I thought the wax sugizo was the real one for a min.
I like how yoshiki insisted his wax figure be several inches taller than reality.
HOW’S THAT SUMMER 2011 RELEASE DATE FOR THE NEW X JAPAN ALBUM LOOKING, YOSHIKI?
I thought the wax sugizo was the real one for a min.
I like how yoshiki insisted his wax figure be several inches taller than reality.
HOW’S THAT SUMMER 2011 RELEASE DATE FOR THE NEW X JAPAN ALBUM LOOKING, YOSHIKI?
Alarmingly, many Luna Sea live tracks have been labelled DUPLICATE (nein! nein!) so that blows.
Next step, delete the new music folder and re-download everything (some of this stuff is already Alt.Preset.Standard-ish, but I want to see how my tags and album art fare).
A friend of mine is selling two of his ancient LUNA SEA minidiscs of two shows they played at 町田PLAY HOUSE when they were called LUNACY. Rare, precious little time capsules.
… just under 10 tracks each. Very rare, unlikely you will see copies of these on eBay again. Specifics such as runtime and tracklists can be seen in the photo.
LUNA SEA Guitar & Bass Exhibit at ESP Shibuya Craft House
I read that the ESP shops were holding a LUNA SEA instrument exhibit, so I stopped by the Shibuya Craft House to take a look. Inside, they had several of J’s basses and SUGIZO’s guitars on display, including some broken in pieces, and two TVs displaying live footage of LUNA SEA above. I guess since INORAN is now using Fenders, his ESP models got axed =( All the instruments had signs on them that read, “guitar/bass used by the actual person” and “DON’T TOUCH PLEASE.” I took a few quick pictures of the exhibit and then some of the Dir en grey models, since I know a lot of people here are DEG fans =)
There was a box on the side of the display table filled with old LUNA SEA guitar/bass ads, some dating as far back as 1993/1994(!). One of the store workers saw me looking at them and told me that you get a poster only if you buy a LUNA SEA guitar/bass model. Then he asked me if I was going to see their upcoming Budokan shows. I nodded my head and told him I’m from the US, and we talked a bit about LUNA SEA, SUGIZO’s guitars, etc. Of course he tried to convince me to buy a guitar, but I told him as tempting as that was, I didn’t have room in my luggage for it. He showed me the LUNA SEA Complete Gears book on the table and asked me if I owned any of SUGIZO’s instruments. I pointed to the Edwards ES-100 PR-III guitar and black Kranz violin in the book, and then he asked me which of SUGIZO’s guitars was my favorite. After some thinking, I pointed to the Brilliant Mixed Media Eclipse on display, which he then took down from the wall and asked me if I wanted to hold it(!!!). He mentioned S.K.I.N., and I tried to tell him it’s very Yoshiki-like to only do one concert. I don’t think he quite understood what I meant… Now that I think about it, maybe he was referring to SUGIZO’s Navigator S.K.I.N. guitar - oops! Anyways, it was cool to see some of SUGIZO and J’s old instruments and practice my Japanese =)
LUNA SEA | 2012-2013 Live The End of The Dream in Nippon Budokan (1/13/13)
Today was special because it was Shinya’s 43rd birthday. To celebrate, there were a lot more Shinya cosplayers, as well as fans wearing birthday party hats and dressed in cow costumes. There was also a banner for people to sign and write messages on.
As my seat was on the west side, I had a fairly good view of J and INORAN, and I saw that there were some massive candles lit in front of INORAN’s amps. From this angle, I could also see Shinya’s female roadie crouching down the entire time, helping him out with various things (otsukare~!).
With the past two nights covering the Future and Rising Eras, it was easy to guess that today’s theme would be Beginning Era -Imagine For My new Moon-. As expected, it seems like the early songs get the loudest reactions from the crowd, with today’s set list receiving the most of the first weekend’s concerts. Although Shinya’s drums always impress me, today they sounded especially tight.
