L'Arc~en~Ciel has always been one of the first J-Rock bands I have been introduced and are probably my second favorite Japanese band besides B'z. B'z are just on an untouchable level, and someday, I pray I will get to see them in concert.
I started out liking L'Arc~en~Ciel for their fun songs like "Honey" and "Stay Away" and their anime songs such as "Seventh Heaven," "Ready Steady Go" and "Driver's High." I usually start liking a band for their songs, and then one day, I decided to look up the band and figured out who Hyde is. Not only is Hyde one of the most beautiful male musicians out there, but he also has an incredible voice (when he is not ruining it by smoking). I had a serious Laruku faze a couple years ago, when I was listening to nothing but Laruku, and I was a little obsessed with Hyde and Gackt. I love their duet in "Orenji no Taiyou." I think the moment I fell in love with Hyde's voice is when he hits this beautiful high note in the 10 minute song, harmonizing with Gackt. I would love to hear a live version of that song (I can imagine how difficult it would be to replicate that beautiful recording.) I love Hyde's solo work stuff as well, especially Roentgen. "Cape of Storms" is a most haunting song and matched perfectly the movie "Last Quarter" based on the manga by the same name by famed Nana mangaka Yazawa Ai.
Vamps consists of Hyde from Laruku and Kaz from Oblivion Dust. I don't know much about the latter band, but Kaz in an amazing guitarist and very hot--my friend loved him. I was intending on attending the concert anyway, but I got two free tickets because I got picked by an MTV contest. I've been lucky with stuff like that. I managed to attend the much coveted premierof the Yatterman movie in New York with Miike Takashi and JE idol group Arashi's Sakurai Sho. It's the first time they premiered a Japanese movie outside of Japan. This was my second J-Rock concert. I went to the T.M. Revolution concert last year and actually met Takanori Nishikawa at New York Comic Con last year. He was really friendly and nice, and I shook hands and got an autograph from him. He has an awesome stage presence and the concert was exhilirating (loved the live preview of the Soul Eater opening as well.) Anyhow, so I had a little idea of what to expect from the Vamps concert.
First off, the concert was AMAZING! I don't know what people say about Hyde's live performances, but his voice was FLAWLESS. He sounded even better than recordings (and we all know he doesn't always sound so fabulous). And for a small man, his stage presence is just mindblowing. The Fillmore New York at Irving Plaza is not a big venue but there was a pretty huge line waiting down the block. There are some hardcore fans out there, and I was about to get trampled alive by the CRAZY concert-goers. I'm not kidding when I say I think I've never been more suffocated or moshed. It was like I was in a human panini-maker. Anyhow, my friend and I were stuck in the smack middle center of the mosh pit, so after the first song, my friend and I clambered to get away from the craziness. I had a perfect spot perched on the guard rail to the side and had a wonderful view of the entire concert. Since the venue is quite small, you can almost just hop onto the stage if you want to. At one point, I was waving my arms and screaming my lungs out, and Hyde looked over and did a pouty kiss in my direction and winked. Kyaa!!! I'm pretty sure it was towards me because I was the only one sticking out from the crowd since I was standing on the guard rail keeping all the crazy fans fenced in. (At one point, the guard made us get down, but I climbed on again because the other people were huge and I was wearing flats.) For the record, I am usually a very reserved, calm composed person. It's just certain triggers that unleashes the crazy fangirl in me.
Kaz had mad guitar skills, and he was very nice, throwing all his picks at the audience. At one point, Hyde through his water bottle too. My friend is not a J-Rock fan, and I was slightly afraid the madness would scare her, but I think I converted her. She made fun of Hyde's little dance though. Lol. One of my favorite songs of the night was "Trouble" because Vamps did a refreshing rock rendition of a pop song already familiar to the audience, and it was lots of fun and catered to a more "Western" audience I suppose. I thought it was cute that Hyde spoke in English, which was surprisingly very good. He talked about how big the pizza in New York is. My Chinese friend said that he always talks about food.
I also saw the band exiting the back of the building into a large van. A bunch of people were waiting in the front, but I was smart and convinced my friends there must be a side exit. Lol. I don't think I'll ever be an arm's reach away from Hyde again. Lol. I'm jealous of those people who will be able to get his signature at Baltimore.
Needless to say, I was very sore and my voice was compeltely hoarse the next day. Lol. I would love to see L'Arc~en~Ciel in concert one day because those songs are a lot more familiar to me and it would be a lot of fun. I would love to hear "Jyoujoushi" which I prefer live versions over the recorded version. All the FMA songs would be awesome--but I also like their album stuff and their older songs as well. I know even those who are not J-Rock fans have heard of L'Arc~en~Ciel (especially since they're more on the commercial pop side anyway), but do check out Vamps if you get a chance. They are on tour in the US until August.
Now, if I can only see B'z and Akeboshi in concert, I can rest in peace.