Wednesday, July 21, 2010

DIR EN GREY - THE UNWAVERING FACT OF TOMORROW TOUR 2010 - 7/20

I literally just got back from seeing Dir en grey live at Shinkiba Studio Coast. The show was absolutely fantastic. It was everything I needed...

Getting tickets to the show was a bit of an adventure since we didn't win the lottery. I set up an Mbok account and Ashley used my account to win an auction. Due to the extremely close deadline, the auctioneer decided to meet Ashley and I at Tokyo Station to do the transaction in person. The girl was very sweet and found us right away. We gave her the money, she gave us the tickets, and we went on our merry way (and discovered a place in the station that sells cherry sandwiches).

Anyways, the day of the show started with Ashley and I taking a history final. Ew. Thanks to that final, I'd been up very late studying and gotten very little sleep (thanks to my friends Mark and Marina for letting me chill at their place and study with them!). After the final, Ashley and I hung around Jonathan's eating food and chatting. But we were sooooo sleepy that we kept wondering how we'd survive the show. Eventually, we decided to head out to Shinkiba and wander around the venue. We bought some popsicles and sat around outside 7/11 watching all the Dir en grey fans wandering around. Shinkiba is one of the most boring, empty parts of Tokyo so, on the day of a Dir en grey concert, the entire place becomes overrun by goths. 95% of people you see in Shinkiba are wearing black. It's pretty funny. Ashley and I resumed our game of "Who's Going into the Pit?" A girl walks by in high heels and a frilly dress... she's going to the back. A girl walks by wearing sweat pants and a towel around her neck... she's going into the pit. At one point, these guys walked by wearing t-shirts and jeans. It was hard to tell if they were going to do the pit or not... but then they disappeared behind the 7/11 and, when they reappeared, they were wearing basketball shorts and carrying their jeans over their shoulders. Ashley and I burst out laughing. Yeah, I think we know where they're going.

Well, we headed over to the actual venue, put our shit in the coin lockers, and waited around for our numbers to be called. It seemed to take forever for them to call us, even though it hardly took twenty minutes. After our numbers were called, Ashley and I ran inside as fast as possible. We had decided before the show to go to Kaoru and Toshiya's side. For the last two Dir en grey shows I'd started in front of Die and moved towards Kyo, so we decided today would be the day to give Kaoru and Toshiya some love. I'd give Shinya some love but he's stuck in the back, lol. Anyways, it's easy to squeeze in on Kaoru's side because a big gap remains until the crowd fills out. Ashley and I ran all the way to the other side of the venue (doors are on the right side by Die) and side-stepped our way in towards the left side of the stage.

The setup of the show seemed to be the same as the last two Tokyo shows. They had the same background banner declaring the name of the tour. Also, I forgot to mention this in either of my last two blogs, but the candles and on-stage altars have nearly doubled in size lately. At this point, the band has a bunch of candles lit in front of Kaoru's equipment, and there's a large altar in front of Shinya's drum set that includes religious figurines, candles, and even a large, stained-glass skull (it looks like it's made out of church windows). Ashley and I have this theory that Kaoru set that stuff up to ward off the evil spirits of onstage accidents. It really seems as if Dir en grey's onstage accidents and injuries have decreased to almost zero since they started putting up the candles and altars. Well, it's just a silly superstition, but it is kinda funny. Also, Kaoru's pre-show music selection was all death-metal and trance music. Lol.

Anyways, with absolutely no warning, all the lights went down. The crowd surged forward like a pack of enraged rhinoceroses. Ashley and I took this opportunity to rush up as fast as possible, sealing a spot around the third and fourth row between Kaoru and Toshiya. Anyways, Ashley and I decided to do one teensy little thing that I thought would be funny... As we were all rushing forward and shoving each other, Ashley screamed "this is madness!" as loud as she could. In response I screamed "THIS - IS - SPARTAAAA!" The Japanese fans were probably very confused, lol.

