And post opening credits, there's a lot (a lot a lot) we will worship them for.
Right from the start, it is clear Atsushi is the ring master here. He is an inordinately beautiful man, and his charm is that aristocratic grace with which he presides over his captive audience. His presence, even when you're sure it's really Hide, or Imai, or Yuta, or Toll you're supposed to be looking at, his presence is everywhere. I wished there were screenshots that do him justice, but the problem with Atsushi is he's horridly unscreenshotable. One dance-esque move is a single sequence of moving frames. One frantic rockabounce is a single sequence of moving frames. One playful tongue is a single sequence of moving frames.
Worth mentioning is the camera beneath a grate further beneath Atsushi's feet. (No, I don't think it counts as an upshot without panties.) Atsushi of course won't go without his dramatic showmanship, so expect those lovely, horribly sexy mystical dance-esque arm wavings, gesturings and utter posing to drive you to distraction. The grate-cam is a stroke of genius, and adds a lot of glee when say, you really need to watch Atsushi stomp out his territory for you. Furthermore, if Atsushi cares to do anymore dancesque hand movements in various appealingly Indian-dance-like poses, and were to say, happen to fall off the stage, it is quite likely the audience would rape him. (Maybe even the men...)
Watching Hide and Imai go "hoo! hoo!" during 21st Cherry Boy though. I nearly bought this DVD almost entirely because I wanted to watch 21st Cherry Boy live, and now it's funny that I have nothing much to say. It's a fun song, and incredible fun to watch them perform. They do only really start moving towards the end of the song though (they take a while to warm up...) . But you'll know it when Imai stops gorilla-ing his guitar and begins dislocating all kinds of leg bits to waggle around while Atsushi wanders out into the audience to do a little one-man tango. (So much waggle!)
Then all kinds of sexy happens in Buster, so you can forget everything that just happened and focus on Buck-Tick's sexy, purring everythingness. Why I like Buck-Tick is right here -- they come together so well as a band, that sexy, purring engine sound. But god knows Imai can't sing a note, and we will never know why they let the poor man do it. Notation: Watch Hide, listen to Toll, glee at the crowd participation, try to ignore poor Imai's yawping and remember this is a sexxxxxy song. (First appearance of Grate-Cam! Cute Yuta butt waggle! No, I love Imai, but why, why do they let him sing...)
There's Kick (Daichi o Keru Otoko), which has hands down the most alluring opener of Atsushi and a leg up the mike stand. The song slinks, it prowls, it sounds like a stalking cat, and the band just grooves, grooooooves along. They all crawl out of their hiding places in the dark. More Grate-Cam to an Atsushi clap-along. Hide does the background vocals this time, thank him. And Imai goes on out to the fans, who give him much love. It's fucking adorable. They all are.
Asylum Garden is as richly dark as it should be. This, and the next song, Madman Blues - Minashigo no Yuutsu - do eville chocolate cookies make. Atsushi's soaring vocals are nicely matched with Imai's similarly tortured guitar for Asylum Garden. And even though I still wonder why anyone lets Imai sing, there is sheer villiany at work in Madman Blues. The band is lovely again, and Imai's squawking works in this song in the way I suppose one could say it works in My Fuckin' Valentine. No one's actually singing in either song, bloody lovely chaos. (Some of that filming finally focuses on Toll. All hail. Notice Yuta having a moment in the corner as well.)
Kimi no Vanilla is up next. In line with interesting camera angles worth noting, check out the view of Atsushi as seen from behind a plastic board upon which he gets to play with lipstick. You heard me. Lipstick. At the start of the song, he draws a pair of lips. A little later, in goes a heart inside those lips. A little more time, and out comes hairs. What he does with the entire result I leave to the imaginations of rabid fangirls everywhere. Better attention should be paid to the two guitarists, who walk up ramps on either side of the stage for their share of fan love. Imai, again, Imai, listen to him. Keep an eye on Yuta too, as he starts the cutest butt waggle facing the big screen with his happy-contented-face. Why they don't bother showing more Yuta happy-contented-face butt waggle is quite beyond me. (Notation: Like lots of people, I watched the Kyokutou Yori Ai wo Komete clip from Akuma to Freud before I ever got this disk. If you've, like me, wondered why Atsushi has that smudged-up recently-fed vampire look in that song, this is where it happened)
And the smudged-up recently-fed vampire look is quite something to behold, er, probably works better if you're a Cure fan and the like, for which I'm not. Candy was next, can't fault the crowd for being so happy, it's candy. Can't fault Atsushi for being so happy either, he's holding his crotch. Yuta does more happy-contented-face butt waggle. Imai keeps wandering away from the stage -- now you do wonder who he's wandering away from there. Toll is wonderful. When the Buck-Tick is happy, the music is happy. Happy happy!
I should mention Atsushi's voice has been flawless throughout this concert. It soars and simmers and floats. He's got a very sweet lilt, which the next song completely raises. Oukoku Kingdom Come -moon rise- was one of my favorite tracks off Kyokutou I Love You, which is one of my favorite BT albums to date. The rendition here is stunning, with the whole band carrying each other up to the clouds it seems.
Pleasant music continues with Gensou no Hana, complemented by Atsushi kneeling on a pedestal behind Toll, next a gigantic white rose on the wide screen. Everything goes gloompy and drugged at this point, in line with the theme. The version here sounds nearly identical to the one on the single. It's a good version of the song...but not exactly unexpected, I think.
