I’m writing this from my mother’s house in Detroit. Well, I started writing this post over a month ago, but mid-November through December was crazy busy. So as I lie here at six in the morning on Christmas Eve Eve waiting for my non-jet-lagged family to wake up so I can go eat breakfast, I figured I should get Lucky Hill up to date. ^o^;
Onward to Catch-Up Post One of Five!
The weekend of Nov. 17-18, I went up to Osaka with some friends for two concerts. We flew to Osaka and before we even got there, we ran into GACKT.
Saturday’s show was the first day of this year’s “Gakuensai,” the school festival of the Camui Gakuen. This time it was called “Camui Gakuen de Dashinasai,” which I think we can translate as “Let it all hang out at the Camui School Festival.” Or something like that.
At these shows GACKT plays the character of Student Council President, and we must thus address him as “Kaichou” (会長). “Students” must attend the shows wearing a school uniform or something that can pass for a uniform. There are many other “school rules,” and I was a bit surprised to find them posted in Japanese, English, Korean, and Chinese.
The show opened one hour late. It started with the usual singing of the school song and explanation of the rules by the Kyoutou-sensei. There was a Mr. and Ms. Camui Gakuen who got school blazers with huge epaulets to wear. On top of the usual picking of “chairman” and “vice chairmen” to take photographs of the students, there was also an award ceremony for the students who had gotten the highest scores in the Camui Gakuen mobile phone game. If I had known that playing said game would earn one the chance to get called up to the stage and shake GACKT’s hand I would’ve played it! Then there was the introduction of “F9,” the upperclassmen, who this year consisted of:
After this there was a play making fun of MOON SAGA Yoshitsune Hiden. It was called “Yoshitsune Kaden” (「義経家電」) meaning “Yoshitsune Home Appliances.” It opens with Benkei running on stage with a bag from Yodobashi Camera. Otherwise it had nothing to do with electronics. Chachamaru played Tomoe, Takumi played Yoshinaka, YOU played Hiyori, Kazuya played Kage, and one of the Duel Jewel guys played Yoshitsune. After Kazuya recreated Kage’s fight scene, Yoshitsune tried his hand at fighting the whatever-monster-shadow-thing that was, but had to do it with a hair dryer. >o<
Then there was intermission. At this time you could either line up to buy goods or food and hope that you got to meet the band members, who go out briefly to serve in the Cafeteria (ショック堂 not 食堂) and the Store, or line up to be photographed by the chairpersons, whose “collected smiles” end up in a yearbook of sorts sent to fanclub members later. My friends and I lined up to get goods and food, but I think none of us got to meet any member of F9.
After the intermission, the concert part finally started. Like a school festival where student rock bands perform covers, GACKT’s band covered such singers, bands, and groups as Mika Nakashima, GLAY, L’arc~en~Ciel, Shonan no Kaze, X Japan, and…we’ll come back to this later. XD He did sing one of his own songs, namely “Graffiti.”
My third favorite part of this show was Takumi’s “saxophone solo.” I don’t remember exactly what song this happened during (maybe the Checkers’ “Namida no Request”). Before the performance Seito Kaicho tells us that Takumi has been learning to play the saxophone just for this solo. There’s two or three parts in the song for the sax solo–but Takumi never quite plays! This was a reference to how Takumi didn’t go through with bungee jumping for the Nico Nico Douga YELLOW FRIED CHICKENz show. At the very end of the song, Takumi lets out one completely out of tune and improperly blown note.
My second favorite part of this show was when the band briefly covered L’arc~en~Ciel’s 「花葬」(“Kasou” which, written as 火葬 means “cremation” but here is written with the character for flower rather than fire). This is one of my absolute favorite L’arc songs. GACKT sang only the chorus, with Shinnosuke up on a ladder throwing flower petals at him, and other members sweeping the petals about on stage with huge brooms. But more amusingly, he impersonated HYDE’s wiggly dancing. About midway through GACKT stopped the dancing; one of my friends said that it was because he was on the verge of busting out laughing and so had to stop dancing.
My favorite part of this show was without a doubt the grand finale. It was…AKB48’s “Heavy Rotation”!
Now, I don’t particularly like AKB48 or that song. But seeing GACKT having a blast dressed like a schoolgirl with little pink pom-poms in his hair, wearing the shortest skirt on stage, totally nailing every move in that dance, and smiling a smile that seemed to just be bursting out of him…♡♡♡! We were also very lucky in that we were seated not only in the 7th row, but also to the right of the stage, meaning that we had a nice view during a particular part of that dance. XDDD
After the show we went for one more round at the Cooperative Store, took more photos with the cardboard cutouts, and talked to some fans. I ran into some Fukuoka DEARS, as well as a fan I’d seen about the GACKT fan interwebs (who has a post with the show’s setlist–I hope you don’t mind me linking to you!).
Then my friends and I headed for Doutonbori (道頓堀), the famous street in Osaka that has the Glico billboard. (And I just now realized that I didn’t take a picture of it with my camera. >o<;;;; I’ll have to ask my friends to send me the pics they took.) We had takoyaki from a stall and then went to an okonomiyaki restaurant and reminisced about the show. Then we went to our hotels and called it a night.