The story goes that hide discovered LUNA SEA, and their signing to Yoshiki’s Extasy Records gave them the momentum to become the legendary band that they are today. Aside from their looks, performance style, and talent as musicians, the band’s quirkiness began to get them attention: LUNA SEA famously has no leader. Instead, any decision the band makes must be unanimous for it to be put into action. This unusual democratic configuration is what earned them nicknames in the media such as “The Commonwealth Band” and “Music Soldier Egorangers” (a play off the Japanese title for the Power Rangers).
Their self-titled album launched the band’s 1991 Extasy Recods debut — a work so renowned it was remade in 2011. That same year they began playing a rash of sold-out shows at midsize venues, and announced their major debut, which took place in 1992 with the album IMAGE. Their tour that year drew in 16,000 people throughout 13 cities; the next year, it was 26,000 people throughout 14 cities; and by 1994 they played to a single audience of 12,000 at Yokohama Arena. That their popularity was growing exponentially was undeniable.
LUNA SEA continued their immensely successful career — 6 full albums and 14 singles strong — until taking a break in 1997 so members could pursue solo activities. The following years saw occasional releases of old materials, but no activity until a Tokyo Dome announcement in 2007. All 55,000 tickets sold out in five minutes. The obvious call for a reunion was finally answered in 2010, and LUNA SEA has been at it again ever since.
Emcee Boo took the stage to let the crowd know that the final act would be starting soon. As soon as he cleared off the stage, fans began clapping rhythmically to summon the final act. The hall was packed; the crowd stretched as far back as the Shine and Fate stages with their eyes on Moon.
Moonlight was the SE to which the members entered one by one. After waiting hours for the main event, festival attendees were about to be treated to the legendary LUNA SEA. Compared to their opening-act style that morning, the members all wore much more casual performing clothes as we’re used to seeing them in today.
Opening song LOVELESS featured Sugizo on a hydra-esque three-necked guitar and Inoran on acoustic. When the song concluded an image of a lunar eclipse appeared on the stage screen.
After the infamous early track Dejavu, Ryuichi thanked attendees graciously in his MC and spoke fondly of being gathered together with so many senpai, kouhai, and friends.
Sugizo-created Rouge brought a funky, psychedelic sound to the stage and red lighting to the venue. The crowd was urged to sing parts of the chorus and Ryuichi even head banged along.
Next, JESUS and then TONIGHT were welcomed with enthusiasm. The high-energy performance exhibited by the band during this song included Inoran dropping to his knees before Ryuichi for one particularly powerful riff. gravity followed with beautiful mood lighting and laser effects, and then Sweetest Coma Again, with its funky guitar effects and orange lighting. This one was a standout: J’s bass solo drove fans wild, as did the exciting pyrotechnics and Ryuichi’s dancing.
I for You was well-received, but minds were truly blown when LUNA SEA paid tribute to their senpai, hide, with an awe-inspiring cover of Pink Spider. “Our friend, who isn’t here,” Ryuichi began before correcting himself, “No, surely he’s in this venue. hide-san!”
Ryuichi had begun to lose his voice but stuck it out through the following songs, hanging on to Sugizo through his guitar solo in Storm, and head banging his way through the powerful TIME IS DEAD. A touching performance of ROSIER included significant fan participation as the audience covered for Ryuichi any time he wasn’t able to croon out a line. Sugizo and Shinya shined through their performances during this, the last song of the set: thundering drums and another skilled solo stood out as the highlights.
There was no encore, but the members did come back on stage… with GEORGE of LADIES ROOM still in his Taiji outfit, Yoshiki with hide’s guitar, Hideki of SIAM SHADE, Morrie singing along, DIR EN GREY’s Die rocking his red guitar, and more. The huge session band performed LUNA SEA’s PRECIOUS… with so many participants on stage it was hard to see what was happening throughout; a party on stage that concluded with the final notes of the song.
LUNA SEA did, in fact, have a single encore song prepared, and treated the crowd to WISH once their session participants cleared the stage. Streamers burst forth throughout the venue — not only in the front of the crowd — covering the audience with silver-and-black mementos of the evening which they scooped up by the fistful. All hands were in the air for the end of the phenomenal first day of the event, wistful, tired, and above all, moved by so many inspiring performances.
01. LOVELESS (1994)
02. Dejavu (1992)
03. Rouge (2012)
04. JESUS (1993)
05. TONIGHT (2000_
06. gravity (2000)
7. Sweetest Coma Again (1999)
8. I for You (1998)
9. PINK SPIDER (hide with Spread Beaver cover) (1997)
10. STORM (1998)
11. TIME IS DEAD (1991)
12. ROSIER (1994)
En01. PRECIOUS (Session) (1991)
En02. WISH (1992)
Tags: Luna Sea