Sunday, December 27, 2009

DIR EN GREY CONCERT, DORJE, 12/26

If you've been following this blog, you've seen their name pop up a million times. They're the band featured in the image at the top of the page. You've heard about them, you've seen their name, and now it's time to finally introduce you all to Dir en grey.
A brief history, before I get into the details. Dir en grey formed in 1997 from the defunct Indies band La: Sadies (which included all the current members except Toshiya). They immediately became the first Indies band in Japan to hit the Oricon Charts (equivalent to the American Billboard Charts). Their style went on to inspire a whole generation of musicians. Dir en grey's wild, unique approach to music caught the attention of X Japan's drummer Yoshiki (one of the most influential musicians in Japan) and he produced Dir en grey's first major CD. Intially, Dir en grey was one of Japan's most extreme Visual-Kei bands and they looked like this:

However, over the years, Dir en grey shed themselves of VK. Eleven years later, now they look like this (yes, these are the same five men):



I've seen them four times live in America, but seeing them in Japan... that was the final frontier. And, as it so happened, I had a ticket to see Dir en grey at a fan-club only concert... one of the most highly-anticipated, exclusive events of the year. Some fans spent hundreds of dollars on Yahoo auction just to attend this live. The concert was happening at Shinkiba Studio Coast. I was so nervous and excited for this concert that I couldn't even listen to Dir en grey on my iPod during the fifty minute train ride.

I met up with my friend Ashley at Shinkiba station, and we found Studio Coast quite easily. It's a game called Follow the Goths decked out in Dir en grey merchandise. Already there were about a thousand people waiting in a giant line, but we weren't sure what the line was for, since the doors wouldn't open for a couple hours and fans are called in by number. Then we came to realize... that whole line was just to buy merchandise. Well... to the back of the line we went! But first, here's a picture of the venue sign. First, a really cute guy got in the way of the picture:

Then he got out of the way, lol. Yeah, that's the merch line down there.

Here's where Ashley and I were standing about half-way in the line. Yeah, this was after we'd already moved up quite a ways. Hard to believe, isn't it? That tiny white building on the left is the venue, lol. Also, we were in line on a bridge over a lake and... the lake was filled with tiny, pulsating jellyfish! I'd never seen a jellyfish before! Strange creatures... Kind of cute, lol.

Eventually, just for merchandise, we had to stand in a separate line and wait, just to get into the merch line. Here's a picture from the secondary line. Check out all the fans loitering everywhere!

It took about an hour to actually get to the merchandise, and I sorta lost control and bought more than I meant to. Here's my merch. I bought a wrist-band:

I bought a key-chain/cell phone charm. Do you like my nail polish, lol?

I caved and bought a tour-towel because fans actually use them and it was a pretty, deep purple (my camera made it look kinda blue but... it's not. It's totally purple):

Here's the beautiful shirt I bought. They were already sold out of the limited edition Deadly Claris shirts but... I just wanted this one. The front is just the band name:

But look at the back! Isn't it beautiful?!! And it's super-shiny! What a beautiful shirt!

Anyways, after we got merchandise, Ashley and I shared a coin-locker and waited around in the cold for the staff to begin calling numbers. We ran into the wonderful girl who sold me the tickets. Her name's Risu, and she also runs Orchestrated Chaos, which is the largest Dir en grey translation, etc. website on the internet. She told Ashley and me that she wanted to video-interview us after the show for a report on foreigners at the fan-club only concert. We happily agreed, since we were some of the only foreigners there. Also, there was a strange, older French woman in line who was clearly a reporter. She kept sneaking pictures of us and writing stuff down. Very odd.

Eventually, they got to our numbers and Ashley and I made a run for it into the venue. We desperately wanted to get a close spot, and we were willing to shove for it. But then... when we got inside, we were shocked to discover that only a few hundred people were crowded near the stage, and everyone else was hovering in the back or even in the balconies. I found this very odd, but decided not to question it. Ashley and I grabbed a spot dead-center about fifteen rows back. As more people got into the show, however, the pit filled up until it was completely packed with fans. The platform in the back, the stairs, and the balconies were also filled. Also, I would like to make an interesting observation: about half the audience was male. I know it's a stereotype that only girls go to VK rock concerts in Japan, and even though Dir en grey is as far from VK as possible, this stigma supposedly remains and all of Dir en grey's fans are an overwhelming majority of females. Definitely not true.  Over 30% of the crowd was male. And die-hard, psychotic male fans at that.

