The Hamster Of Death (vampyrichamster) wrote,
The Hamster Of Death

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It Came From Japan!

Among my many Christmas packages the other day was the order from CDJapan for The Yellow Monkey Live At Tokyo Dome. The full limited release comprises of two DVDs and a 200 page photobook (A4). It's hefty. Yemon has three layers of increasingly smaller glossy hi-res paper packaging for a couple of DVDs. My inner greenie is horrified. On the bright side, I will never consider damaging or recycling all this packaging, so it kinda works out. Which is, certainly, very pretty packaging. The photobook was the first thing I went through when I got all my packages, no kidding, 200 pages, all-colour. Though as far as shots are concerned, it gets repetitive (this frame and the frame directly after that repetitive), furthermore, there's an annoying amount of "artistic" blurred shots in here too. Blurred art is fine, were it done sparringly and with some amount of sense to it. That said, you have about ten or so really good shots of everyone, and the rest are okay but not very spectacular shots of the concert in general. The photobook also weighed a ton, which made my credit cry. There is a lot the photobook doesn't tell you about the concert too, though it does carry some highly amusing backstage shots I'll probably post up at theyellowmonkey some day.

The show kicks off with Judie, a song I like a great deal. Those gigantic pulsating 8s in the background are immense. I saw them in the photobook, but didn't quite realize how gigantic they really were till I saw them in the context of the stage and the audience. The band came out kitted in shiny things, with Lovin dressed in tinfoil. I kind of liked the trench. But I have no idea what the tinfoil was meant to do. Emma and Annie (especially Emma) looked good. Heesey and Lovin looked like they just stepped off the set of 1980s Ultraman. As a warm-up song, Judie works. Going that the Live at Tokyo Dome was also filmed back when they released 8, it makes sense to start off with the first track from the album. There's not much movement on stage yet. I will always love Annie's drumming on this song. Part of my entire love of this song is how the band makes such a cohesive sound for it, but really, I love Annie's drumming most of all. How to put it? It beats the song into your veins.

Psychic No. 9 hits, and everything comes alive. The stage keeps pulsating, the lights go mad, Lovin loses the trench, now is only in tinfoil. Starts yelling, "Mekara Uroko Hachi!" at everyone, and the screaming that ensues. I had my set up at full blast here, it's good. You must watch this for Emma's guitar. You must. I rewinded thrice. I am going deaf. Lovin begins his adorable epileptic dancing, and I really can't help thinking that the poses he does right before kicking a cymbal at the end looks way too much like Ultraman. I know, I'm stuck on this point, it's all that tinfoil.

"Happy New Year, Tokyo!" More screaming, I love all this screaming, it's good for the veins. They're playing nearly all my favorite tracks from 8 at the start, makes me very happy. Stone Butterfly! Seizure-causing strobes! Totally cool big sound! Goooooo! As we shall see, I will lose even more of my vocabulary as this goes on.

Then it's Dear Feeling, and I fall in love with Lovin's voice all over again. It's not Kyuukon (no signs of that one in this concert, bargh, and Merome gets pushed on Disc 2). More marvelous Emma solo.

Next song begins with a bit of Annie. Note the much giving of love by the audience here, which is cool.

Now I know we love them also because of the totally inappropriate clothing, but dude, poor Lovin looks like he's roasting in his jacket, quite literally, it's tinfoil for crying out loud, they have to get that off soon. Photobook tells me I don't want to see Heesey's jacket off, I really don't, where'd he get an idea one sleeve rather than two would work on him is anyone's guess. (Photobook tells me I don't want to see his pants down either, different story, different time). Not my point.

TV no Singer. There is no way to avoid that pulse at the beginning of this song. Heesey's, "Arrrrrrrrrrggggiiight, Tokyo Dome! Put up your hands!" made me grin like an idiot. Emma makes one gets down on one's knees and worship the guitar. There is nothing I don't love about Emma in this song. There's nothing not to love about this song - it's mean, it's grindy and it's dangerously Yellow Monkey.

