Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Kamijo 20th Anniversary Concert in NYC aka how I spent my International Lolita Day Part 2 ~ Vive le Roi!!!

Hello Everyone!

And now to continue with my International Lolita Day adventures in New York. After taking the subway again from the boutique we made it to the Highline Ballroom a little past 4. By this time there were a lot of people lined up, I saw a few other lolvely lolitas and even a few Kamijo cosplayers too; there was this one Holy Grail Hizaki cosplayer that looked absolutely stunning!

There were two lines, one for general admission and one for VIP ticket holders, which were us; we would get the opportunity to meet Kamijo before the show! The very thought made me a little sick in my stomach such was my nervousness. This all still seemed like nothing more than a wonderful dream to me but as the time got closer and closer it was beginning to hit me harder and harder that THIS WAS NO DREAM AT ALL!! After 7 years from discovering Versailles and 3 years since their announcement of hiatus, I was going to actually be meeting this incredible, talented, beautiful man who’s bands’ music had been such a driving inspiration to me for so long, helping me through very rough times and making me so happy other times. Not to mention all the wonderful friends and experiences I found through his music. I never imagined that I would have this opportunity. At that moment, I could no longer think about the depressing things that had made me stop listening to Versailles and Kamijo’s music for a while, those things just seemed to erase from my mind fully.

And things REALLY began to sink in the minute I saw this!

In any case, while in line there was this very kind girl holding a large US flag with the gold emblem of Kamijo’s solo project in the center and Amanda and I each signed our names on it. Before the meet and greet staff members let bunches of fans in at a time to buy merch which honestly was very slim pickings. None of Kamijo’s music was for sale which made me rather upset and the only size fan shirt left was way too large for me; in the end I settled on 2 photo sets, gifts for Kitty back home and my friend in Georgia who sadly could not make it. 

After buying merch Amanda and I went back to the VIP line to wait a little more for us to be called back into the venue. As it happens the meet and greet started late and honestly it happened so quickly! There were a lot of VIP’s, probably more than 100. We were led to the upper level of the venue where from downstairs we could see the stage and see people beginning to line up for the show itself, this slightly worried me because I wanted a good spot and didn’t pay $120 to stand TOO far from the stage! While waiting Amanda and I looked down below and could see Kamijo being led upstairs and THAT is when the reality of all of this hit me, I’m worried I may have crushed Amanda’s hand such was how tightly I was squeezing it! We continued holding hands until finally it was my turn, again so quickly! With one last squeeze of her hand the staff member guarding the door opened it for me went into the room.

My head was down staring at my shoes and my heart was racing; I heard the word “Bonjour~” and that’s when I finally looked up at a very gorgeous, warm smiling Kamijo, he reached his hand out to me and all I could say was “Hello!” in what was probably a very squeaky voice as I shook his hand. I wanted to look at him but he was wearing his vampire contact lenses that make his eyes look a piercing almost white blue that made my heart race again. The staff member took our picture and then Kamijo turned to me smiling and shook my hand again with both of his hands saying “Thank you so much, please enjoy!” This time our eyes actually met and I could fully take in how regally handsome he is! The racing in my heart was replaced with a warm fluttery feeling and I squeaked “Arigatou!” but by this point it was all I could do not to break down and cry. Even now it all seemed like nothing more than a beautiful dream and only when I took my first look at the cheki of Kamijo and I did I finally realize that this was no dream. I had just met Kamijo, I had shaken his hand twice and he actually looked at me! I had expected the whole experience to be A LOT more daunting but it wasn’t. Despite having a very commanding, slightly intimidating presence (and *cough* sexy! *cough cough*) on stage he was so kind and gracious and it felt like the fluttering in my heart would never go away. What a true gentleman! It didn’t even matter to me that the whole thing only took at most half a minute.

I’m sure regular readers of my blog already know how rare it is for me to give a full, true smile in any picture. But in that moment everything just felt so incredible and euphoric that I could not help but smile. Thank you Kamijo, I will treasure this picture forever! ^O^

I wandered back down the stairs in a strange sort of daze, waiting for Amanda. And then I ran into fellow MD lolita Erica who had also come up to New York for ILD and the concert! We had not seen each other since Anime Matsuri and it was nice seeing her again. She had also just met Kamijo and she, me and Amanda all mused together about the wonderful experience we had all just had and look at our chekis. 

It would still be another two hours until showtime so we spent most of the time talking about Kamijo, the songs we hoped he would sing, what we had done in the city that day and lolita crack dresses! XD (the fancy make to order dresses from BABY that generally retail for about $1000 USD but sell on auctions for 10X more) By 6:30-7pm our feet were killing us so we all sat to rest right there by the stage, and from the looks of it we were not the only ones. Poor Amanda actually fell asleep for a bit and I didn’t bother to wake her until it was time for the concert to truly start.