The third Shinsou track from Kisou began playing and the band members came onstage one by one. Everyone looked fantastic. Shinya's hair is still curly and he had a long-sleeved, somewhat see-through white shirt. He was pulling a poker face as always and barely so much as looked at the audience. Die came onstage wearing a black shirt with mid-level sleeves and jeans. I know I mention this a lot but... his hair. It is simply perfection. Toshiya was wearing a low-cut, mid-sleeve shirt with funny embroidery around the collar (same shirt he wore in the Rhythm and Drums book) along with a pleated skirt and leggings. Kaoru was wearing jeans, mid-sleeve black shirt, and the giant blingin' cross necklace. If that necklace wasn't blingin' enough, he was wearing another giant, silver necklace underneath it. He had a slight mustache too, yuck. Then Kyo came out and he looked pretty damn pimp too. His short, black hair wasn't gelled this time. He just had it spiky and fluffy. Trimmed his beard a little too. He was wearing a jacket, jeans, massive wallet chains, and sunglasses (but he took those off almost immediately). The audience was screaming bloody murder while the band members set up. The band was smirking at us and taunting us in that slinky Dir en grey way of theirs.

Just a quick mention of instruments that I forgot to do in my last few blogs... Kaoru has this absolutely beautiful new guitar. It's kind of round and black and it has the design of creeping tree branches spread across it. Almost like the Withering to Death album cover. Also, Toshiya's new bass was, of course, not used during the show. The poor guy got overly excited and broke it during their performance in Fukuoka. I feel bad because he was so proud of that bass (he designed it himself) and he sounded so sad when he blogged about it. He just had to settle for his other basses during the show. Oh, and Shinya's drum set is completely gold and white. Stunning.

And onto the setlist!

Shinsou
Byo Shin
AGITATED SCREAMS OF MAGGOTS
THE FATAL BELIEVER

Gaika, Chinmoku Ga Nemuru Koro
RED SOIL
Doukoku to Sarinu

Kasumi
-inward scream-
Shokubeni

ROTTING ROOT
BUGABOO
OBSCURE
AGITATED SCREAMS OF MAGGOTS -unplugged-
DOZING GREEN
THE DEEPER VILENESS
Reiketsu Nariseba
Zan

Encore:

THE FINAL
DISABLED COMPLEXES
STUCK MAN
CLEVER SLEAZOID
CHILD PREY
Hageshisa to, Kono Mune no Naka de Karamitsuita Shakunetsu No Yami

So yeah, after Shinsou, the band slammed right into Byo Shin. I really love this song live, I really do. The audience was extremely pushy, but right away I could tell that this crowd wasn't trying to topple each other over or even change spots. Everyone just wanted to move up as much as possible against each other. Everyone quickly became a synchronized, harmonious-type audience. I had a good feeling about this show. Not to mention the damn venue had the air-conditioning on this time. Anyways, I didn't want to linger on it too much during the show because that would be futile and counterproductive, but I couldn't help but keep an eye on Kyo towards the beginning of the performance and see how his mood was. As many mnow, Daisuke from Kagerou/the studs passed away five days ago at the age of 32. Kyo and Daisuke were extremely close, so I couldn't help but wonder how Kyo would be feeling. Kyo came onstage seemingly like his usual self, nodding at the crowd and wrinkling his eyebrows at everyone. But during Byo Shin it did become obvious that something was bothering him. Occasionally, during the song, Kyo would suddenly become very somber. He'd be going along like normal, screaming and growling, and then his face would fall and he would seem somewhat melancholy for a few seconds. I thought perhaps it was an illusion or a trick of the light (or that I was merely imagining things because of recent events), but then Kyo's fierce expression dropped away, he seemed to grow lost in thought, and he actually messed up the song. He was so lost in thought that he started doing the shouts at the wrong times. Kaoru's head whipped around and he gave Kyo a somewhat startled look. Kyo paused, they exchanged a glance, and then Kyo waited a few seconds until he could catch up properly with the rhythm. Whoops. That's okay, though. Kyo's human. We all make mistakes.

After Byo Shin they played AGITATED SCREAMS OF MAGGOTS. Phew, way to go from one fierce song to another! Although the audience wasn't into the whole "kill each other" thing at this show, they seemed to have doubled in passion and energy (at least in my area - can't speak for the whole crowd). When it came time for Die to yell "I'll rape your daughter!" the entire crowd screamed it so loud that I didn't even hear Die yell it. Kyo: "On your grave!" Toshiya: "UWAAAAH!" Oh, Toshiya. Despite Kyo's occasional melancholy, he was incredibly energetic for this show. Actually, the whole band was. It was hard for me to see Die, but he was headbanging and throwing around that glorious hair even more than usual. Kaoru was strutting his stuff and making faces at the audience and dominating like always.

