2015/03/03 – KAMIJO @ The Garage, London

Yesterday was the 1 year anniversary of KAMIJO’s live in London, so I decided to repost my write-up, which was originally posted on Tumblr. It was an important day, as it was my very first visual kei live. But it was also important because I saw friends I don’t see often, and also met and became friends with lots of lovely new people, including Tegan and Dorian!

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Unsure if I wanted to do a live report, since all the others I’ve read were by VIPs, who had more interesting things to write about. But I’ve decided I’m going to write about all the lives I go to when I visit Japan, so this is good practice. This was my second time seeing a Japanese artist in London, and actually my second concert EVER (my first being KPP last year).

I travelled to the venue with my friend Steph, with plans to meet other friends at the venue. We arrived around 18:30 and were let in just after 19:00 – ticket checks and bag checks were done quickly, although the cloakroom check-in was a lot slower so I left Steph while I went inside the main hall (bag check-in wasn’t compulsory and had a fee, and as I had my AatP convertible backpack, I didn’t bother.)

Inside the main hall it was quite dark and had purple lighting, which took a while to adjust too. It was a decent size, with the lighting etc. control panel bit towards the back, then a raised area with the bar and merchandise area.

Here’s a short video I filmed inside the venue – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gP5ico7konA

At Kyary’s concert last year I didn’t look at merchandise before the show, and everything but towels was sold out when I got there. This time, I learned from my mistake and went before the show! As expected, the merchandise was expensive: £15 for key rings, £40 for the photo book, around £20 for T-shirts. I’d set aside a fair bit of money, but was put off by the prices. Still, I wanted a souvenir from my first KAMJO concert, so I bought the Versailles era keychain.

After my trip to the merch stall, Steph still wasn’t done checking her bag in, so I went in search of my friend Danielle. I later learned that the people in front of her in the line were from Italy, and the cloakroom lady spoke Italian, so that’s why there was a hold up! There was still time before the show started, so I took photos of the stage and the other attendees. There were some gorgeous cosplayers, as well as a mix of visual kei, goth, lolita, and punk. The stage itself was quite small, with chandeliers in front, a video screen at the back, and champagne glasses full of water for KAMIJO. I also noticed Masashi had a sticker of himself (from this set – http://www.cdjapan.co.jp/product/NEOYMN-41) on his equipment – so cute ❤

Above: some of the photos I took of other attendees. The MASASHI cosplayer in the centre photo is Tegan, and the KAMIJO cosplayer in the right photo is Dorian!

It was getting nearer to 20:00, but I was getting concerned as my other friend Cain wasn’t there yet. With about 10 minutes left, I saw him walk in and ran over to meet him. In platforms. And I didn’t fall over. Possibly my greatest achievement. Then it was “Hi! Yay!” Hug! I hadn’t seen him since Revelry, so I was so happy to see him again! He introduced us to his friend Mandy, who was super cute and sweet, I’m glad I got to meet her!

Just after 20:00, after a staff member informed us that no pictures were to be taken during the live. Then the show began. Rive Le Roi played as the support members MASASHI, Meku, and MAOKI came on stage, followed by KAMIJO himself. It’s a strange feeling to see a musician in the flesh after so many years of being a fan! After Rive Le Roi came Rose Croix and a couple of other solo songs. But then after finishing a song, KAMIJO pointed to the crowd, said “no pictures” and left the stage. It turns out a few people were still taking photos, despite clear instructions not to, and they did it later on in the show too. Although I’ve heard from other reports that they were later cornered! His exit was quite sudden, so we were a little concerned, but it was scheduled as he left the stage a couple of other times. Still, the support members were a little shocked at his sudden exit, and after conversing played an instrumental piece which helped lighten the mood.

Other solo songs performed included Moulin Rouge (during which he replaced ‘Paris’ with ‘London’), Throne, and Death Parade – one of my favourites of the evening, as KAMIJO got everyone to march and salute! There weren’t as many Versailles songs as I’d hoped, but I enjoyed the songs chosen: Ascendead Master (one of my favourites), Aristocrat’s Symphony, and Masquerade (during which KAMJIO and Masashi did some very nice spinning!). I’m very fond of Lyrical Sympathy, and was hoping for Shout & Bites as it had been performed at a previous show, but it wasn’t. The Versailles songs didn’t quite sound the same without twin guitars on stage, but MEKU plays so wonderfully that I didn’t mind that much.  Although I’m a little jealous of fans in North America & South America that get both MEKU and Daishi!

There were a few songs I didn’t recognise, since I don’t know as many Lareine songs, and have only listened to New Sodmy once or twice. But another report informed me that there weren’t any New Sodmy songs at all! The Lareine songs performed included Bara wa Utsukushiku Chiru, which myself and Cain were very happy to hear as we both love Rose of Versailles! During Fuyu Tokyo he replaced ‘Tokyo’ with ‘London’ (in the intro at least, didn’t catch the lyrics themselves). Another Lareine song had just KAMIJO’s vocals and a piano track, with KAMIJO miming pulling petals off a flower, watching them float away, and even kissing the last one.

During the show, I’d look away for a split second and something would have happened. Suddenly KAMIJO was off the stage, running along the barrier to touch hands with those at the front. He then got onto the shoulders of a staff member and went back for another round! During the whole show, he left the stage 3 or 4 times, and each time I thought it was to change costume. But he stayed in his white Yamiyo no Lion outfit – I was a little disappointed, as I was hoping to see his new costume in person!

At the end of the show, KAMIJO thanked the support members, hugging each of them in turn. He then thanked the audience – I’ve heard some people complain that his English is terrible, but both myself and Steph agreed it was pretty good. Most importantly, his appreciation for his fans worldwide came across, and I hope I am able to see him perform again soon. After KAMIJO also left, the lights went up, the chandeliers were taken down (I’d been wondering if KAMIJO brought those with him), and everyone that didn’t buy merchandise before the show rushed to the stall. It was so busy, I’m glad I went before the show!

 

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