A Gaze-trio

I am sufficiently not normal that I can’t just choose a regular title for a blog about my third and final gig of The Gazette European leg of the tour! Its time to write about the ahow in Cologne, so strap in for another poorly written live-report, Alice-style.

As with Paris we had regular entry but as Heresy we had early entry (so after the VIP but before the general admission). As with the other shows, the queuing was done using a numbering system, facilitated by the fans. Each queue had its own numbering set. We arrived early and because of where the venue was, we were able to sit directly outside (hearing the guys rehearsing and sound checking!). They had 3 doors so this helped with sorting the queues. The VIPs had already been sorted by about 5pm and were ready to go in, and it seemed the venue staff were considerably more helpful here than anywhere else. For starters, venue staff were actually visible outside of the venue and helped by making announcements to the crowd every now and then so we knew what was happening. Granted, to begin with these were all in German, but some fans nearby were kind enough to offer up translations for us foreigners. There were quite a few of us not well-versed in German, having travelled in from various places. After a while, some of the announcements were made in German and English but other fans were still kind enough to translate anything that wasn’t in English, for which I am incredibly grateful! There were other fans around too who were up for a chat and I met some lovely people in the queue!

VIP appeared to go in on time and the meet and greet was after the show this time, so I think fans managed to get a bit more gime with the band. We went in at 7pm as Heresy members (this has varied between shows as sometimes Heresy have been let in just before 7 as general admission time is usually 7). There were more Heresy members there this time than in Paris (I can’t comment about London as there was no seperate queue and I had VIP there). I spoke to a few people and have seen the same facea at multiple gigs, which is awesome! It just shows that the guys are worth the journeys to see more than once. (Which I can totally agree with!)

The venue was E Werk. It was a good sized venue and they have played there before (so I assume they like the venue?) There was a balcony area you were able to use as well as the main floor. There was also a viewing platform for wheelchair users and a bar on both floors. The merch stall was in a sensible location and didn’t obstruct the rest of the venue as they sometimes can. I was disappointed to see that the prices had been increased on the merch from previously advertised/sold, sometimes by as much as 10€! It wouldn’t be as bad if it had been advertised at those prices on the event page, but to then increase them and not inform people may have meant people didn’t take sufficient cash to buy what they wanted.

We initially checked the balcony for a suitable viewing spot (we’re getting old and tired and it was our 3rd gig in between travelling and sight seeing as well!). There wasn’t enough space so we decided to go to the main floor but stand more to the side, but still quite close to the front. For a change we decided to be on Uruha’s side (So far I had been on Aoi’s side and basically infront of Ruki). I must say we had a spectacular view and Uruha is quite a sight to behold when he performs! The crowd wasn’t super crazy where we were but just enough that you could get involved and not feel bad about annoying the people around you. Ruki was wearing his black velvet suit tonight instead of the pruple (the one with all the gemstones instead of embroidery). I don’t blame him really, those outfits must be a pain to launder at the best of times, never mind when on tour!

The setlist they played was more different than between Paris and London (setlist image courtesy of and with permission from 24hrojisan.tumblr.com)

I am always impressed that they change up the setlist in between shows. Alot of touring bands will make a setlist and stick to it through the tour, but The Gazette always change at least one song, making the experience just a bit different for each crowd.

As with all my gig experiences, some of the “moments” are hard to plave in order so I’ll try and just talk quite broadly about them but I’ll give context where I can! Ruki usually does an MC after Gush and he has been doing well with speaking at least a little bit of the country’s language. He was a little less adventurous with the German and spoke a bit of English in there too, but its awesome that he’s doing that. I think it shows preparation and care because it must be hard trying to speak that many different languages he is unfamiliar with to a crowd of fans. Alot of bands will just speak English throughout all of Europe (and I don’t blame them! I suck at languages! Tut mir leid to all the Germans I have annoyed with my Britishness while being here!), but the fact he has done this (even if he is using a cheat sheet, who cares?!) absolutely kudos to him!

