Where to begin?
Yesterday morning, I suppose. These things for me are an all-day affair. Unfortunately, they’re a 2-day pilgrimage for others (I heard that there were already 30 people camped out in line at Midnight the night before), & I just can’t do it. But things worked out well, in any case.
Okay, let’s not jump ahead here. So, I managed to get some sleep yesterday morning (I really needed it, my insomnia, as some of you know, has really been acting up lately), but once I was up, all the trappings of my day centered around getting ready for the Vamps show! Spent a little time after breakfast going through the lyrics, prepping them for the booklet I’ll be making (yes, I know, I still have a gazillion others to finish - I’ll get there, I swear!). Thought I could actually finish the booklet & bring it with me to peruse while waiting for the club to open, but I haven’t hunted down enough pictures, & with dial-up, that would take excessive amounts of time. But at least the words are ready (sometimes, that’s the hardest part, since J-rockers don’t always sing exactly what they’ve written). Anyway, I’d already had my outfit picked out, so it was just a matter of getting the hair & make-up right. And I think, for all the time & side-tracking involved, I did a good job:
The side-tracking was both joyous & annoying (though the latter proved slightly humourous in hindsight). The joyous bit came when my mom called me, & Johnathan told me that he passed his road test! He’s had a permit for a while, but now he can get his license ~ way to go, kiddo! I promised him I’d pick him up something at the concert, since he’s been really generous (he picked up food for when Mark & the gang & I were at my mom’s, during my last visit, & even barbecued; he also got & planted some flowers in their backyard) & helpful (to my mom at home) & whatnot. Plus, I’ve gotten him into some J-rock, & he does enjoy Hyde quite a bit.
The annoying/humourous part happened 3-quarters of the way through my preparations. I ran out of eye pencil! It kept breaking (I use a soft kind), but I thought I had more. Sadly, I didn’t, & had to run to CVS down the street to pick up a couple - without my eyes done, or even eyebrows! (I shave them & draw them in with liner, ‘cuz I’m too impatient to let them grow in enough to get them shaped, seeing as how the hair there grows in so oddly). On went the sunglasses (which I haven’t worn in a while, ‘cuz they have a scratch on one lens; I need to either get them fixed or get new ones), & to the door I flew…& opened it to find 2 women on my porch inviting the entire neighbourhood to their church service next week for a special guest speaker.
Thankfully, they didn’t take a lot of time, & once they were a few houses away, I felt it was safe to resume my flight. Got 2 pencils, just to be safe. Then I flew back home, continued with the preparations, & managed, while doing so, to sneak in yet another viewing of Ginger Snaps
. I really am obsessed with that movie lately. I’ve gotta get it on DVD (& the other 2, as well, if I can find them).
In any case, I’d planned to leave the house around 2:30, thinking I’d get to the venue at about 4, which would give me a decent position in line.
Guess the gods had other plans.
I was finished prepping by 2, & psyched myself up by watching my Vamps DVD (4 music videos). Incidentally...( YouTubers can watch them here! )
Then it was off to catch the train, with more Vamps playing in the car (I’ve been playing them pretty much incessantly since I got the CD). That slightly nauseous feeling that often accompanies excitement was starting to set in (by the time I got there, I could hardly breathe). In a few hours, I’d be in the same room as Hyde! I’d wondered, here & there during the week, when he & the boys had flown in, & even Johnathan was saying, when I spoke to him (as I was getting ready), that they were probably already at the venue while we were speaking, rehearsing & such. The thought had crossed my mind, as well.
Call me an idiot for not looking up the train schedule. Go ahead, it’s okay. ‘Cuz I am. I had to wait 40 minutes for the train! I’d missed the 2:44 by a couple of minutes, & the next train didn’t come until 3:29. Ugh! There was a pseudo-snide comment I had to deal with, as well, from a guy who asked me if it were Halloween. Trying to think on my toes, I said, “Every day.” Then he said something that sounded remarkably like, “Damn, I want to marry you!”, & then he & the guy he was sitting there with cleared off. Very strange.
It just kinda got worse from there, ‘cuz it seemed I had to wait for all the trains. The subways, the shuttle, everything took a while to get there. Naturally, considering I wanted to make it to the Fillmore
without being at the end of a 6-block line.
Guess what? When I finally did make it to the Fillmore...you guessed it. I was at the end of a 6-block line. Argh! It was Dir en grey 2007
all over again! Though, unlike the Diru show, it wasn’t blistering cold out. (Thank goodness!)
