It was already an exhaustingly long day for VAMPS fans. Most fans had already spent their day waiting outside of the SONAR venue coupled with a 2:00 autograph meet and greet with Hyde and KAZ. Other fans had a weekend of activities for the Otakon anime convention planned and juggled their schedules with picking up their membership badges and getting their VAMPS ticket stamped for exclusive seating for the Question and Answer session scheduled for the next day.
The stuffy air inside the venue made no real escape from the muggy Baltimore weather outside, yet fans found a way to ignore it, as they eagerly waited for the members of their beloved VAMPS to step on stage. Fans continued to stream inside the venue for well over an hour and it had seemed like the band themselves were waiting for the very last fans to make their way inside before they made their way onto the stage. Hyde stepped out front and center, as KAZ followed to make his position on stage right, both adorned with matching white and black striped shirts. Ju-Ken made his way to stage left uniquely outfitted in his style and signature top hat.
Their entrance was welcomed with the screams and cheers. VAMPS strapped on their guitars and immediately started up with their first single Love Addict. It was more than packed inside the venue as fans found their energy once again and bounced and waved their red glow sticks to the beat. Hyde stepped closer to the edge of the stage, urging the crowd to participate more as Ju-Ken paid special attention to his side of the audience, receiving plenty of cheers. With the vibrations of their last song still filling the entire room, they continued with one of Hyde’s solo songs, It’s Sad. Returning back to the duo’s first album was Redrum. Hyde sung expressively while running his fingers through his hair and touching his face, to which the crowd reacted with screams.
The performers took a well deserved water break before Hyde continued. "Hi, we are VAMPS. Thank you for coming today, we are glad to see you. This is our last show on the East Coast. Don’t worry, don’t worry… I am gonna take good care of you…" to which the crowd screamed with happiness. He continued, "Are you ready? Are you fucking ready?!" Pausing for just a second, Hyde then spoke the first couple lyrics of "I Gotta Kick Start Now," before the rest of the band followed with their performance. KAZ spun on stage as he entered his guitar solo, while Ju-Ken stood on the speakers in front of him and raised his arms to energize the crowd further.
Cosmos immediately followed, the entire audience falling into a trance with KAZ’s spell binding melody coupled with the beautiful lyrics that Hyde’s vocals stretched. They wasted no time following up with Secret in My Heart. The three performers kneeled for the memorable guitar solo, each looking down to their guitars to concentrate, before jumping up at the same time to continue with the last few seconds of the song.
Hyde licked his lips, while the fans screamed and waved their warms in reaction. Their hit single Evanescent soon followed, as the drum beats pulsated heavily into the venue’s room. KAZ and Ju-Ken quickly switched the sides of the stage as they continued with another solo of Hyde’s, Countdown, meeting their new side with cheers as fans reached their arms out to their directions. Ju-Ken soon tossed off his top hat, as the crowd splashed water on him. KAZ and Ju-Ken returned to their respective sides, as they continued with a heavier version of Hyde’s Dolly. Hyde screamed his lyrics as the crowd jumped and rocked their heads to the heavy guitar riffs. Ju-Ken made his way to the center of the stage, looking over the audience as they once again screamed in response.
Taking another water break, Hyde, KAZ and Ju-Ken threw the remaining contents of their water to the fans. Hyde took this time to then tighten the strings of his guitar as Ju-Ken brought out n upright bass, slowly playing a few cords before it was guided in with Hyde and KAZ’s guitars, playing the therapeutic melody of Sweet Dreams. Hyde soon breathed his heartfelt lyrics into the microphone, holding onto it with both hands as he stared into the crowd. The audience was quiet for this piece. Immediately they moved into their David Bowie cover of Life on Mars? as the crowd beat their glow sticks into the air.
Another short break followed, filled with screams. "Ah… Are you having fun?" Hyde asked, giving a thumb up to the audience’s loud response. "I’ve been longing for Baltimore…" Continuing with a mention to something that had happened six years previous. The audience paused for a few moments, yet nonetheless cheered. "Long day…You know…" Soon, KAZ then spoke, "Thank you for coming. This is first time in the US. You guys are awesome. Thank you!"
Hyde then asked "Are you all crazy? Let’s get crazy now! Are you ready? Let’s get ready for it… Are you ready?!" immediately following with the energizing Hunting. The entire venue danced excitingly and sung along as Hyde leaned forward on a speaker searching through the mass of the audience. KAZ pulled up his guitar as Hyde continued with his solo hit Hello. Ju-Ken helped with pumping his fist into the air as the audience responded by doing the same. As the second verse of the song approached, Hyde made his way to the right of the stage, then making his way to the left as he allowed the audience to fill in the chorus of his well known solo hit. Ju-Ken gave a thumbs up to the audience and stuck out the length of his tongue.
Trouble caused the entire audience to jump and clap. The entire venue danced and sang along with the 90’s cover. The mood shifted slightly as the cords introduced Vampire Depression. The red glow sticks moved along with Hyde’s powerful vocals, causing a spell bounded ambience. They were quickly snapped out of it however, as Sex Blood Rock n’ Roll invited the audience to jump and sing along to the chorus. All three enthusiastically neared to the edge of the stage and they pumped up the audience further.
Hyde finished off with a "Thank you!" as he, KAZ and Ju-Ken blew kisses and waved peace signs. They nodded to the crowd as they walked off stage, leaving an extremely sweaty and exhausted crowd still screaming for more. The stage was still lit and the entire venue broke into synchronized claps and chanting "VAMPS."
A few minutes passed before an even louder applause welcomed VAMPS back on stage. The crowd screamed even louder as they realized Hyde walked out shirtless. KAZ wore the same tank top, yet Ju-Ken had adorned a VAMPS t-shirt. "Thank you much! Very fucking much! " Hyde then said what many fans of his L’arc~en~Ciel days hoped he would say, "Do you eat crabs? Me too… Me too… Yummy yummy yummy! Thank you. Thank you so much!" The audience screamed and laughed in response. "[We’ll] be here tomorrow too. Be nice to us… Wooh! Let’s get crazy now! Ok? All right? Do you eat crabs? Tell them KAZ…" KAZ only responded with a smile, as they started off their encore with Hyde’s ever popular, Season’s Call.
A slow guitar solo introduced a more eerie version of the classic Beatles hit Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds, a song that Hyde had also covered in his solo days. A speeded up chorus energized the crowd even further, as they bounced along to the beat. "Come on!" Hyde repeated, as he continued with "Thank you! This is our last song. This one…" Hyde produced a peace sign, as he brought his hand back to his mouth, licking his middle finger to the audiences delight. The three continued with Midnight Celebration, energetically playing their guitars and dancing. Throughout the song, Hyde would point to the audience, allowing them to sing, even pointing the microphone into their direction. During the last chorus Hyde took off his guitar and simply continued to sing, as the audience continued to pump their fists into the air.
As the song ended, KAZ and Ju-Ken placed their guitars on the stage. "Thank you! Thank you so much!" Hyde screamed as KAZ and Ju-Ken threw water bottles and their guitar picks into the audience. "Bye bye! See you soon! Thank you so much!" Hyde blew kisses and the three all bent forward towards the audience and touched eager hands. The three then waved their final goodbyes, walking off stage and leaving an audience more than fulfilled and eager for the next day’s VAMPS event at Otakon.
Live Report: Monika
Edited by: Ali W.