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On June 6th, Kamijo returned to New York. This was the first time he's performed here since 2008, shortly after Noble was released, and I was thrilled to have been able to attend both shows. Like many others have already shared, the set was a mixture of all of his past bands as well as some of his solo material mixed in arbitrarily. But does his grace hold enough stage presence to really dominate the stage on his own, or is visual kei still just enough of a novelty that we'd really just pay to see anyone here? The concert started at 8pm. I had purchased VIP tickets for an exclusive chance to meet the leader of Le Roi himself, which meant I needed to get there early. Luckily, fellow concert goer and ORZ member @ShanethVarosa got there around 3 an were about 10th in line (or in queue as other bizarre dialects refer to it). It took about an hour for other fans to really start showing up, but that meant we got an early shot at getting some merchandise, a topic I'll breach shortly. The American / Canadian fans looked as I had expected: all different shapes and sizes, mostly of European decent with a handful of Hispanic and fans who actually flew in from Japan to follow him around the world (hmu if you're that rich pls), and one (1) girl who looked like she was from India or Pakistan. Just about everyone had some sort of unnatural hair color and dressed like the Tim Burton inspired crowd from high school I have tried rather hard to distance myself from. Corsets and pin stripes galore. One girl had thick white foundation, a corset that cut her waist size in nearly half, and tight leggings that probably, but not really, justified her going commando. This was all topped off with a Jasmine inspired forehead jewel between her eyes. Decorum of this nature was more or less the standard for the show-goers. Several people dressed up in more rococo-esque outfits, such as a girl in tall boots with long, tight, curled extensions like Maribelle from Fire Emblem and a Moi-même-Moitié purse that was very on point. Another girl had a fairly exact replica of Hizaki's dress from Holy Grail era Versailles that was very well made, and a wig to match. Unfortunately, she wore absolutely no makeup so I wouldn't consider this a cosplay so much as akin to just coming dressed like Hizaki. Michelle Visage would say the same, as well as wonder if this outfit was supposed to be shade. After the initial shell-shock of being the only pedestrian in the vip line, the management staff came out and split the line 1/8th to 7/8th since we were blocking the entrance to a local business. Before 5, the vip must have been well over 100 people, with the general admission starting to fill up. We were told that we could go in at 5, but someone allegedly forgot their costume at the airport and delayed the whole night by half an hour. During this time of standing around and trying to explain to middle aged white folks walking passed what "a kamijo" was, two girls were walking around with an American flag bedazzled with Kamijo crest in the middle of the stars, asking fans to sign it. I wrote "thank you for coming to America (アメリカに来ていただき、ありがとうございます。)" and signed my name in Japanese-- after Google translating it of course because I haven't written or used Japanese grammar in about 3 years now. She still complimented my handwriting, though, and was surprised it was legible *tongue click*. After the show, Kamijo took this flag and danced around with it, at one point with it covering his entire head like a little kid pretending to be a ghost with his bedsheets. I suppose he liked it, as he thanked us for about 4 minutes straight. I should have left my number, but didn't think of that until way after... Somewhat early on, an Asian woman came out of the venue and started pulling in people, five nerds at a time. Eventually it was explained that this was for buying merch as they'd much rather we buy things before the show, rather than after as people were leaving. Shane and I went up and saw the rather small selection of goods available: red Kamijo live strong-ish bracelets, 3 different kinds of t-shirts, a photo set, a photo book, and a poster. Overall, the selection was lame. They only had 1 size of each shirt, the bracelets were $10, and I was really hoping he would sell his upcoming albums early. I ended up getting a poster and a photo set, since those were actually both quite nice. The photo book was also gorgeous, but I would have wanted to scan it for ZombiexJuice and didn't feel that spending $40 on a book I would ultimately destroy was a smart investment. At least the line wasn't super long at this point, but I had @Zeus hold my spot in line before he had to leave for some sort of prior engagement, making him 2 school 4 cool to go to this concert. After