LUNA SEA: THE LUNATIC -A Liberated Will-, Tokyo International Forum 28022015

LUNA SEA’s 25th anniversary nationwide tour, THE LUNATIC -A Liberated Will-, almost came to an end. The concert in Osaka-jo Hall will become the closing act of the tour that has been lasting for months since last year. Before that, LUNA SEA held two days of sold-out concerts in Tokyo International Forum, Hall A, at the last day of February and the first day of March, 2015. The place, although quite big, is not of an arena size like, say, Yokohama Arena, where they held a concert last year that we also covered. But it helped to create an intimate atmosphere, another moment that strengthened the bond that the band and their fans have nurtured for two and a half decades. In fact, Ryuichi said that the concert was not only about their performance; it was also about the audience’s performance.

The performance on February 28th, 2015, then, started with the audience clapping their hands, led by some fans who stood up from their seats so others could see them, to call the band to come on stage. LUNA SEA members then appeared one by one, with guitarist SUGIZO being the first, followed in order by drummer Shinya, bassist J, guitarist INORAN, and of course vocalist Ryuichi as the last. The curtains that had been covering the backdrop behind Shinya were now lifted up, revealing a giant screen behind.

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Ryuichi jumped in high energy as the band launched into their first song of the night, Anthem of Light, taken from their latest album, A WILL. SUGIZO too already spun around excitedly. The audience was quickly heated up, joining voices together into a giant chorus singing parts of the song.

Fans knew what was coming next as INORAN stepped onto the central platform – and, of course, he played the intro to old-time favourite TONIGHT. Audience just went crazier because of this! SUGIZO ran here and there, as agile as he was on stage 25 years ago. Some fans screamed as Ryuichi hugged INORAN from behind as he was showing off his guitar skills at the center of the stage. At the end Shinya threw his drumsticks behind, and they hit the screen, causing ripples that spread centrifugally, creating an unintended beautiful effect.

Ryuichi took his time to greet the audience with a wide smile and “Genki desuka, Tokyo?”. He told them that it’s the first time LUNA SEA performed in Tokyo International Forum, so tonight they’re making history. They proceeded with the third song, Rouge, with lights creating a giant shadow of SUGIZO on the back screen while he played the heavy riffs of the intro. Lights then kept on making a shadowplay of all the members throughout the song.

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END OF SORROW witnessed J and INORAN ecstatically playing their instruments face to face, exchanging grins. A recorded track of Ryuichi’s voice saying Sayonara echoed, ending the song, and formed a bridge to the next song, Sweetest Coma Again, taken from one of their most-known albums, LUNACY. The screen that had been serving as the backdrop fell down, revealing small towers of lights that now took over the job of helping LUNA SEA dazzling the audience. J’s heavy bass dominated the song which was originally recorded and released in collaboration with DJ KRUSH. Fans screamed outloud for him when he stepped to the front for a bass solo in the song, while INORAN and SUGIZO faced each other, doing small dance steps. The song was closed by a drum coda by Shinya, with J leading the fans to clap their hands.

After for a while reminiscing their history which started in live houses, Ryuichi took a guitar and joined INORAN and SUGIZO to play the instrument during the groovy Lost World. Not only the audience, SUGIZO too couldn’t stop himself from dancing gracefully on the stage during the song. Done with one of their recent songs, LUNA SEA took their fans into a journey back in time, performing RAIN; then jumped forward again to Glowing. The song was opened by SUGIZO showing off his guitar skills to the audience screaming and shouting his name, and closed by Ryuichi singing accompanied by nothing but the sound of piano keys.

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For their fans, LUNA SEA’s concerts are a joyful mix of what is familiar and what is unexpectedly new. There was comfort in knowing what would come next when SUGIZO then switched his guitar for his violin, standing majestically with his bow for some moments in silence, making the audience hold their breath. He then started to play short parts with the violin, stopping after each, letting fans call his name in unison before continuing again. INORAN then joined him with an acoustic guitar, and so did Ryuichi, and later Shinya. They beautifully performed one of their trademark songs, PROVIDENCE.

The others then left the stage for Shinya to bask in his glory doing his powerful drum solo. It’s a tradition for Shinya to rile the audience to shout more, although they needed no instruction of what to do: call his name, again and again, outloud! Shinya increased his playing speed, faster and faster, drawing praising from fans who are always awed every time he performs his solo.

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And without warning, LUNA SEA continued their set with another one of their greatest hits, TRUE BLUE. SUGIZO walked to the long extension stage on the kamite, then back to the center to stand face to face with Ryuichi during his guitar solo. Afterwards, Ryuichi asked whether there was anyone in the audience who’d just watched LUNA SEA for the first time. Some hands were raised. He then asked if there was anyone who’d just joined the tour. Some other hands were raised. Ryuichi thanked them all, fans both old and new.

