Live Report Exclusive

LUNA SEA 30th Anniversary LIVE LUNATIC X’MAS 2019 at Saitama Super Arena

13/01/2020 2020-01-13 01:00:00 JaME Author: Polina Kogan

LUNA SEA 30th Anniversary LIVE LUNATIC X’MAS 2019 at Saitama Super Arena

Even technical difficulties couldn't derail the spectacular second day of LUNA SEA’s weekend Christmas event at Saitama Super Arena.


© KEIKO TANABE

On December 21st and 22nd last year, rock band LUNA SEA held the spectacular event LUNA SEA 30th Anniversary LIVE LUNATIC X’MAS 2019 before a large audience at Saitama Super Arena. JaME was on hand to document the second day.

LUNA SEA appeared on stage to a backing track of choral music. The show kicked off with the bright Sora no uta ~Higher and Higher~, one of three opening theme songs the band produced for anime series "Mobile Suit Gundam the Origin: Advent of the Red Comet". During The End of the Dream, real fireworks shot up behind the stage and the members moved around the large stage to the energetic rhythms, greeting fans in all corners of the arena.

“I wanted to see you! Are you fine? Let’s surpass yesterday, let’s go!” exclaimed RYUICHI, and the audience gladly followed to ROSIER. The lights flashed wildly and the fans sang along, spurred on by the vocalist. After J’s spoken interlude, SUGIZO came center-stage to play his guitar solo, fans screaming as he interacted playfully with the vocalist. “Arena, let’s go!” – RYUICHI threw off his white coat as the temperature rose for another classic, DESIRE.

A change in pace came with the calmer IN MY DREAM (WITH SHIVER), a sea of hands waving to its positive melodies. INORAN put his arm around the vocalist as he moved to the center of the stage. Smiling, he then turned around to play to SHINYA. “Are you enjoying the 30th anniversary?” asked RYUICHI. He went on to talk about their tenth album CROSS, which was released on December 18th. He mentioned that the album was produced by Grammy winner Steve Lillywhite, who he said has taken the band's sound to new heights.

The lights dimmed and red lights flashed to the heavy riffs of Sweetest Coma Again, with J’s prominent bass coming to the forefront. Meanwhile, RYUICHI’s powerful and emotional voice pierced the darkness. INORAN urged the crowd to clap along to the calmer drum beats of BEYOND THE TIME ~Moebius no sora wo koete~ which, despite being a cover of a TM NETWORK song, had a strong LUNA SEA flavor to it. The touching ballad Hisoubi, another opening theme from "Mobile Suit Gundam the Origin", started with a quiet guitar duet, the other instruments joining in as the crowd watched in a mesmerized silence.

As darkness descended on the Super Arena, the beautiful Yamibi started quietly with INORAN’s acoustic guitar and SUGIZO’s violin. It intensified as RYUICHI poured more and more emotion into his strong voice, and the other members joined in, jets of flame illuminating the stage. The song, going through waves of quiet and excruciating emotions, captivated and moved the audience like no other.

As his bandmates left the stage, SHINYA, now dressed in a kimono, was joined by traditional Japanese instrument players. What followed was a curious collaboration of uniquely Japanese kabuki-like sounds and SHINYA’s drumming, stopping and restarting a number of times before developing into a more conventional rock drum solo. “Our thirty years of unity can’t be just this, we can still do it so you can too, right? Come on!” the drummer urged the crowd, and his solo culminated in an explosion of sound and literal fireworks.

J joined SHINYA, coming back onstage to electronic melodies, firing everyone up and making them scream to the beats. As a “Merry Christmas” message appeared on the large screens above the stage, amused the fans by playing a brief Jingle Bells-style tune.“It’s the 30th anniversary, and Christmas, and I’m full of energy!” screamed the bassist before he announced the next song – JESUS. As the other members reappeared, lights flashed wildly to this fast-paced jam, incredible energy filling the arena. J, true to his word, flew around the stage and roared the backing vocals, so much so as to have RYUICHI laughingly compliment him once the song finished.

