LUNA SEA for JAPAN, A Promise to The Brave
LUNA SEA For JAPAN, A Promise to the Brave at Saitama Super Arena on October 22, 2011 was the band’s way of bringing some light and hope into the lives of those most affected by the powerful earthquake and tsunami that hit Tohoku earlier in the year.
After the disaster, many artists tried to help the victims through music and lend a hand in the reconstruction of the cities affected by the tsunami. Visual kei and j-rock legend LUNA SEA hosted a sold-out concert at Saitama Super Arena donating all proceeds to the Japanese Red Cross.
In just a few minutes, the tickets sold out as 30,000 people paid tribute to the victims of the disaster and showed their support for LUNA SEA. ROKKYUU arrived at Saitama Super Arena on October 22 to be greeted by an impressive sight: Thousands of LUNA SEA fans surrounded the venue cosplaying the band’s early years. Outrageously long red hair alongside long black tunics in the ‘90s VK look the band helped create and tour t-shirts over 15 years old seemed to be everywhere as fans of all ages gathered for the memorable performance.
Had LUNA SEA been formed in recent years, they‘d probably not have the impact and success they had in the early 90s back when their sound was something original, but that originality is just what made them the legend they are. More than just a rock band, LUNA SEA are part of the history of visual kei and j-rock, having greatly contributed to the popularization of the scene. For the next few hours, we were transported to the golden age of visual kei, when visual bands sold out Tokyo Dome (two and three days in a row!) and brought genuinely new influences and styles to Japanese music.
“With Love” and “Dejavu” kicked off the show, the transition from the ballad to the heavier song very smooth with powerful drums, hot bass, electrifying guitars, and high-ranged vocals. We’ve missed you!” the vocalist confessed before shouting, “Let’s go Saitama! Let me hear your voices!”
From the four giant panels lining the stage, lights like a rain of stars descended, setting the mood for the 1994 hit “TRUE BLUE,” then SUGIZO took the lead with a passionate guitar intro for “SLAVE.” Under red lights, smoke crept silently over the ground and gave the stage a hellish image. The drums set the sharp-paced beat for the choreography and J’s performance was very strong as he moved around delivering vigorous bass lines.
The moment SHINYA took off with the opening for “G.” a massive yell resounded throughout the venue. Powerful bass and drums set the crowd ablaze with everyone singing the chorus including SUGIZO. RYUICHI put everything into the song, gesticulating constantly to emphasize the lyrics.
“Thank you all for coming today!” he shouted. “Thank you everyone who has been supporting us over the past years. We would like to pay our respects to the victims of the Tohoku disaster with one minute of silence. This is for all of you!” he added. At once, for an emotive minute, the venue went completely silent. Then, on behalf of the Tohoku victims, the band performed the newly released song “PROMISE,” the proceeds of which were also donated to the Japanese Red Cross. RYUICHI’s vocal range and stage presence were impressive, each word leaving his lips with intensity and emotion.
After the transition to “gravity” the words sayonara (goodbye) echoed throughout the hall as the crowd moved their arms to the slow beat. Bent over his guitar, INORAN gave 100% with a fierce performance, completely drowned in his composition. “RA-SE-N” opened with a fierce guitar solo, drums following soon behind. The song built up gradually to the steady beat while RYUICHI looked like a mad man gesticulating heavily as he sang, hair wild and unruly. As SHINYA pounded the drums with vigor, the two guitarists thrashed heads earnestly. The song came to an end with desperate growls and haunting guitars.
The sound of wind flowed across the venue as SUGIZO took the spotlight, violin in hand. A single pink beam of light fell on the guitarist who, with a teasing smile, incited the crowd to yell. The storm of cheers shook the arena as SUGIZO blew kisses to the loving audience. “Providence” was warmly welcomed by the fans who moved their hands with the beat while RYUICHI repeated the lyrics, “I just want to say this,” his voice echoing dramatically across the venue. Under a twirling mirror-ball moon, RYUICHI took the lead for “MOON.” Mirror in hand, the vocalist sang with clear emotionand the round metal structure surrounding the drum set stood out defiantly like a cold full moon, matching the drum work itself which built up confidently to taunting guitars.
