Excitement could be felt in the air, as tens of thousands of fans of the four bands that would perform today in Day 2 of JAPAN NIGHT: SAYONARA KOKURITSU KYOGIJO flocked to the soon-to-be-closed stadium. Just like the previous day, at the entrance each attendee was given a lightstick.
The sun had not set yet when MAN WITH A MISSION opened the event of the day straight with evills fall, accompanied with pyroworks that were so hot they could be felt even by people who was sitting at the arena rows farthest from the stage. MWAM then proceeded with their hard-rocking songs that made audience jump and clap their hands energetically. During the second song, Get Off of My Way, vocalist Tokyo Tanaka even rolled on the floor! He then asked audience to have fun until the end. Clearly that was the audience’s plan!
Tokyo Tanaka, along with his band-mates Spear Rib (drums), DJ Santa Monica, Jean-Ken Johnny (guitar), and Kamikaze Boy (bass) performed a 6-song set. Never once they let their wolf masks slip off their heads. Their performance ended with Emotions which was closed by very loud firecrackers! Attendees roared together with the band with their fingers forming claws. It was a truly fiery kickstart to Day 2 of JAPAN NIGHT!
While the stage was being prepared for the next band, Sekai no Owari, a group of people wearing horse and rabbit masks came to the stage and occupied the extension stages to the sides. Their presence was not a mere sight to entertain the audience during the time gap; they also prepared the whole stadium to enter the world of Sekai no Owari – whose name actually means ‘the end of the world’.
The four members of the band then took to the stage, wearing their red costumes, and started their set with the beautifully epic Honoo to Mori no CARNIVAL. Every member looked to be very enjoying their performance, including DJ Love, although of course his face was hidden by his clown mask. Pianist Saori almost never stopped beaming her lovely smile! Singer Fukase and guitarist Nakajin took turns going to the far left or far right of the extension stages during Starlight Parade, spreading around their energy.
At the end of Gingagai no Akumu, Fukase said, “Tadaima (I’m home!)”, to which audience shouted back, “Okaeri (Welcome home!)” Their 5-song set was closed with RPG, with audience’s lightsticks turning blue and bubbles floating, flying in the air. It was the end of the dreamy world of Sekai no Owari – well, for the day, that is!
The three wonderful ladies of Perfume then stunned the audience with their combination of dance, music, and technology in their stage performance. At first on the stage we could only see holographic images of A-chan, Nocchi, and Kashiyuka on three screens at the center of the stage. But then the screens descended and we could see the girls on raised platforms. They started their set with edge, causing audience to scream excitedly. Voices calling the members’ names could be heard from the seats.
The lighting and images shown on the screen were truly a feast to the eyes – they had become Perfume’s trademark; and the audience too became involved as part of the show, as the lightsticks in their hands kept changing colours, especially during Magic of Love. The girls too interacted with the audience through their cute MC sessions. At one time, they asked boys to shout, then girls, then those who wore glasses, and those with some other characteristics. Audience shouted ‘disco!’ at the top of their lungs each time A-chan shouted ‘chocolate!’ during Chocolate Disco. Polyrhythm ended Perfume’s setlist for the day. The girls bowed really deep as a sign of their thanks and appreciation to the audience who had come to the stadium today.
Audience grew even more restless waiting for the final performer, the nation’s favourite L’Arc-en-Ciel. And when the side screens showed the band’s name, screams and shouts came from all corners of the stadium – and they only grew larger when eventually, one by one, Laruku members appeared on the stage and took their positions! Their first song was CHASE, and the giant side screens divided into four parts and zoomed-in on each member, so audience could see clearly what each was doing.
The crowd got even hotter with the next song, READY STEADY GO. They chanted along each time the song reached some parts like hayaku and hashiru, jumping up and down happily. L’Arc-en-ciel’s solid performance was made more awesome with the pyroworks that shot high up to the sky. Singer hyde was still as hypnotic as ever, taking turns with guitarist ken walking down the extension stages to get closer to the audience on the far left and the far right.
At the beginning of XXX, the stadium changed into a massive pink ocean. Some fans crossed their lightsticks together to form ‘X’. During BLESS, ken switched from the acoustic guitar he was playing at the first parts of the song to electric guitar, all in the blink of an eye. hyde also showed off his guitar skills in HONEY, while ken and bassist tetsu contributed the backing vocals.
Driver’s High brought audience to a new high further – and the enormous choir they formed made the hair on our backs rising. They also clapped their hands loudly during Link, which saw them being rained on with colourful streamers.
And what other Laruku song would be more fitting to close the farewell concert, as well as the history of Kokuritsu Kyogijo, but My Heart Draws a Dream? Before he began singing, hyde asked audience to sing together, which they did, but only in the ‘yume wo engaku yo’ part (and sometimes in my heart draws a dream part, when they saw that hyde wanted them to). The center screen which served as the backdrop for the band at the center stage showed images of Japan athletes in the past summer olympics.
Balloons of various colours were then released to the sky, like dreams soaring high, away to touch the hearts of so many other people all around the world.
Beautiful fireworks too guaranteed a memorable night. Goodbye, Kokuritsu Kyogijo, thank you for all the memories!
The two days of JAPAN NIGHT have successfully showcase the variety of Japanese popular music, with various artists from various genres. And although it was a farewell to Kokuritsu Kyogijo, it was not the end of JAPAN NIGHT. More JAPAN NIGHT events will be held in the coming years before 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games, including in foreign countries. Let’s pray that our countries will become a host for the next JAPAN NIGHT!
Good luck, Japan!
Picture source: OFFICIAL