The Day in Question 2013
December 29th live at the Nippon Budoukan
Live Report by Cayce

The rest of the world may celebrate Christmas and New Year’s Eve, but here in Buck-Tick Land, our high holy day is the twenty-ninth of December.  The Day in Question is held at the Nippon Budoukan on this date every year no matter what day of the week it is, and the more or less the entirety of Buck-Tick fandom turns up to celebrate.  This is the festival that keeps the foreign expat Buck-Tick fans from going overseas to visit their families for Christmas, that coaxes all the fanboys too shy to join Fish Tank out of their hidey-holes and into the Acchan-adoring spotlight, and draws so many VIP music industry guests it’s a pity there’s no red carpet.  Given the fact that the Budoukan is so huge it’s hard to see the band members properly, I don’t recommend that fans from overseas make the trip to Japan to see this concert…but they come anyway.  The Budoukan is the biggest venue Buck-Tick ever regularly plays in these days, so I guess it stands to reason that it’s a big deal.

For you young fans who don’t know the history of this event, some recap: Buck-Tick have been holding yearly concerts at the Budoukan on December 29th since the final of the One Life, One Death tour in 2000 (the video of this concert appears on the One Life, One Death Cut Up DVD.)  The first official Day in Question concert was held the following year on December 29th, 2001.  The Day in Question commemorates the band’s good luck and resilient spirit, and the choice of date is symbolic.  December 29th, 1989 was the day Buck-Tick played their comeback show “Buck-Tick Genshou” at the Tokyo Dome to a sold-out house, in celebration of the band’s reunion following Imai’s release from probation after having been arrested for LSD possession earlier that year.  With Imai’s arrest, plenty of young fans thought Buck-Tick were gone for good, so this reunion concert became the stuff of legend.  It’s unlikely Buck-Tick will ever manage to sell out the Tokyo Dome again, but that’s okay—the Budoukan has a longer, richer history, and compared to a 50,000-seat baseball stadium, a 15,000-seat kendo arena feels downright intimate.

Rather than being part of a tour to support a new album, The Day in Question emerged as a standalone event at which Buck-Tick perform selections from their massive back catalogue.  In this way, the Day in Question is unique—there’s a chance the band might play any one of their 220 songs (though they claimed several years ago that they would never again perform “Hearts,” and I’m betting “No-No Boy” is also a no-go.)  Given the band’s touring schedule, however, in some years the official Day in Question has been replaced with a tour final for a hall tour supporting an album (2007 was the Tenshi no Revolver tour final, 2010 was the Razzle Dazzle tour final, and 2012 was the Yumemiru Uchuu tour final.)

But this year, we were getting the official DIQ treatment.  And overseas fans, nota bene: while you may be tempted to pronounce the abbreviation DIQ as “dick” and then giggle like a schoolchild, I promise you, if walk up to Japanese fans and tell them, “I’m attending Buck-Tick’s Dick this year,” they will have no idea what you’re talking about.  The Japanese fans shorten the title of this event to “Day In.”  More subtle and genteel but not less dirty…just the way Acchan-chan likes it.

Anyhow, this year, there was a lot to get excited for.  Not only have Buck-Tick’s fans more or less been starved of live love since the Cosmic Dreamer Tour ended way back in March, but this year, the band would be extending The Day in Question into a mini-tour of Tohoku, with stops in Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture; Morioka, Iwate Prefecture; and Kooriyama, Fukushima Prefecture, before arriving at the Budoukan.  Moreover, as last year was the final of the Yumemiru Uchuu tour, 2011 was a retrospective show featuring a hit song from each of Buck-Tick’s studio albums as a salute to the establishment of their own new independent label Lingua Sounda, and 2010 was the final of the Razzle Dazzle Tour, we haven’t had a proper mystery set list DIQ since 2009.