There was all of the dancing and gestures throughout songs such as Agony, Suicide Circus and of course Insidw Beast. Ruki dancing will always make me smile. It may not be the best and he may be a total dork, but he feels the music and that shows and it makes me smile. No-one wants to watch a statue. He stood with his mic chord in his mouth and the mic dangling for a bit at the start of one song (I don’t recall which it was).

At the end of the ballad, Reita was cuddling his bass after his part had finished. He did this the other day as well but I missed it. He came over to our side of the stage a few times, always getting a massive cheer. Mainly just doing things such as sticking his tongue out at us all. We sadly didn’t see much of Aoi on our side of the stage. He didn’t come over as far even as Uruha’s mic much really. But he still had his beautiful trademark smirk.

From where I was I had a good vantage point of all of the band really but mainly Kai and Uruha. Kai is always a delight to watch drumming. Not just because of the beautiful mono-dimpled smile, but he is so expressive and energetic while playing. Uruha is also really expressive and energetic. I never realised quite how interesting he is to watch with all the facial expressions, mental-levels of headbanging and just boundless energy. All that while playing the way he does is just insane.

Everyone was dancing for Inside Beast (of course). I am impresses the Ruki appears to be trying to sing more of the English phrases during Filth in the Beauty these days (as it was a running joke in the past that he used to just forget the words and left the crowd to sing those parts). At the start of the encore, we have generally had Kai do a bit on an MC (again in different languages but alot of English) and this is generally before the start of Inside Beast before Ruki returns to the stage. This time he said in German (I think this is what he said) “I love you all”. He seemed a little unsure of his wording as he said it and did giggle a little bit at the end of the phrase, (Uru full on snorted and laughed at it) but it was adorable as all hell.

I should probably apologise to those near me during Filth in the Beauty who got whacked in the face by my pigtails when I was headbanging (in the classic Filth in the Beauty fashion: circular) and those who got my pigtails to the face behind me when headbanging to Ugly in the classic Ugly fashion. Although I am proud to say that my pigtails lasted the whole show this time!

At this time this as much detail as I’m able to remember. Sorry it is a little all over the place but I did say it would be a bad report from the start! As I have said previously, I may update posts or write one with any “missing bits” at a later time because its all still a little surreal at this time. Its been amazing to be able to see a band I love so many times in a short space of time when I know some people struggle to see them once. I always find that its a great experience being able to see a band multiple times in a tour, especially if it involves some travelling too and I highly recommend the experience to those who haven’t before. Now there’s just time left to sight-see before I return to the UK, the live-blogs aren’t over yet! Until next time, stay wonderful 😉

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Alice invades Germany

Hi wonderlanders!

As the title suggests, I have made my way to Germany! After the train journey from Paris to Cologne (where I didn’t make too many rude jokes about the big red Thalys), we got the joy of trying to work out how to get to our hotel on public transport. I must, however, comment that the Thalys has a surprising amount of legroom, has very comfy seats and had armed police patroling it (not heavily armed, pistol only). I was surprised that I didn’t need a passport for this experience. I know there are open borders in Europe, but as I need one to go from UK to France I assumed it would be the same deal from France to Germany. But you live and you learn!

As I don’t really know any German, working out what I was doing was a bit on the tricky side initially. However, we looked evidently touristy enough and a kind passerby helped us out with where we needed to go to get a travel ticket. We went to the info desk and sorted our tickets as I had managed to work out what line we needed. Initially once on the subway, we were confused as we couldn’t hear the announcements of the stops or see any display to suggest where we were. However, eventually we saw the display and managed to work it out. I would like to point out, despite neither of us speaking or understanding any German, we did not get lost and were able to find our hotel! Hooray! There was an unfortunate victim, however, en route to the hotel. The VonWonder adventure-case has finally broken one of it’s wheels fully, the other is pretty broken and the plastic around the handle is also loose. It will sadly therefore be retired upon return to the UK. It has served me well considering how cheap it was! RIP VonWondercase.