The concert started around 3:15 PM, and like the previous nights, opened with Moonlight Sonata. The bright lights suddenly turned on, as the guys kicked off the show with FATE, getting the audience to raise their fists and shout the song’s title. RYUICHI wore a black hooded cape, reminiscent of the LUNACY Kurofuku Gentei Gig, which he tossed off during the next song, Déjàvu. Even though this song was played the last two nights, it wasn’t until today that I noticed when RYUICHI sings, “Mirai kako ima hitobito no dorama shinaro wa itsumo déJÀVU,” fans jumped at the end.
“Budokan, how are you doing?” greeted RYUICHI. “It’s still too early to say it’s night, but let’s get tonight started! Are you ready? Are you ready???!! Next song! JESUS, DON’T YOU LOVE ME?” J got the crowd stirred up, shouting, “HEY!” on the offbeats, as everyone followed. The distinct sound of SUGIZO’s flanger-esque guitar riff to SLAVE filled the arena, as they continued on into the next song without stopping. The crowd started madly head banging, the smell of shampoo adrift in the air, with the members running around the sides of the arena. Next up was their first Oricon Chart topping hit, TRUE BLUE, before stopping for another MC.
RYUICHI spoke briefly about the current music scene and how it’s gone down. LUNA SEA has been around for close to 30 years now, and although the times have changed their music won’t, and they’ll continue to make their dreams come true. So let’s dream the big dream together!
SUGIZO switched to his Nise-Kiku Navigator before kicking off into their new song, ROUGE, followed by the enigmatic SANDY TIME. Right before SUGIZO’s violin turned guitar solo, Shinya’s tom-toms reverberated throughout the arena, complementing the power of the trance-like atmosphere.
The lights went dim, as the guys got ready for the slower section of their set list. The spotlight above SUGIZO lit up, images of stained glass appeared around the stage, and he began playing Providence. Like the previous night, he made a slight alteration to the rhythm during the second repeat of the chorus. After a brief pause, the lights changed their focus to two giant mirror balls hanging above, filling the domed roof with sparkling stars for the next song, MOON. Just like the old days, RYUICHI held his arms above his head, with both hands clasped around a small pocket-size mirror, reflecting a beam of light. As the song progressed to the guitar solo, the lights changed from bright blue to white, and the mirror balls began to rotate, the stars moving around the ceiling, creating a feeling of traveling through space. It was one of the most beautiful moments of the Budokan concerts.
The lights faded out, and after a brief pause, RYUICHI spoke a few words about the band’s new goals, before breaking out into The End of the Dream. The lights went out once again, leaving a lone spotlight on J. ”You guys ready?! Ikuze~!!!” Just like the previous nights, he got everyone to cheer for him, as he repeated the same bass solo, with SUGIZO, INORAN, and Shinya joining him at the end. RYUICHI came back on stage, and INORAN started playing the descending staccato chords of BLUE TRANSPARENCY ~Kagirinaku Toumei ni Chikai Buru~. RYUICHI went, “Whoo~!” as the music sent the audience into another head banging frenzy. Just as they were about to finish the song, the lights dimmed, highlighting Shinya, who went straight into his drum solo without taking a break. As usual, he asked us all to scream his name loudly, putting his hands around his ears like he couldn’t hear us. The other members reappeared on stage, with INORAN once again playing the chords to BLUE TRANSPARENCY, segueing back into the song for another chorus or two of head banging.
Keeping the audience going, next up was TIME IS DEAD. This song was one of the most exhilarating, as the crowd continued to enthusiastically shout, “Time is dead! The world is dead!” with INORAN and SUGIZO until the very end. Just like the last two nights, the guys ended their main set with ROSIER, with J throwing the mic stand after his monologue, and then TONIGHT.
