I pre-ordered this, but never watched it; I had a bad case of buyer’s remorse due to problems with amazon.jp and the reports of lip-syncing or wholesale re-recording that came out before i received my copy. Lip-syncing wouldn’t have bothered me as much as re-recording; I want my concert DVDs to be as close to the concert as possible. I don’t think any of the concert reports really mentioned lip-syncing (for Diabolos, every attendee thought a couple of songs were lip-synced; usually different songs, though). I watched just to watch it and didn’t pay enough attention to have an opinion about re-recording, though I did notice a few songs that sounded very different from the surrounding songs. I would not be surprised if he had re-recorded parts, though. Overall, I liked it, but kind of wish I’d saved my money or bought one of the other concerts instead.
I have to admit that Gackt is one of my guilty pleasures, especially the concerts; my usual preference is for lives where the music takes priority over the show, and Gackt does not fall into that category at all, though I think this is the closest he’s been to that (or at least the closest someone on the other side of the world could actually see). I don’t know why I feel the need to buy his DVDs, but I do (at least this and Diabolos; I plan to get the others eventually). I do love some of his music, but am not interested in him personally; I find his various band members more interesting, which makes lives occasionally frustrating.
There was a fan club version and a regular version; the regular version was sold through amazon.jp only. The DVDs were the same, but the fan club version had a slightly different cover (Gackt with wings + band members in the background vs. Gackt with wings only) and came with an extra booklet. The regular version has the front cover as an insert with credits, and a folded up page with lyrics. This (and the upcoming Platinum Box VIII) were released by Dears (fan club) instead of by his label; the back mentions Gordie Entertainment Co.Ltd. and Dears Co.Ltd. The credits do have a section for record label staff (and I’m entertained by the part of the credits which are obviously because of Ju-ken and Jun-ji; there’s a Harley Davidson logo in the list). Nippon Crown is mentioned on the DVDs themselves, after the other two; I can’t read the kanji to see what they are credited for.
The band for this concert consisted of:
You: guitar (no violin at all, unfortunately)
Jun-ichi “Igao” Igarashi: keyboards — he’s usually offstage, but was actually visible a little; he was offstage to the rear on Chacha’s side
This was in some ways a stripped-down version of his usual shows; the shows were at smaller venues than previous tours. The stage was less elaborate, and there were no costume changes, less choreography, and fewer dancers (only two dancers in two songs). It sounded fine, but it looked a bit dark in places due to the lighting (lots of red and blue spotlights). Everyone started out energetic but were dragging toward the end. I enjoyed watching it, but it’s not one of my favorites.
Random thoughts (notes taken while watching):
Jun-ji was enjoying himself during Redemption.
Speed Master sounded very, very different from previous performances; partly voice, partly something else I couldn’t place.
It was weird seeing Lu:na without dancers; there were two masked female dancers in Storm and Papa Lapped a Pap Lopped, and that was all.
Kalmia was a rest break: Chacha and You were sitting on the steps (on each other’s side), with Gackt at the top, and Ju-ken leaning on a speaker/monitor to the side; everyone was starting to look a little tired.
You actually had the solo in Fragrance; they never showed Chacha up close, oddly; also, Gackt had a close and personal relationship with his mikestand.
The encore Mirror starts off in the middle with the yelling at the audience; his voice sounds appallingly hoarse (though it’s ok singing); I think Drug Party version in the extras might have been the first part; at the end of the extra version, everyone’s changing instruments and going back to their own places..
There’s a drum solo after Mirror while everyone changes guitars
Everybody except Chacha looks tired during Another World
Whatever sort of introduce-the-band was done did not make it onto the dvd, sadly.
Shallowness: Everyone looked very good, though Chacha’s hair was inexplicable, and Ju-ken’s makeup (warpaint?) was interesting (it’s something he’s done before with others). There was only one minor instance of fanservice with bandmembers (with Ju-ken in Speed Master), though there was some with the female dancers and might have been something between members off-screen (Ju-ken and Chacha during Speed Master).
Annoyances: The video itself was kind of dark and murky due to the lighting at the show, and the various members were generally not in good light (red or blue lights, usually, and impossible to see them). There were far too many closeups of Gackt’s hands, and there were a few of instances of people doing interesting things off-screen. Also, no violin at all, though I think there was only one song other than Mirror that had a violin part (and I’ve given up on him ever playing violin during Mirror again).
Extra: Commercial Film Collection
The commercial film collections are ads for Gackt’s other recent releases (collection included on the Drug Party DVD, not collections of Drug Party ads); I was disconcerted, to say the least, that the Japanese section started out with a reference to 9/11 (ad for 12月のLove Song~Complete Box~, and included scenes from the video, but still…maybe they should have started with a different ad; that’s not what I was expecting). It also included ads for Crisis Core (PSP), 野に咲く花のように single, the Orico card/Upty ad, Platinum Box VII, and the opening movie of this concert (clips from all previous tours). The Korean and Mandarin versions have the voice-overs dubbed and the rest subtitled in the relevant language; the opening movie had effects with the Japanese concert titles; the other two had those parts redone in their languages.
Extra: Mirror – Drug Party Version
This features You on vocals, wearing what looks like the Afro wig Chacha had in the Diabolos movie and Uptys everywhere (carrying a large one, small ones in his shirt, in his pants, under his arms). Chacha is also on vocals and guitar, with Uptys on his guitar. Ju-ken has a guitar, with Uptys, Jun-ji has a bass and one of the dancer’s wigs, and Gackt is on drums. It was nice to see and hear Chacha singing; it would have been better if he and You had been somewhere in the same key, though. I’m not sure how many of the instruments are actually live; no one is playing the lead guitar part, but Ju-ken looked like he was concentrating on his playing (he may have just been tired, though; Chacha actually looked tired in part of this). The camera annoyed me a bit; it tended to show the bits I was least interested in. It was nice to see Gackt smiling and laughing, though.
4. 絵夢 -for my dear-
8. NINE SPIRAL
9. Speed Master
12. Papa lapped a pap lopped
15. mind forest
Disc 2 (Encore + Extras)
19. ANOTHER WORLD
Gackt Commercial Film Collection on DRUG PARTY (Japanese, Korean, Mandarin)
Mirror (DRUG PARTY Ver.)