In April, A9 released their 2nd EP “LIGHT AND DARKNESS,” featuring new music that showcases their brand new sound. To celebrate, they held a nationwide tour with 16 stops titled “TRUTH IN LIGHT AND DARKNESS.” The final stop took place in the heart of Tokyo at TSUTAYA O-EAST on May 29th, where over 2,000 fans crowded into the venue to see and hear A9’s new music.
Drummer Nao stepped onto the stage first without any music or introduction whatsoever, but with much applause. He took his seat at the drumset and began to play. One by one, the other members took their place and added to the music: Saga on bass, Hiroto and Tora on guitar, and finally, Show on vocals.
For the first part of the show, the main feature was the absence of light. No stage lights were used during their performance. The only source came from fans’ light bracelets (in 9 colors!) and from stunning visuals displayed on a giant projector screen.
Their set began with SILVER, the jazzy rhythm and Show’s clear vocals making fans clap. Cheers erupted after the song was finished. The set featured remixes of keystone songs Hana and RAINBOWS.
The most stunning song of Part 1 was the last song, Hello, World. It began with a crazy solo by Hiroto, punctuated by fans’ clapping and visuals of outer space (including astronauts) on the projection screen. Instead of Show’s vocals, the verses were an impassioned monologue by bassist Saga, later joined by Show’s melodic voice in the chorus. The song finished, the members exited the stage, and Part 1 was over.
A video of clips from the 15 other performances on the tour played on the screen. Then light so bright that it hurt your eyes flooded the stage, and the members returned. Part 2 opened with PRISMATIC, a track off their new EP. The mood of both the audience and members brightened. Fans began to mosh to the fan favorite TSUBASA.
They paused for a brief MC from Saga, who explained that had he wanted to become someone’s light in the darkness, but he said it was ultimately the fans that supported them.
“Are you ready, Shibuya?” Show prefaced Kowloon -NINE HEADS RODEO SHOW-, a song that fans were encouraged to jump and mosh. Then, after some teasing, they surprised veteran fans by playing JEWELS. The song’s bright key and Show’s vocals lifted up everyone’s spirits.
The hottest part of the show by far was for the 10th and 11th songs, THE LAST EMPIRE and DEAD SCHOOL SCREAMING. The latter featured repeated gyakudai and moshing from fans, and death screams from each member when Show held the microphone to their mouth. The set ended with Yami ni Chiru Sakura, and Part 2 came to an end.
Calls for an encore began immediately. The members emerged wearing tour t-shirts and hoodies. Hiroto became the “merch master” and introduced some of the tour goods (a photo book and a handkerchief) by rapping about them freestyle. The first encore song was Eraser, featuring a softer side of Show’s vocals and a melody that made for easy listening.
Each member took the time to say something during a long MC. Saga explained how he was worried about Part 1 (DARKNESS) of the show because he thought it wasn’t the kind of A9 that fans came to see, but the audience seemed to enjoy it.
Show reflected a bit on the band’s history. When the band restarted activities, he explained, he looked at it as more of the continuation of their neverending story, rather than the end of the old Alice Nine.
Hiroto prefaced his MC by saying, “I have too many things to say.” Show answered, “We’ll probably be here until 3am,” and Hiroto agreed. He thanked everyone—staff, members, and fans—for their help on the tour, and also talked about how their restart was more of a beginning than an ending. “We won’t disband, not even if we only have one fan left!” Hiroto vowed, to which fans cheered wildly.
They returned to the second song of their encore—which elicited excited cheers from fans—Velvet. Fans and band came together as one for the A9 classic. Their final song of the encore was Blue Planet, the first part of which Show let the audience sing for them. The members exited the stage one by one, Hiroto being the last.
The fan’s cheers brought the band back for one more song. Show explained they wanted to wrap up the tour with a song that encompassed the meaning of it. And so began another round of PRISMATIC. Show urged fans to jump instead of clap during the chorus, bringing more energy into the song. At the end of the song, Show thanked everyone involved again and they took a group picture with the fans. And so, “TRUTH IN LIGHT AND DARKNESS” came to a close.
3. 華 (Hana) (New ver.)
4. RAINBOWS (New ver.)
7. ハロー、ワールド (Hello, World)
SE. THE SOUNDS OF GALAXY
4. DARKER AND DARKER
6. 九龍 –NINE HEADS RODEO SHOW- (Kowloon)
8. jelly fish
10. THE LAST EMPIRE
11. DEAD SCHOOL SCREAMING
12. 闇二散ル桜 (Yami ni Chiru Sakura)
EN-1. イレイザー (Eraser)
EN-2. ヴェルヴェット (Velvet)
EN-3. ブループラネット (Blue Planet)
A9 will celebrate their 12th anniversary with a one-man show at Shinkiba STUDIO COAST on August 28th. Tickets will go on sale starting July 23rd. In addition, members Show and Saga will celebrate their birthdays with a couple of shows at Shinjuku ReNY. Saga’s side takes place on June 24th, and Show’s side will happen on July 5th.
*This live report was written in cooperation with Vkei-Guide.