The atmosphere was tense with anticipation.
Tonight was an Angelo-sponsored event, THE INTERSECTION OF DOGMA, held before their two-days one-man in Zepp DiverCity, Odaiba, Tokyo. Not only Angelo, the other bands slotted to play promised an amazing night already: RIZE, lynch., and FAKE? But many people came for the one band that had had to disband three years previously due to a rare throat condition suffered by their singer HIZUMI: D’espairsRay. Tickets were difficult to find – they were sold out long before the day of the event – and D’espairsRay’s goods made especially for that day were quickly snatched away by hungry fans. The band gave fanservice too for every 5,000 yen spent: a random signed photo-postcard of the band members. There’s a limit to the number of each type of goods that may be purchased by each person, though.
The event started a bit late than it should have been; there was some problem (we don’t know what) during the process of the audience entering the live hall. And as usual in Japanese multiband events (except for New Year’s Eve events), the band order was not announced. The audience was only sure about one thing: that Angelo, as sponsors of the event, would play last. So no wonder fans screamed outloud when D’espairsRay’s name flashed on the screens. They rushed forward to be closer to the stage. Everybody wanted to bear witness to the return of the much-beloved HIZUMI.
TSUKASA, Karyu, and ZERO entered first. Their entrance was enough to entice fans to scream some more, but the real deal was when finally HIZUMI walked on to the stage, clad in an umbrella sleeveless T-shirt and a coat over it. The livehall exploded with fans’ voices screaming his name.
TSUKASA started drumming away with Garnet, and the rest of the band joined in. There was this moment when anticipation peaked as HIZUMI approached the mic stand… then he took the mic and started singing, and three and a half years of waiting melted away into the past. All those years culminated in a short setlist consisting of four songs, but it all felt worth it. D’espairsRay continued with DEATH POINT, DEVIL’S PARADE, and MIRROR. The setlist seemed to be carefully chosen so that HIZUMI wouldn’t force himself too much and kept growling at a minimum, but fans sang with him, as if wanting to lend him their strength too. It was a truly emotional moment, and many fans shed happy tears of seeing the return of the band, and especially of HIZUMI.
The second slot was filled by FAKE? The members of the band came out one by one, with Ken Lloyd appearing last, wearing a gas mask that he kept on while performing the first song, HEDFUC. FAKE? heated up the crowd more with their energy-driven songs like SOMEDAY, Lucifer’s Cut, and EVERGLOW. Ken sang, jumped, enticed fans to follow his lead in having fun. Not only Ken, but the supporting members such as bassist u:zo and drummer Yamagata Ryo presented a blazing performance; and when they finally had to say goodbye with RADIO’S DEAD, again fans felt that the shortlist was too short. But that’s the way it goes with multiband events.
Third performer was the Nagoya band lynch., looking stunning in their black outfits. They launched their set with a song from their EP that was released last year, EXODUS, followed by DEVIL. The night quickly turned too hot for singer Hazuki too: after just one song, he took off his coat, baring his tattooed arms for everyone to see. Now here’s one thing with lynch.: they might not be the band that makes you want to follow them, but anyone who watches their live performance would agree that they’re a solid, very good band. They proceeded through a longer setlist than the other invited bands – with GREED, an illusion, INVINCIBLE, MIRRORS, and closed by ADORE. lynch. performed a total of sweat-inducing seven songs.
Next was RIZE, with their hip-hop/metal/punk crossover music, burning the crowd some more since the start with KAMI. Audience joined singer Jesse McFaddin (stylised JESSE) as he with light-speed burst words from his mouth, jumping here and there, sometimes with a guitar, sometimes with only a mic. He mentioned about how, despite the possibility of getting everything on the Internet nowadays, going to lives is important to experience ‘the shit’. We surely agree that merely watching concerts on DVDs or Youtube could not match the full experience one can get in a live! After performing ZERO, RIZE presented two new songs for their fans: LOVE HATE (the title of their forthcoming 2014 tour) and SUCKER. Things were deliciously a bit chaotic, with JESSE climbing up the speakers and finally diving to the audience, who were also energetically moving their bodies at the front rows. Gunshot and KAMINARI finished RIZE’s powerful set.
It’s time, then, for the main stars of the night: Angelo. Karyu, who earlier played with D’espairsRay, looked more than ready to rock again, working hand in hand with the other guitarist, Giru. Bass KOHTA and drums TAKEO faithfully built the backbone of Angelo’s music since the first song, FAITH. Rake-thin Kirito, clad in black like the rest of his band, looked majestic; but as well as radiating charisma, he also cracked a joke every now and then that made the livehall filled by laughter.
Angelo of course deserved an encore, but fans who shouted asking for it probably did not even expect that for the encore (REBORN), the band was accompanied by special guests: Hazuki, Ken Lloyd, and… HIZUMI! Again D’espairsRay’s fans screamed and pushed to the front, to get a better view of their beloved singer. And when finally he growled, tears started to fall again, including, some say, from Karyu’s eyes. What a fitting song title to end the night that witnessed the rebirth of a band whom some people think could never return from uncertainty.
True, D’espairsRay still had no plans of what to do as a band after their reunion performance in Angelo’s event that night, but they managed to show that they’re still as solid as ever. If it’s not due to the unfortunate twist of fate, D’espairsRay would have still been going on strong. Tonight, they once again basked in glory and their fans’ love. Okaeri!
Angelo setlist 29072014
- Script error
- MADMAN MAKE QUANTUM VARIATION
- シナプス (SYNAPSE)
REBORN (with lynch.’s Hazuki, D’espairsRay’s HIZUMI, and FAKE?’s Ken Lloyd
With additional reporting by Kasa (signed postcards of D’espairsRay also belong to her)