Live Report: the GazettE WT19 NYC 05/06/19

the GazettE THE NINTH WORLD TOUR PHASE #04 -99.999-

Live @ the PlayStation Theater, NY / May 06, 2019

This is my personal account of the live and meet and greet. I apologize that it’s long; if you want to skip ahead, there are links to both The Concert and The Meet and Greet included. You can also skip all the way to the bottom for the Set List without any commentary.

Way back in December, when the GazettE announced they were once again doing a World Tour, I knew I finally had to go.  I missed the last one in 2016 and have basically kicked myself for it ever since.  New York is a fairly short bus-ride from where I live, so I figured that would be the easiest show for me to attend, even if it would require staying at a hotel overnight.  My sister is also a GazettE fan, so it didn’t take much convincing to get her to go with me.

Since I had yet to see them live – or attend any real concert for that matter – I figured this was the perfect opportunity to both get a few days away and to see the one band I really wanted to see live all in one fell swoop.  In fact, I decided it was worth the extra money to get VIP tickets so I could actually meet the band afterwards, because when am I going to get the chance for that again?  I’m not in any position to just pick up and travel whenever I want, so I was determined to make this a really special trip.

So, VIP tickets in hand, we embarked to Manhattan for a few days’ much-needed vacation with the highlight being finally seeing one of our favorite bands in concert, and then meeting them afterwards.

Sunday was my first day there, and I got to meet up with a dear online friend and finally turn it into a real-life in-person friendship.  We walked through the city in the rain – so much walking and so much rain – and got a little lost together a couple times (during which time we saw way more of Central Park than I ever expected).  We had some fun and some misadventures, but we got to spend the day together, which made it all worth it!

On Monday, my sister joined us, and our now-trio managed a little sightseeing before the show.  Since my sister and I had VIP tickets, we opted not to line up all day to get the most free time we could out of our short vacation, and instead risked showing up closer to showtime.

It ended up working pretty well in our favor, because even though we were near the tail end of the VIP line heading into the venue, we were still able to get in, buy merchandise, and get really good spots – all things considered – on our preferred side of the stage in the pit.  (Thankfully, that was not an argument, either; we ended up on shimote because I’m an Aoi fan and my sister likes Reita.)

Our view of the stage at the beginning of the concert.

The Concert

The lead-up to the concert was spent chatting with the other fans sharing floor space (and elbow- and back- and everything-else-space with us).  It was fun getting to talk with people who had attended the previous 2016 concert at the venue, as well as meet others who were also seeing the band live for the first time.

However, around 8pm, when the lights dimmed, leaving only the looming GazettE logo shining onstage, everyone grew silent.  As the band members entered – first Kai, the drummer; then the guitarists, Uruha and Aoi; Reita, the bassist; and finally, the vocalist, Ruki – you could feel the excitement rising.

The show opened with Falling – and as soon as the heavy part of the song kicked in, everyone went crazy.  We stayed crazy throughout NINTH ODD SMELL, chanting “We fxxking never die! This soul can never die!” – one of my favorite songs on the album thanks to it being a verbal history of the band’s releases – and on into GUSH

We got a brief respite as the lights dimmed so Aoi, Uruha, and Reita could have a chance to switch out their instruments – but the cheers and cries picked up again when Ruki took the opportunity to greet us with, “I was looking forward to the fxxking show tonight!  Let’s get excited, New York!”

To be honest, we were already excited, but as soon as VORTEX began to play, everyone seemed to find even more energy.  They followed up with VENOMOUS SPIDER’S WEB – another older song.  We were then treated to THE MORTAL, where Ruki’s voice really shone.  After that came a slower song – Sono koe wa moroku.

Everyone started murmuring in surprise as the intro from DOGMA began to play.  I was excited as I hadn’t expected to get to hear it live.  From the time DOGMA fully kicked off, we were basically jumping and headbanging nonstop through the end of the main set.

THE SUICIDE CIRCUS was one of the most crowd-interactive songs, with everyone jumping around and singing along to the chorus.  Afterwards, Ruki took a moment for another brief MC, saying he couldn’t hear us and asking, “Having a good time or what?”  The response from the crowd was absolutely deafening.

They followed up with INCUBUS.  But when UGLY started, the upswing of energy from the crowd was incredible.  This was another song I was really hoping to hear, so I was extra pumped – along with most of the other people in the audience, apparently.

