GLAY Magic at the House of Blues: Sept. 11th and Sept. 12th

Greetings, fellow SBR followers.

Agent V has returned from sunny California with an exciting report for GLAY’s “Great Vacation” U.S. Tour. It took me a few days to get my head together to put this whole thing into words. Yes, it was THAT awesome (biased opinion, sorry). They are also this month’s “Recommended Artist” choice.

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When GLAY had their very first short U.S. Tour in 2008, the vocalist, Teru, promised they would be back next year. On September 11th and 12th, they had kept it.

I attended both shows in Los Angeles with my heart filled with excitement and nervousness. Last time I had seen them was when I went to Osaka in November of 2007. Even though my seat was close to the nosebleed section and all the members onstage looked like cell phone charms, my friend and I both felt the powerful aura that was GLAY.

All walks of life near and far gathered together to see them. Some even camped out in front of the House of Blues the previous night, hoping to get a good spot in the front to see their favorite member. There were even people who were in wheelchairs that came as well. Many bonded through their love for the band and discussed which songs they wanted to hear live. As soon as the sun went down on September 11th, excitement was in the air as 8PM rolled around for doors to open. Once the gates to the best night opened, everyone ran in without another thought.

While we were waiting for 9PM to come around for the show to start, remixes of GLAY’s songs were playing through the PA system done by DJ MASS, a well known DJ who helped Teru during his “Boy’s Night Only” member produced concert back in April. Some fans even decided to entertain themselves by singing along to the song and mimic the guitar solos in the songs with their voices. Idle chatter soon changed into screams of excitement once the house lights dimmed at 9:10PM. Their intro theme began playing through the speakers with a coordinated light show.

One by one, the drummer, Toshi, and their keyboardist, Sei-chan (who the GLAY members and fans call so lovingly) entered. The lead guitarist, Hisashi, then came in with a hooded cardigan, wielding a blue light saber with an asymmetrical silver wig on to the roar of cheers from his fans. Then came the bassist, Jiro, dressed in a sleeveless black frilled shirt with reflecting silver ankle pants as if he stepped out of “Space Odyssey 2000,” the vocalist Teru dress in all black, and the leader of the band, Takuro donned a long sleeveless outer jacket with looses slacks and a tank top underneath. The stage lights lit up brightly to accept the deafening roar of cheers and welcomes from their oversea fans who had waited so long for their return.

They opened with their new song, “GREAT VACATION,” which will be on their upcoming “GREAT VACATION Vol. 2” 3-CD set in the continuing celebration of their 15th anniversary. The crowd got into it and began jumping and dancing to the beat as Teru sang to us with joy and passion. As this hot new number finished with a flourish with the guitar, bass, and drums, he gave the infamous cue of “Come on, Toshi!” and jumped right into their staple song, “Yuuwaku” (“Temptation”). The fans sang along to this popular single that hit the charts in 1998 as the band members got into their groove and danced around on stage while playing their instruments. Hisashi’s execution of the song’s well known guitar solo was flawless, which riled up the crowd even more after he finished the last note to it. As the song ended, they did a short flourish before going into their first MC.

After a short moment, the house lights came back on, with Teru greeting us energetically shouting, “We are GLAY!” The crowd responded back with a huge enthusiasm. He continued to rile up the crowd by saying, “We are happy to be here! Let’s make this a hot live!” in English and went straight into another favorite live GLAY song amongst the fans, “SURVIVAL”, following “Ikiteku Tsuyosa” (“The Strength to Live”), “Sen No Knife ga mune wo sasu” (“The Piercing of 1000 Knives Into the Chest”) and “Cynical.” Before getting into their digitally released single, “Starless Night,” Teru did a warm up with the crowd by singing a few notes and telling them to repeat it. As he went on, the patterns became more and more difficult in terms of rhythm but the audience all had fun. There was even at one point where he began singing, “Sakura, Sakura, Sakura.” The crowd broke into a fit of laughter while Takuro quickly glanced over and gave him a “What are you doing?” look.

Soon after the song ended, Teru went into another MC and introduced each of the members of the band, beginning with Toshi and ending with himself. Whenever Teru pointed to each member, the audience would shout out their names with excitement. He then began talking about his feelings regarding September 11th. Even though his English was not spoken well, the fans all felt what he wanted to say from the heart. It would have been a nice moment if he wasn’t trying to look at his tattoo on his left arm for the reference. He said, “No matter how bad things get, keep on looking up because the sky will always be blue.”

