Title / Artist
M.A.D Double Headline Tour in Shiga
Date: 2016.05.09
Artist:   MUCC   HYDE   AKi  
Date of Concert: 2016.03.13
In arguably the most anticipated stop on the 2016 M.A.D Double Headline Tour, featured artists AKi MUCC, and special guest HYDE pulled out all the stops to deliver an unforgettable night to all to attendees on March 13th 2016 at Biwako Hall.

TAKing the stage first, but by no means as an opening act, was AKi. Opening with his silhouette outlined against the curtains in a haunting display, the first song of the night was "Ray", and then zoomed straight into "Fahrenheit" without delay. At the closing of the upbeat song, the audience showed how energized they already were by calling for AKi, who rewarded fans with the heavier "Be Free". AKi was all smiles, a fun contrast to the headbanging audience

After a brief MC where AKi goaded the audience to become crazier, the fans did ask they were asked, screaming for AKi as the lights went down. With a rainbow flashing behind the stage and lasers criss-crossing in the air, "FAIRY DUST" began. The audience hopped along the chorus and AKi kicked his legs while he danced, keeping the tension high before lifting his bass high into the air on the final chorus. The next song was the jazzy "FREAK SHOW", another heavier number where fans leapt into the air at the apex of each chorus over and over, and saw AKi leaning up against his support guitarist, an intense-looking man named Takayuki "TAPPA" Kato, in a sensual display.

AKi gave the audience a bit of reprieve, introducing his support band members with Motokatsu Miyagami on drums and Takayuki "TAPPA" Kato and YOUSAY on guitar. AKi also chose that time to introduce that day's super special rock and roller guest, HYDE, which was met with much audience enthusiasm. It was very clear that the majority of the attendees were highly anticipating when HYDE would appear onstage.

AKi encouraging the audience to clap along with him as the next song, "Path of Light", began. The poppy, upbeat ballad featured an excellent guitar solo by YOUSAY, and showed off some of AKi's vocal variation, as he was more playful and stayed in a high range throughout the song. The mood turned somber for the next song, "Wait for You", a soulful ballad with definite hints of classical Japanese influence. This gentle song featured lovely backup vocals by both guitarists, and contrasted well with the rest of the set, giving a peek at AKi's diverse repertoire.

AKi continued to drive his audience crazy with his sexy, breathless vocals at the beginning of "Day 1", which rolled well into the moody, hypnotic "LOOP". AKi shook his hips sensually and stroked his hands passionately over his neck and along his mic stand as he sang this droning rock ballad. AKi changed the pace with the suddenly heavy trance and dubstep-flavored rock song "In Vain", which was refreshing after the round of ballads.

The lively mix of music continued on as the funky, dancy "JIU" got the crowd swaying, a song that was slow, as if dripping into the blood of the listeners through an IV. It was a heady tune reminiscent of early 2000s rock. AKi blew kisses to his adoring fans in the front rows as the guitarists left the stage at the end of the song to give AKi and Motokatsu Miyagami the stage. The two then showed amazing chemistry as they broke into a lengthy bass and drum solo that was every bit as energized as the songs that came before. The jam session had the audience dancing freely, and clearly displayed AKi's mastery of his instrument. "Sing It Loud", a speedier, bouncy song followed. AKi hopped into the shouting for the audience to jump, which they did happily. AKi made his way to the front of the stage so that he could headbang with the best of the crowd after he asked everyone if they could keep going. The eclectically-named Midnight/Kyousou/DARLING: then fired up with YOUSAY, and AKi playing as they stood face-to-face.

"Let's keep going!" AKi cried, and the audience gave him all the enthusiasm they could as the fastest song of the night, "Brave New World", began, testing the endurance of everyone in the room at Biwako Hall. The final song of AKi's set was "The Inside War", which was ushered in with flames licking up the screen behind the band as fans spun their tour towels in the air and leapt for all they were worth as AKi gave this last song his all. He joined both Takayuki "TAPPA" Kato and YOUSAY at the front of the stage before the song was over, thanking everyone over and over as he threw picks into the crowd. With a final group bow, AKi gracefully left the stage having hit every song off of his mini album EPHEMERAL.

The next group of performers to take the stage was none other than MUCC, a force that has been hurdling steadily through Japan's musical scene for 20 years – whose upcoming tour this summer is celebrating that very achievement. With video footage of a rising sun playing behind the band as they came onto the stage, an image that has become iconic for longtime fans, the setup of the stage for MUCC was striking and minimalistic as per usual. The band cut right to the chase with their first song, "Suiren", with lights shining down on SATOchi each time he hit his drums and Tatsuro falling to his knees so he could scream out the chorus as a giant skeleton flashed green behind them both. An excellent start, it was followed up by "ENDER ENDER" with the audience clapping slowly to usher in the song before the entire room headbanged as the words to the chorus flashed on the screen behind the band. Tatsuro abandoned his mic to scream at the end, and his room still filled up the room. Now barefoot, Tatsuro kicked out toward the audience and grasped his mic stand with his toes to balance it between his hands at an extreme angle as the next song, "G.G." filled up the room with even more energy.

Tatsuro removed his scarf to wrap it around his neck and face as he shook his hips teasingly before excited fans as the next song, "JOKER" began. Red bars of light silhouetted each member in turn at the bridge, and Tatsuro laid his scarf down to kneel on it as he finished the song. The masterful visual aspects of the show continued with the next number, "Rainbow". Lyrics on the large screen scrolled down from top to bottom until the filled the entirety of the space only to vanish and reappear again in all the colors of the song's titular rainbow. Miya masterfully wailed out his guitar solo, seemingly in his own world as the ballad spun to the end.