The hotel itself is so nice we felt a little out of place. It was cheaper than our Paris hotel but considerably more up-market. You know your hotel is posh when it has a bathtub, a pillow choccy and room service. We decided to check out the local area and get some supplies in from the supermarket. For some reason, Google doesn’t recognise Aldi as a “supermaket near me” despite it being 5 minutes up the road and tried to direct us to one 15 minutes away. German Aldi is alot like English Aldi. I felt at home as my groceries were fired at me impatiently off the end of the till, however its just that little bit scarier in German, particularly when you speak no German and can hear the person thinking to themself “bloody foreigner”. I can’t say I blame them, but it does also make me laugh a little.

We decided to eat in the hotel bistro and well, it was certainly more of a posh experience than we expected, especially considering the food on the menu was quite simple food like pizza and burgers! We ordered a coke each and they served us glass bottle coke with a wine glass each! We got to pretend we were proper grown ups for a while.

After dinner we did some planning for the next few days. This morning we checked out the sculpture park because it was free and not super far from our hotel. It was also not too long of an activity so we could go and take a leisurely stroll. I am tempted to write a post about this place all its own because I have re-named the sculptures based on my own opinions. But I never really studied art, so what do I know really?

Today we noticed that on Sundays, Germany is closed. Supermarkets, shops, everything. This baffled me. What happens if you need shopping on a Sunday?! In the UK, shops are open on Sundays, but with reduced opening hours. Needless to say, finding food was tricky and we pretty much just ate what we picked up on our scouting mission in Aldi yesterday. As a result, we are now both 90% brioche. If we had known, we would have picked up more food for today! I just assumed that as a city, ot wouldn’t be a problem. The thought never crossed my mind to even check open hours! Also, room service stopped at lunchtime???!!!! It has definitely been a learning experience and something I will have to plan for if I come back in future.

Today we also obviously had the gig, which I’ll be writing about seperately. But that was just a bit of insight in to how we have so far found our time in Germany. Until next time (probably the live report), stay wonderful 😉

Checkin’ out our Gaze-bois part 2

Time for another shoddy live report! This one comes to you courtesy of the wifi on The Thalys. My poor travel companion now gets 3 hours of jokes about riding a big red Thalys….So last night in the Bataclan! Firstly, we arrived in the afternoon for the ever-enjoyable queuing. This was alot more chill than the London one and the weather was lovely. We arrived and were given a number (there weren’t many Heresy-only fans. I think maybe 10 of us?). We then waited in a park area across the street from the venue as the production staff would not allow people to wait outside the venue. All of the queue control was done by fans from the France street team. It was the same in London that the queue control was done by a fan. Its ridiculous that the venue or production staff aren’t sorting this all out. When it came time to move over, there was confusion and miscommunication about what the Heresy members would be doing. We’d been given a wristband by the tour staff but no-one really knew where we should be and when. In the end we were with VIP until they entered the venue so that we were front of the general admission queue. We were searched on entry (both bag and search of person) which was fair and to be expected really.When we were in (Heresy got in shortly before 7 when GA were allowed in), I know there was at least some merch sold out (such as the bears). I’m not sure this will be the case for the rest of the tour or if they have any more that they will get out for future shows. It all just seems a bit poorly organised. I managed to get quite close to the front (maybe as close or closer than I was in London with VIP). I got chatting to some other fans that had come over for the gigs. Some from Italy, Hungary, Greece. I was surprised that the meet and greet had happened before the show because there was not alot of time between the VIPs being let in and the rest of the crowd. They were apparently rushed through, didn’t really get chance to speak to the guys and weren’t able to give gifts. Apparently the London meet and greet had been better.The show started slightly late, but not as late as London had. The initial squish was not as bad as London but there were more males and the crowd ended up a bit more rough. Not really an issue for a seasoned Metal Head such as myself, but I know some people nearby were finding it difficult. There were a few pits happening during the show and it has handy when the areas opened up enough for headbanging. I initally started with pigtails in but they ended up gone within a couple of songs as they were getting pulled out by people behind me leaning on me anyway.I was surprised how much French Ruki used this time as last time it was a couple of words and the rest was in French. I can’t say how good his French was as mine is pretty poor.The setlist was similar to London although there were a couple of substitutions. I have grabbed the setlist from a tumblr user: 24hrojisan. (24hrojisan.tumblr.com)Its a very energetic setlist really with just one or two calmer songs, which probably contributes alot to all the sweatiness that results from the show. The band have been saying how they have struggled with the heat and concerned that the fans are also ok. An issue I found was that the venue staff for the Bataclan did not hand out water but you had to be in the first couple of rows so they could pour it in your mouth. This was between the main show and the encore. It was tricky because people a few rows back could then not get any water and we were really in need of some!The show itself was awesome. The guys seemed more settled and confident than they had in London and were letting loose alot more. I guess that’s the problem playing initially in an unfamiliar city, jet lagged and the first show of a tour leg. This is another reason I like to attend multiple shows, to see how different the shows are between cities and crowds. We got some classic Ruki dancing including the funky pigeon head bobbing. A new favourite of his appears to be a kind of shimmy-type situation. But yes, still some adorkable entertainment as ever. He also checked himself out in a mirror partway through the aet, which did entertain me greatly. At the start of the encore, the crowd sang happy birthday to Uruha as it was his birthday recently. He didn’t seem to realise what was happening but Kai did and prompted Uru, at which point he did thank the crowd.Some people were taking photos and filming, despite the announcement at the start not to do so. They may have benefitted from saying it in English as well as there were alot of foreign fans who did not understand French and did not really know what the announcement said.We were filmed by the documentary crew both before and after the show. I looked terrible after so I really hope they don’t use the video! It was worth it all though and my adrenaline was through the roof after the gig. Today I have somewhat of a bangover though. (For the uninitiated, a bangover is where your neck aches the next day from headbanging the previous day).I look pretty crazed there…. This is what happens in gig crowds and is to be expected really! But it is also the sign of a good gig when your face is smudged to hell, your hair is a mess and you have a demonic look in your eyes.I now have some time to kill whilst on the train to Germany (and try not to fall asleep). I will probably remember more about all of the gigs that I want to say later so might do a bit of a “mopping up” entry at the end when I talk about all the stuff I forgot to mention. But until next time, stay wonderful 😉

