[personal profile] deadpassion
The Fatal Believer
Rotting Root
Mazohyst of Decadence
Inward Scream
The Blossoming Beelzebub
Inward Scream
Different Sense

The Final

I haven't posted on here on ages, but I want to write my thoughts and memories of this this trip while it's still fresh, and before I go to see The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo tonight, something I've also been anticipating.


The four of us were due to meet up in Chicago on Saturday afternoon, the day before the concert. Archer and Britti took the train up, and Kari and I drove. The last time I'd been to Chicago before this concert was in 2009, also for the show there, however we got in a car wreck, and spent the evening at the hospital instead. It really smeared my view of Chicago, and my love for the city pretty much died, even if the city itself had nothing to do with it. And most of all I was terrified of interstate driving for a while. Notable also, the Dir en grey concert we attended before that in 2007 was the same day as a blizzard that kept us stuck in the city an extra day! While that instance was actually pretty fun, it seems disaster strikes whenever Dir en grey and Chicago happen together for me, haha.

This time around the drive seemed like it would be uneventful. Kari has a new SUV, the driving route was super easy, and spirits were high. In northern Indiana though, our fears were confirmed and we blew a tire. Five PM Saturday evening, we were on the side of the road, the sun already set, in the middle of fuck knows where, possibly Amish Country, and a good 30 minute drive from any decent sized town, and cars are just flying by on the interstate, making the car shake every time, not to mention it was fucking cold.

Kari tried to break the nuts on the tire to get it off and changed, but it wouldn't budge. We both even tried standing on it to no avail. Luckily though her car was still under warranty and we were able to get roadside assistance. The wait seemed like an eternity, sitting on the side of the road like that, and thinking about how we probably wouldn't make it to Chicago that night after all, feeling disappointed and upset. I started looking for tire places in the area, thank god for smart phones. Merrillville was the closest town, and still a good 30/40 minutes away, and I was finding as the clock was grinding closer to 6pm, that almost every auto or tire shop there was either already closed, going to be closed Sunday as well, or would close at 7pm. When the roadside assistance guy came (very nice), we had less than an hour to get to Merrillville, we could only go 50 mph on the spare tire, and we had no guarantee any of the tire places would even take us that night. One place, a Mr. Tire that I was able to get ahold of told us that if we were there by 7, they would take us, so that was our hope.

We managed to make it to Mr. Tire by 6:55p, and as we walked into the store, I felt like there was no hope. The manager/owner however, was absolutely one of the kindest people I've ever encountered, and he not only took us that late, but he made sure to get our tires changed as soon as possible for us, and didn't even charge us for labor, only for the tires (we ended up getting all 4). ;3;. Kindest. Person. Ever. I in fact have contacted the company to commend him for his kindness.

We ended up being back on our way by eight pm, and the rest of the trip was uneventful. Driving into Chicago at night is nice experience, and I haven't done it in a while. For the holidays too, many of the skyscrapers had red and green lights at their peaks, adding a bit of festive flair to the city. Traffic was also not bad at all, an added bonus. We reached the hotel a little after nine, met up with Britti and Archer finally, and exchanged gifts, and Kari and I then had a much needed drink at the bar downstairs to calm our nerves. Next time? We're going to look into the train or bus, haha.

I ended up sleeping terribly, but I did notice the view from the hotel was gorgeous. While it wasn't quite as nice as the one in 2007, which overlooked the river and the House of Blues, I love Chicago's skyline, and I love the feel of being in a big city. It was a feeling I honestly hadn't really experienced since I was in Tokyo last year in Japan. I missed it. All the negativity that had festered after the accident melted away, and if I had the opportunity to go back to Chicago next week? I'd want to take it. Chicago has a bit of a personal feel to me too, perhaps because it's close, because it's a Midwestern big city, because I've been going there since I was a child, because walking or driving around results in so many familiar sights? I'm not sure. I love it though.