Throughout ABHOR GOD, the crowd roared out the chorus, “Too fast to live / too young to die.” We also got to see Uruha jumping around the stage, even from shimote.  (I honestly didn’t get to see much of him throughout the concert, but the few glimpses I got of him showed he was giving it his all, as usual.)  The shrieks whenever one of the members would come close to the edge of the stage on our side were deafening – especially when Ruki would appear.

The final song of the main setlist was Filth in the beauty – and we got to see Aoi start it off on his acoustic guitar, which thrilled me to no end, ticking off another of my “I hope I get to see ______ someday…” boxes.

During the concert we got really close to the other fans – as in everyone was basically on top of one another.  People were bracing themselves on those in front of them while headbanging and flailing around.  I quickly discovered the pit is definitely not the place to be if you are afraid of close contact with a bunch of hyped-up strangers!

At points, my rather petite sister said she was literally carried into jumps with the crowd around her.  Any time someone decided they’d had enough time in the pit and worked their way out, the crowd would surge forward to fill the gap. 

(Unfortunately, that also happened a few times when someone fell, but those of us nearby tried to do our best to keep the crowd back and help them back up as quickly as possible.) 

It was also terribly hot with all those people packed together, jumping and waving their arms; PlayStation Theater staff were actually handing opened bottles of water to those on the railing of the pit and they were passed all throughout the crowd to keep people from getting too overheated.

When the main set was over, we and several others at varying positions throughout the crowd were trying to keep everyone going to cheer for an encore but found our voices beginning to give out after a few minutes.  After a short rest, we were once again trying to get people to continue shouting “ANKOORU” – and joining in when others started chants of “GAZETTO” – but the crowd never managed to really come together as one for any great length of time. 

We tried to rally other people around us to join in, and were basically told, “They’re gonna do [an encore] anyway.”  I mean, yes, they probably were…  But we wanted to make sure they knew how excited we were for it, and how grateful we were that they came.  At least that’s how I felt.  So, despite having almost no voice, I joined in with others or started the chant with my sister on our side a couple times and kept going as long as I could.

Thankfully, they didn’t hold our lack of unity against us (honestly, trying to get a whole roomful of people to do the same thing at the same time when it’s not something usually done at a concert in the US is pretty difficult, so I don’t really hold that against us, either!), and the band came back out for the much-anticipated encore.  It was apparently only ten minutes, but it felt like an eternity.

We heard an MC start in English, and everyone seemed confused at first, because Ruki was nowhere to be seen.  From our vantage point it was hard to see what was going on, so I was really surprised when it turned out to be Kai speaking.  Then the other members came back out to thunderous applause.

When INSIDE BEAST began to play, the crowd picked right back up where we had left off before the break.  Even more cheers could be heard when they started playing COCKROACH, and my sister and I made eye contact across the heads of the people who were now between us – this was one of the very first GazettE songs we’d ever heard that made us fall in love with them, and it’s still a favorite for both of us, so for us to get to hear it live was an amazing experience.  Finally, they closed out the performance with TOMORROW NEVER DIES.

As the members left the stage, Kai took a few pictures of the crowd for his Instagram account.  I somehow even managed to make it into one of them, blurry though it might be.  It still counts!

From @GazettE_KAI_ official Instagram.

All told, by the end of the show, my sister ended up about six feet away from me, all the way up on the railing near the far end of shimote, while I managed to hold my own for most of the concert, ultimately ending up only a row or two further forward and a little more toward Aoi than I had been when it began.

While we both thoroughly enjoyed how close we were – seeing (three of) the band members so close-up, the energy of the crowd, and the excitement of being surrounded by screaming and cheering fans – we both decided if they come back for another World Tour stop in the future, we’re definitely standing behind the barrier further up and not in the pit.  Everyone was a hot, sweaty mess by the time the concert was finished, us included.  While it was great for my first time, and I had a blast and will never forget it, next time I’d like a slightly more peaceful look at the whole stage instead of being surrounded by a writhing mass of headbanging humanity with a view of maybe four feet total of visible stage in front of me.

Thankfully, it took some time to get the meet and greet set up, so we had a few minutes to collect ourselves and cool down.  After a quick trip to the mirrors to make sure we weren’t horribly streaked with makeup or otherwise completely awry, we went and sat down in the tiered seating area with the rest of the VIP ticket holders to wait for the meet and greet.  We wanted to go near the end – both so we could catch our breath and sit for a little longer, and with the hope that the line would be less rushed if there were fewer people waiting to go behind us.