Walking so much I have no feet left….

Welcome back wonderlanders.Yesterday we decided to go be tourists all around Paris. We walked so much that I should now officially be a size 8 because I surely must have burnt all of the calories and then some.After the complimentary breakfast we received (courtesy of the hotel for the birthday girl), we headed out and walked to the cemetary where the celebrities are buried to go visit the likes of Jim Morrison, Chopin and Oscar Wilde. We spent a good couple of hours there and it was interesting to see. There are alot of seriously massive monuments and ornate graves. Its crazy how some people are buried and remembered! Its quite an experience to go there. It may seem like a weird and ghoulish thing to do on a holiday, but if you are interested, its called Le Pere Lachaise.We went for a wander to grab some lunch in a nearby supermarket and then headed down to Rue Keller to have a look at some of the geek shops. There are a few manga and cosplay shops along there thst offer a wide variety of manga, figures and general anime/manga merch and cosplay accessories such as foam swords, wigs, masks etc. I highly recommend just taking a wander along Rue Keller if anime/manga is your jam, but be aware that obviously the manga are all in French.We then hopped on the Metro down to the Eiffel Tower. At this point it had started raining, but by the time we came out of the Metro, it was sunny and warm! The weather is so changeable it reminds me of home! We did the whole touristy stuff around the Eiffel Tower but due to the crazy long queues, decided against going up it. You can now also no longer just walk under it as there are big barriers and heavy security all around the area. I can understand their reasoning but it is still a bit annoying. After a trip for some ice cream and crepes, we took a wander along the Seine. We were hoping to check out a geek bar but it was too full for us to get in. I went there once before and it is really cool, but sadly so busy as well. I don’t know if it was because there was an event on or something, but it was disappointing. The bar is called Le Dernier Bar avant la Fin du Monde, somewhere to check out if you are in to general geekery.We carried on our wander to check out the charred remains of Notre Dame. The area is all fenced off, but you can still see the main front part, but also alot of scaffolding. Despite the fire, it is still a popular tourist attraction with people going to see and take pictures.By this point we were incredibly exhausted and decided to treat ourselves to a metro back to the hotel (via McDonalds due to sheer laziness and it being on the doorstep). I always forget the McDonalds in other countries is slightly different. Navigating the self-serve (which gives you language options to begin with and then still decides to put it half in English, half in French), was quite interesting. I ended up just ordering things seperately instead of as a meal as I got confused. And then trying to remember numbers in French for when they called my order number was also difficult. I haven’t really done any French since schools nearly 15 years ago! I can remember some but not all and numbers close to 100 I can’t remember. But I managed to muddle through and collect my food. So it was all good.We were all struggling considerably by the time we got back and kind of just flopped. I can’t remember the last time I walked so much! Today we are resting in preparation for this evening so we can enjoy the show. It is a very well-needed rest! We will be heading down to the venue in a while to commence the joy of queuing. Until next time, stay wonderful 😉

