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THE ROSE TRIMS AGAIN Atlanta, GA 11.08.08

Warnings: Lengthy; Image Heavy; I generalize people I met. I don’t mean to be rude, but I can never remember anyone’s names from these things, unless I talked to you directly for the entire day. That’s my right brained-ness as we were talking about before going inside the venue. I have an amazing visual memory, just not for names.

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On Tuesday morning I woke up to rain on the hotel window, since it was above my head, as I happened to be sleeping under the desk in the room for this particular trip. It was still fairly early, so I made no rush to get ready. I had two outfits packed for the two lives, but didn’t decide on which one would go with each live until that morning. I went with the "nicer" outfit consisting of a denim romper with my TRTA shirt underneath, along with lace leggings, grey and black socks, and my Dir en grey concert staple: combat boots.

On the way to the station, around 9AM, kameikosui and I stopped at a 7-11 to pick up a conbini breakfast, then bought a ticket to Oosaki to transfer to the line for Shinkiba. Once we got to Shinkiba Eki, we snagged coin lockers there for later, and headed down the street to get in the merch line.

Our spot in line was almost dead center on the bridge, with several fans in line ahead of us. I had finally relaxed enough to eat, and if you know me, I have to take pictures of my food.

9:37AM Toast sandwich with ham and egg. Lemon tea.

While we waited in line we went through the albums in order, joking about what older songs we might hear. The weather wasn’t bad since it was cloudy, but I still hid under my umbrella to keep out of the sun as much as possible. Luckily it never tried to rain. While we talked, the line grew long, so I took pictures.

10:35AM The view down the river, facing toward the ferris wheel.

10:35AM Close-up picture of the ferris wheel.

10:36AM The back corner of STUDIO COAST.

10:36AM The line to my left, facing toward STUDIO COAST.

10:36AM The line to kameikosui’s right, facing toward Shinkiba Eki.

10:37AM I tried my best to get a decent picture of the many jellyfish in the river.

Staff paced up and down the line, and made us stand twice in preparation to move down to the front of the venue. We didn’t actually move until a quarter to 2PM. Once we were situated, I took a picture of the sign. I was hungry at this point and starting to feel nauseous, which was a new feeling for me. Normally I am too nervous to eat before lives, but the adrenaline keeps me going.

1:54PM I couldn’t help but stare, thinking I was dreaming.

Merch sales started promptly at 4PM, and despite being close to the beginning of the line, it took a long time to buy my shirt and towel because several people were buying several hundred dollars worth of goods for themselves and friends. Once both kameikosui and I had our merchandise, we hurried to the 7-11 across the street to use the restroom. I bought the highest calorie snack I could find -- a cold noodle bowl with karaage and salad -- along with a bottle of water for the pit. We went across the street and I downed the noodles and chicken, shoving it in the wrong gomi when finished, something I always feel bad about. Then we went upstairs to our coin locker and put everything we didn’t need inside. I put 1000en along with my ticket and coin locker receipt in my boot for safekeeping while we trekked back to the venue.

Once back at the venue, we walked over to the doors to wait for them to call out numbers. During the pre-number calling announcement, something was said that made the entire crowd shout, "Eeeeeeeeeeeeehhh?!" but I still don’t know what it was. At that point I was barely paying attention, waiting for numbers to start being announced. kameikosui had number 488, and I had to listen hard to know when to tell her to go inside, and I was thankful the numbers were being called out in two ways, spelled out (yon-hachi-zero) and spoken (yonhyaku-hachijuu). Once she was inside it seemed like an eternity before my set was called inside. I was number 1,583.

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* Day one was much like the jellyfish I saw in the river. I was tangled up in the crowd, drowning in the heat, my feet aching from standing and my head dizzy from headbanging. My head hurt from dehydration. The day was mild and cloudy, raining after dark. The night would stick to me and itch, much like a jellyfish sting.
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kameikosui woke me up to get ready to go. It was a little later than when I woke up the day before. It was very sunny, so I expected it to be hot. The outfit I had packed consisted of light blue denim overalls with my AVT shirt, along with black leggings, red socks, and combat boots. I decided to wear my new UNWAVERING FACT shirt instead. Since we left the hotel later than the day before, we skipped stopping for breakfast and headed straight for the venue, even though we didn’t need to wait in line.

