I know I mentioned some of the band’s dumb lyrics yesterday, but that doesn’t stop how I feel about HIM. On March 19, 2014, I was fortunate to see HIM in concert. I bought the tickets in December, knowing full well HIM doesn’t tour the U.S. often. After a three-year hiatus, the longest of their 20-year career, their latest CD Tears on Tape and subsequent U.S. tour seemed like a miracle. HIM was back in action, hallelujah! I had an opportunity to see them on their Screamworks tour in 2010, but I didn’t feel like a big enough fan at the time; I willingly passed on that opportunity. This time, I felt like a “proper fan.” I was also not going to let the fact that I would have to go alone get in the way. I bought the tickets as soon as they went on sale.
I left my house early for the hour-long drive to the House of Blues. The whole drive I kept thinking how absurd this idea was: I woke up at the crack of dawn to wait for hours in a line to see a band by myself. Then again, this wasn’t just any band; this was my favorite band. I also wanted a great spot because of devotion (or obsession, depending who you ask) and my short stature.
I approached the line of seven others. Wait, these are HIM fans, I thought to myself. After several years of thinking I was the only fan in the Central Florida area, seeing seven other fans surprised me. It was 10 AM and I had nobody to talk to, but I smuggled homework in my bag to do while I waited. Only eight hours to go!
As time passed and the line filled, I got to talking with my comrades. A girl from Ohio bought Greyhound ticket after Greyhound ticket to see HIM perform in several cities. Another was there with her husband and complained about her thighs sweating and chafing. A mother and daughter talked about their numerous concert-going experiences. Some had heartagram tattoos, some didn’t. Some had Manic Panic-dyed hair, some didn’t. There were mostly girls, but there was a fair share of guys too. We were all different — except for the fact we were mostly all clad in black.
As the day progressed, Facebooks and Twitters, Instagrams and Tumblrs were exchanged. Future plans were made. It was serendipity at its finest.
The doors opened. Skip-the-line wristband on and ticket in hand, I rushed toward the barrier. I didn’t quite get to the front (I was one person away), but I was around my new-found friends. I felt emotional looking around the venue and seeing hundreds of HIM fans. I’ve encountered hundreds of HIM fans online, but never offline. It was quite a sight.
Their opening act, Anathema, had an amazing set. Ville has mentioned them as one of his influences, and it’s no surprise. Both tackle internal struggles through melody and verse. Anathema blew me away with their song “Untouchable, Pts. 1 and 2.” I highly recommend them, but that’s a band for another week.
During Anathema’s set, the crowd was hustling and bustling. The guys of HIM had made their way to the green room and were watching the show. One by one I saw the shadowed faces of each member peek through the window. Squeals signified that Ville made an appearance. Unfortunately, this distracted the audience from Anathema, but in the end, this night was about HIM.
The lights dimmed and “Lucifer’s Chorale” filled the House. Each member walked out to their respective instrument, tweaking and adjusting as they picked up their respective axe. Ville walked out last. More screaming. Eye contact among the band. Nods. A countdown on the high hat. “Buried Alive by Love.”
I am one person from the barrier and roughly one hundred feet from the stage. They’re real, I thought. One of my line friends asks if I was feeling okay. I was beyond okay. I was ecstatic and, dare I say, alive.
HIM played a lot from their back catalogue, a sort of for-die-hard-fans set. The guys were charged and the crowd was energized. Cheering, singing, and head banging abound. A goofy grin slid across Ville’s face when the crowd fulfilled the handclap part in “All Lips Go Blue”’s chorus.
I clutched my heart when “Tears on Tape” began. I played that song on repeat when I was going through a period of self-doubt and heartache earlier this year. To hear it through my headphones was one thing, but to hear it from the mouth of a babe was another. I’m pretty sure Ville saw me swooning and teary-eyed which caused him to chuckle. It was probably payback for earlier in the show when I laughed at him looking confused as girls in the audience catcalled him. Only someone close to the stage could’ve seen his facial contortions. He snapped his head toward my direction and blushed. Actually, I can only assume he blushed what with the stage lights and dark pit. I remember that night as being the first time I saw HIM, as well as the time when I laughed at Ville and he laughed at me. At least I can say Ville personally acknowledged my existence.
Girls in the audience wooing, guys yelling in joy, and me laughing. Being at that show didn’t feel real and yet here was Linde throwing guitar picks into the crowd 6. It’s a night I often remember. I re-watch the videos my new friends and I took and sigh. If that’s the only time I’ll ever see HIM perform, then so be it.