Still, next time I go to a show, I’m bringing a folding chair or something. All that standing (I got there around 5 & the doors didn’t open ‘til 7, though, for some reason, we didn’t get in there ‘til 7:30, maybe even a little later) was starting to bother my back! It was a very diverse crowd in the line, though - J-rock seems to bring out all types of people. I even saw some very nice Loli gals/bishettes, & a bishi or 2 (the boys at these things tend to be more rocker than Loli, I find).
There were a couple of nice line moments, though. As I was going to the end of the line, a couple of girls commented my bag, the one I got in Harajuku for the Moi dix Mois
show. (I also got various compliments on my necklace & collar, most notably from a couple on the subway going down there, the girl having some very interesting piercings.) And a lady (on the staff, I guess) passed out glow-stick bracelets to everybody. Then, she came around & gave us more! I had 3, though I would later lose one in the melee of the pit (another, I picked up off the floor before the show got started, ’cuz I didn’t want to slip on it when the crowd got going, though it had lost the little piece that held the ends together).
At one point, a guy, done up in kind of a punky Goth outfit, trailed his female friend, going, “Don’t leave your homo behind!” Later, they came up toward the front, & he was admonishing her: “You left your homo behind, I’m calling animal abuse on you!” It had me, & the 2 Asian girls (not Japanese, though) behind me, cracking up. They were kind enough to share their Pocky
A whole lot of people seemed to know each other in this line. I don’t know if they were coming in groups or what, but I got the impression some did, & a few of them got there early to hold places for the rest in their group. Others, who had been in line, would go get food/drink, leaving at least one person to hold their place, & then return. Some could be seen leaving & re-entering the line multiple times. It almost didn’t seem fair for those of us who just stood there for those 2+ hours.
A yellow balloon was making its way along the ground near us, with a face drawn on it. Kind of looked like the cover of Smile
by L’Arc-en-Ciel (y’know, that other, famous band Hyde is in?), with a touch of the well-known Nirvana t-shirt
thrown in. Last I saw it, it ended up in the lobby of this place I was stuck in front of, some kind of therapy center for people with physical/mental challenges. A few of us would have to clear the way whenever people went in or out of there. One lady came out & marveled cheerfully at all of us standing there (esp. since there were a number of Goths/Lolis & whatnot), asking what we were there for. I said a concert, & when she asked whose, I said, “They’re called Vamps, they’re from Japan.” She said that was cool.
I enjoy the opportunity to spread the word of J-rock. ^_^
Sadly, a few unscrupulous types were traipsing up & down the street beside the line, asking if any of us had an extra ticket. Undoubtedly, they were planning to buy them cheap & sell them at an inflated rate. Someday, I hope they can obliterate scalping.
There were some people filming the line, some of which were folks going to the end of it (which stretched, by the end, quite a ways back from me), a few of which belonged to the Vamps crew! Initially, we heard screaming from further up in the line, & some people said they thought at first that Hyde had come out (of course, a couple of us in the queue figured nobody would be keeping their places if that had been the case! I still believe they were inside, getting ready for the show). When the cameraman passed me, I made the V for Vamps
. It occurred to me later that I prob’ly should’ve said something, like, “Vamps wa saiko desu!” (Vamps is awesome!), but oh well.
The line only moved a couple of times, but finally, I turned the corner & was back on 15th St., with the Fillmore just ahead, at the start of the block. Earlier, a guy came around inspecting ID’s. If we were over 21, he tied a yellow band around our wrists. I guess the place has a bar. Prob’ly explains the fight we nearly witnessed outside the entrance (though there were about 6 guys breaking it up, so it never became an actual brawl). I put my earplugs in (yeah, I learned after Diru), & we were told to have our bags open & tickets ready. I brought an extra bag (my jack-o-lantern one) with something long-sleeved (in case the night got chilly) & my little umbrella (I put black electrical tape on the end where it’s broken), & to put t-shirts or whatever in, & stuck my Rirakuma
bag in there, as well, in case I was able to pick up any of my fave Japanese snacks before going home. They searched the bags when we got to the door (despite this, & their not allowing cameras in, a few people managed to smuggle them in), & scanned the bar codes on the tickets
This concert had a couple of things I’d never seen at shows before, the first being a little bin at the front entrance where you could put presents for Vamps. Damn! I wish I’d brought them something. I’d actually contemplated giving them something I had with me, but most of it was kind of necessary (like my Rirakuma bag or Umbrae, my little travel talisman doll), or stuff my mom gave me. Sorry, boys.
