A queue had formed by lunchtime outside Mandela Hall and I was nauseous just at the thought that DIR EN GREY, one of my top 3 bands ever were in my Students Union. The strains of "RED SOIL" echoed up the stair way down to the actual concert hall at 4ish and I was able to watch the sound check undisturbed. Seeing Die play his guitar part for "CONCEIVED SORROW" alone at the sound check was spine-tingling and Kyo's rather non-chalant approach to mic-checking was amusing. However, once this was over, Sarah and I decided to go back outside and join the queue.
After waiting for an eternity outside in the cold, drowning in a sea of retarded Bring Me The Horizon fans and 14 year old girls who scream at each other, we finally got into the venue and proceeded immediately to the merch stand to pick up a tour tshirt. Then we saw the magical words above the desk: Signing Session. After picking our jaws up off the floor, we bought a copy of Uroboros (bringing our total number of copies of Uroboros to four...) and a sample cd featuring 4 songs from their past 3 albums thus guaranteeing ourselves a place at the signing.
Mandela Halla, as any student at Queen's University Belfast would know, is a tiny venue. We got a good spot in the second row to the left hand side of the stage (where we knew Kaoru would stand) and waited patiently. And I mean really patiently. Northern Irish rockers In Case Of Fire were rather good, as were Florida metallers Black Tide. Bring Me The Horizon were shite beyond description. Fucking awful. They were talentless hicks and their fans were worse. At least we knew that once they were over, Dir en grey would take the stage. Unfortunately Diru's gear took an age to set up and as a result, 2 songs were cut from the setlist. This was the only detractor from a juggernaut performance that rocked the entire room.
Toshiya was the most energetic, jumping around and getting the fans to raise their hands etc. Kyo was as distant as ever and seeing him perfrom live is a visceral experience. Kyo is one of the great vocalists in the world today. his range is staggering. There is no computer trickery, its all him. We couldn't really see Die because he was blocked by Kyo but when we did see him he was all smiles, raising his middle finger at the start of "The IIID Empire".
And like that it was over. It was an abrupt end but our first thoughts were to run to the signing session. Outside, the Diru fans all converged on the merch desk and we all realised we had finally seen Dir en grey live. It doesnt matter if we got 6 songs (including Sa Bir), the fact was that for 20mins we were in the presence of legends. We loved every second of it.
Shinya did the signing session by himself and quietly nodded his thank yous to our praises and signed both mine and Sarah's copies of Uroboros. "That's Shinya" was the thought that repeated constantly in my head. We walked home triumphantly and I slept like a log. Magic.
Verdict: ***** (5/5)
SA BIR (SE)
AGITATED SCREAMS OF MAGGOTS
THE IIID EMPIRE