L’Arc-en-Ciel 25th L’Anniversary LIVE 4.8.2017
L’Arc-en-Ciel has become a household name in Japan since the late 1990’s. They’ve also captured more than a few hearts overseas. They are one of the few Japanese bands to boast the privilege of headlining a Madison Square Garden show (which we covered back in 2012), and has toured a total of four continents. So, they celebrated their 25th anniversary like any legendary band would: with a two-day bonanza at the 55,000-person capacity Tokyo Dome. Need we mention that they sold out both days, bringing that total to a whopping 110,000 people?
The small village of fans gathered in the arena and stands waited eagerly for the show to begin. A video began playing on giant duo screens flanking the stage. It told the story of a character named Ellie Crane; she charged the audience with the mission of collecting pieces of the memory of L’Arc-en-Ciel’s 25th L’Anniversary show that were scattered around the world.
A myriad of screens and rainbow lights flared, and the show began with Niji (虹). Vocalist hyde wore long, flowing garments akin to something you’d see in Aladdin. Bassist tetsuya was decked out in all red, while guitarist ken and drummer yukihiro stuck to classic black costumes.
The visuals changed to graphics of cogs and machinery turning for Caress of Venus. “Tokyo!” hyde yelled to the crowd. Following the Fourth Avenue Café, the band made their first MC of the night. hyde thanked everyone for coming, and ken attempted a completely off-topic talk that hyde ended with a brief, “Alright, that’s enough.” The audience got a kick out of it, at least.
The bright atmosphere changed when the screens flickered out one by one for fate. Then, torches lit up on stage and yukihiro led the band into forbidden lover. The crowd watched on in solemn silence The stage screens lit up and connected to form a dazzling scene of a moonlit ocean.
The band dipped out for a quick costume change. hyde traded his Arabesque look for one akin to a pilot. He and ken took up drums (!?), while yukihiro and tetsuya jammed on guitars for REVELATION. Fans received a free light wristband –L’ed–when they got to their seat. Each section was individually programmed to flash at different times. Around this part of the set is when the L’ed bands came into play: first creating a sea of red, then flashing to blue.
Then, L’Arc-en-Ciel utilized one of Tokyo Dome’s unique features: the front stage literally lifted up into the air, traveled over the arena, and lowered onto a small stage set in the back of the arena. There they performed Voice, one of L’Arc-en-Ciel’s earliest tracks (and one of the earlier songs that made hyde happiest to be in the band, he said), as well as one of their newer—and more sensual songs—X X X. Some fans on the second floor had different L’ed lights at this point, so that their section spelled out “X X X.”
The stage returned to its original position. Along the way, members threw buckets full of plastic balls into the audience. Then, the fans were treated to a series of video clips from way back in the day, ranging from old commercials to backstage footage and to old photoshoot material. They played a series of fan favorites next: Kasou (花葬), Shinshoku -lose control- (浸食 -lose control-), and HONEY. These songs featured guest dancers dressed in cyborg-like costumes.
Then, the whole audience joined in for a moving, 55,000 person chorus of MY HEART DRAWS A DREAM. When the cameras panned to the audience, banners and flags from other countries could be spotted here and there, offering some worldwide fan representation.
The surprises kept coming; the energy of the set picked up with NEO UNIVERSE, STAY AWAY, Driver’s High, and READY STEADY GO. It was also during this time that a humongous inflatable car complete with a L’ 25th logo hovered over the audience. The members left the stage briefly.
They returned with Don’t be Afraid, their latest single – performed live at this show for the first time. They briefly spoke about the past 25 years, and how people still misspell their name after all this time (L’Arc-en-Shell instead of L’Arc-en-Ciel), and how it’s amazing that none of them are bald yet (though ken wears glasses now). This led into a blast from the past, Blurry Eyes, complete with original video clips that juxtaposed the members then and now.
hyde preluded the next song, Link, with an MC about how the band has truly experience some ups and downs in these past 25 years, but it is because of all of the fans and everyone involved that they made it this far – and at Tokyo Dome, no less. The smiling faces of the fans, hyde said, were even brighter than the L’ed bands worn by 55,500 fans. Their final song of the night was Anata (あなた), a song dedicated to the people who made all of this possible – you.
The 25th L’Anniversary was everything fans wanted and more: a place to celebrate the growth of one of Japan’s most famous bands, music both old and new, and the unity of fans from around the world.
1. Niji (虹)
2. Caress of Venus
3. the Fourth Avenue Café
5. Lies and Truth
7. forbidden lover
8. Shout at the Devil
11. X X X
12. Kasou (花葬)
13. Shinshoku -lose control- (浸食 -lose control-)
15. MY HEART DRAWS A DREAM
16. NEO UNIVERSE
17. STAY AWAY
18. Driver’s High
19. READY STEADY GO
20. Don’t be Afraid
21. Blurry Eyes
23. Anata (あなた)
Photos: 今元秀明（Hideaki Imamoto / 岡田貴之(Takayuki Okada) / 緒車寿一(Toshikazu Oguruma) / 加藤千絵(Chie Kato) / 田中和子(Kazuko Tanaka)