BREAKERZ Debut 4-shûnen Kinen Live “WISH 03” at Nippon Budokan

live report - 03.10.2011 11:01

The rock trio and their legions of fans celebrated their fourth birthday on a cool summer night.

For some music lovers, nothing says “summer” like a loud, crowded concert. Music events the world over take note of this fact, attracting anywhere from dozens of local fans for intimate lives or the prerequisite tens of thousands for weekend-long affairs. The loyal fans of rock band BREAKERZ take to the middle of this spectrum, in their case at the 14,000-friendly Nippon Budokan. The incline from Kudanshita Station leading to the concert hall was filled with fans even an hour before the doors were set to open, with some additional hundreds of fans anxiously sitting on the curb in front of the Budokan gates.

Pockets of fans excitedly cheered alongside the goods and CD booths, the line for the latter extending into the Budokan’s surrounding forestry. Fans of all shapes, sizes, and fashion senses trickled into the area, and by the time the doors were set to open at 5:30, the steps leading to the second-floor Budokan doors were filled from left to right. The first-floor gates were just as jam-packed; anyone heading away from the gates had to swim past the swarm of eager fans – a tall feat, to say the least.

Inside the arena, three screens (two side and one central) displayed the bright blue “WISH 03” logo. Perhaps more prominent, if not menacing, were the skull-and-bony arms atop the stage, equipped with a rose-pinned pirate cap and sporting DAIGO’s trademark “wish” pose. Several decorative columns spread across the stage invoked the puzzle game Lumines; far less fanciful – and far more ominous – was a beam structure at center stage greatly resembling a cross. A small bag of BREAKERZ flyers and, as a bonus, a single glowstick greeted fans as they took their respective seats. Amongst said fans was DAIGO’s immediate family, who nearby fans recognized as soon as they approached their seats. Whispers of “I want to greet them!” could be heard throughout the first floor.

A loud buzzer silenced said whispers at precisely 6:30, with fans roaring in approval as the lights cut. Suddenly, from the center screen, came… anime: specifically, a scene from "Cardfight!! Vanguard", a series based on the card game of the same name. In the footage, the series’ hero, Aichi, is about to lose a match until he draws his last card, smiles, and unleashes his ultimate combo: first, the guitarist SHINPEI, who when summoned on-screen appeared atop a platform on stage right to thunderous applause. As SHINPEI jumped off the platform, Aichi’s combo continued with AKIHIDE, who appeared guitar in hand on a descending platform at stage left. Lastly, Aichi played “the vocalist of light,” DAIGO, who burst onto the stage amidst streams of red smoke and scores of audience wails.

The support members, bassist Matsu and drummer MAKOTO, made their way onto the stage as DAIGO announced the first song, CLIMBERxCLIMBER, much to the audience’s delight. (CLIMBERxCLIMBER was recently used as an image song for a "Vanguard" commercial, hence the introduction to the live.) Fireworks burst from the stage as the stage monitor split into three vertical stripes, one per band member. The audience already enthralled, their vigor continued through to BIG BANG!, the title track of BREAKERZ’s third album. The visuals matched the song title at each chorus, exploding into several bursts of light and flame.

DAIGO greeted his loving fans arena section by arena section at the first MC, thanking them for three consecutive anniversary lives at the Budokan. After praising the blessed-by-God weather, the band blessed their fans with Gekijô. The track excited the trio as much as it did their fans, as evidenced by the group running across the stage at every possible chance. How they managed to sing and play guitar while haphazardly traversing the stage is left for their fans to puzzle in awe over.

The live slowly transitioned from energy to extravagance, perhaps officially beginning with BAMBINO, as dancers clad in red dresses approached DAIGO, SHINPEI, and AKIHIDE, the five of them clapping to the music. Queries as to whether or not the audience was having fun were met with loud roars, said cries doubling as the band began to play GO, the title track of their upcoming fifth album. Things cooled down a little with Tsukiyo no itazura no mahô, with an on-screen moon fading from full to new and back again. As the monitor lights dimmed following the song’s end, the guitarists took to separate sides of the stage and dueled in a five-minute guitar battle. There was no clear winner, unless you count the audience, who for all intents and purposes surely claimed victory nonetheless.

The suspiciously cross-like beams at stage center revealed themselves to be – wait for it – a cross, as after the guitar battle DAIGO appeared, replete with an eye-patch and the outfit from LAST † PRAY, the band’s latest single. Chained by both arms to the cross, DAIGO floated atop the stage to thousands of fan-screams. The extravagance only continued with BUNNY LOVE, with pole-dancers and bunny caps replacing the dark, elevated atmosphere of the previous song. However, eye-patches, crosses, and pole-dancing bunny dancers would all pale in comparison to what happened next.

At the next MC, the band members were asked what songs they were listening to as of late. One member answered Maru Maru Mori Mori, a popular song sung by two elementary schoolers and played throughout Japan’s radios and school intercoms. An offer was made to perform it on the spot. DAIGO “refused”; after all, they’re a rock band. Not for the next fifteen seconds, as DAIGO, goaded by his bandmates, began singing the Maru Maru chorus much to his fans’ amusement. These fifteen seconds would make national news the morning after.

The remainder of the main set played out as extravagantly as beforehand; a cavalcade of dancers joined the stage for REAL LOVE 2010, with DAIGO donning a Nazi-styled cap and saluting atop an elevated podium. Almost every fan in the audience proudly displayed, then swung wildly, their muffler towels for Shakunetsu. The grand finale, GRAND FINALE, started fittingly with streamers blasting into the crowd. A two minute wait preceded the first encore of the evening, with a pair of acoustic performances. Of note was the first, Arigatô ~Beautiful day~, during the ending of which DAIGO took a long note and held it for upwards of half a minute to increasingly loud applause.

The second encore was all set to end after two songs, with DAIGO telling his audience that the Budokan had a time limit of 9:30. This was 9:14, as he was promptly told. A full-band huddle led to, in no particular order a whopping four more songs, a shirtless SHINPEI, and NO SEX NO LIFE, serving as likely the “rockingest” of the evening’s tracks. It was a fine way to end the evening, even if they ultimately went nine minutes past their time limit.

After the band thanked their fans and left, a flurry of announcements further shook the audience. First, their new album, set for release in September, was announced to considerable cheers. A nationwide tour only added to the fervor. The last major announcement, a fan club live set for Hong Kong, brought anyone left sitting to his or her feet. Thus concluded the BREAKERZ live, the focal point of the fans’ summer, and the starting point for another chapter in their history.

Set List:

03. Gekijô
05. Everlasting Luv
07. GO! (New Song)
08. Tsukiyo no Itazura no Mahô
- Guitar Battle -
11. Hatsukoi Trampoline
12. Zettai! I LOVE YOU
13. REAL LOVE 2010
15. Shakunetsu

E1. Arigatô ~Beautiful day~ (Acoustic)
E2. Sore wa Yasashii Kimochi (Acoustic)
E3. Hikari

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