LUNA SEA "The Anniversary 2017" at the Nippon Budokan

live report - 04.07.2017 10:01

On May 29th, LUNA SEA celebrated their 27th anniversary at a sold-out Nippon Budokan.

The band LUNA SEA originally formed in 1989, and signed to X JAPAN’s front man YOSHIKI’s record label, Extasy Records. Since the beginning they’ve had the same member lineup, consisting of RYUICHI on vocals, SUGIZO and INORAN on guitars, J on bass, and Shinya on drums. Many of the fans attending the anniversary concert had seemingly followed this iconic band their entire career, as it appeared that people of all ages attended, even bringing their own children along.

It is not common for bands related to the visual kei scene to play the Budokan, not to mention selling out the entire venue. As if that wasn’t an achievement in itself, the arena was filled to max capacity and there were even seats behind the scenes, connected by a runway that enabled the band to be visible for those in the back as well. Even before the concert began fans were cheering enthusiastically, filling the arena with thunderous applause. Suddenly the lights in the arena were turned off, and Shinya’s neon green drum set was lit up; the crowd gave an ear-piercing shout while the members entered stage.

The first song of the evening was nothing less than their progressive rock tune Metamorphosis from their 2013 album, A Will. The stage was colored in red lights as the band members enthusiastically transmitted their energy to the audience. Going 26 years back in time, the next song played was PRECIOUS… from their self-titled debut album, LUNA SEA. The fans sang along and moved in a synchronized fashion to this classic song, filling the Budokan with an incredible sense of unity among the audience members.

The set list delivered a good variety of songs from the beginning of their career through recent years, taking a turn from more energetic songs to their heavier tunes, starting with Hurt from their 1996 album, STYLE. This darker and slower song really left a big impression on everyone, reminding fans just how charismatic LUNA SEA still is. Following that song was the amazingly beautiful NO PAIN. A drape of lights above the stage was let down and surrounded the members, and then war footage was projected on to the curtain. The black and white images eventually turned into flames, as if the whole stage was burning. Being able to see only glimpses of the band through the horrific scene, while listening to perhaps one of LUNA SEA’s most touching songs, certainly created a mysterious atmosphere and left one of the strongest impressions of the evening. Leaving the curtain of lights down, they moved on to I’ll Stay With You, in which SUGIZO grabbed his violin, and RYUICHI joined in on acoustic guitar with INORAN.

Shinya, alone on the stage, began pounding his drums, making the audience shout for him. This continued for a few seconds, and the crowd’s enthusiasm didn’t seem to fade no matter how many times he asked them to scream louder. Shortly after J joined in, playing a short tune on his bass, encouraging everyone to shout his name as well. One by one the LUNA SEA members returned to the stage and they played BLUE TRANSPARENCY, yet another classic from their debut album. All of the members appeared captivated by the scene, as fans sang along to the chorus as well as joined together in synchronized hand movements to the song.

Considering it being an anniversary concert, one could’ve expected multiple long MC’s, but RYUICHI kept each one rather short yet informative. They talked of their years together, how they first met at a live house, and how much people have commented on it being their 25th anniversary since they started in 1989. RYUICHI explained that the anniversary was calculated from when they went major in 1992, and also kept repeating how appreciative they are to all their fans who continue to support them over the years. In gratitude, they dedicated one of their most famous songs, I for You, to all of their fans.

Within LUNA SEA’s vast discography, there are numerous songs which has left a major impression on the visual kei and rock scene; one of those songs being ROSIER. The anniversary show wouldn’t be complete without this high-speed, pop rock song. RYUICHI had everyone in the Budokan sing along during parts of the song, and both the band and the fans seemed to really enjoy the moment.

When the band left the stage fans immediately started clapping their hands for an encore, and the whole arena began to be filled with cheers of happy birthday, dedicated to the band’s anniversary. Cellphones lit up making the dark the Budokan arena look like a starry night sky. LUNA SEA entered the stage again, quietly appreciating the fans celebration, and then finally RYUICHI shouted out an emotional, “Thank you!”

During the last MC of the evening, RYUICHI announced that they will be playing a new song next called WISH, and that they will also hold two concerts at Saitama Super Arena on December 23 - 24, The Holy Night 2017. Despite it being the first time fans heard this new song, it totally embraced the spirit of LUNA SEA; an upbeat rock song with some pretty memorable vocals and guitars. Without even seeing the band, one would immediately be able to recognize that it was a LUNA SEA song. The drape used earlier in the show now projected images of the stage and members, and glitter was thrown out over the audience. RYUICHI thanked everyone yet again, and then the Budokan went dark.

INORAN and SUGIZO moved to sit down on chairs while RYUICHI introduced one of their greatest ballads, MOTHER. The entire arena was filled with blue light and SUGIZO exchanged his guitar for his violin during the last part of the song. Watching SUGIZO play his violin solo while being showered in the spotlight was so beautiful, it left everyone with goosebumps. Right after the last cord was played, the Budokan was left in dead silence for a couple seconds until Shinya hit his drums, and then the applause began. Before leaving stage, RYUICHI stated that he loved everyone, and then LUNA SEA, as well as the entire audience, joined hands and jumped together.

At the conclusion of the encore, the Budokan lit up and everyone felt like they were waking up from a musical trance. There’s certainly a reason for LUNA SEA’s fame, both in Japan and overseas, and they proved that very well this evening. Finding a better live band would be difficult; especially one with an extensive discography that can please almost every listener and despite the concert being over two hours long, it definitely left everyone wishing it would never end.

Set List

01. Metamorphosis ~ beginning part
03. Dejavu
05. Image
06. The End of the Dream
07. HURT
09. I'll Stay With You
10. Dr. Solo ~Bass Solo
12. I for You
16. Metamorphosis ~ ending part


01. Anthem of Light
03. WISH
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