We are back at Osaka Muse, less than 24 hours since we have last been here to see Matenrou Opera on the first stop of their two-day performances in Kansai for their 15th Anniversary tour – Emerald. If the first day was dedicated to the band’s history, DAY 2 – 真実を知っていく物語 (A Story of Finding the Truth) is meant to be a deep dive into the Matenrou Opera of today. Named after their brand new album, this concert is meant to be a celebration of where their evolution has brought them. The band promises fans that they will get to hear the new songs off what is the first album they have released with the band’s current lineup.
The live on this day starts earlier than the one the day before. When we get to the venue, it’s almost like fans had camped overnight because we get a deja-vu from the previous day. The only main difference is that most of the fans are donning one of the brand new t-shirts for the tour, black with green accents.
This time, the goods table offers a green version of the official penlight and we can tell fans are eager to get their hands on this limited edition as the line for the goods table gets longer and longer. We are excited to see how they will put it to use.
Once we finally enter the livehouse, as usual, we have to wait a little before the live starts. The filming crew is once again well settled in the far back of the room, ready to stream the performance for fans around the world.
The lights dim down a few minutes past the start time and the intro music starts playing. White stage lights flashing, making everything look like it is happening in slow motion. Fans clap along to the music, a soundtrack to the members’ gradual appearance on stage. They come in with serious faces, adjusting their instruments without looking even once towards the audience. The mood is intense when suddenly the music stops and Sono opens with the intro of Masshiro na Yami ga Subete wo Nurikaete mo, their newest title track. Almost automatically, fans open their arms towards him to show support, soft light shining from the stage. The song is a beautiful power ballad that speaks of the grief of being left behind after losing a loved one. ‘Even if the white darkness paints over everything, I, alone, won’t disappear.’ On the stage, the members are wearing their new outfits, a set of entirely black and white stage costumes, personalized to fit each of one of their images. From where we are, the stage looks like a black and white photograph and it’s a fitting image for the song. A living, breathing love letter. Ayame and Yusuke’s joint solo are only of the highlights of the song. The song ends with a brilliant guitar solo from Yusuke, who throws his head back as he makes his guitar sing until the very last note.
Without even a break, Hibiki hits the drums which signals the start of the next song, Kobore Ochiteyuku Mirai. This song is more fast-paced and fans fist-pump along to the beat eagerly. The next song is Anemone, off their Chronos EP. With its heavy intro, the song is catchy and genuinely touching, with poignant lyrics and an addictive rhythm that the fans have completely memorized. Fans wave in unison as Sono sings ‘I am glad we met. I am glad I met you’, a farewell poem to a past lover.
Akai Ito wo kakushita mama has an enticing keyboard melody that makes the fan move along to it. Yo comes closer to the stage and looks into the audience, encouraging fans to participate by clapping to the beat before going back to his bass playing.
With RUSH! and Diorama Wonderland, fans go wild and headbang with all their might. Some of the members even join in, shaking their heads along to the speedy drum playing of Hibiki who is grinning from one ear to the other. Between RUSH!’s addictive melody and Diorama Wonderland’s decadent symphony, we are seeing a darker side of the band and we are feeling as though slowly sinking into darkness.
When Silence starts, the mood in the room already feels oddly somber. The song is a heart-wrenching ballad that builds up slowly, starting by Ayame’s dramatic keyboard playing and followed by a combination of heavy riffs and striking drums. Sono’s vocals really shine in this song; the emotion of the lyrics are thoroughly felt through his low and high tones, notes which the singer switches between with a scandalous ease.The song ends with the same eerie feeling floating in the air.