Anyways, I decided to use this moment of peace to admire Dir en grey's equipment on the stage. Shinya's drum set was, as always, monstrously huge, intimidating, and beautiful. Also, it's very easy to figure out who's equipment is who's. Die's sound equipment and microphone stand is completely red. Toshiya's equipment is completely white. Kaoru's is, of course, completely black with the Japanese Zombie Heroez design all over it. My admiring was short-lived, however, when I was suddenly ripped back into reality and made to realize why so many fans had hovered fearfully in the back of the crowd.

A roadie walked on stage to start testing equipment and, without warning, the audience surged forward. Girls screamed out in horror and pain as the crowd collapsed. Many people grabbed onto each others' clothes or hair or limbs as they lost their balance and toppled and became trampled by the crowd. Everyone surged towards Kyo's crate as if the center of the stage was some sort of vacuum vortex drawing the fans inward. Ashley and I, clutching onto the people in front of us and barely able to stand, looked at each other in shock.

Eventually, after twenty minutes of being unable to stand and simply toppling in every direction clutching other horrified fans for support... the lights went out and the show began...

On this day I have learned... that NO ONE knows how to fucking ROCK like the Japanese.

For my fellow Dir en grey fans on the blog, here's the exact set-list from the concert, in order:

Sa Bir

Zan (new version)
Obscure
Hydra -666-
Gaika, Chinmoku Ga Nemuru Koro
Red Soil
Doukoku to Sarinu
Bugaboo

Kyo's Solo

Ryoujoku no Ame
Glass Skin
Toguro

Kyo's Solo

Merciless Cult
Stuck Man
Reiketsu Nariseba
Dozing Green
Vinushka

Encore:
Hageshisa to, Kono Mune no Naka de Karamitsuita Shakunetsu no Yami
Shokubeni
Grief
Agitated Screams of Maggots
Clever Sleazoid

When the lights went out, it was easy to see the altar that Dir en grey had set up in front of Shinya's drum set. It was lit with candles and religious figurines and glowed eerily in the darkness. The sound of Sa Bir undulated thickly through the air. All around us, fans were screaming and making wild animal noises, losing all their control. As the screaming of the fans reached full pitch, Shinya walked out onto the stage. He was beautiful as always - thin, elegant, long, wavy hair. As I fell sideways yet again and came to realize that even the collapsing fans around me were too far toppled to hold me up, I felt a momentary inkling of fear. Dir en grey concerts in America begin violently like this but... not with such intensity. I suddenly wondered if I could take it. The fans were screaming for Shinya like their very life depended on it. Next came Die, his hair so long and beautiful I almost couldn't believe it. After Die came Toshiya, who's half-cut hair was straight and uncurled. He was wearing a very low-cut top and grinning like a mischievous little boy. After Toshiya came Kaoru, Mr. Big-Shot, with a gigantic cross necklace around his neck. I mean... bling-level gigantic. As each band member emerged onto the stage, the fans threw themselves forward, toppling the people around them, screaming the band members' names as if they would die without them.

And then Kyo walked on stage. At this point, I could see nothing but the heads in front of me and arms flailing wildly in the air. But through the arms I saw him emerge... Kyo. The man himself.  He came out on stage in a leather jacket and jeans with too many chains, his hair so long on one side that it covered half his face. And he was wearing sunglasses. As he emerged onto the stage, the crowd lost every last semblance of "acceptable human behavior" left to them. All around me was the animal-like snarling of Kyo's name as fans pushed and shoved and shook their fists in a violent rage. In response, Kyo glared back at us with narrowed eyes. At a Dir en grey concert, you are no longer a part of "society." You are buried deep in civilization's origins, watching humans behaving the way they were originally meant to. I wanted to be caught up in the moment, but, frankly... I was too busy fearing for my life. I was unable to stay on my feet for more than a second amidst the swaying and writhing of the crowd. I had a mouthful of hair-gel from the guys in front of me and people were holding onto my shoulders for dear life and dragging me down with them. Every moment brought me closer to the single worst thing that can happen at a concert: a complete fall. If you fall completely, you will either severely injure someone near you, or become trampled. And I really believed that it might happen at any moment.

