LUNA SEA "Kurofuku Gentei GIG 2022 Lunacy" at Saitama Super Arena
Dressed all in black, LUNA SEA turned back time for only the second "Kurofuku Gentei GIG" concert in 12 years.
December 18th, 2022 marked the second day of LUNA SEA’s Kurofuku Gentei GIG 2022 Lunacy event at Saitama Super Arena. Lunacy was the band’s name upon its debut and 'kurofuku' refers to a dress-code mandating exclusively black
clothes. The previous
Kurofuku Gentei GIG was held at the Tokyo Dome in December 2010.
On the cold December afternoon, thousands of black-clad 'SLAVEs' (the name given to the band's fans) from across the country gathered outside the arena, ready to share the special day. Since their debut in 1989, vocalist RYUICHI, guitarist/violinist SUGIZO, guitarist INORAN, bassist J, and drummer Shinya have juggled various rock genres and even toured abroad. LUNA SEA has become more than an iconic band of a generation, they are a musical genre unto themselves.
Before the show's start, Sadeness by Enigma resonated around the arena. Shortly after 4pm, the lights went out, plunging the room into darkness, matching the concert’s theme. RYUICHI shouted, his voice echoing throughout the space as the audience remained silent, marking the start of a very dark two-hour journey. The five members were dressed in black, their outfits reminiscent of the beginnings of visual kei but also evocative of glam rock and darkwave bands.
With a relentless and dark riff from SUGIZO, backed up by INORAN, the live started with a clutch of old songs released between 1989 and 1993. The first, SEARCH FOR REASON, from the band's second demo tape Shade, was cut into two parts for the concert. J's bass was soon joined by Shinya's throbbing drums on this bewitching track. Some might still worry about RYUICHI, who had polyps removed from his vocal cords last spring, but after his triumphant return to the Nippon Budokan at the end of August, this first song left no doubt the voice of LUNA SEA was very much alive.
The band went on with FATE. The crowd responded to the singer's calls by putting their hands in the air. When the band moved on to the heavy SLAVE, hypnotic spotlights swirled several meters above the stage. In a short MC, RYUICHI explained that it'd been 12 years since the band had been able to hold this kind of show. The old songs then resumed. Despite being forbidden to shout or sing, the audience expressed themselves in other ways, jumping on the spot and lightly headbanging. SUGIZO revealed his virtuosity with each guitar solo, but INORAN and J also had their moments to shine. The musicians didn’t move much on stage, but their charisma sufficed to create an atmosphere overflowing with energy.
RYUICHI's dark, languid look contrasted with some of his growls, adding a gloomy touch to the songs, alternating with the lyrical flights of SUGIZO’s solos. The crowd was transported to another world. A creeping spider made of light appeared at the top of the stage. A kind of cry for help issued forth from SUGIZO's guitar, created with distortion and reverb. Only a few red lights illuminated the arena, like guide lights in an abyss, drawing the audience deeper into the dissonant, rhythmic chords of CHESS. NIGHTMARE, released in 1989 on LUNA SEA’s first demo tape Lunacy, featuring J’s omnipresent bassline, closed the first half of the show.
During the interval, DEAD CAN DANCE and Lisa Gerrard’s magical voice filled the Saitama Super Arena.
LUNA SEA returned to the stage in different black outfits for the second half of the show. With a shout from RYUICHI, KILL ME resumed with even more energy. His screams were supported by Shinya, who was rhythmically crushing his drumsticks on his toms, and by the crowd, who raised their hands and fists in the air. The show continued with Déjàvu, and the whole arena jumped synchronically. The band members started to run up and down the stage, nodding and waving to their devoted SLAVEs.
During an MC, RYUICHI stated that with this show they were journeying back more than 30 years, and that the past, present and future were now all one in the Super Arena. The singer wanted more, and J answered this call with the venom he poured into the intro for SEXUAL PERVERSION. The play of lights exploded with a Dantesque solo from SUGIZO.
SUSPICIOUS brought an anarchic punk rock atmosphere into the venue, before VAMPIRE’S TALK restored the calmer ambiance. RYUICHI’s voice passed every test the different songs threw at him. "You are great today...SUPERS! Arena, share your emotions with us," the singer said, "Come on, let’s fly, let’s go!"
The crowd couldn't resist moving to the cascading notes of SHADE’s intro, crashing into a prelude that played out in a dialogue between the bass and two guitars. Then, the drums exploded along with RYUICHI's vibrato. The whole stage caught fire for the second part of SEARCH FOR REASON, crowning off a spectacular show that bewitched the thousands of souls who bore witness.
Shouts of "AN-KO-RU!" and blaring applause urged the five protagonists back to the stage. A flock of smartphone flashlights illuminated the arena floor. The audience's black clothing only enhanced the illusion of a thousand of wisps of light floating in the air.
SUGIZO opened the encore with his violin before the field of artificial lights until all his bandmates returned. A mirror ball representing the moon appeared above the stage, reflecting lights like shimmering scales. An eclipse was created with the help of a second ball, and RYUICHI added his powerful voice to the spectacle.
The time came for each musician to say a few words. Shinya, looking a little like a cosplay of his younger self, said he was happy so many people were experiencing this show, be it in person or on TV. The drummer also said he remembered saying something great during yesterday's concert but couldn't recall exactly what. Therefore, he said he preferred to hand it over to his bandmates, which made the crowd laugh.
J wanted to thank everyone for the two days. He remarked that as the audience was wearing black clothes, the broadcast image must be pitch black. He went on to mention that 2022 was fantastic and that he wanted to do this kind of show again. INORAN approached RYUICHI to whisper in his ear. The singer passed on the guitarist's message of thanks and love.
SUGIZO mused that they might go on tour as Lunacy again. RYUCHI, who SUGIZO called the "phoenix singer" for rebounding after his operation, said these two days had been moments of happiness and strong emotions for him.
During the introduction of WISH, with the whole arena lit up, confetti rained down as the guitarists and bassist walked around stage. RYUICHI announced PRECIOUS... as the last song, and LUNA SEA swept the audience away. It was all smiles in the arena as LUNA SEA gave it their all, right up to the very last note.
Before he left, RYUICHI asked the crowd if they were ready, and after a last jump together with the fans he declared his love for the SLAVEs and followed everyone offstage but SUGIZO, who stayed behind to snap some selfies with the audience.
01. SEARCH FOR REASON（first part）
04. MECHANICAL DANCE
06. SANDY TIME
01. KILL ME
03. SEXUAL PERVERSION
05. VAMPIRE'S TALK
07. SEARCH FOR REASON（second part）
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Saitama Super Arena