hours of waiting, they eventually called us in to come upstairs in the club to line up for the meet and greet. This was the moment I had been waiting for: my heart was pounding in my ears and my hands started sweating. Almost immediately my boredom from standing outside and having to talk to Shane vanished as I climbed those stairs because -he- was lurking around, somewhere, waiting. The whole time Shane is panicking and telling people he's going to die, which didn't help the fact that I have a nervous pee reaction. Perfect. I meet one of my idols and all I can do is pee on him. After a few minutes of more waiting, people start getting called into the hallway, with the staff closing the door behind them. I knew -he- was there and I'd began rehearsing what I had wanted to say to him. 2 years of standing in front of a class and reciting dialogs in Japanese had led me to this moment. Soon enough, it was my turn. I round the one door the staff kept closed and there he was: standing, waiting, hair all fluffy with a big crow feather shoulder accoutrement and blue contacts, waiting for his 12 seconds of acknowledging my existence. I shyly came over to him and he said "picture picture" and stuck out his hand. I shook it (I think I was supposed to?) and they took my picture with him. He posed, I tried not to look frantic. We had a moment. After, I had my chance to actually say something. In my most rushed Japanese I said "私はニックと申します。どうぞ宜しくお願いします。(watakushi wa Nikku to mou shimasu. Douzo yoroshiku onegaishimasu)" which is hyper formal Japanese for "hi I'm nick." He just kid of nodded and smiled and the photographer was pretty much getting his assistant to drag me away from him since I exceeded 12 seconds. I did it, kids! I then stumbled downstairs to the stage to then wait for another 2 hours, all while staring at my checki and genuinely not processing what just happened. The venue itself had seating on both sides of the stage, but most people stood in front. I managed to get right up front, stage right, and secured my spot for the whole not (with the exception of switching spots so my short friend could see over me (not Shane, although he is fairly petite )). Slowly the venue started to fill in. The entire room never ended up completely packed, but upwards of 400 people were standing. The show finally started at 8. It began with a montage of Kamijo videos and pictures throughout his career, culminating with the band walking out on stage and beginning with the Versailles hit "Masquerade." Just wanted to give a little shout out to @sai here because he did the "haters gunna hate" walk during it. The energy was amazing and the presentation and delivery was just as good as the studio version. It was also really nice to get the chance to see Masashi perform live, as I've only seen the band when Jasmine You was still alive. While this isn't exactly the same as seeing Versailles, the main spirit of the band was there. For this show, he brought with him Meku (of Aim / Galyd), Shin (he plays drums idk), Masashi (of Versailles / Jupiter), and Daishi (of [MU:]). As the music died down, he stopped and said "NEW YORK. Long time no see!" followed by "BONJURRR BONJURRR" back and forth with the audience for an uncomfortably long time. After Masquerade, Kamijo continued to perform a mixture of past singles that he had written. Just wanted to give a shout out to [u Early on he played "Shout and Bites," which honestly threw me since I wasn't expecting any indie material at all. He also played one of my favorite Lareine songs, a slightly revamped version of "薔薇は美しく散る." Unfortunately, the only people in the audience that were feeling that song were me and this guy who gave Kamijo a bouquet of blue roses, but you can't expect everyone to have taste. I believe his fourth song was "Phantom," by New Sodmy. This is one of his lesser known bands, as they were only around for about a year. I haven't listened to them much, but they sounded like Lareine to me without the symphonic aspects. This song was alright, but I spent most of the time it was playing trying to figure out what song it was. As I don't remember the tracklist order, my description of what comes next is going to be on a fuzzy timeline. At one point, he played what seemed like new version of "冬東京" (Fuyu Tokyo) which was needed as there are now two guitarists instead of one. I never really paid much attention to this song before, but I am now really into it. "Why don't you touch my heart, cause it's a sentimental night? Fuyu noooooooooo Tokyo deeeee~♫." I'm not sure if the version they played last night is going to be the same to be released on Royal Blood, but then again I wasn't really familiar with the song to begin with so it could have very well been the same song with less nasally vocals. Kamijo also performed "fiançailles" during