LUNA SEA 25th ANNIVERSARY LIVE at Yokohama Arena

live report - 03.02.2015 19:01

J-rock legend LUNA SEA celebrated their 25th anniversary at Yokohama arena on December 23rd, 2014 with 17,000 fans.

LUNA SEA made their return to Yokohama Arena after 14 years. This quintet of Japanese rock icons were actually all born within the Kanagawa prefecture where Yokohama Arena is located. What's more, the arena itself was built 25 years ago. Today, the band’s influence spans across the generations and even across national borders. Fans, sometimes referred to as a sixth member of the band, gathered to celebrate their beloved band’s silver anniversary. Although some will inevitably have been fans longer than others, all have shared in a fate-altering journey with LUNA SEA. In fact, it was fans’ zeal that brought the band back from a decade-long hiatus in 2010.

Loud applause filled the arena even before the lights went down. Then, after the blackout, blue lights illuminated the stage as the five members: drummer Shinya, guitarists SUGIZO and INORAN, bassist J and vocalist RYUICHI stepped out on stage one by one, all to the sound of Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata. Anthem of Light was selected as the opening number.RYUICHI's singing declared the beginning of the band’s new journey, his glamorous voice filled with an intensity that captivated fans. Later, the stage quite literally blew up with the start of Dejavu. INORAN and SUGIZO moved freely round the stage, and had fans headbanging along to their guitar riffs. All eyes were then on SUGIZO as the iconic guitarist played a spellbinding solo.

“Yokohama Arena! Let me hear your voice!” RYUICHI called out. “We are back in our hometown and we'll make this a big celebration of our 25th year. Everyone in here is a member of LUNA SEA and a rival to one another. Now you know what that means!”

The vocalist had a sharp look in his eyes as he introduced Rouge. SUGIZO’s relentless but controlled riff runs through the song, though INORAN’s guitar and Shinya’s drum beat are equally present. Each player’s strong personality formed an explosive chemistry without overshadowing one another. Next, Shinya hammered out the well-known intro of Jesus . J and SUGIZO faced each other as they played. The guitarists' synchronised solo made fans scream even louder, J supported the frontman with his deep backing vocals. Violent but orderly, this rendition of a LUNA SEA classic thrilled the crowd.

“We didn't know what we'd become 25 years ago, but we were confident we'd come out victorious - thank you for your support!” said RYUICHI. For the middle part of the set, LUNA SEA performed some newer songs. Fans cheered when RYUICHI took up a guitar for Lost World, probably the first time many will have seen this. Later, rays of lights shone out upon fans during MARIA, a song about a man's yearning for redemption. For the number, INORAN used a Gretsch White Falcon electric-acoustic guitar whilst he dazzled fans with his backing chorus to RYUICHI’s passionate vocal. Next up was the magmatic Glowing. Leaning back and pretending to scream, SUGIZO appeared to channel his rage through the wailing strings of his guitar. RYUICHI’s frenzied shouts pierced fans hearts as J and Shinya’s powerful strokes intensified the song. Under the red lights, the band and fans reached into the cores of their existence, despite the risk of getting burned.

The halfway point of the live was marked by an instrumental session. INORAN’s acoustic guitar and SUGIZO’s violin created a calming ambience. Shinya’s drums joined in while SUGIZO’s celestial violin melody resonated around the arena. The two guitarists left the stage for Shinya’s drum solo. “Bring it on!!”, he shouted in midflow. In response, the fans shouted his name at the top of their lungs. “Yokohama! You guys look so good!”, Shinya yelled back with a big smile on his face. The members then reunited, and INORAN’s next riff signalled the beginning of TONIGHT, a liberating rock number set the atmosphere alight.

Then, J walked to the center. “Yokohama! Give me all you've got! Are you ready!?” said the bassist as he delivered a fresh adrenaline rush with his rousing bass solo, pouring an extra dose of gunpowder onto the already-blazing bonfire. “Next song, ROSIER!” called RYUICHI, pulling the trigger of the hearts of 17,000 fans as they cheered as one. Still in high spirits, the crowd joined in J’s vocal interlude in the middle of the song. Straight after, SUGIZO’s guitar solo and RYUICHI’s shouts took over the stage. “Stand! Arena! Yokohama Arena, let’s go full throttle together!” The sound of explosions and white smoke filled the stage as the song ended. Later, LUNA SEA and fans sang along together under the bright lights to the closing song absorb. The union of voices made for a peaceful ending to the show.

Instead of calling for an encore, fans sang Silent Night to bring the band back. “Merry Christmas! I think you guys are now fully accustomed to our Christmas in black.” Fans, dressed mostly in black, laughed at RYUICHI’s remark. Then, LUNA SEA presented a special treat for the audience, performing a cover of John Lennon & Yoko Ono’s classic Happy X’mas (War Is Over), with SUGIZO playing Lennon’s Imagine-model white acoustic guitar. “Yokoari Hamana! (Yokohama Arena!) You guys are fabulous!” called SUGIZO, filling fans with Christmas spirit. Next, Shinya came centerstage and took ahold of the mic. “Let me introduce some new English words to you,” he said, then he struck a pose and shouted “I’m fine thank you!!!” Fans burst out laughing. Next, SUGIZO hailed RYUICHI as “the best vocalist in the universe!” The vocalist delighted fans by announcing that the band will have the tour final on March 14th, 2015 in Osaka. A joyful sing-along occurred during the last song WISH as Christmas-themed confetti exploded from the rafters out and fell across the arena.

However, the loud calls for an encore prevented LUNA SEA from leaving the stage just yet. “We’ll do one more song!” called RYUICHI to placate fans. “I want you to know that you're even more special than you think. You guys filled the gap of our ten years on hiatus. We are here because of you guys, and we are proud of you,” the singer continued, his hand on his heart. The concert-ending Grace renewed the emotional bonds between the band and fans. The five members stood side-by-side after it ended and held one another’s hands. Fans also took the hands of those seated next to them. “Let us become one. Are you ready?” All 17,005 in the arena jumped up at RYUICHI’s call.

“I love you all! Bye bye!” was RYUICHI's farewell. “Thank you for bringing us back again after 14 years! Let’s journey on together,” said INORAN. “Thank you for the great night! Merry Christmas!” were J's parting words. SUGIZO, however, took a moment to throw water bottles to all different sides of the arena. Then, he took a long bow at the center of the stage, soaking up every last precious second with the fans before finally taking his leave.

Set List

01 Anthem of Light
02 Dejavu
03 Rouge
05 乱 (RUN)
06 Lost World
08 Glowing
09 Violin & AG Jam
Drum Solo
11 Thoughts
Bass Solo
12 The End of the Dream
15 absorb

En. 01 Happy X’mas (War Is Over) ~ BREATHE
En. 02 Metamorphosis
En. 03 PRECIOUS...
En. 04 WISH
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