During the break, the usual “en-ko-re” clapping suddenly changed to the birthday song. Somehow, after a few rounds, the song changed to, “Happy birthday, dear SHINYA!!!” as everyone started screaming his name, like it was his drum solo. After about 10 minutes, Shinya came out on stage, bowed in all directions, and blew kisses to us all. The other members appeared, SUGIZO wearing a peculiar white shirt with strands of blond hair attached to his right shoulder and left hip. RYUICHi said, “Congrats, Shin-chan! Finally, we’re having a concert on Shin-chan’s birthday. He cries very easily.” Introducing the next song, he continued, “This song is for you all, I for You.”
RYUICHI announced it was time to introduce the members. When it was INORAN’s turn, he mocked SUGIZO’s intro from last night, playing a bit of the 007 theme, then broke out in a sly smile. Next up was SUGIZO, who shouted, “Budokan! I love you~!” Then, “ON VOCALS! RYUICHI!” and introduced him as, “The most narcissistic vocalist,” to which RYUICHI replied, “Stop calling me narcissistic (onaru) and let’s go with eggplant (onasu) instead.” (???) He pointed to SUGIZO’s guitar and made another funny comment, but I didn’t catch it – sorry!
Continuing on, RYUICHI announced the next song, “IN MY DREAM!” INORAN played the opening chords, and right after Shinya’s entrance, all the members, except Shinya, suddenly stopped playing, leaving Shinya very confused, as he played on for another bar or two. To his surprise, a birthday cake was rolled onto the stage. SUGIZO played the birthday song on his guitar, while RYUICHI led everyone in another round of “Happy birthday Shinya!” INORAN lit the candles, and after blowing them out, Shinya gave a few words. “I’m speechless. It started when I was in high school and SUGIZO helped me buy my first drum set. And now, several years later, everyone is congratulating me on my birthday. Thank you so much!” Everyone cheered, as he continued, “But earlier, the way you screamed my name when singing ‘Happy Birthday’ made me think of my mom scolding me when I got a zero on my test in elementary school!” As the arena filled with laughter, Shinya ended his speech with, “I’ll remember today until the day I die!” The guys returned to their positions and played In My Dream (With Shiver) for real, during which INORAN directed a video camera to show Shinya up close on the screens above.
Ending the encore set was BELIEVE, where the members slowed down towards the end and RYUICHI pointed his mic to the audience to sing, “Hitori demo, kogoete mo, yasashisa tokimeki afurete… “ And then finally, WISH.
After handing their instruments to their staff, the guys joined hands at the center of the stage and we all jumped up into the air together. SUGIZO took a few pictures of the crowd and himself, and then INORAN tapped him on the shoulder, offering to help him take a few. As J went around throwing bass picks out, he grabbed the birthday banner from one of the slaves and wrapped it around Shinya’s shoulders. After shaking hands with the people leaning over the sides, INORAN, J, and SUGIZO all left the stage earlier than usual, leaving Shinya alone, throwing drumsticks out to the audience. He looked around, surprised that everyone was gone, took a deep bow, and then exited the stage.
Sorry for the long wait! It was difficult typing long texts on an iPad, so I took notes on all the concerts and decided to write the reports when I returned home. I’ll try my best to just mention the highlights and not get too lengthy. Enjoy!
Day 2. It’s 4:15 PM, the doors have opened, and the two guys seated in the row in front of me are staring intently at a Style-era picture of SUGIZO on an iPhone. It’s pretty clear that LUNA SEA has a lot of male fans now, with about a 50/50 ratio of males to females, possibly even 60/40.
Tonight’s theme was Rising Era -unending love & hate-, including songs from MOTHER and STYLE. I sat in the east section, giving me a view close to SUGIZO’s side. I was really looking forward to tonight’s concert, especially after hearing the band rehearse Ray from outside. I noticed that the set lists taped to the floor glowed in the dark or were printed with UV ink. On top of his amps, SUGIZO had his three favorite “guardian” crystals.
The lights went dim about 15 minutes past starting time, beginning the night again with a solo piano playing Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata.
The classic LUNA SEA opener. I knew it’d be an awesome night after hearing this.
