left part of the stage (where HISASHI and JIRO usually stand) was set like a luxurious ballroom, while the right part was like a tattered back alley in a slum. GLAY then without hesitation appeared in black/red outfits and began their main set with one of the songs from their new (double) albums, JUSTICE [from] GUILTY, followed by a long-time favourite, Yuuwaku. Even from the beginning, we could see how excited GLAY were, and they couldn’t stop smiling through the concert, with TERU repeatedly shouting “Hong Kong! Come on!”
And, boy, the concert was very well-produced, with blaring but crisp-clear sound system, amazing lighting, breath-taking lasers, and wonderful pyroworks. The flames were so hot that we could feel them although we sat at Row P!
TERU then took the time to greet the Hong Kong audience, in Chinese and English. He explained that that night, they would play their greatest hits (along with brand new songs from JUSTICE and GUILTY). This was a very thoughtful move for out-of-the-country fans who seldom got the chance to watch GLAY performing live – in Japan, their setlists are more various, incorporating a lot of newer songs, sometimes containing only two or three old songs. Still it was a bit of a surprise to us when the third song to be performed was HEAVY GAUGE from 1999!
Then, before the next song, TERU said in English (he always tried to speak in English that night, with a minimum of Japanese, along with some cute broken attempt at Chinese): “We met a lot of people through this song. I sing it with all my heart and soul for each and every one of you.” Then the band launched into HOWEVER, that brought tears to many eyes of those who were present.
The atmosphere got heated up even more when TERU led the audience to spin their towels over their heads during Hana yo arashi yo. Some fans still turned their wrists in time with the music, as if they’re holding the towels, when actually they didn’t. Then imagine the screams when TERU threw his towel into the audience! He then showed the audience how to move their fists up and down while jumping during everKrack. Like Kusa yo arashi yo, everKrack is a new song in their latest album GUILTY, so the audience needed some examples to do the movement, but they caught up pretty soon!
After two more sweet songs – BE WITH YOU and Haru wo aisuru hito – GLAY disappeared from the stage, which went dark for a while. Then another VCR was played: this time of a ladyboy who said that she’d taken over the show and would give a hot and sexy performance. GLAY reappeared wearing white coats over their black/red costumes, except for JIRO who took off his coat to show black/white striped shirt, and now donned red-rimmed glasses. While the VCR continued, GLAY performed WHO KILLED MY DIVA. The audience laughed to see three masked-men show up on screens, shooting at the ladyboy with machine guns, but their bullets never hit their target. The three men took off their masks – to reveal HISASHI’s, JIRO’s, and TAKURO’s faces – while the ladyboy took off her clothes, wig, and even her face and turned into… TERU!
The fun continued with Super Ball 425, during which TERU asked the audience to mimic what he shouted at them. At first he led everyone to shout ‘yeah yeah yeah’, then only the ladies (with a high ‘yah’ to end their part), then only the boys (with heavy ‘woh woh woh’ to end theirs), and then the whole audience went together again. It was truly a fun song for a live performance, for both the band and the audience alike! This epic number was followed by two more old-time favourites, MERMAID and TOGETHER.
A funny moment happened at the beginning of BELOVED. The song was just started, and it was HISASHI’s turn to show his nimble fingerskill… when something went wrong. The song was brought to a halt amidst laughter, and JIRO tried to entice fans to jeer at HISASHI. More concerned fans shouted “HISASHI, daijoubu? (HISASHI, are you alright?)” instead. GLAY re-started the song, and now it proceeded beautifully. It was a mistake, but it just added to the intimacy of the concert, that somehow did not get diminished although the size of the hall was massive.
Then, before SOUL LOVE, TERU introduced the band members and the support musicians to the audience – starting from Toshi the drummer, Sei-chan the keyboardist, then GLAY members themselves, with TERU being the last. More old hits, Ikiteku Tsuyosa and Kanojo no “MODERN…”, defied the audience further to sit still. Then, not only TERU, JIRO too took the mic to sing some parts of SHUTTER SPEEDS no THEME. GLAY’s main set that night was closed with ACIDHEAD. They hadn’t even truly left the stage when their fans began shouting for encore. But of course, the audience had to wait for a while…
While waiting for the encore, some fans started chanting ‘I’m just in love, I’m just in love, oh singin’ my life’ as promised, but their chant was cut short when the giant screens started showing a History of GLAY video. Some giggles were heard when GLAY of the very old times appeared with all their glory on the screens. And audience once again broke into a chant, now louder than before, along with ‘I’m In Love’ video.
When GLAY returned to the stage wearing their Hong Kong tees, it’s time for the fanproject! The audience lifted up the pink banners bearing the words ‘TAKURO, OTANJOUBI OMEDETOU (Happy birthday, TAKURO)’. It was really a sweet surprise for TAKURO! He said in English, “Tomorrow I turn 42, I’m very old, but I’m still in a rock band.” Staff then pushed a guitar-shaped cake with candles to him. “I hope it will not explode…” The tall guitarist then blew off the candles, while TERU and the audience sang Happy Birthday to him.
Afterwards, GLAY asked the audience to record a video message for the fans in Taiwan, their next stop in the Asia tour. TERU’s Chinese drew some giggles, but it just added to the cheerful atmosphere.
First song to grace the encore was Zutto futari de, that gave way to the hair-rising epic song I’m In Love. The audience clapped their hands and lent their voices to the massive choir that got even more impressive when the music died down. Without the mic, TERU shouted outloud, calling “Hong Kong!”, truly connected with the so-much love flowing, filling the hall. We could also see how the eyes of the four band members glistened with drops of tears.
GLAY thanked the audience time and again. “Thank you for the encore.” And TERU again said in English, “We will see you soon. I promise!” So it looks like the future is bright for Hong Kong fans! The band members then threw signed frisbees and guitar/bass picks to the audience – some fell close to where we were standing, but well, it was a tough competition getting one!
But the night was not over yet. Hong Kong got a very special treatment in the form of a second encore. GLORIOUS became the true last song of the glorious night, before GLAY really said goodbye along with their last thanks. JIRO took pictures of the audience (probably you have seen the pic in the blogpost that he wrote), then walked backwards to the stage… only to stumble. He looked embarassed, but this was another funny, cute bonus for the audience!
TAKURO was the last to left the stage. He bowed for so long at the center of the stage, with his arms wrapped around his own body, as if he wanted to hug everyone in the audience. We wouldn’t be surprised if anyone who’d stopped crying began to sob again, looking at TAKURO summarizing all the love in that perfect night with that pose.
GLAY left Hong Kong the next day, boarding a JAL flight to Haneda. We managed to catch them near the gate. Even though they were in a hurry (they were the last to board the plane), they still spared some time to fans for signs and handshakes, and of course, shared smiles with their fans.
Thank you GLAY for the amazing experience!
Setlist GLAY Hong Kong 25052013
- JUSTICE [from] GUILTY
- HEAVY GAUGE
- Hana yo Arashi yo
- BE WITH YOU
- Haru wo aisuru hito
- WHO KILLED MY DIVA
- Super Ball 425
- SOUL LOVE
- Ikiteku Tsuyosa
- Kanojo no “MODERN…”
- SHUTTER SPEEDS no THEME
- Zutto futari de
- I’m in Love