Japanese superstar entertainer HYDE capped off his first U.S. tour as a solo artist on Sunday, May 26th. HYDE and his four person backing band, completed a 13 date jaunt, that saw them playing eight shows in support of In This Moment, two festivals and three headlining shows. The headlining dates culminated with a sold-out performance at 1720 in downtown Los Angeles. HYDE is no stranger to touring in the U.S., but this is the inaugural trip for him to showcase his talents without the benefit of performing as part of a collective. Rather on this trip, everything rises and falls on him. After all, it’s his name on the bill and on the screen on either side of the stage. It is a brave move to stamp your name on something, package it for consumption and put it out into the universe.
O.K., it’s not really that much of a risk when you are a deeply established artist with an enormous following. Even though 1720 was packed to the gills with faithful fans who met the dimming of the house lights with chants of HYDE-O…HYDE-O, it doesn’t mean you don’t still have to deliver. The group takes the stage to only black lights illuminating the fluorescent graffiti screens bearing HYDE’s name on either side of the stage. HYDE ascends his platform at center stage and stares down the audience with blue glowing contact lenses. More chants and screams usher in the opening lines of Fake Divine which starts out slowly and erupts into a frenzy of hard riffs and thumping drums. After Light, a jack hammer of a tune, with a little bit of screamo mixed in continues the tone establishment. HYDE is definitely bringing his harder edge to this performance and the room eats it up.
Drawing on a Vamps number for the third tune, Inside Of Me fits the mood of the evening, if a bit less hard, it is a bit more melodic. Hyde works the audience like the seasoned pro that he is. The way he mesmerizes the room at 1720, it is easy to imagine him working a stadium of 40,000 people or more. He weaves in and out of songs while engaging the crowd to mimic his tribal yells. He divides the floor in half and implores the standing room only crowd to yell on cue. First one side, then the other. Then he gets them to jointly sit down, or at least crouch, then rise as one and scream and jump as the band launches into Another Moment, which is one of the few pop oriented songs from his latest release, Anti. The set proceeds like a military parade, one pounding song after another. At just about the midway point of the evening, HYDE treats the horde of loyalists to one of his more emotional songs. Zipang is a piano driven ballad about separation and loss. It rises to a crescendo and falls back to its genesis and HYDE’s voice is just as tender as it was sinister in After Light.
Usually you think of a set winding down, but this one definitely winds up as HYDE increases the frenzy level with a triple edged metal sword of Sick, Mad Qualia and Midnight Celebration. The converted warehouse is abuzz as the band exits the stage. The acolytes repeatedly get a HYDE! HYDE! HYDE! chant going in the interim as he makes them wait for his reappearance. More showmanship perhaps, give the people what they want, but don’t be afraid to make them wait a bit longer for it. HYDE and company return to the stage for a one song encore. The Duran Duran cover, Ordinary World which starts very soothing and slowly builds into an auditory feast before retreating into silence. HYDE thanks the crowd and recedes into the darkness of the stage. With that, the Anti banner has been planted and HYDE can claim victory for his first solo tour of the states.
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