heidi. Celebrate Beautiful Human at Shinjuku BLAZE
Following the release of their new album Human back in May, heidi. went on a twelve stop tour around mainland Japan, hitting well-known visual kei venues in the big cities before finally setting up for their final at Shinjuku BLAZE on the very first day of August. The atmosphere at the venue was relaxed and cheerful, the air brimming with anticipation and excitement as the fans gathered in front of the stage, waiting for the band to get ready.
Drummer Kiri and guitarist Nao were the first to come out, Kiri waving at the crowd before he dropped down on his drum stool and Nao offering a short greeting as well before he picked up his guitar. Bassist Kohsuke then took it upon himself to rile up the fans, bouncing straight from the back to the very front and encouraging the crowd to raise their voices as they finally greeted vocalist Yoshihiko.
Colorful, dancing lights—that would become characteristic for the whole show that night—flashed overhead as heidi. launched into the first song. Recognizable through Kiri’s drums and the first catchy and melodic riff from Nao, “Bright” was as good an opening number live as on the new album, instantly setting an upbeat and cheerful mood. Kohsuke kept up a steady, prominent bass line, carrying the song from start to finish, and any nervousness Yoshihiko might have harbored was surely gone the instant he started singing. Soon, he moved to the front to look over the crowd, his eyes meeting those of his fans as he returned their happy and excited smiles with one at least as blinding.
Following the track list from the album, the energy kicked up a notch for “Cry baby” and, if possible, even further for “Moment” as Yoshihiko encouraged the crowd with a steady call of “Jump! Jump! Jump!” The crowd obliged and even those on stage couldn’t keep still for the cool and catchy songs. Kiri stomped out a steady drum beat, almost losing his loose, slightly oversized shirt as it slipped further down his shoulders but never once missing a beat as he kept on hitting drums and cymbals left and right, repeatedly making drumming look like the easiest thing in the world. Kohsuke thrashed about on his side of the stage while Nao alternated between backing up Yoshihiko’s vocals and hopping about in circles in his area. He nodded genially along to the simple-bordering-genius riffs he kept pulling from the strings of his guitar. Surrounding the drum set, they all gave the last moment to Kiri, who stood up behind the drums and smiled brightly as he brought the song to a loud, crashing ending.
Taking a short break from the new tracks, Yoshihiko took a moment to properly welcome the crowd, only to fast-forward through any kind of long talk and launch right into an old favorite instead. “Hakuchuumu,” with its easily recognizable melody, had the crowd raising their hands from the first note and dancing along with Yoshihiko, then jumping with Nao and Kohsuke while Kiri tapped along on his cymbals with impressive speed. The next song was led by Kohsuke whose deep, steady bass delivered sass and groove to “Ori.” The bassist literally kicked into the song and kept the bass running while the audience swayed back and forth to the steady throb. Nao once again lent his voice to Yoshihiko, who kept on dancing with the crowd before he went to the front and finished the song with his bare feet peeking out under his pant legs.
“Kizuato” made for an interesting song live, slightly different from what one might expect from the studio recording, what with Yoshihiko’s voice much sounding out more prominently as he and Nao stood at the front alone, bathed in white light. Nao kept cool, his expression soft and serene, while Yoshihiko cried out and caught and held the attention of everyone watching him. The fans’ fists crashed along with the drums anyway but the mood was set for the more serious song that followed. The vocalist was backed by a deep bass and a harder guitar line in “Stereotype” and the crowd watched in respectful, awed silence as Yoshihiko stepped up fully on the speakers, hand stretched out in front of him as if to take hold of the hearts he gripped with his song and voice alone. Falling to his knees, he buried his face in his hands as his bandmates kept playing, Kiri’s drums repeatedly falling into the hollow beat of a marching drum. Finally, the song ended in a deep, heavy silence that not a single fan dared to break.
Even through a slightly lighter tune and an almost ridiculously catchy, funky guitar riff, Yoshihiko’s soft, soothing voice kept the audience quiet for the haughty “Shiawase ni Zetsubou” and the old favorite “Kaihou.” Kiri seemed more fired up though, launching into heavy drumming with unmatched energy, all while watching the crowd headbanging slowly in time with his bass drum. The smile on his face stayed in place as they continued with “Gekkou Showtime” and the drummer sang along from behind the drums throughout the entire song. Kohsuke spun in circles while ripping through the bass lines and Nao came to the front to play, only to jump back behind his microphone, always just in time for his backing vocals. The vocalist himself was busy re-establishing the contact he had momentarily broken with the crowd during the softer numbers by fitting in as many shouts and cries as he could and encouraging everyone to join in and raise their voices to sing along.
