On November 23, 2017, Ken (L’Arc-en-Ciel) hosted Day 2 his second annual “PARTY ZOO.” On Day 1, various artists played as a series of exciting session bands. On Day 2, bands in connection with Ken played an event show.
The lineup for this year’s PARTY ZOO included A9, BAROQUE, Ken with Naughty stars (a special session band), MUCC, and sukekiyo; at the end, everyone would gather to perform the event’s theme song “PARTY ZOO SONG.” This event hosted by one of Japan’s most legendary guitarists featured a wide variety of bands that allowed fans to perhaps see something they’re not used to.
A9 kicked off PARTY ZOO 2017. Fans cheered as each member took the stage. The bright and melodious “the beautiful name” started off their set and had fans clapping to the beat. The crowd got even more excited for the A9 classic “RAINBOWS.”
“PENDULUM” and “Zouka no Daishou” followed, and then vocalist Show delivered his first MC of the night. He welcomed fans to PARTY ZOO 2017. He said this was A9’s second time playing at the event, but he was a bit worried about being invited to this year’s party. At last year’s event, apparently guitarist Hiroto asked everyone “Are you wearing panties?” when handed the mic. Despite that embarrassing event, A9 was grateful to hear they were invited this year as well.
Next, they had a treat for the audience: running with a theme of “songs from our youth,” A9 launched into a medley of L’Arc-en-Ciel tunes. They gave their own flavor and vocal color to “Shinshoku -lose control-“, “Kasou“, and “HONEY“. Everyone—not just A9 fans—got into the rhythm.
During “UNDEAD PARTY,” Ken himself made an appearance. Along with drummer Nao (wearing sunglasses), they played A9’s party song together. Before the last song “MEMENTO,” A9 had one final announcement: their next release was to be produced by none other than Ken. With that happy announcement, they rounded off their set.
1. the beautiful name
4. Zouka no Daishou
5. L’Arc-en-Ciel Medley
Shinshoku -lose control-, Kasou, HONEY
6. UNDEAD PARTY
Next, BAROQUE took their stage in their simple black and white costumes. The screens lining the back of the stage—which had not been in use for A9—depicted poppy images of stars and eyes. They began their set with “SKY FITS HEAVEN” and “DREAMSCAPE.” Fans clapped and held up white light sticks, transforming the floor into a field of stars.
“We’re BAROQUE,” vocalist Ryo introduced themselves. They expressed their gratitude that they were invited to PARTY ZOO for the second year in a row, since last year was a lot of fun. They continued on with the slow, ballad-like tunes of “Nanzen Nanman Nanoku no Kimi e no Omoi,” “MEMENTO,” and “Y O U.” Fans showed off their dancing skills for “PLANETARY LIGHT,” and even did a little jumping as well.
Ryo went backstage for a moment and returned with a bouquet of flowers.
Once again, both Ryo and guitarist Kei expressed their thanks to Ken for inviting them to this event. “This next song is precious to us,” they said, because Ken had produced the song for them. And so they played “G I R L,” with the lyrics (in both English and Japanese) trailing across the screens on stage. When their set came to an end, Ryo threw the bouquet into the audience.
1. SKY FITS HEAVEN
3. Nanzen Nanman Nanoku no Kimi e no Omoi
5. Y O U
6. PLANETARY LIGHT
7. G I R L
Ken with Naughty stars
Following the theme of “PARTY ZOO,” the next group was introduced by CG animals flashing across the screens and animal noises playing in the background.
The venue darkened and Ken with Naughty stars took the stage. A9’s Tora took guitar, A9’s Saga was on bass, A9’s Nao was on drums, and sukekiyo’s Takumi was on keyboard and guitar. Of course, Ken was on guitar and vocals.
Ken’s session started off with a cover of Hiromi Go’s “2oku 4senman no Hitomi.” Ken was on vocals, dancing along as well. Most of the support members all wore animal-print PARTY ZOO shirts, matching perfectly with Ken’s leopard-print suit.
Next, Ken performed L’Arc-en-Ciel’s own “LOVE FLIES,” the audience excitedly cheering along. He also did an impressive rendition of Coldplay’s “Clocks” (all in English!). Finally, with Takumi’s synthesizer intro, the band launched into a cover of “You Keep Me Hangin’ On.” Ken’s guitar solo showed the audience why exactly he is considered one of Japan’s best guitarists.
1. 2oku 4senman no HItomi
2. LOVE FLIES
4. You Keep Me Hangin’ On
With MUCC’s set, the venue became swelteringly hot. The voices of fans were deafening as the members took the stage. Frontman Tatsuro, all in white, took an elegant bow before beginning their set. They kicked off with “Suiren,” a song that gave the audience plenty of chances to jump, mosh, and headbang (especially during the heavy breakdown).
The pace picked up in “Zettai Zetsumei,” and the audience clapped and danced along to “Himitsu.” Ken played along with the band for “Wasurenagusa.”
“That was Ken,” Tatsuro jokingly introduced. He introduced MUCC to fans who may have been seeing them for the first time, and said the band was grateful they were invited back to PARTY ZOO this year.
“Heide” and “ENDER ENDER” followed, getting the crowd even more wild. Tatsuro made another MC: “You’re not allowed to talk for the next band (sukekiyo), so you need to let it all out now and cleanse your hearts,” he said to the laughing audience. And let it out they did; for the next song “Ranchuu,” the entire crowd jumped in unison at drummer SATOchi’s direction. They ended their set on a bright note with “TONIGHT.”
2. Zettai Zetsumei
6. ENDER ENDER
sukekiyo—at PARTY ZOO for the first time—gave the audience a taste of something entirely different. Just as Tatsuro said, the entire audience watched the set motionless and in silence. The band used hardly any light in their set save for a strobe light that continuously flashed for the first three songs “leather field,” “shiryou no ariana,” and “saredo michizure.” The effect made it seem like you were watching something animated every time the members moved. With the different vocal effects and instrumental effects used in each song, the audience came to understand sukekiyo’s unique and technical taste.
For the slightly poppy “en,” the music video played in the background. kyo’s vocals were the focal point for tracks “mama” and “anima.” The mysterious and wild “naburi” rounded off their set, without so much as a greeting from the band.
1. leather field
2. shiryou no ariana
3. saredo michizure
5. mimi zozo
6. aoguroi hysteria
PARTY ZOO SONG
At the end of the event, the members of all the bands that appeared in PARTY ZOO 2017 gathered on stage. “PARTY ZOO SONG,” specifically for this event, was performed by Tatsuro and Ryo on vocals; Ken, Miya, Kei, and Hiroto on guitar; YUKKE and Saga on bass; and SATOchi on drums. Ken also sang and played guitar. Those who weren’t holding instruments threw colorful balls into the audience, bringing the event to a very party-like end. Ken thanked everyone for coming and PARTY ZOO 2017 came to an end.