D=OUT’s Grand Finale at Nakano Sun Plaza Hall

Live Report

by Diana Tome, chi.yow, posted January 2, 2014

After a year that included tours both in Japan and in Asia, D=OUT held a grand finale of a last oneman for 2013 etitled Nakano Katsugeki BROADWAY at Nakano Sun Plaza Hall on November 29. The vintage-style footage which opened the show revealed the band in new costumes before each member  made their live entrances from the upper left platform and then swept down the stairs onto the stage proper.

The show began with “Kabuki Disco” in which the catchy melodies had everyone dancing and singing along to the chorus as lights flashed down upon the band. Vocalist Kouki was spotlighted for an enthusiastic greeting of “Gokigenyou(good day)!” and then “Killer Tune” started with a multitude of lights flashing rapidly during the distorted electronic intro. Hikaru and Ibuki ripped into their guitars in a signal for everyone to begin violently throwing their heads from side-to-side.

Goku” kept the energy high with more headbanging and a stage drowned in crimson. Kouki displayed his sexy side as he sang parts of the lyrics in a husky manner before sauntering over to the front to yell out the next song title, ‘“Kimon!”’ As bassist Reika made his way to the center, Kouki threw an arm around his shoulders before giving an affectionate head bump. The vocalist then leaped offstage to dive into the center front rows while shouting out “Keep bringing it!” Fortunately, Kouki was able to return safely to the stage to conclude the song with a round of headbanging.

“This is D=OUT! Yell out some more, Nakano!” Kouki cried out, before playfully tossing a rose into the air along with a “Bonjour!” and a smirk. “I’m so happy to meet all you lovely honeys here in this venue, today,” he said breathily.

“That is not you,” commented Ibuki.

In response, Kouki giggled. “This isn’t my character at all, huh?” Then, to the crowd’s amusement, he reverted back to his usual personality and re-introduced the band. “Welcome, everyone! Today, this is the grand finale! Let’s go stupid having fun!”

The stage was painted a pale pink for “Kacho FugetsuSakura Fubuki.” Kouki sang in alternating high notes while fans with towels swung them around to the beat. Ibuki remained cool and composed as he skillfully carried out his guitar solo in contrast to Hikaru who would occasionally throw in some headbanging as he played.  Splashing sounds cued the transition to “Mr. JAP” as Kouki yelled out, “Let’s go!” and led the crowd in the corresponding finger-pointing choreography. Each of the other members were given a chance to shine during the jazzy song as spotlights fell on them during their respective solos. Minase then opened “Yuukou Dancing Modern” with an impressive drum intro before Kouki once again challenged the audience to keep up with even more hand choreography while calling out the matsuri-like chants of ‘Wasshoi! Wasshoi!’

The stage was thrown into darkness briefly before it was gently relit with the first notes of “Hotarubi” which created a calm and relaxing atmosphere and showcased the softer side of D=OUT’s blended Japanesque sound. Then, Kouki’s vocal strengths became clear in “Harukaze Shalala;” the vocalist accompanied by piano alone for the opening verse until bass filtered in, followed by the guitars and drums. Guitar faded in and out in alternating phrases as Kouki sang with an emotionally laden voice and ended on a drawn out note. Next up, “Sousaku Negai” found the vocalist wandering about the top platform, acting out his search for something lost and eventually making his way back to the lower level before the stage disappeared into darkness at the conclusion.

“So, how is everyone so far?” Kouki asked—receiving many positive responses. Minase was then prompted to demonstrate to the audience the choreography for the following song, which included the use of towels. Despite his occasional mistake, the crowd made their instructor proud by performing their actions for “Entenka” in perfect sync—filling the space with spinning towels, clapping hands, and flying hair. “We’re not done, yet. Let’s keep going with ‘Shangri-La!’” Kouki encouraged. Ibuki and Hikaru opened the song with their guitars before joining Reika and Kouki in side-to-side clapping dance with the audience. Energy ran high as the band members raced around the stage, giving attention to many different sections of fans as well as the multiple cameras present around the hall. As Hikaru skillfully played out the ending guitar solo at center, Kouki came up from behind to lean on his shoulder and drawl out the last lines before the stage went dark. Soon, strobe lights and a dizzying background scene took over for “[Shura].” This deep and aggressive number had Kouki fiercely yelling and rapping the lyrics into a megaphone to rally the crowd. Mid-song, he demanded, “You guys better sit down!” to which the audience—as well as the other band members—complied by crouching for a few moments. The on-screen movie called for more energy before everyone leapt back up to continue where they had left off. Reika ran forward to direct fans to jump from side-to-side, pretending to shoot at random with his bass before returning to his original position. There, he contributed his own growls until the song ended with a massive headbang-fest.

“Let’s keep going! Not a single person should hold back, now!” came the order, and D=OUT showed no mercy now that they were on a roll, maintaining a fast pace with the hand-held fan-toting “MUSIC NIPPON.” Ibuki sexily posed between lines as he picked at his strings while Reika bounced around the stage, seemingly fueled by the energy the crowd was still putting forth. When Kouki announced that the next song would be the last, fans were momentarily confused by Kouki’s preceding call of “More!” which turned out to be a play on the title of the closing number, “Kanden 18 Gou.” The hall was transformed into a massive disco club, catching all up in a funky beat that demanded movement. Even Reika fell victim to it as he spun about while plucking his bass strings.