As always, the Fish Tank newsletter polled fans about which songs they were hoping to hear live this year, and the results turned up some unusual picks, including "Kamikaze," "Tokyo," "Barairo no Hibi," "Angelfish," and "Ai no Uta."  When asked by the Fish Tank newsletter why he thought the fans had chosen so many ballads and mid-tempo songs, Sakurai said, “Well, there are more women than men voting, and it’s winter.”  Since Mr. Sakurai is usually hyper-aware and nuanced in his speech, this struck me as a surprisingly unperceptive statement.  Sure, the winter darkness certainly puts one in the mood for dark, slow music, but do women really prefer ballads and mid-tempo songs more than men do?  I seem to recall that Mr. Sakurai’s own favorite Buck-Tick songs are mostly the ilk of “Coyote,” “Zekkai,” “Yasou,” and “Lullaby III”…pretty much the definition of dark and mid-tempo.  Moreover, when you step back and take a look at Buck-Tick’s discography and you’ll notice pretty quickly that only a small percentage of their songs could rightly be labeled “up-tempo,” and even those songs are slow-paced by rock standards.  Fact is, whatever permutations they go through and however many disco balls they dance under, they’ve been largely too goth for fast beats since the release of Taboo in 1988, so I see it as no surprise that the dreamy, dark and down is what their fans love most about them.

And speaking of love—tickets to the Budoukan show sold out in a matter of minutes.  From early afternoon on the day of the show, fans holding signs reading “Give me a Ticket to Buck-Tick” could be seen standing in lonely vigil all the way up the stairs from Kudanshita Station.  Closer to the venue, on the bridge crossing the Imperial Palace moat, a large group of dafuya (yakuza ticket scalpers) shouted at the fans heading for the Budoukan doors, asking them if they had tickets.  Dafuya have never been known for their good manners, but this year, one of them had the courtesy to compliment me on my outfit…though rather than trying to sell me a ticket, he’d have been better off trying to buy one from me—this year, the NGS team managed to snag premium box seats down near the hanamichi on Imai’s side of the auditorium, with an up-close-and-personal view of all the band members whenever they chose to head up the hanamichi for a little fan servicing.  It’s my opinion that there are no true good seats in the Budoukan, but if there are better seats, these are among them.  However, there’s no way we’d have sold our good tickets to the dafuya—we’ve spent far too many DIQ’s past languishing way up on the second balcony not to enjoy this sweet chance when it presented itself.

As always, a giant banner hung over the Budoukan entrance, advertising the show.  This year, the banner was emblazoned with a white silhouette of the jacket artwork for Buck-Tick’s forthcoming single—the five band members walking in a line across a moonlit beach, Sakurai with a cat at his heels.  As with all the Lingua Sounda releases thus far, this jacket artwork includes photos of all five band members, and we’ll be pleased to see this trend continue.

But before the show, there was the goods line—an odyssey in itself.  Considering the sheer size of the venue, it’s not surprising that the goods line is long, but this year I’m quite sure it was longer than usual, and moved far more slowly.  Whether this was due to staff incompetence or fan indecision, I can’t say, but the wait time was nearly two hours in the cold wind, which is much too long, though at least this time, there were enough goods to go around and none of the items we wanted had sold out by the time we got to the table.

After the goods line, it was time to go admire the bouquets.  The usual suspects—Nishikawa Takanori (of Abingdon Boys School), Morrie (of Dead End and Creature Creature), Takahashi Makoto (formerly of Boowy and De+Lax), Auto-Mod, Breakerz, Mucc, Love & Media Portable, clothing retailer and costume-maker Yellow House, etc.—had all sent flowers, but the clear winner for most beautiful arrangement was Chuuya (of De+Lax, Loopus, and Allergy), whose bouquet featured blood-red roses and miniature heads of purple and white ornamental kale interspersed with peacock feathers, easily beating out Morrie’s red gerberas and dahlias, as well as Auto-Mod’s sickly acid yellow mélange of proteas and spotted orchids (though we give Auto-Mod’s flower designer points for deliberately selecting icky, creepy flowers.)  None of the other arrangements even came close to winning the contest, because goths: it takes one to know one.  Someday NGS is going to send over a big ol’ bouquet of black ladyslippers and black tulips and then we’ll show ‘em who’s SUCH GOTH! MUCH BLACK FLORAL, but I digress.

