Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Before we begin, I want everyone to know that there was a last-minute change of plans in my concert line-up. An opportunity came up after the 6/29 show and I wound up dropping the Lycaon concert entirely and going to see Dir en grey's fan club only show on 6/30 as well. Just a head's up on that - there will be two Dir en grey fan club only live reports on this blog! So be sure to be on the lookout for another one after this one!

Anyways, Dir en grey. DIR EN GREY. It has been far too long since they've been on this blog. We've seen them on here a few times, and today I want to welcome back my all-time favorite band, DIR EN GREY:

Dir en grey is a band known for touring all-year-round. Sometimes, they tour so consistently amidst studio time and music video shooting that one begins to wonder if the band aren't in fact cyborgs with robotic internal organs. Then again, the fact that every member of the band seems to catch a cold every time they tour the states should tell you that they are, under all that awesome, mere mortals after all.

Soooo I suppose it came as a bit of a surprise to fans when the band announced they wouldn't be touring much in 2010. I saw their fan club only concert in December, saw them twice at the Budokan in January, and then, as promised, the band vanished from the concert scene entirely. By Tuesday's show, it had been six months since the band had been on stage. What does that mean? Well, it means an extremely antsy band, and a very agitated fanbase. It had been faaaar too long since some of the Dir en grey fans had gotten out their crazies.

With that introduction, let's head over to the show itself! After six months of absence (and virtually living in the recording studio), Dir en grey was having two fan club only concerts at Shinkiba Studio Coast. Tickets were done by lottery only, and I won two tickets for the Tuesday show. Yes, that means my concert-buddy Ashley would be with me! The two of us were really excited for the show, but a sixth month absence had left a sense of detachment towards the band. Even as we sat at Jonathan's abusing the all-you-can-drink bar (I drank six green tea lattes), we couldn't really grasp that we'd be seeing Dir en grey. The nervousness and excitement seemed strangely absent. I could blame this on all sorts of things, but what does it matter. After several hours, we ditched Yotsuya and headed over to Shinkiba... the most boring place in Tokyo.

The amount of people dressed in black in Shinkiba was stunning. The concert was sold out (about 3000 tickets) and the otherwise lifeless Shinkiba was overrun with people in platform boots, Dir en grey t-shirts, spiky hair, and black clothing. The entire 7/11 parking lot was overflowing with them. The only thing I enjoy about Shinkiba is the bridge over a river of jellyfish. Seriously, you can't even imagine how much I love these jellyfish. They're so fucking cute. Here, see for yourself:

They're soooo cute! I could watch them blurb-blurbing around for hours! Here's a close-up:

Well, anyways, after Ashley dragged me away from the jellyfish, we joined the atrociously long merchandise line. Some of the merchandise was actually really cool (a couple of the t-shirts were really interesting) but I became a victim of impatience. After a half an hour I just got annoyed and we bailed on the merchandise line. I regret it a bit, but that's okay. I think a couple of the t-shirts will be re-sold at the July concerts. We headed off to put our stuff in the cloak room instead. You have to be completely unhindered for these shows. I made sure not to wear any jewelry and to not have a single thing on me other than my ticket and 1000 yen (just in case), Those things were slipped into my four-inch platform boots once I got inside the venue.

At around 6:15, they began calling numbers. I originally laughed when I saw the tickets declaring doors opening at 6:15 and the show starting at 7:00. "They'll never get 3000 people inside the venue in forty-five minutes," I laughed. Boy was I off. They called numbers in so fast I bet a lot of people missed their number. It was like "1 through 20! ... 20 through 50!... 50 through 80!" I almost wonder if they even looked at the tickets as you went in. Ashley and I were in the early 1000's, which is pretty good considering.

When it was our turn, we shoved through the crowd and bolted into the blocked-off line to get inside. Once in there, we mad a dash for the inside of the venue and saw immediately that a pretty large crowd had taken over. Last time we went to a Dir en grey fan club show, it seemed that a lot of people went straight for the back (fearing the intensity of the front, obviously). But it's been six months, remember? There were so many people up front that it was a little intimidating, so Ashley and I headed towards the middle and took a spot at the back, figuring we would just shove our way forward once the show started.

