Dir En Grey Dortmund Review - 31-01-2020

BBP - 2-2-2020 at 17:57

Just ten months after the 2018 Dir En Grey-tour, which was plagued with technical issues, the new Diru Europe tour was announced. And there was much rejoicing!

I bought the tickets the minute they went on sale and checked the sales website every single day, waiting for the link to appear so I could buy the VIP tickets. (a word of merci go to CodeOfGrey for posting the link since I couldn't find it, and of course for helping me practice my French in the best way possible). Making sure I was there right on time to buy the VIP upgrade - I lost it. Couldn't pay due to bank changing my payment system at that exact point in time.

Le sigh.

I met my fantastic boyfriend through Dir En Grey. At the 2015 Eindhoven concert I won the "Visitor of the Month" award, giving me two tickets to a concert to my liking, and that's where I met him. I'd never met him if Dir En Grey wasn't pure awesome. <3
But this time it was my boyfriend who helped me get to Dir En Grey, not the other way around. Two weeks ago both medical and dental issues leave me so down and poor I consider not buying the transportation or hotel and just support the band by keeping the ticket. My boyfriend cheered me up and helped me get things sorted. So a few days later I booked a hostel, train ticket to Dortmund and coach ticket away from Dortmund.

I arrive outside FZW at around 2:30 PM, armed with food, water and a book, wearing my lucky Frank Zappa concert T-shirt and sit on the ground next to a German group. It's a long wait from here, but I have buns, cheese, water, an apple and a book to sit it out. While queueing I get to finish the book even. After dark the queue gets to life and stands. I join them. After that it's a long stand until we're finally allowed in, a little before seven. I secure myself a spot 5 rows from the stage, just left from the middle so I can see Toshiya and Kyo best. Right in front of me is a Japanese man, his female companion to his right, both appear to be in their forties. Occasionally he turns around to look at me with a hopefully imagined look of disapproval. He wears a T-shirt from the 2008 Rose Trims Again tour, now twelve years ago. I hear them talk but with my work I spend so much time speaking German, English, French and Dutch that Japanese has unfortunately gone to the back burner. I don't pick up too much and striking up conversation is beyond me. The man To my right is a larger group of Spanish people. One has her back to me and tends to push me to the left, which annoys me. I shuffle back to my original position and resume waiting.

It's a long wait, but then finally the introduction video plays! Ever pale Shinya quietly ducks behind his drum kit. Die with his lengthy manes greets the audience and moves to his corner, Toshiya is met with many cheers and appears with his shirt half open, Kaoru timidly shuffles into his corner... and there he is, the ever graceful Kyo, with neatly cut black hair and Joker make-up.

The first noted of The World Of Mercy start. The motorics I know so well from all those GIFs I made elegantly make swaying motions, as Kyo's soft voice is framed by the band and the music video in the background. All the reasons why I am so fond of Kyo can be found in the ten glorious minutes of The World Of Mercy - how he makes you understand the meaning of the song as if the languate barrier doesn't exist, how captivating his moves are, and towards the end how jarring his execution of "eating" his wrist is, as he gets a maniacal look in his eyes and makes loud munching noises - it is a bit funny and quite a bit terrifying. And as a cherry on the cake he gives an encore of last concert's disembowelling act.
This is not to take away from any of the performances of the other band members - Shinya's drumming is impeccable and spot-on. The World Of Mercy is unusual in the accent it places on the 2nd beat. Shinya pulls it off.

After the first song the girls in front keep on yelling "Toshiya!" Toshiya stands towards the back, looking stoic but all the same making "Louder!" signals with his hand. With success!

Song number 2 is Rubbish Heap, a fun song - unfortunately the audience at this point is decidedly less fun. The Kyo-burling from an Asian girl at the front is getting annoying pretty quickly, but that can be ignored. Also the drunk spaniard repeatedly shouting "encore" although the show hasn't started yet was thinking he was funny way longer than pretty much anybody else, but that's still within what you can handle as viewer. But what really got to me I get shoved in every direction and have immense troubles even staying upright. Looking left and right I notice the Japanese couple in front of me has split and there are now two people between them - a song later I can't even find them anymore.