After AGITATED was THE FATAL BELIEVER, which was fun as always. After that the band took a break. The crowd was pushing really hard but we had air-conditioning, so it was survivable. Also, this was around the time I began to notice how strangely "kind" our audience was. For example, my hair was disgusting and wet and plastered to my back. Every now and then, though, the girl behind me would gather all my hair in her hand and then put it over my shoulder for me. She probably did that so no one would be tangled in it (including herself). That was a strangely considerate thing to do, and we had even more moments like that later on.

The band came back and played Gaika, Chinmoku ga Nemuru Koro. Kyo decided to skip many parts of the chorus and have us sing it for him as loud as possible - along with Toshiya yelling into the microphone as loud as he could. I could really feel the passion of the audience at this particular show. The audience sang each word with crystal clarity and energy. I had one girl in front of me who was so into it that she would seem to just collapse on herself occasionally.

Next up was RED SOIL. Yes! I was so glad they threw this one back into the setlist. Now, I've always had certain songs where I like to watch certain band members. RED SOIL has always been the song where I like to watch Die but, unfortunately, the smoke screen affect was really extreme at this show and, combined with the reflection of the lights on the smoke, I pretty much couldn't see Die at all (and I often couldn't see Shinya either). Oh well. The smoke cleared up more later on. But Kyo was really into it for this song. During the screaming parts, he would crouch down on the crate in this crazy position with his feet spread as far apart as possible and his knees bent at a 90 degree angle. Then he would unleash that hailstorm of growls he's so famous for. The audience growled everything along with him.

RED SOIL was followed by Doukoku to Sarinu - another song I was really grateful to see again. Three Uroboros songs in a row, eh? Well, this has always been one of my favorite Uroboros songs. Again, the crowd was intense. We were all pushing forward to such an extent that there was never any point in trying to breathe properly. But still... everyone was so into it. Toshiya has this incredible way of performing where he seems to throw his entire body into every movement. I had a really good view of the band at this show and I could see everyone really clearly most of the time (and I didn't have to waste brain power on surviving the audience as much). Toshiya throws every inch of his body into every beat of the song, and he stomps around almost like he's dancing. I was really glad I could watch him from up close today. Shinya was also throwing his whole self into it. His hair was flying around as though he was caught in a windstorm and, when the song ended, he slammed the drum set and then collapsed sideways as though all his energy had been depleted. And, as always, he did this with absolutely no change in his facial expression. The ultimate poker face. The band was just so on at this show.

The band took another brief break and came back to play Kasumi. This song is very pretty live - like a lullaby. The audience grew very still and watched quietly. Kyo sang very passionately, but that melancholy look kept darkening his face again. Toshiya, who always seems to work with Kyo's emotions, also started to grow somber. As Kyo's face grew more sad, his eyes seemed to get watery. Then he started wiping furiously at his face. I was like, "oh my god, is he crying...?" It's always hard to tell if it's merely sweat or tears, but Kyo was definitely wiping angrily at his face during the song. He was singing along like normal, but then he suddenly started screaming the line, "daisuki na ehon wo yomi nekashitsuke, kurayami no naka, sayounara" ("I lull the child to sleep by reading the child's favorite picture book. In the darkness, goodbye"). Kyo absolutely flipped out on this line, prompting some people in the audience to lose their cool and start headbanging like crazy. Toshiya began stomping the stage while he played and throwing his whole body around to the music. Then, when Kyo got to the line, "ato nannen de, namida ga owaru?" ("after how many years will the tears finally stop?") he wiped furiously at his face again, held out that hand, and shouted the word "namida" ("tears") at his hand. Then he made a gesture as though to toss the tears away. Again, I could never say for sure if Kyo was crying or not, but...

