Schwarz Stein 15 Year Anniversary Live + Secret Guest Mana

So how many of you believed me when I said Mana would be the secret guest at the Schiwarz Stein 15 year anniversary concert even though it wasn't officially confirmed? ƪ(˘⌣˘)ʃ

I'm joking! I know it was something that was obvious outside of my posts, so I think everyone already understood from the start.

With that being said, the concert was held tonight so I can finally write about it!

Before I begin, theres a few things I want to address:
I think this entry is going to cater to a different variety of people than normal. Some of who are aware that this is my first time to a Schwarz Stein live so they probably want to hear my impressions, some who are interested in Schwarz Stein and want to hear about the concert, and of course a bulk majority who are here for Mana related content. Keeping that in mind, I'm going to try my best to appease everyone, but generally speaking I'm not usually as detailed with non-Moi dix Mois concerts. Since this is my first Schwarz Stein concert, I don't really have anything to compare it to, so I apologize in advance if this entry lacks in detail that I would usually go into.

Now let's get into it!

The venue this time, Shibuya REX, is a very small concert hall that usually fits somewhere between 250-300 people. Ever since the moment we all understood this is the concert Mana would be a special guest at, I had been watching and digging into as much information as I could. I was surprised to see for the longest time that tickets hadn't sold out at all, but that finally changed only a couple days prior to the concert date.

Tonight's concert is the beginning of a Schwarz Stein 15 year anniversary 3 city tour. The next two cities they will perform at are in Nagoya (special guest Mako from Deadman) and Osaka (special guest Kozi from ZIZ/Malice Mizer). Talking to a few regular Kaya/Schwarz Stein fans, it seems they were all happy and surprised to see a sold out concert tonight! However, realistically speaking the reason for that was because tons of Mana fans showed up. Thats not to say that they otherwise don't care Schwarz Stein; I think its more or less because Mana being there was a bigger incentive to make more of an effort to go for a lot of people. I have to admit, I was definitely a part of that crowd too, but I have certainly liked Schwarz Stein ever since the beginning of their activities 15 years ago!!

As for the show, I was so happy to hear so many nostalgic songs and to finally see Hora for the first time in my life!!

Kaya (left) and Hora (right)

Of course he wasn't covering his mouth like he did in this picture. What can I say?? His demeanor was a little different from what I expected! For some reason I always had this image of him as a serious, more secretive kind of person, but actually he has a very nice personality! In fact, I feel like he balances Kaya out well since Kaya has such a huge flashy personality. Hora was a lot more laid back but had great interaction with the audience and seemed very comfortable talking and making jokes with everyone. I found myself in instant admiration of him. I finally feel like I understand why people love Hora so much!

Their performance style was also very different from what I had imagined. Of course knowing Schwarz Stein's music for years now, I realize they play more electronic/dance style music, but I didn't anticipate the show itself to feel like everyone should be up dancing at a club. Funny enough, since this is Japan nobody really dances. They basically stand and watch like a normal concert but kinda move their heads to the beat or do various hand movements. I don't felt kinda strange for the style, I guess. Some how I imagined the stage to be decorated differently as well. To be honest, I think my image of Schwarz Stein comes from their early days, not within recent years. But all in all, it was great and I have no complaints what so ever! In fact, the energy was so good I felt extremely refreshed! There may only be two people on the stage, but they completely fill it with their enthusiasm!

Thanks to a friend, I already received the full set list from the concert!!

1. SE. Testament
2. Queen of Decadence
3. Perfect Garden
4. Release me
5. GENUINE -Recurrence-
6. Profane Gone
7. Current
8. PREDICT -Rosen Clarion-
9. Lilith
10. Hakobune
11. **New Song** Apocalypse -eclipse ring-
12. Creeper
13. Remind (SE)
14. Transient (Gt. Mana)
15. Beautiful the Virgin (Gt. Mana)
16. Sleeping Madness
17. Syphilis and Disorder
18. New Vogue Children

Encore 1
1. **New Song** Haven
2. Last Hallucination

Encore 2
1. Succubus 2014 (Keyboard Mana)
2. SE the alternation of generations
3. -increase-

There were also a few MCs during the night. The first one was more or less a simple introduction and advertisement/information for the next upcoming shows. Kaya tried to talk about tonight's performance and the "secret guest" as sort of a mystery but everyone started laughing because it really wasn't much of a secret. Even Hora said something along the lines of "you all know who it is, I even see many of you who look like/are dressed like him" to everyone's entertainment. Actually, Hora really wanted to just say it was Mana several times, but Kaya kept stopping him and saying things like "not yet!!"

During the second MC they talked a lot more about this being the 15 year anniversary of schwarz stein, their start as Rudolf Steiner and much more. At the beginning Hora couldn't help himself from saying "Theres so many people here, its like an arena!!"
I think both Kaya and Hora were truly excited to see such a full venue and seemed so thankful for everyone who came to see them tonight.