And then because you can't stop worshipping the guitar, we have I Love You Baby, with crowd support returning much love. Headbanging Emma is a thing of awe. His brother is no less a thing of awe, and the orgasmic drummer face is adorable! There's another really cute bit at the start of this song with a close-up of Heesey, and he has a little boy's smile on his face, a little spaced out. For all the rhinestone pimpness of him, Heesey has a sweet smile. But this song, this one's all powered up. I mean that it's unbelievably all powered up. Guitar solo Emma is a thing of awe. Lovin's voice goes extra sexy as the music slows down, and everyone bursts into flame again -- the crowd is bouncing off the walls down there.

By Girlie, they finally get rid of the tinfoil jacket, so now Lovin looks a little cooler in his mad flower shirt. Can't not love a guy in mad flower shirts. Notation: Lovin's drunken master-style playing to end the song. Nice. This turns into the lead-in for Tengoku Ryokou, which translates to roughly, Journey to Paradise. The song creeps up my spine regardless, and I do like this. Something about the way it wails, that way, that plainitively, throughout, Lovin's voice and Emma's guitar, and the way everything softly blends. Tengoku Ryokou has grown over time to become one of my favourite TYM songs, although it's never been a very easy song for me to listen to. Though the band is sublime, the song is raw, and this performance chokes me to watch. It's an epic story and personal eye, like the journey it describes.

Sharp eyes will catch Heesey moving to the back of the stage to take off his jacket. Damn and blast. They launch into Kanariya. I adore Lovin's voice, first and foremost, that's what caught me about YM when I first heard them back in '98. It takes this live, the first I'd seen of them (and the last full concert we'll probably ever see) to figure out where the other guys come into this (and case in point, I am well and trully awed by them too). Lovin's voice, when he pulls out the stops and takes these long, high notes. I've heard far too many guys who shriek at some point similar, some lose their guts, some take a bad time to growl, always been a sucker for a voice that can find good, solid, high notes solidly and sustain them. This is, incidentally, why I love Kyuukon as much as I do. Another thing I've noticed, for some reason, Emma and Heesey's guitars always feel a bit hidden on the records, and watching the live is like a whole different animal about that. The whole band still has that cohesive big sound that manages to be big without crowding out each other. Each member always has a distinct presence that can be heard if one wanted to, or fused into the others to bring the full power of the music out.

A little violent drumming brings in Rock Star, which is fun. Really fun. Lovin starts bouncing off into the audience, the army of fans swarm forward so he has to run away and perch somewhere else, Emma then goes running down the ramp to the screams of even more of the audience, and so does Heesey. The whole of Tokyo Dome looks like it's pulsing like a massive heart during this song. People are screaming and bouncing along and the camera catches quite a lot of this. And the guys are really, really pimping it up for the camera. Gads, I do not know how to properly enunciate what watching Emma and Heesey do what they do does to the onlooker, but it's real lot of fun, and I've already replayed this song three times, and...wait, I forgot to say this before. At least since Girlie, Annie has been sitting up on his stand perfectly shirtless and poker-faced and determinedly drumming the begeezus out of every song, and I can't believe I forgot to mention him doing that, (added: shirtless!), and if my heart rate went up anymore I'd probably get an asthma attack.

So cool!

This concert seems to be split into two parts. The part before Rock Star, which even considering sounded slightly asleep, and post Rock Star, when everything sounds properly unhinged. By Shock Hearts, everyone is clearly awake, especially the band, with another Emma runs down the ramp to shrieking fangirls, and Lovin doing all manner of bizarre and adorable epileptic Elmo things pretty much everywhere. I don't get it, could be the faster numbers (but damnit, the songs weren't exactly slow before either) but it's gooooooood. So goooooooood.