On Sunday, we walked around, had breakfast, and tried this neat little tea place not far from our hotel. The sun was out, and the day was going to be good. Kari and I stopped by a Walgreens for a toothbrush for her, and we saw some people who surely had to be Dir en grey fans. We laughed about weeaboos (hypocritical, we know!) and then strolled over to the venue to look around. In 2007, there were blizzard conditions, yet there was a line stretching along the side of the building first thing in the morning. Perhaps the fandom is wising up, or perhaps the VIP is deferring people, but this year there was no one, and the band hadn't even checked in yet. We found out though as VIP we would be able to wait inside. Excellent. I love that the Chicago House of Blues is actually pretty organized in comparison to the chaos that ensued over at the one in Los Angeles in 2009.

We spent some time hanging out in the hotel room, getting pretty, and finally we headed over to see what was going on, about an hour early. Turns out we could already line up, so we did so, got our 21+ wristbands and our VIP badges and chatted and such until we were let in. At the time, it felt like a fucking eternity before they let us VIPS go up, but in reality it wasn't too bad looking back.

VIP and Concert

So, we were led to the back bar area behind the pit, and Nora handed out VIP shirts. However, having already met the band several times, and knowing Kyo's feelings on the matter, as well as desiring prime spots on rail, we had wanted to skip meeting the band. We had to ask though, and it was a little intimidating. We were behind a guard rail with Rick and Nora in front of it, and to ask in front of all the other VIPs? We didn't want to cause drama, not really, and I definitely didn't want to wait until the band came out. I waited until Rick was close to one of the sides then before I slipped around the edge and called his name and asked him if we could just go down to the pit since we didn't want to do the meet and greet. He ended up smiling to my relief, and said we could, so I turned to get the others with me, and we went down and claimed spots right in front of Kyo. Fuck yes.

Our fear then was that the other VIPs would be angry with us, and as we basically grabbed the most coveted spots, that retribution could be painful. The band came out shortly, and Kyo was wearing his long jacket with the high collar zipped up and covering most of his face. I am not sure if he looked, but Kaoru definitely stared at us, the lone people in the pit for a few moments, and it made me laugh a little. The photos seemed to take a while, but I was feeling impatient for the show. As the other VIPs filtered into the pit with us, it turned out that our fears were unfounded, and that the majority of the people there were friendly. No one said anything to us about our move, and everyone as a whole seemed excited about the show. It was a great feeling, and compared to other concerts, it seemed like time went by pretty fast as we chatted, and soon the Birthday Massacre started their set.

I knew a guy back when I was at Butler in 2004/2005 who was really into the Birthday Massacre and introduced me to some of their music, but I didn't remember how they sounded. I have to say I was impressed. Their music was catchy, yet heavy enough to make me want to headbang at times, and the singer was absolutely adorable. She was extremely personable too, and met eyes frequently, and I loved the way the whole band seemed to just have a great time on stage. I haven't had such a great impression of an opening band since 2008 with the Human Abstract, and I intend to get some more of their music! Of course though, after a handful of songs, I hoped that their next would be their last, as I wanted Dir en grey!

After the Birthday Massacre left the stage, the lull between sets seemed shorter than normal. Soon Kyoukotsu no Nari was playing on the speakers, and out came the band, Shinya first. The mood seemed intense, the crowd was crushing me forward against the barrier, and I remember looking up at Toshiya, as he was closest, and he looked at us, his face serious. Then Kyo came out. The crowd had been pushing us against the barrier since the opening act, but it became intense then, and I loved every moment of it. They went right into Hageshisa. Kyo was wearing his coat still, and used it to his advantage as he moved.

The songs kind of all blend together for me in memory, so I want to discuss moments more than what was played. The feeling of the concert was what was amazing to me. During Juuyoku, where Kyo hisses "Do you love me?" in English, lyrics that I only refreshed myself on a week before the show, he leaned down to us, meeting eyes as he asked. I remember wondering briefly if that was on purpose. I'm sure it is, and he got the response he wanted even if not everyone understood.

The inward screams were amazing too, even with a dudebro behind us screaming "FUCK YEAH" every few seconds. Being as close as we were, you could hear Kyo without the mic, and there were many moments throughout the show where I could hear both his speaker and him. I absolutely love that.

The crowd seemed really good, except for a few annoyances, but nothing that really took away from the show. I sorta got kicked in the head by some guy getting pulled out (Idk if he was crowd surfing, passing out, or just being a huge asshole) and my hair got tangled in his shoe, so I had a brief painful moment of clinging to my hair to keep it from being ripped out.