“Are you having fun?” Yoshihiko cried out, once again meeting the eyes of the fans and smiling as they replied cheerily. At this point, the boys were drenched in sweat, their hair sticking to their foreheads and their shirts to their backs—the collar of Kiri’s once light grey shirt having changed color dramatically—but Yoshihiko only gave them a few minutes before deciding to continue with “Beautiful Psycho.” Though it started out a bit low, the song quickly progressed into a high speed, high energy piece that had the audience jumping in front of the stage as Yoshihiko and Nao seemed to battle over who could keep up with the fast-paced lyrics the best. The energy carried into “Twilight Town” and heidi. seemed properly fired up as colorful lights were once again flashing overhead while the entire venue moved in unison, jumping and dancing to the fun and funky song. The crowd really gave it everything they had and Yoshihiko, Nao, and Kohsuke all came out to the very front to jump and sing along, drawing on their energy and enthusiasm. Kohsuke gave a proper show to the fans on his side when he dropped to his knees and played for them, while Nao kept it cool, nodding along and smiling coyly from his spot. Yoshihiko’s contact with the audience during the entire song—and throughout the live in general—was fantastic, and the smiles he delivered no less so.
High on the energy buzzing through the venue, Yoshihiko called for towels and not a single person in the audience seemed to have neglected to buy one as they sent them all spinning through the air for “Gensou Bayashi.” Yoshihiko eventually abandoned his own to grab the microphone with both hands, voice strong and clear as he sang alone, Nao too busy hopping about in circles behind him again, singing along to himself with a silly smile on his face. The boys all pulled back then to play with Kiri, who had jumped to his feet for “Mukuro.” With one drumstick raised high, he stomped out a wicked beat and sent his bandmates back to the front and the crowd into a storming headbanging session. Kohsuke dropped to his knees again while Yoshihiko and Nao sang, Yoshihiko flawlessly alternating between perfectly clean notes and deep, impressive screams, once again showing off both skill and versatility within just a single song.
The energy in the venue peaked in “Ryuusei Dive” which had even heidi.’s staff dancing along on the side of the stage, playfully waving glowsticks about behind the band. Nao and Kohsuke switched sides for “Utakata” and the crowd seemed unstoppable as they kept dancing, moving, and waving their hands in the air, following the perfectly crafted song and jumping on every shout of encouragement. Yoshihiko’s energy seemed to literally spill over into the crowd as he took the front and leaned out, smiling as he watched the small, perfectly crazy, happy riot going on in front of him.
Every single member of the band was smiling at the audience when Yoshihiko took the microphone again and thanked the crowd properly for being there for them. “Just as you have all lifted my spirits here today, I want to always be here for you like this to lift your spirits in return,” he said with his voice full of passion and promise. “Glide” made for a perfect ending of the main set, conveying the same promise in different words to a catchy and cheerful tune that was sure to leave everyone with smiles on their faces as heidi. waved and stepped off the stage.
The calls for the encore started immediately and the crowd didn’t have to wait long before the boys came back out in tour shirts and started the encore with one last song from their new album. After an exciting announcement that in September, heidi. would become one of the few bands to perform in the Philippines, the mood was kept light for “Freedom,” and Yoshihiko borrowed the voices of the fans, smiling brightly as they seemed to grow stronger each time he asked them to sing. “Omaesan” and the following “Natsu Ichizu” got the crowd back on their feet for real as they moshed and headbanged tirelessly in front of the stage, trusting the band to see them through the chaos they created. Nao and Kohsuke changed sides and borrowed each other’s microphones to sing with Yoshihiko before they all surrounded Kiri and ended the encore together.
Yoshihiko bowed deeply to his audience before he left the stage, quickly followed by Nao. Kohsuke goofed around for a bit before waving his goodbyes, and finally Kiri emerged from behind his drums and waved as the audience called out to him in soft, sweet voices. He had barely stepped offstage before another round of calls for more echoed through the venue. This time, it took only minutes before they came running out again, and Yoshihiko opened the extra encore with “Tsubasa.” Of course, there can hardly be a heidi. live without “Sentimental” which really did serve as the perfect ending song. Everyone in the venue danced and moshed and sang along, and Yoshihiko’s smile had to be the brightest of all as he almost sang out an honest and heartfelt “Ah, this feels so great!” Surely there was no one in the crowd that night who did not feel the same.
The night, and with it, the last live of the tour, ended on a happy note, and everyone got to go home with a good feeling resonating in hearts and minds—just as it should after having spent the night dancing and singing with heidi. The band not only showcased their exciting album Human to the fullest, they also blended it impeccably with older hits to create a wonderful night.
- Cry Baby
- Shiawase ni Zetsubou
- Gekkou Showtime
- Beautiful Psycho
- Twilight Town
- Gensou Bayashi
- Ryuusei Dive
- Natsu Ichizu
There are 17 photos in this visual kei exclusive.