BUCK-TICK concludes 35th debut anniversary in hometown Gunma
Gunma Music Center’s Official Concert Report
22 September 2023
Photos＝Yamauchi Hiroe, Aoki Sayaka
Kicking off the celebration of the 35th anniversary of their major debut in September 2022, BUCK-TICK embarked on a national tour named BUCK-TICK TOUR 2023 異空-IZORA- following the release of their latest album, 異空 -IZORA- in April. For their final stop of the tour, they returned under the skies of their hometown, Gunma on 17 and 18 September, additional shows named BUCK-TICK TOUR 2023 異空-IZORA- FINALO, which were intended to conclude this celebratory anniversary year. The news of these shows meant something special to their fans when it popped up at the end of their concert held in July at Tokyo Garden Theatre.
Alighting at the JR Takasaki Station on 17 September, you will be greeted by posters created for this two-day event. As you breathe in the air of their hometown, you walk down the path leading from the station to Gunma Music Center. The skies over Takasaki are clear on this day. Once you arrive at the front of the venue, you find five life-size standees, one for each member of the band on display. Your excitement can only grow with this second greeting.
Ever since their SEVENTH HEAVEN TOUR in 1988, the band has played numerous times at Gunma Music Center which was established in 1961, a year before the band’s drummer, Yagami Toll was born. That modern structure seemed to suit the world of 異空 -IZORA-.
The story encased in their album 異空 -IZORA- reflects the unsettling state of the world, the strain behind a diverse society, and the actions and emotions of the people living in these settings. The narrative only grows in depth with each BUCK-TICK TOUR 2023 異空-IZORA- show they perform, and it was thought that it had come to a close following the overpowering performance they staged on the last day of their Tokyo Garden Theatre dates.
In BUCK-TICK TOUR 2023 異空-IZORA- FINALO, the songs kept their album placements while older songs were changed or added into the set list, leaving the audience with different feel and impression than before.
As the instrumental track, QUANTUM Ⅰ played, a rousing applause accompanied by cheers rose up as from the left side of the stage entered Imai Hisashi (guitarist) first, followed by Yagami, Higuchi Yutaka (bassist), and Hoshino Hidehiko (guitarist). The moment the four of them took their positions with their instruments in hand, the audience were unable to contain their high spirits and the applause turned to rhythmic clapping. When the music came to its climax, Sakurai Atsushi (vocalist) appeared in the centre of the stage with a black hat and black feather boa while dressed in a black outfit which left his thighs uncovered.
The first song, SCARECROW sounded synchronised with the silhouette of a scarecrow which was projected in the background and even featured the crow which attacks the scarecrow in the lyrics. The four members who played instruments were all dressed in white, making them look especially uniform. The increasing panic and distress at the reality of having nowhere to run grows from the chorus as they up the tempo and push it to the very edge.
That tension carries into the industrial track, Warukyuure no Kikou (Ride of the Valkyries / ワルキューレの騎行) and after it fades away, the band leads into ICONOCLASM as Imai scratches the strings of his guitar in tandem with the familiar “klang klang kla-klang”. Cheers erupted for this song which was not part of this tour’s original setlist. The excitement in the hall heated up even more when in the middle, Sakurai changed the lyrics of the line “Five for Japanese Babies” to “Five for Takasaki Babies”.
The next song, Zangai was also another track which was making its first appearance in the setlist of this tour. It felt as if this rock tune about a powerful lifeforce blazing aflame while living alongside death had something in common with the worldview of 異空 -IZORA-.
Flames of torches danced and the atmosphere changed to the sound of exotic percussion music as Ai no Harem (Harem of Love / 愛のハレム) played. With tingsha bells swaying in his right hand, Sakurai’s melancholic voice sang full of emotion in the sweet luscious music.
Sakurai’s performance of conflicted, gun-wielding soldier sending his child to a safe house in Sayonara Shelter destroy and regenerate-Mix has always had the audience rapt, but on this day, the most impactful moment was seeing him gently place the mic stand, which he always held like a gun, on the floor. During the tour, I’ve seen his performance of throwing it away numerous times, but seeing him convey his emotions of this moment with such a performance on this day was intriguing.