The Alice has landed….

…in Paris! Well, arrived anyway as I am not sure you would class a train as “landing” really. And it was yesterday…

The Eurostar was a hoot….not really. Going through security and passport control, the staff were super rude and not particularly helpful. Although we did get through pretty quickly, in plenty of time to wait around until boarding, grab a snack and a drink.

The actual journey itself was fine, although we did get stuck behind a broken down train when we wanted to pull in to the station at Paris so that did delay us for a little while. But if you’ve just sat on a train for a couple of hours, what difference does 10-15min extra make really?

We sorted out some travel tickets to use over the coming few days and made our way to the hotel. Thankfully we didn’t get too drenched despite the drizzly weather. We took a wrong turning at one point and took a little longer to find the hotel (obviously due to my rubbish navigational skills and all the random roads running parallel to each other here).

The hotel itself is pretty cool actually. It has quite an interesting decor with grafitti on the reception walls (its supposed to be there and you can add to it!) There is also more spray-paint style grafitti in the stair wells and around the rooms with lots of paintings hanging on the walls. The rooms themselves have crazy paintings on the walls, some of which are creepier than others! Just walking down the stairs took ages because we were stopping to look and take pictures of all the artwork! I am, however, disappointed that our room doesn’t have toilet gnomes as some of the photos online. But apart from that the rooms are as shown/described.

The guy on reception had a great sense of humour, initially pretending to not speak English (as a joke) as we asked if he did. Then referred to us as being from Brexit-land. (Too soon? Lol) As it was recently one of our party’s birthday, we were given a voucher for a complimentary breakfast! Which I thought was pretty cool. We were all able to have a laugh and a joke.

After some strategic planning for the next couple of days, we went to eat. We’d Googled places to eat and had decided on somewhere which said would be open. Having walked there we found it had shut down. Bloody typical. So we then went on a pilgrimage for food. Eventually came across our second choice of a burger place. It was really nice and kind of the French equivalent of Gourmet Burger kitchen, called PNY. There’s a few of them in Paris and 2 not far from where we are staying.

We have a plan of action for the day and time to enjoy some sight-seeing in the rain. Until next time, stay wonderful 😉

Seeing The Gazette in my own country!

This was pretty surreal. I really needed to wait until the next day to write about this to let it all sink in, but wow it was crazy. I have not been at a gig where the crowd has been that nuts in quite some time.

The queuing system was organised by a fan who has been doing this for a long time and who was decidedly more helpful than the venue staff. She did a great job of making sure everyone was where they were supposed to be when they needed to be. As a VIP, we were let in to the venue shortly after 6pm (little bit late as it was supposed to be 6). As we got in, we were handed our VIP gift (which was like a fleece blanket type thing).

Then we went to the merch stall and it quickly became apparent that the meet and greet would be after the gig. Not ideal really as I knew we would all be sweaty and gross by then. The merch stall was a bit crazy itself. The staff were slow, particularly with card payments (please bring money in future guys! Its so much quicker!) and in alot of cases the card payments were taking 2 staff members to do (for some reason). The crowd there were pushing so much that I actually couldn’t stand up straight and ended up bend over the merch stall. The tables were getting pushed back. (And this was only the merch stall, not even the gig!) Eventually I battled through and got my stuff (bought way more than I should have! But I had planned for this.) The helpful thing is, they posted pictures and prices on facebook of all the merch beforehand so you would know how much cash to take etc. So that was good. It also meant that I could think about what I wanted in advance and decide rather than having to decide when I got there.

