On Thursday October 27th, one of my dreams came true.

As soon as my classes ended, I ran to the school bus and took the train to Nagoya Station, one thing on my mind and in my ear buds: Dir en grey, the band that's dominated my playlists for years.

Dir en grey has been my favorite band for a long time, but in spite of that I've never seen them live. When I was in high school the concerts were too far away, or on a school night, and when I moved back to Hawaii for college, flights to concerts started at $800. It seemed like I would never get the chance to see them.

When I found out I was coming to Japan this Fall, and Dir en grey would be playing their AGE QUOD AGIS tour, I did everything I could to secure a ticket. I missed presales, stalked Yahoo auctions only to have my agent advise against buying tickets, and even asked lolita shopping services if they knew how to secure tickets. Finally, I turned to a source in Japan, who runs a popular Dir en grey translation site. Much to my shock, she offered to sell me some of her tickets. 

It was as easy as her emailing me a ticket number, which I took to Family Mart, a local conbini. At the "Family Port" kiosk, all I had to do was enter this number into the ePlus system, and it printed a receipt, which I took to the cashier, who printed my ticket. There was only a 105 yen fee for printing. 

At first, I got lost trying to find Nagoya Zepp. It is about five blocks down from Nagoya Station, tucked away from the main road. The only way I found it was by cautiously tailing a cluster of girls with lip piercings and pink hair. Eventually they caught up to a girl in a petticoat and a Dir en grey hoodie, so I knew we were on the right path.

The first thing I saw coming down the street was the enormous Dir en grey semi truck:

Where staff were coming and going, setting up tables inside for a meet-and-greet session. About fifty people went into that, I figure they were fanclub only, or won a contest.

Read more under the jump-cut!

I arrived at the venue at around 2, and at least 100 people were there before me. It was a very comfortable crowd, they were quiet and kept to their own groups. I did my kanji homework and took photos to pass the time. I was able to leave my messenger bag in line and nobody touched it.

At about four, staff started to set up the merchandise tables.

I wandered up to the gate to check out the goods... as I was expecting, shirts ran at 4,000 yen a pop, and tour towels would cost another 2,500. If you wanted a bath size towel, it was 4,500. They had 3D clear files featuring the Different Sense PV, 500 yen drawstring bags, trucker caps, stickers and more.

Figuring I'd never get to buy this shirt again, I sprang for the purple printed shirt and Dir en grey sack.

Purple was the most popular shirt. Lots of fans were admiring the 'murasaki' hue. 

After the line for merch went through, everyone was free to eat dinner and hang out until the doors opened at 6:15. I made friends with an exchange student from France, so we hung out, took Purikura and ate a snack outside the conbini. We were able to split a coin locker right outside the venue, only 300 yen for a key-locked box about the size of two large messenger bags.

Come 6:00, everyone went to find their place in line according to the number on their ticket. I was number 1175, pretty far in the back, and my friend was in the 1500s. Zepp is standing room only on the first floor though, so we weren't actually that far from the stage. 

I'd have photos of the show to share with you, but cameras are strictly forbidden inside the concert.

When we filed into the hall, I found my spot in the crowd towards center stage. Luckily I'm pretty tall and had an unobstructed view for the most part. The hall was muffled with the low din of chatter, but nothing crazy. I looked up on the second floor to check out the scene, and saw Boo sitting down to watch the show. To that point, it still didn't feel real.

Finally the lights went out without warning, and the crowd screamed. The band came out, Kyo the last the arrive on stage in a fedora, muffler and black asymmetrical jacket. His hair is bleached blonde again. They opened with my favorite song from DUM SPIRO SPERO, 流転の塔. I couldn't help it, I started to cry. 

The screen behind them flashed images of butterflies emerging from cocoons, sharks feeding, stacked bodies, skeletons, oceans, all forms of death and life. At the end of 流転の塔, they played the new version of Obscure.

I was dancing, but not many people do that. I was surprised to see that Japanese fans do more with their hands than anything else. There was a lot of fist pumping, a sea of hands reaching up towards the stage to the rhythm. Some people were head banging, but nobody jumped or moshed. In fact, a lot of the guys around me just stood with their arms crossed, eyes fixed intently on the band. 

I don't remember the entire set list, it all went by before I knew it.

Edit: Here is a the set list, according to Diru Tabloids on LJ.

狂骨の鳴り (Kyoukotsu no nari)
流転の塔 (Ruten no Tou)
獣欲 (Juuyoku)

残 (Zan)
暁 (Akatsuki)
滴る朦朧 (Shitataru Mourou)


mazohyst of decadence
蜜と唾 (Tsumi to Batsu)


「欲巣にDREAMBOX」あるいは成熟の理念と冷たい雨 ("Yokusou ni Dreambox" Aruiwa Seijuku no Rinen to Tsumetai Ame)
激しさと、この胸の中で絡み付いた灼熱の闇 (hageshisa to, Kono Mune no Naka de Karamitsuita Shakunetsu no Yami)

冷血なりせば (Reiketsu Nariseba)
羅刹国 (Rasetsukoku)

Kyo did Inward Scream twice, which is one of the most intense things I've heard or seen in person.

For the Inward Scream, he crouched down low on his cage, doubled over and turned against the audience. The lights fixed on the smoke hissing up behind him, making it look like brilliant red flames, with his black silhouette against it. When he stood, echoing the word 'Ningen', (human), he pointed an accusing finger out at faces in the audience. 

I was surprised to hear them play Mazohyst of Decadence! The melody fits so smoothly with their new musical style, it could have been a new song off the album.

One of my favorite songs in the set was "Hageshisato...". When Kyo pointed to the crowd, their voices rose to sing the lyrics, the sound filling the room over the music. In spite of the enthusiasm, when all went silent for Kyo's acapella scream, not a peep came out of the audience.

They came out and played an encore of course- starting with one of my favorites, Bugaboo. After that they played GRIEF, The Agitated Screams of Maggots, and the new version of Rasetsukoku.

I was worried about catching the last train home this whole time, but the show was over by 9:30! Venue staff handed out bags with pamphlets and flyers on the way out. I was back home in my apartment by about 11, with ample sleeping time before my Kanji quiz in the morning.

It still feels like a dream. I know it definitely won't be my last Dir en grey concert! I want to be closer to the stage next time. In the mean time, I couldn't possibly be happier.

No comments:

Post a Comment