When Kasumi fell into silence, the lights dimmed, Oriental-like music began to play, and Kyo stood upon the crate to perform one of his -inward scream- solos. Thanks to my close spot, the harmonious crowd, and various other factors, I could watch Kyo's performance very closely. The sounds he was making were ones I've never heard come out of him before. At first, he made this strange, warbling bird sound. He held it for a very long time, and it flowed into some deep, sutra-like chanting. Kyo didn't seem to utter any words exactly, but this chest-deep sound was emanating from him through this single, tuneless note. After that, he sang some intense notes mixed with high-pitched screams and squeals. At one point, he put his entire mouth against the microphone and began to make this strange squelching and chomping sound. I think he may have been biting the microphone. While holding one note, Kyo began smacking himself in the chest in order to stagger the sound.

You know, there was something I wanted to write about here, yet I'm not exactly sure how to write about it without sounding strange or creepy. I brought it up with Ashley and we had a long discussion about it, and we definitely seem to agree on the matter. Anyways, I often find that, along with listening to Kyo's voice and allowing oneself to become enveloped in the incredible cacophony of sounds he emits, it's extremely fascinating to watch Kyo's body during the -inward scream- solos. And no, I don't mean this in any sexual way whatsoever. Honest to god. When I'm watching his performance, "ooh, Kyo's sexy" is the last thing on my mind. What I'm referring to is the incredible precision and intent that goes into each and every movement Kyo makes. Every single inhale and exhale is executed with clear and total purpose. It's fascinating to watch the way his chest and muscles seem to move in complete isolation with each other. He seems to have three "centers" - the chest, arms, and his abdomen/hips, and he uses each one independently. I know Kyo comes up with these solos on the spot, but it's clear to me that he puts complete and total thought into each and every breath and movement.  But really, watching Kyo's body is a performance in and of itself. Ashley has done years of belly-dancing, and she was telling me how in belly-dancing - where muscle isolation is key - sometimes the dancer is expected to be able to tell a story through their physical movements alone. I feel like Kyo does that. I feel like he paints an image across his torso as he performs. What I found really incredible... almost disturbing to me, actually... was that, when Kyo holds a sound, he inhales so deeply that his chest contracts and his heartbeat becomes visible in the middle of his chest. I suppose that's why so many people consider Kyo to be such an incredible performer. I confess that I've never seen anyone quite like him before...

I hope that didn't sound weird or creepy. I meant it in no sexual, fangirl-ish way whatsoever. I suppose you could say I'm more "intrigued" by Kyo or... "in awe" of him, even.

When Kyo started to wind down the -inward scream- solo, a spotlight suddenly came down upon Kaoru. Kaoru began to emit this loud, undulating feedback from his guitar. Much to my surprise (I've never seen Dir en grey do this before), Kyo continued his solo along with Kaoru's feedback. The two very deliberately began to perform together. Kaoru's feedbank and Kyo's chanting seemed to get tangled up in each other yet work together in perfect harmony at the same time. It was very strange but really cool. And then Kyo fell silent and Kaoru's feedback drifted into a very familiar sound. From the feedback alone I knew the next song up would be...

Shokubeni, of course. We had another fantastic performance of Shokubeni. Even through the smoke I could see Die's hair flying around as he headbanged like crazy. The audience did the every-other-line way of singing along. We have Kyo going "kagome kago no naka!" and the audience repeating "kagome ka go no naka!" back at him. This one girl behind me must not have seen Dir en grey live before because she accidentally started to sing the line when it's only supposed to be Kyo. She was like, "kagome kago - oh..." As always, they dropped out the music and let Kyo perform the chorus solo and without a microphone. It seemed to take a lot of effort for him to get the whole chorus out and, while he was singing and screaming, he began stomping the crate as though trying to stomp the words out of himself.

After Shokubeni, the band took a brief break, then jumped back into ROTTING ROOT. I love that song, I really do. During the actual touring for THE MARROW OF A BONE, it seemed like Dir en grey neglected that song a lot. But now, a whole other album later, the band now plays ROTTING ROOT at virtually every show. I find something strangely sexy about the song. Kaoru was strutting around like top dog. He likes to make a lot of eye contact with the audience and nod his head at everyone. At one point, he made eye contact with somebody and curled his lip into a little snarl, then smiled. He kept coming up to the front of the stage and making dramatic rock star poses while he played.