They played a few songs after the second MC and eventually they cut to some type of seemingly intermission type music where they were just kinda standing around on stage and then suddenly without warning or introduction, Mana popped out on stage!


He ran to the front center where he held his arms out wearing a long chiffon gilet that looked like a cape at first by the way that he was holding it up. If I'm not mistaken, I think that gilet is actually something he used to wear years ago in the earlier years of Moi dix Mois. This time he also wore a blue frilled Moi-meme-Moitie blouse with a longer skirt/pants. You can see how he looked from the picture above.

He stood there for a good minute or so, until he eventually walked over to the left side of the stage (from the audience point of view; right side from stage point of view). That may seem like a minor detail but I was wondering if he may go to that side of the stage this time because he always stays on the opposite side for Moi dix Mois concerts. I guess its also a give away that Hora's keyboard was on that side so it would be impossible for Mana to play there, but anyway I already had that feeling before I even entered the venue.

As he walked to the side of the stage where he would play, his Jeune Fille had already been sitting at the edge for him to pick up. He took a moment to tune it and then instantly Transient started to play. Instantly everyone in the audience started screaming and tons of people started pushing to the front of the stage. I stayed in the back this time, so I only watched from a sort of small platform above the main floor but even people who were standing behind me started rushing down to the front.

It seems Kaya and Hora's interactions during concerts aren't limited to talking and joking with the audience, but they actually touch peoples hands a lot. They tend to touch the audience hands and give high fives among other things, so to follow suit in that style, Mana started doing the same. Thats when the audience started getting really crazy. I noticed a lot of people started pulling on his hands and arms and at one point I thought he was going to fall in (actually I couldn't tell if he was falling in or wanted to crowd surf by how he acted). It was intense.

Of course it was a rare sight to see Mana playing as a guest for a different artist. I don't think I can put into words how special it felt to see something like that! But at the same time, as wonderful as it was, it also felt a little strange to me. I think Mana has become very comfortable and rehearsed in his own setting (Moi dix Mois), but I didn't really know how to take that portrayal in Schwarz Stein. As I watched Mana perform, I started thinking "I guess Mana-style is Mana-style, but this almost feels a little too much like Moi dix Mois for Schwarz Stein". It didn't quite feel like Mana's performance style matched up completely with Schwarz Stein's performance style, if that makes any sense. If I were to paint a picture in your head, just imagine watching a Moi dix Mois concert, but turn off the music and play a full Schwarz Stein CD instead.(≧∇≦)
Basically not only were his movements the same as during Moi dix Mois concerts, but so were his interactions with the crowd and Kaya and Hora, as if he was trying to dominate the stage. There are many times in Moi dix Mois when Mana will go up to the various band members and try to play back to back with them (literally, he pushes his back against the other members like hes showing himself off with each person); he was doing the exact same thing this time too.

Its not particularly bad, but it was enough to make me scratch my head a little.(;゚∀゚)

After Transient, they played Beautiful the Virgin. Since Schwarz Stein plays electronic music that doesn't normally include guitar, Mana basically played guitar to the main chorus parts of the songs. I felt like this methodology really showed through the most in this second song. In Transient I felt like it was a little hard to distinguish the guitar sound from the rest of the music, but Beautiful the Virgin included an added portion for Mana to play a guitar solo in. Its probably needless for me to say, but it sounded great together!! I'm sure its only a pipe dream, but wouldn't it be nice if Schwarz Stein released a single with Mana playing these parts in the songs? Or better yet, how about a single/mini album with Mana, Mako, and Kozi's parts included into whatever songs they perform!!
It would be nice....

Immediately after, Mana bowed to everyone and ran back off stage and the rest of the concert continued.

After the main concert, there were two encores!!
The first included a bit more talking from Kaya and Hora about random things and then a few songs. Then to my surprise eventually a second encore came where they brought Mana back out on stage. Previously neither Kaya nor Hora would actually say Mana's name on stage, but would only refer to him as "the secret guest". I was a little concerned, thinking "They're seriously going to take things this far and just totally refrain from saying 'Mana'? Thats kind of ridiculous..." so I was relieved to eventually hear Kaya say "Mana-Sama"

With Mana's return to the stage, they had one more song planned for everyone. However, every time Mana showed up on stage things felt a little awkward. Mana seemed nervous the entire night as he kept folding his hands together and whenever he bowed to the audience he seemed rather rushed in his actions more than usual. Funny enough though, whenever he actually played he totally stole the limelight from Kaya and Hora. Really, was this a Schwarz Stein concert or a Mana concert?? Of course thats to be expected since this was highly anticipated. Anyway, one of the most awkward situations came when Kaya needed to do a bit of talking on stage while Mana was there. Actually, Kaya straight up said "I'm so nervous" a few times, but I think when he said he was nervous he meant along the lines of he doesn't quite know what to do with Mana on stage. The problem is, Mana doesn't talk, so Kaya wasn't really sure how to do interactions with him publicly. He wanted to ask Mana a question that wasn't really a yes or no question, and Mana seemed to have no idea what to do about it, so he kinda froze and stared at Kaya and Hora in a panic. I don't remember what they were asking him, but if I recall I think it had something to do with Mana playing Hora's instrument.