The wait was miserable as always, so Ashley and I just admired the band's musical equipment. It was the usual set-up: Die's equipment is red, Toshiya's is white, Kaoru's is black with zombie-Nazis on it... Shinya had his gold and white drum-set and Kyo had a silver microphone stand with a silver microphone attached to it. Interesting. As more and more people came in, the audience was getting extremely restless. It also seemed really hot. The temperature kept rising and rising and rising. I didn't remember it being so hot last time. A lot of the boys (the audience for Dir en grey is generally 35-40% male) seemed particularly antsy. One girl to my left was becoming so restless that she was chewing her fingernails and shaking. She seemed to be staring at something a few rows ahead of us. Eventually, she lost her composure entirely, pushed forward, and disappeared into the crowd. I thought that was strange but decided not to dwell on it.

At some point, the entire crowd surged forward. A strangled cry erupted from the audience and everyone hustled forward so fast it sounded like an earthquake. Ashley and I rushed forward with everyone else but we suddenly slammed to a dead stop against the people in front of us. There was a wall of humans, but I could see people in front of them still moving forward. Wait, what? What? What the hell?!

Then I realized... the girl who was freaking out next to me... she'd been staring at something... I peered through the humans towards the people who were at the front of the wall and I saw it...

A barrier. A fucking barrier.


No, no, no, no, no. I was not going to be stopped by a goddamn barrier. I needed a way through. Ashley and I began discussing what to do. The barrier appeared to have an opening underneath it so all we had to do was slip under it. The trick was getting through the human wall in front of it. We were only a few rows away from the barrier so, if we could part those humans, we could just slip under. But how? I suddenly became one with the girl from earlier. I couldn't take my eyes off that barrier. I was like a dog staring at at thick, juicy steak. No, actually, I felt like a dog with a piece of food balanced on my nose, poised, ready to strike the moment I heard the signal. I couldn't take my mind off of it... I couldn't stop looking at it... I had to get under that barrier.

Suddenly, the lights went off. Another scream exploded from the audience and the force of a thousand people suddenly slammed against our backs. People cried out in pain. I put aside my barrier hunger for a second when my brain registered the music playing. It was a simple synthesizer beat with a piano track playing over it. Huh? But that's... that's the third Shinsou track from Kisou. Kisou? But that CD is eight years old! What? I turned to Ashley and I was like "What the hell! This is from Kisou!" I couldn't believe it!

And thus bring us to the concert's wildly random and exciting setlist:

304 Goushitsu, Hakushi no Sakura
Byo 「」 Shin
Gaika, Chinmoku Ga Nemuru Koro
Reiketsu Nariseba
Hageshisa to, Kono Mune no Naka de Karamitsuita Shakunetsu no Yami

-Kyo solo- (INWARD SCREAM)

Gyakujou Tannou Keloid Milk




The band members began walking out one by one... Shinya, Die, Toshiya, Kaoru, Kyo... But I think I missed most of that. As people began shoving, pushing, and desperately screaming the names of the band members, I suddenly saw a boy shove through two girls on the barrier and throw himself underneath it.

I lost it. As if someone had shot a gun next to my ear, I began pushing through the girls in front of me.  One of the girls, tightly clutching the barrier,  turned sideways and began pointing under the barrier screaming "Shita! Shita!" ("Go under! Go under!"). I barely had enough room to squeeze a leg through, but I rammed myself between the people standing there and burst through to the other side. I collapsed to the floor on my hands and knees, then scrambled desperately to my feet. I turned around to see Ashley behind the barrier pointing at me and laughing. I started screaming for her to follow me and she quickly dove under the barrier too. We rejoined on the other side, unhindered, ready to kick some ass.

I took a quick assessment of the band. Kaoru was wearing that awesome, blingin' cross necklace and had shoulder-length black hair and (thankfully) no mustache. Toshiya also had shoulder-length black hair that seemed slightly unkempt. He was wearing a long, pleated skirt and leggings. Shinya was wearing one of the tour shirts cut into a tank top and had the adorable, blond poodle-hair. Die looked great.  His hair is down to his armpits and it flutters around him like he's in a shampoo commercial. He had on a white wife-beater and he just looks good. Kyo was wearing that $3000 leather jacket and had his now short, black hair gelled back like he was Elvis or something. Sorry Kyo, not a fan of the hair. The band seemed to be in high spirits right from the start. Kyo was making angry, growling faces at the audience and Kaoru was nodding his head arrogantly. Die and Toshiya were all smiles. And Shinya was just being Shinya, but we love him for it.