Arriving like the first warm breeze of spring after a long, arduous winter, the next song, Sakura, shifts the mood entirely. Fans listen to the song intently while bobbing their heads along to the sweet ballad. Just like cherry blossoms blooming, the fans move their hands gracefully so that they look like flowers. The sound of Yo’s bass truly stands out in this song, making the rhythm mellow and comfortable to listen to. The last few lines are sung acapella by Sono and before we can even begin to wonder what the next song is going to be, the intro to Nokosareta Sekai seeps through the room. The song sounds like an epic soundtrack; it’s enigmatic and the gripping sense of loneliness we feel from it is yet another highlight of the evening. The song ends and the remaining atmospheric sound morphs into Kuroi Umi, the instrumental track on the album. Spotlights and all eyes are on Yusuke who performs an electrifying guitar solo, the kind that we can only expect from a band like Matenrou Opera. The notes resonate with an exquisite clarity and Yusuke, despite joining the group officially only a few months ahead, cements himself as one of the best guitarists we have had the chance to see with our own eyes.
The distinct sound of water drops signals the start of the next song and fans hurriedly take out their pen lights.The next song is Owaranu Namida no Umi De, which was released last year as a single. Positioned right after Kuroi Umi, the theme of water can be easily inferred and when fans turn on their blue penlights, it’s all perfectly tied together. This song has it all: great guitar, amazing drums, fantastic bass, catchy keyboard and enticing vocals. The skillful way in which they’ve connected this song to the previous adds another dimension to it and we really enjoy hearing it live.
We are very curious about the next song as it is the first song guitarist Yusuke has written for the band. We are surprised to find that fans don’t move much and opt to stay mostly immobile and to listen attentively. Despite the rapid drumming, Kanashimi ha Boku e no Batsu is a darker, more emotional song which expresses feelings of grief and regret over feelings left unspoken. The song is performed beautifully and we find ourselves holding back tears over the heart wrenching story told through it, the five members on stage showing a more vulnerable and dramatic side of the band.
Once again, almost instantly, the mood veers as they start playing Ryusei no Ame, a lighter and more soothing song. All the tension in the room melts the instant of this song and members of the audience swing gently from side to side. Some use their penlights, waving them around gently almost like they are making their own meteor shower fly through the room.
The next song is Hanaku Kieru Ai No Sanka, a powerful song which brings forth all the things Matenrou Opera are known for; it’s a soul-stirring power metal song which shows all the members’ strength. The first time we heard this song, we felt deeply touched by it and seeing it performed with the fans’ participation made its message about the value of love stronger and more tangible somehow.
15th Anniversary Tour -EMERALD-
DAY 2 – 真実を知っていく物語
♪摩天楼オペラ – 儚く消える愛の讃歌 pic.twitter.com/mLhOtZ5ckZ
— 摩天楼オペラ Official (@opera_staff) September 4, 2022
To close the main set, they perform the last track on their new release, named after the album itself. In the blink of an eye, the room turns into a sea of green this time, probably hinting at the name of the tour (Emerald). Fans are rather active during this song as they switch between headbanging and hand movements. In the middle of the song, students stop moving and raise their penlights towards the members. The members stop playing as well and they stand there, looking at the fans around the room with serene smiles on their faces. For us, it looks like time has stopped entirely. The moment is charged with emotion and the synergy between the fans and the members standing in front of them creates something unique. What a way to end the main set! When the song ends, the members wave at fans and throw a few metal signs at lucky people in the audience before going backstage to catch their breath all the while fans are already starting the encore call.
The members return to the stage, this time sporting the tour’s brand-new t-shirt. Sono takes the microphone to thank everyone for coming and for making it such a memorable weekend. The members speak of their impressions of the tour so far as the performances in Osaka are the semi-final. They look relaxed and they speak casually to each other. Yo, once again, picks up his camera and walks around taking pictures of the members but this time, he prefers candid shots. Contrary to the day before where members paused hilariously for him, he takes pictures of them as they are talking and standing, without too much preparation. Fans giggle as Yo steps down the stage to take pictures from various angles.
Members bring attention to the fact that Yusuke has put some color in his hair for the first time, something Sono and Ayame have been experimenting with since the start of the tour. Fans clap their hands, showing their approval for it. Ayame then brings up the fact that their staff has noticed a growing number of fans with green or aqua accents in their hair which prompts all the members to look around the audience.
