It is not often that foreign bands have the special opportunity to perform in America. Luckily, Japanese-rock duo VAMPS are successful enough to tour outside of their home country. VAMPS include vocalist and rhythm guitarist Hyde, who is a member of the popular rock quartet, L’arc En Ciel, and lead guitarist K.A.Z, who plays in the band Oblivion Dust. Earlier this year, the group toured with Sixx:A.M. in the United States, boosting their popularity and the demand for more shows in the country. Following these concerts, VAMPS went to perform in Latin America during September along with two more performances in the U.S., one in West Hollywood, the other in San Francisco. It would be the band’s first headliner show in almost two years.
On October 5, fans were excitedly waiting for VAMPS to rock the Roxy Theatre in Hollywood. At last, the clock struck 8:00, the current music halted, and the venue began playing “Bite,” the band’s haunting yet stimulating intro song for the show. Lights flashed from red to white as the members of VAMPS and their support members entered the stage. The first to appear was the drummer, Arimatsu. He smiled and waved to the screaming crowd before sitting down to play. The next to arrive on stage were bassist Ju-Ken and Jin on keyboard. K.A.Z. walked out from the side of the stage to grab his guitar. Last but not least, Hyde appeared with his guitar in his arms and stood on a platform, gazing at the crowd.
“World’s End” was the first song that VAMPS performed. It served as an energetic start to the show. Fans cheered, waved their arms and jumped practically through every song. At the same time, several people in the audience took photos and videos of the group. However, because of the permission to use their cameras, some individuals were seen texting on their phones rather than being absorbed in the performance. Nonetheless, the active fans were closely connected with the members of VAMPS; there was no pit between the stage and audience, allowing the two groups to enjoy each other’s presence.
The setlist contained songs from all of VAMPS’ albums, a majority of them being from their recent album, Bloodsuckers, released in 2014. A cover of Mötley Crüe’s “Live Wire” and “Midnight Celebration” from Hyde’s solo work were also played. With the setlist varying from heavy, upbeat tunes to melodious ballads, the band succeeded to keep the crowd entertained.
After “Evil,” purple lights put Jin in the spotlight as he performed a mellow intro to the ballad “Vampire’s Love.” Following this, the band paused from playing and Hyde spoke to the fans. He yelled, “I’m so excited to see you again! Are you excited too? How bad do you want us? Let’s enjoy together!”
VAMPS played five more songs before exiting the stage. In response, the audience began chanting the opening lyrics to “Revolution II,” calling for an encore. In just a few moments, the band members appeared once more to play the beloved song. Halfway through the thrilling anthem, Hyde held up a black flag with a skull and the label “VAMPS” under it. The vocalist waved the flag in pace with the song as fans sang along and swayed their arms.
As the encore continued with three more tracks, Ju-Ken threw guitar picks and water bottles toward the entranced fans. K.A.Z. became more lively, as he showed off his instrument to the fans and accompanied the fellow bassist in playing face-to-face near Arimatsu. The two also took part in giving handshakes to their audience and motioning them to keep their energy for the rest of the concert.
“Sex, Blood, Rock’n Roll” gathered up the intense spirit of nearly the entire crowd for a grand finale. The band did not hesitate to release their joyful emotions with the exhilarating song. Synchronized singing and dancing created an air of pure enthusiasm that would be forever captured in the minds of those who had the special occasion of seeing VAMPS live. When the song faded in hints to that of the concert finally at its end, Hyde bid his goodbyes, claiming, “I will be back L.A.! Thank you very much!” Meanwhile, Ju-Ken and K.A.Z. did their last set of throwing souvenirs to their beloved fans, then finally followed Arimatsu and Jin backstage.
The music grew dim with lights flashing various colors until it settled into darkness, marking the end of the performance. The audience wailed their final cheers of gratitude, for VAMPS put on a truly outstanding show. This powerful band is not one to miss next time they return to America.