Had to go upstairs (through a very nicely-decorated hallway, with a pretty, ornate mirror at the foot of the stairs & framed posters
, I guess from acts that have played the venue, going up - it’s a rather historic
place) to get to the show, & since there were a lot of people in there, already staking their claim to spots in front of the stage, I figured I’d forego buying souvenirs ‘til after the show (besides, I didn’t want anything delicate, like a CD or DVD, to get crushed, & it was too late by the time I got in - or so I thought - to buy anything & then check the bag at coat-check). I was pretty close, about half-way back on the left, near the great, big speakers, which were blaring techno-rock (I noted a Marilyn Manson song). Good thing I had my earplugs in! There was a really nice chandelier overhead, & a balcony (maybe for people who got drinks? I noticed a waitress weaving in & out of the crowd). We could see the techs getting everything ready, & a couple of them started filming us (I believe they filmed part or all of the actual performance, as well). I howled a bit (as is my custom), & we all raised our hands in devil horns or fists or waves or V for Vamps as the cameras passed over us, our wrist-bands glowing in the dimness.
The invariable push started before the band even came out, when the roadies were tuning up & such. (I think the screams started when one of them played the riff from “I Gotta Kick Start Now” & they must have thought it was the actual show - funnily enough, I honestly don’t remember them playing that number during the performance, although they may have; my brain is not what it once was.) I had a pretty decent view of everything - Hyde’s mic stand with the fake roses going all the way up it, the drum kit, with “Vamps” written in a half-circle on the front of the bass drum, in a sort of Old English font (& a number of water bottles lined up in front of it, on the riser), the tuning of various guitars, even the computer set-up; the band has techno-style sequencing in a number of their songs, & while guitarist K.A.Z. is credited with programming, there is an extra member of their live act, Jin, responsible for “keyboards & hard-disc & metal percussion”, though I’m not sure if the person I saw doing something with the computers was actually Jin.
After a while, & chants from the crowd of, “Vamps! Vamps! Vamps!”, the suspense was finally over, & the boys appeared. Drummer Arimatsu
& bassist Ju-ken
came out first, followed by the main duo, K.A.Z. & Hyde
. They all looked really good! I could see them well (even better later, as I got closer), down to their jewelry, tattoos (including Arimatsu - all those boys are inked up!), the lot (including Hyde’s teeth when he sang!). I don’t think Arimatsu was wearing a shirt. Ju-ken had the top hat (he later took it off; it had a V emblem on it), with a tank top (they were all wearing tanks), I think with some sort of crest on it, & a jacket, which he later removed. K.A.Z. had his hair up (spiky), with a black tank with lots of white words in a variety of positions (this would later be changed to a grey striped shirt with Vamps written across the front). Hyde had a black tank with what may have been a skull & cross-bones (K.A.Z. wore something similar in a photo-shoot, the skull had fangs), &, I think, a vest over it (he later removed the vest). Hyde’s hair was red, & kinda poofy-frizzy. But he looked quite scrum-delicious! I could see he was wearing black eye-liner, & noticed, at one point, he was playing his red guitar. Ju-ken did that upright bass thing a lot, &, I believe, played a bass fiddle on one song (“Sweet Dreams”, as I recall). I saw K.A.Z.’s dark blue Flying-V guitar near the end of the show.
Songs...the Vamps instrumental/effects piece, “Bite”, played as they took the stage, & after, I think, something like, “Hello, New York!”, they launched into “Sex Blood Rock & Roll”, with the crowd chiming in on the “ooh” parts, & yelling out the title line of the chorus right along with Hyde. This boy’s a mover & a shaker! He gets his hips going (when I got really close, nearer the end, I could see the holes in his jeans!), & flips his head from side to side, shoulder to shoulder, so the hair gets going & everything (even while he’s on guitar). He makes these groovy faces, too, purses his lips a lot, & does a lot with his eyes. Sometimes, he appears to be experiencing a sort of supreme ecstasy, riding the music’s emotional high.
All the boys were quite energetic, & seem to be really happy & excited to do what they’re doing. During one song, Arimatsu tossed his drum-stick in the air, it did a flip, & he caught it before picking up the drum beat. And Ju-ken was wild! He seems like he’s just a really fun guy (he used to play for Gackt, incidentally). K.A.Z. gets very into his playing (during one song, he threw his guitar back - it was still strapped to him - & it did a complete revolution around his body), but he, Ju-ken, & Hyde (oh yes, Hyde!) made a lot of contact with the crowd, prompting us to be very responsive. The 3 of them also changed positions several times, so people on both sides of the stage could get to see them (Moi dix Mois did that, too). There was also a moment when Hyde & K.A.Z. were ‘head-banging’ together!
