LA VIE EN ROSE -20th Anniversary Best – Grand Finale Zepp DiverCity Tokyo
Review by Nhu Nguyen
KAMIJO’s undeniable penchant for French romanticism is very evident in the LA VIE EN ROSE KAMIJO -20th Anniversary Best – Grand Finale Zepp DiverCity Tokyo DVD. Starting out as a roadie for Malice Mizer, the influence of the legendary band on Kamijo’s showmanship is obvious, but as the Grand Finale proves, his career has been all his own.
The main disc in the four-disc DVD is a three-hour digest celebrating his 20-year body of work, taking you through the music of his debut-band Lareine, short-lived band New Sodmy, his solo work, and then Versailles, arguably the band that help catapult him to fame among visual-kei fans worldwide. It’s a waltz down KAMIJO memory lane – quite literally waltzing, at times, as in “Royal Tercet” (KAMIJO) and “God Palace” (Versailles).
The show’s set list is split into phases of his musical life, and each transition of time is marked by a costume change featuring different long, decorative coats reflective of those musical periods: casual and black (New Sodmy); feathered (Lareine); white military dress uniform (Versailles); and during his solo work, a sequined black military dress uniform with gold epaulets that would make Beyonce jealous.
Rightfully, the show is self-indulgent, but KAMIJO doesn’t forget that his career would not be where it is currently without the help of the musicians who accompanied him on his journey. Special appearances by original members of Lareine, Versailles, and New Sodmy were warm highlights, including a heartfelt nod to the “eternal member” of Versailles, bassist Jasmine You, who passed away in 2009.
The Versailles portion of the concert brings a surge of energy, in part with the power metal and seamless interchange of Versailles members and KAMIJO tour members. “God Palace” started out with the tour members, then during the song, Versailles members Yuki (drummer) and Masashi (bassist) came out while the respective tour members went off stage. Then, when Versailles guitarists, Hizaki and Teru, were introduced, the support guitarists went off to the side. Magically, not one note was out of place during the member swaps.
As KAMIJO stood on stage with all the band and tour members at the end of the concert, it presented a fitting and powerful final image to a well-rounded festival that encompassed his best works with his best people. Visual-kei fans who identify with beautiful baroque aesthetics paired with accompanying metal will find LA VIE EN ROSE to be a nostalgic celebration.
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