And then the band dove straight into one of the biggest shockers of the night: 304 Goushitsu, Hakushi no Sakura. Oh my gawd. That song is from Dir en grey's first album GAUZE (1999). The thing about Dir en grey is... they don't like to play older music. The band went from being completely visual-kei to not at all visual-kei, and the early half of their career seems to embarrass them. They avoid their earlier music almost entirely, which is a shame because a lot of it was really amazing. Lately, however, the band seems to be looking backwards as well as forwards (thus the concept of the Uroboros) and getting to hear a song like 304 Goushitsu was both shocking and amazing. I turned to Ashley and screamed "it's 304!!!" Die had out his acoustic guitar and began to play with lightning fast speed. Shinya was beating the fuck out of the drums. Even though the song is not particularly hard-core by Dir en grey's current standards, the audience was freaking out so much that everyone started pushing, shoving, headbanging, and throwing their fists as if it were Zan or something.   Also, I believe Kyo tweaked some of the lyrics a bit. I'm not 100% positive, so I apologize if I misheard him, but I think he changed some of the words.

After 304, Dir en grey leaped straight into another shocker, Byou 「」 Shin! Whoa, I did not see that one coming either! That song was originally one of Dir en grey's indies songs about 12 years ago, but they redid it in 2003. Once again, that song hasn't made an appearance live in years. The audience was going absolutely ballistic. Kyo (who had already ditched his leather jacket) would scream and, when the string section alternated shouting with him, the whole audience would shout along as loud as possible. I couldn't even hear Toshiya and Kaoru and Die over the shouting of the audience. It was intense. Already two songs in and the entire audience was dripping with sweat and their hair was completely plastered to their faces. Audience-wide collapsing seemed to happen every few seconds. I spent as much time grabbing people's limbs and trying not to fall over as I did rocking out. People were bailing. Some were already fainting and getting pulled limply out of the crowd. All I could think as I watched this was, "I swear it wasn't this hot last time. Why is it so hot?" Meanwhile, Ashley and I continued our mission to push forward. We kept pushing and sneaking through people whenever parts of the crowd fell down. Within a matter of songs we'd pushed a good halfway up from the second barrier.

After Byo 「」 Shin came THE FATAL BELIEVER, another song I felt hadn't shown up in awhile, though it's a much more recent release. I love when the entire audience screams "kill yourself!" as loud as possible. I was close enough now that I could watch the band really well. The five of them looked so energized! I should add that I could see Kyo's new back tattoo pretty well. The 1000-armed Kannon looks finished and there are swirly clouds on Kyo's shoulder-blades now. The design wraps around his sides as well and wraps around so far that you can see the design even from the front.

Next came one of the recent Uroboros songs: Gaika, Chinmoku ga Nemuru Koro. Here the crowd got particularly crazy and I was finding it harder and harder to keep my footing. I was starting to get that "gee, I hope I survive this show" feeling, but I couldn't control the urge to keep pushing closer. Toshiya's shouting was loud and ferocious as always, and Kyo's tumble-down of rage at the end of the song was eerie and disturbing. Crazy animal noises and screams burst out of his mouth and the crowd began tossing and turning like a ship in a bad storm. I kept losing Ashley, then re-finding her. Meanwhile, more and more people were being pulled unconscious from the audience.

Just when I thought it couldn't get any more intense... Reiketsu Nariseba. Ashley and I gave each other a look because it was during Reiketsu Nariseba at the last FC show in December that she and I lost each other completely. The crowd, of course, went ballistic. Reiketsu is such a fantastic crowd-stirring song. You go from immediate intensity to a calm, religious middle section in which everyone is given a chance to watch Kyo stand upon the crate, arms held out like some kind of glorious preacher. Then, just as quickly, the music bashes right back into chaos and the audience unleashes the intensity they've been bottling up for the last minute and a half. People started moshing a bit, in fact, and slam-dancing around into each other. Yeah, like we weren't having enough problems standing up straight! I'm all for moshing but not when the audience was already in such a precarious position!