Kyo's dancing and movements were absolutely gorgeous. Especially when he leaned over backwards on his riser, his head hanging down right by us, and the way he slowly pulled himself back up. What an absolutely beautiful and expressive man. He handled his mic in many ways too, from petting it in Mazohyst of Decadence, to laying it on his riser and singing into it. His tattoos too.... I can't express how gorgeous they are. I've been face to face with Kyo before upon meeting him, and I've been rail on Die and Kaoru's sides, but something about being front and center, having such a perfect view... it was incredibly intense, and Kyo is nothing less than an amazing performer. I'm also very happy he didn't cut himself or fish hook.

The rest of the band was so ridiculously full of energy as well. I admit that once Kyo came onstage, Shinya basically disappeared to me, but Toshiya was bouncing around like mad, Obscure especially. Die was flirting, and every time I looked over at him he was either smiling or headbanging, very obviously having a good night, Kaoru too. I was surprised with how much they all moved around, trading off spots or coming up close to Kyo, more than I seem to remember them doing in previous tours. So much energy.

Mazohyst of Decadence was a surprise, and I didn't know how to respond to it. I had been hoping for Kasumi, and they even played it during sound check, but it was a no go. Mazohyst though... being rail and not moving much is something I hate to do, but it felt incredibly wrong to do any of those things to that song. Kyo's performance of it however, the meaning of the song aside was beautiful, and I focused on that.

Grief was a huge ball of adrenaline, not that others were not, but everyone freaked out at that, and I'm so completely happy they played it. It's so fun, screaming the fuck offs with Kyo, and throwing up middle fingers. The middle section where we all clapped too... I love the unity of that.

Kari had been hoping for The Final to be played, and initially it wasn't on my list of desired songs, but I'm so glad they played it, as the first encore song even. I actually gagged on my own hair during it, because i was singing so largely, knowing that song completely by heart. The end, "So I can't live" section made me tear up, and I probably would have cried more if they had followed it up with something that was not Rasetsukoku and Zan, haha. I really love that song, and the band seems to enjoy performing it too. It was one of the songs played at every show back in the day, and I think perhaps to an extent they relate it to overseas fans with that.

Kyo riled up the audience before Zan, the last song, first screaming out Chicago! Chicago! And then Last song, over and over. After the intensity of that song, he stayed onstage to spit water at us, toss a couple water bottles, and he pounded his chest over his heart. I dare say he gave a bit of a smile even. Kaoru and Die were all smiles and energy, and Toshiya, whom I had been a little unsure about with how serious his face had been all along, after dumping his Heineken on my friend Archer (And some on the rest of us too) climbed up on Kyo's riser, and he had one of the brightest smiles I've ever seen on him on his face. Perhaps because of last year when he commented negatively on many of the American shows, to see him look like that, so happy, so satisfied, it made me feel so happy too.

Shinya was last, and I mostly ducked my head when he threw his drumsticks. I have witnessed many of the fights that ensue over them, and had no desire to be in one. To my amazement though, just as the crowd started to disperse, Britti was down on the ground, and she found at her feet with Archer's help, one of Shinya's HOB drumsticks. How fucking amazing is that?

I find it hard to adequately express how much this concert meant to me properly. It was the best concert I've been to ever. Best Dir en grey show. To see the band so happy, so energetic, to be so close to Kyo, and to connect with him in the way he truly loves to connect with fans was intense and amazing. I don't know if I will ever have the opportunity to be in that same spot again, and I treasure the memory of it.

Sometimes I find myself with post-concert depression. This time I feel a sense of renewal, a stronger self awareness and confidence, and optimism that I might have been lacking beforehand. It's a bit of an odd thing, and to someone who is does not have a band like Dir en grey in their life, or a passionate attachment to music, might not understand, and maybe even other Dir en grey fans don't. Sure, I am sad that it will probably be a long while before I am able to see them again, and since I stepped out of that pit my emotions have been all over the place but... I feel more alive than I have in a while.

Thank you Dir en grey. Thank you Kyo. I hope we meet again soon.
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