My DIR EN GREY San Francisco 2015 VIP Experience Vlog! @ Slim’s November 4, 2015

   This is the second DIR EN GREY concert I've been to so far. The first time was back in November 2013 for Ghoul Tour. This time,...

   This is the second DIR EN GREY concert I've been to so far. The first time was back in November 2013 for Ghoul Tour. This time, I was able to get myself a VIP pass!

Watch my Video Experience HERE! :D
More links to videos below! :)

My Very Long & Detailed VIP Experience!
*Warning: Very long and detailed*

    My friends and I arrived the venue around 3PM. That morning, I just had an exam, so I lacked a bit of sleep that day from studying, but I was super excited as ever! I was the only one with a VIP pass, so I had my friend Hugo wait with me on the VIP line since we had at least 3 more hours of waiting until the Meet & Greet.

Waiting outside Slim's at the VIP line with Hugo!
     As you can see behind us, DIR EN GREY's Tour Bus! It was parked literally right in front of Slim's front entrance. The VIP line was short, so we didn't care if we walked around the shady streets of San Francisco while waiting. We bought a medium pizza at the DNA lounge just a few feet away from the  venue. Last meal we had was way early in the morning after my exam, and it also gave us a good excuse to be able to use their restrooms, since we still had a couple of hours before the show started^^
     After we got our pizza, we walked all the way down to the General Admission line to eat on the sidewalk almost on the street, standing up, facing the other side of the street. We were right in front of the tour bus actually, but at that moment we didn't care. Hugo and I just kept roaming back and forth from VIP line to General Admission line while waiting.

    About half an hour later, Hugo and I were back to the VIP line and talking to Savanah, a girl we met in line that was from the same J-rock community as me online; she recognized my username on instagram. While we chatted in line, there was a stir at the front by the entrance of Slim's.

    The members of DIR EN GREY just hopped off the tour bus and casually walked inside Slim's right in front of our eyes! Everyone was pretty shocked and quiet the entire time. Heads were popping out from the lines just to stare at the rockstars they've been waiting in line for a few hours now, just walk past right in front of them.

    Everyone's expression was like: "...What? They were in the freaking bus the entire time?"
Thinking about it now, it's actually pretty funny. Die, the red guitarist of Dir En Grey, was the last one to get off the bus. As soon as he got to the front entrance of Slim's, he turned around back to the bus; he had probably forgotten something. About 5 minutes later, he comes back out. This time, people were calling out his name and waving at him, and I actually had my phone out ready and taking a video of him. (It's a bit shaky, but it's on my video!^^)

    About 80% of the VIP pass holders were Japanese fans from Japan. They were gathered in groups as they waited. They were holding love letters and goody bags with the band members names on them to be given at the Meet & Greet. I grew envious of them, because I had nothing to give to the band when I had the opportunity to that day. Some of the girls were able to give their letters to Die and the Manager when they passed by on their way to enter Slims. NEXT TIME! I'll think of something to give them. Haha :)

With Hugo & Savanah getting nervous as hell while waiting for the VIP Meet & Greet. 
     We waited even more longer after that. We could hear the band rehearse inside and feel the walls of the building vibrate a bit with the sound. The later it got, the closer it was time for the Meet & Greet, and the more I was becoming a nervous wreck. I was extremely nervous! My heart was beating so fast. 
     What I feared so much from the Meet & Greet was actually the Photo Session! Already two weeks before the concert, I've been freaking out about the Meet & Greet.
    In size matter, I was worried I'd look ridiculous in a photo standing right next to them. Another large issue on why the thought of Photo Session terrified me was that I've seen their photos with other VIP fans. In those photos, it looked like the members of Dir En Grey would rather poke their own eyes out than stand there and pose for their fans. Honestly, if you've been a fan for a while, you know this is all true; they look pretty dang unhappy during Meet & Greets that you question why the hell they agreed to offer those to their fans in the first place.