They started off their ballad section with the new song, “RUN” from “GREAT VACATION VOL.1”, then the tear-jerking and emotional “HOWEVER.” The audience listened to this song in silence with an emotional heart. Some began sobbing as Teru sang and poured his soul into the words of this heart-string tugging ballad. There was a short pause and Sei-chan began his piano ambiance as Teru’s voice echoed into the mic, leading to “BE WITH YOU,” a song which they made the music video in New York in 1998. The only annoyance during this time was there were several people in the crowd talking during the instrumental interlude at the beginning of “BE WITH YOU.” After the small emotional ballad section, Teru went into another MC with us and asked the audience members where they were from. Many shouted different areas, ranging from Bolivia to Canada to Germany. Some fans even flew from Japan! It was the music of GLAY that brought us altogether under one roof.

Getting that big of a response from the audience, Teru riled them up once more and jumped into “VERB.” Now, as a fan for 10 years, I have watched many of their concerts in DVDs and a GLAY live just isn’t complete until Teru forgets the lyrics. And that is what he did right in the middle of this fast-paced and intense song. He was so into it, he forgot part of the lyrics and blurted out “That’s not it!” in Japanese. The audience laughed and continued singing as he listened to us until his memory to caught on. Unfortunately, he missed it three times in this song and apologized quickly before remembering the rest of and dove into another new song written by Hisashi, “Synchronicity,” the tie-up song used in the game “Magna Carta 2” for XBOX 360. Following it was “I am xxx,” the tie-up song for “BLOOD: The Last Vampire” live action movie, and the high energy “HIGHCOMMUNICATIONS.” Teru began doing his X arms in the air, with the audience following and shouting during the breaks.

After that high energy set, Teru went into another MC to express how happy they really were right now, despite him being out of breath and sweating. He then began to a
sk the audience if we had any of GLAY’s albums and began listing out a few. One of the audience members shouted out “ONE LOVE,” their album from 2001. Teru playfully joked and replied, “One Love? We have One Love?” He turned to Hisashi, who gave him a thumbs up. Other audience members were shouting out their other album names, but most came unheeded in the end, especially “Unity, Roots, & Family Away.” He introduced the next song by saying it’s from their “Beat Out!” album, “More Than Love” and went into the fast-paced “Kanojo no “Modern” (“Her “Modern”). As soon as the song ended, the stage went dark and a spotlight is only on the bassist, Jiro, shredding on his bass like a mad man. That is usually the cue for another one of GLAY’s favorite staple songs, the bouncy “Shutter Speeds no Teema” (The Theme of Shutter Speeds).

To end the set list for the night, the lights shone down on Takuro as he slowly played the guitar riff to introduce “ACID HEAD,” with the crowd shouting for him to continue on. He began to play the riff teasingly once more and drank in the cheers and shouts before playing the same riff at regular tempo, with the rest of the members joining in. The song ended with a bang and they all exited the stage, leaving the audience wanting more. The crowd shouted for an encore for several minutes before the members reemerged in the tour t-shirts. When they all came out, a random audience member threw something on stage. Teru saw it and picked it up with two fingers, revealing it to be a pair of male white underwear with fan messages written all around it. He laughed, wagged his finger at the person who threw it and tossed it on top of Hisashi’s front guitar amp. He then began riling the audience and went into “Peak hatesinaku Soul kagirinaku” (“Endless Peak, Limitless Soul”). As he sang “Oh, oh glory days whoa,” he had asked everyone else to repeat it after him and would shout for more if he felt we didn’t do it strong enough. When the crowd sang loud enough, he thanked them and continued on to finish.

Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end. Teru thanked everyone for seeing them once more and said he was happy. He then asked the crowd if they were too, with a respond of loud cheers from the audience and replied with, “Thank you. I really love you all” in Japanese. He then asked us to sing together when he announced their next song will be their last one and the audience began to get sad. With an acoustic guitar around his shoulders, their last song was “I’m in love,” an oldie but a goodie. GLAY usually play this song only at their Expo or Arena shows, so this was a rare treat for the oversea fans. He counted it down with the audience, with Sei-chan beginning the song with his blow accordion, accompanied with Teru’s guitar strum. Everyone was singing along to this timeless song and when it was time to sing the chorus, “I’m just in love, I’m just in love, I’m just in love, oh singin’ my life,” he continued to shout “More!” in Japanese as the audience sang on in a Capella. This time, it was the band that was watching the audience perform. Teru thanked everyone and finished up the song with a long flourish note on acoustic guitars and Toshi’s drums.