Anyways, just when I was thinking "oh shit, how are we going to survive this? I hope this show doesn't get too out of control too quickly..." they opened with: the new version of Zan. Those infamous opening guitar riffs blasted through the speakers and I barely had a second to think "oh shiiiiiiit!" and grab the people in front of me before the crowd simply went berzerk.

But the thing is... even though I was pretty sure I was just going to die in that crowd and that would be the end of it... I also had this sense of complete and utter contentment. The Japanese, despite their violence, knew exactly what to do and exactly how to act. Unlike an American concert where strange cliques and pockets form and everyone is just doing their own thing... these fans knew the ins and outs of Zan as if the song had been tattooed inside them. And you know what, the new version of Zan was fucking MADE for a live. It was beyond incredible. During the insane, rocking-out parts, the entire crowd would pitch their upper bodies forward and backward in time to the beat, throwing their fists and scrunching their faces up in frustration. The only problem with this move that you legitimately felt like you were humping the people in front of you and you were being humped back. But the fans knew every last word and every last scream. The whole crowd would jump and scream "psycho!" during all the right times, though this usually resulted in the crowd tipping and everyone falling again. You got used to having your shirt nearly ripped off your back. My favorite part was when Shinya would slam the petals and Kyo would release that gut-wrenching growl, and then the whole crowd would suddenly go "UGH!" and the music would fall silent. Then the guitars would explode again and the crowd would start pitching in time to the music.

And, as if things weren't intense enough with the band sadistically opening with Zan... we went right into Obscure. Ho SHIIIIT. Brace yourself! Brace yourself!!! But here again is the incredible thing about the Japanese crowd. They would go ballistic during the song, slamming each other and causing each other to gasp in pain, yet they knew exactly when to stop. When Kyo began to sing wordlessly during the second chorus, his voice rising powerfully above the crowd, everyone fell still and held up their arms, their faces soaked with sweat, their eyes dancing with awe and wonder at Kyo's magic.

I began to realize what this audience was all about. At an American concert, you are relying 100% on the band to give you your experience. But with the Japanese fans, there is a whole new dimension added to the show. You are suddenly a part of something. The fans are all there for the same reason, and they are all sharing the same feelings. There is no cliquey-ness or competitiveness like at the American concerts. The fans were all on the same page and everyone understood, damnit.

I came to realize that this crowd required practice. It took me several songs to figure out all the techniques for staying alive. If the crowd in front falls backwards, push them forwards. If you fall backwards, grab the shoulders of the people in front of you. If the crowd jumps, do not resist. And above all, know exactly when a song gets intense, so you can brace yourself. These Japanese fans move directly in response to the music.
After Obscure was Hydra -666-. By now I was getting very used to this new level of intensity, and any fears of surviving the show were gone. It was not that I no longer believed I might be severely injured, it's that I simply stopped caring. At American concerts, people chicken out when Dir en grey fans get too rough and they either request to be crowd-surfed over the barrier and out of the show, or they manage to escape backwards through the fans. The Japanese DO NOT ESCAPE. It is never too intense for them - not even for tiny girls standing at chest level, and not even for guys so thin you could snap them in half. By the end of the show, I had only seen two girls try and get out. I knew for sure that I was a part of this and I was NOT going to back down.

During Hydra -666- the fans would go insane during the growling parts and everyone would scream "SIX... SIX SIX!!!" like wild animals. Kyo stood on his crate, holding out his arms gloriously, and the fans screamed for him like he was the Second Coming. Fans were dripping with sweat and covered in bruises but never have I seen happier people.

After Hydra -666- was Gaika, Chinmoku ga Nemuru Koro. This was a song I hadn't properly appreciated on the CD, but damn is it incredible live. What really amazed me was that during the parts where Toshiya grabs the mic and screams, the fans would scream every word with him. They drowned out his voice with their own anger. At the end, the crowd collapsed with the song while Kyo screamed and made unbelievably inhuman noises into the microphone. High-pitched squeals and tribal screeching seemed to erupt from his body without reservation. And the audience slammed maniacally with it as Shinya pulverized the drums. The Japanese fans held nothing back. There is no para-para here, only raw, pure ferocity. These fans cared about nothing but exorcising the demon from their bodies.