After a brief MC mentioning the band’s plans to tour and to aim even higher in 2020, came THE BEYOND, the final opening theme song from "Mobile Suit Gundam the Origin". Fans waved their hands to the quieter melodies. Then came an unexpected MC – there were some technical difficulties with SUGIZO’s guitar and the band decided to fill the time with some chatter – not something you would usually expect to happen at a LUNA SEA gig, so it was a rare treat of sorts. RYUICHI talked about how at one point they were broken, so to speak, but returning to Tokyo Dome, they realized that there was something special in their sound and that they would not lose to anyone in their groove, a groove born of these five very particular musicians coming together. He remarked that although they have lived for half a century, they can still run, they are still full of physical strength, and actually, they might even have become stronger.

The members then went off joking about the technical difficulties, how SUGIZO loves his instruments too much to give them up, how this had become a talk show and how they could all talk for three hours (or five, in SHINYA's case). The band went further off-track as SHINYA stepped forward to impersonate SUGIZO and J. The audience exploded in laughter. SUGIZO played some air guitar, and more friendly banter followed. Finally, SUGIZO announced a broken amplifier cabinet of his was responsible for the sound delay, and that there were just two choices: to stop the live, or to go on with a sound that’s not their usual one, but if the fans would heat up the venue, they could still make it a success. Of course, LUNA SEA chose to go on.

The fans followed the band’s lead and clapped along as the show got back on track with BLACK AND BLUE. The fast-paced STORM followed, and SUGIZO was surrounded by his bandmates, edging him on as he produced a beautiful solo. The members ran around the huge stage to the upbeat SHINE. “Can you go a bit longer?” exclaimed RYUICHI, and the main set finished with the classic BELIEVE. The audience all jumped together, shaking the arena floor.

After the band said their goodbyes and left the stage, mobile phone lights rose up and the crowd started singing Silent Night while doing a wave. Seeing thousands of people moving together, united by their love of LUNA SEA, was a sight to behold. The band came back, thanking the fans for the starry sky they had created, and with the fan lights still shining, more lights appeared on the screens behind the stage for the slow, beautiful ballad HOLY KNIGHT. The band’s rendition of White X’mas followed, seamlessly flowing into the touching I for You.

After an MC, in which SHINYA and RYUICHI talked about the thirty years the band has spent together and their determination to continue going higher, INORAN took center-stage, kicking off the energetic TONIGHT. The band made full use of the stage's huge surface area, running around and firing up the crowd. “Arena! Can you go a bit further? Bring it on!” screamed RYUICHI, and in the band’s tradition, silver streamers erupted from the ceiling, announcing the start of WISH. Fans eagerly grabbed onto them to keep them as souvenirs, as the streamers were stamped with the name and date of the show.

RYUICHI urged all the fans in the arena to sing along to the happy melodies as they waved their hands, and all five members came center-stage to conclude the song together, smiling. The last song of the night was LUCA, a new track from the album CROSS, which they performed live for the first time. Reacting as if they had always known it, the fans clapped along to the beautiful melodies of this calm, positive song.

Finally, the band implored the crowd to take each other’s hands, and on count of "1 - 2 - 3!", everyone jumped together, shaking the arena floor. The members once again thanked everyone for being there, and wished everyone a Merry Christmas. Some even took the time to come through the crowd high-fiving fans.

Through this eventful night, LUNA SEA demonstrated both the masterful showmanship that everyone knows them for, but also their humanity and ability to entertain the crowd under any circumstances, resulting in a very unique experience. One can only imagine the many great shows the band has in store for 2020.

Set List

01. Sora no uta ~Higher and Higher~
02. The End of the Dream
03. ROSIER
04. DESIRE
05. IN MY DREAM (WITH SHIVER)
06. Sweetest Coma Again
07. BEYOND THE TIME ~Moebius no sora wo koete~
08. Hisoubi
09. Yamibi
10. Drum Solo & Bass Solo
11. JESUS
12. THE BEYOND
13. BLACK AND BLUE
14. STORM
15. SHINE
16. BELIEVE

Encore

01. HOLY KNIGHT
02. White X’mas ~ I for You
03. TONIGHT
04. WISH
05. LUCA

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