Misadventures with Miso

Misadventures with Miso

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

~Mana 様 Birthday~ 2018 Day Two

 I am not sure how many years ago Mana decided to have two concerts around the time of his birthday, but for anyone traveling to see Moi dix Mois perform, it makes for an unique experience. In that it is in a way a long extended concert. Each night gets it's own unique ambience.

So of course I was back for the second night. Which was also at Mt. Rainier Hall in Shibuya. The venue is up above Uniqlo. Which is interesting because what they do is have people stand on the stairs when they are waiting in line for the merchandise table and to go into the actual venue. Once you get up the stairs to the merchandise table there are large bouquets of flowers. This is a tradition in Japan as a way of congratulating someone. 

 There were three large bouquets for Mana. One from KAMIJO, one from Kaya and one from the fans. They were there for both nights. Sorry I did not get better photos but I was shooting over people's shoulders.

I'm also sorry I don't have a better photo of the stage but it does show up even with the lights off! This is my view for the second night. This is stage right, or what would be Ryux side. This time I had a center section aisle seat. Given my propensity to dance a little, I was happy with this.

 Mana with his candy bearing bear bag from his Twitter

Last night Moi dix Mois was dressed in white. This night everyone was in black except for Mana who was wearing white with black lace and accents and blue tulle and roses. For anyone who has not experienced Visual Kei, it's an important part of the genre to dress up, both in fashion, make-up and hair. Mana was one of the originators of the genre so of course he continues this in his performances. 

Alright, time to talk about the music. The songs for the first part:
sacred lake(SE)
Gloire dans le silence
Invite to Immorality
Nocturnal Romance
Beast Side

Right off it was clear that the second night the band was there to rock. A number of the songs were from the first releases, songs with a bit of an edge. There was a definite more metal feeling to the night. Only a few songs in and I could tell this was a show that audiences in America and the like would be ecstatic to see.

I didn't mention that the first night there were a few technical difficulties. It happens when a band is not performing as much as they would be if they were on tour. If I could guess, the members went through a run through of this show prior to the performance. Everything felt tight. Vocalist Seth's mic volume was louder, there was only one or two technical glitches. Although I did think Seth's volume was a little too loud when there was no music, but heck, compared to a lot of shows it was fine.

As to the songs, like I said, harder and edgier for the most part. I was curious as to how they would handle "Glorie dans le silence" since the chorus is really a duet, but Seth handled it well. The band ripped through everything with lots of energy. 

 Mana making Sugiya taste the frosting (from Mana's Twitter)

Now to the MC part of the show. Once again Mana disappeared and after being encouraged by Seth and shouts from the audience, reappeared with his bear bag and threw candy to the audience below. He reappeared on the right side of the balcony and again slid past everyone in the front row, throwing candy as he went. And this time, I was lucky enough to actually catch one.

Mana then started up the aisle to the door but stopped right next to me. He furiously threw candy to the side section for a few seconds. As tempting as it was to reach out and touch him, I did not. It was nice to be able to see him a little closer than I had been able to in the past. Nice tulle.

At some point while we were waiting for Mana to appear from downstairs, guitarist Ryux and bassist Sugiya played a short blues riff. It was very cool to hear this and I hope it is something that might happen again. 

After all the candy chaos, Mana arrived back on stage. Seth made announcements about future shows including the Deep Sanctuary VI show in September. This is a reunion of the Malice Mizer members plus others. At this point, Mana picked up a whip and started making sideways figure eights (like infinity symbols) with it while Seth repeated "Will I play guitar or won't I?" I think this is a reference back to the Malice Mizer shows which were known for their theatrics. Along with a possible reference to the song "Illuminati" which featured whips in the stage performance and Mana did not play guitar during the performance. After this Mana threw his bear at Seth and it looked like Seth might have hit his head on the drum riser, but he seemed okay. Destructive demon Mana was keeping with the destroy theme. I will say that Seth was laughing at the time so it was more in jest and fun.

At this point Sugiya exited and came back pushing a cart with a birthday cake on it. I think we sang Happy Birthday at some point, along with lighting up the blue glow sticks we were given for the evening. The candles were lit, of course one was a little harder to blow out. Mana offered a bit of the icing on his finger to Sugiya. Just a little fan service for the audience. Then Sugiya wheeled the cake off, bowing many times as he did it. I was a little surprised that the cake made it out unharmed.

 Photo of Mana's cake from his Twitter

And the second part of music began. Here are the songs:
Secret longing (se)
Immortal Madness~Dead Scape
Twilight Floweer
In that Hill(仮)
Material Death

Ange~D side holy wings~

I have to mention that as much as I like going to shows in Japan because for the most part people are really polite and no one gets out of hand, something felt off. Unlike the night before, I felt like the crowd where I was, was not really getting into it. I don't know if it was the people in that side of the balcony, but for a lot of the show I felt like an observer. Even with the people doing the furitsuke, set hand movements. So with the break and us now having the glow sticks, I moved a little into the aisle and just went along with the music once "Perish" started being played. It became interesting because like last year, once again people were asked to make specific hand gestures during the song "Immortal Madness". Again it was to the phrase "pretty sexy angel Mana-sama". Which seemed to go a lot faster than last year. I don't think many people where I was were able to keep up or even tried it. I finally moved to the railing of the stage because I wanted to have that feeling of being part of a concert, not just an observer.

After "Ange" the band left the stage. Again the audience shouted out "Moi dix Mois" in unison. The members returned wearing the concert shirts and Mana was dressed in Moi-même-Moitié, similar to the outfit he wore at the Sakura-Con fashion show. 

Final song of the night:
Je L'aime
En Lumiere(SE)

I have to say something about "Je L'aime". I'm not sure if this was my second or third time seeing and hearing it live. But this time it was a lot more emotional. Seth's voice was amazing for both shows. Not just with being able to hit all notes but also growling and howling when songs called for it. At times he seemed possessed. For "Je L'aime" he conveyed the emotions of the song and more. The final lines he sung to Mana, who I would swear was on the verge of tears.

After this the members each left the stage. Some of them threw their glow sticks into the crowd and drummer Hayato threw his up into the balcony where the woman next to me caught it. I could have caught it but since I had caught a piece of candy I let her get it (longer arms has benefits sometimes).  Mana spent time on stage taking a number of bows. The feeling that permeated the theater was so emotional I expected people to burst into tears. He then walked stoically up the aisle and the show was over.

So two great nights of music. Back at my hotel I took a photo to commemorate it. As for the candy, it's not the usual Mana autograph. It may be the kanji Ma, 魔, which he uses at times. It references demons which makes sense given the theme for the two shows. Hard to see but it actually says kawaii on the candy. Cute demon? I guess that would describe Mana-sama.

I'm glad I was able to experience these shows. And I hope I can do that again in the future. Many thanks to Moi dix Mois for going all out. I hope there will be a lot more to come.

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