HERO has been through some big changes this year, starting with their unprecedented move from the major to the indies visual kei scene. Their aptly named tour 「リトライ」 (Retry) has been commemorating this change since February at Shibuya’s TSUTAYA O-WEST. On July 5th,2015, they held the semi-final “1,000 capacity” show at WEST’s larger counterpart, TSUTAYA O-EAST.
1,000 fans waited in the rain for doors to open, some showing up as early as 1:30pm to line up for the pre-show merchandise booth. HEROINES (HERO’s fans) filled the venue from front to back. HERO opened their set in a rather unconventional way: with a couple of Japan’s famous owarai comedian duos ピスタチオ (Pistachio) and ジョイマン (Joyman). Their antics put the crowd into a light and enthusiastic mood that HERO would surely appreciate once the curtains opened for them.
The lights went out and the show began. The flashing red, green, and blue LED lights from fans’ multicolored rings made for a stunning visual display. Two large screens on either side of the stage flashed HERO’s logo. Vocalist JIN took the platform in an oversized black sweater, faced away from the audience, speaking to himself in his signature rapid voice about how nervous he was to face the fans. All trace of nerves disappeared when they opened their set with 「さよならの仕方」 (Sayonara no Shikata) released in 2014.
Golden streamers showered the audience for the second song of the night, 「風の中で…」 (Kaze no Naka de…). You’ll be hard-pressed to find fans as friendly with each other as HEROINES are. They were arm-in-arm or hand-in-hand for a number of songs played throughout the night. Bassist YU-TA wasn’t shy at all about interacting with the crowd in his stylish fedora.
The band played through 「もしもボタン。」 (Moshimo Button) before launching into 「歌詞が出来ねぇ 2014」 (Kashi ga Dekinee 2014), the crowd along with YU-TA and guitarist SARSHI answering JIN’s cries of “Are you ready?” with a booming “Yeah!” Red, white, and blue lights flashed from the stage onto the mostly black-and-white cloud audience and band.
JIN gave the first MC of the night. “Are you having fun? We’re HERO!” he began, jumping off of the platform. Instead of using the time to promote their upcoming activities, he chose to talk a bit about the shooting for one of their new PVs in Asakusa, a popular tourist area in Tokyo. They also gave a few anecdotes about some differences between Tokyo and the rest of Japan. The most interesting story of this particular MC was about the band sitting across from a girl in a train whose skirt was just a little bit too short…The members’ reactions were a humorous reflection of their personality.
The band towels came out—surprising absolutely no one—for the next song, 「タオルの神様」 (Towel no Kami-sama). SARSHI, beginning to come out of his shell, took the platform for 「アルコ&ピッツィカート」 (Alco & Pizzicato).
The members used the second MC of the night as an opportunity to put on their own comedy act. Each member put on a funny face and talked like emotional elderly person expressing their happiness and gratitude to all the fans for coming.
Things got heavier and then happier with 「翼が折れて迷宮に迷い込んだ漆黒の天使」 (Tsubasa ga Orete Meikyuu ni Mayoikonda Shikkoku no Tenshi) and 「めっちゃ好き」 (Meccha Suki). Audience and band members alike moved left and right, spinning around to the quickening pace of yusuke’s drums for “Not Title” and 「たった一つの花」(Tatta Hitotsu no Hana).
The third MC of the night—but not the final one—offered more anecdotes of the band’s recent activities, such as JIN’s surprise at being referred to as “JIN-sama” by a livehouse staff member and SARSHI’s rather emotional reaction to fans’ participation in one of their upcoming songs 「『古今集』春・113 」([Kokinshuu] Haru 113).
HEROINES were excited for the next song, 「セツナウタ。」(Setsuna Uta.), a track that the band hadn’t played in Tokyo for quite a while. Next was the track previously mentioned in the MC, 「古今集」, led by SARSHI. Unfortunately, there were no tears this time. They played two more songs before the curtain fell and the audience waited for the encore.
Fans were gifted with a preview of the PV filmed in Asakusa. Pistachio and Joyman returned to the stage to give actual acts, some of which involved teasing the band members. The band returned to calls from the fans. JIN launched into a lecture of how the audience should move around to the next song (part of which you can see in footage from an earlier show on YouTube). Band and fans practiced until JIN was satisfied. Then began 「光る指輪 大明神」 (Hikaru Yubiwa Daimyoujin), one of the tracks of their single to be released on August 26th. HEROINES were perfect in re-enacting JIN’s direction, eliciting genuine laughter from the band members at some points.
HERO brought their 2-hour set to a close with “feeling” and 「ソプラノ」 (Soprano). JIN asked the crowd, “Did you forget the things that were bothering you? In these past two hours, were you able to put the things that were bothering you out of your mind?” With the help of four comedians, four amazing musicians, and 1,000 HEROINES, it’s safe to say that everyone was able to forget all of their troubles at the semi-final of HERO’s one-man tour “Retry.”
After the band left the stage, HERO still had three big announcements that were displayed on O-EAST’s stage-side screens. The first was the announcement of their fanclub’s first fanclub trip in November. The second was the announcement of details for the final show of “Retry” on December 23rd at Shinagawa Inter-City Hall. The third was the big reveal of the PV for 「光る指輪 大明神」. You can pre-order any or all of the 11 types of their new single here!
1. 「さよならの仕方」 (Sayonara no Shikata)
2. 「風の中で…」(Kaze no Naka de…)
3. もしもボタン。 (Moshimo Button)
4. 歌詞が出来ねぇ 2014 (Kashi ga Dekinee 2014)
5. タオルの神様 (Towel no Kami-sama)
6. アルコ&ピッツィカート (Alco & Pizzicato)
8. 翼が折れて迷宮に迷い込んだ漆黒の天使 (Tsubasa ga Orete Meikyuu ni Mayoikonda Shikkoku no Tenshi)
9. めっちゃ好き (Meccha Suki)
10. 「Not Title」
11. 「たった一つの花」 (Tatta Hitotsu no Hana)
12. セツナウタ。(Setsuna Uta.)
13. 「古今集」春・113 ([Kokinshuu] Haru 113)
14. 人間定義 (Ningen Teigi)
15. 超過激愛歌 (Chouka Geki Ai Uta)
EN-1. 光る指輪 大明神 (Hikaru Yubiwa Daimyoujin)
Photo: Takehiro Suganuma
This live report was written in cooperation with artistsounds.asia.