Misadventures with Miso

Misadventures with Miso

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Mana's Birthday ~ Day One

Time to explain why I was checking out where music venues are in Shibuya. In part because I hope to go to more lives in the future and in part because I was going to a couple lives during my trip. First one was here at Mt. Rainier Hall. Which turned out to be a pretty nice venue. I would definitely go there again.

 *photo from @_lady_vampire Twitter*

Turns out last year's Deep Sanctuary V concert wasn't enough for me. Malice Mizer is one of my favorite bands and I so enjoy what the creators of Malice Mizer, Közi and Mana, have done since then. While Moi dix Mois has been on a bit of hiatus in recent years they still do a couple shows in Japan each year. One is an end of the year show and the other constant is Mana's birthday shows in March. After finally seeing Moi dix Mois at Deep Sanctuary V I realized I wanted to experience a full concert. And since Mana schedules two concerts for his birthday, it was an optimum opportunity.

Now I had a chance to see Moi dix Mois in Seattle but passed it by since I recently moved to the area. I've regretted it. I've also regretted not going to Japan sooner and enjoying lives there in the 1990's. So perhaps I was making up for that or just finally doing what I've wanted to do for so long. It's still difficult to get tickets to concerts in Japan and then dealing with the venues if not fluent in Japanese. But in a way, it makes concerts there even more special. I do know a lot of people outside of Japan would really like a better way to attend shows. There is a big market and it's growing. Considering the cost and difficulty of traveling, the dedication of people who go is impressive. And I was not the only "foreigner" at these shows. For the Mt. Rainer show I met really nice ladies from France, Italy and South East Asia along with a lovely older Japanese lady who like me was first a Malice Mizer fan.

So a bit about the concert since I do want to share. Mt. Rainer Pleasure Pleasure is a theater with assigned seating for their floor and balcony. I ended up near the back of the floor but I could see well even with my recent eye sight problems. The stage was set with iron fencing with roses interlaced and the Moi dix Mois banner behind the drum set. The band members entered the stage as En Lumiere played. Hayato on drums, Sugiya on bass, Ryux as support guitarist, Seth on vocals and Mana on guitar. When Mana came out he held his arms open as if to hold everyone in the theater. 

*photo from @M_d_M_official Twitter*

 Since words can only express so much, I am borrowing a few photos from Moi dix Mois Official's Twitter. I hope they don't mind. It's because the lavish brocade outfits are best seen to appreciate. Lead singer Seth reminded me of David Bowie's Jareth the Goblin King with an eye patch, a very handsome look. Visually the outfits added an air of celebration to the night.

 While Seth was emotive Mana kept his visage expressionless as he usually does. Although at first he appeared intense, reminding me of a Kabuki actor. After a time he seemed to relax as the band flawlessly performed the first couple of songs. Speaking of songs, here is the set list for the first part:
Dialogue Symphonie
Beast Side
The Other Side of the Door
Eternally Beyond
Sanctum Regnum
I was rather pleased to hear Angelica live and a little surprised at The Other Side of the Door since the recorded version has less emphasis on vocals but Seth did a good job with it. Other songs like Sanctum Regnum got the audience participating following Seth's lead in doing hand signs for D-I-X. Participation like this is a big deal with live Japanese music and Seth is quite good at it.

*photo from @M_d_M_official Twitter* 

A closer look at Mana in his outfit for the evening playing his ESP jeune fille X Gips -Cross Ray guitar. While I can't fully remember this may have been later in the show. First though was the MC which is another common thing that is done at music events in Japan. Since Mana rarely speaks publically, Seth speaks for him, reading from a clip board. But first Seth had every one yell "Je t'aime Mana-sama" to get Mana to return to the stage where everyone sang Happy Birthday to him. He then threw candy from the stage and center aisle along with surprising people in the balcony by appearing there also and raining candy on them. 

