As I've promised I want to show you some impressions from my "second face" - a good beginning is a report about a VisualKei concert, I think ^___^ On Friday 4th July I went to Paris to see Kamijo live! It was my first time visiting France so I was kind of nervous, but I already have seen him with Versailles back in October 2011 in Cologne, so at least I knew the artist yet.
My very first impression and also the final conclusion: Even alone he can impress fantastically!~ Since the last time he has improved a lot, and the evening absolutely was worth its money and all the effort with travelling to Paris etc.! But let me take a closer look on the details now.
The evening I wore a simple black outfit because of the extreme heat and because I didn't want to risk that something could be ripped or torn from the crowd. My highest regards to all the fans who have worn long robes and dresses or heavy leather clothes, I wonder how they have survived...
It was quite easy to get to the venue: The hotel just was around 200 metres away, and it was just a five minute walk on the Boulevard de Rochechouart through Montmatre. I arrived around six, two hours before the gate opening, and rowed myself in - just in time: A few minutes later a long queue formed behind me, and I was right in the middle in a good position. One and a half hour still were left then, but it passed by quite fast; faster than I had expected it would. From afar I could hear the results of the soccer quarter final match between Germany and France, and when disappointed Aaah!s and Oooh!s sounded through the street I know the Germans have had shot the goal... And me as a German directly in between in Paris! But luckily nobody around seemed to be interested in the match, they all were waiting for Kamijo's concert, of course ^___^
I easpecially liked the French fans: I had the feeling that nobody would completely freak out because of Kamijo; they were much more peaceful than here in Germany. I remember concerts of An Cafe or the GazettE, but Kamijo's fans there were more mature - I really liked that! For example it was silent most of the time he wanted to say something between the songs; normally I didn't knew that from here.
Most of the other fans of course were French and I hardly understand the spoken language (honestly, I'm better in reading and writing, but I can't understand the spoken language that good nor speak it...), and less people than I thought came from abroad... I met one girl from Poland and one from Czech Republic, but I don't know which other countries except Germany were present the evening.
During the waiting time a girl from the French supporting team passed the queue and asked everybody whether they want to write something into an A4 sized notebook that would be handed to Kamijo later. Additionally she had a Polaroid camera and took chekis from the fans, and I agreed to shoot a photo and to write something; the original was later taped into the book. I simply choosed the phrase "Vive le Roi!" as a comment, I didn't want to write too much. Moreover I signed a tricolore they were preparing for Kamijo, too.
The time passed by, and the doors were opened in time, even a few minutes before 8pm - in general the whole concert was organized quite good, a big praise to the event management!~ When I entered the girls from the French support team gave me a handful artificial rose petals and instructed me we would throw them in the choruses of "Louis" at the phrase "La Vie en Rose" - so I kept the petals in my bag until this time point.
|The venue the day after|
I liked the first floor very much and I would have prefered to go upstairs, but it already was too crowded and I decided to go downstairs again. I found a place on the left side next to the bar, and I met some other German girls I already have talked with via facebook before. So we formed a "German corner" and impatiently waited for the start of the show - they were quarter of an hour too late so that at the end the earlier starting time of 8.45pm got 9pm again
But then the lights finally turned off and changed to a reddish dim light, and the six-part screen on the back of the stage showed the big letters "KAMIJO" and the typical emblem. An epic introductory theme sounded through the theatre, and one after another the support members came on stage: At first Dir en Grey's Shinya, followed by Ikuo and Meku - and finally, a few seconds later, the Vampire Prince himself appeared! What a fantastic moment~
To be honest I really have looked forward to see Shinya live, too: I have missed Dir en Grey last time in Cologne, and he is one of my biggest idols. He was the reason why I got interested in Japanese music in general, and after I started liking Dir en Grey's music I turned to all the other artists, so also Versailles and Kamijo. That he was his support drummer at this concert was the perfect gimmick~
I also liked Ikuo and Meku very much although I didn't knew them before, but they also are skilled musicians and made a perfect show! Because I stood on the left side I saw Ikuo most of the time and Meku was too far away, but his guitar solos were fabulous!~ But now to Kamijo himself!
He really has improved since the first time I met him back in October 2011, especially his voice has developed and got a very special and impressing accent. Although he plays symphonic metal he doesn't need to hide his voice behind overdriven instruments like in Versailles' "Destiny" (I don't think you can hear the full amplitude of his voice there...). Now it was the other way around: The instruments supported his vocals and the music, but his voice was in the focus.