GLAY left us the first night wanting more from the second show. And that was when they really went into overdrive.

The second day of the show was their final show for their tour before returning to Japan for their winter tour starting in November. The line was much longer compared to the previous day. The air was relaxed on this unusually cool summer day in Los Angeles and most fans who went to the show yesterday came again. Some were even recovering from the previous night after suffering major muscle aches, bruises and the loss of voices from jumping and screaming. When the house lights dimmed tonight, the crowd was already rowdy. Everyone was chanting GLAY, while clapping their hands with anxiousness before the members came out on stage.

The show began the same way as the previous day, staring with “GREAT VACATION” and “Yuuwaku.” GLAY was completely riled up by the audience today and gave 200% of their power that night. During the first MC, Teru greeted the audience with excitement and said, “Today is the “Great Vacation” Final!” in English. The audience members cheered loudly. Apparently, tonight was a star-studded event for their show. Jackie Chan, Tak Matsumoto,the guitarist of B’z, and Steve Stevens, the guitarist for Billy Idol and Juno Reactor who Hisashi admires, all came to see them. The audience cheered and applauded before Teru went into “ Ikiteku Tsuyosa” and “Glorious,” another one of their staple popular song from 1998.

He did another warm up session with the crowd before getting into the next song. This time, he had separated the boys and girls to do separate parts. At one point where it was the girls’ turn to repeat after Teru, he noticed a male audience singing along and said, “You are not a girl. You’re a boy.” Laughter filled the hall and he tried it once more with the girls.After the ladies did a good job, he shouted, “Hey boys! Gentlemen! Hey boys, ready?” in English, with a huge response of deep cheering from the crowd. He began singing the warm up in a lower key, with some of the female audience members laughing as the guys repeated it slightly off-key. Teru then did it in the regular key for the boys, with them repeating it in success. He thanked the crowd and got down to business with “Starless Night.” During the second MC, Teru began talking about his feelings on the next couple of songs and apologized for his “broken English,” as he said. However, the audience members were cheering him on and said he was doing a good job when he asked how his speaking was. Some fans even gave a thumbs up. They then continued on with the ballad session, with“RUN”, “HOWEVER”, and “BE WITH YOU.”

Teru introduced the band members once more during the 3rd MC. While introducing Toshi, he asked him to stand up and shouted, “Drums!” The audience members replied with “Toshi!” After he got the respond he wanted, he asked Toshi to sit down and turned to the audience saying, “I’m teacher” in English. He then turned back to the keyboardist, seeing him sit down and laughed. Teru then said, “Stand up, please.” He repeated the same thing with Sei-chan as he did with Toshi and sat back down. He slowly gestured toward the main members of GLAY. The audience members had mixed shouts between Jiro and Hisashi as Teru looked on with an amused smirk and clicked his tongue while wagging his finger. His arm gestured toward Hisashi, but said “Onnnn bass!” Everyone laughed and shouted, “Jiro!” while Hisashi threw his guitar pick at Teru, hoping it would hit him for doing that. After Jiro’s 15 second in the spotlight was Hisashi’s turn, keeping his cool demeanor and raised his right hand in a devil’s horn gesture. Finally, he introduced the leader, Takuro, last and went into their fast paced rock session with “VERB.” Luckily, he remembered all the verses in this song tonight and really got into rocking out mode with the audience. After “VERB” was “Synchronicity”, “I am xxx” and “HIGHCOMMUNICATIONS.”

After that heavy rock section, everyone was riled up and wanted more. The stage lights came on and Teru said, “Jiro can’t hear you,” in Japanese when everyone was
cheering beforehand. The audience laughed and shouted for Jiro even louder than before, with the bassist giving a smirk and waved to everybody. He then said they were all having a lot of fun and announced the next song, “More Than Love.” When that song ended, the stage went dark and had a spotlight on Jiro shredding his bass. Tonight’s “Shutter Speeds no Theme” was much more energetic than the previous night. It seemed like he really felt the audience’s presence as he crazily shredded. Every time he stopped, the crowd went wild and wanted more. Once the song started, everyone got into the groove. Some even started head-banging and moshing. As the song ended, everyone in the House of Blues were in a crazed frenzy. Even Takuro, the cool-headed silent leader, spoke to the audience. He shouted, “Do you want more GLAY?! Do you want to rock?!” in English before starting his riff to “ACID HEAD.” Toward the end of the song, the now shirtless Teru jumped up in the air and slowly fell down onto the floor, exhausted with a satisfied smile on his face. He thanked the audience and went backstage while the excitement in the crowd was still feeling the euphoric high.