Reiketsu moved into the newest song, Hageshisa to, Kono Mune no Naka de Karamitsuita Shakunetsu no Yami. Let's just call it Hageshisa. I love this song live so much. For most songs, the audience sings only certain verses or shouts certain things unless Kyo specifies. For Hageshisa, however, the audience sings the entire chorus with him, flying high-note and all.

After this came another total surprise: Kasumi. Huh. Not only an older song, but a very slow, pretty one. The audience settled down a bit (well, as much as they could) and swayed and nodded to the music. Kyo sang beautifully and Toshiya had a really wistful look on his face. Die's hair was fluttering around him so much that sometimes it was impossible to see his face behind all that beautiful hair. The song feels like a lullaby and I tried to sway with it as well. Still, it was so hot. I was beginning to feel the pain of having moved up so close to the stage (I was only about ten rows back from the stage at this point). My feet were constantly being stepped on and people had been pulling, pushing, grabbing, and dragging me around. Now, standing still, all the parts of me that hurt seemed to awaken and start screaming. And the heat. I realized that the venue simply didn't have any air conditioning turned on. None at all. Standing still caused more people to pass out, which would cause whole sections of the crowd to collapse. This is scary because falling to the floor is the worst thing that can happen at a concert. Falling = getting trampled.

Kasumi melted effortlessly into one of Kyo's "inward scream" solos. He stood upon the crate and began to both sing and emit strange, eerie noises while a single light shown down upon him. These sounds included hitting himself in the chest as well as strange bird-like calls and piercing, high-pitched screams. Each sound echoed for a very long time so that each one rippled into the next. It was truly haunting and the audience, for the first time, fell very still and silent.

That is until the next song started up. Probably the biggest shocker of the night other than 304... Dir en grey played Gyakujou Tannou Keloid Milk. When the Oriental-sounding intro started up, the entire audience looked around at each other in shock and went "whooooooooa!" It's no secret that I love the crap out of Dir en grey's Kisou CD, even though it's old (2003) and Keloid Milk was one of my all-time favorites. The audience seemed to be alternating between rocking out and just bouncing to the beat. Toshiya tweaked a lot of the bass-line. While rocking back and forth on his feet, he starting winging a lot of the bass section and improvising new segments. He also had the bass set in such a way that it was loud and explosive, like thunder. The audience started throwing their fists with it.

After that came another one of my all-time favorites from Dir en grey's recent albums, ROTTING ROOT. I love how slinky the song is. I realized that, despite having seen Dir en grey live about seven times before this show, I'd never seen ROTTING ROOT live, so I was really excited. I love watching Die and Kaoru play their guitars during this song because it seems as if the two have some kind of melody-battle that always ends in perfect unison. Kaoru's face was always pointed downwards in concentration while Die was always throwing his head back and shaking out his hair. And sticking his tongue out at the crowd. Kyo was very sweaty at this point, emphasizing how lean his body is right now. Never tiring, Kyo remained spot-on for the entire show. The audience would scream "fucking tricky!" and Kyo would sing "men" back to us using various different voices.

Next was another song off the latest album: Bugaboo. I really love this song for its eerie dissonance. Kyo was headbanging like crazy, sometimes with one foot on the crate, sometimes standing on the crate entirely. Unlike at past shows, the band didn't use any particularly fancy effects for this song. During the entire show, they just had a giant banner that said DIR EN GREY THE UNWAVERING FACT OF TOMORROW TOUR 2010. The only trick they really did was to flash lights on it so that the words would change colors. The audience continued to yell along with Kyo, filling in every growl with him.