After Gaika was Red Soil, which was one of the #1 songs I was looking forward to as I had yet to hear it live. God, it is magical live. Die opens up on those beautiful riffs and his hair is blowing magically in the wind and then... its like everything is just twinkling around you. The crowd threw their fists in time to the dance-like beat of the song. What really amazed me was that, during the insane growling parts, the crowd would actually scream the last part of every line where the vocals doubled up on the CD. And some of the truly deranged males around me would actually growl the entire thing.

After Red Soil came Doukoku to Sarinu, which is probably my favorite song off Uroboros (yeah, I'm weird). I was surprised to realize the fans actually calmed down for this song, rather than riling up. The song seems so hard and intense on the CD, but the crowd - as a single entity - did not interpret it that way at all. Instead they used to the song to stand and become washed in the glory of it all. Then, when the chorus reached its maximum pitch, the crowd began to sing louder and louder and louder until they nearly drowned Kyo out.

Then came Bugaboo, which is also a song where the audience stayed more calm and just let Kyo do his thing. I used this song to relax and admire and be awed by Kyo's voice. It seemed as if multiple voices burst out from inside him. During this song, Die continued to do this eerie, slow-paced headbanging to every second beat of the song. Magical.

When Bugaboo ended, Kyo went directly into one of his solos without pausing. The lights went out except for a single spot-light on Kyo, and I remember the solo began with this strange, dissident piano music in the background, and Kyo simply breathed. That was the first third of the solo - Kyo just breathing slowly and eerily in time to the music. He fell into some sort of trance and froze there on his crate. Then he began mumbling and saying strange things, his voice echoing and bouncing about the concert hall as if there were multiple voices speaking all at once. Sometimes I couldn't even tell if what he was speaking and what I was hearing was happening at the same time. At one point, amidst the mumbling, Kyo said something very clearly. I'm sorry if I'm imparting inaccurate information, but I think what he said was "sono uchi... kotoba ga utsusu" which could be translated in many ways. It could mean "soon... the words will be transmitted/moved/infected/reflected." But it was clear that this line was said very intentionally.

Also, it was amazing how still and silent the crowd stood during this solo. In America, people are always screaming stupid shit like "I LOVE YOU!" while Kyo is attempting to trance through his solo. In Japan, everyone falls silent and just watches in awe, listening to Kyo's words and feeling whatever it is that he is trying to make us feel.

Then we moved into Ryoujoku no Ame. An oldie-but-goodie. I just love that song live. The drums always sound like they're marching, and the crowd was slamming violently to the chorus. Such a classic.

After Ryoujoku no Ame, it became the mid-section break-time for the crowd in which the band plays slow song. They played Glass Skin (Japanese version) and it was just beautiful, beautiful, beautiful! Everyone stood perfectly still and just nodded along to the music, dripping in sweat and covered in bruises. Also, I'm happy to say that Kaoru has fixed that squeaky feed-back he kept getting at the beginning of the song. I couldn't stop watching Die's hair during this song. His hair is just... made of magic. It floats in the wind like he's trapped in an Herbal Essense commercial. However, towards the end of Glass Skin, Kyo's voice started to squeak and crack really badly. My stomach hit the floor because... I know what that means. Kyo's voice sounded just like it did when he had edema of the larynx. He couldn't seem to hit a single note all of a sudden, and this was causing him mounting anger. Instead of singing the end of Glass Skin, he started stomping on the crate and screaming for all he was worth, his voice cracking and dying in his throat. I think his throat problems might be back again... It was painful to listen to but... incredible to watch his reaction to it. Rather than becoming defeated, he used the emotions caused by his frustration to enhance the effect of his performance.

Glass Skin went into Toguro, which is such an unbelievably beautiful song. Kyo's dancing was so sexy during this song. His jacket was still on, surprisingly, but he kept undulating and thrusting his hips and belly-dancing with his jacket open.  Once again, however, Kyo could hardly hit the notes. It was like his voice had just died mid-way during the concert. But he didn't stop, and when he blasted those incredible high notes, regardless of whether or not he hit them, the audience held up their arms in response. The thing is, it doesn't matter if Kyo hits the notes. That's not the point. And if you care more about that than what Kyo is trying to display to the crowd then... you've just missed the damn point entirely.