While waiting for the band to come back out, the audience were screaming for an encore while some continued to chant the band’s name. Their power had reached the crowd and they wanted more. The stage lights then came back on, with the members wearing the tour t-shirts once more. They all stood on stage and took in the warmth and love from the crowd as they continued to cheer. Jiro had his own camera on hand and took a picture of the audience members for his keepsake. Teru grabbed his mic and asked if we could take a picture with them and who were we to say no? Their official photographer, Shunji Kobayashi, came on stage with his camera at the ready. All the band members laid down on stage so they wouldn’t block anyone. Even though majority of the crowd were hot, sweaty and had their hair all messed up, they managed to tidy themselves for a nice picture with the band. Before the picture was taken, Teru got up halfway, turned to the audience and said, “Count with us and say ‘cheese.’” We all laughed and readjusted ourselves to take the picture.

He then thanked us and the photographer disappeared backstage. Teru expressed his thoughts to us by saying how happy and touched he and everyone in the band were by the love and warmth of the crowd. Everyone began cheering and shouting out how much they loved them as well. The response was so overwhelming, the band members looked like they were on the verge of tears. However, Teru said he will try his best and promised they will return again, but they didn’t say when this time.They started their encore with “Kanojo~” and went into “Peak~”.

The last song of the night was “I’m in love” once more. The audience counted it down again to Teru and Sei-chan’s playing. As the intro slowed down, Teru turned to the crowd and shouted, “We love you!” with a response of wild cheering. As the crowd sang along to this immortal ballad of universal love and hope, an air of bittersweet joy hung in the hearts of many, knowing the concert was going to end. During the part where he sang “Thank you for your love,” Teru alternated it with, “Thank you, Los Angeles!” As we all sang our parts, with him encouraging us on to sing more in a Capella, tears glistened in everyone’s eyes. The overwhelming feeling of love from everyone in that one moment cannot be described at all. As the song drew to a close, the crowd cheered until their throats were hoarse while some were wiping away tears from their eyes. In the end, we all held hands and raised them up high to show the unity their music has brought these two nights. GLAY lingered on stage longer to express how happy the audience had made them and applauded us.

When the show ended, many of the audience members had either left or were hugging each other and crying their eyes out. The feeling of unity and love felt during these two days was definitely something I will never forget.

If GLAY ever has a chance to come to your area, make sure you go check them out. You will have the best night of your life.

House of Blues Sunset Strip 9/11 Set List:

1 GREAT VACATION
2 Yuuwaku
-MC-
3  Ikiteku Tsuyosa
4  Survival
5 Sen No Knife ga mune wo sasu
6 Cynical
7  STARLESS NIGHT
-MC-
8  RUN
9 HOWEVER
10 BE WITH YOU
-MC-
11 VERB
12 Synchronicity
13 Iam xxx
14 HIGHCOMMUNICATIONS
-MC-
15 Morethan Love
16 Kanojo no”Modern…”
17 Theme of SHUTTER SPEEDS
18 ACID HEAD

ENCORE
1 Peak Hateshinaku Soul Kagirinaku
-MC-
2 I’m in love

Set List for 9/12/09

1 GREAT VACATION
2 Yuuwaku/誘惑
-MC-
3  Ikiteku Tsuyosa /生きてく強さ
4  Glorious
5  Starless Night
-MC-
7 RUN
8  HOWEVER
9  BE WITH YOU
-MC-
10  VERB
11  Synchronicity
12  I am xxx
13  HIGHCOMMUNICATONS
-MC-
14  More than Love
15  Shutter Speed no theme/SHUTTER SPEEDSのテーマ
16  ACID HEAD

ENCORE
17  Konojo noModern/彼女の“Modern…”
18  Peak Hateshinaku Soul Kagirinaku/ク果てしなくソウル限りなく
19  I’m In Love

GLAY’s Official Website
Official MySpace

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