VAMPS – Roseland Ballroom
Report by: Jennifer B.
Guest submission – thank you! Jen also attended New York’s Comic Con and the VAMPS panel there
Roseland Ballroom, located on 52 street in Matthanan, holds about 3000 on the floor. The ballroom was befitting VAMPS: It’s dark — glowing red lights and just a little dirty. On the night of their show, a banner with large red lips and white fangs hung behind the stage, the only other decoration was the microphone wrapped in roses. Due to the size of the venue, it afforded fans an opportunity to get near the stage and the band and throughout the night, many took advantage of it.
At 7:30 p.m., the line outside was just making their way in past the security and souvenir stand. The true fans were pushed up against the metal gate that separated them from the stage. Many of them wore red horns and chanted “VAMPS!” They screamed excitedly when they glimpsed anyone walking on stage or up above on the second level.
More people casually wandered around, some drank at the bar and some finished dinner at a row of bistro tables. It had the quintessential New York atmosphere. The crowd was a notable mix of Asian, Caucasian and African American. Young and old with just as many men as there were ladies … though the ladies were appreciably louder. I recognized fans from the Comicon convention, still in full cosplay costume. VAMPS certainly reached a wide and varied fan based.
At 8:05 the lights went out. Everyone rushed to the stage and one could feel the vibration from the floor. Those are some huge speakers for a little room! Guitars ripped, clear and even. The crowd erupted in enthusiastic cheer. K.A.Z wore a black and white striped tank with lettering, though he moved too fast to really read it. Ju-ken was in a top hat, Kiss tie and floor length black leather skirt. Both ran from one end of the stage to the other. Hyde jumped up on a box at the foot of the stage, looking just a little different then he had at the Comic Con panel the day before. His thick white hair and black lined eyes glowed in the spotlight. He wore a black frock, which is sort of shredded, and open in the front. Black beads draped his pale chest. The day before he seemed subdued, even shy.
That night, he wanted to eat us.
They open with “Devil Side.” K.A.Z and Ju-ken still ran around and interacted with the crowd. Hyde didn’t have too. Everyone was fixed on his presence. Lit in bright red, he was positively sinister as licked the air and stared at the crowd as though he could see everyone at once. It was intense and intimate.
After the first set of hard, fast songs, Hyde stopped to speak. “Hello, New York,” he said and the crowd went crazy. “We are back! Are you fucking ready!” He shot the crowd a teasing glance and said, “Let’s make love.”
The lights faded to a cool blue that highlighted his sweat and sliver jewelry. “Sweet Dreams” elicited more screaming from the crowd, who began waving their arms from side to side. At the end K.A.Z brought it home in true epic Rock God style. The crowd beamed smiles of approval. Hyde followed up with; “let’s fly, go to heaven together,” and the stage went black. Bird song and chimes floated on the red lights pink with smoke building a hypnotic atmosphere. The ballad set includes songs like “SAMSARA,” “Evanescent” and “My First My Last.” Hyde’s impressive vocal range must be experienced live; for this show, that was especially evident during “The Past”.
After working up and down a few times and lulling us in to submission, Hyde had apparently worked up an appetite. “I’m so hungry” he repeated with a longing in his voice. “I want to eat the craziest Americans!” What happened next is what I like to refer to as Five Minutes of Crazy.
“Where are the Americans!” Hyde screamed. “Let’s go hunting!” Ju-ken bit the roses off the microphone stand and spit them at us while Hyde spit his water over the front crowd. This happened many more times during the show but I bet those girls wearing red horns in the front row knew all along they were in the splash zone. After “hunting” Hyde had a short screaming fit and then went into “Trouble.” The crowd pumped fists in the air to its jumpy dance beat. I still can’t get it out of my head.
The highlight of the show was an aggressive VAMP’ed out version of “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”. I didn’t think I would enjoy everyone’s favorite song getting the shit kicked out of it, but I guess that bitch had it coming. Poor Lucy.
The eerie melodies and heavy discord came to an end. K.A.Z thanked us for coming and hoped we had as good a time as they did. Hyde told the crowd they are so happy and asked us if we will come back to see them again if they come back. When he got a huge reaction, he shouted, “We will be back!” The lights went out and the ringing in my ears was deafening. The crowd shouted for more loudly — it was as though the band were miles away. We wait and wait.
Eventually, the boys run back out, flinging anything they can find: roses, light up VAMPS disks, guitar picks, and Hyde’s unfinished water. Splash! VAMPS gave a long encore. Long enough for Hyde to almost lose his shirt when he started a riot with “Revolution.” The crowd knew all the words and was happy to sing them back when Hyde handed over the mic.
The entire event can be best described as a show with no regrets.