Toguro ended and also went directly into another Kyo solo. This was one of those eerie, Oriental-style solos with the chimes and the deep bass sounds, with Kyo just letting his voice undulate into impossible, animal-like noises. Again, the audience fell silent in wonder.

After Kyo's solo came Merciless Cult - another oldie-but-goodie. It was so amazing with the entire crowd launching forward and screaming "GASP!" with the string section. This crowd had such power.

After that came another song I'd been dying to see live - Stuck Man! Now this is fun! For this song, the crowd spent most of the time jumping up and down in unison to the crazy jazz-like quality of the song. At one point Kyo even jumped up and down to encourage us! I didn't really have to jump, though, because the movement of the entire crowd jumping up and down would pull me up and down without any effort. It was like floating! And everyone screamed all the best parts together, like "SHUT UP! BULLSHIT! SHUT UP! BULLSHIT!" Also, it was so amazing how the crowd would all scream "blood-stained carnival!" in unison over and over and over! At one point, however, the crowd lost its footing and, when Kyo yelled "motto!" ("more!") to get us jumping, the crowd just sorta... fell over instead! We were prone to mass, concert-wide collapses.

When Stuck Man was over, however, I was struck with a momentary fear as I realized what song undoubtedly had to come next... Reiketsu Nariseba. Uh oh. Suddenly, the crowd - which had tamed down for a few songs - completely flipped the shit again. Worse than ever. We were at the point now where entire rows of fans would hold out their hands and rush forward and slam the crowd in front of them and shove them with all their might till they toppled. Up until this point, Ashley and I had managed to stay within visible range of each other, but now we lost each other entirely. Ashley was pushed off to the left and disappeared over towards Toshiya. I was shoved and slammed to the right and found myself over by Die. I decided to take advantage of the crowd surges to move forward. When the whole row in front of me shoved the row in front of them, I would slip into the space formed between the rows and get ahead. I did this repeatedly until I had moved up at least six rows. I was nearly face-to-face with the security guards at one point. However, moving up has its price, and things became more intense and violent the further up I got. At one point, the crowd toppled and a girl grabbed my arm and dragged me down with her. But I clung to someone near me, and she nearly ripped my arm off. Even today, after a good night's sleep, my arm is still too sore to touch and will probably form a nasty bruise soon.

But wow, Reiketsu Nariseba. The crowd was shaking their heads and their arms so fast it was just a blur of movement and insanity. At this point, I came to understand exactly what was happening amongst these mad people. You see, we were all challenging this pit in the hopes of achieving the Fight Club Effect. It is only through experiencing pain that you can feel relief, only through suffering that you can feel happiness... And these fans knew that. They knew it well. And we were all willing to stake our limbs on it! Then, during the quiet part of Reiketsu, everyone fell silent and stood still. Kyo ripped off his jacket, which was something he hadn't done in awhile. It had baffled fans at the U.S. concerts recently that Kyo wouldn't become topless during the shows like he usually does. But now it's all been revealed. Kyo ripped off his jacket, climbed onto his crate, turned around with his back to us and held out his arms. He revealed to the crowd that he now has a massive tattoo on his back. It's still unfinished (it's just an outline with no color right now) but... Kyo was clearly showing it off and presenting this giant Buddhist image of some sort to us as if he'd waiting years to reveal it. It looks beautiful so far!

The peace was short-lived, however, and the crowd went nuts again. We moved into Dozing Green. This is a song where Die blows my mind. How he can play that guitar so fast and so precisely... I'll never understand it.

Dozing Green slid flawlessly into... Vinushka. Oh my god. Vinushka. The song is ten minutes long but... I think half the crowd had a religious experience by the end of it. People seemed to be having seizures of ecstasy and held out their arms towards Kyo like he was the one being who could save their rotten souls. I was nearly ready to cry during the chorus because it was so moving. What really struck me was about midway through the song, when Kyo screams "KOKO GA SHINJITSU DA!" ("here is where the truth is!") the fans all screamed wildly in response to this statement. Well... I guess this is why the Dir en grey fandom is almost considered a cult but... I'm glad to see fans who actually get it.