We knew what train to take this time so we actually got to Shinkiba around the same time and snagged one of two lockers left. When we got to the bridge before STUDIO COAST, no one was lined up yet, so I assumed most people bought what they wanted the day before.

10:32AM The bridge had no one on it yet today.

We had planned on exploring Shinkiba some, then grabbing lunch before settling down around the venue to wait for doors to open, but I wanted a picture of the front of the venue without the weird angle, so kameikosui and I walked up to the front to take pictures.

10:32AM The front of STUDIO COAST.

10:35AM Close-up of the sign.

While we were there, merrilymemory popped up behind us and asked which one of us was kameikosui! She had taken a bus from Nagoya and had been waiting very close to the front of the line all morning. She needed to use the restroom, so we saved her spot for her until she got back. While she was gone, there was a swallowtail butterfly hovering around the plants by the stairs.

10:48AM The butterfly that was flying around by the stairs.

When she got back, there wasn’t much room for all three of us to sit in line together, so we sat on the stairs and talked, but we eventually moved to the circle benches and waited for more people to show. The fans in line watched us curiously the whole time as we laughed and conversed.

11:50AM The view of the line from the circle benches.

11:50AM Ground shot of the line.

11:51AM Ground shot of two fans.

I started to get really hungry, so kameikosui and I went to grab lunch at the curry restaurant in the station, and then pick up something for merrilymemory from the conbini on the way back. After eating and buying food and water at the 7-11, we gave merrilymemory her food, and went back to sitting on the circle bench. When it was time for the line to prepare to move, merrilymemory and the rest of the collection of foreign fans went to get back in line, while kameikosui and I stayed on the bench. Lunch had made me sleepy, so I kept dozing off under my umbrella, but I was still burning in the heat. When merch was laid out again, I gave kameikosui my camera to go take nice pictures of everything.

2:09PM Shot of the merch table.

When she came back, we decided to move to the outdoor stage down the stairs before the line moved and blocked us. It was nice in the shade and we both took a nap for a while.

Once merrilymemory bought her merchandise, which didn’t take long at all because she was in the first group, we went to the station to put all of our things in the locker. I remembered to take pain meds since I forgot the day before and brought some with me. We also had to figure out how to charge merrilymemory’s keitai because she needed it to find a friend she met on mixi as well as to get on her bus home. We ended up perched outside of a ramen shop, using their outlet behind the umbrella stand. Several people gave us strange looks and I kept making the door open without actually standing in front of it. After her phone was charged just enough, we went to 7-11 to use the restroom and buy water. After waiting in the long line to use the restroom, all the water sold out, so I bought green tea, thankfully normal green tea, to bring inside.

When we got back to STUDIO COAST, we tried to find merrilymemory’s mixi friend, but she was nowhere to be found. merrilymemory had a similar number that I had the previous day, so she went inside long before us. kameikosui and I had very high ticket numbers, hers 2,680 and mine 2,513 so we didn’t even bother walking to the doors when people were let inside. When it got close to number 2,000 we stood by the barricade. The tall English speaking boy said hi to me as he went inside, and my number was called not long after he went inside.

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* Day two was much like the butterfly I saw by the stairs. I was free to move about in the crowd, nothing was constricting me. I could breathe and I had plenty to drink. My feet didn’t hurt and neither did my head. The day was bright and warm. The night would be hard to grasp.
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Dir en grey & Apocalyptica Tour Atlanta, GA 08.30.10

After leaving the second -a knot- show at Shinkiba this summer, on the way back to the train station, I remember telling Ally that I couldn't keep running away to see Dir en grey when she asked about a potential US leg of the tour. I would be starting my senior year of college and have two jobs. Those are three things I can't just throw away for a night to see my idols.

But it's so hard to just give up something like that so precious to me.

I knew then and there, that summer night in Tokyo, that there'd be a US tour announced, but I hoped for November, not August. I knew then and there no matter how much I told myself not to go, I'd be there in the end.

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