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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

L'Arc~en~Ciel World Tour 2012 - Madison Square Garden Report

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On March 25th, 2012 Japanese Rock icons L'Arc ~en~Ciel made history by being the first Japanese Band to headline at Madison Square Garden. I was lucky enough to be there, five rows away from the stage for the historic concert. Hoarse from screaming and deafened from pyrotechnics, I stumbled from Madison Square Garden in shock- this was my first time seeing L'Arc in concert, and it in every way lived up to my expectations. Nearly 10 years ago the first Japanese album I ever bought was a L'Arc~en~Ciel album and I dreamed of one day seeing the band live. Years ago that dream seemed impossible, Japanese groups were relegated to seedy nightclubs and comic-cons. I can only imagine what these musicians felt performing at MSG, the culmination of 20 years of hard work. HYDE touched upon it during his M.C. - thanking his fans and saying he was honored to perform at Madison Square Garden. The importance of this moment not only for L'Arc but for the Japanese Music Industry in general was not lost on the band. You could tell from the smiles on their faces how proud they were of what they had achieved, and that this was truly a performance of a lifetime.

The show itself began sometime after 8:30 pm and ran for about 2hrs, the set included 15 songs, 3 M.C.'s and a 4 song Encore. The set list can be found below, beginning with Ibara no Namida and ending with a breathtaking performance of the Ruroni Kenshin Theme Song -  Niji. (complete with rainbow visuals) M.C.'s included an amusing anecdote about Ken visiting the New York City Museum of Natural History entirely due to his love of the movie 'Night at the Museum', while picking up presents for L'arc drummer Yukihiro. (including a 'Nightmare Before Christmas Monopoly Game') Tetsuya brought back his 'Banana bit'  - "do you want to eat my fucking banana...?"  or "do you want to lick my lollipop" and ended up coming onstage with a basket full of lollipops and bananas which he promptly threw to the crowd. 

Visually the show was amazing, including fireworks, pyrotechnics, feathers, streamers, and a discoball - all the while large screens broadcast up close images of the band as it played for the nearly sold out arena. (that's nearly 20,000 people) This wasn't the scaled down tours we're used to making their way through the United States - this was a real life L'Arc concert which rivaled it's Japanese counterparts.  Like their shows in Japan the crowd broke out into sing-a-longs with nearly everyone shouting out the lyrics to well known songs such as the Fullmetal Alchemist Theme Song - Ready Steady Go. By the end of the concert I was out of my seat dancing and singing along with the majority of my fellow concert-goers. I never wanted it to end, 2 hours went by too fast - and before I knew it was over. I was in shock - I had just witnessed a moment in history, experienced the best concert I'd ever seen ... and managed to get waved at by HYDE!

The next day as I shopped in Korea-Town a clerk noticed my Tour Shirt and asked me if I had been to the show the night before. I replied that I had, and the clerk told me he had been unable to go. "I'm sorry ... but it was EPIC!" was my response.

For all of those fans who were unable to go - take heart in the fact that the entire concert was filmed. For those of you who attended the concert rejoice in the fact that you were there to see and feel the magic that is L'Arc~en~Ciel. You watched history be made, and you helped pave the way for a new era of Japanese Rock Music in the West. Supporting Japanese musicians by going to concerts and buying goods proves that there is a fan base outside of Japan desperate for their music. My friends and I flew in to NYC for the concert, not just because we love the band (which we do ... BIG TIME) but in an effort to support and promote the Japanese Music Industry. We want to see bigger bands with bigger tours here in the United States - this concert at Madison Square Garden is in my mind just the beginning and I was honored to be there.

I laughed, I sang, I danced - I managed not to cry....but really I enjoyed myself, tremendously. Below is the set list I promised. Additional pictures and a pre-concert video will be posted on my staff blog later this week! - Utahimesama

 

 


MSG L'Arc~en~Ciel Concert Set List 


01.いばらの涙 (Ibara no Namida)


02.CHASE -English version-


03.GOOD LUCK MY WAY


04.HONEY


05.DRINK IT DOWN


06.REVELATION


07.叙情詩 (jojoushi)


08.X X X -English version-


09.fate


10.Forbidden Lover


11.MY HEART DRAWS A DREAM


12.Caress of Venus


13.Driver's High


14.STAY AWAY


15.READY STEADY GO


Encore:


16.Anata


17.winter fall


18.Blurry Eyes


19.Niji 


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 This L'Arc~en~Ciel live report was written by Ashlee (utahimesama)


For more information on L'arc~en~Ciel's MSG Concert check out the utahimesama staff blog


or Utahimesama's personal blog 'the little diva' on wordpress.com
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