Sunday, August 17, 2008

GLAY live in the US: VERB Tour 2008

August 12, 15, and 16, 2008 will go down in history as the 3 most spectacular concerts in J-Rock History. (Well, at least in my book)

Glay, "BELOVED" J-Rock band celebrated their 20th year as a band by FINALLY coming to the United States. And much to my happiness they toured in California, where I live! And even better, they went to both cities where I live!!!!! (Kudos to whoever planned this out) And in case you still need one, disclaimer: this blog is completely biased! haha

It all started near the end of July when I was at a boba shop with friends when I went to grab some napkins and saw a poster announcing Glay's VERB Tour in the US. Safe to say, I freaked out of my brains and called my sister (aka fellow Glay lover) and she, my super duper awesome Unni, went and bought the tickets right away! Despite the fact that tickets starting selling June 22, it wasn't sold out, which was surprising, and left me delighted that I had tickets but disappointed that more people didn't duke it out to get these tickets for such a special show (Glay's first appearance in the U.S.... HELLOO~~~!!!)

Ok, ok, now I will describe the concert at the Fillmore, Glay's FIRST concert in the US!!! Welcome!!! :D Doors opened at 7pm, and the concert was at 8. I got there in line around 2, and I wasn't the first. I wasn't even close enough to the entrance to see Glay when they entered the venue. But I was close enough to hear the screaming and I ran over in time to get photographed by their tour photographer. (But darnit I wanted to wave at them!)

I made some really nice friends in line! On my left were 2 male Glay fans who were super sweet and just as excited as me to get inside, and on my right were 2 female Glay fans who came all the way from Japan to see them! I found out later that they made the trip to California because even though they see Glay all the time in Japan, 1) the concerts in Cali were so much smaller, it's a really rare thing to be able to see them only 5 feet in front of you, 2) tickets are pretty cheap (although I bet the plane tickets weren't!), and 3) this was true of my 2 new friends, they had gone to every single of Glay's tours, why miss it now?

the 2 male fans and me(Ian and Philip)

The Fillmore is a beautiful theater that has a 20's vintage style. The standing area was vast, so there was enough space to move around-- but not in the very front (as is true of all moshpits). My sister opted for the balcony ("best seats in the house" said a staff member) while I opted for the moshpit, because heck, who knows the next time they'll come to SF, I want to see their freaking pores damnit! So I did. :)

Once inside I stood with the 2 male Glay fans and we each said which Glay song we wanted to hear/see the most: I said Soul Love and Ikiteku Tsuyosa, Philip said Glorious, and Ian said Kanojo no Modern. We were in the 4th row and weren't close enough to see the set list. So I learned something new: bands put set lists on the floor so they don't forget the order. For this concert it was on the floor in the form of a glow in the dark sticker! Sweet!
Okay, so things were running 15 minutes late, and there were a lot false alarms, as people came out to tune the instruments and whatnot (making us think they were the actual members!! Hidoiiiiii!), but as soon as the lights turned off... MAN! Let the screaming and craziness begin! I couldn't help but go crazy as I saw the silhouettes move across the stage. Everyone could immediately make out the figures just by the hair and the gestures... it was GREAT. (Being a Glay fan for about 10 years would definitely pay off if there were such thing as a silhouette guessing contest! lol) They appeared across the stage left to right in their "usual" spots: Takuro, Teru, Jiro, and Hisashi. I could not and still almost cannot believe it. I saw them. Wow. This has been a dream of mine since I was in middle school! And now... REALLY?! O_O

Oh yea, photos weren't permitted so I have no pictures, sorry! But, when I got home I did my best to make sketches of their outfits, because C'MON I love their outfits! For their hair Jiro was blonde (my fave), Hisashi had black hair with blonde tips that fanned out, Teru was natural black, and Takuro had his usual pretty shade of brown. Sigh. So cool.

