Whoohoo! Just got back from seeing D! I had the worst day ever before the concert, but D's delightful mix of metal music, rock, flamboyance, and tomfoolery improved the day 500%!
But really, I had the worst day ever. I won't get into it too much because I'll probably complain about it a bit in the Dir en grey posts coming up in a few days but let's just say that getting tickets for Dir en grey's two upcoming Tokyo concerts has proved to be one of the most torturous experiences I've had in Japan. So bad that I actually thought to myself, "I don't wanna be the Ticket Ninja anymore..." Before the D concert, I spent two hours running around post offices and banks trying to give some asshole on Mbok the 350 yen I still owed her for extra postage (around $4). This all happened because of a stupid misunderstanding we had over payment. This bitch won't send my ticket till she gets the remaining money... and the show is in three days! Unbelievable! So I ran around for hours with no make up on and in the extreme heat trying to do this transaction on a Sunday when no one is around. The worst part is, even after having a kind, helpful pregnant woman using the ATMs call some people she knew at the bank to help me, I was still unsuccessful. No, really, I never managed to send the money because this dumb bitch won't give me all the info I need. What a nightmare. By the time 1:30 rolled around, I realized I was a half an hour from home and didn't have anything with me for D. And I needed to be in Ebisu by 3:00! Fuuuuuuuuuuck.
I hopped a train home, ran from my station, got home, threw on some eyebrows (no, really, I have no eyebrows unless I draw them on, lol), and made sure to grab my D flags and my D fan for the show. Actually, the fans weren't used during the show, but the flags were, so thank goodness I brought them with me! Then I had to run back to a different station and get to Ebisu to meet up with Ashley. I wound up being fifteen minutes late (would have been worse but I managed to catch an express to Shibuya). I must have had a "deer in the headlights" look on my face because Ashley was immediately like, "what's wrong?" Plus I wasn't wearing make up, which must have been terrifying, lol. Actually, when Ashley asked what was up, I suddenly realized that it was 3:15 and I hadn't had a single thing to eat or an ounce of liquid to drink all day. And my face was sunburned. We decided to find LIQUIDROOM (the venue) and then go to a cafe for some tasty shrimp sandwiches. I also had a honey cafe latte, mmm.
Anyways, LIQUIDROOM is a strange venue. You have to go up the stairs where there is a bar and merchandise and... a cafe. No, really, they have a whole cafe up there. Crazy thing is that you go up the stairs... but you have to go down another flight of stairs to enter the stage area. Weird. LIQUIDROOM itself is neither a large or small venue. We probably had around 1500 people. D is a major band and not indies, so it's definitely a full-sized crowd. In fact, this concert was being held in honor of D's second anniversary as a major band. Because of that, the show was sold out.
Before the show, Ashley and I met two very funny Russian girls who were visiting Japan, love D, but didn't speak a word of Japanese... and not much English either. Still, they were very friendly and funny and we tried to help them out as best as we could (through very slow talking and lots of sign language, lol).
So let's get to it! Once again, I would like to introduce D... in their new outfits!
These new outfits crack me up. Asagi's shorts just keep on getting shorter... and he has DD boobs, it seems. Hide-zou and Hiroki look as fine as they ever do, but Ruiza... that hair, my gawd, why?! Ruiza, I love ya, but you aren't a pretty pretty princess, sorry, lol. But Tsunehito, damn. I give the cornrows and the panda makeup an A+++. Lovin' it.
So we got inside and were kinda stuck in the back as usual. The Russian girls decided to shove up closer to the front, but Ashley and I stayed where we were, figuring everyone might rush forward when the show started. Well, D started at least twenty minutes late. They're always late. I don't know why. But then the lights went out, the intro music started, and everyone rushed! Ashley and I were able to move all the way up to where the Russian girls were and stood beside them. Yay us! We solidified our spot within a row or two of the middle barrier.