Next up was BUGABOO. Dir en grey were definitely hitting up a lot of Uroboros at this show. One strange thing I remember... during the beginning of the song, Kyo spent the entire first minute with his body turned completely towards stage right (audience left) with his right arm held out straight and his fingers pointed in a gun shape. It was like he was aiming his words at something off on the side of the stage that only he could see. Also, during the part where Kyo is growling, "lost. The justice died just now. It killed rationality and arrogance. I am crushed", they did this cool affect where the venue shot a plume of smoke down upon Kyo alternating with his growls. This was a really cool affect because Kyo was bent over stomping the crate while he shouted and the smoke would jet down upon him with his stomping. The smoke made this intense hissing noise that went with the song really well. It was a really cool idea.

BUGABOO was followed by OBSCURE. Oh hell yeah. It's impossible not to get into this song live. The whole crowd was swaying and headbanging in total unison. And I was able to enjoy it this time instead of spending the whole song on the floor getting trampled. That was nice. Anyways, the song was amazing. Perhaps I got a little too into it because somebody behind me put their hand against the back of my head to keep me from headbanging into them too much. Whoops, sorry.

After OBSCURE, Kyo fell instantaneously into AGITATED SCREAMS OF MAGGOTS -unplugged-. At the other two Tokyo shows in June, Kyo opted for a slightly different way of doing this solo. For this one, however, he kicked it up a little more old-school and brought back the full piano score from the GLASS SKIN single. He put himself back into that crazy, spread-legged crouch on the crate and screamed bloody murder. When the piano score dropped down into the slower, eerier section, Kyo fell to his knees on the crate and began to sing strange, tuneless notes. Rather than reacting violently at the end of the performance like he usually does, Kyo simply fell silent. The silence melted effortlessly into the next song:

DOZING GREEN. Fantastic as always. Kyo was doing a little bit of belly-dancing during this song.

Next up was THE DEEPER VILENESS. Rockin' some MARROW songs. The male fans always love this song because everyone gets to scream "fuck!" over and over again. At the beginning when the song is winding into itself, the whole audience yells, "Hai! Hai! Hai! Hai!" and shakes their fists in time with the beat. I definitely remember Kaoru strutting around the front of the stage giving us tough-guy nods and occasionally throwing the horns.

Not wanting to drop the intensity level, Dir en grey leaped right into Reiketsu Nariseba. Hells yeah! Once again we had Toshiya doing his stomp-dancing. It's not just stomping because he tends to rotate in a full circle while he does it. He's one of the most free-moving bassists I think I've ever seen. He can't stand in one single spot for even a second. Anyways, during the middle part of the song when everything becomes quiet, Kyo jumped up onto the crate and turned with his back to the audience, showing off the massive 1000-armed Kannon tattoo on his back. He held out his arms and simply allowed the audience to scream wildly while the massive Kannon looked down upon us from above. It's a truly beautiful tattoo. According to a source on LiveJournal, the Kannon tattoo was done by the same woman who did Die's hand tattoo. Anyways, Kyo held this moment for a very long time. He continued to stand there, occasionally throwing his arms and trying to get us to scream louder. He even put his fingers to his ears like, "I can't heeeear you!" Everyone pushed forward shrieking.

And, of course, what's more Dir en grey-like than taking a ridiculously intense song and following it up with the ultimate mosher - Zan. Oh, Zan. How painful you are. But our audience was so wonderfully coordinated that Zan was virtually transformed from the other two shows. Rather than becoming a chaotic death trap of fists and falling humans, everyone combined their forces into one large killing machine. Everyone headbanged with such synchronized passion that one had to headbang or else risk receiving a concussion from the fans around them. I truly believe the new 2009 version of Zan is one of my all-time favorite mosh-songs.