Sono introduces the next song by saying they have seldom played it in the last few years and have only played it in Sapporo and Nagoya during the tour. When he goes to grab his towel, fans all do the same and when Sono finally says ‘next song, frill’, fans raise their towels with excitement. The song is a lot of fun and Sono guides the fans, pumping his fist along to the addictive rhythm. When the song ends, there is a glint of malice in his voice as he asks the fans if they are still good to go for another song. Fans raise their hands as high as they can, wanting more. The heavy intro to ADULT CHILDREN hits with such impact that fans start jumping with anticipation. When the song starts, they start headbanging with the most vigor we have seen from them since the beginning of the concert. Fans put their fist in the air as Sono screams ‘Can you f*cking feel me?’ again and again. The fans rampage until the end of the song and Hibiki hits the drum frenetically, showing his excitement.
The next song, PHOENIX, is a meaningful song for the band. Just as the title indicates, it is a song about being reborn from one’s ashes and taking a leap towards the future. Fans extend their arms and penlights towards the band and the scenery from the back of the room is quite gorgeous. All the members are smiling and when the song ends, Hibiki, once again, hits the drums frenetically, almost in an attempt to keep this concert going for a bit longer. When he hits it for the last time, everyone in the room puts their hand in the air before they start clapping. Members put down their instruments as fans keep applauding them. Hibiki in the back, looks at the others and gestures at them. ‘One more?’ Fans who catch a glimpse of it start jumping with excitement while Sono walks from one member to the other, whispering something in their ears. The members, clearly taken aback, put their instruments back on hurriedly. Sono asks if the fans can handle another song. Fans clap enthusiastically. He screams as the other members play the morbid intro to Curse of Blood and fans start headbanging without reserve. The song is intense and fans move with all their might, savoring this surprise double-encore. When the song ends, some fans are catching their breaths and others are wiping the sweat on their forehead. Everyone looks exhausted, in the best way possible. The members take gulps of water and grab their own towels as well. Fans clap with ardor despite some of their being out of breath. The members look at each other with big smiles before they turn towards the audience to wave everyone goodbye on their way out. And with that, the concert is officially over. Even after the curtains are pulled, it feels like there is electricity in the air and the room feels hot with fans chatting excitedly and lining up for goods.
The final shows of the tour, which were successfully held on September 30th and October 1st, let fans know not only what the band plans for the rest of 2022 but the band also shared a quite detailed outline of their activities for the first half of the next year.
Finally, the band’s biggest announcement was the second installment of their 15th Anniversary tour: the Waltz tour, a spring tour of 16 dates spanning over 2 months. The concept is identical to that of the previous tour: for DAY1, fans will get a chance to hear songs from across the band’s discography whereas DAY2 will be dedicated to their newest album.. If you haven’t been able to hear your favorite song live yet, it will definitely be possible to during this tour so make sure to catch them if they are in your area.
The cherry on top is that the tour final is to be held at Zepp Haneda. It is the first time they perform in that venue since its opening in 2020. The live performance will definitely be something unique, as it is scheduled to be on the day of the band’s 16th anniversary. It’s still a bit early but this day falls during Golden Week so if you are free or you are traveling to Japan during that period, this is a concert you cannot miss!
Finally, make sure to listen to Matenrou Opera’s masterpiece of a last album, Shinjitsu wo Shitteiku Monogatari available on all streaming platforms. It is a perfect album for people who have always been curious about the band or for people who used to listen to them years ago as it includes a wide variety of sounds and is the culmination of their experience as a respected and well-established band in the scene. Headed towards their 16th anniversary fiercely, Matenrou Opera is a band that cannot be stopped. We don’t know what the truth they inquire about in their album really is but one thing is for sure, there is no band like Matenrou Opera and we are so excited to see what they’ll be doing from now.
19.Curse Of Blood