This month of August, hundreds upon hundreds of people in North America are/were anticipating the invasion of Japan through a brilliant, dark force known as D'espairsRay.
D'espairsRay first made their appearance in 2005 reaching out to San Jose, San Francisco, and Dallas. Then they joined popular acts such as Miyavi, Vidoll, Avenged Sevenfold, and Bullet For My Valentine in JRock Revolution (2007) and Taste of Chaos (2008). They were able to share a little of their music by releasing their second album, Mirror and their latest live, Spiral Staircase #15 Final, in music stores across the nation for a reasonable price.
So when these four talented young musicians announced that they would be stepping foot on North American soil, fans were extremely excited. They had a decent variety of locations from East Coast to West Coast and from North to South, but soon drama erupted between fans and a man by the name of James. For those of you not familiar with Mr. James, he runs the official D'espairsRay Facebook and part of the Swords company. He's also the target of many fandom controversy.
From what I've picked up, Mr James didn't have many fans to begin with due to lack of professionalism and proves to gain more dislike for this lovely little personality flaw. It began with a pit against North American Mania (D'espairsRay's official fan name) and European Mania when a post about "slow ticket sells" were announced via Facebook. People complained about James's assumption of "sad band members" and some Europeans pushed North Americans' buttons by bringing up their sold out shows in a few locations the band would be touring after crossing North America. Some North Americans calmly explained the lack of transportation in our nation and that some are still planning things out. There was also the questionable age restrictions in some of the venues which some Mania pointed out.
Mr. James finally picked up on the age restriction ordeal but mainly named New York in his next update. There was still a bit of hesitation as some people lacked trust in James and a few dates conflicted with the starting of the school year.
Everything seemed well, fans did not fret about ticket sells as fans understand fans when it comes to purchasing tickets. Some get theirs in advance, some have to wait a little due to travel, work, school, or money, and others wait until the day of to buy their ticket. Plus, there were several weeks until the tour would begin and the dates were released after the European leg.
As people anticipated the upcoming shows, it was announced that the southern locations (Dallas, Houston, & Atlanta) would not be getting a visit from the boys of D'espairsRay. People were upset and curious what the reasion would be over the cancellations. They wondered why only the south was selected as they had a good, strong fanbase; Miyavi being proof as he toured in the mid-summer season and had great reception.
Fans tried to figure out possible reasons for the cancellations. Maybe ticket sells were actually slow and James asn't lying. Maybe management was discriminating against southern locations. Or maybe management had poor planning skills and they didn't put enough effort into advertising. There are a few people who logically believe there might've been venue conflicts, but wouldn't the band's team be prepared for anything despite their lack of tour planning experience. I say if Dir en grey's first headlining North American tour went smoothly, why can't D'espairsRay! They're on the same boat: new to North American soil, toured with other well known American bands, and knew the music industry for the same amount of time.
Aside from unhappy fans from across the world, James had to fuel the fire by breaking the #1 rule of Texas: "Don't Mess with Texas", by insinuating blame on "our fellow Texans" and the "businesses". (I was going to place the actual quote here, but it has been deleted.)
This led to some explosive results and fans were not happy with the way James handled the cancellation situation. Although, the lovely people of Askew Magazine tried to pacify the situation by offering cancelled ticket holders a chance to own the special tour edition of their magazine with only the cost of shipping. Pretty reasonable idea! And OnStage Events even stepped in to stop the rumors of a "no refund policy".
Days passed and the D'espa Facebook community calmed down, until the announcement of a new date was posted for New York. The emotions were scattered from rangers of joy, fury, confusion, and suspicion. Some fans thought of it as a good business move as the first New York show they had scheduled was sold out and this would make up for any possible losses from teh cancelled shows. This would also give New York Mania another opportunity to claim tickets if they missed out the first roundabout. Some fans found it suspicious that the date seemed so spontaneous as it was planned on a free day and not a date the other lives claimed previously by cancelled shows. This reason might also be a source of confusion as well.
Once again things calmed down, fans accepted facts, and other ticket holders anticipated the quickly approaching shows. After being upset over possible favoritism with a special meet and greets in San Francisco only, unnecessary slow ticket sell announcement, cancelled southern shows, and the surprise live add-on in New York, fans figured the drama had ended and people could move on to anticipating future make up dates. Unfortunately, without even a proper announcement on either MySpace or Facebook from the management, fans posted the news that the newly added second New York live was cancelled. The sources came from a disappearance of the date on the band's official sites and emails from ticket selling sites saying the show was cancelled.
Now I kinda wonder if D'espa's management are idiots or just plain masochists. They've shown nothing but unprofessionalism since the creation of this tour. Not having articles of band to show North American officials, posting North American dates after European dates even though the North American circuit is first, openly complaining about ticket sells and intiating drama among fans, and not keeping fans up to date with the happenings of the tour. I'm already pacified a little with Askew and Laura was a very pleasant person to talk to about this sudden cancellation. People demand answers: What should we do about our tickets? Should we consider refunds? Why were these four shows cancelled so soon?
These questions need to be answered soon, before they fly off to Europe for a fear they will be sued for their disorganization like Korean Pop idol Rain and his team. They were accused of trying to steal money by cancelling various overseas tours. We don't want the boys to go through that! Management needs to get their act together and start producing some answers. As fans, we should stop assuming cancelled ticket holders are upset with the band we're going to stop supporting them when in fact we're upset with the poor set up of this whole tour and our killed excitement of the boys giving their all on stage since it's been 2 years. We also need to start demanding answers without tearing them down immaturely (...and perhaps hope their reasoning for cancellation is to support Daisuke's memorial service.)