Everything, everyone, everything goes insane. It's just incredible, but Sweet & Sweet is even more incredible. The screaming, thrashing fans and it looks like the guys are having orgasms. Lovin has an MC at this point, which I would beg any betters to help translate, because my shite Japanese can only pick bits and pieces and bits and pieces of guesses from this. His robot voice is funny even if you only get like 1% of everything being said.

Jam, by the way, is another one of those incredible things that defies my ability to find replacements for the word "incredible" at this point. There's a long clap-along of Alan Tam-ic proportions happening in the audience, Lovin sounds gorgeous and there's much giving of love between band and fans and fans and band and I told you I ran out of words, right? Same with Burn, I'd say more, but somewhere between the two I completely spaced out and forgot to take notes. My eardrums are starting to feel like they'll run out of my earholes from the effort. [Late Edit: Watching this clip again after seeing the farewell performance of the same song 9 months later, I'm moved to tears. The sadness this song evokes, the probable reason Lovin sang this song to remember TYM by over the others, these things feel very precious and very profound.]

But, Suck of Life. morrie_sama will have my head, and I've never heard a live version of this one yet, but I honestly, truthfully, really, honestly think itreallyrockedthecrackersoutofstuff. I think I'll never stop finding the way Lovin pronounces "Iyaint" funny, and I'll never stop finding the fun of this song fun. There is also a lot of coolness down the middle when Lovin takes the opportunity to introduce everyone, resulting in very extended meet and greet. Something tragic funny when Lovin goes, "Yamete! Yamete!" at Emma bounding down the ramp for a kiss. Annie can't stop smiling, and he has a fetching smile. Annie gets his stick snatched away so Lovin can give him the mike, which lasts about 5 seconds, the poor guy looks very much like he's about to be eaten with the camera on him. Emma gets the longest meet and greet out of all the guys (resulting in even more sexy guitar solo). Followed by Unfortunate Keyboardist Yoshitaka Mikuni because I went rolling onto the floor at the point Lovin calls him "Unnnnncleeeeee!" -- Lovin also gets the entirety of Tokyo Dome repeating "BAKA!" after him in his honour. Heesey goes last, possibly on account of being a Guy With One Sleeve and Not Looking Sexy. "Ore-sama wa yasui daikirai Rock & Roll Go-ril-la!" made me snort and giggle.

Epileptic Elmo Lovin and that huge, huuuuuge, huuuuuuuuuge screaming crowd! They, Heesey, Emma, Annie, the lot, they are amazing. (Notation: Don't forget the part where Lovin starts swinging the mike stand around like he's about to behead somebody.)

The next MC begs for translation, I wished, I really wished, my half-assed Japanese were enough to get more than a possible idea of what I think he was saying here, but he sounded floored and grateful, and floored and grateful is good when the next song is Barairo no Hibi, that beautiful, beautiful thing of beauty. Yes, it is another song I really love. And going by the floor, the rest of the Yellow Monkey fandom present did too. Lovin looks right ready to cry. Hell, the audience was crying.

And Pearl! Wheeeet. Emma visits his brother during this song, resulting in proper orgasmic Annie-face (always cute when he does that). Lovin's guitar dies at the start of this song, which results in a loud "Bzzt!" that very oddly adds to the thing. Emma's guitar solo cures all though, and Lovin gets his guitar changed in time to thrash along after. Heesey was singing along to everything. The guitars were big! BIG! I have to borrow a Spirited Away Rat-chan moment with the wavy arms of worship. BIG! And Annie is still amazing.

It's nice when fans yell for everyone in the band rather than Pretty Lead Boy. I counted equal amounts of "Robin-saaaaan!", "Heeeeeseeeeey!", "Annniiiiiiiiiieee" (unless it turns out to be "Aniiiiiiiii!"), "Emmmmaaaaa!" during the mini-break between Pearl and Touge. Even better, when the people yelling includes guys.There is something awesome when the band is awed by being in Tokyo Dome for the first time and awe is mutual between them and the fans. Can't place it, but the mutual awe is really sweet. And Touge was another one of those, another one of those I can't say anything except amazing for. But I know in my ringing eardrums, it was amazing.