During a brief MC, Tatsuro reiterated AKi's earlier statement that HYDE was in the house for everyone tonight before stepping to the front of the stage to lead the headbanging for the next number, "D.f.D (Dreamer from Darkness)". Clearly a fan favorite, the entire crowd cheered as the song began. The song featured a very interesting back and forth rap between Miya and Tatsuro, and had YUKKE joining Miya at the front of the stage to play together. White lasers struck the stage from above like lightning, breAKing up the ghostly green and red lighting during the next song, "Shikenkan Baby". Tatsuro picked up his mic stand, thrashing around with it before tossing it aside at the end. "Fuyuu" followed, drawing surprised cheers from the audience. Eerie images of jellyfish floated behind the band, and this song in particular showed off some truly impressive bass work by YUKKE, his melodies so fast and skillful it was hard to believe a person was creating it. Tatsuro's harmonic solo brought the song to a close.

MUCC's latest single from December of 2015, "Brilliant World", was the next heartfelt number. This song features long stretches of melody without any vocals, and yet there was never an awkward moment onstage, the other three members carrying the performance skillfully. After a long bow from Tatsuro, who seemed to grow emotional as he had belted out the ballad, the fantastical "Nirvana" came next. After an elegant guitar solo from Miya made to look utterly effortless, the whole audience clearly sang along to the chorus when Tatsuro stopped singing himself to hear their voices. Tatsuro called to the crowd afterward, asking if everyone was having fun, which naturally met with happy cheering. This lead into "Fuzz", which filled the room with warm energy as a psychedelic light show lit up the stage as the members bouncing around with their instruments as if they weighed nothing.

"Are you fucking ready, boys and girls?" Tatsuro growled as the next song, "Mr. Liar", began. The crowd was worked into an absolute frenzy, and at some moments Miya gave Tatsuro a run for his money with his backup vocals. The next song of the set, "Ranchu", was met with screams of excitement after just the first few notes. Despite the venue being seated and not standing, that did not stop fans from moshing and crowdsurfing in the rows and aisles. MUCC closed their set with "TONIGHT", which saw AKi joining the band onstage. Scrolling lyrics on screen helped fans sing along, and Tatsuro asked frequent MUCC concertgoers to explain to the other fans when everyone was supposed to jump in unison at the beginning of the song. Everyone onstage and in the audience seemed perfectly in sync as images of the sun setting played behind the performers – a fantastic way to end.

And yet that was not the end of the evening. The last artist to perform was the much-talked about HYDE, who took to the stage after alienlike spaceship takeoff sounds played. In a long leopard-patterned coat, wearing head to toe black beneath, his hair in cornrows and sunglasses on his face, he was joined by Miya on guitar, YUKKE and AKi both on bass, and SATOchi on drums.

The first song of HYDE's set was "HELLO". HYDE flirted with the audience, his skin sporting a healthy tan as he leaned up against AKi's front playfully as the audience screamed. He put his arm around Miya, getting up close and personal with him as the crowd cheered even more, a very spirited rendition that even had everyone onstage jumping into the air on cue at the very end. During the following MC, HYDE commented on the compact narrowness of the venue, and asked if everyone in attendance had come just to see him, which made the gathered fans laugh. HYDE then took the time to take a few group selfies with the other artists with him on stage, which was met with much laughing and cheering from an enraptured audience. After, he then did some back and forth with the fans, asking, "As for HYDE…" to which the crowd answered joyfully, "We love him!!"

HYDE chose to do some explaining before his next number. He told the audience that he hadn't done the song in a very long time, and that it was 20 years old. He decided to remind himself of how to sing it by looking it up on YouTube, and there he found a video of himself from many years ago. He had a ponytail, and he complained that seeing it was embarrassing, which drew many shouts from the crowd that that old footage was cute. HYDE then said that at the time he watched it he thought that he was very beautiful in that old video, which was met with laughter from everyone in the audience. HYDE then turned to all the support members on stage, teasing them by asking if they could do the song at all, and not to mess up. As "Shutting from the sky" began, HYDE knelt before excited fans at the edge of the stage to look at their faces. HYDE flounced around stage, at one point rubbing YUKKE's rear end to much cheering. In the end, it was a flawless rendition of a classic L'Arc~en~Ciel song.

Tatsuro joined HYDE onstage to sing the next song with him, which turned out to be "Blurry Eyes". Tatsuro teased AKi, saying that AKi looked so happy to be playing with HYDE. Before beginning the song, HYDE repeated the same back and forth with Tatsuro. HYDE asked, "As for the next song…" to which a trapped-looking Tatsuro responded with, "I love it." The fans loved it, and when the song finally began everyone was enjoying themselves. HYDE forgot his whistle for one part of the song and had to run to the drum kit to retrieve it, and HYDE and Tatsuro embraced at the end of the song to much cheering from the crowd.

All of the performers came onstage for the very final song of the night, the joint song recorded with both MUCC and AKi, "MARBLE". Everyone danced, embraced, sang, and encouraged the audience until rainbow streamers bearing the name of the tour were fired into the crowd in a climactic ending to a very fun-filled night.

Author: M Minikhiem
last update: 2016-05-10