    Even if I was worried, I was so excited at the same time; I felt conflicted between wanting to see them so badly, but fearing it terribly all at once. It was actually half an hour delayed, but soon enough, they passed out our badges outside the venue, and then let all the VIP pass holders come in for the Meet & Greet. I was quiet surprised when we saw their handler. For the past few years, Diru's manager and translator overseas has always been Nora Shazlin. This time, it was a British man (I have yet to look up  the name) with white hair and glasses. Nice man. 
   We were made to stand a few feet away from the railing where the band would be, and organized into rows between poles in the middle of the room. We were told that we weren't allowed to take any photos of the band except when it was the photo session time.

    Finally, all 5 members from DIR EN GREY came out. I couldn't help but have the biggest and widest smile plastered across my face the entire time. I was at farthest left in 3rd row and still had a great view of all the members, while standing pretty much right in front of Kaoru. My nervousness was replaced with amazement and awe, but I did feel the intimidation. Kyo was the last in line to arrive. I started giggling so hard and turned Savanah right next to me; we were laughing at the fact that Kyo arrived wearing a black jacket with the hood on his head covering his entire face. We already expected something like that to happen, him hiding himself, which we found hilarious anyway; we thought that a the hood was worse than what he wore in Seattle, which was just sunglasses and a black hat :"D

Q&A with Dir En Grey:

(One question per member; we ask a question, the manager choses which member will answer, and the translator will translate to the members)

1. What did you like the most about San Francisco? 
    SHINYA: I love the weather in SF.

2. How often does the band practice on a regular basis?
     ***MY QUESTION! :D The manager chose KAORU. 

     Something interesting happened though. After I asked my question, the manager turned to the translator, reiterated the question, and then told her to ask Kaoru. She turns around to the members... and goes the totally opposite direction from Kaoru, looking clueless and very unsure of herself. We were surprised, and OMG... The manager even had to repeat, "Kaoru, to Kaoru." The rest of the VIP's also had to help point out which member was Kaoru. 

   I couldn't help but burst out laughing! I was giggling so loudly with Savanah, "She doesn't know who Kaoru is! The translator doesn't know the names of the people she's working for!" :"D 
It was hilarious, other VIPs started laughing too. I think I laughed way too hard, and a bit too obviously that Kaoru was already looking our way. 

  Seriously though, please be professional and please learn the names of the artists that you work for to avoid embarrassment. That was just incredibly unprofessional, and unacceptable when working with other professionals that expect a certain standard. 

  The translator finally found Kaoru, and took a while to translate my question. I think it probably took around 3 minutes, because we got a little bored and started looking around and talking to each other and staring at all the members a little longer. It was only when we heard Kaoru say, "Ah, rehearse?" that we started paying attention to them again.

    KAORU: In the beginning when the band was newer, we would be rehearsing a lot. Now, we just rehearse when we want to (which is not really that often anymore).

(I'm being incredibly detailed, I know. It was my question, so the experience is ingrained in my head.)

3. Are you planning to release your music in America?

    DIE: If we can find a reliable distributer.

4. What do you think about the censorship of Vinshuka PV? (too graphic)

    KYO: At times it's hard to work with. We can't help it.

5. Are you planning to open up A Knot applications for fans in the USA or overseas?

    The manager wasn't clear with the question, and so the VIPs had to clarify "A Knot. Their Fan Club..."

    TOSHIYA: We're not sure yet, but maybe someday.

    I admit the questions asked in our SF Q&A weren't as interesting as it could have been (even my question was kinda lame, but I was genuinely curious), but it was really nice having the opportunity to ask them anyway.
     Toshiya, Die, and Shinya were all wearing sunglasses, so I tried to look really hard at their eyes to see through where they are looking at (In the least creepy way I possibly can. Haha). For Kyo, it was difficult for me to see his face at all, because of the dang hoodie and because I was at the opposite side of the room. Kaoru, on the other hand, didn't have anything covering his face, so you could easily tell where he was looking. My eyes would hop from one member to another, partly because it got too intense if I looked any longer, but mostly because I didn't want to seem like a creep. I got really happy when I switched my gaze to Kaoru and caught his eyes looking my way, then he would automatically shift to somewhere else~(Wahhhh!!! ***Fangirls***)
     Honestly, the smiling, the laughing out loud, and the shifting my eyes from member to member made me calm my nerves; like I said, I was extremely nervous during the long wait so it felt like a release when I finally stood in front of them.


