In 2014, DIR EN GREY threw fans for a loop when they announced they’d be performing a tour based on their major debut album, GAUZE, in a tour titled, TOUR14 PSYCHONNECT -mode of “GAUZE”?-. Following the release of their latest album ARCHE, they announced three more throwback tours: FROM DEPRESSION TO ______ [mode of VULGAR], [mode of DUM SPIRO SPERO], and [mode of Kisou].[mode of VULGAR] spanned five cities throughout Japan for a total of ten shows. With VULGAR arguably being one of the band’s most popular albums, it’s no surprise that all shows on the tour sold out. On July 2nd, the semi-final show took place at Shinkiba STUDIO COAST in Tokyo. Despite the sweltering heat both outside and inside the venue, over 2,500 fans—some in cosplay—eagerly crammed into DIR EN GREY’s home Tokyo venue.
The lights cut and a video of futuristic gears and robotic machines appeared on a large projection screen. Clips from VULGAR music videos played, turning up the nostalgia meter right away. The members took the stage one by one to thunderous cheers: Shinya on drums, Toshiya on bass, Kaoru and Die on guitar, and finally, Kyo.
THE IIID EMPIRE, heavy and fast, opened the set. Bright lights and lasers made the traditionally metal show look like it could have been set in a club. Die threw water onto the hot crowd packed into the front. The whole crowd—including Kyo—danced to the track that followed, ASUNAKI KOUFUKU, KOENAKI ASU. FUKAI featured purple and green lighting and emphasis on melodic vocals. Die strummed his guitar to the silently watching fans. A light shot clear from the back of the venue, making it seem like a laser was burning a hole into the middle of the screen.
MARMALADE CHAINSAW came next. “Bring it on!” the vocalist shouted to fans. They headbanged and sang the chorus along with Die, Kyo urging the crowd to sing louder. AMBER began with a somber guitar melody from Kaoru. Un deux, from the band’s latest album ARCHE, threw a little mix of new into the old.
audience KILLER LOOP was one of the highlights of the show. Rather than focusing on the members’ performance—though incredibly skilled—the main focus was on the video clips. In the low lighting of the venue, the screen depicted a grim scene of a mysterious girl bound and tied to a chair, circled by a menacing and masked man. Mixed into the morbid scene were catchy guitar melodies and Kyo’s expressive lyrics.
SHOKUBENI, Tousei, and Rinkaku marked the more low-key and emotional part of the set. The chorus of Rinkaku featured Die’s rapid chord playing and Toshiya’s charismatic performance style. The instrumental section stepped off stage, leaving only Kyo on his raised platform. He delivered one of his famously chilling INWARD SCREAMs, changing from whispering to agonized cries in between echoes. His silhouette writhed within the red light and smoke.
Fan favorite KASUMI came next, then the energy returned with NEW AGE CULTURE. Я TO THE CORE presented a rare and lighthearted side of the band. While Shinya kept a quick and practiced beat on his impressive drum set, the other members toed the edge of the stage and sang with the audience.
“You still alive?” Kyo teased the audience. They shouted in response at maximum volume. The tireless fans and members of DIR EN GREY rounded off their set with two newer songs, SUSTAIN THE UNTRUTH and Revelation of mankind.
After minutes of ceaseless and deafening encore calls from fans, DIR EN GREY returned to the stage. They opened their encore set with OBSCURE, then unveiled their new song set for a 7/27 release, UTAFUMI. The peak of the audience’s energy came during INCREASE BLUE. The whole crowd jumped up and down to the beat, blue light dancing over both the stage and the audience.
“Are you still alive?” Kyo asked the crowd again. He called for the male fans in the crowd to give their best shouts, then the girls. It revved up the audience just in time for CHILD PREY. The crowd sang as much of the song as the vocalist did, crushing forward during members’ death shouts to put their all into the final song of the [mode of VULGAR] tour.[mode of VULGAR] provided long-time fans with a taste of not only the new and old of DIR EN GREY, but also a display of how the band’s musical and performance skills have improved over the years. It’s no surprise that the additional show on July 4th was sold out in a matter of hours on the day of the semi-final. DIR EN GREY’s next peek into the past will be during their tour FROM DEPRESSION TO _____ [mode of DUM SPIRO SPERO] beginning in September. Before that, though, UTAFUMI will be released on July 27th.
1. The IIID Empire
2. 明日無き幸福、呼笑亡き明日 (ASUNAKI KOUFUKU, KOENAKI ASU)
3. 腐海 (FUKAI) (code of VULGAR-ism ver.)
4. MARMALADE CHAINSAW
6. Un deux
7. audience KILLER LOOP
8. 蝕紅 (SHOKUBENI)
9. 濤声 (Tousei)
10. 輪郭 (Rinkaku)
11. かすみ (KASUMI) (2013 ver.)
12. NEW AGE CULTURE
13. Я TO THE CORE
14. SUSTAIN THE UNTRUTH
15. Revelation of mankind
EN-1. OBSCURE (2011 ver.)
EN-2. 詩踏み (UTAFUMI)
EN-3. INCREASE BLUE
EN-4. CHILD PREY
Photography by Mime Soga (曽我美芽).
Tags: Dir en grey