Everyone started shaking their fists in the air, wildly head banging in rhythm, and singing along. “Ima wa koe o karashi tsuzuke!” The members ran around the walkway surrounding the stage, getting the audience even more reved up, as the song ended with the audience singing the “woah-oh-oh” backing vocals with INORAN and SUGIZO.
“Oh please, help me God!” During the instrumental breaks, RYUICHI grabbed the mic stand, tossing his head from side to side, stepping in rhythm. It reminded me of the performance at Yokohama Stadium in 1996. INORAN and J faced each other, alternating riffs and playing off one another’s moves, then spun off in opposite directions.
The sound of empty space filled the arena, as the lights went dim, leaving five spotlights. Images of the 1995 Lunatic Tokyo live came to mind. The song ended very stylistically with the sound of feedback fading in, then back out.
The air became silent again, as SUGIZO emerged from the darkness with his mixed media electric violin. After an improvised intro, he segued into the start of the song. Throughout the arena, people were waving their hand in the air, conducting a 3/4 beat. During the second repeat of the chorus, I noticed that he added an extra 1/8th note, possibly to keep the bowing pattern more consistent?
As soon as INORAN played the first 6 notes, everyone around me gasped in surprise and anticipation. LUNA SEA has always excelled at creating dark, atmospheric songs, and this was by far my favorite of the night. As they reached the climatic B section, the lights changed from blue to a dark red. RYUICHI got down on his knees, singing super close to the mic with that intense look in his eyes that he gets when performing these types of songs. From that moment, I knew that LUNA SEA RYUICHI was back.
RYUICHI introduced each of the members one by one. SUGIZO played part of the 007 theme after being introduced. When it came to RYUICHI, INORAN shouted, “ON VOCALS! RYUICHI!” It’s cool that he’s more confident about performing and speaking in public now and doesn’t just whisper into RYUICHI’s ear anymore.
RYUICHI thanked everyone for supporting LUNA SEA throughout their long career and during their 10 year absence. He said they’re no longer aiming to just be a chart topping band, but to create music, and that they want to be the number one band in Asia as an adult rock band.
The End of the Dream
The lights surrounding the arena flickered with the rhythm of the guitars and bass, transforming into a frenetic red line, setting the mood for this mega fist pumping song. During the bridge, INORAN walked towards RYUICHI at the center of the stage, RYUICHi singing over INORAN’s shoulder, before going separate directions as they returned to the chorus.
Like the night before, SUGIZO and Shinya joined J at the end for an instrumental session, but INORAN was absent this time.
SUGIZO broke a guitar string on his Nise-Kiku Navigator, held it up, then tossed it on the ground. His guitar tech handed him one of his black Eclipse guitars, then his Navigator again at the end.
“Shadows of my luv!” My favorite part ^^
“I’ve prick-ed my heart! I’m the trigger!” This song still rocks live.
Towards the end, the guys paused before going for another repeat of the chorus. INORAN came in with his rhythm part, as the rest of the members followed. RYUICHI got the audience to sing “woah-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh~!” with him one last time and shout on the off beats.
During the break, the audience did the usual clapping and “en-ko-re” chanting. They tried to do waves as well, but it didn’t really work out…
Forever and ever, this is, and always will be, the last song at a LUNA SEA concert. Everyone shouted, “I WISH!” and the silver ribbons shot out above the floor section. This was the usual live arrangement, with the ritardando at the end, SUGIZO’s screeching guitar, then the final instrumental ending.
The piano instrumental of “Desire” started playing in the background, signaling the end to another night. As is a LUNA SEA tradition, RYUICHI asked us all to become one, holding hands with those next to you, then jumping up into the air together on his count. INORAN, J, and SUGIZO ran around the sides of the stage, giving high-fives to the people leaning over the edges, as Shinya threw out a few drumsticks, before saying their final goodbyes.
