Hello all! I'm back from another concert! Today's band is... D! Ta da:
I put on a frilly black dress covered in rose patterns, caked on purple eyeshadow, and met up with Ashley to go to Heaven's Rock in Saitama.
Heaven's Rock happens to be down the street from the infamous Saitama Super Arena and, of all things, AC/DC was playing at the arena on the same day, meaning that AC/DC fans were crowding the streets (as were ticket scalpers). How do you spot an AC/DC fan in Japan? Not by t-shirts, actually... but by horns. Yeah, AC/DC fans were wearing flashing red devil horns on their heads. Very strange. Then again, the fans going to see D at Heaven's Rock didn't look particularly normal either.
Ashley and I seemed to be some of the first people there, and we were laughing at the tiny quaintness of the venue. Here's some pictures:
The sign outside:
Anyways, Ashley and I raided the local convenience store (I enjoyed some sakura candies) and we watched the assorted goths and lolitas milling around the place. We were stunned to realize we were the only foreigners there (except one who showed up later). It was easy to spot D fans because some of the para-para-type stuff involves flags, and the flags can also be purchased with a cool case. Many of the fans were walking around with the long flag-case tied or chained to their belts or purses. We even saw some boys doing it. Eventually, the staff opened up the merchandise booth, and I knew I also needed some flags and a cool case. If some may recall, I saw D at V-Rock Festival and was very sad because I didn't have any flags to enjoy the band with. I was going to fix that this time! I'd also heard that the band likes to use Japanese-style fans, but I was surprised to see they weren't selling any. Anyways, here are my flags:
And I bought the cool case to keep them safe:
And Dylan, I got you a present! I bought you a pair of flags as well! I'm keeping them safe in the case! Now you'll have some flags on hand if you get to see D (or you can display them in your room)!
Having a cool case didn't seem to be enough, though. Many of the fans wandering around had embroidered the cases with frills and jewels and roses or dangled chains and jewelry from them. Apparently you had to pimp out your flag case to be cool.
Eventually, the doors opened, gates were set up, and fans were called in. Most of the fans had fan club only tickets, but the tiny size of the venue meant being in the back wouldn't mean a whole lot. Only a few hundred people were crammed in there (though we were quite crammed).
Now, I wasn't really sure what to expect out of this crowd. D is a visual-kei band, so I assumed the crowd would be tame but... the strange thing about D is that, despite their girly looks and obsession with roses, they're actually a secret metal band. Their music is pretty hard under all the flair. So I wasn't sure how that combo would work out. Well, before the show started, the crowd suddenly surged forward. Pretty intensely too. I was surprised. Maybe this crowd would be more hard-core than expected...? The only music playing in the venue was friggin' Norah Jones, but the fans were starting to get surprisingly pushy. When the show did start, fans really surged forward. I got crushed into the writhing people in front of me.
The band came out looking very shnazzy. Vocalist Asagi was wearing what could best be described as a gothic rose wedding dress. He had a headband of roses with a black veil hanging in the back, and a black dress with huge red frills on the shoulders. The bottom was a poofy, red cage dress, and the cage part had thorny roses weaving in and out of it. Under that he had thigh-high leather leggings and leather shorts. He was wearing long gloves that went up his arms and a ring with a giant rose on it. In short, he was trying very hard to discover how many roses a human being can have on their body at one time. He had the traditional hair covering one eye, and the other eye had a blood-red contact. It's funny... Asagi's a lot... bigger in person than I expected. Like, he's not fat (obviously) but... he's kind of just big-boned, I think. I think I'm just so used to starving JRockers that it's surprising to see a man with normal proportions. The rest of the band was dressed a little less insanely, all in black, with rose corsages. Bassist Tsunehito's hair has now gone from maroon to burnt red, and it's pulled back. Man, I never realized what kind of serious metal is hanging from his ears. He must have twenty pounds worth of earrings and giant, beastly gauges.
