So May the 24th finally arrived! I had won a meet-n-greet pass because I was among the first ten ticket buyers for the LA show, having purchased my ticket more than two months back. The band has been nice enough to meet the first ten ticket buyers at every show on this North American tour. So I got to the venue at around 7.30. I got inside at 8 o clock and went to the merch stand where the meet-n-greet winners were supposed to wait.
After a few minutes a representative from the band came and checked our names on her list, then escorted us back stage!! Then she brought out the band with her! The guys were very, very nice. First they came and shook hands with all of us and started talking. Jean asked if any of us had seen them live before. It was specially great talking to Christian. Here's how it went.
Me : Have you ever been to India? We hardly get any metal bands there.
Christian : India? Wow I've actually been there before! I went there on vacation for a month, back in 2002.
Me : Did you like it there?
Christian : Oh yes it was beautiful. I stayed in a place called Dharamsala.
Me : Thats a great hill station. I've lived most of my life in the northern part of India too.
Christian : That is nice! I wanna go back there sometime!
Me : You are most welcome! And play a show while you're there this time!
Then I thanked him for handing me his guitar pick at the Club Nokia show back in November last year when Gojira were supporting In Flames' tour.
After the handshakes and talking they started signing our stuff. I had gotten a picture of the band specially printed out on glossy photo paper just for this occasion, and the band appreciated that a lot! They happily signed the photo. They also signed the Gojira postcard that I had.
Then it was time for pictures! The band got inside a mini-bus and we went in one by one and got our picture taken with all four of them together!
So all in all it was a really nice meet-n-greet and the band guys were very down to earth and friendly.
Next up was the concert!
The support acts were Car Bomb and The Chariot. I would just say this; this was the worst and most unbearable supporting line-up of any show I've ever been to in my life.
Gojira hit the stage at 10.30 to loud shouts of 'Gojira! Gojira!' and the opening song Oroborus was quite hard-hitting. It got the entire crowd going. They continued into the next song Heaviest Matter of the Universe. After that they took a pause and Joe said 'Are you in the mood for some old school death metal? Do you wanna hear that double bass?' Let me tell you, he got us totally pumped!! I always wanted to be in the front row on Christian's side and that's where I was. He handed me a pick after the end of the next song Backbone. As if I needed to get any more pumped than I already was!
Even though many of the songs had their progressive elements, I never felt a drop in tempo. The band had a very good grip on the crowd and we hardly ever stopped head banging. Joe had tremendous stage presence. Watching Christian from so close was a major treat for me.He does things differently and uses lots of pinch harmonics and tapping which is why his playing and writing style interests me a lot.
Some of the other stuff that Joe said was interesting as well as depressing at the same time. He told us that him and Mario make paintings in the dressing room in the day time so that they can auction those on the merch stand and get at least some money to support their touring expenses. Quote "I would not lie to you. We really need money, becuase the music industry is in a huge mess and we don't get any money from record sales thanks to internet. So please give us 10, 20 or whatever you want for some painting and may be in 2 years we'll have more money to tour".
But on the positive side, he said, "The crowd here have made their long trip worthwhile and this surely won't be their last tour to this country, specially Los Angeles". Its so true, LA crowds, and in particular Key Club crowds always rule!!
They ended the show with an encore performance of the song Vacuity. After the end of the show each member gave high fives to all of us in the front row. Joe and Mario dived into the crowd which was quite amusing, as the security guy had to actually tell them to come back on the stage. I got to meet Christian again and get an individual picture with him. He was really cool to hang out with fans and pose for pictures even though he just finished a show.
So overall it was an amazing experience seeing Gojira headlining for the first time here. They are clearly one of the masters of the technical death metal genre. Here's hoping they come back again soon!
This was the setlist :
The Heaviest Matter of the Universe
From the Sky
A Sight to Behold
Art of Dying
Toxic Garbage Island
The Way of All Flesh
Picture from the meet-n-greet :
Show pics are up on my myspace.