When I was 18 and gothic to the core, a friend of mine handed me a burned CD of L’Arc En Ciel. I had no idea what it was, but I immediately went home, stuck into my giant Sony Vaio Tower (we were so tech saavy), pressed play, and AOL searched them. That turned up virtually nothing … except a Japanese website with the most amazing pictures I’d ever seen on the Internet. Fast forward four years later and I was madly in love with Hyde. Don’t know who Hyde is? Google him and prepare to sacrifice your life to the beauty that is the Cheshire Cat smile, because he is a god that has been most recently seen wowing the crap out of the world by cosplaying as Harley Quinn. Hyde basically spoke to my dark soul at the time and made me want to move to Japan. Anyway, fast forward one more year and I was no longer goth and Hyde no longer held my heart in his cold undead hands. I’d moved on, and was now madly in love trance music. Don’t ask.
Basically I had since lost all knowledge of what Hyde had been up to since then until I saw an article recently about his fancy hot-ass cosplay and just about died as I had that flashback to all those adolescent feelings of lust and confusion. He still looked amazing! So I posted online about how I used to be so in love with him, and a contact let me know he was actually playing with his current band, Vamps, at the El Rey Theatre that week in Los Angeles. Needless to say, I was going.
I’m no spring chicken and he’s freakin 47 years old, so I figured how hardcore could this show be, right? Regardless, I proceeded to wear all black and smoked out my eye makeup for the sake of nostalgia anyway.
When the lights for the show dimmed, we were pretty close to the stage and my brain just kinda went nuts. Everybody started screaming as the lights went up, and Kaz, the guitarist of Vamps, stood in front of us, gripping his mighty guitar and eyeing the crowd.
Hyde then stepped out in cargos, a utilikilt, and a hoodie unzipped half down showing his flawless chest, sending the crowd into an orgasmic fury. Vamps flew through a flurry of heart-pumping adrenaline-inducing tracks, none that I recognized other than his rendition of “Diamonds” by Rihanna. It didn’t matter though, as I was suddenly 18 and in love again.
I screamed and hopped around, almost strangled the girl with the unnecessary light stick in front of me, lost my damned mind, and finally went comatose toward the end of the show. It was so intense that my eyes leaked a little, ruining my badass smokey eye makeup. So much for expecting a tame show.
What did I get myself into? Hyde sang his heart out, screeching into the microphone, demanding our attention. He gyrated on stage, swinging the mic stand with his flag tied to it, the Vamps symbol billowing as he danced around the stage with it.
At one point Hyde got on his knees and sang to the screaming girls in the front row in front of Kaz (and in front of us) before hopping around to the other side. And ya know, I always have a good time at shows, but there’s those rare moments when you feel like you might have died and gone to heaven. Or hell. So I basically stood in purgatory staring at this monstrous god of sexy and evil. Hyde was perfection.
Vamps ended the show only to wait like giddy children as the crowd chanted for their traditional encore song. Vamps then came back out and lit the stage on fire, killing most of us.
And that, kids, is the story of how I rekindled an old love and how Hyde murdered me in LA. Also, I bought a signed CD because I could, and actually regret not buying a hoodie.
Highlight of the night? At the end of the show, I stood there dazed as the crowd rushed the stage for one last glimpse of the band. Suddenly something hit me right in the chest, and when I looked down I saw something glowing in the dark, wedged in my cleavage. I pulled it out and stared at a guitar pick … that happened to be etched with Kaz’s name on it.
I looked up just in time to see everyone reaching for the sky as he tossed his entire collection of guitar picks into the audience. I ended up giving the pick to a good friend who’s a huge Kaz fan, and she put it in a locket. Good times.
Vamps apparently tour every year, so do yourself a favor and catch them live. It’s totally worth it.