LUNA SEA's Promise to the Brave

live report - 15.11.2011 00:01

Over seven months after the Tohoku disaster, LUNA SEA and 30 000 fans reunited for an unforgettable charity concert.

It’s been over eight months since disaster struck the Tohoku area. Even though the topic has mostly disappeared from the news overseas, it is a topic that is still very much alive in Japan as the tragedy seems far from over. Also, the music industry has been deeply touched by this natural disaster and many musicians are helping with a myriad of charity projects to raise money for the victims.

The members of LUNA SEA also contributed to various charitable projects — SUGIZO himself even volunteered in the affected areas and several fund-raising projects were set up. One of these was their A Promise to the Brave concert which took place on October 22nd at the Saitama Super Arena. All proceeds of the concert were donated to the Japanese Red Cross for the victims of the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami.

The tickets of the concert had been sold out within five minutes, and the Saitama Super Arena was filled to the notch on Saturday evening with 30 000 people that all shared a love for the victims and LUNA SEA. In the hours before the concert, fans were finding their seats and chatting enthusiastically amongst themselves.

Around five o’clock, the lights finally went dark and the opening SE, Gekkou, started to play. At the back of the stage, an image of the moon was visible as the slow, atmospheric song played. The fans screamed for the band members, and they didn’t have to wait for long before the five band members appeared on stage. They were all wearing black outfits which each of them had styled to fit their own taste. They immediately launched the first song, With Love, which seemed an appropriate way to welcome the fans to the show.

As With Love is moderately paced, the fans got to show their enthusiasm to its full extent with Dejavu. The upbeat rock song immediately encouraged jumping along with the beat and about 30 000 people promptly did so, making the tribunes in the arena shake dangerously. After the song, RYUICHI took the opportunity to welcome the audience in an MC, making the fans scream with a short session of call and response before announcing TRUE BLUE.

It had been over half a year since the five of them had performed together, and it was visible that they enjoyed sharing the stage together and playing in front of their fans again. J, INORAN and SUGIZO moved around stage and ran around during the heavier parts of the music. They also took the opportunity to greet their fans again, as they would move to the far right and left edges of the stages to cheer the fans on with waves and daring poses. RYUICHI, first clad in a long black coat that he shed after a few songs, mostly stayed at his microphone stand in the center. Still, he touched the fans with his heartfelt vocals and the way he gazed at the audience with an intense stare.

Before the band started on the song PROMISE, which was composed for the victims of the tragedy, RYUICHI asked the crowd for a minute of silence. As the band members closed their eyes, the audience followed and it was entirely silent in the large venue. After a minute of silence, RYUICHI bowed, and the audience gave them a large applause. They started on the intro of PROMISE then, bright colored lights shining in the arena.

The mood grew a little subdued with the slower songs Gravity and RA-SE-N. RA-SE-N especially created an intense atmosphere in the arena with SHINYA’s pounding beat, J’s darkly rumbling bass and SUGIZO’s high, long-stretched notes accentuated by his hand gracefully moving in the air. As the song ended and the sound of the wind blowing filled the arena, SUGIZO was seen retrieving his violin. He started on a few phrases on his electrical violin, each high and haunting. The sound sneered through the venue, growing raw and animalistic at times and was sure to leave an impact on the listeners. During their world tour, the violinist would have a lengthy solo before starting on Providence, but this time SUGIZO held his solo moment very short, simple and pure. Soon, he was joined by the other band members, and they started on the haunting waltz Providence with images of drops of fire being shown on the screens at the back of the stage.

SHINYA did make some time for a lengthy drum solo. His drum kit was surrounded by a vertical circle, with double bass drums that had a feather symbol on them. He himself was also wearing a cap with a feather in his reddish hair. The drummer enjoyed himself by entertaining the audience, drumming some and then having them call out his name. Although the solo was testament of his drum skills, most of it unfortunately wasn’t too strung together and it seemed he was randomly testing out his drums. After a while, however, SHINYA started to pick up a rhythm again, and then J appeared on stage again with his red bass. The drummer and bassist built up a groovy rhythm, J’s low sounds reverberating through the venue. He also cheered the crowd on, yelling “Oi! Oi! Oi!” and smiling as they yelled back.

As the other three band members joined them on stage again for BLUE TRANSPARENCY, it seemed that they all had gotten a little more relaxed compared to before, and seemed to be so at ease that it seemed they were performing together again every day. The guitarists and bassist ran around the stage freely, taking in various positions on the outer edges of the stages. After TONIGHT, whose energetic beat and rocky guitar-riffs were sure to get the tribunes shaking by the jumping fans again, the band members already left the stage. Each of them thanked the audience, bowed and waved before disappearing backstage.

The fans instantly started to scream “encore,” clapped loudly and entertained themselves with doing waves through the whole venue. Fortunately, they didn’t have to wait long for the five men to reappear. Some outfits had been changed — INORAN was now wearing a panther patterned shirt that matched with J’s scarf of the same pattern, and SUGIZO was wearing a jacket with a white shirt.

They started the encore with Crazy About You. The atmosphere in the arena changed again with the romantic feeling of the song, quietening down a little. Also, the band members seemed a little more composed, with INORAN rocking his body along to the beat. SUGIZO delivered an excellent, super fast solo, his fingers flying over the strings with high notes singing throughout the venue.

After Crazy About You, the band decided it was time to introduce themselves, or at least have each band member receive their much deserved applause. It was SHINYA’s turn first, then J, and then came INORAN, who promptly introduced himself as SUGIZO to the hilarity of the fans. The joke continued between the band members, but finally RYUICHI was introduced and they stared on PRECIOUS…. Even though the song was released about twenty years ago, the fans still got excited, dancing and jumping along to the beat. With the last song, WISH, streamers were shot into the audience. All fans immediately grabbed hold of the streamers that reached them and waved them along on the beat. The streamers were the only special effect used for the evening, without any fancy pyrotechnics and the lights were also kept plainer compared to the usual Super Arena lighting.

Then, the band members took their time saying goodbye to the audience, throwing guitar picks, drum sticks and water bottles into the audience. They thanked everyone extensively, and finished with the customary bow together.

The A Promise to the Brave show was quite different from the concerts LUNA SEA has done before, both before and after their break. Without any spectacular lights, effects or band member parading in the spotlight, it was clear that they intended to keep the concert simple and pure. With this, they gave off the statement that this concert wasn’t about LUNA SEA as a band, but about their promise to the brave.


Set List:

- SE - Gekkou
01. With Love
02. Dejavu
03. TRUE BLUE
04. SLAVE
05. G.
06. PROMISE
07. gravity
08. RA-SE-N
09. Providence
10. MOON
- Drum Solo -
- Bass Solo -
11. BLUE TRANSPARENCY
12. I for you
13. DESIRE
14. STORM
15. TIME IS DEAD
16. ROSIER
17. TONIGHT

ENCORE
01. Crazy About You
02. PRECIOUS…
03. WISH
- PIANO BGM -
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LUNA SEA 22/10

LUNA SEA
Saitama - Japan
Super Arena
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