A live report covering the first day of LUNA SEA’s 30th anniversary gigs.
LUNA SEA celebrated their 30th anniversary with two gigs at the Nippon Budokan on May 31st and June 1st. The first day included many of the band’s popular classics, as well as the new songs they released one day before the live.
The Budokan was filled with fans of all ages eagerly awaiting the start of the first day. The lights suddenly went out, and clips of the band’s old shows were shown on the big screens over the stage along with the caption “Story of the ten thousand days”. With laser beams shining over the crowd, LUNA SEA appeared on the stage to the sounds of the SE CALL FOR LOVE.
The show kicked off with one of the band’s beloved classics, Déjàvu, and the energy level immediately went from 0 to 100. The upbeat PRECIOUS... followed, with fans fist pumping and jumping in synchrony. The Budokan is a large sports arena, and the members made sure to run around the stage, behind the main set and up runways leading to the balconies to cheer on the crowd and not leave anyone hanging. Shinya even threw his drumsticks behind his back for the fans sitting behind the stage to catch after the second song.
“We have been wanting to see you! This 30th anniversary is thanks to your continuous support!” RYUICHI greeted the crowd. “We want to all be broken together!” he added, announcing the next song, JESUS. Smoke blew out of the stage floor, becoming the backdrop for the iconic guitar intro of the song. As the venue was filled with red light, the band continued with DESIRE. When the time came for SUGIZO’s lengthy solo, he had a playful face-off with RYUICHI in the middle of the stage. The positive SHINE followed, with the stage glowing and a big disco ball reflecting sparks of light out all over the arena, creating an atmosphere reminiscent of the song’s music video. The members moved around the stage, interacting with each other and borrowing each other’s microphones.
“Has the Budokan always been this hot?” RYUICHI asked, laughing. He told the fans that the band had been looking forward to this day and that they were probably the happiest five people in the world at that moment. Introducing the band’s newest release, he went on to say that they were confident in themselves and what they are doing right now, and he asked the fans to trust them going forward. The melodic Sora no uta, which is the first opening theme for "Mobile Suit Gundam the Origin: Advent of the Red Comet", filled up the space with its voluminous sound. The song, of course, showed how LUNA SEA’s music has evolved from the tracks they released decades ago, but it still carried on the underlying heartstring-tugging harmonies that are characteristic of all of the band’s songs.
The bright venue, as if travelling from the sky to being submerged under water, was bathed in a green light. The band then proceeded to the beautiful gravity, RYUICHI’s moving voice overflowing with emotion. Next, SUGIZO switched his guitar for a violin, and its sound interwove with INORAN’s quiet acoustic guitar and RYUICHI’s soft singing in the quiet and melancholic Providence.
As SUGIZO picked up a triple-necked guitar, GENESIS OF MIND~yume no kanata e~ got off to a quiet, slow start, gradually proceeding to gain intensity before quieting down once again. The song intensified in another wave, and fire started coming out from behind the members, following the rhythm of the intense drumming. After the fiery finale, the stage floor was transformed into a sky as the song faded out into silence.
As the drum set lit up, suddenly the sounds of a Japanese flute pierced the air, announcing the start of Shinya’s drum solo, which was accompanied by traditional Japanese instruments. Starting quietly and intensifying more and more, like a crazy dance, the solo abruptly stopped, then once again restarted with Japanese instruments leading up to Shinya’s speedy, powerful drumming, flames once again appearing behind him. Fans screaming his name, Shinya greeted the crowd and asked them to continue loving the band from their 31st year onward. He proclaimed that Slaves (the name given to LUNA SEA's fans) are super cool.
Next, heavy electronic music started and J came out onto the stage and screamed “Let’s go, Tokyo!” kicking off his fierce bass solo. “Let’s go crazy with the feelings of these 30 years!” he screamed, urging the fans to scream along. As the other members ran out onto the stage, the band continued with their short but energetic track FATE, heating up the arena once again.
RYUICHI greeted the crowd again and joked that the heat was going to make him lose five kilograms that day, so maybe they should keep doing this every day, eliciting laughter from the audience. He noted that being able to do this for 30 years with the same members is amazing, and he promised that they will continue making hot music and concepts, warning the fans not to get burned.
Continuing the set was the quieter I for You. The fans stretched their hands out towards the stage during the bright, captivating chorus. INORAN took center stage with an acoustic guitar for IN SILENCE, standing back to back with RYUICHI. Then, as SUGIZO came to the forefront with this solo, the vocalist invited him to sing together into his microphone. As the lights flashed, fans pumped their fists to the upbeat melodies of STORM and they ran around across the stage and behind it to greet the fans watching from the back, INORAN even patting some lucky front-rowers on the head.
Urging the audience on, the band went on to one of their signature tunes, ROSIER. One of the highlights of the song was J’s spoken English solo, which ended with a “Let’s go Tokyo!” Concluding the main set was the speedy BELIEVE, which saw INORAN sing along with RYUICHI while J and SUGIZO ran around the runways urging fans on, and the crowd loudly singing along in unison.
As the fans screamed for an encore, they lit up the big arena with the lights from their mobile phones. The band members reappeared, thanking them and introducing another new song, Hisoubi, a soft and touching ballad that serves as the second opening theme for "Mobile Suit Gundam the Origin: Advent of the Red Comet".
Next came a member introduction. RYUICHI introduced each of the members, who congratulated each other and thanked the crowd. He also brought up the famous “donut incident” at the time of the band’s formation, when RYUICHI brought two donuts to LUNACY’s dressing room, while knowing that there were four members. RYUICHI once again swore that there were enough donuts for everyone when he brought them and joked that Shinya must have eaten two... Well, as it turns out, “It’s been 30 years so now I can admit it, I did actually eat two of them!” the drummer proclaimed, and the long mystery was finally solved.
On this positive note, the band proceeded to another one of their newer songs, Hold You Down, urging the fans to clap along to its positive melodies. INORAN’s guitar announced the beginning of TONIGHT, and the members began running around the stage once again, playing to each other and to different parts of the crowd. “Can you go further?!” INORAN screamed in the middle of the song, setting the fans in motion. As another classic, WISH, concluded the show, RYUICHI called out, “Budokan, give me your everything!” The whole arena lit up. Silver ribbons shot out from above, fans grabbing onto them frantically. With big smiles on their faces, visibly enjoying themselves, the members playfully interacted with the crowd, who loudly sang along with them.
“Thank you! We will take you to great places!” said RYUICHI. “It’s our and everyone’s 30th anniversary. Congratulations!” added J. Taking each other’s hands, the band members jumped together with the fans. The members went around thanking fans, shaking their hands, SUGIZO even kissing a child’s hand, and they made sure not to forget to thank the staff that supported them for this show.
The show was a great conclusion to the band’s 30th year of activities, showcasing the beauty of both their old and new songs, and bringing smiles to everyone’s faces.