As the others departed, SHINYA took the spotlight for a crash-bang drum solo throughout which he interacted with the crowd, challenging them to yell out his name at the top of their lungs. J soon joined in, cool as always, for a rhythm-laden drum and bass duet that became a highlight of the show. J’s hot display of technique and crowd control commanded a huge response.
“BLUE TRANSPARENCY,” from the band’s first album, re-ignited the set, full of fanservice. SUGIZO kneeled, seductively singing to J’s bass and a few moments later it was time for RYUICHI to sing to INORAN, the guitarist blowing him kisses with a teasing grin. “This reminds me of our indies period,” the vocalist confessed with a smile before adding, “Our love for music brought us here and this next song is for all of you!” With these words, the band dove into a heartfelt performance of the ballad “I for you.” Ryuchi’s voice mingled sweetly with the sweet guitars and bass. The audience swayed and sang with the band, the words Kokoro kara (from the heart) pronounced lovingly by both band and audience. Fan-service returned for “DESIRE,” SUGIZO and RYUICHI glued together as the guitarist sped away on his solo. With the flashing lights of “STORM,” all hell broke loose as the mood grew faster and harder.
Then, “TIME IS DEAD” and “ROSIER” set the crowd on fire. Fast guitars, potent bass and thunderous drums made the venue shake. The crowd jumped and pumped fists to the beat as they sang in unison–J throwing the microphone-stand in the air after his speech half-way through “ROSIER,” as is his custom. It was an impressive display of LUNA SEA’s power and stage presence, the four members having a blast as they interacted with each other and the fans.
With a massive yell, the vocalist announced the last song, “TONIGHT.” The fans put their hearts and energy into it, the ground again shaking under the crowd’s excitement. To cheers and applause, the band bid their farewells, but returned soon after in reply to the earnest encore demand. “This song is for all of you who came here tonight!” RYUICHI breathed, introducing “Crazy About You.” The determined ballad built up to a vigorous beat and haunting guitar with RYUICHI’s voice rocking Super Arena.
Approaching the end, RYUICHI thanked the fans for their unconditional support and introduced the members. When it came to the guitarists, both band and fans seemed a bit confused as to who to cheer when the vocalist exclaimed “Our coolest guitarist!” INORAN pointed at SUGIZO who pointed at INORAN, SHINYA laughing teasingly along with the crowd. With a smile, RYUICHI called, “On guitar, INORAN!” SUGIZO was introduced as “The guitarist who’s music opens up the heavens,” to which he responded with “The vocalist who’s timbre resonates throughout the universe,” in introduction of RYUICHI.
“Are you ready for more?!” RYUICHI asked the crowd before flashing lights introduced the classic, “PRECIOUS.” The crowd and guitarists helped with the chorus, ground shaking with the jumping and dancing. On fire, the euphoric audience shouted “Oh!” The night ended with an explosion of silver paper which announced the last song of the show, “WISH.” Silver twinkles followed swaying hands for the big finale, the whole venue singing SHINYA pounded the drums for the last time that night.
Under a loud ovation, the band said their goodbyes, SUGIZO taking pictures on his mobile phone for which RYUICHI flashing a peace sign. Both band and fans appeared touched by the night’s performance, RYUICHI shouting “I love you!” to the crowd and SUGIZO confessing “It was awesome!” before blowing kisses as he left. It was indeed an outstanding performance and the perfect way for the band and fans to pay their respects to the victims of the Tohoku disaster. All the best to LUNA SEA who proved they have a heart big enough for all of Japan and hopefully will soon extend it to the wide world.
- With Love
- TRUE BLUE
- Dr Solo
- Bass Solo
- BLUE TRANSPARENCY
- I for you
- TIME IS DEAD
- Crazy About You