So here's our lovely setlist for the night:
Yami Yori Kurai Doukoku no Acapella to Bara Yori Akai Jounetsu no Aria
Akaki Hitsuji ni Yoru Bansankai (new song)
Hibi Wareta Zakuro Ishi (new song)
-Hiroki's birthday MC-
K no Hisoukyoku (new song)
Mayugatsu no Hitsugi
Gate to the sky
Yami no Kuni no Alice
Toki no Koe
Hanatsumi no Otome ~Rosova Dolina~
Alright, let's get to it! I won't go over every single song or anything... just highlights and fun stuff. The intro was pretty awesome, for one thing. Some kinda crazy mix of rock and dance beats and music box sounds. Totally bad-ass. The members of the band - drummer Hiroki, guitarist Hide-zou, bassist Tsunehito, guitarist Ruiza, and vocalist Asagi - came out one by one to veeery excited cheering and screaming. The band seemed quite happy to show off their new costumes. Asagi, in particular, was twirling and tossing around his giant, poofy dress like a little girl dressed up as a princess for Halloween. I'm glad you like it, Asagi, hahaha. Tsunehito's new outfit seems to have given him this bizarre confidence and bad-assery. The last few times I've seen D, Tsunehito came off as a more shy member... but not with his new panda make-up and leather! He was having insane, wide-eyed stare-downs with the crowd and screaming and shouting at the audience even if he didn't have a microphone. I couldn't help but go "raaar!" right back at him, lol.
The band opened up with the classic Yami Yori Kurai Doukoku - oh fuck it, I don't feel like typing that whole name, lol. Almost immediately all the D furi came back to me. Lots of epic arm-raising, fist-throwing, etc. The third song they played is called Dangan, which is Japanese for "bullet." Already into the third song and Asagi was whipping out props. For this number, he had a fake pistol. Some people in the audience had brought fake guns with them as well (man, you could never get away with that in America. You'd have cops swarming the place, lol). Anyways, the gun thing was a lot of fun. Asagi wasn't really pointing the gun at anyone but more just... twirling around and dancing with it, lol. Meanwhile, the entire audience made their hands into gun shapes and basically "shot" the stage repeatedly to the beat of the song (and it's a very fast-paced song, too). If you combine this hand gesture with bouncing around to the song, it's mad fun.
This was followed by two new songs. The first one up is called Akaki Hitsuji ni Yoru Bansankai. I love that title. It translates to "Dinner Party with a Red Sheep." I think that's why Asagi's hair is currently up in a sort of horn style. I think he's supposed to be the red sheep... or something... From what I've gathered seeing D live, I think Asagi is having a hard time deciding if he's a cat, a Doberman Pinscher, a white wolf, or a sheep. But he's Asagi, so he can get away with not picking one. Anyways, this song sounds absolutely fantastic so far. It's got this really jazzy beat to it and Asagi sort of "whoo whoos" and "ah ahs" his way through it like he's some kind of jazz singer performing on stage at a night club. The rhythm section is super fun and Tsunehito was bouncing around like crazy. Because the furi isn't really established yet, a lot of people in the audience just started dancing and bouncing in their spot because it's such a fun song. Asagi continued with the props. For this song he had a red cat o' nine tails (the kind of whip that has nine cords attached to the handle). Asagi cracked this thing around and tried to act all slutty with it. And pulled it off surprisingly well, lol. The dude loves his toys. Again, a sample of the song will be at the end.
The next song up is also new: Hibi Wareta Zakuro Ishi. This was a slower, prettier song. The audience stood still for most of it and just watched. Again, this song sounds fantastic so far. Really complex bass line and some great guitar solos.
Aaaand of course D played 7th Rose, because that song is fucking awesome. This was followed by Guardian, which is one of D's "play it for ten minutes straight and make everyone insane" songs. Most indies bands have one of these songs, and some bands continue to play that song in the "extended" style when they go major. From what I've seen, D actually likes to do two of these songs per concert. It's a little exhausting, but it's a lot of fun. Basically, D takes the most hardcore part of the song and repeats it over and over again, making the audience have to jump, headbang, and rock out repeatedly for a very long time. While this happens, the band members run around the stage and trade places with each other or take turns yelling into the microphone and making the crowd crazy. Ruiza was all smiles, especially whenever Asagi came over to put an arm around him and be friendly. Hide-zou got to yell into the microphone a lot while Tsunehito rocked out and made crazy faces at everyone. Asagi roamed around tossing his skirt and riling everyone up.