Though the venue staff had been anxiously chivvying fans into the venue, admonishing them that it was almost 6PM and that they’d better get their butts in there double-time, the show started almost a full thirty minutes late, so we had no choice but to settle ourselves into our seats and wait.  Sitting way over on the side had its advantages and disadvantages.  When the lights went down at last, we were able to see the band members coming up out of the stage right entrance pit just below us, and were able to observe Imai’s guitar tech standing by to hand him his red Maimai model as soon as he came onstage.  As usual, Sakurai alone entered from the back of center stage, but once he got down front it was harder to see him, and positioned as we were under the lip of the second balcony, we had no view of the projection screen at all, so we weren’t able to see the live feed of the band member’s faces that was continually projected above the stage to help the fans up in the back of the second balcony have a better view.  As a result, the crowd response in our general vicinity was a bit weak.

Even so, when all the band members had taken their places on the stage, Toll, dressed in his favorite red military uniform, began ratta-tat-tatting out the martial opening rhythm of “Steppers,” and the fans went wild.  The band have made us wait a good long time to hear this song live, and as soon as the guitars came in, the tension broke all at once and the fans joined in, singing along with the chorus back and forth with Sakurai, who paid visits to the hanamichi on both sides of the stage, along with Imai and Hide, and we got to see them close up at last.  This year for the first time, we were able to distinguish the details on their DIQ costumes with our naked eyes!  (Yes that was intended to be a dirty joke.)  This year, all the band members looked swank and understated—Yutaka in a red plaid jacket with black accents, and Hide in a long black jacket trimmed with silver leopard print.  Sakurai, not to be outdone, wore not one but two jackets, the outer made of heavy plum purple satin, the inner black mesh with double-breasted silver buttons connected by a row of shiny silver chains.  The inner jacket had a fluttery pleated skirt around the bottom, the purpose of which was unclear, but as the show went on, I could only hypothesize that it was mainly there to keep his butt from shining too brightly in its tight pleather pants when he turned his back on the audience (at one point he pulled up the skirt to show us and the lights caught the pleather at just the right angle to shine like this little light of mine.  Talk about mooning!)  But he needn’t have worried.  The fact was, any shining his butt could have done would easily have been eclipsed by the glittering vision that was Imai, who looked like the personified radiance of a thousand New Years Eve firecrackers in his white tunic embroidered with whorls of silver sequins, sparkling like Christmas lights and crystal meth all at once.  As if that weren’t enough, Imai wore this tunic over a glittery pink shirt and glittery pink-and-silver pants, with fringed pink moccasin boots to complete the look.

In a way, Imai’s bright and sparkly look was representative of tonight’s set list as a whole.  In contrast to the relentlessly dark Yumemiru Uchuu tour, this year’s DIQ offered a brighter musical color palate overall, heavy on ballads, major-key Imai numbers and gaijin fangirl n00b favorites.  Following “Steppers,” the show progressed apace with more crowd-pleasing songs like “National Media Boys,” “Candy,” and a new guitar arrangement of “Django.”  Sakurai had initially emerged onto the stage bare-headed, but he pulled out his silk top hat and cane for this number, preening for the crowd like a ringmaster, while Imai ran straight up the hanamichi to the left side of the hall and spent most of the song gazing expressionlessly at all the fans in our vicinity.  The main difference in the new arrangement was the harmony line Imai picked out on his guitar during the refrain.  Intertwining with Sakurai’s melody line as well as a backing vocalist might have, it was a very effective addition.