    One by one, row by row, we watched the other VIP's take a photo with the band. The band might not have been smiling, but the smiles and genuinely happy expressions of the fans as they took their photos with the rockstars were amazing. You couldn't help but feel really happy as they took their photos one after the other. The members of the band were courteous and nice about everything. They moved if the fan wanted to stand right next to them. They let their fans hook arms and touch them for their photo pose. They accepted the gifts that were offered to them (the staff had to take them so it wouldn't be too inconvenient in the photo). A Japanese lady even brought this large Macy's paper bag full of stuff and gave it to Toshiya; everyone just swooned in approval at the large Macy's bag. The band members also accepted if you wanted to shake their hands. 

    Despite their uninterested appearances in the Meet & Greet photos, it didn't feel that way at all! It was definitely a great experience!

VIP Meet & Greet Photo with DIR EN GREY! Photo taken with my fairly new Galaxy Note 5 (unedited other than the scribbles).
   Here's my photo! When the photo session started, I was panicking because I couldn't decide on where I should stand for my photo. I was like 'Damn, why did both Toshiya and Shinya have to be right in the middle where I wanted to be?' They're the two skinniest members of the band, and the thought of placing my in between those two unsettled me. I just kept asking Savanah where she was gonna pose. She didn't know either until Kyo decided to be even more anti-social with his hood on and went down to squat on the ground. She then decided she would take him up on his challenge.

   Finally, Savanah and I were the last two in our line. She went and sat right next to Kyo in the same squatting position as him in between Kyo and Die, looking utterly pleased with herself. I was the only one left in the front and I still couldn't help but giggle by myself, right next to the manager while he took the photo. (>>Savanah's photo!<<) Okay, I saw that smile Kyo. I bet you found us amusing :3

   My turn! I still wasn't able to fully decide even at that point. Oh God... I gave my Galaxy Note 5 phone ready on camera mode to the manager. Starting from Kyo's side, I smiled as I passed by, staring at him, because yay! I finally see his face!!! :D He turned to face me, but his eyes were focused on something other worldly behind me or something. I was still happy enough that he actually exposed his face for my photo! Shyly looking at everyone as I passed by (STILL unsure of where to go), I finally gave in and just settled between Toshiya and Shinya, at the middle where I originally intended to pose.
"Can I stand behind you?" I asked Toshiya. He nodded and just moved aside. Well, I couldn't stand behind him, because he was still leaning on the railing. He probably didn't understand me. I knew how to ask in Japanese, but I didn't want to offend them by assuming they don't understand English by asking in Japanese. I just settled there and tried to pose the least awkward pose. Tada!

    After my photo, I grabbed my phone an went straight to Toshiya, Kaoru, and I think Shinya and shook their hands. I still wanted to approach Die and Kyo, but I panicked when the next person was already coming up, so i just stopped my tracks and just waved to Die and Kyo. Now that I think about it, I should have just went for it! I mean I paid for VIP! A few seconds to shake Die and Kyo's hands weren't gonna kill me or the next person coming up! Buhuhu I'm so sad I wasn't able to make the most out of the Meet & Greet by not getting to shake everyone's hand (TT^TT) sad... such a waste.

   After our photo, we got a rolled up signed poster from the staffer at the side. I met up again with Savanah at the side, and then went to the back. A girl spoke to her in Japanese, and she translated to me that we have to get back in line to get ready to grab the railing. (I really need to work on my Japanese.)