Anyways, due to the audience calming down a bit for Bugaboo, I don't think anyone was ready for what was coming next. Namely, Obscure. Probably one of Dir en grey's most famous mosh-songs. Ashley and I exchanged a look of surprise (I love, love, love Obscure - it's one of my favorite songs) and then, without warning, the girl in front of me went tumbling backwards, her fingers clutching the back of the shirt of the guy in front of her. She was falling because the people in front of her were falling. This had been happening the whole show so I simply clutched the girl's clothing like I'd been doing and tried to stay up. So did a good twenty people around us. Unfortunately, this mass panicking, grabbing, and dragging proved to be a bad idea. A good ten people in front of me fell backwards, dragging me down with them. In a moment of terror, I realized I was completely on the floor. As I've said, this is the worst thing that can happen at a concert. I tried desperately to scramble to my feet, but the people in front of me had fallen on top of my legs. The people behind me all grabbed desperately at my arms and tried to pull me back up, but at this point the inevitable had happened. Everyone around me was back up and I was being trampled. The people behind me were yelling and pulling at my arms but I had about ten people literally standing on my legs. I don't know how long I remained on the floor, being trampled. The situation was so dire that people were pulling the people pulling me, trying to do anything they could to get me off the floor. Eventually, I somehow freed my legs and the people behind me dragged me to my feet. I thanked them profusely, then dove back into the crowd as if the moment hadn't happened. As scary as it had been, and as close as I'd gotten to serious injury, the only thing I could think about was the fact that I'd now lost that sweet spot I'd worked so hard to get. I scrambled back through the crowd in an attempt to return to the front where I'd been. By now, I'd lost Ashley completely and wasn't going to find her again.

Unfortunately, I can't remember much of Obscure due to all that. I was too frazzled for the rest of the song. I apologize.

After Obscure, however, Kyo went into Agitated Screams of Maggots -unplugged- which is sort of like the more wild version of his inward scream solo. However, Kyo chose to tone down the wildness for this particular ASOM -unplugged- performance. He still screamed and growled a lot, but he focused on making strange noises and piercing shrieks. He stomped the crate over and over again and, from above, a massive plume of smoke jetted down upon him from the ceiling and trickled out around the crate. This was a really cool effect. In the past, the band used a lightning effect during ASOM -unplugged- but this time they swapped that for issuing huge jets of steam down upon Kyo while he screamed. By the end of his fit, Kyo dropped to his knees and began scraping the microphone across the top of the crate. It looked like his knuckles were getting scraped across the crate too. As he was finishing up, Kyo drooled profusely all over the crate. The sound of the microphone against the crate was really horrible and echoed for a long time, even as the opening music started up for...

DOZING GREEN. Another one of the newer songs. Anyways, it was around this time that I realized my new spot had put me next to a couple girls who were really making me mad. There was a blond one and a black-haired one. The blond one actually screamed out Kyo's name during ASOM -unplugged- when it's supposed to be silent. This was something I thought the Japanese were polite enough not to do and I felt a lot of people around me shift uncomfortably when she did it. I couldn't believe she had the nerve. As DOZING GREEN went on, I began to realize that this girl was responsible for almost every single collapse in my area. How is that possible, you wonder? Well, every time she became "overcome" with emotion, she would intentionally fall backwards, knocking down everyone behind her. After watching her scream out in the middle of Kyo's solo, then watching her knocking down my section (myself included) over and over, I began to feel a black hatred for this girl that I couldn't swallow. Eventually, I lost it and slammed my elbow into her chest as hard as I could. That shut her up for the rest of DOZING GREEN, but she perked right back up again when the song was over.

After DOZING GREEN, Kaoru held the static for a very long time. Sadly, I know Dir en grey well enough to actually recognize the freaking static. In my head I was going "Shokubeni, Shokubeni, it's gonna be Shokubeni." Sure enough, it was Shokubeni. Sweeeeet. Everyone rocks out so hard to this one. Unfortunately, that blond girl wouldn't stop fucking up everything in my area (namely, the entire section in front of Kyo's crate). I watched people crying out as she threw herself backwards on top of people, knocking them over, and I could see how frustrated everyone was getting.  I was getting angrier and angrier and angrier and then, suddenly, my mind went blank. The next thing I knew, my fist had connected with her face. Now, I am not a violent person. I'm known to be pretty passive, generally, and I get mad when people intentionally hurt others. But I just lost it. This girl was rude, inconsiderate, and making an already painful experience that much harder for everyone. So I just punched her in the fucking face. I didn't even have time to be surprised at myself because it was so satisfying to watch her stumble. This seemed to slow her down for awhile. Anyways, Kyo did his little solo during Shokubeni with the microphone held away, using the strength of his own voice to sing the chorus.

Shokubeni was followed by one of my personal favorites: RED SOIL. I don't think I can ever get sick of that song. Not to mention the way Die's hair flutters in the air during the song, it almost feels like you're watching a music video. I love the way the audience actually growls the entire chorus along with Kyo. Everyone was jumping up and down so much that the best thing to do was let your body go limp and allow the audience to pull you up and down with them. Kyo was screaming for us to give him more, and give him more we did!