Culprit are two drunk guys, one in the large Spanish group to my right, and to my left one short fat balding individual with beard of whom referring him as "ape" would be tempting but offensive towards our fellow primates. The largely female audience is not up to moshing. Both the guy on the left and the guy on the right are regularly berated by the females there. As Beardo shoves in me repeatedly, ultimately wringing past me, I grab him by the shoulder and jerk him back but he continues to mosh into the ladies.

I hear him saying between songs, amused: "Sie finden mich echt hässlich!" or "they really hate me." Indeed after three songs I noticed aggression building up, about to punch him in the face, but well... not in front of Kyo.

The shoving gets so bad I completely lose track of the concert - all I came to see was the boys but all I end up doing is staying upright and having such violent thoughts I imagine myself as Pop in a real life rendition of Cell Block Tango, describing how I fired two warning shots into his head.
It shocks me at one point that a song has ended and I didn't even catch what song it was. Did I travel all this way, after conquering all the problems I had, after a three hour train journey and six hours of waiting, just to be pushed around?

Fortunately I get my swing back at Merciless Cult, the first Diru song I ever heard. Interaction with the audience is great, but after a minute or so I almost fall on the ground. Spaniard is berated by a lady two people away: "If you do that again I'll kill you!"
The eagerly other pusher next to me, German female, also manages to jam elbows into my back, but at least she has the decency to apologize.
I completely miss Zetsuentai. I hope for the song that obsesses me, Aka, which poignantly hits home all the times that I experienced blackness in my life... it chills me so every time I hear it...
Finally the crowd stops pushing and I get to listen. Kyo loops his microphone cord and drapes it around his neck as if he's hanging himself... letting out a blood-curdling scream as the song ends...

During Aka it really strikes me how bad the sound is. Part of the instruments can't be heard well enough - most importantly Kyo's voice is too soft. He can't be heard through the singing along during the fast songs, but even in this slow song, where I want to feel the agony in his voice, it's searching for the sound.

Downfall became my downfall. As Beardo knocks me over again and his female companion knocks her elbows in me I shout "you're assholes" at them and leave my very good place to go to the side, hoping to enjoy the rest.

The next two songs, I notice them as they start but I'm too upset by the situation to really enjoy them. After that I slowly get back emotionally. Unfortunately the sound to the side is even worse - but at least I can hear Kyo. To my shock the band leaves after Ranunculus - the show's already over and I barely had a chance to enjoy it.

The begging for an encore is answered by Followers. By the time Gaika, beloved song from Uroboros starts, I finally get loose and start soaking it in. As Kyo riles up the audience and says "Dourutomundo!" there is much cheering. And it ends with one of my favourites, Utafumi. I make the most of it from where I'm standing and sing and move along.

After that Kyo makes his goodbye, the band tosses the water, sticks and picks. One of Toshiya's picks lands on the ground near me but it cannot be found anymore.

I leave the theatre, gutted. For the inth time that day I find myself queueing, not for trains or theatres, but to get my bag back. In the queue I notice someone with an Unraveling EP, which I still want to have. When after a long wait I get back my bag, I make my way to the merch stand.

After another wait I make it to the table. As I'm there, off to get the album, and finally made it to the table waiting to be next, Beardo turns out to be at the merch stand, being helped right before me and annoying the living daylights out of the poor attendant. She tries to make clear to him that there are three shirts numbered 1 to 3 and if he wants to buy one he has to say the number and size but he makes her explain it over and over, to the point that she tells him to stop annoying her, turns her attention to me and stops serving him. I briefly tell her that he annoyed me too during the concert, and order the Unraveling CD. And the Uroboros DVD that was on sale as well. She gives both items and I wish her good luck for the night.

Up to the next queue, getting out of the concert hall. After that I make it back to the hostel, slightly broken and with the hope that there will be a women only and perhaps a men only concert next time 'round.

See you next time, lads, hopefully at a VIP session... just preferably not in Dortmund.

Set list courtesy of :

The World of Mercy
Rubbish Heap
Values of Madness
Keibetsu to Hajimari
Celebrate Empty Howls
Merciless Cult
Devote My Life
Ningen wo Kaburu
Keigaku no Yoku

Gaika, Chinmoku ga Nemuru Koro

polydigm - 5-2-2020 at 19:23

That is unfortunate.