Taipei was held on May 23, 2015 (Saturday). This was the second , a concert that showcases the power of Japanese music to the world. Japan is physically close to Taiwan, but also shares a deep kinship with the country. VAMPS and The BONEZ, led by Jesse, have experience playing in Taiwan, but this was to be the first time for the Gazette. The Taiwan audience took on these three artists head on and created an intense chemical reaction that made for a legendary night. It is apparently rainy season this time of year. However, the local staff noted, “Rain is a blessing in greater China”. Average temperatures of 28º cool down, and it becomes easier to live.

National Taiwan University Sports Center is a facility of the National University that holds various events in the capital of Taipei, such as special events for the tourism bureau and global sporting events. In addition to a soccer field and a track and field facility, the giant gymnasium houses a swimming pool, table tennis areas, and squash courts. Taipei will be held at the biggest facility in the complex, National Taiwan University Sports Center.

200 people and over 40 media outlets welcomed the three bands at Taipei Songshan airport on the 22nd, the day before the concert. As if to continue the warm welcome, many fans lined up outside of the venue on the morning of the concert. It was definitely a long awaited concert. At 18:00 local time, the giant screen introduced The BONEZ, the GazettE, and VAMPS one after another. When The BONEZ appeared on stage, the screams of 3,500 fans got louder and the venue shook.

BONEZ started as the solo project of RIZE front man, JESSE. They are currently made up of the rhythm section of Pay money To my Pain, T$UYO$HI and ZAX, and former RIZE member, NAKA. They now perform as a 4-piece band called The BONEZ. The BONEZ just performed at in Kaohsiung, Taiwan in March 2015. The sound and performance of the 4 members had already grabbed the hearts of Taiwanese fans.

NAKA’s guitar feedback rang out like a starting signal as they began their set with “Ray”. The heavy, low-end influenced by heavy rock and grunge shook the floor. The band’s tight and solid performed put the venue in awe. It was a ride of the body and soul. During “Adam & Eve”, JESSE left the stage and climbed on the fence in the seating area. The Taiwan audience was at a state of explosion and pushed back like a rough ocean. Every word of JESSE’s English speeches was passionate and lit the crowd’s hearts on fire. “Hey, You”, the last of eight songs, became a sing-along and a mosh pit. It became the highlight of their aggressive and heartwarming one-hour set.

The stage went dark and the GazettE’s backdrop appeared. Just this caused piercing screams that penetrated eardrums. The GazettE went on a successful world tour in 2013 and have been playing their overseas shows mainly in Europe. This is the band’s first show in Taiwan. The local fans’ craving was condensed in to screams that sounded like aggressive roars. Their set felt as though it answered this craving and was full of aggressive tunes. They opened their set with “INSIDE BEAST”, which was delivered with such volume that it made you tremble. Of course, this wasn’t just about being physically loud. Each band member’s sound had so much power behind it. They livened up the crowd even more with their next song, “VENOMOUS SPIDER’S WEB”.

“Ni Hao! Are you having fun? Feels good, Taiwan. Let’s get more hype,” RUKI said as they went into new songs during the middle part of their set. Their songs that combined heaviness with beautiful melodies mesmerized the Taiwan fans. “Filth in the beauty” was the last of their 10-song set. Seeing the packed venue jump up and down in unison was a sight to behold. That sense of unity between the band and the crowd could be felt even after they left the stage.

VAMPS were the headliners for Taiwan. Including and , this was the band’s third time playing in Taiwan. At the press conference on the previous day, HYDE said, “We were on a one-month long North American tour. Right now, I am starving.” Just as he said, VAMPS performance was intense. The intro to their opening number, “WORLD”S END”, started, and HYDE shouted while showered in dazzling lights. The tension was so high at that moment. You could tell that this was a completely natural feeling that wasn’t arterial or rehearsed.

The rhythms and undulations of “LIPS” and “EVIL” were polished sonically and psychologically during the band’s US tour. Their expressiveness was most impressive, and their band sound that was developed during the SIXX:A.M. US tour was now unstoppable. The Taiwan audience experienced this sound with their whole bodies and surrendered to it like a flood of rich sound. This was the “now” of VAMPS and the Taiwan audience. The repeated call-and-response of the encore songs, “REVOLUTION II” and “SEX BLOOD ROCK N’ ROLL”, showed there were was no distance between the band and the crowd. Each person in the audience connected with VAMPS as Taipei came to a close.

It was 21:30 by the time I looked at my watch. The three and a half hour Taipei concert was a premium display of < JAPAN NIGHT> performances. The unity of the Taiwan audience is what left a refreshing and lasting mark. This festival that followed the Jakarta concert, showcased the power of Japanese music and will always be remembered.

Report and text: BARKS editorial department