BUCK-TICK “will always be five”

Sports Hochi
29 December 2023

text by Kamo Shintaro

first live show since Sakurai Atsushi’s sudden death
10,000 people crying at the annual Budokan show


Rock band BUCK-TICK whose vocalist, Sakurai Atsushi (aged 57) passed away from a brainstem haemorrhage on 19 October held their first show, also their annual year-end solo concert at the Nippon Budokan in Tokyo on the 29th. They performed 21 songs “in memoriam” during the two and a half hour show.

71 days after his sudden passing, scenes from days when Sakurai was around were put up on the big screen. A spotlight lit up his “usual spot” in the centre of the stage as Imai Hisashi, Hoshino Hidehiko, Higuchi Yutaka, and Yagami Toll played the melodies while feeling the presence of their friend with each memory.

After the death of Sakurai-san, all their scheduled concerts were cancelled but after much consultation between the staff and the members of the band, it was decided in November that they will hold only one show at the Nippon Budokan. The concert name was changed from the traditional THE DAY IN QUESTION to BUCK-TICK Gensho (バクチク現象 / BUCK-TICK Phenomenon), a name which is usually used to mark a turning point for the band.

“Come, let’s get started. We’re BUCK-TICK!” The show kicked off with a declaration from Imai. They used live footage from past shows for the singing. A wide variety of 21 songs spanning tracks from their early days like LOVE ME and Sakura to tracks from their those album like Taiyou to Icarus and Na mo Naki Watashi was performed. All the tickets, including standing spaces, were completely sold out.

After the encore, the four members spoke about how they were feeling. Imai said, “Rather than focus on his death, that he’s not here anymore, instead cherish the fact that he lived, that he existed with us in the same space.” And Higuchi promised, “Although Acchan has gone to heaven, BUCK-TICK will always be five.”

When the concert ended, they announced that they would hold a show on 29 December next year at the Nippon Budokan. They will certainly continue in Sakurai-san’s spirit and keep moving forward. (Kamo Shintaro)


【Comments from the members after the encore】

Higuchi Yutaka, bassist:
Thank you for gathering here today in such large numbers. Thank you to all our fans from around the country who couldn’t make it today. Thank you to all the staff who made such a (wonderful) show possible despite the limited time. After making our debut, we managed to tour and enjoy concerts with many of you. BUCK-TICK is a live band so I believe we grew through our live shows. And it’s also something that’s created together with everyone of you. Although Acchan has gone to heave, BUCK-TICK will always be five. I don’t know what kind of future it will be, but one thing I know for sure is that we’ll continue as BUCK-TICK with everyone. Going forward, let’s continue to build upon the BUCK-TICK that everyone has always cherished throughout this time together… We’re counting on you.

Yagami Toll, drummer:
You could say it’s unprecedented, the situation it’s turned out to be. Should we continue, or is it better to stop? We gave it a lot of thought. Given that we have all of you fans like this… we would like to keep going. There’s no telling how things will turn out, but I believe we’ll start recording a new album next year. I think there are still thousands of melodies and ideas sleeping in the brains of Imai and Hoshino HIdehiko. Please look forward to it. From here on, we’ll continue to rely on your support for this second phase of BUCK-TICK.

Hoshino Hidehiko, guitarist:
We managed to take a new step forward today. My sincere thanks to all of you for making your way to the Budokan despite the uncertainty. You were worried, weren’t you? Everyone was worried. But I’ll say again: the Parade (i.e. concerts) will still continue from here on out. The Parade goes on.

Imai Hisashi, guitarist:
Life sure is unforgiving, huh? So dramatic it’s almost hilarious. But it isn’t funny. It’s death, after all. It’s okay. Because (the band) can go on, right? We’ll go together. Acchan’s died but there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s just a fact of life. So we may be sad, we may cry, but don’t agonise over it. Rather than focus on his death, that he’s not here anymore, instead cheris the fact that he lived, that he existed with us in the same space. Acchan hasn’t yet gone to heaven. He’s still here. I believe he’ll always be together with us. Next year, BUCK-TICK will make new music, and a new album. It’ll be the newest, bestest BUCK-TICK so please look forward to it. (In future, even if our numbers dwindle) the Parade can keep going. I’ll probably be the last one standing. And even then, we can keep going, so I want to take everyone along. The 29th of December is a special day for BUCK-TICK. It’s a day to toast to. Shall we have a toast? Cheers! Thank you. Everyone, have a toast on your way home too and talk about BUCK-TICK, about Acchan.



Translation: Yoshiyuki
Source: Sports Hochi