KAMIJO’s 20th anniversary has taken him around the world from Europe, to North America, to South America. As 2015 winds down, KAMIJO is ending his year-long celebration in his home country, Japan. This is the start of the final leg of KAMIJO’s Japan Final tour that will come to a close in December.
On August 23, 2015, rain had just begun to fall as fans dressed in Lolita fashion, band t-shirts, and more filed into the elevator to ascend to Tokyo’s historical Kinema Club. The venue’s retro but elegant atmosphere made it the perfect setting for fans that were dressed with just as much flair as KAMIJO himself. A red carpet spilled out across the extended stage from behind a drum set that easily took up about a third of the space. Off to the side of the stage, a small staircase led to an almost Shakespearean balcony that KAMIJO would make use of later in the show.
The lights dimmed and red light and smoke filled the stage as Vive le Roi began to play. Support members DAISHI (NINJAMAN JAPAN) and Meku (ex. GALEYD) on guitar, Yo (Matenrou Opera) on bass, and Shinya (DIR EN GREY) on drums filed onto the stage in silence. KAMIJO, of course, was last, standing on the red carpet with his elegant and sparkling costume embellished with his personal crest.
The set opened with the first three parts of Symphony of the Vampire, released in 2014. KAMIJO yelled, “Tokyo!” to the crowd as he called for them to pump their fists in the air. The first part was heavy, the second even heavier, and the 3/4 rhythm of the third part Royal Tercet had fans swaying left and right to the vocalist’s lead.
Louis -Enketsu no La Vie en Rose– was when the band approached the very edge of the stage for the first time and the audience responded with zeal. Shinya’s cymbals crashed in rhythm with KAMIJO’s vocals in the chorus. Halfway into the song, Matenrou Opera’s Yo took the spotlight with a fast-fingered bass solo. KAMIJO fell to his knees on the carpet and sang to the sky as the song came to a close, blue and red light flooding the stage.
The vocalist greeted the audience for the first MC of the night. “Welcome! Bonjour!” he said. He welcomed everyone to his 20th anniversary celebration and said he hoped that everyone would enjoy it to the fullest. He called for the audience to respond in a loud falsetto. “Give me your shouts and bites!”
Versailles’ Shouts & Bites and Vampire followed the introduction. A mysterious KAMIJO lookalike stood on the far right of the stage, copying KAMIJO’s every move and providing backup screaming and vocals. (He would later be introduced as Chisei.)
More KAMIJO original songs followed before Hakumei, a dramatic and beautiful Lareine track. Guitarists DAISHI and Meku displayed their quick-picking prowess during their individual guitar solos. One look into the audience could tell you that this was a classic, as nearly half the audience was lip syncing along with KAMIJO.
All of the support members left the stage. KAMIJO ascended the stairs to the balcony for a portion of Aristocrat’s Symphony, a Versailles song meant to display his impressive vocal range and color. Fans stood still perhaps for the first time that night, enraptured.
KAMIJO exited the stage and a video was projected on the screen behind the drum set. French dialogue played, switching to an ominous English-speaking voice, saying, “The key of the heart will appear and the thirteenth gate will be opened.” A montage of KAMIJO’s past 20 years in Lareine, NEW SODMY, Versailles, and solo activities flashed across the screen. KAMIJO’s crest appeared last on the screen, and the members came back on stage. The aristocratic vocalist wielded a flag, which he allowed a lucky fan in the front to hold for him, for Bastille.
The second MC of the night was a painfully funny anecdote from their world tour. The venue they played in Colombia had a really low ceiling, he explained, and all of the members bumped their head on it at least once throughout the night. Poor DAISHI slammed his head so hard that he started bleeding, but he kept on playing, KAMIJO said proudly.
Lareine favorites Fuyu Tokyo and fiancailles followed. KAMIJO ended the set with a Versailles classic that he encouraged everyone to sing with him, Bara wa Utsukushiku Chiru. The fans did indeed sing along. KAMIJO bowed low to the audience and thanked them for coming, making a courtly exit from the stage.
The members returned after just a few minutes for the encore. KAMIJO told the audience that he really loved seeing the smiles of his fans since his music tended to be on the dark side. He also took a moment to introduce his support members. While that day was Shinya’s last show on the 20th anniversary tour, it was bassist Yo’s first. Skillful DAISHI and cool Meku were introduced, as well as the mysterious but humorous Chisei on backup vocals. “You can go now,” KAMIJO dismissed Chisei, to the fans’ amusement.
“This is a special anniversary for me, so what do you want to hear?” he asked the audience. Unfortunately, so many song suggestions were called out that he couldn’t make any of them out. He decided to surprise the audience with a Versailles classic, Masquerade. He asked everyone to spin to the left during the chorus (except for Shinya, of course). “I won’t be able to see you since I’m turning around, too,” he said, but the audience complied willingly. They did their best to turn with the limited amount of space allowed in the packed livehouse.
KAMIJO’s last MC of the night contained an exciting announcement: his upcoming tour in March 2016. “Well, the end has come,” he told the audience. Royal Blood wrapped up the set, red and blue light bathing the stage and headbanging audience. When the KAMIJO track came to a close, he called forth each member one more time to both introduce and thank them with a hug. KAMIJO left the stage beaming, clearly satisfied with the conclusion to his 20th anniversary tour.
1. Vive le Roi
2. Symphony of the Vampire 第一楽章 「Presto」 (Dai-ichi Gakusyou)
3. Symphony of the Vampire 第二楽章「Sacrifice of Allegro」 (Dai-ni Gakusyou)
4. Symphony of the Vampire 第三楽章「Royal Tercet」 (Dai-san Gakusyou)
5. Louis –艶血のラヴィアンローズ- (Enketsu no La Vie en Rose)
6. Shout & Bites
8. Symphony of the Vampire 第四楽章「Dying-Table」 (Dai-yon Gakusyou)
10. 薄命 (Hakumei)
11. Aristocrat’s Symphony (vocal solo)
14. 冬東京 (Fuyu Tokyo)
16. Ascendead Master
17. この世で一番美しい薔薇よ (Kono Yo de Ichiban Utsukushii Bara yo)
18. 薔薇は美しく散る (Bara wa Utsukushiku Chiru)
EN-2. Royal Blood
Photo: Takuya Machida
©CHATEAU AGENCY CO., Ltd.
This live report was written in cooperation with artistsounds.asia.