On June 11th, 2017, LUNA SEA guitarists SUGIZO and INORAN clashed axes in an epic show titled as “BEST BOUT 2017 ~L 2/5~.” This was the third of such a show, with the first one being performed on June 9th, 2016, and the other in Osaka on June 9th, 2017 (known in Japan as “Rock Day”). This June 11th show—which was completely sold out—was the final in the Japan leg of the tour. It is to be followed by shows in both Singapore and Taiwan, bringing this battle to fans overseas eager to see 2/5 of LUNA SEA in action.
On the stage, a thin screen was set on the very edge of the stage, with plenty of lights lining the back of the stage. These were used by SUGIZO and INORAN to portray gigantic shadows of themselves, SUGIZO wielding his violin and INORAN armed with his guitar. The two battled it out in a dramatic introduction that built up tension in the venue immediately.
The dragon symbol and a flood of blue and white lights signaled SUGIZO’s takeover of the stage. “Welcome to Best Bout,” SUGIZO said. Whether you’re an INORAN fan or a SUGIZO fan, he prodded, he wanted everyone to enjoy the show until the end. And so the set began with IRA, a track off of his latest album “Oto.” The erratic beat mixed in with SUGIZO’s screaming guitar and the Japanese flavor of the shakuhachi flute pulled the audience into his world. Monochrome, geometric visuals played on the stage screens.
“SUGIZO!” fans in the audience yelled, holding up their hands in the famous Star Trek/SUGIZO hand signal. TELL ME WHY NOT PSYCHEDELIA? followed, bringing up the heat and getting fans—both SUGIZO fans and INORAN fans—to jump to the club-like beat.
Fans were given a taste of SUGIZO’s entrancing violin skills with the classic FATIMA, then thrown into a much darker and erratic world with Lux Aeterna, one of SUGIZO’s newest tracks. This track is interesting in that it seems to change a little bit each time it’s performed, whether in the sound of the guitar or the instrumentation used. This allows fans to witness the development of the musician’s style in person. In the same vein, Decaying followed, providing a glimpse into the chaos of SUGIZO’s mind with wild, flashing lights and actual sparks.
The groove returned with Misogi and DO-FUNK DANCE, the former featuring a bongo and guitar battle. Fans danced all the way until the end, and then SUGIZO introduced each of his act’s members and left the stage.
2. TELL ME WHY NOT PSYCHEDELIA?
4. Lux Aeterna
6. Misogi (禊)
7. DO-FUNK DANCE
Concertgoers looking for a good old rock sound would appreciate INORAN’s set. “1, 2, 3, 4!” INORAN counted the audience in for the opening track, grace and glory. Thank you featured a distinctly American rock sound. Bassist u:zo pumped up the audience and led the crowd with his hand movements.
Where SUGIZO’s set focused on visuals, INORAN’s set focused purely on sound. After Get a feeling, INORAN said a few words to the audience. “Hey Tokyo, I’ve missed you,” he began. He stated his goal to strike a (musical) attack on his “older brother” SUGIZO, but he needed everyone’s support. “Let’s go, Tokyo!” he said, ending his pep talk.
Both fans and band delivered in Awaking in myself, the catchy beat making both INORAN and SUGIZO fans jump. During the heavier and sassier beats of 2Lime s, guitarist yukio murata delivered a guitar solo by using drum sticks on his guitar in place of guitar picks.
INORAN called SUGIZO himself out on the stage for a brief MC, in which he said he was looking forward to the upcoming Asia tour with BEST BOUT. Then SUGIZO joined in on guitar for Beautiful Now, making himself known while adding great harmony to the fan favorite tune.
Rightaway and Get Laid heated up the venue further. In the MC that followed, INORAN had a slew of announcements to make, the first being that this year marked the 20th anniversary of solo events for the solo artist. Other announcements included his annual birthday live, a tour, and a new self-cover best-of album to be released on August 23. The two-CD set includes a rock side and an acoustic side, along with two brand new songs.
INORAN ended his set with raize and All We Are, the fans’ chorus of “Yeah, yeah, yeah” resounding throughout Zepp Tokyo.
1. grace and glory
2. Thank you
3. Get a feeling
4. Awaking in myself
5. 2Lime s
6. Beautiful Now
8. Get Laid
10. All We Are
In SUGIZO’s act, fans were able to witness the outpouring of SUGIZO’s musical style, both dark and dance-y. This particular show featured a lot of 90’s guitar sounds, and the addition of a few new instrumental tricks. INORAN’s set offered the feel of a classic rock show, with lots of fist pumping, jumping, and sassy vocals. Seeing these two radically different acts, it’s hard to see how they’ve managed to work in harmony in LUNA SEA for over two decades. We guess it’s true that opposites attract.