Vinushka ended, and the band suddenly fled the stage without a word. The roadies came onto the stage and began moving around microphone stands and equipment in an attempt to trick us into thinking the band was finished. But the audience knew better. They screamed "an-ko-re!" ("encore!") with such intensity that I think they deafened me more than the band did. The band kept us waiting a damn long time but... after about five minutes they finally returned... and surged the crowd all over again.

They opened with the new single Hageshisa to, Kono Mune no Naka de Karamitsuita Shanaknetsu no Yami (yeah, longest title ever)!!! We were the first audience to ever hear it live! And oh... oh, was it amazing! That song was just made for a live! The audience was rocking the fuck out and singing along to the chorus! At one point, Kyo even held out the microphone and made us sing the chorus for him! And I got to fulfill my dream of doing the tossing high-note (I threw up my arm when I did it). The whole crowd was like "Hageshisa to... kono mune no naka de, waaaaaaAAAAAAAAH!!!!" Ugh, just fantastic! The instrumentation is just spot on!

Next came Shokubeni, which is always a crowd-pleaser. It starts off so ominous and sneaky and sexy... and then it goes nuts. When we got to the part where the music cuts out and Kyo sings solo without the microphone, the crowd suddenly slammed forward like never before, and I got caught in a horribly painful position and couldn't move. I looked behind me to see if I could struggle free, but the girls behind me were equally smashed and one of them was going "aaah! Itai! Itai!" ("ooow! It hurts! It hurts!"). My leg and back were crushed so bad that I started to get that involuntary response where you start shaking from head to foot. The guy I was smashed against actually looked over his shoulder with concern because I was shaking, but he couldn't come up with a way to free me. Eventually, the crowd loosened again and I was able to maneuver myself back onto my own two feet.

After Shokubeni we just have a flurry of utter madness till the show ends. Never before have I experienced Grief into Agitated Screams of Maggots into Clever Sleazoid. All three songs in a row. When Grief started up I was just like... oh SHIT. But it was so much fun! Everyone yells the "fuck you" parts with Kyo! It's like "fuck you! Fuck you! Fuck you fuck you fuck you!" At one point the crowd collapsed for seemingly no reason. But when I pulled myself up, I looked up and realized it was because Toshiya had migrated over to our side and was stealing all the attention! Everyone was screaming and clawing for Toshiya, who just grinned at us like a little devil. Some of the guys around me were losing such control during these encore songs that they just started shaking their heads like maniacs and spraying their sweat everywhere. During Agitated Screams of Maggots, we also wound up yelling all the parts with the string section! We all got to yell "I'll rape your daughter on your grave!" But we left the last scream for Toshiya, haha. He does it better than us anyways! And Clever Sleazoid... what a crowd pleaser. I love the way the crowd yells "HOI!" in between Kyo's words. It's like "The dark!" "HOI!" "Dark!" 'HOI!" "Sunday!" "HOI!" "The blood stains!" Just incredible.

And then... all too soon, it was over. I looked up just in time catch Kyo standing on his crate, arm held up, actually smiling. Yeah... he smiled. It was this sort of pleased/satisfied grin. Then he hopped off his crate and vanished without a word. The rest of the band began their customary throwing of picks and drum sticks. This is the most dangerous part of the show, with fans literally willing to break bones to get something. Toshiya was smiling with all his teeth and throwing full water-bottles into the crowd. Even stoic Shinya got up on Kyo's crate and started squirting a water bottle all over everybody and grinning! I avoided the drum sticks though. I value my life! Kaoru came over to our side and threw picks, but I couldn't get near them. I was too busy admiring Kaoru's blingin' necklace! But wow, Die stole the end of the show. He stayed on the stage a good three minutes after the rest of the band was gone and continued to tease us. He was smiling widely with that big, heart-melting smile of his. He has the most flirtatious smile! He threw his straw into the crowd (landed right next to me but, again, I value my life). He threw some picks. Then he started squirting the crowd with water. Then he crouched down and started teasing the front row. When he stood back up, he took a full water bottle, turned it upside-down, and started dumping it on some girls in the front row. I don't know what came over me, but I suddenly screamed "DIE!!!" as loud as I could. To my shock, he looked up and we locked eyes. This huge grin spread across my face and he continued to stare at me as he dumped out the bottle. As the water ran slowly from the bottle, he grinned at me and stuck half his teeth on his lip with his tongue between his teeth. He gave me a flirty nod and just continued to grin until the bottle was empty. Then Die pulled ALL the picks from his mic-stand, put them in his hand, and threw about thirty picks into the crowd at once. They rained down upon us and I actually screamed out loud and dove for one because I was still so excited. No such luck. I was nearly trampled. Then Die left and the crowd seemed to collapse at last.