I say Hisashi won, he had a blazer where one side was a bell-sleeve and the other side was sleeveless, but he was wearing a fishnet long sleeve... so awesome. Also he gets props, because his bell sleeve kept flapping around while he was strumming but he kept on trucking! Yay!

Here is the set list (which you can find on their myspace):

8.Lock on you
12.KANOJO NO "Modern..."



As you can see from the set list... they played all freaking 4 songs that my friends and I wanted to hear. Wow. Thank You, God!!!! Ahh!! But of course, all of the songs were freaking awesome. And amidst all the fans around me belting out the songs, I could still make out Teru's voice. If you think the members sound great on CD seeing them live is 1,000 times better. I mean REALLY. Teru = charisma. He made the songs come ALIVE. It was very cute! Teru did little sexy dances that seriously made me want to scream out in laughter. He is SO CUTE (and pretty damn hot). He danced around the stage and winked and blew kisses at a few lucky fans (even males! haha). In fact, I waved at him to come down and he smiled and waved at me to come up (I WISH). Teru kept drinking out of his water bottle and spitting out the water on the audience, an action that is otherwise pretty groddy, was actually very heartily welcomed by the fans. LOL (I did my best to avoid the spittle spray. Teru or not, mouthwash is mouthwash!)

There was a cute part where the audience mimicked little diddies that Teru would sing (interactive singing! fun stuff) Mainly like Whoooa~ whoaaa~. And clapping together to a beat. I think it was for American Innovation and for Starless Night.

The highlight of the night for me was Shutter Speed no Teema (I am a Jiro fan ALL THE WAY). He was SO into it!! He mainly stayed in the back part of the stage (kinda shy) but for this song he came to the front and took over the microphone and just stole the show!!!!!! AUGHHH!! Any Jiro fan would have been more than impressed and satisfied. Then he kissed his pick and threw it into the crowd... somewhere over my head. Sadness. But! I made a sign that said "San Francisco <3's onblur="try {parent.deselectBloggerImageGracefully();} catch(e) {}" href="">
The Fillmore is super nice and gave out free posters. I will treasure mine for as long as I live! It was cool, I heard a Fillmore staffer say that he didn't know too much about Glay but that he wanted a poster because it 'just looked so freaking cool'. Right on!

Thanks so much, Unni for the tickets and the rest of the weekend (massages, okonomiyaki, and just one on one sister time), I'll never forget it. It was always a dream of our's to see Glay live before you got married. Looks like we did it just in time! (We saw them RIGHT before you got engaged! Omedetto!)

Okay, so yea, I was hooked, and loaded with birthday money to spend on frivolous things, like, say... another Glay concert! So after I visited my family for the week, I was back in LA anyways... so WHY NOT. If I knew that they were in LA and I didn't see them, I'd poop my pants angrily!! Lol (Not really.)

So this time it was a the House of Blues on the Sunset Strip. I was going alone this time so I'm SUPER grateful it wasn't in the shady part of Hollywood! Whew~!

I opted for the concert on 8/16 (the finale)!

So at the House of Blues, if you eat there for dinner you don't need to have tickets for the show, you can just chill, listen to some music, and eat for $$$$$$$$. Anyways! HoB gets kudos from me, because they had really friendly and nice staff. And, they let line-people use their restroom (thank GOD). Here are some pics of the HoB:

Well, doors opened at 8 (concert started at 9) and I got in line around 430pm. I was waiting in line, and I saw my Korean TA!! Hahaha! She seemed a little flustered to see me, but hey, I don't judge! :) And I also saw... Rieko and Emi!! The 2 nice Japanese ladies who were next to me in line at the Fillmore!! They sure are dedicated groupies! They went to all 3 concerts! :D They were waiting since 9am. (AUGH. I wouldn't be able to do that, well, not by myself!)

We hung out before the show (they're SO SWEET). And my limited Japanese (which I learned from Glay songs, dorama's, manga and anime) helped me make friends!! How amazing!!! Hontou ni sugoi!!