“Father, Mother, here’s a bouquet of flowers for you,” said Sakurai before jumping into the catchy melody of Campanella Hanataba wo Kimi ni (A Bouquet For You / 花束を君に) where he sings about the graphic nature of war from the perspective of a child. Following two mermaid songs, THE SEASIDE STORY and Ningyo -mermaid-, a samba rhythm took over the beachy atmosphere as Mugen LOOP -LEAP- brought about a fantastical soundscape. After that, a short MC.
Perhaps the audience’s expectations of something special happening because this is a concert in their hometown had been impressed upon Sakurai. Say, for example, like how he once introduced the members in reference to Jomo Karuta in a previous show. But instead, Sakurai dodged their expectations with, “People tend to speculate that there’s always something (special) happening in Takasaki (shows)…… There isn’t.” Then, he added, “The members of our band managed to meet each other in our hometown. I suppose that’s about it.”
Moving on, he said, “That girl’s been waiting for us. That’s why we got on stage.” And they continued the show with Boogie Woogie, a song filled with lyrics referencing the band’s early days, and the bluesy Noraneko Blue (Stray Cat Blue / 野良猫ブルー). The shuffle beat song, THE FALLING DOWN was followed by Tenshi wa Dare da (天使は誰だ), both of which reference the Book of Genesis. After that, we finally arrive at the climax of the main show.
First, Taiyou to Icarus (The Sun and Icarus / 太陽とイカロス), a lighthearted melody that accompanies the heavy theme of war. When Sakurai sang, “Kanashiku wa nai Kore de jiyuu da”, he spread his arms out, moving them like flapping wings with a bright red sun in the background. The sight could only be described as beautiful, yet sad. Then came die, a song that led us into the spiritual which comes after. Huge spider lilies came on screen to the immersive sounds. Under a light that seems to envelop the whole space, I felt a certain kind of ecstasy.
The encore started with Yagami Toll’s drum solo and turned the heat up with the high tempo CLIMAX TOGETHER where Sakurai sang the line, “WE LOVE ALL dakishimetai” with all his hopes from this 35th anniversary. They then continued with Spanish-inspired songs, Cuba Libre and Coyote, followed by Hizumi.
Centrestage was a candle lit aflame and a chair. When Sakurai sat down and started his monologue, both Sakurai’s expressions and the atmosphere of the room changed. Next to Sakurai who sang with piercing eyes and a forlorn expression was Imai who hopped and skipped around dancing Jenkka. The imbalance of the performance only added to the melancholy of it all.
During Na mo Naki Watashi (名も無きわたし) which sings of life coming into bloom, the sight of petals dancing in the air seemed to expand from the stage to include the whole hall where paper petals float down. While the clear ensemble and powerful vocals brought about a sense of euphoria, they also led towards catharsis.
There was no double encore during the tour so New World was not originally performed during the tour. On this day, the band closed off their 35th anniversary year shining brightly at their future with this track which was filled with a light befitting of BUCK-TICK as they sped into a new chapter. At the same time, it begs a question; will the protagonist from Taiyou to Icarus who pointed at the sun while riding in an aircraft really call our “present” world that has been entrusted to us beautiful? Would our future become something we can be proud of?
Along with the lingering memories of the concert, that question remains in my mind even a few days after the event. The things that connect from past to present and to future. The things we want to protect. I think the message that 異空 -IZORA- carries has been thoroughly conveyed into my heart through this tour.
After the performance, a pleasant surprise was waiting outside for the exiting audience. Using projection mapping, messages from the band members and “thank you” in languages from all over the world were projected onto the exterior of the venue. What great hospitality! Voices of appreciation for this thoughtful display were all around.
The live-streamed performance on the next day, the 18th was a special one that was closed to external parties so that the band got to share a fulfilling time with their fans. I hope that you’ll enjoy this show in the archived stream that will remain available until 23:59 on Tuesday, 26 September (or 23:59 on Monday, 25 September for certain streaming platforms).
In a printed extra that was distributed after this performance, the future of BUCK-TICK was written; they announced that they will be holding THE DAY IN QUESTION 2023 on Friday, 29 December at Nippon Budokan, along with the production of a movie commemorating their 35th debut anniversary year. We eagerly await the completion of this film to see how it will portray the band who ran through the anniversary year without a break.
