July 3rd, 2016 was a sweltering hot day in Japan. That’s why when 15:00 came around to the thousands fans outside of Saitama Super Arena, they were more than eager to start entering the air-conditioned venue to see the grand finale of GACKT’s WORLD TOUR 2016 LAST VISUALIVE 最期ノ月 -LAST MOON- supported by Nestlé.
All that could be seen on stage was a great red moon projected on the center of an enormous screen. When the lights went out at 16:15, a frame surrounding the moon opened to reveal an even bigger screen. It showed the introduction to the continuation of GACKT’s long-running MOON SAGA – segueing from GACKT’s theatric narration to a battlefield scene.
As the scene came to an end, the opening chords of ARROW prompted the entire arena to rise to their feet for Part One, almost all of them wielding dual light sticks set to purple. The giant screen parted to reveal GACKT and his members in full LAST MOON costume. The stage set looked something akin to a post-apocalyptic movie set. Fans waved their light sticks to the beat, creating a purple galaxy-like image around the stage.
Next came Hana mo Chiyu, dominated by purple stage lighting. RETURNER ~Yami no Shuuen~ followed, raising the tension from fans who had looked forward to the final show of the LAST VISUALIVE tour. The energy of Part One came to a peak during RIDE OR DIE. Guitarists CHACHAMARU and YOU delivered a swift and skilled guitar solo, and at the end of the song, fireworks burst on stage. Cheers faded only when the sound of rain in the background began. GACKT sang the beginning to the next song, Akatsukidukuyo-DAY BREAKERS-, a cappella, the entire audience silent and enraptured. The song burst into life with instruments, and with that, Part One came to an end.
Another clip of the MOON SAGA’s continuation played on the screen. The scene prompted a wilder and almost otherworldly set. The light sticks switched to red and Part Two began with the sound of…shamisen? Yes—garbed in black robes, members GACKT, YOU, CHACHAMARU, and more kneeled on the back of the stage and plucked the strings of the traditional Japanese instruments for Utakata no Yume. Dancers suddenly rose out of the thick fog covering the stage.
ZAN followed the shamisen set with stage lights set to shades of red and blue, and actual fire shooting up in jets on stage. VAL’s fast and strong percussion led the thousands of fans shaking the stands, and guitarist CHACHAMARU delivered his best rapping skills. GACKT further showed his versatility as an artist by leading the intricate choreography of the next song, Kugutsu ga Gotoku. The audience cheered wildly as the song ended. Then the sounds of pained screaming and sobbing were heard, interrupted by the sound of a music box. Fog poured onto the stage, and LULLING closed out Part Two, lonely and sad.
The next movie clip was interrupted by a special broadcast from Camui Gakuen’s Ikemen Training Camp. It ultimately ended with GACKT wrestling—and defeating!—a sumo wrestler. This was the start of the complete mood change for Part Three. The stage lit up like a scene from Las Vegas, and a recording like something from a talk show welcomed everyone to the “best show in the world,” the LAST VISUALIVE.
The voice went on to introduce each member in English. First was drummer VAL, who always “summons the gods of laughter”; then came the bassist in a small package “oozing sexiness,” SATO; the “blond bombshell” of a guitarist, CHACHAMARU; YOU on rhythm guitar, whose “million dollar smile will leave you begging for more;” and finally, the all-around amazing and multi-talented artist, GACKT. Everyone wore more casual and neutral-colored clothing, save GACKT, who wore a bright red leather jacket over his bare and chiseled torso.
Part 3 opened with ONE MORE KISS. Fans’ light sticks flashed rainbow colors, and visuals on the screen lining the back of the stage made it look like you were headed into a meteor tunnel in outer space. The next song took a bit of time to introduce. CHACHAMARU and YOU strummed a guitar chord and prompted fans to scream “GACKT!” with all of their might. “Even though this is the final show, this is all you’ve got?” GACKT whined until he was satisfied with the volume of the audience.
Then began the classic fan-favorite MIRROR. On the screens hanging over either side of the stage, images of the crowd flashed from time to time, and there you could see fans with supportive banners, and even flags held by fans from other countries. The song ended with more scream-and-response between fans and GACKT, ending with the singer collapsing on stage at the lights going out.
Actor Yuki Kimisawa, who also participated in the tour as a backup dancer, took the stage for a brief and self-deprecating MC. He also took the time to introduce movements to one of the upcoming songs (the “next, next, next song,” he instructed) and took his leave from the stage to faint but supportive cheers.
If you’ve heard anything about the LAST VISUALIVE tour so far, it’s probably been about how long the MC is. At the final Saitama Super Arena show, it stretched just over an hour. Within that hour, GACKT played another call and response game with the audience (in cat ears, no less), designating sections of the arena to say “Tadaima!” (“We’re home!”) whenever the leading man said “Okaeri!” (“Welcome home!”). He talked about his 17-years-and-running solo career, saying it never mattered to him whether he played at big venues or small venues, but in the end, he was grateful he had the opportunity to play in a place as big as Saitama Super Arena.
Then, GACKT personally introduced each member. CHACHAMARU was chosen as the member to shout a message to all of Saitama Super Arena without using a microphone. Fans thought he would yell about the tour final, but instead, CHACHAMARU loudly welcomed two special guests to the stage, popular personality DJ KOO and sound producer TAKUMI. They came with a bouquet of sunflowers and a giant cake to celebrate GACKT’S 43rd birthday, which would take place on the following day (July 4th). After a brief but funny exchange between DJ KOO and GACKT, the entire audience sang Happy Birthday.
Then came the cats. U+K featured the nostalgic dancers in cat costumes, and a couple of young but talented mini cat dancers. Off came the cat ears and in came more dancers for WooHa BABY!!. Everyone wielded dual light sticks, and on the stage screen was projected an interactive game modeled after the popular Japanese arcade game, Taiko Master. Next was Koi no FRIDAY!!!, the movements to which Yuki Kimisawa graciously taught the audience before.
Things took an emotional turn for Kimi Dake no Boku de Iru Kara. GACKT sang the introduction a cappella, then instruments and colorful and flowery images on the screen brought the song to life. P.S. I LOVE U rounded off the set before the last movie clip. The emotional and tragic ending was the perfect background for the final song of the show, Setsugekka –The end of silence-.
Despite the tear-jerking end to GACKT’s LAST VISUALIVE tour, there was good news to come. GACKT has a world tour planned for 2017, and more Japan shows to follow that. Even though the LAST VISUALIVE tour may be over, it’s definitely not the end for GACKT.
2. 花も散ゆ (Hana mo Chiyu)
3. RETURNER ～闇の終焉～ (Yami no Shuuen)
4. RIDE OR DIE
5. 暁月夜 -DAY BREAKERS- (Akatsukidukuyo –DAY BREAKERS-)
6. 泡沫の夢 (Utakata no Yume)
7. 斬 ～ZAN～
8. 傀儡が如く(Kugutsu ga Gotoku)
9. 揺籃歌 -LULLING- (Youranka)
SE. U+K UNPLUGGED
10. ONE MORE KISS
13. 舞哈BABY!! -WooHa- (Wooha baby)
14. 恋のFRIDAY!!! (Koi no FRIDAY!!!)
15. キミだけのボクでいるから (Kimi Dake no Boku de Iru Kara)
16. P.S.I LOVE U
17. 雪月花 -The end of silence- (Setsugekka –The end of silence-)