Next were band member introductions along with each person playing a solo. I noticed Hayato received a lot of calls from the audience. The solos were enthusiastic and well received. When it came Mana's turn he surprised everyone by playing the intro to Malice Mizer's Kioku to Sora. I guess with the 25th anniversary of Malice Mizer's founding he was feeling retrospective. The audience loved it. Seth then announced Ryux also had his birthday recently. Mana kept whispering in Seth's ear which Seth then spoke about how Ryux was like a clay doll. This went on for a bit and even though Mana turned his back to the audience he was shaking with laughter. Ryux played along seeming astonished to the point where he fell down. While the clay doll part was a little confusing at the time, Mana later explained on Twitter that a photo Ryux posted reminded him of a role playing computer game where a clay doll came out of the woods and Mana wanted to attack it. Or something like that since he wrote it in Japanese which sadly I have to rely on translators for the most part.

Back to the music. Second part of the song list:
A new song!
Immortal Madness
L’intelier dix
Dead Scape
Twilight Flower
Material Death
Je l’aime
I just want to mention that new song. Really beautiful. Along with the green lighting which made the stage look like it was underwater. For most of the show the audience was pretty enthusiastic and noisy but during this song and after it everyone was silent. It was like we were all forgot to breath being so focused on the music and lyrics. Almost a zen moment. Hard to explain but it was mystical, like being taken to another place by the music, part of Mana's mythical world. As it's place in Moi dix Mois music, it had elements of prior songs but had a maturity beyond Mana's already creative and excellent work. As I wrote after the show, I really look forward to hearing it again.

Eventually the concert reached the end and the members left the stage as the audience yelled their names and wanted more. At this point or at the end En Lumiere played again.

*photo from @M_d_M_official Twitter* 

Not long after that the band returned wearing the new shirts being sold for the concerts along with Mana in his signature Moi meme Moitie EGA. While I was sad Deflower was not played I did get to enjoy Pageant! Because it's a more "up" song it isn't played as often so great to hear it live and experience the audience participation as they wave their blue glow sticks in time to Mana's swaying as he plays guitar.

Sadness since that was the end of the concert. Each member left the stage walking up the center aisle. Ryux did something special in memory of K, Moi dix Mois guitarist who passed away. Ryux has K's skull lighter with him through out the show, placing it on speakers or amplifiers by him. He almost forgot it as he left so he ran back to get it, holding it up to the crowd who appreciated the moment. Mana was the last to leave, but before he did he stood at the edge of the stage making motions with his hands ending with putting his hand to his heart. While the concert may have been for his birthday, it was clear it was also his present to his fans, an expression of his love and appreciation of their support.

So it was out into very crowded Shibuya to make our way back to the station and my way back to my hotel on a rather shaky Yamanote train. But before I end this, a little about the concert goods.

Prior to the concert they had every line up who wanted to buy goods. Mana created two new designs for his two anniversaries. The 15 year Moi dix Mois anniversary design in silver is really nice so I picked up the tote bag along with the long blue t-shirt. Like everyone else I put all my stuff into it. Funny to see everyone walking around with the same bag. It was very popular.

Back from the concert it was time to see what all I put in there. I stopped at LUSH in Shibuya on the way to the station. LUSH has become very popular in Japan with stores everywhere. In 2008 I could only find it at Narita Airport and 2010 at Shinjuku Station (amazed to find anything at that crazy place).

Really this was everything in that bag. I also purchased the black t-shirt with the Mana 25th anniversary design. It is also lovely with blue roses which have been a favorite thing for me since I was a child. I also picked up the Moi dix Mois 10th Anniversary Philosophy II book. What else was there in the bag? The glow stick, fliers, my purse, gloves, ticket, Pasmo card and an onigiri for that evening and French cruller donut for breakfast. Oh that donut.

Wait, I don't think the bag was empty. Needed to check.

How did this get in here?

Pardon my little bit of humor. And that curry? Actually was pretty good for packaged food. Ate it when I got back to Oregon. I'll mention where I got it in a later post.

As for the goods, I am glad I bought what I wanted that night. Because the next night most was sold out. After missing out on getting the Deep Sanctuary V long shirt I made sure to not make the same mistake again. However since everything sold out so fast, Mana decided to have more made and is selling them now on his Midi:Nette site (link here for those in Japan). For the rest of us the goods are available on CDJapan including shirts that weren't available at the concerts. CDJapan items are at this link. Thought I would mention this since I know a few people were interested.

So if you read all of this long post, thank you. And Day Two will be my next one, soon to happen.

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