This is where it starts to get crazy:

    When the photo session was finished, some of the Japanese fans were sneaking to get a spot in from of us. They knew what they were doing, and I apparently I didn't. Haha. The manager warned that we should wait until the band completely leaves before we rush to the railing. That didn't happen. As soon as they took one step to leave, everyone, and I mean everyone, attacked! The Japanese fans knew what they were doing, which was to attack as soon as possible. Everyone else, including me and other clueless VIP fans looked around and just followed the rush by instinct. We didn't know what was happening, but it just happened.
     I did feel a bit embarrassed though, because the girl in front of me almost literally ran over Kaoru! Actually, our lot almost ran over all the members. I saw Kaoru's expression though as I rushed. His eyes and eyebrows pretty much said, 'As usual. Here we go again.' Haha. I wasn't able to get a railing spot. A girl in front go me got there first, but at least I was able to get this awesome spot in front of Kyo! My spot pretty much counted as front row. Haha.

My spot with the center view of the stage! Waiting before the General Admission attendees were admitted into Slim's.


The wait
  • Stood squished in my spot in the front for almost 2 hours waiting for the concert to start.
  • It was extremely hot, I was already wiping off the sweat on my forehead way before the concert even started.
  • My sister and friends from General Admission were able to fight their way to the front, behind me.
  • A girl near the front fainted from the heat before the concert can even start.
The people in the crowd:
  • As soon as they came on stage, bodies were plastered against bodies. I was so glad that the person whose entire body was fully pressed onto mine was a girl. She didn't care. I didn't mind either. I was in the same situation, except each half of my body were on both on the 2 girls in front of me. I'm so glad no one around me stunk of body odor. Lolz.
  • When everyone head banged, literally everyone head banged. Even if it was against your will, you are still head banging because the people behind, in front, and on your sides are doing it, your body just automatically has to go with the movement. That was inevitable being so tightly close to each other and all. I didn't mind! It was fun! In the video, you can hear us kinda laughing in "Hageshisa to kono...", because our tiny friend, Hugo, just looked at us helplessly while his body was forced to bang along with the crowd.
  • It was all good, until halfway through the set, this girl ended up next to me. She was me pushing really hard towards the left of the stage, her eyes never coming off of Toshiya. It got really annoying real fast. 
If you want to be in front of your bias/favorite member, please just go and grab a spot in front of them. Do not go all the way to the other side of the stage from your bias, and then try to push everyone out of the way just to get there. Seriously. That is RUDE.