All in all, it worked pretty well – we were in the last maybe 30 people to go through the line.

The Meet & Greet

When we saw the order in which we’d be greeting the members, I asked my sister to go first so she could take a little extra time with Reita and I could use that time to speak a little more with Aoi.  She cheerfully agreed.

The meet and greet was short but so amazing.  I couldn’t believe how friendly and warm every single member was.  They seemed truly happy to be able to meet each one of us, and I appreciate that so much. 

After my sister greeted Aoi and moved on to Reita, I was finally able to go.  And man.  I was worried I’d forget what I was going to say – in any language – but somehow, I managed to recall what I wanted to say to him, in Japanese no less.  He was so kind and gentle when he greeted me; I can’t get over how sweet he was.  His eyes and smile were just so warm.

While I was talking with him, my sister was trying to buy me a couple extra seconds while talking with Reita.  I found out about this afterwards, but I love her forever for it: she bounced up to him and said thank you, then said (in English because she doesn’t speak Japanese), “I need you to do me a favor, OK?” 

He replied, “Yes!” 

Then she flexed her arm and pointed to it and said, “Flex your muscles.” 

He said, “Muscles, yes!” and flexed (which is already amazing, but it gets better). 

Then she said, “OK, now say, ‘Thanks for coming to the gun show!’”  (I just about died when she told me she tried to teach him this, and she is my literal hero.)

She said he just stared at her for a moment before once more pointing to his arm and saying, “YES!” with a huge grin on his face.

At this point, Aoi and I were finishing up, and security decided we’d had enough time chatting.  She got shoved to the side towards Ruki, and the security guy said, “You need to move now,” while forcibly propelling me towards Reita.

I can’t complain too much that we were pretty much shepherded through the rest of the line.  Though we got considerably less time with the other members, my sister and I did each get to spend the most time talking to the person we were most excited to see. 

(And we did not spend a lot of time chatting, lest it seem like we were trying to hold up the line.  In reality, we got maybe an extra 20 seconds or so, and like I said, we waited until near the end of the line so we wouldn’t be holding people up a lot.  They were really trying to get people through as quickly as possible, so I’m surprised we got as much extra time as we did, even if it wasn’t much.)

Despite being rushed, I was still able to shake each of their hands – everyone initially greeted us in English but seemed pleased when I spoke back to them in Japanese.  I think Ruki was the only one who didn’t switch to Japanese when he responded to me the second time (opting to say, “Thank you!” in English), but it’s hard to recall since I was still kind of in a star-struck fog over having gotten to actually shake the hands of everyone I’ve been listening to for so long.  Kai smiled really wide as he shook my hand.

However, I remember vividly that Uruha seemed the most excited by far.  As soon as I told him, “Thank you for the job well done; I had fun!” in Japanese, his face lit up, and he grabbed my hands again with both of his and was shaking them so hard he practically pulled me across the table.  I got a full-on-Uruha-mega-watt grin and the loudest, bounciest, most sincere, “Aa!  Arigatou gozaimasu!” I have ever heard in my life.

And then we were through the line.  We were guided to the person handing out the VIP privilege hand towels and received one.  I didn’t get much of a chance to speak with my friend who was covering the meet and greet; we were told we could not wait with her (which I completely understand), so we proceeded through to the exit and waited for her outside.

It wasn’t long before she joined us, along with some other friends we’ve talked with online, and we were all able to excitedly chat about the experience we just shared before they went their separate ways and our little trio continued our evening elsewhere together.

While the trip may not have gone as anticipated in all respects, and we had some roadblocks and stumbles along the way, I can confidently say that was one of the most exciting nights of my life.  My first concert, and it was a band I’ve loved for over a decade, who I never expected to get to see perform in person – and I got to meet them afterwards.  What could be better than that?

SET LIST

SE 99.999
01. Falling
02. NINTH ODD SMELL
03. GUSH
04. VORTEX
05. VENOMOUS SPIDER’S WEB
06. THE MORTAL
07. Sono koe wa moroku / その声は脆く
08. DOGMA
09. THE SUICIDE CIRCUS
10. INCUBUS
11. UGLY
12. ABHOR GOD
13. Filth in the beauty

EN01. INSIDE BEAST
EN02. COCKROACH
EN03. TOMORROW NEVER DIES

Title photo courtesy of @the_GazettE_Official Instagram.

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