After Guardian, the band took their leave except for Hiroki, who stayed on stage to do a drum solo. I always feel bad for him that the band gets to take a break while he stays on stage and bulldozes calories on the drums, but he always does it with a big smile, so I guess it's okay. Hiroki's solos are really cool. He has this awesome ability to play the drums in such a complex, detailed manner that it sounds like music on its own without any other instruments in the background. He kept hitting the cymbals and pausing for everyone to scream his name before hitting them again. It was like "crash!" "Hirokiiii!" "crash!" "Hirokiiiiiiiii!" This went on for awhile, lol. But after he got into the solo itself he kept kicking up the beat while everyone clapped along with him. I'm just impressed by how musical he is using drums alone.
After the solo, Hiroki stayed sitting behind the drum set while the rest of the band came onstage. Asagi walked on stage last, carrying a large, round, green thing tucked under one arm and resting on his hip. It almost looked like a medicine ball, but after a second I realized... it was a watermelon. Um... what? Asagi looked around at the audience and said, "do you know what this is? It's a watermelon!" The audience looked very confused, lol. Asagi continued to flounce around with the watermelon, explaining that the band had brought the watermelon as a surprise for Hiroki because it was Hiroki's birthday! Aaaaaw, I didn't realize it was his birthday! Asagi continued to explain that Hiroki had been saying he really wanted to eat some watermelon now that it was summer and hot outside. Now, some of you readers may be wondering, "what the hell kind of present is a watermelon?!" Well, the thing you have to bear in mind is that, in Japan, any and all kinds of melons are absurdly expensive - they're considered a luxury item. A fruit that Westerners take for granted can cost a lot of money in Japan where melons aren't domestically grown. I would say, based on the roundness and quality of the watermelon Asagi was holding, that melon was probably around 10,000 yen (about $100). Needless to say, Hiroki looked damn fuckin' excited when he saw the watermelon and realized it was for him. Asagi hopped on over to Hiroki and handed him the watermelon. Hiroki nearly toppled under the weight of it and looked completely shocked. Hahaha. The thing is, Asagi may be wearing short-shorts and a dress but... he's actually a really big dude. The official website says he's 5'10" and 130 lbs (178 cm and 59 kg) but I think the site is just being nice, lol. Asagi's just very... filled out? He looks pretty damn strong because of his size too. He was carrying that watermelon around under one arm like it was a balloon, so I think Hiroki was stunned when he realized how heavy it actually was. The audience started yelling for Hiroki to eat the watermelon and he was like "aw, I wanna eat it now but I can't...!" After thanking everyone profusely, Hiroki gave the watermelon to a roadie. Then Asagi announced that they had another birthday present for him! Hiroki looked veeeery excited, lol! Asagi took a black bag from a roadie and twirled on over to Hiroki to give him the rest of his present. It was a black bag like the kind you'd get at a clothing store. Hiroki looked really excited when it was handed to him. He held the bag up with the brand name facing out and he asked us, "can you read it?" Um, no, actually, lol. So Hiroki slowly read the brand name syllable by syllable as "ku-ro-mu haa-tsu" - the Japanese, syllabic way of saying "Chrome Hearts". The entire audience went "ooooooooh!" For those who don't know, Chrome Hearts is a fashion line (I think it's American) that is male-oriented and rock-oriented. It's veeeeery popular among men in Japan (especially the musicians, it seems) and it's pretty expensive. The audience started yelling for Hiroki to open the present, although he looked kind of nervous. He finally decided to open it and it turned out the band had bought him a Chrome Hearts hat! Knowing Chrome Hearts, that's probably a $200 hat at least. Hiroki looked very excited and put it awkwardly over his poofed up hair. He said the hat would be really convenient because he could use it to keep his bangs out of his face in the heat. Wow, D is good at gift-giving... those were really nice presents. Hiroki looked super excited.
Well, anyways, after a few more happy birthday cheers for Hiroki, the band went back to music. Asagi announced that, for Hiroki's birthday, they would play one of his favorite songs, which was Sleeper. After Sleeper, D played another new song: K no Hisoukyoku. This song sounds super bad-ass. This is definitely going to be one of those insanely hardcore metal songs that D is famous for. Despite their flamboyant, visual-kei look, D is still a metal band at the core. Because of that, the number of male fans they have at these shows always surprises me. There was this one green-haired guy towards the front of the crowd who was rocking out so much that sometimes he would start jumping up and down in the middle of the otherwise stationary audience. This one girl near me was rocking out so insanely that she kept accidentally flying into me. I don't mind, though - rock on, girl!