Since we were seated to the side of the speakers on Imai’s side of the hall, the overall sound was predictably heavy on Imai’s guitar, and also somewhat muffled compared to what the arena audience must have been hearing.  On the other hand, not being directly in front of the speakers meant that the sound wasn’t so overpoweringly loud, and perhaps made it easier to hear the higher tones, including the vocals, which was lucky.  Weeks spent in the recording studio working on Buck-Tick’s new album has put Mr. Sakurai into top vocal form, and if I were prone to purple prose in my live reports, I might say that his voice was coming through as rich and strong as hot cocoa spiked liberally with bourbon.  If I’ve ever heard him sound this good before, I don’t believe I’ve heard him sound better.

Therefore, I was rather dismayed to hear that some fans are apparently still wondering whether the fact that Sakurai’s voice has changed over the years indicates that he’s losing his ability to sing well.  It’s true that people’s voices change as they get older, but that doesn’t mean we lose our voices, it just means they may change a bit in range or timbre.  It’s true that plenty of rock stars do lose their voices as they age, but this is more due to poor vocal technique and bad habits (cigarettes kill your voice before they kill you!) rather than simply getting older.  In fact, Mr. Sakurai has had a lot more vocal training than most rock stars out there, and the main reason his voice has changed over the years is because he’s been taking better care of his health and practicing more.  As a result of this, his technique has actually improved rather than deteriorated.  He even spoke a bit about this in the most recent issue of the Fish Tank newsletter, and mentioned that in order to protect his voice, he prefers to sleep in a room with at least three humidifiers on at all times (a statement that will surely give fangirls moist, if not damp, dreams for years to come) so if you’re curious, you can go read that interview (“humidifiers”…is that what the kids are calling them these days?)  But again, I digress.  On with the show.

Following “Django,” the lights dropped and the mood grew darker.  Sounds of rushing wind filled the speakers and Hide bent over to strike the strings of his 12-string acoustic guitar as the band started into “Miu.”  And this, my friends, is why we come to the DIQ—to hear the songs the band haven’t performed in ages.  In fact, Cayce had never heard this song performed live before.  For those of you who wonder what the line at the end about the lace-up boots is all about, I still can’t tell you, but I can tell you that on this line, Sakurai put his foot up on the amp and mimed lacing up some boots.  Now we know who wears the boots in the relationship.  Make of that what you will.

Up to this point, the stage effects had been unusually spare for such a large hall, but following “Miu,” things started to get more interesting.  Wide white strips of fabric had been stretched in crisscrosses all across the back of the stage, and as the band started into “Buster,” the strips turned into projection screens for a spectacular light show that continued into the next number, “Cream Soda.”  I believe the last time Buck-Tick played “Cream Soda” at the DIQ was in 2008, and that time I thought they could have put in a bit more effort.  This time, thankfully, was much more sexual (get it?)  Hide swaggered right down front and center for his solo, while Sakurai picked up the microphone stand and held it perpendicular to his body with the base right over his pelvis, running his hand up and down the shaft, grinning at the crowd.  He repeated this move a number of times throughout the show and seemed to be finding it at least as entertaining as the fans found it, given that he seemed to be laughing harder and harder each time (get it???)

But “Cream Soda” was just the beginning of the fangirl n00b favorites section of the program.  As the last moans and spurts of guitar dissonance dripped away, a hush fell over the hall once again.  The lights turned dim and blue, and a soothing, much loved and long-lost synth strings track floated up out of the gloom.  Yes, all you BT fans born after the turn of the millennium, this is your song.  The only Buck-Tick song you’ll ever need, and you know they played it just for you.  Yes, I’m talking about “Dress,” folks.  Feel free to pause reading this article, take off your own dresses, and go have a fangasm.  The great thing about print media is, it’ll still be waiting for you when you get back.