his little Lareine section, which apparently is the most famous Lareine song in terms of last.fm and sales? Who knew?! I was a little disappointed, however, because throughout this whole section clips of various Lareine music videos were being played. The video started with a section of "Metamorphose" and I prematurely "yaasssss'd" on the inside before I realized it wasn't actually that song. There was a little jam session after the Lareine tribute was finished in which Kamijo walked off stage. Once that was finished, everyone else left and Kamijo came out and sang "Love Will Be Born Again" in Japanese. I thought this was Sympathia at first, but then I remembered Hizaki wrote that song and I'm awful at being able to tell ballads apart. This set was really nice, as it was one of the main points where it felt like Kamijo stood out, especially in deep blue lighting. This isn't to say he was overshadowed throughout his performance, but his guitarists were at the edge of the stage quite frequently and he treated them as real members of the show, rather than having them stand in the back wearing all black while he pranced around up front. Like the rest of his shows, the next section of the performance was playing "Symphony of the Vampire" in full. This was great live and it seemed to flow much better with him singing it in front of me than it does on my iPod. My favorite part was still "Royal Tercet," but I have a new appreciation for "Throne." During this part of the show, the background video changed to a thrown with his symbol above it. Towards the middle of the album, the crest turned into blood and bled down the wall it was hung from. Very edgy. After Symphony of the Vampire was finished, he ended his main set with "片手に夢を持つ少女." This makes for a great hype song live, and the support members seemed really into it as well since they were probably partially the ones who recorded it on the CD. I'd like to point out that for the most part, I was in front of Meku. He never reached out into the audience, which was very frustrating, and always had a tough act on to try to be cool, I suppose. He managed to nail Hizaki guitar solos with no effort, even with a bit of the masturbatory twitching at times, but for the most part he wasn't as energetic as I was expecting. "片手に夢を持つ少女" was the first time I really saw him light up. The band then left the stage and the room fell dark. They kept us there for about 5 minutes before another Kamitage began playing on the screen, this time with audio, of clips of all of most of his major music videos--"Metamorphose," "fiançailles," "冬東京," "Billet～幼き夏の便箋～, "Ascendead Master," "Philia," "Destiny-The Lovers-," "Masquerade," "Vampire," "Louis," "Moulin Rouge," "Yamiyo no Lion," and "Heart." For whatever reason, he completely ignored "Truth," even though that was through Warner as well. The group then reentered the room and began moaning along to "Bastille." The crowd got into this song and, as I said when I first heard it, was really a live song. His encore also included "Moulin Rouge," which he started off the song with "Let us all dance together!!!" as the club lit up in various colored lights so people could actually see each other, and "Aristocrat's Symphony." The last song was a blast for me, as it's been 6 years since I've been able to see it performed live. It wasn't as good as when Versailles played it all together, as only 1 of 5 people on the stage really had any connection to it, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. When this was all said and done, Kamijo thanked each of the members individually, then thanked the audience for a good 2 or 3 minutes. Then, as I said earlier, he got his signed flag and pranced around with it before thanking us some more. He was truly happy to have performed here and seemed happy with the turn out. He then left the stage and probably went to go count all the money he made by charging $120 for VIP tickets for a 10 second photo with him. All in all I had a really great time at Kamijo's show and I would definitely see him again. My only gripes with the night were things not entirely related to him and that I wished the support members and himself would have interacted with the audience more. Sure, Kamijo directed us with what sort of hand motions he wanted, but I wanted him to reach out and fondle people's faces (he did it to one girl. I could have been the one, god damn it) or grab their hands...anything! If Kaya can lick people's hands while singing, I don't see why he can't stage dive or something. Another thing I would have changed would have been the encores: it would have been cool if he ended with "Heart" or "God Palace," and I'm genuinely surprised he didn't play "Louis" or "Yamiyo no Lion" at all, but that might have been because this was a history tour. Vive le Roi!