Actually, I'm just gonna have to waste a paragraph here and bitch about one of the bitchiest fucking fans I've ever encountered at a concert. Okay, so during the show, things shifted around a little and I wound up with the two Russian girls on my right and Ashley directly in front of me. The girl on Ashley's right was Japanese, and never before have I seen a bigger son of a bitch at a visual-kei concert. I started to notice it around halfway through the show. This girl always had her shoulder pressed into Ashley's even though there was room on her other side. She would continuously start pushing against Ashley and intentionally waving her arms around in front of Ashley's face during furi. At first I tried to ignore this, but the pushing kept getting more intense and I couldn't figure out any reason for it. Ashley wasn't pushing this girl, moving around, or bothering anyone. She did all the furi within the width of her own body. So what the fuck?! When everyone had their arms up, this girl would shove Ashley's arm out of the way and put her own arm in front. Sometimes she even grabbed Ashley's arm with her hand and threw it out of the way. I wanted to ignore it, but then I saw the Japanese girl turn to Ashley and actually yell "yamete yo!" ("stop it!") at her. Whoa whoa whoa whoa what?!! I was stunned. Did this girl, who was shoving Ashley around and purposely blocking her view, just tell Ashley to stop pushing?! When Ashley hadn't pushed her even once?!! Did I really just see that!? Eventually, Ashley got annoyed and shoved the girl's arm out of the way. This bitch had the nerve to fight back and start pushing Ashley again! At a D concert, no less! I started making a really angry face and the Russian girl next to me gave me a questioning look. I pointed at the Japanese girl and flipped the bird. The Russian girl started watching and, when she saw what was going on, she gave me this look like, "whoa, what the fuck?" Ashley and the Japanese girl finally started having a full-on shoving war and this bitch just wouldn't stop. And she continuously kept yelling at Ashley to stop! Unbelievable! Ashley had done nothing wrong and this bitch had the nerve to shove her and then blame it on her! Well, I lost it. No, really, I lost it. I realized I was missing out on what was happening on stage because this bitch was taking all my attention away. Not only that, but I know Ashley. If that bitch kept up any longer, Ashley was going to kill her. Sooooo I lost it. When Ashley and the bitch started shoving angrily against each other, I shoved my arm in between them from behind and side-swiped the Japanese girl in the ribs as hard as I could. The element of surprise combined with the fact that I slammed this girl as hard as possible caused her to go flying. She stumbled into the girl on her right and simply froze. I was shocked by her reaction. She just froze and stood there with her arms dangling at her sides for the rest of the song. After that song, she finally let up. She never moved out of her spot, bothered Ashley, or anyone else. She barely raised her arms above her head. When the Russian girl saw what I did, she threw her arms around me and gave me a thumbs up. I'm sorry, but it had to be done. It pisses me off that I even have to chastise people my own age who can't act like adults. I'm not a goddamn babysitter, damnit. Fucking hell.
Well anyways. We also got to do Night-ship "D" which is always a massive crowd pleaser because you get to whip out the flags and do synchronized flag-dancing with the audience. Asagi came out on stage with a giant flag and that was the signal to pull our own flags from their cases. I surprised myself by remembering about 80% of the moves without having to watch anyone else. The especially difficult move is when everyone lowers their flags to chest level and waves them side to side for a few measures, then raises their flags into the air and waves them side to side. Doesn't sound too difficult, but if you forget to lower your flags at the beginning then you wind up being the only person in the crowd holding their flags in the air and... you wind up looking like a dumbass, lol. I posted this last time I wrote about D but, for those curious, here's a link to a video of how Night-ship "D" looks live, complete with all the flag moves. Sorry it's just a link but Avex doesn't let me embed it:
Anyhoo, we had other hits like Yami no Kuni no Alice (which, thankfully, didn't get permanently stuck in my head this time). D also played some of the new music from 7th Rose. They played Independent Queen, during which Asagi whipped out a riding crop and proceeded to act very kinky with it. Asagi is shockingly good at moving his hips around like a female dancer.