And then the band left the stage. As always, we received only a few smiles and glances and nothing more. Then it was time to start calling encore. I don't know why, but I started to feel sick during encore. I got lightheaded and felt like I was suffocating. I didn't think I was letting it show, but then I felt someone pat me consolingly on the back. I thought I was imagining things so I ignored it. Meanwhile, some people decided to bail and flee the pit. This one guy next to me kept holding out his arms and clearing paths for people to flee. He also shared his water bottle with a girl who looked ill. As I stood there somewhat lost in thought, I felt someone pat me on the back again. After they patted me a few more times, I finally turned around and saw a tiny little Japanese girl looking up at me worriedly. In very sweet English she asked me, "are you alright?" Her friend looked equally worried. I hadn't realized I looked so bad and I quickly gave the girl an encouraging smile and nodded and thanked them. Aaaaw, Dir en grey fans in Japan are just so sweet... Unfortunately, my sick feeling didn't alleviate so I did something rather unlike myself and backed up a couple of rows where the crowd had eased up a little (not by much, but enough to make me feel better). Yeah, it's really not like me, but... I didn't want to wind up being one of the myriad fainters who get dragged out during encore-calling against their will. Anyways, we called encore for quite some time. It seemed to take forever.

But finally the band returned! Okay, just a really weird thing I've noticed... So, most Dir en grey fans have probably noticed that Toshiya sweats... a lot. I mean, he sweats a lot. Within just a couple of songs his hair is soaked and he's dripping with sweat. And yet, when he returns for encore, his hair is completely dry and perfectly back in place. How in the world...? Perhaps they just have a hairdryer and a gifted stylist backstage, I don't know... Anyways, they came back and Die had changed into Dir en grey's new black and red tour shirt. Kyo came back shirtless. Big surprise. The band returned, holding up their arms and shaking their fists at us. They took their positions and Kyo stood behind the crate, eyebrows furrowed. Then he took the microphone, held up a finger, and went "SHH!" as loud as possible. The audience fell silent like puppies that have been rapped on the nose.

Then the band began to play THE FINAL.

I... confess I wasn't sure what to think of this. Normally, this song isn't treated differently from any other song in a setlist (even though so many fans claim THE FINAL to be their favorite and most important song). Still, Kyo silenced us, made us stand still, and then the band played THE FINAL. The string section stood very still with very serious looks on their faces. I confess... I had a very perturbed look on my own face.

For those who don't know what THE FINAL is about, I'll post the translated lyrics here (note: this is my own translation, so it might differ from others you've read):

The intention is clear and I stare at it... with this left hand that is unable to write the words.
Every time I bleed, I discover the reason for living...
And the words become clear.

Even loved ones scatter like flower petals from my hand.
Even if I engrave the meaning that I lived into my hand,
It will only be known as flowers of vanity.

The Final

One by one it multiplies... why be bait that can't smile?

Deep within the hell of my heart... I can't go back.
A defeated masochist, unable to feel tomorrow.
Suicide is the proof of life.

Even loved ones scatter like flower petals from my hand.
Even if I engrave the meaning that I lived into my hand,
It would only be known as flowers of vanity.

So I can't live, so I can't live.
It seems that what I've lost...
So I can't live, so I can't live.
Can never be born again.
So I can't live, so I can't live.
I'm not even seeking...
So I can't live, so I can't live.
Proof that I'm alive.
Let's put an end, The Final...

Let's bloom flowers of attempted suicide.

I don't know how the band wanted us to interpret this scene because I'm not Dir en grey and I can't read their minds or know their true feelings. But I truly believe they were trying to convey something to us during this song. THE FINAL has always been a song that I don't quite "grasp" as well as others do. I suppose it's because I have no emotional connection or experience with the concept of suicide that the song never struck a chord with me as deeply as it did with other people. However, during the song, the girl beside me collapsed forward and clutched the shoulders of the person in front of her. She dropped her head down and began shaking it around even while everyone else held still. The boy behind her reached forward and wrapped his arms around her chest. I glanced over at this strange sight and saw that the girl had thick bandages wrapped around her wrists. This moment combined with the tight, serious expressions of the band helped me to understand THE FINAL better than I ever had before. Kyo held out his hand and gazed at it as though watching his loved ones scatter from his palm. The entire crowd held out their own hands with him. Again, I have my own opinions on what I think it all meant, but I won't interpret the moment in writing because it's up to everyone else to decide what they think... Still, I definitely think I understood things more clearly this time than I ever had before. The song ended with Kyo holding the "sa" during the final word "sakaseyou". He held the "sa" for an incredibly long time, until every last ounce of breath had left him. Then he swiped the microphone loudly through his hand and the song quietly came to a close.