Despite the popularity of this song among the foreign fans, among Japanese fans, it isn’t considered to be one of Buck-Tick’s better-known songs overall.  Perhaps for this reason, or perhaps because the original arrangement required Hoshino Hidehiko to *gasp* play keyboard, the band haven’t performed this song for eight whole years…not since the DIQ 2005, according to their official site.  In addition, the version of the song they played this time wasn’t just any “Dress,” it was a brand-new arrangement.  In the original version of “Dress,” Hide played the synth string part on keyboard, but since Hide appears to have given up on keyboard entirely now (too bad!), he chose instead to add a layer of spare guitar decoration to the mix while the synth strings part played over the PA.  Imai, of course, played the melody line, and improvised liberally, using a crunchier, more guitar-like tone than the dulcimer plink on the studio recording.  Just as in the new arrangement of “Django,” Imai’s guitar harmonized with Sakurai’s vocals like a second voice, bold in some places, mysterious in others.  During the break, Sakurai whispered into the microphone the same whispered passage that appears on the studio recording, and though it was no easier to distinguish the words live than on CD, the live version certainly had more kick.  Imai spent most of the latter half of the song out on the hanamichi again, still staring at the fans as if attempting to memorize their faces, while he blinded them with his glitter.

After “Dress” came a number I personally have been looking forward to hearing for a long time—“Bran-New Lover.”  Over here to the side of the speakers, it was interesting to note how much the opening drums sounded like “Buster.”  Partway through, Sakurai came up the hanamichi and graced us with his presence again, though he spent more time checking the lyrics monitor than staring at the fans.  At least he made up for it by acting out the lyrics, crouching down on the edge of the walkway on the line about the beach at midsummer, touching the empty space in front of him as if reaching his hand into the waves.  Most of Buck-Tick’s songs are deceptively simple, but this one fits that description especially well.  There’s a kind of meditative darkness in the jangly bright pop chords that only emerges after repeated listening, and the lyrics represent Sakurai at his most poignant bittersweet ambivalence.  On the surface it may sound light and summery, but there’s a lot of very dark, apocalyptic imagery floating deeper down (if you can’t remember the story of Pandora’s box, go read it again.)  To all you young gothlings who only recently became Buck-Tick fans and wrote this song off as too much pop, I urge you to give it a few more tries.  And while you’re at it, watch the amazing PV, which not only includes Mr. Sakurai spouting octopus tentacles while rolling around on the floor in a straightjacket, but also features some of the most beautiful surrealist cyberpunk styling the other band members have ever worn.

After “Bran-New Lover,” it was time for another break in the show.  Since the conclusion of the Cosmic Dreamer Tour meant the end of the use of the rain machine at Buck-Tick’s indoor performances, fan quarters were rife with speculation about how Sakurai would get his next ombrophilic fix (for those of you who don’t follow NGS on Twitter, the word ombrophilia means “being intensely excited and/or aroused by rain”…a word which we suspect describes Mr. Sakurai to a tee.)  We weren’t disappointed.  It was time for another rain song now!  Though the hall remained in total blackout, we could guess what was coming next as a familiar tune came on over the speakers.  Perhaps not all the fans recognized the distorted samples of Sakurai’s falsetto voice, but anyone who attended the Memento Mori tour has heard this before—it was “Rainy,” one of Imai’s mid-show instrumental pieces, which served as the introduction to “Serenade ~Itoshi no Umbrella~.”  And when the lights came up at last, the whole stage had been transformed into a cosmic rainy paradise, courtesy of long strings of LED lights that hung all the way from the top of the stage down to the floor in a glittering curtain even brighter than Imai’s silver sequins.  Some of the bulbs simply twinkled like stars in white and blue, while others chased each other down the strings, like glowing raindrops running down a giant window.  In other words, a combination two of Buck-Tick’s Most Favoritest Things Ever: rain and outer space.  No wonder Mr. Sakurai looked so happy!