Hyde introduced a couple of the songs & said thank you to us after a few of them, but also took time to speak to us in English. He asked if we were having fun (& later, before some rollicking number, if we were ready to get crazy), said thank you to us for coming to see them (& also said, “Please be nice to us”). He told us they’d be here for a month (I think the last date is 1 August). Then he said he’d eaten pizza, & it was “yummy”. He told us he’d had 2 pieces (but I don’t think he was saying the word “pieces”, I’m not sure what word he used), but they were “this big” (& held his hands out wide). He also said it was “too hot” - he meant the climate; even he & the boys were sweating. At various points, he got up on his box (he has one like Diru’s Kyo - Hyde, too, is a Short Person, though he didn’t look very much smaller than the other members of the band), to stand on to play guitar, or prompt the crowd with a hot look (those expressive eyes!), a “come on” gesture with his fingers, or the V for Vamps. Oh, & he licked his lips/teeth quite a bit. I saw the tip of one of his wings (he has a pair across the top of his back
) when he jumped off the box once, peeking out from under his shirt. He also has flame-like designs around his arms, just above the elbows, which I could also see.
I was pleasantly surprised that they mixed some of Hyde’s solo numbers in with the Vamps tunes, although it makes sense, since K.A.Z. has played on Hyde’s “666” & “Faith” albums (I believe he co-wrote some of the music on “Faith”, & also co-produced it). In no particular order, & to the best of my recollection, the other songs they did (including the encore tracks) were:
Secret In My Heart
Hunting (during this one, Hyde is supposed to yell, “Where’s my lamb?” - which he did - but somebody had a sign that said, “Here’s UR Lamb!”)
Life on Mars
Hyde stuff (666):
Hyde stuff (Faith):
When I was initially writing this, I kept thinking I'd forgotten one track off 666, & it appears I did. It was "Hello", according to the 'official' setlist, here: http://www.setlist.fm/setlist/vamps/2009/fillmore-at-irving-plaza-new-york-ny-43d65f0f.html
I tried singing along with some of the songs, but I couldn’t really hear myself well, so I was prob’ly just screaming a little off-key. Besides which, the crush got SO bad, it was really difficult to breathe a lot of the time, let alone sing. I did manage a few howls in between tunes, with an occasional shout of “Haido-san!” just for Hyde’s benefit (pardon my fangirly-ness, but Mrs. Hyde - yes, there is one - is a very lucky woman!), with what I thought might be my last breaths before losing consciousness. I truly did feel as though I were going to pass out - I didn’t even feel like that during Diru. And those boys are metal!
Honestly, it was the worst pit crush I have ever been in, but I would NOT allow myself to be propelled backwards or faint, so I endured. I was drenched in sweat (most of it not mine - I keep joking that the crush was so bad that I lost my virginity), far worse than at Diru, & boy, did I miss that “tame” crowd I had at Moi dix Mois! My Harajuku bag sustained a bit of damage - the ring holding one end of the strap on got bent a bit & slipped out, but I still have it & it can be repaired. Though I may have to drench it in Spray-n-Wash to get the sweat smell out. XP
One other thing I have never seen at a concert before, that I saw at Vamps - people passing around bottles & cups of water. You’d take a swig, & pass it on to the next person. It was really lovely! At one point, I saw K.A.Z. throw out a bottle or 2 of water to the audience, which got passed around. He also splashed people with water (he got me on the hand), as did Hyde (who got me several times, right on the head/face!!).They also threw out picks & such (J-rock guitarists often do that - occasionally, you’ll even get a drummer throwing out their sticks). One of K.A.Z.’s bounced right off me! It went on the floor, & a very nice girl next to me bent down & got it between numbers, as we protected her from getting killed by the stampeding pit crowd. We swayed to & fro, had to put up fists & elbows to keep our rib cages clear for breathing, occasionally coming very, very close to tripping over each other. There was even pushing during the SLOW numbers! A couple of guys, I suspect, were doing it on purpose, though most of us were just apologising to each other for whatever body parts we smacked each other with, remarking back that we understood; it really wasn’t a choice. I was just happy I didn’t get hit in the face by any of the crowd-surfers! There were a few, but none of them seemed to make it very far. At least one of them may have done it just to get some air.