To lighten the mood, Dir en grey moved into DISABLED COMPLEXES. I always love this song. The band shook off the somber mood of THE FINAL and went back to headbanging and jumping around. Kyo played around with different, eerie voices while he sang.

Keeping up with the mood, we went into STUCK MAN. We got the whole crowd jumping in unison, which was really great. Kyo even jumped with us a little.

After that came CLEVER SLEAZOID, which Dir en grey hadn't played at any of the Tokyo shows yet. Since they played AGITATED SCREAMS OF MAGGOTS and CLEVER SLEAZOID at the same show, I guess you could say Kyo got to rape our daughter on our grave and then fuck our parents. But really, it is seriously fun having 3000 people screaming, "one day I will fuck your parents!" at the top of their lungs. I was glad they added this song to our lineup.

Keeping up the frantic pace we moved into CHILD PREY. I thought this would've been the ending song, but Kyo didn't say "last song" so I just decided to go with it. As I've said before, I never much cared for the song itself, but it's very fun live. Die and Toshiya seem so happy to sing along. However, something happened during CHILD PREY and I have to confess that it's still as much a mystery to me now as it was during the show. I've checked Japanese concert reports and I still can't figure out what in the world happened. If anyone reading this was at the show and can tell me what happened, please let me know. I was just going along with the music and enjoying Toshiya hopping around the edge of the stage riling up our area when, all of a sudden, I heard Die's guitar cut out. I whipped around to see what had happened but it was hard to see the other side of the stage past all the arms and heads. Still, I was able to make out most of what happened and, as near as I could tell, Die just stopped playing. He looked really pissed off and he was walking in furious circles. I thought maybe he broke a string, but then the roadie took a cautious step onto the stage with a curious look on his face and Die whipped away and stood in a very obvious "go away" stance. The roadie looked as baffled as I was since nothing appeared to be wrong. Die looked absolutely enraged and then he actually punched the air in anger. He seemed to calm down after a minute and went back to playing... but his mood was shattered after that and was never repaired. I'm sorry, I really don't know what brought on this sudden change in mood.

After CHILD PREY, Kyo began shouting to the audience. He called to the back, to the front, to the boys, to the girls (every time he did this, each gender seemed to try and shout louder than the other gender). In the background, Die took his water bottle and dumped the whole thing over his head, soaking his hair. Then Kyo screamed "last song!" In my mind I was going "ooh, what's it going to be?! What it's going to be?!" Then they began played Hageshisa to, Kono Mune no Naka de Karamitsuita Shakunetsu no Yami. Oh duh. I'm a total idiot and didn't even notice they hadn't played the new single yet. Anyways, Hageshisa is a fantastic concert-closer. During Kaoru's guitar solo, everyone was swaying back and forth drunkenly to the music. Hageshisa is so fast-paced and Kyo had the audience sing most of the chorus for him. It was really fantastic.

And then the show came to a close. Kyo stood up on the crate pointing at audience members and making snarling faces at them. Then he clapped his hands over his head while nodding at us. Kaoru and Toshiya walked around the stage throwing picks and nodding. Kyo walked around and threw some water at the crowd before clapping one last time and taking his leave. Kaoru threw some smiles our way and kissed a few picks before he threw them. Toshiya started clapping with us and even gave us a bow before he left. Shinya came up to the front and began squirting water at the audience from the straw in his water bottle. It was like a water gun. Then he began to throw drumsticks. With his face still completely expressionless, Shinya threw two drumsticks. Then he took the third, tossed it, and soccer-kicked it into the crowd. The audience burst out laughing and started clapping. Somehow, Shinya kept a completely straight face, but I saw a little flicker of amusement in his eyes. Die was pacing around his area and threw some picks, but he still seemed angry about something. He took his tour towel and placed it over his head and began walking across the stage with it. He glanced at the crowd, pulled the towel off his head, then threw it behind himself onto the stage and left without a single glance over his shoulder. I don't know what angered him so much but... well, I just hope nothing really bad happened.

And that was our show! Ashley and I started to make our way out of the venue (dodging a few security guards carrying unconscious people away) and headed outside to be excited and reflect on the show. For some reason, I just thoroughly enjoyed this concert. From start to finish I just enjoyed myself inside and out. I don't know why this one was particularly fun but... it was just a great show. The band was totally on fire, emotions were running high, and the audience was totally connected. It was just wonderful.