  • It got violent. There was some stupid people in the crowd behind me. My sister and friends had a really hard time, while I got to enjoy most of the time.
  • There was a stir beside me to my left. Apparently some rude guy found it funny to keep pulling the hair of the girl on the railing. It was so bad, she had to scream "WHAT THE FUCK?! WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING?!" That caught everyone's attention. We were so close to the stage that even Kyo had to stop and look at what was going on. Good it died down quickly. The guy stupidly laughed and moved away in the crowd. The rest of us felt that really guilty feeling, 'Oh my god. Right in front of the band that's literally 2 feet away from us within reach. This is embarrassing.'
  • DIR EN GREY was AMAZING! So professional! If I thought they were hella awesome the first time I saw them live last 2013 Ghoul Tour, this experience was even BETTER!
  • I LOVED Kaoru's wild hair! <3 We saw the bandage on his hand with the pick attached to his thumb. Poor baby. I hope he recovers from his paralysis soon :'(
  • Shinya wore the white h.NAOTO outfit he modeled at the Anime Expo 2015 FashionShow. 
  • Yasss Toshiya wore the sexy bare chested outfit that I was hoping I'd see him in! 
  • Die was pretty simple, but his smile... omg. 
  • Kyo also wore face paint like what he did last 2013 Ghoul Tour, but this time with more emphasis on looking bloody with red stains on his cheeks and neck.
  • The lighting was terrible. We could only really see Kyo in action and not much of anyone else unfortunately :( to even Toshiya's sexy abs when he got really close to us (T_T)
  • The sound system was pretty off too, at least during the first half of the concert. I was already in the front row, but I couldn't hear Kyo's singing through the sound system at all! He can only be heard really well when he's screaming or growling, mostly because I was so close to him on stage. (In my video I sing along with him, but you can still tell the sound system for his microphone was way too low.)
  • Most of people were cheering for Toshiya. Quite the popular man that they won't even give him  a break when he goes to the back to get a drink. *Endless screams for Toshiya*
  • I went on to cheer for Die & Shinya, because they deserve some loving <3
  • The stage and venue was so small that we could finally witness SHINYA in AWESOME DRUMMING ACTION! That small, frail looking man, so passionate in his drumming, projecting such powerful sounds. It's almost scary!
  • I wasn't able to see much Kaoru. He barely moved from his spot. Plus, there was a pole on the stage dividing him from the rest of the band into a totally different world :'(
  • There is really something about Die that made me fall for him in this concert. Even if my neck was sore from looking up from my spot to see the stage, I got great rare glimpses of DIE rocking out. He would look and flash his signature smile right at you and... </3 Next concert, I'm definitely standing in front of him. Haha^^
  • Die was definitely the most active one, moving around, banging his head, throwing charming looks at his admirers... you get the idea.
  • Kyo danced! Moving his body to the sick beat. It was beautiful. So graceful :"3
  • I'm amazed at how Kyo's stage persona is an entirely different being from what we saw in the Meet & Greet! Entertaining, Captivating, Enticing, just Amazing! He didn't even flinch whenever this chick behind me would flash her camera at him! (flash the singer blind much, really? -_- ) 
(About my view of Kyo from my perspective in the crowd, read to Me During The Concert below.)
  • Apparently Toshiya & Kaoru did a bunch of fan service. Back to back playing their instruments, looking at each other, whispering etc. Okay, I'm upset I missed that because of the stupid stage pole in the way.
  • I think the band could tell we were having a hard time from the tightness in the crowd and by the strained expression on our faces. The longer the concert went on, the less active we were in throwing our hands around, because we couldn't since we had no space. 
  • During THE FINAL, the last song of the first set, ice-cold water magically splashed on our heads and faces. Everyone automatically turned to the side to see Die pouring water from his bottle towards us while flashing us a huge grin. Everyone of us (girls and guys) right in front of Kyo were all calling and cheering on Die afterwards. (Thank you Die! or More water please Die!) Kyo followed suit right after and sprayed us water from his mouth. Lolz.
  • Kyo noticed me a couple of times, especially during THE FINAL! ((*o*)) I would just look at him as he looks at me from his spot on the stage. He was so close that I think he was also looking at my phone on my chest while I was trying to take a video of him above me. So magical~ <3
My view of Kyo,  his amazing abdominal muscles~ (*_*)
Me During The Concert:
  • Unbelievably squished. My hands were glued to my chest so tightly, I couldn't get it out.
  • My arms were folded and crushed in front of me. It was difficult to hold my phone for a long time to take a video. Most of the time my hands just flapped along with the beat, and my phone would be resting on top of my chest as it took the video. Haha.
  • It was so hot. The collective body heat from the small and packed venue was almost too much.
  • My neck became really sore throughout the concert. I had my head facing upwards the entire time that it was just way too difficult to turn it to see the other members too often.
  • I had a very interesting view... I was in front of Kyo the entire time, and the light would mostly be on him... He would stand on the cage in front and the light would flash him below... The wind from the fan below made his man skirt fly up...Take a look at my video, you'll see what I mean. My entire group all agreed that Kyo's lower front was very hard not to look at when it was pretty much forced on our faces. Haha :"D Not that I'm complaining though~
  • My body hurt so much afterwards after trying to resist the Toshiya hungry lady right next to me. I want to keep my awesome spot right in front of Kyo, Damn it!
  • Die saved us by pouring ice-cold water on us. He made our hair frizzy right after it dried up, but it was worth it.
  • When the concert ended as the crowd dispersed, I was shaking all over from foot pain and dehydration. I slowly made my way to the bar to ask for water.
  • Everyone, both guys and girls, were pretty much disheveled and no one cared. Our clothes were incredibly wet from both personal and collective people's body sweat. Our hair was soaked from sweat, and from both Die's water splashes & Kyo's water spray.
  • I didn't notice it until later, but my tube top was already pushed way down to my navel. Haha! It was a good thing I was wore a tank top under my tube top blouse ;)
  • My sister caught Die's pick! And our friend caught a shirt which was also thrown by Die. I didn't get anything :'(
  • My sister and Hugo went to line up for the Tour Merch while I tried to recover, but then the staffers made us wait outside for them. Japanese fans tried to talk to me. It was hard to communicate. I blanked out and they tried really hard to find the English words. I felt bad that I suck in Japanese now. Basically, they were asking if we were waiting for the band.
  • We did end up waiting for the band outside for another hour. We waited right beside the tour bus talking about our violent concert experiences while we watched the Japanese staffers reload the equipment on bus storage.
  • We saw everyone come out except Kyo
What I'm hoping for next time:
- Larger SF Venue so the audience won't be so compact. So tiny people like me won't get crushed.
- A venue with no poles or pillars on the stage. Please?
- Better lighting where we can see all the members clearly in action. That's what we paid for!
- The use of a better sound system. Kyo's amazing vocals deserve more!
- It would also be really great of the venue or management provided water bottles to offer the fans in crushed in the front, who aren't capable of moving around to get a drink from the bar to avoid fainting.

