Ten bands played at the Family Values Tour, and once the music started we forgot all about the cold and wet. Well, for the most part. Sometimes, we couldn't help but shiver for a bit.
The first band Walls of Jericho was okay. It's always good to see a woman in metal. And they certainly gave it their all. Almost gave too much, though. The audience barely responded, so it made the performance appear forced.
Deadsy had a good sound, cool makeup and they covered Rush, so they got extra points for that. Bullets and Octane, though. If they replaced the singer I'd really like them. I enjoyed the music, and the bassist and guitarist were fabulous. But, the singer was obnoxious and vain and sexist and badly in need of keeping his shirt. On. He did have a decent voice, but I just couldn't get past the attitude.
Bury Your Dead deserved more than they got from the crowd, at least, from the people in the pavillion seats. Great banner, too. 10 Years was the first band to get a solid reaction from the audience. They rocked it.
But, next was Dir en Grey! Ikuni and I were on our feet before the first sounds of their opening GDS were heard. A number of people had left to meet 10 Years, but DEG still got the loudest reception of the day so far. The fans that were there might not have been the largest in number but they made up for it in volume.
"KILL, KILL, KILL!" we screamed as the band entered the stage.
Okay, I gotta get this out of the way (and prepare yourself, you're about to hear a grown woman fangirl). They were gorgeous! Guitarists Die, with his sleek half black half red hair, and Kaoru, wearing this funky grey hat that almost covered his eyes, a "I am worthy of worship" look on his face. Shinya, the drummer, who was like some kind of badass angel. Singer Kyo, dressed simply but stunningly in black pants and shirt.
And the bassist Toshiya. Oh. My. Inagodadivida. Let's see. What word would best describe him? How about…HOT. Like I'd be willing to stand in pouring rain all day for him hot. Like I finally understand why females passed out when they saw the Beatles hot. Like it was a good thing there was a barrier and impossing security team between the crowd and the stage hot.
He wore this fantastic shredded leather jacket and an ultra-long scarf tied on his head like a turban. His hair was growing out again. Have to say we were a bit worried about the hair, actually, because in photos of earlier FVT performances it had resembled an electrified French poodle. But, thank the bass gods, he was letting it grow and wearing it straight, so looked his usual hot self.
And, yes, I know I'm in my forties and supposed to be mature and all, but that did not stop me from waving to him like crazy throughout the concert until he looked at me…multiple times.
But, onto the most important thing–the music.
It's hard to describe what it's like to finally hear a band live after listening to them for so long through stereo speakers. Immediate, intense, tangible are words that come to mind. Someone on Inside the Actor's Studio (it was either Glenn Close or Meryl Streep) said that one of the great things about performing live was that it actually moved molecules. That is so true, and the physical power of Dir en grey's music live was almost overwhelming.
They played each song expertly but also with an emotional rawness that made it seem like they'd never performed it before. They also head banged and rocked out and flipped off the audience. And Kyo kicked the crap out of every note. We were in metal heaven.
My favorite song that they played was Dead Tree. It's about the horrors of war and was particularly moving as Kyo sang it in front of their banner with a photo of a mushroom cloud.
After the last song, Merciless Cult, they simply walked off the stage. It was over. Just like that.
Ikuni and I sat down to catch our breath and wait for Flyleaf's crew to start setting up. Ikuni had decided she was going to forego Dir en grey's meet 'n' greet to see Flyleaf. It was a hard decision, but she loves Flyleaf, too, and wanted to see them live. Only two DEG members were going to be there. Not the whole band. She was really only interested in meeting Kyo and since he'd been at a recent one, probably wouldn't be there that day (and he wasn't).
Lacy of Flyleaf was fantastic. She had a powerful voice and good stage presence. Her guitarist and bassist, though, irritated us a few times, jumping around like bullfrogs on acid during serious songs when they should have stayed still and let us focus on Lacy and what she was singing.
After Flyleaf's set, Ikuni and I needed a break. The plan was to get a bite to eat then head back for the Deftones and Korn. But, as we were walking to the restrooms Ikuni asked if we could just head home. I didn't need any convincing. We were both exhausted.
We still smile when we think back on the whole experience. Rain and all, it was very much worth it. My only regret. I should have gone to the meet 'n' greet alone and left Ikuni to hear Flyleaf.
Why? Because I found out later that Toshiya was one of the members who was shaking hands.