For those who don't know, Hora plays keyboard but he wears it similar to how you would a guitar, with a strap over your shoulder to hold it up. As Mana stood there like a deer frozen in headlights, Hora took his guitar and tried holding it up for Mana to take. Eventually he did, and then they asked him to try to play something on it. Suddenly Mana turned it on and started playing the intro to MALICE MIZER's Saikai no Chi to Bara!!!!
Suddenly the audience started screaming, and Kaya did too!! This part seemed to be totally unplanned because in an instant Kaya went from one of the performers on stage to a complete fan and couldn't stop saying things like "That was so great!! That was so amazing!!! I can't believe it!" etc.

Once Mana showed off his keyboard skills, the song Succubus started to play! Mana played keyboard the entire time and Hora just kinda danced and jumped around on stage, as well as screamed a few parts in the chorus. It was interesting to see Mana play a totally different instrument such as a keyboard in this way on stage, but I got the feeling that even though he played a little, he also used a kind of prerecorded loop that automatically plays particular parts so he didn't have to memorize the entire song. I also wondered how planned out that song really was with Mana playing it because it seemed like Mana kept forgetting he was holding a keyboard and would repeatedly treat it in the exact same way he does his guitars. Its hard to explain, but he tends to be somewhat rough with his guitars by swinging them around or shoving them into the audience. Everything he does with his guitars he was doing to Hora's keyboard. I hope it didn't get damaged at all...

Once again after the song ended, Mana ran off stage just as he did before, and that was about the end of the night.

It turns out there was actually an "after concert event" if you were willing to pay an extra 2,000 yen (approx $20 USD). I noticed this information either yesterday or the day before that and decided I would do it even though there were no details about what would happen. I assumed if Mana was a special guest at the concert, theres a good chance he might appear in the after event as well.

It turns out I was right!!

Not everybody decided to stay and I was nervous that it might not be something really worth-while, but I'm so glad I did!
I asked around to people who have gone to these kinds of Schwarz Stein concerts/events before what they thought it could be and how long it might last, but it turns out I guess each time is different.

Fortunately the event didn't last too long (since the concert started later in the evening I was worried about the end time). Basically Kaya and Hora showed about 10-15 minutes of video clips from Schwarz Stein lives at the very beginning of their band activity. The footage was old and projected on to a screen so the quality was a little bit hard to see, but it was so fun to watch! Kaya and Hora made some commentary as we watched and named off what year and venue the concerts were held at. Hora made some jokes at Kaya calling him a grandma now; they really seemed like two brothers together. Also, it was shocking to notice how young they looked in those old videos! They seemed like kids!

Here is the information on all the video clips shown during this part of the event:

November 3, 2003 @ Shinjuku Liquidroom
Queen of Decadence

December 15, 2004 Shibuya O-East
Perfect Garden

Roppongi Y2K (Kaya’s first solo concert)
fester love

March 29, 2004 @ Shibuya O-West
New Vogue Children
Last Hallucination

Finally for the end of the night, Mana was called back out one more time. It was a little funny when he came back out because this time Kaya had the venue play some kind of very cheesy sounding classical music. It didn't quite depict "Mana music" if you ask me, so I had to laugh a little(≧∇≦)

This time Mana had a commentary prepared for Kaya and Hora, which Kaya read aloud. Basically he just congratulated each of them on 15 years as Schwarz Stein and their time as artists. He said when he first saw Kaya he couldn't tell if he was a man or a woman or what kind of flashy person he was, but in the end Kaya is Kaya. He also made mentions about Rudolf Steiner and the beginning of their careers, being a producer for them, and other things like that.

I think Kaya and Hora were deeply touched to have Mana there with them tonight, especially with such a deep connection they have together. Not only that, Mana has never done anything like this in many many years so I have no doubt this was a huge treat to them.

Also, once the event ended there was a flower bouquet presumably sent from Mana outside the concert hall!

By the way, if you looked into the big bubble near their name card you could see a cut out of the embryo image used on their album "New Vogue Children"

Also, I didn't particularly take any pictures of my coordinate this time because it was relatively simple, but I took at least one picture for commemoration of the night.

Oh and before I forget!!
As I was leaving the venue I saw Seth standing incognito near where I had been standing!! I wonder how long he had been there? I never saw him during the concert itself, but I've heard he likes to make escapes before people notice him when there are breaks... Well, just as I suspected.

Anyway, it was a fun evening!! I was deeply impressed with Schwarz Stein so I hope to see them again some day, even if Mana isn't there as a special guest!! I have to make that effort!٩( 'ω' )و