VAMPS finished off their run of shows in America opening for Sixx:A.M. with a much anticipated headlining show in New York City on Friday, May 1st. This is the first time VAMPS is back in America since they released their latest album “Bloodsuckers” back in October 2014 , which was also released internationally in March 2015. The band did not disappoint and played nearly the entirety of the album!
The evening started out with two opening bands that were musically compatible with VAMPS’s style. The crowd, while there for VAMPS, did get into the two openers and jammed along, raising hands and pumping fists.
At 10pm on Friday night, VAMPS finally took the stage to screams and cheers of fans that have been waiting since 2013 for VAMPS’ return to New York City. As the band entered the stage, the intro song “Reincarnation” played. Once all on stage, they started off with the energetic song World’s End (English version of the song also known as “Ahead” when sung in Japanese). The audience was into it right away, smiling and singing along. The band wasted no time in moving around the stage and getting the energy soaring!
Hyde jumped up on raised platform, which he, K.A.Z and Ju-Ken had in front of their microphones, as soon as Live Wire started playing. This Mötley Crüe cover was an audience favorite while on tour with Sixx:A.M. and fans were pleased to hear VAMPS play it at their own headlining show too! This is a song every person was singing along and rocking out to. It was a great song to play in the beginning to build the liveliness.
As the song ended, Hyde said to the audience, “Thank you New York! We are happy to be back! I’m so excited to see you again! Are you excited?” and waited for the audiences response. “Come on New York City, are you excited?!” Yes, they were.
K.A.Z and Ju-Ken would switch sides, giving fans on opposite sides a taste of their different styles of playing. They would each move as far as possible to the edge of the stage, being sure to play to every single person they could reach, which delighted those on the far ends of the venue. They would then meet in the middle again and play facing each other for a brief time before returning to where they belonged. Hyde would also play guitar on and off throughout the night for various songs, sometimes meeting K.A.Z and they’d play directly facing each other.
Hyde’s microphone had a VAMPS flag tied to it which he used to its full extent, holding the microphone pole over his shoulder, with the mic itself in his hand and swaying his hips back in forth in a way that is a signature Hyde move. The flag would flutter back and forth, adding a nice touch to the stage aesthetic.
Midway through the evening, Jin had a beautiful piano solo. It was captivating and the audience listened to its beauty, not making a sound. With the spotlight shining on Jin, the song turned into ‘Vampire’s Love’, a slow, beautiful melody of a song. The lights were kept low for this ballad, emanating the mood perfectly. The spotlight stayed then moved and stayed mostly on Hyde in the center of the stage. Kaz began by sitting on his platform while playing guitar until he got on the floor and was kneeling, bent over his guitar. It was the image of a musician in love with his work and the music.
Not to be left out in the back of the stage, Arimatsu had a vicious drum solo a few songs later. He pounded away on the drums as the spotlight shone on him and the other members faded away in the shadows, letting Arimatsu shine on drums. He received many cheers for his hardcore drumming skills! Slowly as the other members appeared back on stage, we heard the familiar guitar and bass lines that go along with Love Addict. Those opening chords are unmistakable as anything but Love Addict, and Arimatsu, Ju-Ken and K.A.Z had fun playing it and teasing the audience.
Love Addict is a signature VAMPS song, and they pulled out all the tricks for it including K.A.Z spinning his guitar around his body and jumping high off the platform stage boxes. The energy was through the roof!
“Are you all? Are you all? Bloodsuckers?!” Hyde asked the audience again before they broke into the title song of their recent album. Following that was a throwback to Hyde’s solo career with Midnight Celebration. It is always a great song to hear live with it’s strong rhythm. They left the stage just as the audience wanted more of that rock and roll sound.
The lights went low as the last guitar notes faded out, but the audience immediately chanted the Japanese version of “Encore!” This was quickly followed by an organized singing of the beginning of the song everyone hoped VAMPS would return to play: Revolution. “Bang. On. Stomp Everybody!” the audience chanted in unison.
They continued the chant until VAMPS returned to the stage and agreed to their request! The band began playing the music with the audience still singing, “Bang, on, stomp everybody!” Hyde was smiling as he spit water on the crowd before throwing his water bottle as far as he could.
As Revolution began, Hyde waved the Jolly Roger VAMPS flag around his shoulders once again while shouting “Rise up in revolutionnnnn. Bang, on, stomp everybody!” Once again swaying his hips to the beat as he counted out, “Left right left right step one step two” in timing with the marching of his feet.
VAMPS played an overall impressive 17 song set in over an hour and a half. Hyde once again thanked the audience, asking if they had fun, and saying VAMPS would return. Seeing as Hyde has said this in past years and VAMPS have returned multiple times, it seems a safe bet the Bloodsuckers will return to America.
They finished out the night in a way only vampires know how – with Sex Blood Rock N’ Roll! The audience went insane for this one last song, headbanging and dancing along, arms in the air giving their last bits of energy to VAMPS. Before leaving the stage one final time, the members threw guitar and bass picks and drumsticks. Hyde grabbed roses that were near the drums and ripped the petals off of the stems, throwing them to the audience.
Intro – Reincarnation
1. World’s End
3. Live Wire
5. Get Away
8. Vampire’s Love
10. Angel Trip
11. Love Addict
13. Midnight Celebration
14. Revolution II
16. Devil Side
17. Sex Blood Rock N’ Roll
Live report by: Melissa Castor
Photographs by: Ali Watson