When SuG announced their first ever Nippon Budokan concert to celebrate their 10th anniversary, there weren’t many fans who expected it would also be their last show ever – perhaps even the band themselves. But the dreaded announcement came just weeks before the big show, and needless to say, they turned their first Budokan show into a show that fans definitely didn’t want to miss.
If you’ve read our translations of SuG’s indefinite hiatus announcement, you’ll know exactly what kind of show they wanted it to be. It’s a bittersweet ending, with some members claiming they’ve failed or they haven’t done enough. But more than their feelings of regret, they wanted to express their gratitude to their fans that supported them over the last 10 years, despite their ups and downs and even their breaks.
It’s fitting, then, that they titled their show in a way that sums up the very essence of SuG: “HEAVY POSITIVE ROCK.” Over 7,000 fashionable fans crowded into Nippon Budokan on the evening of September 2, 2017. A small platform on the stage, meant for vocalist Takeru, read “HEAVY” in bold letters. A large screen lined the back of the stage.
A video signaled the start of the show. An EDM-inspired back track played as the characters “1/12/2007-9/2/2017″ were shown across the screen, indicating SuG’s start date and their end date – today. Despite the dramatic start, things picked up on a positive note quicky. Red lights and purple lasers accompanied the catchy beat of AGAKU, the opening track. The members dressed in monochrome for this part of the set, letting the music and graphics speak for them. The audience put their hands in the air, pumping their fists to the beat.
HELLYEAH brought even more color and energy to the stage. Takeru jumped on and off his mini platform as he pleased. Both heavy and positive, one could say HELLYEAH is a great representation of SuG’s final period. Fukanzen Beautyfool Days followed, the first “older” track of the set. Takeru’s face lit up in a huge smile more than once. Chiyu moved around the stage a lot, too, hyping up the standing crowd in the arena.
With that track finished, Takeru delivered his first MC of the evening. He thanked everyone for coming and asked if they were doing okay. Then he launched into a brief account of SuG’s blessed history. When SuG first started out, he said, there were maybe five people total who supported them. After only 6 months of playing together—by some miracle, Takeru said—they were able to sell out Meguro Rockmaykan, a venue that can squeeze in about 300 people if they try. The second miracle, he said, was that this Budokan show attracted a staggering 7,000 people when they thought they would only be able to pull in about 3,000.
Of course, with 7,000 people watching, SuG had to do something big. Starting with Toy Soldier, the next few tracks in the set featured a full dance team that filled in the space on the huge Budokan stage. Children danced expertly in simple black and purple T’s, then adult dancers came out for songs like Koakuma Sparkling, B.A.B.Y., and Mugen Style.
Later in the set, SuG performed their member introductions (not that they needed any) with instrumental solos. Starting with drummer Shinpei, a small team of dancers moved to the beat of each instrument; then followed bassist Chiyu, guitarist Yuji, and finally, guitarist Masato.
All dancers returned to the set for a more classic SuG song, sweeToxic. The catchy guitar and vocals were accented by some of Takeru’s own dance skills. The jazzy tones of Keiyaku Kanojo, Ikenie Kareshi followed, then the whole audience got up and jumping for FRIDAY!!.
A brief MC followed in which all the members thanked the audience for coming. The upbeat tones of gr8 story, ☆Gimme Gimme☆, and the excellent Japanese and English word play of SICK’S got the audience worked up in a sweat. mad$hip gave the setlist some contrast, adding just a touch of darkness to the otherwise totally positive set.
SuG’s fans were in for a rare, final treat next: a medley for their 10th anniversary. Song after song drew excited cheers from the crowd, such as R.P.G., Vi-Vi-Vi, and Crazy Bunny Coaster. 39GalaxyZ closed out the main set with dancers, energy, colors, lights, and even paper stars that fell gently from the ceiling of Nippon Budokan.
When the members came back for the encore, Takeru had swapped his dark clothing for a bright, red leather jacket. Rainbow lights lit up the stage for dot.0. After the song ended, though, the hard part began. It was time for the members to say what they had prepared to say in farewell to the fans, staff, family, and friends that had supported them over the past 10 years.
