Ever since the news about this anniversary live at Nippon Budokan was announced last year on the 23rd of December, I’m sure all SLAVES have been waiting for this day to come! We’ve definitely been missing them loads! Fans were already eagerly clapping along with the music that was playing before the concert started, and were waiting patiently although the concert started 20 minutes after stated time. Shinya’s neon green drum set, positioned at the center of the stage, quickly caught the attention of the attendees. He had posted a photo of it on his Twitter account earlier that day.
The classical piece, Moonlight Sonata, started playing as the arena darkened, and the members came out on stage one by one. Cheers from the fans were totally ground shaking at that moment. The first song, Metamorphosis, was a loud and powerful number, featuring SUGIZO’s out-of-this-world guitar riffs, and powerful drumming from Shinya. The audience was already all fired up and pumping their fists in the air. Others were head banging to the rhythm. Considering it was only early into the concert, how much more explosive can it get? The answer: A lot!
The next song, Precious, opened with a burst of fireworks on stage. As the fans were seated all around the stage, the band members would sometimes turn and face those sitting behind them as well. The head banging continued with the next few songs, Dejavu, JESUS, and Image. SUGIZO, guitarist INORAN, and bassist J gradually ventured onto the extended walkways to greet the fans seated on the first level. Some lucky fans even got to shake hands with SUGIZO! The band took a break, and vocalist Ryuichi addressed the crowd. He welcomed everyone and thanked them for coming. He also added that it was amazing that LUNA SEA had turned 28 this year, and promised that they would continue to do music even at 70 years old. No matter where they might be at that time, they would be rocking harder than ever! The End of the Dream and HURT were up next. The camera focused on SUGIZO’s guitar, which had the words, “Save Syria” in LED lights, a very important message to everyone in the world.
Then came a ballad number, NO PAIN. A curtain made up of LED lights, which was hovering above the stage before, now lowered onto the stage, enclosing the band in a “cage”. Images were then displayed on the LED light curtain. Next up was I’ll Stay With You, which continued the current laid back mood. SUGIZO opened the song on his violin, and INORAN and Ryuichi switched to acoustic guitars.
Then, it was time for some solos! Shinya was the first to present his solo, and drummed to an Arabic-sounding backing track, as the curtain of LED lights lifted slowly off the stage. As the fans shouted, “Shinya!” He played along, gesturing to them that they were not loud enough, and led them to shout his name in between the drumbeats. “Give me more! More! Can you guys do it?! Can you?!” shouted Shinya, before assuring the audience that they were the coolest. At the last beat, three puffs of smoke erupted from the sides of the stage! Next up was J with his solo. He whipped out his bass, which was bright red, with the face of what looked like Mother Mary, on it. The arena sort of turned into a club, with lasers everywhere, and the strong beats from the back track that J was playing to. Shinya meanwhile started tossing his drumsticks to the crowd behind. J got the audience to shout, “Hey! Hey!” with him, as Shinya came in on the drums. J gave a shout out to the audience in the front, as well as right at the back, not forgetting those who were watching the show at the live viewing. “Budokan is the best!” he shouted. The rest of the band returned to the stage to play BLUE TRANSPARENCY, before leading into the next MC.
Ryuichi mentioned that LUNA SEA had met with many rainy days whenever they held their concerts, but the weather that day was perfect! He also said that although LUNA SEA had performed there six times, it still felt good to be back. He expressed his heartfelt thanks to all the fans who have supported LUNA SEA, and enabled them to continue doing music for 28 years, and would like to dedicate the next song, I for you, to all their fans. The atmosphere changed as mirror ball lights were projected all around the Budokan. That would not be complete with a soulful guitar solo by SUGIZO.
Another series of upbeat numbers began with the song, STORM. “Budokan! Can you guys give us some more! Please do whatever you want as long as you don’t hurt yourselves!” shouted Ryuichi. Emotions were running high as fans pumped their hands in the air to the beat. It was my personal favourite of the night as well, with SUGIZO’s awesome guitar solo. With no break in between, next up was TIME IS DEAD. The audience chanted, “Time is dead! Time is dead!” INORAN and SUGIZO came together and made a heart-shaped sign towards the audience at the back of the stage. Four of the members gathered to the center of the stage, and Ryuichi shouted, “Let’s go for more! Are you guys ready?” The audience was even more fired up with the next song, ROSIER. The main set list ended with Metamorphosis, and the members left the stage one by one. During the short break before the encore, the fans whipped out the fan-made blue pom-poms which were distributed earlier on, and also turned on their phone torches, making the Budokan look like it was filled with stars. They waved their phones while singing a birthday song to LUNA SEA. It was definitely an amazing sight.
The band came back on stage, wearing the concert tees, and thanked everyone for singing the birthday song. SUGIZO even threw his scarf into the crowd! The audience continued waving the blue pom-poms in the air during the next songs, Anthem of light and TONIGHT. It was now time for an introduction of the members, with Shinya going first! Ryuichi went, “let me introduce the best drummer in the universe!” and the audience shouted Shinya’s name loudly. The audience went on to shout the members’ names when they were introduced. When INORAN was introduced, he gave a slight bow, and said a few words. “I remember the time when we were doing a gig at a livehouse, when Ryu was not with us yet. He would come to see our gigs, and bring us food! Once, he brought us donuts, but when I opened the box, there was only one left!” he remarked. “Do you really need to say this here? I was sure that there were five in there though. Shinya, you ate them all, did you?” said Ryuichi. SUGIZO continued the donut story, saying that he remembered seeing two donuts in there. Ryuichi insisted that the “boss” should say a few words, and directed everyone to Shinya. “Hi! I’m the boss!” said Shinya. “I remember that during those times, Ryuichi had green hair, and no eyebrows! To commemorate the green hair, we made the drum set green today!”
Laughs aside, Ryuichi announced to the audience that LUNA SEA would be releasing a new album by the end of this year, and teat the theme would be “love”. They chose this theme to remind everyone how important “love” is, amidst the horrible things happening around the world today. He also announced, on behalf of the band, that they would be having two days of concerts at Saitama Super Arena, this Christmas, on the 23rd and 24th of December. Streamers shot out from the stage at the beginning of the next song, Wish. The band paused after this song, and the members walked around the extended walkways to greet the fans. The fans started shouting for an encore again as the members huddled together at the centre of the stage, as though they were discussing something. Ryuichi finally announced, “we don’t want to leave just yet! Thank you all again for supporting us!”
The guitarists switched to acoustic guitars and sat down on stools to play the final song, MOTHER. SUGIZO then switched to his violin, halfway through the song, to perform his violin solo. After the final song, LUNA SEA gathered at the center of the stage and linked arms. All the members of the audience linked arms as well, and did a small jump together with LUNA SEA. It was certainly a night to remember, for all the fans present.
We wish LUNA SEA a very happy 28th anniversary and definitely hope that they’ll continue to make and perform music as long as possible!
LUNA SEA The Anniversary 2017 at Nippon Budokan 29052017 setlist
- The End of the Dream
- NO PAIN
- I’ll Stay With You
- Shinya’s drum solo
- J’s bass solo
- BLUE TRANSPARENCY
- I for You
- TIME IS DEAD
- Anthem of Light
As reported by Elenaril