The light curtain hung along the front of the stage, creating a permeable barrier between the band members and the audience.  When the SE ended and the song began, Imai retreated back to the drum platform and sat down right in front of Toll’s drums, perhaps in order to be able to focus on his extended solo without having to worry about spinning and kicking.  Sakurai danced around behind the light curtain during the first verse, and then on the second verse stepped gingerly through it so the fans would be better able to see him.  Though he made a few mistakes in the lyrics to the chorus, the fans were always there to help him out.  But as he headed back through the curtain at the end of the song, one of the light strings got caught on the shoulder of his coat, and trailed behind him all the way back to the mic stand.  By the time it had finally fallen off his shoulder, he was laughing, and so were the audience.  Apparently it’s not just that he loves rain—the rain loves him back!

The light curtain remained in place for the next number, “Hamushi no You ni.”  And sue me, fangirls, but I’ve been sick of this song for a while now.  Not only is it excessively repetitive, but it’s also got the most bog-standard chord progression in the face of pop music, and that’s why its extreme popularity strikes me as a kind of insult to the band—as if, despite all their inventiveness and originality, the fans really wish they were just making cliched, formulaic pop tunes.  If you’ve gone to all the trouble to be a Buck-Tick fan, why this song?  It sounds like everything else out there, and the key doesn’t suit Sakurai’s voice very well, either.  Nevertheless, it was cool to see it performed behind the light curtain, which turned from rain into a psychedelic billboard of ever-shifting rainbow-colored patterns.

Disappointingly, the light curtain disappeared back into the ceiling at the end of the song, but the psychedelic light show continued as the band launched into “Suzumebachi,” with the wild swirling colors now projected on the backdrop instead.  After “Suzumebachi” came perpetual crowd-pleaser “My Fuckin’ Valentine,” and though Sakurai paid his dues in fanservice visits to the end of both hanamichi, it was Imai who stole the show with his unabashedly lewd gesturing on the mic stand during the line “ejaculated material held in the mouth.”  Next up was another Imai tune, but this time it was one we haven’t heard in a while—the delightfully weird “Rhapsody.”  On his blog, Imai had hinted that the band might be playing this song, by posting a photo of his rectangular Bo Gumbo signature model guitar, which he used for the performance of “Rhapsody” ten years ago during the DIQ 2003.  But even if he’s done it before, it was a thrill to see him do it again—this is another one of those songs I’ve never before heard them play live, and not only that, but it contains one of my favorite Buck-Tick lyrics ever: “I have love, courage, and a cell phone.”  Seeing as Imai wrote this song before the iPhone ever existed, I think we can say that alongside William Gibson, he might very well be another prophet of modern times.

The main set was almost over by now, but there was still time to squeeze in another fangirl-n00b favorite, “Kuchizuke -Serial Thrill Kisser-.”  I confess, I love this song and was delighted to hear it performed again.  I only wish they’d chosen to play the eerie, hypnotic single version, rather than the comparatively mainstream-sounding synth-heavy album version, but luckily, live in the Budoukan, the live sound came to the fore and the synthesizer backtracks proved to be no distraction.

In fact, they made for a beautiful transition into the last song of the main set, which also begins with synth strings: “Kiss Me Good-Bye.”  I could classify this as a fangirl-n00b favorite as well, but as it was released 24 years ago, I think it’s a bit too old for that, and its popularity is well-earned—it stands a head and shoulders above most of the other tracks on Aku no Hana, an early preview of the deeper, darker, more mature sound Buck-Tick brought to full flower on Kurutta Taiyou.  Fans have been voting for this one for years and I’m a little surprised the band didn’t choose to play it again before now.  The arrangement they performed tonight remained essentially unchanged from the 1991 Climax Together version, but that didn’t make it any less exciting.  It felt like a reprise of that performance—every bit as gorgeous and haunting and bone chilling.  No matter how many flowery adjectives I pull out of my tophat, I can’t really do it justice in words.