So the gig itself. After the great merch stand battle of 2019, we made our way to the crowd. We were on Aoi’s side (or thats where we started) although we did get shuffled gradually more to the middle as we were waiting. General admission were allowed in at 7 (not sure what happened with Heresy members?). The show was due to start at 8 but 8 rolled aound and we were still waiting, chanting etc. as the guitar techs looked slightly perplexed. We were thinking it was probably a sound issue and were hoping that there wasn’t a Dir En Grey repeat as it was the samd venue. Around half 8, to absolutely deafening screams, the band came on. London had been waiting for this for some time. They launched straight into Falling following their SE intro. There was much squish as this happened but it was to be expected. As it is sod’s law, one of the few tall people in the venue was positioned pretty much right infront of me but I was able to see around him and just re-positioned myself as needed. It was awesome to see Falling live and the smiles on the guys’ faces was evident for all to see. I may at some point post the set lists, but for now, they played a fair few of the newer tracks as well as some of the classics like Vortex, Filth in the Beauty, Inside Beast and Cockroach. We also had Dogma and UGLY The crowd went absolutely crazy all the way through and by about the 3rd song in the set I was thoroughly drenched in all of the sweat. My hair had gone from straight to being a bush, and probably half of it accidentally getting ripped out by getting stuck to people. There were some absolutely classic Ruki dance moves going on at times, and some of Uru’s usually dorky dancing. The guys were full of energy and just kept pulling out tune after tune. Ruki’s high kicks were so regular I worried for the fabric of his suit trousers.

Ruki’s standard of English and pronounciation has also really grown since I last saw them live, so he was able to do a little more with the MCs. I was so glad!

Thankfully there weren’t many people filming or taking photos in the VIP area. We did see one or two people filming at times and they did get told off by others in the crowd.

After the gig, there was alot of confusion as to what happened next. We were told as VIPs to wait infront of the stage and we would then be taken to meet the band. So we waited…..and waited….and waited…. No-one seemed to know what was happening. Eventually, we were told to form a queue and we were taken upstairs to a private room to meet the band in small groups. We were rushed through quite quickly and if you spent too long with a member you were moved along. Also, even if you asked a band member for a hug and they agreed, there was one security guard who told you off. My friends were brave enough to ask for hugs and the guys wers willing, but I wasn’t and I was also suuuper sweaty. The guys themselves were so lovely! They were smiley, the handshakes were like 2 handed and Kai’s handshake was suuuuuper long. I was dying a little! And being able to see those smiles close up was awesome. I didn’t say much, mostly just things like it was an awesome show and I was so happy to meet them etc. I felt a little bad that they had flown over the previous day, then had the live, then had to meet 300 people and shake their hands. They must be absolutely exhausted! I don’t know if I could still be that friendly when I was that tired. Their make up was still in place but I was more surprised than I should have been at the level of cakeage!

I would do it all over again, happily, in a heartbeat. And maybe next time I could think of something intelligent to say or be brave enough to ask for a hug! I need Aoi and Kai hugs in my life! Anyway, on with the next part of the adventure! Stay wonderful 😉

The great British tradition…

….queuing. We love a good queue in the UK! We arrived nice and early at around 3ish? Or just after that. VIPs will be pulled out around 5ish, but we’re having a good laugh standing/sitting around in the queue.

I was surprised at the VIP number we got (mine being 168), although the queue is already going round the corner from the venue. The time is actually going quite fast, which is surprising. People weirdly are coming along every now and then filming the queue?!?!?! Have people really not seen a queue before? We don’t look that interesting today!

I am veeeeery nervous, no idea what to say, will likely say something absolutely ridiculous as I usually do! But I will no doubt post about it afterwards so get ready for hearing about it later!

If you’re out and about in Camden, come and entertain the people of the queue!!!