Nippon Budokan day 1. It’s been 12.5 years since the last time I saw LUNA SEA in Japan, and I still feel the adrenaline rush, as I hear SUGIZO’s guitar shredding screams outside the Budokan while waiting in line for tour goods.
As the band has aged, so have the fans, mostly in their late 20s and up. There’s even baby tour goods for sale, evident that a lot of fans are now married/have families of their own. In addition, there are fewer cosplayers, but I still see people carrying those little black suitcase boxes covered with LUNA SEA’s pictures.
However, the enthusiasm and passion for the band remains the same, if not greater now than in the past. The synchronized head banging, smell of shampoo in the air, hands and arms waving in the air, like an orchestra conductor - I’m reminded of all the elements that make a Japanese concert unique.
Tonight’s setlist was Future Era -shining new chaos-, with songs like Time Has Come, Unlikelihood, End of Sorrow, Gravity, Shine, and Storm, ending with THE ONE -crash to create-. Plus some old favorites, like Dejavu, Rosier, and Wish. Here are some notes I made on the live:
-The sound was REALLY well balanced. I’ve never been to a rock concert where everything sounded so crisp, with not a single instrument overpowering the others.
-The lighting design was simple, yet beautiful - very much like LUNA SEA.
-The chemistry between SUGIZO and INORAN seems stronger than before, making them an even more powerful team.
-INORAN seems to enjoy playing lives much more since the reunion.
-SUGIZO’s injuries seemed to have healed, although he’s still not running around the stage much or doing as many dramatic poses as before.
It’s clear that I was surrounded by J Slaves, as everyone around me erupted in screams when the song began. It’s hard not to bop your head along with J’s strong bass lines and solo. His English has improved since 1998, and I’m puzzled why he never does the message videos for their overseas tour promos.
Sweetest Coma Again
Another song with an awesome bass line. It sounded like Ryuichi changed the melody at the end of the chorus slightly, going for the lower harmonizing part instead.
I was really hoping to hear this song live and it did not disappoint. SUGIZO added some seagull-ish guitar noises in the background to INORAN’s opening repeating arpeggio. I admit it sounded a little odd with Ryuichi’s more operatic voice though.
By now, I’m used to the surf guitar and it sounded great live. The Slaves have already made an arm waving sequence to go with the song’s slightly uneven rhythm.
The End of The Dream
This song seems to have been written specifically for live performances, getting the audience revved up. As repetitive as it is, you will be singing along and have this song memorized before it’s over.
Unlike the past, this started off with a short drum and bass session, followed by INORAN and SUGIZO joining in at the end. A song or two later, Shinya had his own solo, which was also shorter than normal, maybe to conserve energy for THE ONE?
As many times as I’ve heard this song, it will always remain a classic. Will I be sick of it by Day 6? We shall see….
THE ONE -crash to create-
The opus of LUNA SEA. As great as it was to hear this epic song live, the transitions sounded a bit rough. However, as they perform it more, I’m sure things will improve. It seemed like it was played slightly under tempo, making the slower sections a bit more draggy, but I still enjoyed it. This was the only song that didn’t have much synchronized arm waving.
And that is about all I can type on a tablet right now. Stay tuned for day 2!
This is the cover for Sugizo’s new remix album ‘Vesica Pisces’ due early in the new year!
luna sea | ra-se-n (live 2007)
This is my favorite Luna Sea song.
It’s from Style, my favorite Luna Sea album.
Shine sucks, okay?
Luna Sea’s In My Dream with Shiver PV:
What would this band do without stock video of clouds?
Introducing the new signature SUGIZO violin bow, Ysaye (pronounced ee-zai), made in collaboration with the carbon fiber bow maker CodaBow. His logo, along with the flower of life symbol, is inlaid on the frog. It will officially go on sale on March 14th for 157500 yen, which is twice the price of his electric violin model =( While this will be on my wish list, I’ll be waiting for SUGIZO to release something more affordable, like a line of signature rosin.