As we sat in the car and watched the rain make rivers on the windshield, Ikuni and I discussed how best to get into the venue. Two or three places looked like entrances.
“Hey!” Ikuni said, “DEG fans.”
Three young adults walked confidently by us. Each was dressed in various shades of black and draped with various lengths of chains. One had "Dir en grey" written on the side of his pants.
“Let’s follow them,” I suggested.
By the time we got out of the car and I opened my umbrella we were about twenty feet behind, and they didn't seem to notice us. We considered catching up and introducing ourselves but didn't. We followed them through an open area, as the bottoms of our jeans soaked up water.
As we went along, I began taking in the surroundings. Booths were being set up and a few people talked on two-way radios. I began to think that maybe we weren't supposed to be there. I turned my head and saw a large iron gate with about twenty fans…on the other side of it!
"Um," I said to Ikuni, nodding toward the gate, "I think we're supposed to be with them."
"Oops," she said.
The three DEG fans had disappeared from view, so we turned around and started making our way back. Funny thing was, not one person said anything to us. I guess a forty-something with an umbrella in her hand and a young person by her side doesn't look very suspicious. Something else–we wondered later if the fans we'd been following had special permission to meet the band, and we sort of wished we'd tailed them a bit closer!
So, we were now in line on the right side of the main entrance gate and were standing just barely under an overhang so we weren't being rained on too much. Most of the fans waited quietly, shifting weight from one foot to the other, and only occasionally talking or laughing. You could sometimes tell which band they were there to see by their t-shirts.
There were, though, these two girls behind us who kept "accidently" poking us with their umbrellas and whispering snide remarks about us. Maybe they'd seen us on the wrong side of the gate. Unfortunately, it turned out they were there to see Dir en grey, too. We did our best to just ignore them.
Finally, the staff showed up and started getting ready to open the gates and take everyone's ticket. A guy held up a big sign and shouted what wasn't allowed in the venue. "And no umbrellas," he said.
No umbrellas? The rain was not letting up. It was the kind that lasts for days. Our seats were under the covered pavilion, yes, but what about walking to and from them–to the merchandise booth, to the concession stand, to the bathrooms? We'd get drenched. The staff member, however, was adamant.
"We've got to run this to the car," I told Ikuni, waving the umbrella. She protested, but I was already moving out of line.
That was a mistake. I'd thought there were only a few rows of fans and it wouldn't matter much if we left and came back. I didn't think it would be half an hour more before they let people through. If I'd known that, Ikuni could have saved our place instead of us going to the end of the line (and amazing how long it became once they told everyone to get in single file). I also didn't think about how keeping our spots under the overhang might have been worth checking the umbrella or even pitching it in the garbage. What can I say? My brain must've been waterlogged.
"I'm going to kill you for this," Ikuni hissed as we splashed through pond-sized puddles to the car. "I wanted to get to the merch table right away and then to our seats, so I could hear the first band, Walls of Jericho."
"I'm sorry," I said.
I would say that many more times, while we got wetter and wetter standing at the back of the line. One good thing, though. We weren't getting poked anymore by those two obnoxious girls.
The line eventually moved and into the venue we went–our hair plastered to our heads, our socks squishing in our shoes, our soggy tickets firmly in hand.
First stop, the merch booth. Second stop, the bathroom which had about an inch of standing water on the floor. One woman almost slipped and fell as she exited.
We next sloshed up stairs, across a walkway, down a paved path and eventually found our water-beaded seats, which were only four rows back from the narrow pit area and the much larger stage! Every once and a while the wind sent mist our way, but we were under the roof so were no longer being showered.
Not everyone was so lucky, though. Ikuni touched my arm and motioned for me to turn around. There, about ten rows behind us, were the two girls who had kept poking us in the head. Now umbrellaless and definitely not under shelter, they sat looking miserable in the pouring rain.
To be continued…