[report] DIR EN GREY (Studio Coast / Tokyo, Japan)
After several year-break from the Old Continent, DIR EN GREY returned to the West last autumn and will be back again early 2020. The European public will be able to enjoy the tour This Way to Self-Destruction whose Japanese final took place at STUDIO COAST in Tokyo on November 19 and 20. Needless to say, the tour was a smash-hit success thanks to its well-oiled concerts, sold-out halls and devoted fans. A recipe that has been the strength of the band for two decades.
As usual, the five members walked through the stage, one by one, causing a mass hysteria. Once everyone was in position, the first notes of Zetsuentai kicked off. Under a blast of blue light, the public got carried away into a mysterious universe which could also be described as bipolar for it was airy and heavy. The giant screen also alternated paradoxical images which either connoted or bluntly illustrated life (fetus etc.) and death (a corpse etc.). With Keigaku no Yoku‘s plaintive and nagging tones, which were highlighted by the broadcast of satanic images reminiscent of SLIPKNOT’s Iowa, the room was profoundly bewitched. The ethereal sounds combined with the play of light which carefully illuminated the members of the group reinforced the idea. Downfall and Devote My Life followed and rocked the house. The public was unleashed, headbanging to the point of whiplash. The airy atmosphere of the beginning gave way to fury like Values of Madness. The jumps and headbanging synchronized with the frenzied pounding of Keibetsu to Hajimari. Aka followed and slowed the pace for a little while without impacting the powerful energy of the performance engaged from the beginning thanks to its elegiac verses. The musicians showed with phlegm and intensity their genuine proficiency. A somewhat UFO soon arrived, Merciless Cult, a track from the album Withering To Death released in 2005. A bit of nostalgia could be read on the faces while the bodies went wild. The pace quickened back again thanks to the sequence Rubbish Heap, Celebrate Empty Howls and Ningen wo Kaburu. Then came Ranunculus, the zenith of the performance. The eye of the public religiously stared at its prophet, Kyo, who delivered a dramatic and cathartic performance. He kept shouting out loud, “I hate you,” “why am I alive? “and others phrases then moved onto the new single The World of Mercy, a majestic song that grows crescendo for about ten minutes. Although the setlist showcased DEG‘s latest productions, the band offered a couple of surprises (Kigan and NEW AGE CULTURE) bringing a contagious euphoria onto the audience.
The senses were in turmoil, the hearing and sight were hyper-stimulated. The public was sweating buckets. A concert with DIR EN GREY is like a cardio session for the effort is intense and continuous. The difference is that the fans indulge with pleasure and ask for more.