BUCK-TICK TOUR 2023 異空-IZORA- FINALO
2023.9.17-18 Gunma Music Center
SE. QUANTUM I
2. Warukyuure no Kikou (Ride of the Valkyries)
4. Zangai (残骸)
5. Ai no Harem (Harem of Love)
6. Sayonara Shelter destroy and regenerate-Mix
7. Campanella Hanataba wo Kimi ni (A Bouquet For You)
8. THE SEASIDE STORY
9. 人魚 -mermaid-
10. Mugen LOOP -LEAP-
11. Boogie Woogie
12. Noraneko Blue (Stray Cat Blue)
13. THE FALLING DOWN
14. Tenshi wa Dare da (天使は誰だ)
15. Taiyou to Icarus (The Sun and Icarus)
17. CLIMAX TOGETHER
18. Cuba Libre
20. Hizumi (ヒズミ)
21. Na mo Naki Watashi (名も無きわたし)
22. New World
SE. QUANTUM II
『TOUR THE BEST 35th anniv. FINALO in Budokan』
Limited Edition Blu-ray（BD+2SHM-CD+PHOTOBOOK） VIZL-2252 / ￥12,100 (w/ tax)
Limited Edition DVD（DVD+2SHM-CD+PHOTOBOOK） VIZL-2253 / ￥11,000 (w/ tax)
Standard Edition Blu-ray（BD） VIXL-426 / ￥7,700 (w/ tax)
Standard Edition DVD（DVD） VIBL-1110 / ￥6,600 (w/ tax)
SE. THEME OF B-T
01. Go-Go B-T TRAIN
02. Alice in Wonder Underground
04. FUTURE SONG -未来が通る-
05. Moon Sayonara wo Oshiete
06. Melancholia -ELECTRIA–
08. Maimu Mime
09. MOONLIGHT ESCAPE
10. Dance Tengoku
12. Sayonara Shelter
15. Muma -The Nightmare
16. JUST ONE MORE KISS Ver.2021
18. Memento mori
19. Dokudanjo Beauty -R.I.P.-
20. LOVE PARADE
21. Yume Miru Uchuu (夢見る宇宙)
22. Kodou (2022MIX)
[Limited Edition bonus (applicable to both Blu-ray and DVD versions)]
・LIVE CD [x2 ] included
・64-page photobook included
・Comes in special packaging
Limited Edition Blu-ray (BD+2SHM-CD+PHOTOBOOK)
Limited Edition DVD (DVD+2SHM-CD+PHOTOBOOK)
Regular Edition Blu-ray (BD)
Regular Edition DVD (DVD)
BUCK-TICK TOUR 2023 異空-IZORA- ALTERNATIVE SUN
Friday, 20 October 2023 — Kanagawa: KT Zepp Yokohama
Thursday, 26 October 2023 — Aichi: Zepp Nagoya
Saturday, 28 October 2023 — Fukuoka: Zepp Fukuoka
Saturday, 14 November 2023 — Osaka: Zepp Osaka Bayside
Sunday, 12 November 2023 — Hokkaido: Zepp Sapporo
Sunday, 19 November 2023 — Tokyo: Toyosu PIT
Saturday, 2 December 2023 — Miyagi: Sendai GIGS
Saturday, 9 December 2023 — Tokyo: Zepp Haneda
Tickets on sale now
THE DAY IN QUESTION 2023
Friday, 29 December 2023 @ Nippon Budokan, Tokyo
Doors open 17:30, show starts 18:30
All seats designated, ￥11,000 (w/tax)
(Inquiries) SOGO TOKYO 03-3405-9999
General ticket sales starts: Saturday, 25 November 2023
【Concert archive information】
Event day: 18 September 2023 (Mon/Holiday)
Event name: BUCK-TICK TOUR 2023 異空-IZORA- FINALO
Venue: Gunma Music Center
For more details on archived streaming, please visit the
Official Website: https://buck-tick.com/feature/specialsite_2023tour_finalo
Release date: TBC
[BUCK-TICK Movie Official Website]