SUGIZO TOUR 2018 “Do Phoenixes Dream of Electronic Music?” at Zepp DiverCity

live report - 10.21.2018 22:38

On September 11th, SUGIZO and his fans shared a night of musical prayer for world peace and the restoration of areas suffering from the effects of natural disasters.

SUGIZO embarked on his 2018 tour from September 5th to 17th. This report covers the fourth show of the tour, which was held at Tokyo’s Zepp DiverCity on September 11th, 2018.

According to his speech during the show, SUGIZO did not wish to hold concerts during a time when so many areas were dealing with the aftermath of natural disasters, such as the torrential rain in western Japan and the earthquake in Hokkaido that had just occurred on September 6th. SUGIZO personally visited Kurashiki-city, Okayama prefecture in both July and August in order to help people in the affected areas. He said during the show that he wished he could cancel all of the performances and personally help those in need. However, he also said that what he felt he should do now was share his music on the stage so that fans could spread their love to others.

As SUGIZO is also committed to supporting refugees, he touched on the significance of having the show on September 11th on his Twitter account. Since the day marked 17 years after the terrorist attacks in New York City, SUGIZO felt that it was especially important to spread the light of music to conflict zones and disaster-affected areas from the live venue.

The fans’ ovation got louder when SUGIZO walked onto the stage after the entrances of drummer komaki, percussionist Kenji YOSHIURA and programmer and keyboardist MaZDA. SUGIZO’s guitar delivered a high-pitched choking sound to the fans as the opening number Misogi started. YOSHIURA, with his djembe, joined SUGIZO at center stage during the performance. The two men played their instruments while facing each other. The tribal beat of the djembe and the powerful guitar sound thrilled fans, and SUGIZO also took a turn hitting YOSHIURA’s djembe himself.

The audience’s musical trance continued with TELL ME WHY NOT PSYCHEDELIA?. With psychedelic images by the visual artist ZAKROCK projected on the stage screen behind him, SUGIZO mesmerized the fans by playing contrasting clear strumming sounds and heavy strokes. The combination of precise digital and manual beats created a groove, and the guitarist enjoyed clapping along to it at times with the fans.

“Thank you for waiting. I’ve been looking forward to ascending with you guys on the day of September 11th,” SUGIZO greeted the fans. The show continued with consecutive performances of FINAL OF THE MESSIAH and FOLLY. Fans absorbed SUGIZO’s raging guitar riffs, and they also took in the images of historic figures such as Che Guevara, Martin Luther King Jr., Mother Teresa and Mahatma Gandhi on the stage screen. During the performance, SUGIZO joined his hands together as if in prayer.

Later, SUGIZO exhibited his many musical talents. During NEO COSMOSCAPE, he wowed the fans by playing the percussion instruments while YOSHIURA took center stage for his djembe solo. Next, SUGIZO switched to the violin for Proxima Centauri. The graceful and transparent melody of his violin flew out from the stage while the screen projected cosmic images. A feeling of peace and freedom was communicated through his violin, as if his music was lifting the fans’ souls skyward.

SUGIZO continued to play his violin for the instrumental presentation of Zessai with the dancer YUSURA. Although the song was played without the original vocal part, the melody of his violin vividly expressed a haunting longing and a sense of hope together with YUSURA’s dynamic physical movements. His musical prayer for peace continued on with Lux Aeterna. Strobe flash lights lit SUGIZO as he stood on the dim stage with his guitar and white smoke filled the venue. His resounding guitar described the pain and fear that run rampant in this world. In the midst of the song’s cold piano sounds, SUGIZO raised both arms skyward. Then, he delivered a crying sound by using a ribbon controller for a modular synthesizer in his hand. Fans gazed at images of children in a warzone on the stage screen. At the end of the performance, the high-pitched sound of SUGIZO’s guitar roared from the stage.

The show continued on to ENOLA GAY RELOADED. Red and yellow stage lights lit SUGIZO, who now held a flag reading “No Nukes”. Physical and digital beats bombarded the fans and they watched as SUGIZO waved the flag at center stage. SUGIZO shredded his guitar to express his opposition to nuclear weapons. At the end of the performance, the message “NO MORE NUKES, PRAY TO MUSIC” was projected on the stage screen.

As the show approached its end, SUGIZO lifted the solemn atmosphere and revived fans’ spirits with PHOENIX〜HINOTORI〜. YUSURA once again joined the performers onstage, this time playing a Japanese drum. Switching to his V-neck guitar, SUGIZO set the fans on fire with his soul-stirring guitar riffs. YUSURA also impressed the fans with her powerful drumming, and she sometimes stole the spotlight by using two drumsticks as if she was performing a sword dance. Fans headbanged together with SUGIZO and YUSURA. Finally, SUGIZO closed the show with his psychedelic trance number DO-FUNK DANCE. YUSURA returned to the stage with a guitar during the performance. Under the colorful beams of the stage lights and the mirror ball, YUSURA and the fans danced around to SUGIZO’s funky guitar riffs.

Later, SUGIZO came back for an encore dressed in a special long jacket called “GAIA”, which was designed by the fashion brand tenbo. The long jacket is decorated with images of the earth, the desperate situation in Syria, and the smiling faces of Syrian children who he personally met during his visit to refugee camps in Jordan. “We shared a great universe of music together here. Let us spread what we shared today to those who are suffering. If our society was able to have this kind of heart, the world would be able to change a little for the better. Ordinary life is very precious. Let us not take small miracles in our daily lives for granted. I will continue to cherish the miracle that I can share my music together with you guys,” he said.

At the end of the show, SUGIZO played The Voyage Home with HATAKEN on modular synthesizers and MAIKO on piano. Warm orange lights lit the image of an ocean on the stage screen. Fans welcomed the calming ambiance of the modular synthesizers, the soothing sounds of waves and piano and the purifying melody of SUGIZO’s violin into their hearts. The musical prayer dedicated to the future of children and the earth closed the spiritual night. SUGIZO, wearing his “GAIA” jacket, took his final bows with all of the other performers. “Let’s keep rising up to the universe,” SUGIZO said, and his message was met with enthusiastic applause.

In addition, SUGIZO announced of the release of a new best-of album titled COSMOSCAPE II, as well as the worldwide digital release of SWITCHED-ON OTO. The release dates will be revealed at a later date.

Set list

1. Misogi
6. Proxima Centauri
7. Zessai
8. Lux Aeterna
10. Decaying

14. The Voyage Home
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