Despite the meet and greet being late, the concert started promptly at 8. The lights dimmed and we all got up from the floor and went wild with excitement!! A blood red hue illuminated the stage and the beginning tunes of “Vive le Roi” began. We all chanted along with “Vive le Roi” as the support members appeared one by one, oh how my heart raced when Masashi appeared but not as much as when Kamijo finally strode upon the stage obviously relishing how wild we all went for him! Together we all began to chant “Vive le Roi! Vive le Roi! Vive le Roi!” I was getting really excited and my heart soared when Kamijo spoke out the words “The world is, like a Masquerade!” and the epic symphonic chords of “Masquerade” began! One of my all time favorite Versailles songs! Kamijo sang with so much feeling and I could not help but sing along with him as loud as I could. I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again, I never imagined I would ever hear this song performed live so the whole experience was just so surreal and amazing. Kamijo moved with such elegance, twirling the cape of his shimmering black and gold jacket and pointing out to the stage, he never seemed to stop grinning. Then when it was time for Masashi’s bass solo that is when I really lost it! I really wish I had a spot closer to him but it was still amazing seeing him because he is so truly talented!

After “Masquerade” we all cheered and I finally was able to fully look upon Kamijo and admire how glorious he was. He smiled at us all and said “Bonjour!” to which we replied back to him with even stronger applause. “Welcome to my palace!” He said in a very regal, somewhat seductive tone; Kamijo always seemed to me to have a certain “passion” for other languages and his English seemed to have really improved since Versailles! The next song was another Versailles tune “Shout and Bites” and then “Phantom” from his New Sodmy days. During these songs I tried to keep my attention on Kamijo but I found my attention often shifing to the very cute guitarist closest to us but most of all, Masashi. Versailles had ended before I could really come to appreciate him as an equal member of Versailles and I was very happy to see him as support member during this show. Like I said he is very talented and seems to have a very strong stage presence in his own right. Amanda said she thinks he’s cute. XD

Soon Kamijo said to the audience “Rose of Versailles” and I knew what that meant: “Bara wa utsukushiku chiru” Lareine’s rock version of the classic shoujo anime opening! Kamijo always made it clear that he really loved Rose of Versailles and so do I! Again I sang along all the while images of Lareine and the anime appeared on the screen behind them, then another Lareine song; “Fuyu Tokyo”. Then Kamijo left the stage for a moment while the support members wowed us with an instrumental track I did not recognize but it was amazing. And then the support members left the stage as well and everything went dark for a moment.


Kamijo returned to the stage and performed a beautiful Japanese version of the Versailles song “Love Will be Born Again” to a slow instrumental track that nearly bought tears to my eyes. As he sang I looked upon him without fear and could really see (and feel) all the emotion he was putting into the song, it filled my heart with a mix of sadness and joy. After that song the support members returned to the stage for the next song, a beautiful and romantic Lareine track called “Fiancailles”. We sang along joyously to this sweet tune; I was really happy with all the Lareine songs Kamijo had chosen for this show. My only wish was that I could have heard “Metamorphose” “Fleur” or “Lillie Charlotte” as well. But it’s okay. Midway through the song a guy reached out and gave Kamijo a bouquet of blue roses; he kissed the bouquet and continued to sing with the bouquet in his hands. Such a lucky guy!


There was a little video before the next song. Now I will admit, with the exception of the very first few songs Kamijo released and the MOST recent of his solo work, I am not all THAT familiar with his solo work, most of last year I devoted my attention to Jupiter and did not pay much attention to what Kamijo was doing. So to that end the next few songs were kind of fuzzy to me as they all seemed to be mashed together. I only remember Kamijo performing “Dying Table” and “Throne” but that’s because those tracks I particularly took a liking to. So again I just focused on the way Kamijo was moving to and fro in a very flamboyant, elegant way. It was so captivating! He really does have that noble vampire act down pat! For that night, he truly owned the stage.


After the last song of the main set we all chanted for an encore. By that time it was a wonder that I had any voice left after so much screaming and singing along to nearly every song I knew AND already battling with a slightly scratchy throat. But the screaming had only just begun.