Anyways, the audience was really fierce. Much more than I expected. Shaking their fist at the band wasn't enough - they had to full-on body-slam the people in front of them every time they did it. When the audience headbanged, they did so in unison by grabbing hold of the people in front of them and basically shoving their upper body against the upper bodies of the people in front of them and forcing them down. This worked out beautifully for most of the show, except when the entire left side of the audience got a little over-excited and collapsed each other to the floor. Oops.
The band played a lot of the fan favorites, like Yami Yori Blah Blah Blah, Yami no Kuni no Alice, Tightrope... It was a really great setlist. They also played that new song Day by Day. Honestly... it doesn't matter if I hear it on a CD or live... I really dislike that song. I really do. But their new single, Tightrope, is fucking awesome, and I love everyone rocking out like crazy to it. Everyone got to yell with the band, and Asagi had a whip! At one point, he also brought out a massive riding crop. Very intimidating, mister, lol. The rest of the band was quite awesome too. Guitarists Ruiza and Hide-zou had lots of sweet guitar solos (especially Ruiza) and, at one point, the whole band left and let drummer Hiroki have a good five minute drum solo all to himself, which was a lot of fun.
The crowd was very intense, particularly one boy next to me who seemed to think I was made of rubber or something, and had no qualms about nearly knocking me over in his attempt to get closer to the band. I was really close up... maybe seven people back... There was a very short girl in front of me who got a little too excited and accidentally threw her fist back too far and punched me in the nose. Ow... that hurt, lol...
Asagi's MCs were pretty amusing. He tried to explain how his band mates represented elements, with one of them being fire, one water, one soil, etc... and Asagi himself was... a white wolf? Um... okay, kiddo, whatever you say, lol.
Anyways, I can't get too specific, since I don't have a setlist, sorry. But the band was doing a great job and they were very into it, and the crowd was really intense. At one point, Asagi whipped out his fan and everyone in the crowd with a fan pulled theirs out as well. All the furi (what little of it you could do in such a tight crowd) became fan-dancing. I was kind of surprised and disappointed by this, since they weren't selling the fans outside for us to use. Because of that, many people were left fan-less. They shouldn't bring out those fans unless they're going to sell them. But the whole crowd fan-dancing looked really pretty, and it felt nice since it was so hot and sweaty in there. Then Asagi brought out the giant D flag, which meant it was time for everyone to get their flags out. I pulled mine out of my case and got ready. The flag movements were a little complicated sometimes, but really fun. Sometimes you tapped your flags together, sometimes you waved them side to side, sometimes you shook them in the air...
Then the band left. We all screamed for encore, and the band returned. Sorry, I don't remember what song they played. Unfortunately, they only played one song before bowing and taking their leave. This didn't seem very sufficient, so everyone began cheering for a second encore. Here's where the show takes a somewhat tragic turn. Everyone kept cheering and cheering, but no one was coming back. Then the speakers gave an announcement saying the show was over. No one could believe this, so everyone kept cheering and cheering and ignoring the announcement. This went on for at least ten minutes, and the venue gave two more warnings. Then they closed the curtain on the stage. Everyone continued screaming desperately for encore. They couldn't be done, could they...? Some fans, realizing the band wasn't coming back and thinking it was their fault for not being a sufficient audience, began crying. Oh dear... Then the staff began kicking people out. Now fans were bawling and sobbing around us. What a sad way to end the show! The staff yelling and kicking people out didn't seem to care. Ashley and I went up to get our drinks with our drink ticket (as were most people) and the staff was rudely yelling "you only get one drink!" over and over, like we didn't fucking know that already. What a bunch of douche bags. So, it was a great show, even if it had a very sad ending.
Afterwards, Ashley and I decided not to feel down about the whole thing and went to Jonathan's for spaghetti and delicious parfaits. I had an epic green tea parfait. Many other D fans were sitting around there eating as well. Then I hitched a train home and laughed at a dude on the train with the blinking devil horns.
I got home at 12:30 AM... and I have to leave the house at 4:30 AM to go to Okinawa. That's why I'm typing this blog now. I was like, well... not enough time to sleep so I might as well be productive. Fucking all-nighters. I hate them so much. I'm going to feel like fucking shit tomorrow in Okinawa, I guarantee it.
Anyways, see you all in a few days when I get back from Okinawa!