Well, I hope you enjoyed reading my report as much as I enjoyed writing it! I'm working on the second Dir en grey concert report as we speak!

12 comments:

  1. Toshiya has this incredible way of performing where he seems to throw his entire body into every movement. I had a really good view of the band at this show and I could see everyone really clearly most of the time (and I didn't have to waste brain power on surviving the audience as much). Toshiya throws every inch of his body into every beat of the song, and he stomps around almost like he's dancing. I was really glad I could watch him from up close today.

    Toshiya is always like that. I've had some issues in the past where I was disappointed by Dir en grey shows because of they seemed disconnected from the fans for a while, and the only one who really seemed to still be into his performance (at least to me) was Toshiya. It's always been really cool to me, seeing him bop around on stage like he does - he looks like he's really, genuinely into the music and enjoying what he does.

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  2. It might be that the strange feeling during THE FINAL and Kasumi was Kyo's real sadness because of Daisuke. Makes me cry too. Thank you for your beautiful writing :')

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  3. @naoki_hime: Yeah, I think in the past Dir en grey have had some issues with disconnection to the fans. Particularly during the Withering to Death era and maybe some of MARROW. I think the band was having a lot of internal problems and it made them feel a lot of resentment towards the fans as well. I've been to shows in the U.S. where the band has acted really cold towards us and their performance, and also shows where they've acted like they love us more than life itself. It's weird, but I guess it just depends on their mood. At the next show (blog coming soon!) the band was in the best mood I've ever seen them in and their connectedness was quite intense sometimes. Thanks for your comment :-)

    @anonymous: Glad you enjoyed the blog ^_^ And thank you for your interpretation :-)

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  4. That's exactly the period I'm talking about, lol. I think (judging from recent reviews both here and from others I know) they're over whatever was going on, but I was really unhappy with the performances I saw during the Withers and Withers and Inward Scream tours. I actually didn't go see them the last time they came here, even though they were in my city. I do plan to go see them now that the issue seems to be past though - like I told you before, I'm hoping to go to three of the shows on this tour.

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  5. Yeah, they were having a lot of internal problems. Dynamite Tommy wrote an article about it explaining the issue. The band was under a lot of stress due to pressures to tour overseas and the stress was really getting to Kyo and he wanted to quit the band. This was, of course, putting the other members on edge too. Tension ran pretty high for a couple of years and Kyo tried to quit several times. Luckily, overseas touring wound up being a success and, after awhile, the band calmed down and became more comfortable with it. I think dropping visual-kei, changing styles, and other factors also contributed to their mood. They seem muuuuuch happier now than they did before.

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  6. Loved the report! I'm so happy you've been able to experience all of these great shows in Japan. I'm excited to see you and hear about this stuff again from the source :-D I'm geeked to read your next report!

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  7. Melissaaaaaaaa *squee* lol XD It's been great! I'm super excited to get to tell you all this stuff in person soon! As sad as I am about leaving Japan, I'm excited to see you guys again! Working on the next report now - hope it'll be good! I hope I haven't forgotten too much >_<

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  8. Do you by any chance know where I could see a translated version of that article? I've never heard about it, and would absolutely love to read it.

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  9. Ah, yes, I've got it. For some reason, searching for it yielded no proper results, but I did find someone who had copy-pasted it from somewhere else onto their MySpace. The original article is from Haiiro no Ginka vol. 38 entitled Dir en grey's Real Face 16. If you go to this MySpace page and scroll down to the large section of text in purple, that's the article. The user doesn't credit translation or anything, though, so I don't know where it originally came from:

    http://blogs.myspace.com/gradually_getting_uglier

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  10. Ah, sorry, I forgot DT wrote the article in several sections. Part 16 sets the story up, 17 explains the situation. Don't worry, the purple text includes both, I just wanted to clear that up.

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  11. Huh, that was an interesting read. I've never seen it before, somehow. Thank you for linking me to it!

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  12. No problem ^_^ It's an interesting, terrifying, and rather depressing read, but... I'm glad the band came out of it okay.

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