The U.S had been waiting too long for the GazettE. It took them 10 years to finally come here since their first overseas performance in Germany back in 2006. But it all deserved the wait on the night of May 3rd, when fans enjoyed those classic “the GazettE” tunes as well as their latest masterpieces from DOGMA, headbanging and dancing all the way throughout the quintet’s very first concert in LA — seeing the much beloved five members perform live was such a beautiful dream come true.
Introduction track “NIHIL” fading away, the GazettE members took the stage and immediately set it ablaze with “DOGMA” and “RAGE” fresh from their latest release. Reita and Kai, profound and authoritative in the solid foundation that they create for the rhythm section, Uruha and Aoi, adding dynamic and rich complexity with their guitars, and Ruki, finishing it off with his broad and at times otherworldly vocal range. The GazettE kept the crowd excited with a well-rounded set list, where their latest works intermixed with the refreshing ways that they played older numbers: after the first two songs, they did quite a bit of album bouncing between DOGMA, DIVISION, TOXIC and Stacked Rubbish, including new singles UGLY and UNDYING.
When the dubstep-electro prelude of “DERANGEMENT“ started, the Wiltern suddenly burst into thunderous cheers and screams. Ruki perfectly synthesized his distinctive voice with background electronic sound and enchanted the crowd with seductive gestures and dancing. The entire audience became frantic, headbanging in reaction to this soul-stirring visual and audio feast. Following were more of my personal favorites, including “Venomous Spider’s Web“, “Sludgy Cult“, “The Suicide Circus” and “Vortex“. It was almost surreal when they played The Suicide Circus and Vortex, which kept reminding me of those familiar scenes in their MVs I watched for repeated times five years ago, when the songs just came out. I also have to say that watching Uruha showing might on guitar in the Vortex solo part was an incredible pleasure, and I’m pretty sure that many fans have replayed it numerous times on a live DVD.
The GazettE is not a stereotypical rock band that only impresses people with earsplitting heavy sounds. In between the loud tunes, they played “Dripping Insanity” and “OMINOUS”, showing the sensitive side of the band. The loneliness, melancholy and bittersweet romance delivered from the GazettE was just as intense as anger or hatred from their high tempos. By alternating between acoustic and electric guitars, Uruha and Aoi created the incredibly intricate dual guitar sound to support Ruki expressing these sophisticated emotions.
Having the opportunity to experience the GazettE’s older songs live, while still being able to appreciate their growth and the skillful way in which they reshape their old tracks was a pleasure for many, myself included. The GazettE totally commanded the crowd while beating off new singles “UGLY” and “UNDYING”, and finally showcased the most-anticipated, iconic number “Filth in the Beauty” (2006). “Agony” (2007) and “Cockroach”(2005) from the encore session also stirred up hysteria alike. People pumped their fists in the air, jumping, stomping and dancing without reservation, completely immersed in the superb performances exclusive to this night. The band could barely contain their excitement either. Reita spun around with his bass while Uruha and Aoi stimulated their devoted followers to cheer even louder.
The highlight of the concert for me, despite the entire show’s superb composition and performance all throughout, had to have been when the members came back out for the encore. The whole venue was totally moved to see Ruki carry with him a U.S. flag and all members show appreciation to the crowd. After the last song of the night, Ruki gave several more smiles before heading out and letting the rest of the band have quite a bit of fun tossing picks, water, and even a few drum sticks into the crowd. It truly seemed that the GazettE enjoyed touring in the states and they totally LOVED the fans and the city of LA. Their debut showcase in the City of Angels was without a doubt, the best performance that I’ve ever personally witnessed from them.
Many U.S fans started listening to Visual Kei bands around a decade ago. On most of them who were still middle school kids back then, Visual Kei’s rebellious sounds had no less impact compared with all-time legends Nirvana or Radiohead in the English-speaking world. Arguably the best and most influential ever in the Neo Visual Kei scene, the GazettE made an extremely important part of their fans’ teenage life. During this WORLD TOUR 16 DOGMATIC -TROIS-, while bringing back their older tracks, the GazettE took the audience onto a nostalgia trip far back to their school years. To me who have been a fan for ten years, seeing the GazettE play in a local venue was no doubt, the very special and perfect timing to look back on my past, see how far I have come, and continue to chase my dream like they do all the time.
01 – NIHIL
02 – DOGMA
03 – RAGE
04 – Derangement
05 – Venomous Spider’s Web
06 – Sludgy Cult
07 – BIZARRE
08 – Dripping Insanity
09 – OMINOUS
10 – The Suicide Circus
11 – Vortex
12 – UGLY
13 – UNDYING
14 – Filth in the Beauty
15 – Agony
16 – Cockroach
17 – Tomorrow Never Dies
You can also view the full live photo gallery on Facebook.
Special Thanks to: Sony Music and PS Company