Another video played that showed all of the best of Kamijo over the last 20 years, from Lareine, to New Sodmy, to Versailles to now. It gave me a strange sense of joy and nostalgia to see how far Kamijo had come in his career and I was happy to be able to be there to celebrate his music with fellow fans and him. Finally the support members returned and a blood red hue lit the stage again as a grave, daunting beat began, Kamijo returned chanting “Whoa-o-oh” and we in turn chanted back “Whoa-o-oh”, in a strong voice Kamijo then sang “The time has come…” and we sang it back to him before the start of the first song of the encore set: the very intense and powerful “Bastile”! We all tried to get as close to the stage as we could as Kamijo performed and came to our side, singing out “Destroy the…” and we replied “BASTILLE!” as loud as we could! Such a fun song to experience live!!


“I want to see you dance!” Kamijo said to us as the next song began “Moulin Rouge”! Another fun party song that is very jazzy and somewhat sexy. I actually had to remove my shoes in order to really dance and enjoy this song like I wanted to and Kamijo did not disappoint! I was very taken back with the sexy way Kamijo danced and moved, licking his lips afew times and moving his hips in a seductive way. Every time he said “It’s showtime!” I danced with so much energy, I could not hold back. At one point we went over to Masashi and danced with him in a teasing way that was obviously meant to be for the sake of fanservice and was met with an eruption of rabid screams from the audience!


Kamijo announced the last song and I swear my heart stopped all together when he said the words: “Aristocrats Symphony”! The first ever song I ever heard of Versailles and my absolute favorite of theirs, “Aristocrats Symphony” holds a very special place in my heart. Even when I was not listening to Versailles for awhile during mourning for Jasmine You or because I was depressed about their hiatus, I would still listen to this powerful symphonic tune. All at once a wave of wonderful memories began to hit me as the song began and continued as Kamijo sang. Memories of seeing Kamijo and Versailles for the first time ever at a con in Dallas many years ago, memories of staying up until dawn with my friends watching their PV’s or live clips on YouTube, memories of passing out Versailles flyers as a member of their US Street Team cosplaying as Hizaki, memories of releasing a purple balloon into the sky every August 9th, a custom I observed every year until 2012. I had forgotten all the bad things, all the drama and all I could think of was headbanging intensely and singing along with Kamijo to this wonderful song. By this time, I could not hold back my tears any longer but I was so, so, SO HAPPY! Words cannot describe the happiness I felt. We all sang along. I did not ever want the song to end.




After the song Kamijo introduced each of his support members, I cheered for every one. They all had done such a magnificent job. Then Kamijo asked us teasingly “And I am…?” I don’t think it was possible to comprehend the audience screaming out Kamijo’s name, such was the passionate volume of everyone. Then Kamijo was presented with the US flag we had all signed earlier and he put it over his shoulder like a cape and even put it over his head once! So funny! He never stopped smiling, even for a moment!


And then sat with the support members close to the stage for a picture, we all squeezed in as close as we could for the picture, I think I actually got a very good spot. ^.^ At the very end, Kamijo instructed us to all jump on his cue and he took the hands of all his support members and together we all jumped as high as we could, but at this point I merely pretended because my feet were crying after hours of walking around in EGL platforms and dancing. Kamijo and the support members waved to the crowd and thanked us all graciously and wholeheartedly before leaving the stage for the last time. The concert was over.


Reality returned to me immediately as I realized what a magical experience I had just been a part of. Amanda and I didn’t leave right away though, we ran into my VKH colleague and friend Shiro and we decided to collapse into the middle of the floor, breathless and euphoric and musing about how amazing the concert had been. We also ran into a bunch of other familiar faces too. It had occurred to me that I was only able to know most of these people through Versailles and by default through Kamijo. It was so wonderful and I can honestly say without a doubt that this had to be one of the best jrock concert experiences I had ever had.


Amanda and I returned to the bus station, still trying to take in what a wonderful day and night it had been. Sadly, my bus left at 1am, before her’s so holding back more tears I bid her farewell and we promised each other we would see each other later this summer for Otakon and I returned to Baltimore. It was nearly 5am by the time I came home and I fell into bed, still fully dressed in my Moitie regalia.




All my purchases from the day. OTK’s from AATP, a headbow from BABY, a Kera magazine and autographed Disacode photobook, the lovely box my Laudree macarons came in and, of course, photos of Kamijo!


It was such a wonderful day! Probably the best International Lolita Day I had ever had! It was even better experiencing everything with Amanda. I feel like I had been waiting so long for this concert experience and despite the hiccups with the organization, everything fell into place so wonderfully. Even now I’m still sore from that day but it doesn’t bother me at all.


Summer is coming but my decision still stands of taking a break from con-hopping until at least September. I’ll be relaxing this summer but I’ll do my best to keep this blog updated throughout the summer. So please look forward to future posts from me! And now if you excuse me, I’m going to go order Kamijo’s new CD on CDJapan! XD


Vive le Roi!!!


Yours Jasmine

No comments:

Post a Comment