The members said their piece one by one, beginning with Shinpei. He had mentioned on Twitter that he hadn’t prepared what he was going to say at their last show; all he could think of was preparing for this last show to be the best. He couldn’t think past it. Despite that, he explained his unease at this being their last ever show and what he would do. There were a lot of people, he said, really a lot of people that helped them over the last 10 years. From fans, to staff, to friends, to family, to fellow bandmen, a lot of people had supported them and made SuG possible. Tears welled in Shinpei’s eyes and his voice broke as he said, “I never thought I could be this happy.”
Chiyu had said what he wanted to say already on Twitter prior to the show because he wasn’t confident in keeping thoughts in his head while delivering an MC on stage. He had mentioned how he wanted to express not their guilt, but their gratitude towards their fans at their final show. A lot of fellow bandmen, staff, fans, etc. gave him support over the years. For a while, he had contemplated quitting the bass completely. However, he said, thanks to the advice and help of his senpai bandmen, he ultimately decided that he would continue on with bass playing in one form or another, most likely support. It was a statement that lifted the hearts of the otherwise forlorn fans in the audience.
Yuji had prepared three things to say—well, after the second one, he revealed that he had actually only prepared two. He thanked those who supported them over the last 10 years. He also talked about how he knew many fans who became friends just by having the mutual interest of SuG. “Even after SuG is over, please take care of those friendships,” he said. “They’re important.”
It was Masato‘s final MC that put most of the audience in tears. Where the other members smiled, Masato clearly struggled with his emotions, frequently pausing during his MC to find his voice again. “I’m not angry, but I’m definitely feeling a lot of emotions right now,” he began. He was grateful for all the support they received over the past 10 years despite their pause. When he learned the Budokan show would be their last show, he explained, he felt hurt and guilty. He had wanted SuG to do so much more, he lamented. More than his regret, though, he ultimately wanted to express his gratitude.
Takeru came last. He reiterated his feelings starting with the announcement of their Budokan show in May, leading up to the day of the historical show. He explained how the band realized that you can’t just make it in the music business with music; there were still some things that the band wasn’t skilled enough at to keep going on. He was sorry he couldn’t keep his promise to go even further with SuG.
The first Budokan show Takeru saw, he explained, was 13 years ago. He said somewhere in the back and watched HYDE live on stage. He decided then that he wanted to perform on that stage some day. Life isn’t like a manga or a movie, he said, but “if I, a normal teenager, can get to the point of standing on the Budokan stage for myself, then you can, too. All of you!” he yelled into the audience, fervor adding volume to his words.
This passionate ending to the MC led into teenAge dream, a song Takeru wrote to his teenage self. The PV played on the back screen, drawing the audience’s eyes to that image of Takeru’s teenage self rather than the Takeru that stood on stage now. CRY OUT followed, then the first encore closed out with the audience singing along to Smells Like Virgin Spirit. “Louder! This is what you came here to do!” Takeru egged on the audience. The song ended and the members bowed and left the stage once more.
SuG had two more songs for the audience: LOVE SCREAM PARTY and Tokidoki Suteki na Kono Sekai, both positive and heavy songs that allowed SuG’s final show to end just the way they wanted to. All the members of the band and the dance teams came out to take a final bow. The band also took time to thank their staff—some of which had supported them the full 10 years—and most of all, the fans. Even after the show ended, it took ages for the members to properly say goodbye to their fans for the last time.
3. Fukanzen Beautyfool Days (不完全Beautyfool Days)
4. Toy Soldier
5. Koakuma sparkling (小悪魔sparkling)
7. Mugen Styles (無限Styles)
8. Sakura Ame (桜雨)
9. Mujouken Koufukuron (無条件幸福論)
10. Howling Magic
11. Instrumental solos
13. Keiyaku Kanojo, Ikenie Kareshi (契約彼女、生贄彼氏)
15. gr8 story
16. ☆Gimme Gimme☆ (☆ギミギミ☆)
19. 10th anniversary medley
2. Oreshiki Continue (俺式Continue)
3. R.P.G. -Rockin’ Playing Game
6. Fast Food Hunters
7. Crazy Bunny Coaster
2. teenAge dream
3. CRY OUT
4. Smells Like Virgin Spirit
1. LOVE SCREAM PARTY
2. Tokidoki Suteki na Kono Sekai (ときどきすてきなこのせかい)