The show! When the support members entered they shouted "Vive le Roi!", as well as Kamijo himself. The first song was "Yamiyo no Lion" what surprised me; I hadn't expected he would start with a new song but would handle the setlist chronologically. So it was a bit difficult to get into a good atmosphere because the fans couldn't cheer that good to an unknown song - but this quickly changed with the second song: It was "Moulin Rouge"! The next surprise; again I thought he would play it later! To be honest I was a bit disappointed that he sung it that early: It's my favourite song and I hoped for a later time point... But then it didn't matter anymore, and I instantly was pulled in the great mood of joining in and cheering around! The crowd got in a joyful mood and started swinging - it was so much fun! I really can't remember when I have had so much fun at a single song at a concert!~ A very catchy song, and the only pity was that he didn't wore the fitting outfit - the performance looks a bit weird in his "Symphony of the Vampire" clothes o.O xD
I wondered how he intended to change the atmosphere from cheerful to more serious tunes after the song, and I was surprised a third time: He just kept the swinging mode for the third song, Lareine's "Fuyu Tokyo"!~ Nobody around had expected to ever hear this song live again, and the atmosphere was awesome, the whole audience was stunned! I was very glad I had learned the lyrics an eternity ago so that I could sing along, and I felt a bit nostalgic while enjoying the performance - it was a moment you don't forget! You see, on concerts it doesn't matter whether the band broke up or pauses or something, their music is still alive in our hearts and comes back on stage from time to time - that's the reason to love concerts: Because the artists can decide the order more freely.
After the third song a short break followed where Kamijo welcomed us in French and spoke some Japanese before he introduced us in another quite new song, "Tsuioku no Mon Amour". It was a typical symphonic rock number and now the audience came in the "usual" concert mode. Lights changed to a calm and brighter illumination when "Gensou Trianon" started - I still wondered when he would play the full album then. But my question quickly was answered: The sixth song was "Presto", and then he got through half of the symphony; "Sacrifice of Allegro" and "Royal Tercet" followed. A pity that the last song is so short...
Before starting with the ninth song the instrumentalists left the stage and Kamijo remained alone - another break from the Symphony followed now. Which one could be the next song? Right, it was the wonderful "Trésor" and the touching "Grazioso" with accordeon accompainment! Number nine was very enjoyable and created a calm atmosphere with waving arms while number ten's Italian part touched all hearts around... This was one moment where music just overwhelms you and brings you close to tears. Not many artists are able to do this to me, but Kamijo definitely managed it, even several times an evening - incredible!~
After the tenth song Kamijo shortly left the stage for taking a break himself and the instrumentalists entered again. The background music changed to a serious march with hitting bass drums, and it was obvious that now some harder songs would follow. At first I was in expectation of "Dying Table" because this song would continue the Symphony, but again I was wrong: The new song "BASTILLE" followed! As he already had posted on facebook, he wanted the audience to sing along with the lyrics, especially the phrases "Vive le Roi" and "Run the Bastille" - of course then this song mustn't miss! I don't know what I had expected first, but when he began singing and the march continued I was deeply impressed - it already was the song's beginning! Although I never had heard it before I liked it at once, and because I generally prefer harder songs this one has good chances to become my new favourite one~ The melody and chorus also were very catchy and it was easy to join in and to shout the Bastille line, it made lots of fun! ^__^
And directly after this song the also hard "Dying Table" began, perfect conduction between the numbers! Then the setlist was completed by "Sonata", "Mangetsu no Adagio" and "Throne" before Kamijo and the support members left the stage.
Some other details from the show: He greeted the audience with "Bonsoir" and most times thanked with "Merci", but I have recognized two times that he first thanked in German with "Dankeschön", then in French and at the end with "Thank you" xD He also tried to speak some French but then forgot the way to say it, was silent for a while (and it also was deadly silent in the hall, absolutely creepy!) and changed to English: "It's too difficult..." I know this problem with French for myself, poor Kamijo!
Another time somebody shouted "Bonjour" while he had turned for drinking some water, and when he heard this he turned around again and commented: "No - Bonsoir" and everybody started laughing~ He smiled few times and prefered playing the serious Vampire Prince, but when he did it appeared that he was sincerely happy! One time he took one of the roses that was reached to him, kissed it and threw it back into the audience, another time he took one, kissed it, too but handed it back to the dying owner, awesome ^___^
Later during the show he took his waving stick, but it got stuck in a gap next to an amplifier, as well as his coat was caught by it two times... And one time we could see that also Kamijo is no perfect robot but just a human being making mistakes: Something went wrong with the beginning of "Tsuioku no Mon Amour" and he interrupted the support members' playing, the background music was stopped. He just said "Accident" two times before they started again, and then everything worked.