Rieko-san & me

It was SO COOL. So around 6 I went inside to use the restroom, and I heard... GLAY REHEARSING. I was in awe! There was window next to the kitchens by the bathroom so I snuck over, and I watched them practicing for a little with this other girl who was there. It was AMAZING. Teru was singing and stretching, while the other 3 were standing and playing. I came in time to hear them practice "However". Wow. It was scary though, because Takuro looked up and saw us. We hid and looked back and he was just staring at us. Takuro-san, shitsurei shimasu! Demo Glay no renshuu honnnttoouuuuuu ni subarashii deshita... dakara I couldn't help myself!

Anyhoo! No cameras allowed, so I had to check mine in for $4! It's amazing that they can make money by not allowing people to bring stuff in. I got in!! YES!

I ended up in the moshpit area again, although I didn't really want to be there. I wanted to appreciate the music instead of screaming up and down. Well, a friend I met up with wanted to be there, so I stayed there for most of the show.

Of course, they didn't disappoint at all. MAN. And this time I got my tour tee shirt!! Yee haw!!

Here is the set list for the 8/16 concert:

8.Lock on you

3.KANOJO NO "Modern..."


Let me just say, I went freaking whacko when they performed Mermaid. Freaking best song for them to perform. SWOON.

Personal failures/achievements at this concert:
-didn't catch Jiro's anything (pick or water bottle or nothing!) because he kept throwing to RIGHT in front of him (C'mon!!!)
-Teru spit on me (via his water spout)
-I saw Teru do his trademark mic hold with his pinky under the mic!! Well, Unni will know what I'm talking about! lol
-during Acid Head, Hisashi screamed out during the chorus!
-I saw Hisashi and Jiro jam together! WHOOOO~!

All in all it was great. Different from the Fillmore, but not a bad "different".

Costumes were the same, except I think Teru added a belt and Jiro changed his shirt (nice to know he's hygienic lol).

It was funny, there was a balcony on the side of the main standing area, so I walked over there (I was WAY too short I couldn't see anything without hopping around) and climbed up the side. SUPER PAINFUL. My arms are still sore from hoisting myself up for songs at a time. But then again, I impress myself with my strength! LOL

Fun facts:
-Rieko reads Teru's blog from his TeruMe Night sight, and he said that he wished that the foreign fans could come up to the front instead of the Japanese fans (because Japanese fans can see him at many other lives)
-Teru's blog makes a comment about how the writer for the sfweekly article only paid attention to Jiro and he seems sad about it! Maybe that's why he didn't like my sign at the Fillmore... ;P
-I left my sign for Glay at the Fillmore in their gift box. I hope they got it!
[the following are HoB perf. factoids]
-Glay's photographer, Ai, took a lot of pics of fans waiting in line. I saw her so I posed with my shirt (that reads "I <3 JIRO") and a peace sign while nonchalantly on my phone. HAHAH
-when Teru did the interactive singing thingie he went really low and made Santa Clause noises. hahaha
- they did TWO encores! Sweet!
- when they did High Communication Teru did arm movements like an "x" or something, which everyone did too. except for me, because I was holding onto the balcony hoping not to crush those beneath me. lol
-at the end of the second encore Teru said good night and started walking off the stage, and then he ran back on stage laughing at himself, he had forgotten to do the whole "hold hands and jump in the air thingie" that they do, cutie!

Whew. I'm beat. And I feel like I just relived the 2 concerts.

This tour was very important to me, because ever since I first became a fan it was DREAM of mine (and I'm sure for many other people too) to see them live. I was planning on going to Japan to see them, but luckily they came to me! :)

Jiro shaped my fashion sense and they shaped my music taste for my entire adolescence! It was so great to see them. I feel like I got to go back to the past and relive a truly great love that I had in life. People asked me how I liked the concerts and I say with all earnestly "I feel like something that was dead inside of me is alive again". Because with Glay, "I'm in LOVE".