Before exiting, the entire audience was almost on its hands and knees searching for picks and straws that were yet unclaimed. Then everyone began the slow crawl out of the venue. I was soaked from head to foot in everyone else's juices. My hair was so curly I wasn't sure I'd ever get a comb through it. All the belts and buckles on the jacket around my waist had come loose and my hood was almost completely disconnected. I felt like I'd been beaten to hell and back again. Some girls were actually being half-carried out by the guys, limping in pain. Still... we were all so happy. Fight Club Effect.

I was worried about finding Ashley, but I spotted her eventually. The two of us were in such a state of euphoria, it was like all we could say over and over was "that was... amazing."

Dying of thirst, Ashley and I found a drink machine and guzzled down tea, then went into a nice little coffee shop and ate mushroom pasta and shared this beyond-amazing, gigantic blueberry parfait:


Then we went home to die of exhaustion and tend to our bruises.

I will be seeing Dir en grey again, twice in January, for their big Budokan performances. For now, I'm off to go pick up some of my fellow Dir en grey fans at the airport! Stay tuned for our lovely adventures in Tokyo together!

9 comments:

  1. Sorry you're jealous :-(

    But really... it was life-alteringly amazing 0____0

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  2. You know what, Evan? I just have to thank you for completely and utterly proving the point I was trying to make in this post. Even though this entire post was about all the ways that you can be hurt and suffer during a Dir en grey concert and all the reasons why you'll spend the show in agony... you are still jealous and want to go. You, my friend... are a true Dir en grey fan :-)

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  3. Thank you so much for posting this. Last night and this morning, I've been looking for reports or videos...or anything about last night. I do have one question, though...

    I've only been to one show, unfortunately. I saw them in Baltimore during TRTA last year, and a lot of the people there were doing all the stupid stereotypical bullshit that they are supposed to. So, my question is, were any of the fans there texting the whole time? This really got to me, as some people would be standing in front of me, preventing me from getting closer to the stage when they weren't even paying attention for 75% of the show. Thoughts?

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  4. No, no, not at all! Fans weren't texting on cell phones or doing anything stereotypical! I mean, this was a fan club only concert so, I would've been shocked if the fans had behaved in such a way! But actually, for every J-Rock concert I've been to, I have almost exclusively seen devoted fans, though those fans showed their devotion through para-para, rather than the violence of the Dir en grey audience. But the Dir en grey fans at this concert were 100% devoted and paying attention and the band clearly loved us. We got Kyo to smile! So I think... it is simply that Japanese fans are more devoted overall. At all the shows I've been to for so many bands, I have never seen the rude, obnoxious behavior that Americans display at concerts. Dir en grey fans in Chicago and Milwaukee have pissed me off to no end on occasion, but in Japan... it's just not like that. Everyone is so into it! It's amazing!

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  5. Fucking amazing. You are so lucky. I agree. Us American's think we are the shit when it comes to Rock. Ha, if only they all knew. Thanks so much for posting your experience on here! :D

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  6. Hi, I just read your post today. I'm going to a Dir en grey concert for the first time this November and reading this just makes me more excited. Are you going again this year?

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  7. @Azran Bin Yusof: Hey, sorry for the late response! Blogger never notifies me when someone leaves a comment so I usually have to go through all of them to find them, lol. Anyways, I would very much like to go see Dir en grey again this year. I want to go to the November tour but I don't have tickets :-( I'm still hunting auction sites for them though!

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  8. Hey! I have a drum stick that shinya threw out from a show back in 2008 if anyone is interested in buying please email alexandra.rice@live.com

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