HYDE LIVE 2018 – ZEPP OSAKA BAYSIDE
August 1st, 2018
Live Report by Michelle Minikhiem
Photos by Takayuki Okada
Opening on a huge matte painting of an alleyway in the neon hellscape of a near-future city, the stage was bathed in the light of matrix rain. HYDE climbed off of a large stone throne set between the keyboards and the drumset to shamble up to his microphone. Adorned in a blacklight-paint splashed coat and vivid red mask, he looked like a rockstar pulled from the abstract world of Neil Gaiman’s Mirrormask.
HYDE resembled a punk Phantom of the Opera as he conducted the ecstatic crowd to sing the chorus of his newest single, “AFTER LIGHT”. The mask was ditched at the start of “LIPS” as he screamed to the crowd in almost perfectly-accented English, “I wanna see you get crazy, Osaka!” and “Let me hear your voices, come on!”
HYDE seemed barely able to contain his own energy. He broke into full-body dancing that bordered on mindless more than once, and grew hoarse as he growled into a bright red megaphone to hype the crowd up for “INSIDE OF ME”.
That got everybody amped for “OUT”, one of the new songs HYDE debuted during this tour. It’s a dark bop that continues along the aggressive lyrical path we’ve seen HYDE indulging in, with powerful exclamations like “I won’t let them fuck with me!”
“SET IN STONE” sounds and feels familiar. HYDE slumped over his stone throne for this one, eventually sliding down to seat himself on the floor, writhing around in a theatrical display that had the hall riveted.
The highlight of the night was another new song, “ZIPANG”. It’s not news to anyone that HYDE excels at belting out ballads. This song absolutely exemplifies that. Featuring a gorgeous piano intro that drifts into erratic digital static, HYDE nailed this like a lid on a coffin. Completely breathtaking stuff — if this doesn’t go on the new album we will be bereft. The poetic lyrics are steeped in vivid imagery of the seasons and evoke both loneliness and hope at the same time.
HYDE continued like a man possessed, going to his knees as he belted out “WHO’S GONNA SAVE US?”. Seeming to struggle under the weight of his own voice, he eventually fell onto his back as he screamed the song more than sang it.
After gathering himself back up, he seemed to realize just how much both he and the audience had lost themselves in the music. “I think I’m about to puke. I really went hard there. This is like exercise. Is that weird? It’s like the feeling of suddenly getting sick.” This didn’t seem to deter him from pouring loads of water into his mouth to spit all over the first couple rows, only to laughingly apologize to right after.
He then continued his friendly banter with the audience. “Today is the last day in Osaka. I’m really sad about it. I want okonomiyaki. Oh, ‘AFTER LIGHT’ is on sale, by the way. I’m sorry there’s so many songs in the set list that you don’t know, but please enjoy. Dancing to them is fun, anyway. Aren’t you having fun?” After an enthusiastic affirmative from the audience, the show went on.
“LION” was the next new track, prefaced by HYDE growling like the song’s namesake over and over in a fun call-and-repeat with the audience. The song itself is reminiscent of classic punk. Afterward, HYDE led the audience in another call-and-repeat, but this time it was the chorus of L’Arc~en~Ciel’s “HEAVEN’S DRIVE”, which really thrilled the crowd.
I regret having not mentioned “MIDNIGHT CELEBRATION II” in my review of the “WHO’S GONNA SAVE US?” single, because it’s definitely a worthy successor to the original, further proved by tonight’s performance. This iteration is much more EDM, and really leaned into the bass and drums to the point where the guitar is almost nonexistent. Not that that is to the tune’s detriment; far from it. This song is worth the price of admission on the single alone.
HYDE lost it at the end of the performance, bashing his mic stand against his riser over and over until the legs completely broke off. He then stalked offstage to the roar of the crowd, who didn’t have to keep up the encore call for long.
HYDE came back blowing kisses to his fans before launching into an excellent rendition of the newly-improved “KISS OF DEATH”. He then coyly introduced another L’Arc~en~Ciel song, “HONEY”, by asking everyone to sing along if they just so happened to know the words. The house went absolutely nuts. This is not the type of song you would expect to result in crowdsurfing, but that is precisely what happened.
A deeply out of breath HYDE spoke frankly to his fans then. “The next song is the last one, but this was really fun. Thank you, really. It’s so hot. (laugh) I didn’t think I could do a show like this, so I’m really happy. This helped me. I’m very grateful to both the staff and all of you. I want to keep this connection with all of you. You know like how when you’re watching TV and something you don’t like comes on, and you click away because you can’t stand that person or that thing? I don’t want to become like that kind of artist.” This earned him a huge round of supportive applause.
After a stirring rendition of Duran Duran’s “Ordinary World”, HYDE lingered onstage for a while after offering the crowd a deep bow. He gathered dozens of roses to toss to the fans, picking up ones he’d dropped on the stage, not letting a single flower go to waste.
HYDE isn’t done performing this year. It was recently announced that the tour has been extended into September with dates in Tokyo, Fukuoka and Nagoya. Don’t miss the chance to see HYDE getting into a new mode as he rediscovers himself in his solo work.
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