When RED SOIL ended, Kyo suddenly jumped in front of the crate and went up to the edge of the stage. He started beckoning everyone forward, glaring at us and gesturing for us to come get him. He even started pointing at his eyes, then pointing at people in the crowd and having stare-downs with them. He did this to a good ten people. I don't even know how I survived that moment. The crush was so intense that I was ready to just close my eyes and die in there. Die came up to the front as well and started yelling at everyone and holding up his guitar. Toshiya was roaming, twirling his fingers and grinning. I kept thinking "damnit Kyo, the way you're riling up this audience you're going to get us all killed! Are you crazy?!" Then, just when I thought it couldn't get any tighter in there, Kyo bent himself double and unleashed a bone-crushing growl.


Oh fuck. Way to go, Kyo. You just took an already deranged audience, riled them up, then went into Zan?! Yup, we're gonna die. I know some people were not fond of the new version of Zan, but I love it, and experiencing it live solidifies that for me. I've never experienced the original 1999 version of Zan live, but when I see it on DVDs, it always comes off as a bit of a mess to me. Like something gets lost in translation between the album and the live. But the new version, when played live, is so spot on it's insane. The precision, the transition-less pace changing, all of it lends itself to making the audience absolutely lose its mind. It is the ultimate beat-em-up song. Every time Kyo yells "psycho!" the entire audience threw their fist and yelled it with him. Some people even jumped into the air and crash-landed onto the people in front of them (security wasn't very happy about this). The whole string section was yelling and holding up their instruments and trying to rile us up while Shinya pummeled the crap out of the drums with an occasional sideways smirk on his face.

When the song ended, the band left the stage fairly abruptly and without looking back at us (except Toshiya who threw up his arms as if going "goal!"). Now came the painful wait for encore. As I was standing there, I suddenly realized something didn't feel right. I couldn't figure out what it was but... something wasn't right. I reached down to nervously knead my skirt and... it wasn't there. Um... what? What? It couldn't be... I felt around desperately and realized...

I had lost my fucking skirt. Holy shit. It must have gotten pulled off in the audience! I was literally standing there in nothing but a tank top and tights! I didn't know what to do! Well, there was nothing I could do! I just pulled down my tank top as far as I could (it was stretchy from being completely soaked in sweat) and scanned around the floor for my lost garment. Amazingly enough, after about five minutes, I noticed something black on the floor under the feet of someone in front of me. On a whim, I dove down for it and, sure enough, it was my skirt. But how to get it back on? With no other options available, I just clutched the shoulder of the person in front of me and tried to step back into it (easier said than done). The girl next to me noticed what had happened and started giggling. I gave her a look like "yeah, yeah, ha ha." But hey, I wasn't the only one with problems. There were people in the audience holding up lost shoes too, looking for potential owners.

Anyways, encore is always a scary part of the show. The heat was so unbearable that I felt as if I'd lost my very life force. I put my hands on the shoulders of the person in front of me and lay my head on their back. The fainting reached its peak at this point, now that everyone had stilled. Security was standing on boxes, using flashlights to try and find people who had passed out from heat and exhaustion. I was shocked to see one particularly fierce girl from earlier getting pulled out, completely unconscious. During encore alone they pulled out at least fifteen people, including a couple of boys. That doesn't even account for the good 30+ people I'd seen get pulled out before that. This was totally ridiculous. There hadn't been nearly as much fainting last time I saw the band live at the same venue. Where was the goddamn air conditioning?! Security had such unbelievably concerned looks on their faces as they scanned the crowd. In the silence, I could hear the people around me gasping painfully for air. It was a horrible sound. I, myself, found air to be in strangely short supply. Even trying to stand up straighter, there was simply no air to be found above the audience. Many people tried to call for encore, and just as many didn't have the lung capacity or the strength to make a sound. I was starting to wonder if even I could survive through encore. Encore just didn't seem to be coming. I don't know how much time passed before the band returned, but it was unbearable. One girl in front of me started crying from misery.