Before the band saw fit to grant the encore request, a humorous movie featuring a LINE chat between the members was shown. There was a variety of comments about past happenings but the conversation focused mainly on various backstage photos of Minase which drew chuckles and laughter from the audience at the drummer’s expense. Once an end was put to Minase’s suffering, the chat then turned to a direct address of the fans which questioned the extent of their desire for an encore performance—a challenge which was answered readily by the crowd. The band then reappeared, having exchanged the top halves of their costumes for more casual and comfortable wear.

“Is everyone still having fun? Thank you for the encore request. Please continue to treat us well from today forward!” For the first song of the encore performance, a special acoustic arrangement of “ROMAN REVOLUTION” warmed hearts with a combination of simple, calming music and the members’ solemn and peaceful expressions alongside Kouki’s sweet vocals and lyrics. As the stage was rearranged for the rest of the encore performance, the PV for “Kanden 18 Gou” played on the back screen before Kouki reappeared to sing “Koi abakiAmazarashi” twirling a traditional Japanese umbrella—having exchanged his parka for a turquoise haori. The umbrella was eventually discarded in favor of being able to stroll about the stage while singing to express the melancholy and sadness of lost love.

Then, although his birthday had already passed, the band surprised Hikaru with a video of Kouki wandering about Ikebukuro to ask random passersby to give birthday greetings to their rhythm guitarist. Hardly anyone shown knew who he was, which resulted in many requests being met with a decline although there were a few brave enough to give well wishes to a stranger. Following this giggle-inducing movie was the cake presentation though, due to fire hazard, the candles weren’t lit. Hikaru played along anyway and acted out blowing them out—shaking his head cutely as he did so. Each of his bandmates then took turns to give him personal messages and this, too, quickly turned into another comedy act as everyone ended their declarations of well-wishes with fake sobs.

“Life is rose-colored, isn’t it?” Kouki joked in a hint as to which song was coming next. The vocalist executed another swift wardrobe change to don a happi coat during “Barairo no Jinsei” and the jazzy and bass-laden song had everyone jumping and dancing once again. As the opening lines of “Disco Fever Yeah!” played for “DANCE NUMBER,” Kouki interjected yells of “D=OUT FEVER YEAH!” and held the microphone out for a return call before heads started to whip from side to side to the quick beats Minase pounded out. The slightly schizophrenic song had Kouki both purring sultrily to the audience as well as growling and calling for more energy and movement. “Nakano, this is the last song of the night!” he warned. The resulting “Hikou shoujo” had everyone clapping along to its infectious, feel-good melodies.

Despite the farewells given, the screen then suddenly flashed on to declare that “D=OUT is not finished yet!” Hikaru and Reika, setting aside their guitars, looked over the crowd as if to ask, “How much do you really want another encore? Prove it to us.” Ibuki soon followed their example and Minase came out from behind his drum kit to ask the same. This was, however, all for show, as they did not keep their eager fans waiting long. “Let’s have more fun together, shall we?” Kouki suggested. He then reflected on the events of the year—particularly on their first Asian tour—expressing his and his bandmates’ gratitude for all of the support and love they received throughout. “D=OUT is still not done, yet. We’re not going to stop anytime soon. For the last song, it’s the best of D=OUT’s work so far: ‘ONE!’” Kouki proudly made this declaration before the cheerful melody began. The vocalist and guitarists broke away from their positions to run about the stage before gathering together in the center for the main guitar solo. “Let’s sing together,” Kouki requested as he raised his index finger in the customary pose and held his microphone out to the audience to sing the last chorus.

The positive and uplifting song was a suitable way to finish a year of one-man shows that united all of their fans both within and outside of Japan—not together in a physical sense, but in their feelings for the band. “You guys are the best! Thank you!” Kouki shouted. He then called everyone together for a commemorative group photo before the band finally bowed out.

After a successful year, D=OUT’s plans for 2014 are already proving exciting with a ZEPP tour and a live album in the works. Nakano Sun Plaza Hall was a proud showcase of the band’s 2013 and lends credence to the expectations of much more to come from this bright group.

Set List

  1. Opening music: FESTA.
  2. Kabuki Desuko
  3. Killer Tune
  4. Goku
  5. Kimon
  6. Kacho Fugetsu・Sakura Fubuki
  7. Mr. JAP
  8. Yuukou Dancing Modern
  9. Hotarubi
  10. Harukaze Shalala
  11. Sousaku Negai
  12. Entenka
  13. Shangri-La
  14. 「Shura」
  16. Kanden 18 Gou

Encore 1

  1. ROMAN REVOLUTION (acoustic version)
  2. Koi abaki、Amazarashi
  3. Barairo no Jinsei
  5. Hikou shoujo

Encore 2

  1. ONE

Diana Tome saw her life change when she came across X-Japan's Blue Blood. A big supporter of old school visual rock, she believes visual kei is a lifestyle and philosophy that goes beyond the clothing and the music. With a background in headhunting and psychotherapy, Diana completed her M.A. in Psychology from I.S.P.A. in Lisbon, Portugal. She now lives and works in Japan committed to keeping the VK/V-rock flame alive.

Chi’s interest in visual kei stems from her love of art. The unique aesthetics in combination with the wide range of musical styles within the genre have been what has kept her interest in the visual kei scene for over a decade. The main image her friends and classmates have of her is with a camera in hand, face behind the viewfinder or screen. This image is also occasionally combined with memories of running around her to avoid getting into her panorama shots.

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