    The concert ended so early around 9:30PM when it started past 8PM. They played 16 songs all together with the encore, but it still felt really short. I think it is because for this tour, they didn't have an opening act, and they didn't give any MC time to talk to the crowd. I'd imagine that would still be difficult for them to do with the language barrier (even if they've been coming back and forth overseas for the last 8-9 years...)

We want more DIR EN GREY! :<

     I seriously cannot wait until they come back! Next time, I'm probably gonna go to more than one show. At least both San Francisco, and Los Angeles. Next time, I promise to take advantage of my VIP pass and enjoy it to the fullest! 
     This concert made my year! I love DIR EN GREY now more then ever! I pray that Kaoru recovers soon, and that they take care of their side projects so they can come back again as Dir En Grey as quickly as possible! ^_^

Arrived home at 3:30AM.  Haggard, sweaty, in pain, but extremely happy! (^o^)
Here's My Sister BEE's VLOG! Her Perspective of the Concert:


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  1. Replies
    1. Thanks for reading! I'm glad you liked it. This post is still a work in progress since with all the mistakes I still have yet to correct.
      I also read about your experience on tumblr! I actually had a very similar experience to yours from my first Dir En Grey concert 2 years ago for the Ghoul Tour. I learned that the safest and the least violent places to be in the crowd during a DIRU concert, would be at the very front by the railing, or at the very back, away from the violence.

      Being at the very front spot at the railings would be the most ideal since no one is in front of you, the people on your sides are also fixed on their own railing spot, you are able to rest your body on the railing, and you get a fabulous and close up view of the entire band. It would be ideal only if you don't mind that the rest of the crowd behind you is crushing you onto the railing (the girls in front of me didn't seem to mind though).

      My friends who stood somewhere close behind me had to experience the violent fans and thrashing, while I got to be a little more relaxed and was able to enjoy the music and performance more than they did. The little distance we had from each other, the distance between me and railing, it made all the difference.

      My sister and I made a promise that next time,we only get one of the two ideal spots, and nothing in between or else experience the annoying and unnecessary mosh pit. Haha.

      Just a little something I wanted to share in addition to my already extensively long concert report~^^

    2. Oh thanks for the read. I was thinking the same if I attend another Dir en grey concert in the future. Never settle for an in-between experience. Since I was general admission, getting all the way to the front would be have impossible anyways. Unless I ate everyone in my way, then that would be a different story.

  2. I am an event photographer, I love this venue, and I will revisit this event space San Francisco in a heartbeat. They have really great staff and pretty decent drinks. Their halls and rooms are absolutely gorgeous.