But finally the band came back. This took people's minds off the pain and everyone became excited all over again. Then the band went into another really surprising song: Hotarubi. Wow, that's old. And very different from what I would expect from Dir en grey now. The song is very slow and pretty and sad. I was never the biggest fan of it, but I can appreciate how pretty it is live. Toshiya had this really wistful, dreamy look on his face during the song, like he was thinking about something. Kyo just stood perfectly still and sang. The audience was calm and respectful.

As a totally fantastic transition, Hotarubi went into DISABLED COMPLEXES. This worked great because the calmness of Hotarubi melted into the lazy first half of DISABLED COMPLEXES... like the calm before a really chaotic storm. And, just as expected, when Kyo hit that sudden high note signaling the transition in the middle of the song, everyone started going crazy. Everyone was trying to jump up and down, though I don't think we were particularly successful. Die was doing that full-body headbanging that looks so awesome (especially with the long hair).

The pace didn't slow down at all as the band went into STUCK MAN. Trying to ignore the fact that every inch of me hurt, that I was so thirsty I had water bottles dancing in front of my eyes, and the fact that some bizarre, inexplicable taste was permanently tattooed inside my mouth, I just started bopping to the beat. Everyone around me was trying to do much the same, but some people were using this lapse in intensity to start pushing people around. Kyo tried to get us all to jump for this song, but I think we failed again. Oh well, we tried.

As if it couldn't get any crazier... AGITATED SCREAMS OF MAGGOTS. I love this song live. Nothing classier than 3000 people screaming "I'll rape your daughter on your grave!" as loud as possible. As always, it's like... Die: I'll rape your daughter! Kyo: On your grave! Toshiya: Waaaaaaaaaagh!!! Gotta love it.

The show took a surprising turn by going into Kodou. I didn't expect a song like Kodou to appear so late in encore, but the break was greatly appreciated (the band actually took a breather before they played it). This song is so powerful live. What struck me in particular was how the entire audience raised their arms in salute when Kyo screamed "ohayou!" ("good morning!") at the end of the song. We all knew he was going to do it, and everyone threw up their arms in anticipation of it.

And then Kyo began to yell "Last song! Last song!" "Okay," I told myself. "One more song, you can do it. You've made it this far, so there's no dying now!" And then, much to my shock as well as everyone else's, the band played the old encore favorite: CHILD PREY. Now, to be perfectly honest, I've never cared much for CHILD PREY, but the crowd around me got pretty riled up so I just went with it. Admittedly, I couldn't hear Die and Toshiya singing the chorus over the audience singing it, but that's okay because I made up for that by singing along myself! We all pushed, shoved, threw our fists, and went nuts. Die threw water from his water bottle all over us and it felt soooo good in the heat. In my head, I was desperately begging him to throw more. During the song, Toshiya jumped up on the crate and... he was shirtless! Whoo! Holla! He was just standing up there in a skirt and leggings, sweaty (and very toned), and grinning at us all. And then...

It was over.

Kyo stood atop the crate and started clapping above his head. He scanned around the audience, nodding and smirking, and even gave us a small, rare smile. Once again, he did the thing where he points at his eyes, then at audience members. Then he nodded a few more times, jumped off the crate, and disappeared. The rest of the band began roaming the stage, stirring us up. They all took turns throwing picks. Kaoru's picks were purple and he nodded at us as he threw them. Toshiya was smiling as he tossed his. So was Die, who was grinning ear to ear. Shinya came out from behind the drum set and jumped up onto the crate to toss some drum sticks. Goddamn can he throw far. I avoid all tossed items, though. That's a circle of death you don't want to wind up in. And then, with one last wisp of Shinya's poodle-hair, the band was gone.