At the end of Gensou no Hana, the rose is set alight, our cue for Kyokutou Yori Ai wo Komete. If you've ever watched the promo clip for the Akuma to Freud set before, then this is that infamous moment where Buck-Tick descends into Hell, everything goes up in flames, and the room just rocks. If I love Kyokutou Yori Ai wo Komete, it's because of this performance. This cohesion, this sound, this is the force of Them. Y'know. Wow. Gosh. Ooo.
Another pleasant interlude ensues, with Shanikusai -Carnival-. Atsushi gets rid of his melting jacket (ties it around his waist, actually). Imai converges upon the populated side of the stage. Now if only Atsushi would clean his face.
Muchi no Namida provides a bit of wakefulness. Yuta never stops smiling. It's Hide's turn to go over to Imai's side, so he does, bounces along a little John Travolta-style. Atsushi performs a slinky dance with his mike stand for our entertainment. Eventually, he ditches his jacket, dances to Yuta and the whole band continues sexing up like the devil incarnate.
Now, I'd know the drums of Rakuen (Inori Negai) a mile away. It's a hamster favorite. I didn't actually realize they were going to play it here though. Heard the drums, checked the DVD case, w00t! The band does amazing work. Imai wanders up to Yuta's side of things to play with the wide screen. Halfway through the song, the camera pans in from a window overlooking the audience. You can see the thousands of bouncing, happy people at this point, and even if you were wiped before, it's great to see their energy. Hearing this song in a live just makes it so much bigger and wilder, that much more unhinged.
Mona Lisa coming in after that like it does, plain rocks out. The morphing band members on the screen is nice. Yuta has a minor orgasm near the end, so keep watching the back of the stage.
And then there was Nocturn - Rain Song -. They played a lot of my favorites here, though this one, nothing really could prepare me for how good this sounded live. I had heard a version of this before, off the Gensou no Hana single, but this live made the song that much richer. It is a beautiful song. I like it a lot more than Gensou no Hana as far as slow numbers go. It really is just beautiful. Grate-Cam action near the end might make you shake your head and smile though.
Wished I knew what Atsushi was saying in his brief intro here. If anyone could intepret, it would be greatly appreciated. Anyway, the song after that is Jupiter, for which I'm sure I've heard at least four different versions of before this. I admit I was never really a big fan of this song till now. This version, strangely, with Atsushi's downright piercing vocals, and those heavenly, gentle guitars...maybe it's the mood. But I now love this song. The ending is an engulfing wave.
This is where the concert stops before the encore. I think it was Hide who threw the pick into the audience (he randomly throws quite a few picks throughout the show, especially when he goes for his walks). From the darkness emerges stars, from the stars, emerges Gessekai. I'd been told that this version of that song would be lovely. And so it is, set against that ever-growing full moon and Atsushi's gentle but unwavering voice. I am, you can guess, very fond of Atsushi's voice. But his voice is still only a part of Buck-Tick, and it takes Hide, Imai, Toll and Yuta to complete this masterpiece. Suffice to say, this is a very pretty treatment of Gessekai, and I'm glad to have heard it.
Bran-New Lover is another one of those songs I was never quite sure I liked till I heard it played on Akuma to Freud. Pretty much like Jupiter, I've heard quite a few different versions of this as well. It probably is one of those songs that needs to be visually focused on as well as heard to really appreciate for me, I think, at least in terms of the energy the guys put into it. Everyone's wandering around by this point: Hide, Imai and Atsushi go visit the fans (together!), even Yuta with his constant happy-contented-mug butt waggle comes up front, albeit briefly, and Toll, stoic though he seems here seems less grim on songs like these.
Kodou is the last song played before, again, the band goes offstage for some R&R before the second encore. Atsushi does a cute little bow to Imai before he walks off (he's the first to leave). All very pleasant music for the encore thus far. The DVD credits roll first, featuring more of that cool facial morphing we saw in Mona Lisa between all the members of the band, starting with Toll and ending with Atsushi. The crowd's chanting comes up at the end, which goes into shrieking when Yuta, then Toll and the rest of the band emerge right in the middle of their fans, bearing gifts. And then they plunge into Phsyical Neurose, fast. Yuta finally comes out hiding and joins Hide, Imai and Atsushi at the front of the stage. Atsushi amuses him while he's there, and Imai does another one of his insect hops or two. So much hopping and fun was had.
Finally (finally) there is Cosmos. Another beautiful song, to end a beautiful concert, and the crowd coming in at the end to whisper the last line was really sweet. They all do plenty of waving, but Atsushi has his arm around Yuta, and Yuta is standing on tippy toe and standing on one foot trying to get Atsushi's reach. Uber cute.
And that, hamsters and humans, were my thoughts about that. Incidentally, there is a second DVD that comes with the Akuma to Freud box. It has multi-angle footage for Kimi no Vanilla and Bran-New Lover (everytime I read this title, I keep thinking of muesli love...), useful if you ever wanted to know what happy-contented-smiley Yuta was doing with his butt waggles, or what Hide was doing waaaaaaaay over theeeeeeere. Also included are the background videos for Candy, Gensou no Hana and Gessekai, and the footage behind Mona Lisa and Nocturn - Rain Song -. Of these, Mona Lisa's footage would be the most interesting, this of course being the morphing band members that played during the concert. It's really neat. And again, interesting. The eyes are, the way they're shaped. This won't make much sense, but the eyes are telling and beautiful. Sure, I'm a nut, but have you seen their eyes?
Gads. I otter post this up at buck_tick, but it's late. There's two hours of footage and about four hours of pausing to write and do stuff in between. I'll do it tomorrow, and if they haven't already, maybe scan the Akuma to Freud photobook as well. So utterly tired.