5/23 - D'espairsRay at Osaka BIG CAT

I woke up early in the day, brimming with excitement and anticipation. This would be my first live in Japan and D'espairsRay is a band I have waiting a long time to see.

After navigating the seemingly endless system of subway exits and entrances, I was finally in Osaka. I made my way across town to a building that looked like a several-story mall. I wandered around the various floors until finally, I turned around and there was BigCat. It looked very small from the outside and if you weren't looking specifically for it, you might not have found it.

A few fans had gathered in front of the venue, many of them were from overseas places like France and Norway. About 2 hours before the show began, the staff started selling tour goods. There was a very small selection of tour t-shirts (general tour ones and ones specifically for BigCat) and other goods like towels shaped like chololate bars (see top of this page), tour bags and a couple of their older releases.

An hour and a half before the show began, the staff requested that we line up according to our ticket letters and then seat numbers. I had a general admission level "C" ticket so I was toward the very back of the line. By this time, several hundred fans had shown up and many were from all over the world.

Then, before we knew it, we were being called in a group at a time. Now one thing that you might not be familiar with is the fact that, in most clubs, there is a 500 yen drink cover charge that is usually NOT in the price of the ticket. On the way in, you pay the 500 yen and chose the drink of your choice.

Blue and red lights were pointed to the the stage, mixing together to project a beautiful fuchsia glow onto the stage and onto the tour banner. Even though this tour was called "ROCKSTAR taste of CHOCOLATE," the band still used their banner from the "Rockstar Taste of Chaos" tour that had recently finished up in America.

After waiting for thirty minutes or so, fog started to waft onto the stage. Many of us got excited and started shouting for the band but alas, they were just teasing us. Their roadies soon appeared and started testing out their instruments and that was our cue that the show was about to start.

Ten minutes later, all of our waiting was rewarded. The lights went off and loud music and stobe lights filled the club. Tsukasa, the drummer, was the first to appear admist wild screams from everyone in the club. He was wearing a sleeveless black shirt and jeans. Karyu, guitarist, was next and he was wearing the pretty and shiny green scarf that he's been sporting over the last year or so. The bassist, Zero, was wearing a tank top with a black checkered overshirt and jeans, came out and gave us a smile, nod and a wink. And finally, our beloved vocalist, Hizumi, who was wearing a white t-shirt and the same jacket from the cover of Brilliant, hit the stage and the real fun began.

Brilliant, their newly-released single, was the first song played and the energy of the crowd was unbelievable!! We all sang along and Zero kept smiling and nodding at us for encouragement. Maze was played after that.

In Vain, the third song, is simply amazing live. The energy doubled and hearing Hizumi's screams live are truly something to behold!! Strobe lights illuminated the stage during the parts before the chorus and it gave a great overall effect to the performance. The pure sensuality of Hizumi's voice was very audible during this song and I was thrilled!!

Throughout the show, Hizumi took time to do short MC talks. He communicated very well with us and he is very sweet and funny, too. Not to mention, he is slightly clumbsy. He talked about the recently-finished "Rockstar Taste of Chaos" tour that occured in America and about upcoming live shows/events that they would be holding. (6/29 @ Club CITTA' Kawasaki w/MUCC and The Underneath and a live in July with 12012)

Hizumi joked around with us and made fun of everyone and everything: us, his band mates and 12012 got the worst of the teasing, though. ^^ During one MC, he was going to sit on an amp but he tripped and then fell off of it before glaring at it and laughing and deciding that it was not safe to sit on. And during another song, he hit his head on Zero's mic stand. He was trying to duck under but missed, hit his head, made a funny face then clutched his head and started rolling around on the floor, all while still singing!!

Next up was the heartfelt ballad Kaleidoscope and the entire club was silent; nobody made a sound and even our breathing wasn't audible. The lights came back on and Hizumi just looked at us funny and told us that the "shi-----n" (Japanese word for the sound of silence) was weird and that we were weird. That really helped lighten the mood of the place.

I grabbed a bottle of water and headed towards the main club area. Many fans were standing or sitting around waiting for the show to begin which was unusual to me. All of the shows I've been to in America, both JRock and non, everyone was usually pressed together long before the show began, vying for that perfect spot near the front.

I was in the middle of the main area and since there was room to maneuver, I made my way closer to the stage, careful not to disturb anyone who was sitting on the floor. Satisfied with my current position, I took the time to look around and fully see my surroundings.

We were graced with two new songs and the band played a couple of songs from coll:set, though many were from Mirror, their newest album.

Karyu and Zero mostly stayed on their sides of the stage but would sometimes move to the other side to interact with the fans there. Karyu didn't seem too energetic and Tsukasa, being the drummer, hardly moved. Hizumi was all over the place, going wild and making us all follow along with his hand motions and movements.

Zero was, perhaps, the sweetest of them all!! He would smile cutely and nod at us several times. I have come to the conclusion that he is a fan of Inoran (guitarist of Luna Sea/FAKE?/Tourbillon) because of his hairstyle, the way he was dressed, the way he smiled and the way he shook the hair out of his face. Zero even does this one little leg kick that Inoran does often and it was really cute!! Being a fan of both Inoran and Zero, this made me intensely happy!!

One of the best parts of the show was all the fanservice in it's various forms. Karyu came up behind Zero and kissed the back of his head, it was so sweet!! ^^ Hizumi was later on feeling up Karyu and putting his hands all over him and Tsukasa kept staring at Karyu. He even licked his lips at Karyu at one point. ^.^

Squall got everyone going again and it was the last song of the main set. We shouted their name over and over again for at least 15 minutes before they arrived back on stage, each wearing the night's tour shirt.

Hizumi thanked us and kept telling us that Osaka was "Saikou." He tried to get the other members of the band to speak and Zero wouldn't. ^^;; He tried to convince Karyu to and even tilted his head to the side cutely but he wouldn't either. We all screamed for Tsukasa to speak and he did. He gave us a short message but we were glad to hear his voice nonetheless.

PIG then started and the energy never slowed down from there. After two more songs, the grand finale, "Forbidden" began. It's another one of those songs that you HAVE to hear live if you get to see D'espairsRay.

The band and the audience both gave it their all and we were all screaming, cheering and acting wild!! The song finally ended and we were all exhausted. D'espairsRay then took the time to toss out half drank bottles of water, drumsticks and picks. Zero kept putting picks in his mouth and spat them at the audience. Hizumi and Karyu were playing around with each other and Hizumi tore the right side of Karyu's shirt, exposing his chest to all of us, thus, making us scream wildly!! ^^

After that, the show was over and we were instructed to leave the venue. The energy was still intense and we weren't ready to leave yet. Many of the fans were screaming for the band once more, trying to get just that one last song from them, but to no avail.

Reluctantly, we started filing out of the main area. To the right, there was another table of goods being sold, better stuffs than what they were initially selling. There were tour posters, autographed CDs and picks and all sorts of goodies. On the way out, you also get to chose another drink and I again grabbed a bottle water.

I tiredly left the area, still taking in everything that had happened. The live was just so intense and full of energy that never slowed down or abated and the memories of this will stay with me from now on.

Set List:
BRILLIANT
MAZE
in vain
Cocoon
SCREEN
Closer to ideal
SIXty NINe
Angeldust
New Song
New Song
Kaleidoscope
MIRROR
Fuyuu Shita Risou
Hollow
Squall

Encore:
PIG
DESERT
TRICKSTeR
"Forbidden" (Grand Finale)

-Neko, America