I wanted to fall to the floor. I wanted nothing more than to collapse to the floor right where I was. But no... I had to find Ashley. That was a must. I began pushing through people, looking around, trying to find her. I must say, the aftermath of the show was really scary. I've never seen anything like it, not even at other Dir en grey fan club concerts. It looked like a war zone. People were stumbling and swaying... some people were unconscious and being rushed out by security by their arms and legs. Out in the bar area, the edges of the walls were littered with collapsed bodies. People were lying in sweaty, unconscious heaps and grotesque positions, completely unconscious or gasping for air. I couldn't believe what I was seeing. As for myself, two words just kept running through my mind: "sit water sit water sit water." I needed water and I needed to sit. My feet were screaming. After awhile I found Ashley. The two of us felt like death. The show was fantastic, but we wanted to get out of there as fast as possible. We bought some drinks inside really quick, stared in horror at the devastation of collapsed bodies, then went back outside. Ashley had lost a bracelet during the show, but luckily we found it at the lost-and-found outside. Unfortunately, the line for cloak room was huge. Fuck. Lesson learned: used coin lockers instead. The wait in line was so unbearable that a few times I just crouched down like a defeated warrior until the line moved again. I could hardly move. It took us about an hour to get away from the venue. We sat down by some vending machines but they were sold out of almost everything. Too exhausted to do much of anything, Ashley and I decided to pick up a train to go home as fast as possible.

We parted way in the station and, when I tried to get through to my line, I found that my Pasmo card didn't have enough money. This is probably one of the luckiest things that's ever happened to me, as you'll discover soon. I went over to the machines to recharge my card and, while there, I ran into Risu (from Orchestrated Chaos) and a group of other foreigners I had met at previous shows. It turned out they were taking the same line as me, so I decided to ride the train back with them. On the train, they all talked about tomorrow's show and asked me about it. I had to admit to them that... I wasn't going. This elicited looks of shock on the faces of the group. I could barely bring myself to admit that I wasn't going because there was an indies concert the next day that I had tickets for (Lycaon's concert at Shibuya O-West; the last show with Mio and Eve). Even just thinking the words they sounded utterly idiotic in my head. Why the hell was I going to go to an indies show over Dir en grey? Was I out of my fucking mind? But I knew I didn't have a choice (or a ticket).

That is until Risu told me she actually had an extra ticket for the Wednesday show because someone bailed on it. What? Oh, but I couldn't. What about Ashley? We're concert-buddies, I have to go to Lycaon with her. But the more I thought about it, the more I wanted to rip that Lycaon ticket to shreds and go to Dir en grey. I told Risu to hang onto it and I'd contact her tomorrow. When I got home, I messaged Ashley and told her the situation. I explained that I really wanted to go to Dir en grey, even though it would be really unfair to her because she'd be at Lycaon alone and couldn't go to Dir en grey even if she wanted to change her mind and come with me. I told her I could go to Lycaon if she really wanted, or it was possible that we could scalp a ticket and just go to Dir en grey together.

Gee, which option do you think won out? Obviously, Dir en grey. There wasn't even a need to debate. We both knew what we really wanted. So Ashley and I decided, despite being crippled (seriously, I don't even know how I walked home) to go to Shinkiba the next day and find a scalper ticket for her. I would take Risu's ticket. I contacted Risu and told her hell yeah, I'm in.

So stay tuned for tomorrow's report to find out how it all went down!


  1. sounds like war... there is even that mad stalin controling everyone ::D
    but kakakakakakasumiiii ;_;

  2. Just wanted to say I LOVE your blog. I spent the last few days when I was bored at work catching up on the back posts, because I liked the style of writing and the topics you were posting about. Now that I'm caught up, I just wanted t let you know how awesome I think your blog is and everything~

  3. Wow, thank you very much! I'm glad I was able to provide an escape from the boredom of work! And I'm really glad you enjoy my blog in general (both writing style and topics)! If you like Dir en grey and enjoyed this post, I'm working on another one right now ^__^

  4. I still wonder why you aren't considering writing for a job >_>

  5. *sigh* Hi Evan... Well, actually... I've been reconsidering, to be honest. But I'm worried it's too late in college to switch over to/ add a journalism major or something (I'm almost tempted to drop my EAS minor - I don't give a shit about that minor). And I'm not sure what I'd do with journalism after college. I don't know how to combine my love of Japan with my love of writing (other than a blog like this). I don't know if I can have both, so I'm kind of at a loss right now. It's like, if I could get paid to write about being in Japan, and things like concerts, I'd be golden, but... such a paying job doesn't exist >_<

  6. I would have done pretty much anything to have been at that show. Absolutely amazing setlist, crazy emotional freeing performances... I could really really go for a nice release like that soon. I'm craving a Dir en grey show like no other right now, especially since you did such a beautiful job of portraying the intensity and awesomeness of it all. Thanks for writing, and I can't wait 'til I can see you again :-)