After Independent Queen we had Hydrograph, which is always bad-ass fun. After Hydrograph, D went into their second "play it for ten minutes straight and make everyone insane" song: Toki no Koe. That's when we really get to rock the fuck out! I think Toki no Koe actually went on for more than ten minutes. A few amusing things... as I've mentioned before, Asagi likes to wave his arms up and down in the air when we slow-headbang to make it look like he's controlling the movement of the crowd. For whatever reason, people in the audience started doing this motion with him. The result was about a thousand people do the most hardcore rendition of The Wave I've ever seen, lol. Once again, the members of the band ran around switching places and taking turns yelling into the microphone. Toki no Koe is tons of fun. Some people like to do the fist-grab headbang, others like to just jump into the air over and over. This one couple cracked me up. It was a boy and a girl and on every jump they would hold hands and leap into the air as high as humanly possible. Ten minutes later and they didn't seem to have lost any energy at all. I also chose to do most of the song by jumping, though I switched to the headbang occasionally. Whenever I did, I made sure to "accidentally" stab that bitchy Japanese girl in the back with my elbow, just to remind her that the invisible threat behind her still remained in case she decided to act up again.
When the song ended, the band thanked us over and over and left the stage. But of course it's not over. Duh. We all called for encore for a good five minutes before the band came back. D fans are very energetic with their encore-calling. The band returned and Asagi used heavy honorific Japanese to thank us for encore-calling. What he said was like the English equivalent of saying, "I thank you most graciously for requesting an encore." Then he grabbed his dress and curtsied. The audience burst out laughing, lol. Then they played Hanatsumi no Otome ~Rosova Dolina~ from the new album. Asagi brought out his next prop: a tambourine. I talked about this at their last show, but Asagi likes to go up on the crate during the bouncy parts at the beginning of the song and shake the tambourine while doing a full-body wiggle. It's truly incredible. Well, he's actually doing full-body belly dancing and gyrations, but I affectionately call it The Wiggle. But that shouldn't undermine the fact that Asagi's a damn good dancer. He can work his hips better than most women, lol. He also guided us through flamenco-style clapping with the tambourine.
At some point Asagi walked around with a basket throwing rose petals over the other band members while they played. Usually Ruiza smiles when Asagi does that, but he was having sound problems, so Ruiza shook the petals out of his hair and made a worried face like, "save the petals for after I stop fucking up." They also decided to play Tightrope - always a crowd-pleaser.
Anyways, after Tightrope, the band thanked us and left again. Buuuut the house lights didn't go back on so it obviously wasn't over. We called for encore some more and eventually the band came back. I remember Asagi did an MC where he talked about some upcoming lives. I guess D is going to do five nights in a row at Takadanobaba Area. He asked who was going and almost everyone raised their hand. Asagi was like, "whoa, almost everyone!" That didn't really surprise me, but then Asagi asked who was doing all five nights and about half the audience raised their hands. Holy crap! That's incredible! I guess D fans are just real die-hards. Anyways, the band finished up by playing Dearest You, which is always a cool song. At one point they had the entire audience grab hands and jump into the air with them. Lol. And then it was over. D thanked us over and over again, threw picks and drum sticks, then took their leave of the stage. Hiroki stayed behind to shout some thank yous at everyone for the birthday wishes, then he left too.
Anyways, that bitchy girl fled as soon as the show was over. Good thing, too. I was going to give her a nasty face, and I think Ashley was planning to punch her, lol. Girl saved herself, I guess, lol. Then we filed our way out of the stage area to use our drink ticket (well, actually, it was a pin, lol) and say goodbye to the Russian girls. The Russian girls were kind of crazy and bouncing around. They got us to do a group photo with them and they dragged every Japanese person nearby into the picture, lol. Everyone in the venue was laughing. Then Ashley and I got lots of hugs from them and the particularly crazy one decided to stick her face in Ashley's boobs and motorboat them in front of everyone for some reason, lol. The Japanese looked shocked, hahaha. Aaaaand then we took our leave and went out to a cafe.
And that was D! Well, I hope you enjoyed the post! I'm off to see Dir en grey tomorrow, so stay tuned!