Next was Thoughts, and now INORAN approached the edge of the stage, then walked to the shimote extension stage. There, he kneeled, enticing some fans that sat on the front rows to get closer to him, extending their hands to him. After the song, Ryuichi disappeared to the backstage, followed by INORAN, then SUGIZO, after the latter gestured to J to take the center place. It’s time for J’s fiery bass solo! No time for the mood of the audience to drop! Roars of guitars then were heard as INORAN and SUGIZO walked back to the stage, followed by Ryuichi at the end of J’s solo. Ryuichi shouted the title of the next song, “The End of the Dream!”. During the song, J ran to the shimote extension stage, while at the same time INORAN greeted the fans sitting along the kamite extension stage. There were a lot of member-to-member interactions during the song: they clearly still enjoyed each other’s presence on stage so much.

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A classic number from their indie days, TIME IS DEAD, was welcomed enthusiastically by the fans by fist-pumping, oritatami, and headbanging – reliving the days LUNA SEA played in live houses. INORAN ran around his own mic stand, and SUGIZO playfully tried to block his way. The next song was to end the main setlist: ROSIER. SUGIZO kneeled at the center with Ryuichi, putting their heads together, during the guitar solo to this song. Before leaving the stage, SUGIZO splashed water from a bottle to the audience, then he threw the bottle far for them to catch.

While the stage was empty, the audience started to repeatedly sing the lyrics to the B-side of END OF SORROW, INORAN-penned TWICE: koe wo kikasete, namida wo tomete… The atmosphere was sweet and nostalgic, as fans’ voices rising with their hopes for an encore. The choir was replaced by thundering hand claps as J and Ryuichi returned to stage. J threw some muffler towels to the audience. INORAN and SUGIZO were next to appear, arms around each other’s shoulders, followed by Shinya. They were carrying the band’s official beach towels. Shinya used the one he was carrying to dab INORAN’s sweat, while SUGIZO did the same to Ryuichi, before they flung the towels to the eager hands of the audience.

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The encore began with I for You, that LUNA SEA performed ‘from the heart’, as Ryuichi said. After the song that never fails to make some of the audience shed a tear or two, INORAN stepped forward to play the intro to IN MY DREAM (WITH SHIVER). Attendees waved their hands to the single that was originally released in 1993, and LUNA SEA looked very relaxed and happy during the song. J, INORAN, and SUGIZO gathered in a circle, playing their instruments while exchanging wide smiles to each other. INORAN then jokingly pinched Ryuichi before he quickly moved away to avoid Ryuichi’s revenge. The audience then sang parts of the song as one as the music quieted down, leaving only Shinya’s drums blasting from the speakers.

As another tradition, streamers rained down on the audience at the beginning of WISH. Even the enthusiastic fans on the second floor tried to grab some streamers flying their way. SUGIZO ran to the very end of the shimote extension stage, making the audience on that side screaming crazily for him. LUNA SEA said goodbye after the song, but fans kept on shouting for more. LUNA SEA discussed for a while, then decided to grant fans’ wish with Déjàvu. Fans went insane again for the last time that night, and sang their hearts out while moving their hands to the rhythm.

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The concert must be brought to an end. LUNA SEA asked everyone to hold hands and jumped together. They didn’t immediately leave the stage, though. They’re busy thanking fans left and right. J even high-fived some fans sitting at the front rows, and handed them his picks directly instead of throwing them. Shinya also sent some drumsticks flying, some very far away to the audience. SUGIZO took some selfies and pics of the audience with his cellphone. He then emptied a bottle of water on the head of a male fan, whom he later high-fived. He also threw a lot of picks to the audience both in the far kamite and far shimote, and shook hands with so many people it seemed like he would never leave the stage at all. As always, he bowed very deep to the audience, and that truly marked the end of LUNA SEA’s first day of concert in Tokyo International Forum.

LUNA SEA will soon perform the last concert of their present tour on March 14, 2015 in Osaka-jo Hall. They also plan to make some announcements. Please look forward to them!

LUNA SEA setlist 28022015
1. Anthem of Light
2. TONIGHT
3. Rouge
4. END OF SORROW
5. Sweetest Coma Again
6. Lost World
7. RAIN
8. Glowing
9. PROVIDENCE
Drum solo
10. TRUE BLUE
11. Thoughts
Bass solo
12. The End of the Dream
13. TIME IS DEAD
14. ROSIER
Encore I
15. I for You
16. IN MY DREAM (WITH SHIVER)
17. WISH
Encore II
18. Déjàvu

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