We got them to do one encore, after several bouts of chanting “An-ko-ru!” (encore
, as pronounced by the Japanese - I think the guy shouting it next to me actually was Japanese). I believe that was when Hyde asked us about getting crazy, & they launched into “Love Addict”. For the life of me, though, I can’t remember exactly what song they played last. Whatever it was, the whole show was completely & totally awesome, & I wish them the best of luck with the rest of the tour. Tonight (Sun.), they join the Warped Tour in Connecticut.
Sadly, when “Greensleeves” starts to play & the techs come back on-stage, you know the show is over. So after some brief conversations with a few of the people I’d been crushed up against, turning me into the dripping, hot Gothic mess I had become, it was off to the souvenir stand. Unfortunately, the lines were very long, & there was a bit of a crush - almost (but not quite) as bad as the show itself! Fortunately, I’d brought along my little fold-out Asian fan, so I was at least able to get that going. I was also nice enough to fan a couple of the people I was speaking with; they appreciated it. Met 2 very nice gals with whom I engaged in much conversing, though, unfortunately, they were sold out of t-shirts by the time I got to the front of the line! Actually, they were sold out of a lot of things. Most things, come to think of it. But I managed to get some stuff. Got the CD for Johnathan (it doesn’t come with the DVD, though, like the one I found in Book Off a couple weeks ago), along with a wristband with the Vamps logo
on it. Got a wristband for me, too, as well as the Tour Book (I took some shots of it
when I got home), & a canvas bag. It’s black, with VAMPS LIVE 2009 on it.
Outside, it had begun to drizzle, & it was cool with a slight breeze. Most of us agreed it felt really nice! There were a number of people from the show standing around; somebody said they were waiting for the boys to come out, but we later learned they’d already left (or so we were told). Said good-bye to the nice girls I’d been talking to & headed off - unfortunately, in the wrong direction at first - toward the subway. But things happen for a reason, & a very sweet-seeming Asian girl (Japanese, I think) asked me to take a photo of her & her friends. I was happy to oblige.
Turned around & made my way (the right way this time) to the subway. You could tell who’d been at the show by the Vamps bags & whatnot (reminded me of high school, when there would be a concert & half the school would be wearing the t-shirts the next day). While waiting for the light to change so I could cross the street, a guy said to me, “Now, those stockings are hot!” (I didn’t tell him they’re actually thigh-high socks.) He mentioned something about them being sectional, so if you broke it down with regard to my legs, first you get an ankle, then you get a slightly larger ankle...He asked if I watched a show called “Dexter”, about a serial killer. I haven’t seen it. He said to check it out, then I’d know what he was talking about. That’s the first time someone has used an allusion to killing me as a compliment! XD
Happened upon another of my fellow concert-goers (whom I’d spoken to in the souvenir line) waiting for the subway. We conversed about the show & Hyde & other shows & such while riding to Grand Central. She & her companion were making their way back to Connecticut (I wonder if they’ll be at Warped today?). I went up to Times Square to make my way to the other subway station to get a train back to Penn. Before catching the train, however, I came across a mini-concert: a Beatles cover outfit, the Meetles, were performing, & got the crowd to join in a rousing rendition of "Hey Jude". After that, they were starting "I Wanna Hold Your Hand", but I had to catch the subway to get to the train station, or I'd never get home!
To my chagrin, Penn Sushi was closed, so no snacks. I bought an iced tea (diet, with lemon) on the way to the shuttle between Grand Central & Times Square, so I wasn’t much in the mood for anything like a milkshake or even junk food - or, at least, junk food that wasn’t Japanese. But that’s the only Japanese place I know of in Penn, & nothing else seemed to appeal to me, so I supposed I’d have to wait ‘til I got home.
Had to wait for yet another train, so I phoned my mom to let her know I’d gotten out okay. (I’d spoken to Johnathan when I first got there - I called from the line.) Told her a few highlights of the show. Then they called for my train to board, so I ended my call & got my tired, sore body on the train. It was a little cold, so I put my long sleeves on & perused my Tour Book several times.
Got back to the station & made my way to the parking deck, which cost me $12. (Blargh! It used to be free on Saturdays!) Didn’t hit my house until 1:30 am. Had some food, but of course, I wasn’t tired (well, I was, but I was still running on adrenaline or whatever). Made it to Death Note
, clunked out after that.
Then I woke up, had breakfast, & started writing this thing. Talked to my mom, had some lunch, & finished writing this thing.
And there you have it. ^_^