Second encore, the guys come out right in the middle of the crowd. Lovin gets his arm pulled by fans, but that's his fault running into the crowds of screaming women anyway. The band is now playing in an island right smack in the middle of their screaming (screaming) fans. Lovin's ditched his ridiculous tinfoil pants, so is now in nifty white pants and shirt, Heesey put his jacket back on and Annie gets back in a shirt. I said earlier there wasn't a Kyuukon in this concert, but there was Merome, and that's what gets played now. Lovin's voice carries a lot of emotion here, but most interesting during this song is the appearance of an orchestra at the end, like on the album. The guys walk back to the main stage. There, still accompanied by the orchestra, they continue the very pleasant interlude with a very pretty version of Pearl Light of Revolution. (Notation: There's a cute moment in this when Lovin imitates Emma's guitar playing. They both have really geeked out grins while they're at it.) The thousands upon thousands of waving hands giving all manner of fan love is pretty darn cool. I know I've mentioned it a lot, I'll mention it again.

The next song has to be Kanashiki Asian Boy, complete with blinking gigantic backdrop of "THE YELLOW MONKEY" bright enough for other universes to see. I should make a nice little screencap of this for an LJ icon, it's another pretty darned cool thing in an already pretty darned cool concert. And that massively blinding explosion of fireworks too! Emma, Heesey and Lovin all run around the stage and ramps like madmen, and Lovin returns to provide encouragement for the somewhat cemented to the spot Annie, poor guy, he's got his happy orgasmic drummer face on again. Lovin then dashes back down a ramp, (you call *that* ripping open you shirt you bastid?! Rip up some more!), climbs back up to play with his nipple (very briefly, eh...) and crawls on his hands and knees down the centre ramp while the other two mobile monkeys take over the remaining ramps. The thousands of waving hands in this is like watching undersea kelp. They just swaaaay and swaaaaay and ooooh, confetti explosion. Asia's No. 1 Rock & Roll Baaaaaand!

And then they get to Brilliant World, which I thought was just fecking beautiful, I can't stop saying that word either, and it is one of my favorite songs, I once had to survive a really bad trip home with that, so yes, I adore this song. And yes, they were beautiful about it. My brain at this point may as well be aspic, I've lost most of my adjectives and the rest of my vocabulary while I'm at it. The third encore around, Heesey is back out of his jacket, but so is Emma (now that's what I call a ripped open shirt!), and I finally hear a song that up till now I've really only heard other people raving about, Welcome to My Doghouse. Which is very, very fucking cool, and amazingly good as a closing song, and even more so with the band quite clearly having a lot of fun still hopping around the stage like madmen. Fuck. Ooh. Wow.

The boys take their bows and swallow up their praises, well deserved, take a photo with them and the crowd while they're at it. Annie gets the last bow and the last wave. Being the most invisible member throughout, he should've. The entire set of encores is located on Disc 2, along with the Multi-Angle shots for Brilliant World and Pearl Light of Revolution. As a final concert, I guess this works from the standpoint of end on your best note, rather than your sulkiest (X Japan) one. And as far as concerts are concerned, filling Tokyo Dome to capacity and having the biggest, baddest concert of your career is by and far a pretty good spot to pick and stop, right when they all still love you. I'm still kicking myself over the new fan coming in right at the endness of it all for me, but watching this was worth every second. Wished I could've been there, but under the circumstances, this is close to the next best thing.

Gads. This one took an entire day out of my schedule to write down. So much other writing left undone. I would post this up at theyellowmonkey, I guess, if I didn't feel someone out there would do a much better job of writing one of these things. Not to mention, I often fear the kind of reactions non-mod posts get up there, tis a bit hard, I think. But I'll probably post scans of the photobook, once I get that down. Must leave early, too much to think of tomorrow.
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