Continuing their tradition since 2014, this year SuG held more of their VersuS lives, culminating in the VersuS 2016 EXTRA [COUNTDOWN] in Toyosu PIT in Tokyo on December 30, 2016. Fans flocked to the venue, which was only a few hundred steps away from Shin Toyosu station, eager to enjoy the performance of their favourite band in two ‘versions’.
Just like the name of the tour/live suggests, VersuS is about two ‘versions’ of SuG competing with each other. Gokuaku SuG is the dark, edgy one, while Gokusai SuG is colourful and merry. Before this EXTRA live, they held the VersuS tour (complete with a ‘referee’!) in several Japanese cities, collecting dbpt (‘decibel points’) from how loud the applause given by the audience after their performance was. The winning side of the competition will be given the chance to release a CD. No wonder both SuGs and their fans were very pumped up in trying to win!
When the two SuGs set foot on Toyosu PIT stage, the difference in their points was so close: 2,681 dbpt for Gokuaku SuG and 2,682 dbpt for Gokusai SuG. Gokuaku SuG got the first turn to show their might to the audience. After a VCR showing the two competing SuGs, Gokuaku SuG stepped on stage and without further ado began rocking the hall, as fans screamed welcoming them. The members were clad in black; while the others sported a skeleton shirt, vocalist Takeru, ever-so stylish, wore an oversized jacket. They opened their set with KILL KILL, inviting the audience to move their bodies from the start. They continued riling up the audience with the official theme song they made for the basketball team Passlab Yamagata Wyverns, FLY WYVERNS.
After the fourth song, sweeToxic, Gokuaku SuG took a breather as the audience was given 10 seconds to scream and shout to show their support and call the name of their favourite member(s). From this, Gokuaku SuG collected 109 dbpt! Guitarists Masato and Yuji and bassist Chiyu – acting scarier than their usual personalities – gave a few words of gratitude and happiness because the final was eventually here.
They then launched the second round of songs of old and new songs that showcased their rich sound and exploration of different genres. The members ran here and there on the main stage and the extension, causing fans to scream even louder and jump even more energetically. After Pimp My Cars, which was a very fun song, Takeru disappeared to the backstage, letting the other members showed off their skills with their respective music instrument. Every time a member did a solo, their fans lifted up their arms in a movement known in VK world as ‘saku’ (blooming). Takeru then returned, now with a checkered shirt on.
Masato and Yuji took turns being the lead guitarist, with examples being Yuji’s emotional lead in UMBILICAL and Masato’s funky riffs in ZIG ZAG. When they performed an old favourite, heavy+electro+dance+punk, the audience turned into an awesome mess of hair thrown to every direction as they headbanged and folded their bodies quickly in oritatami. Masato then stepped up to the front and opened the last song, HELL YEAH that defied the audience not to headbang and handclap along! Gokuaku SuG ended their performance brilliantly, but was what they’d done enough to beat Gokusai SuG?
While Gokusai SuG was preparing, the giant screen showed a video summary of the VersuS lives from 2014, including the latest tour and how the points were collected in every gig. When the video had finished playing, the audience got a surprise: Instead of just walking on to the stage from the backstage, Gokusai SuG appeared from the side doors, moving through the audience to the stage. No wonder the fans screamed so loud! And they didn’t have to wait for long anymore after that, because Gokusai SuG launched straight into SICK’S, followed by FRIDAY!! and its delicious bass-slapping from Chiyu.
The audience only got even more energetic during Fast Food Hunters. When their shouted was graded after CRY OUT, they scored 114 dpbt for Gokusai SuG! This put a big smile on Gokusai SuG’s faces. Drummer Shinpei said he hoped SuG would one day hold a nationwide tour! Takeru too thanked fans who’d supported them along the way.
The atmosphere then turned melancholic as lights dimmed and falling sakura petals adorned the backdrop screen. The romantic, sentimental image alternated with pictures of fire, the Milky Way, and fireworks as SuG performed Sakura-Ame. The screen then showed the lyrics to teenAge dream, making it easy for the audience who wanted to sing along, despite quietly.
But when the screen ran a video of Gokuaku SuG smirking at Gokusai SuG, Chiyu lifted up his middle finger at them! This made the audience laugh. Chiyu, Yuji, and Masato then gathered at the center of the stage, and along with Shinpei, showed off their individual skills, resolved not to give in to their rivals!
Takeru, who had again let his friends reign the stage without him for their solos, re-appeared with a cropped jacket, and he danced as Gokusai SuG performed Vi-Vi-Vi. Before the next song, Mugen Styles, Chiyu told the audience to get their muffler towels out. Lead by Chiyu’s and Shinpei’s rhythm, they swirled and thrown their towels to the air. Takeru, whose voice was still strong and clear, now got help from Yuji’s and Chiyu’s rapping.
Yuji continued his rap in Shanghai Honey, and so did Takeru. It felt like temperature had gone through the roof as Yuji, Chiyu, and Masato again gathered on the center platform, doing oritatami with the audience. And finally, Gokusai SuG closed their second round of songs with the classic Koakuma Sparkling. Chiyu sweetly gave a heart sign to the camera!
Results of the second round for both Gokuaku SuG and Gokusai SuG were then announced. Gokuaku SuG scored 116 dbpt, while Gokusai SuG swept 121 dbpt! Gokusai SuG had won with 2917 dbpt to Gokuaku SuG’s 2906 dbpt! Fans clapped and yelled, celebrating the victory. This means they could expect a record from Gokusai SuG soon! The colourful SuG then performed the last song in their main setlist, the cheerful B.A.B.Y. Chiyu and Takeru stood together in the middle platform, and jumped together with the audience.
Fans then got a big surprise: SuG announced that in 2017, their 10th year together as a band, they would perform in Nippon Budokan on September 2! They also announced a string of activities that they would hold in 2017, making fans unable to hide their excitement!
Although SuG had performed a total of 21 songs, it was of course not enough for the fans. As soon as SuG disappeared from the stage, they shouted asking for encore. Their request was granted – SuG returned to stage with their new visuals, sporting ties and black leather jackets. They presented two more songs, gr8 story and Smells Like Virgin Spirit—and during the last song, SuG allowed the audience to take pictures or record videos, to be shown to their friends and other people! During the song, Takeru gave the mic to the audience, who quickly turned into a massive choir.
When finally the live was really over, SuG asked fans to hold hands and jumped together. Takeru lifted his small finger, and the audience replied him with the same gesture. A promise had been made! SuG just couldn’t thank their fans, who’d stood firm with them through high and low, enough. They had to excuse themselves now, but they’re ready to spend more fun time with their fans in 2017.
VersuS 2016 EXTRA [COUNTDOWN] was a great way to end the year, and to open new pages in their 10th year as a band! Check SuG’s official website for more information about the activities they had planned for 2017. And see you in Nippon Budokan!
SuG VersuS 2016 EXTRA [COUNTDOWN] 30122016 setlist
- KILL KILL
- FLY WYVERNS
- BLOODY MARY
- Pimp My Cars
- SCREAM IT LOUDER
- ZIG ZAG
- HELL YEAH
- SICK’ S
- Fast Food Hunters
- CRY OUT
- teenAge dream
- Mugen Styles
- Shanghai Honey
- Koakuma Sparkling
(announcement of results)
- gr8 story
- Smells Like Virgin Spirit