There’s a reason this band has transcended time as a legend of the industry.
Looking back, LUNA SEA formally began their 25th anniversary celebration with a phenomenal sold-out show on May 29th, 2014 at Yoyogi National Gymnasium. Though this date marked their actual 25th anniversary, the festivities didn’t stop there. June saw the beginning of their anniversary tour, which took the band to 17 cities for 32 shows. Fast-forward through that crazy schedule, and we reach the end of February 2015, where LUNA SEA launched their back-to-back Tokyo shows at the Tokyo International Forum.
On February 28th, 2015, Night One saw more than 5,000 attendees fill Hall A, outfitted with towering ceilings and impeccably clean acoustics. The capacity – and thus the turnout – was considerably less than the initial show back in May 2014, but this lured fans with an atmosphere as intimate as it gets for a concert of such significance, by a band of this size.
When LUNA SEA took the stage, fans were already clapping. The sound erupted in particular when guitarists Inoran and Sugizo entered, ever-popular for their successful solo careers and side projects outside of LUNA SEA.
Though the front of the stage was bared completely to the crowd from the start, curtains draped behind the set shrouded the farther depths of the stage in mystery at first. One curtain fell to reveal a nearly-white backdrop during the opening number, “Anthem of Light” – a minority in the set list as a recent work. This served particularly well during the opening to “Rouge,” when Sugizo’s silhouette was projected larger than life on the screen. Along with “TONIGHT,” “Rouge” was an energizing early track.
From Sugizo’s solo and J and Inoran’s playful dueling in “END OF SORROW,” the concert flowed into “Sweetest Coma Again.” At this point, the final backing curtain dropped to reveal several tall lighting rig columns, which saturated the stage with brilliant light for the rest of the set. Simple can sometimes be better, though; the song ended with a spotlight on Shinya as he rolled through double-bass drumming and closed the track spectacularly.
The section that followed grew mellow compared to the beginning of the show, but LUNA SEA would not be LUNA SEA without its haunting and heartbreaking love songs. It was Ryuichi’s turn to be in the spotlight. During “Lost World,” he took up a guitar of his own. “Glowing” showcased his powerful vibrato, and “RAIN” captivated in both sound and performance. Though a powerful sense of solitude was conveyed through the song ending with Ryuichi alone at center-stage, “Providence” swiftly followed with its charming violin and acoustic guitar music.
“TRUE BLUE” and “Thoughts” delivered energetic showmanship in between Shinya’s pounding drum solo and J’s aggressive bass solo. While the remaining members rested off stage, the rhythm section each took their own turn to whip the crowd into a frenzy of cheers and applause. Then, the set rolled on towards its climax.
J pulled the crowd straight in to “The End of the Dream,” introduced by Ryuichi at the end of the bass solo, though certainly no introductions are necessary. During the final trio of beloved songs, Sugizo, Inoran, and J spent a great deal of time dashing back and forth along the stage and down the catwalks at either side of the theater. “TIME IS DEAD” and “ROSIER” took attendees back to the beginning of LUNA SEA with the energy of a group of men
twenty years younger. The set closed with the kind of rapid-fire drumming and heavy shredding you’d expect before the members slowly took their leave.
Instead of cries for an encore, the audience took the opportunity to create atmosphere of its own: lyrics from the chorus of LUNA SEA’s own “TWICE” were sung over and over with determination and harmony:
“Koe wo kikasete / Namida wo tomete / Koe wo kikasete / Aa, mou ichido”
“Let me hear your voice / Stop your tears / Let me hear your voice / Oh, once more”
The band obliged, and Ryuichi was enthusiastic in introducing their first encore song, “With all our hearts, from the five of us – ‘I for You.’” The evening’s rendition of the classic included Ryuichi holding a stunningly
long and powerful note right into Sugizo’s guitar solo. “IN MY DREAM” transported the audience back to the era of ‘90s visual kei, and “WISH,” as the planned finale, brought silver streamers shooting out over the attendees, who excitedly grabbed what they could to wave in the air.
Though unplanned, energy was high and the timing was right to allow for just one more song: “Déjàvu.” The audience was encouraged to sing along with part of the chorus, and the band members got their final bouts of horseplay in together before wrapping up the show.
In classic fashion, the members of LUNA SEA ended the evening by linking their hands in a row and leading a jump for everyone to participate in. Even though this was not the final show of the tour, the veterans of visual made it count in energy and enthusiasm. Twenty-five years later, LUNA SEA still sets examples in showmanship, performance, and ability – and is thriving proof that good music doesn’t age.
- Anthem of Light (2013)
- TONIGHT (2000)
- Rouge (2012)
- END OF SORROW (1996)
- Sweetest Coma Again (2000)
- Lost World (2013)
- Glowing (2013)
- RAIN (1994)
- Providence (1993)
- TRUE BLUE (1994)
- Thoughts (2013)
- The End of the Dream (2012)
- TIME IS DEAD (1991)
- ROSIER (1994)
- En1-1. I for You (1998)
- En1-2. IN MY DREAM (1993)
- En1-3. WISH (1992)
- En1-4. Déjàvu (1992)
Tags: Luna Sea