This, as we’d expected, marked the end of the set, and though the fans clapped loudly as the band left the stage, no one seemed very enthusiastic about cheering for an encore…perhaps they were all too moved.  Of course, whether or not people were cheering for an encore, we all wanted to hear one, and of course the band delivered.  They came back onto the stage very quickly, without any costume changes whatsoever, and picked up the energy again with recent hits “Elise no Tame ni,” “Makka na Yoru,” and “Romance” (rejoice, n00bs, rejoice.)

Buck-Tick don’t usually perform more than three songs in one encore, but tonight they made an exception, and for an exceptional song.  When Toll started tapping that clockwork rhythm of rimshots on the snare, the collective gasp in the hall was almost palpable.  Here was another big, dark, dramatic number from Climax Together, another song the fans have been voting for for years, yet the band has rarely chosen to play—“Taiyou ni Korosareta!”

It’s my opinion that making his guitar sound like a giant bell is one of the coolest things Imai’s ever done, and since we’re talking about Imai here, that’s saying a lot.  This is one of those songs ideally suited to a huge venue, the cavernous space enhancing the feeling of loneliness and fear.  Also, this is a song Sakurai wrote about his difficulties dealing with his own fame, so seeing him perform it in front of such a large audience seemed particularly apropos.  As the band has done in the past, the song ended in a blindingly bright flood of light, through which the band members exited silently, before a dazed and breathless crowd.

“Taiyou ni Korosareta” was certainly the most climactic moment of the show, but the band still had one surprise in store for us—the other Buck-Tick: The Movie theme song, “Love Parade.”  I’d assumed that since they’d opened with “Steppers” they would end with this song, but I think they wanted to finish the show on an energetic, happy note rather than a sad and wistful one, and this song is certainly sad and wistful.  Nonetheless, of the two movie themes, I prefer this one over “Steppers”—it’s a beautiful demonstration of Hoshino’s gift for melody, and the lyrics feel intimate and personal in a way that the “Steppers” lyrics don’t.  Predictably, it sounded beautiful live, and it was a pleasure to hear it performed live at least once, since I doubt they’ll be playing it much in the future (though I hope I'm wrong about that.)

The band then ended the show with “Fly High” and “Dokudanjou Beauty.”  I’d hoped that Sakurai would challenge Toll “to his limit” during “Fly High” as he has in the past, but this time, rather than compete with Toll, Sakurai preferred to be the full center of attention.  Halfway through the song, the music stopped, and Sakurai store from one end of the hanamichi to the other, singing the chorus over and over and holding the microphone out to the fans so they could sing along, while Toll got a chance to rest his aging arms before joining back in for the last chorus.

As the show drew to a close, Sakurai stayed onstage longer than usual, to wave and smile at fans for a second and third time before departing into the wings.  Yutaka at last took the opportunity to run all the way up the hanamichi on our side of the hall, but though he stretched out his arms as far as they would go, he still couldn’t manage to shake the hands of the fans in the front row.  As always, he was the last off the stage, bidding his usual farewell to the audience into Hide’s too-high microphone, calling out, “Happy New Year!”

…and that was that.  Buck-Tick have been known to make big announcements at the end of the DIQ but this time I don’t think they were quite ready yet.  From what they’ve said in the latest issue of FT, they are currently in the thick of recording a new album.  If their usual schedule holds, we’ll likely see another single in March, followed by the album in late May or early June.  Yes, that is the Cayce Official Buck-Tick Weather Report.  We'll see how accurate I am.  Save your pennies!  And in the meantime…Imai has confirmed that the new album will contain a self-cover of an old song.  I’ll be taking bets on which one it is.  Email your predictions to me and I will post them on Blog-Tick.  Until then, stay warm, and stay firm in sticking to your New Year’s resolutions.

Set List

03. Candy
04. Django
05. Miu
06. Buster
08. Dress

~en. 1

~en. 2

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