After the usual show the band took a break of around five minutes and the fans started shouting "Encore" and "Vive le Roi" - Kamijo himself had said he would sing all of his songs, and at least "Louis" was missing - so he had to return on stage once again. And indeed: With dried faces but in the same clothes they returned and prepared themselves - and he surprised me a fifth time this evening when he asked the audience whether they want to hear a Versailles song. It was obvious that everybody approved like hell, it was bombastic! Kamijo then explained a remastered version of chapter three of God Palace would follow (later we got to know that the chapter was called "Unmei", and this also would be the title of the cover that is published on the "Yamiyo no Lion" single), and everybody was surprised how emotionally he has caught up the lyrics and melody but turned it into a ballad with slow drum accompainment - the principle reminded me of Versailles' Japanese version of "Love will be born again". This moment was just for dreaming and thinking of old Versailles times, and when I've seen it right he also had some little tears glittering in his eyelids... He was deeply touched himself and I guess he misses the band most of all the members.
But then old times were summed up with the seventeenth and very last song that of course was "Louis - Enketsu no La Vie en Rose-"! All the members gave their best a last time, and our project with throwing the rose petals perfectly worked! We threw them in both choruses, and the French fans with the flag continued a permanent petal rain from the first floor, it was an impressing view!~ Kamijo also smiled about this and took the tricolore around his shoulders, thanking everybody again.
When the show was over the instrumentalists threw their picks, sticks and towels, and Shinya got quite much approvement, too; almost the same amount like Kamijo himself! As always he was very shy about it, and this time even more because he just was a support member. The musicians left the stage, the lights brightened and the movie soundtracks began playing again - now the show definitely was over.
After the concert I went upstairs and bought some merchandise: The black shirt, the poster and two chekis (this time you could choose your favourites, that was much better than picking random ones!) The shirt fits perfectly,, and the poster already is hung up on my wall ^__^
I was left with many positive impressions but at first had to cool down with my fan, it was too hot inside (. .; The manager came on stage again and announced in French and English we now had to leave the hall because of the preparations for the after show party that should begin at 11pm. I also went there, but didn't stayed that long because I already was very tired and didn't like the music that much... I just was full of Kamijo impressions, and GazettE and Mejibray just didn't fit as a conclusion of the evening >___< only good song was Dir en Grey's "Kodou", but when "Pon Pon Pon" started I finally left the hall xD Nevertheless, the furniture consisted of comfy sofas and they even had carried palms inside what created an enjoyable atmosphere~
While taking a break on the steps outside and waiting for the party the meantime didn't got boring because staffs were packing the van and the equipment,
While waiting there a small Japanese guy hopped out of the hall and carried some technical equipment to the van - at first I thought it would be one of the usual staff, but then somebody mentioned the name Shinya and I paid more attention to him - indeed, it really was Shinya in normal tour shirt, unstyled and without makeup. I wouldn't have recognized him without sunglasses, he is smaller than I thought he would be... He is even smaller than me! But okay, his arm muscles proved he must be the drummer. He walked from the exit to the van and back several times
Around 11.30pm (the hall still wasn't prepared although the party should have started at 11pm...) the last big appearance followed: Guarded by two staff and security people the musicians and Kamijo left the hall and the crowd hastened to the van they were entering. The support members disappeared quickly, but of course the Vampire Prince in his grey suit (and of course with his sunglasses although it was late in the evening and already dark) stepped in halfway, turned to the fans and posed in a strong way that reminded me of a proud lion before he waved a last time and also got into the car. The van then left for the hotel, and the crew now quickly managed to open the gates for the after show party.
After spending some time there I went back to the hotel, and although I wasn't dressed normally I didn't have had problems with walking through Montmatre at midnight - honestly, the people there are used to strange clothes and stuff, they won't glance at you with disapprovement. Back in my room I just changed clothes, fell into my bed and instantly slept deep and long like a stone.
The following day I checked out the chalk walls in our hotel and found this entry there - so there must have been another fan who had attended the concert! ^__^ When I arrived the afternoon before the show I saw a girl with pink-turquoise hair in the lounge, so maybe she wrote this... I then added "Vive le Roi!" in orange xD
To sum the concert up: It was a fantastic show in an enjoyable atmosphere, with peaceful fans around. The venue has not the best sound quality, but is seized perfectly for Japanese rock concerts, and if I would live in Paris I would attend concerts here more often.
Kamijo really has improved since Versailles times, and against my expectations he also can impress very good as a solo artist! I see high potential for upcoming shows in his solo career, and although I miss Versailles I wish him all the best for his future way as a Vampire Prince.
At the end the setlist of the evening:
1. Yamiyo no Lion
2. Moulin Rouge
3. Fuyu Tokyo
4. Tsuioku no Mon Amour
5. Gensou Trianon
7. Sacrifice of Allegro
8. Royal Tercet
12. Dying Table
14. Magetsu no Adagio
17. Louis -Enketsu no La Vie en Rose-
A memorial show, his first concert abroad as a solo artist! I would attend one of his concerts again every time, and I just can recommend this artist to everyone who wants to experience a real musician with heart and soul.
Vive le Roi!~