L’Arc-en-Ciel at Madison Square Garden

Word of mouth, contests, features in local newspapers, and giant billboards: nothing was spared in talking about L’Arc-en-Ciel‘s only North American stop on their 2012 World Tour Concert. L’Arc-en-Ciel is the first Japanese group to headline at the world-renowned Madison Square Garden. Last year when the concert was announced, concert organizers moved it to a bigger stage that seated about 19-20,000 people to accommodate fans.

My trip to the concert began one stop after 34th Street, around 42nd Street and Times Square. I wanted to take pictures of their billboard ads. Then it was a day of finding and photographing L’Arc’s next electronic ad, like a scavenger hunt.

Official concert merchandise sales were scheduled to begin around 4pm. There was already a line, with fans waiting since 12pm, so I joined the line. Many were Asian fans, but I also saw people from Brazil and Canada traveling here for this concert. While waiting with friends, The Paper also arrived: he too had traveled into New York City specifically for the concert. Sales began a little before 4pm, and fans were allowed in groups of 20—though that still didn’t prevent the merchandise area from being mobbed.

I ended up fighting/waiting/nudging/streaming my way to the booths twice. I got a glow stick for myself, a World Concert shirt, and their newest album Butterfly for The Paper. Glow sticks were one of the first items to be sold out, though convention merchandise was still being sold throughout the concert locations before and after the show.

This was an assigned seat concert, so the people I knew were scattered around the arena. I found myself around stage left for this concert. Many fans were on stage right, and those I saw in the center definitely jumped or danced to the music as Laruku performed. The band members spoke mainly in English with the audience.

Hyde was in fine form, singing and moving. He gave a short speech about being excited for having the opportunity to perform at Madison Square Garden. It had taken them 20 years, but they made it! Dressed in black, with cornrows, he changed outfits about two more times during the concert. Ken read from a paper, where he spoke about his experience visiting the American Museum of Natural History. He wanted to visit it, since it was where Ben Stiller’s movie “Night at the Museum” took place. He also announced getting a souvenir in the form of a “Nightmare Before Christmas”-themed Monopoly set, which he gave to Yukihiro, along with a New York City cup, that Yukihiro displayed momentarily at his drum set. Tetsuya in particular gave plenty of sexy comments in the gifts he threw. He asked if crowds wanted to eat his banana or lick his lollipop. He also sprayed water to audience from a banana-shaped water gun toward the end.

It seemed as though the concert happened way too fast. For the most part, I was utterly in shock watching L’Arc-en-Ciel performing live definitely feeling swept up by the music even as I tried to concentrate enough to take pictures. They sang songs from their new album, but with familiar songs like “Fate,” “Stay Away,” and “Revelation,” on the set, I know they sang songs that resonated with concertgoers and represented their long track record of success.

I know The Paper enjoyed the concert a lot. I spoke with him afterwards, and he mentioned not being able to walk, since he jumped up and down the entire concert. At points, I marveled at the pyrotechnics on the stage, lost my hearing slightly, had a headache from hearing screams, and screaming myself. I want to relive this concert over and over! (I sincerely hope there’s a DVD of their World Concert.)

Setlist

いばらの涙 (Ibara No Namida)
Chase (English ver.)
Good Luck My Way
Honey
Drink It Down
Revelation
叙情詩 (Jojoushi)
X X X (English ver.)
Fate
Forbidden lover
My Heart Draws A Dream
Caress of Venus
Driver’s High
Stay Away
Ready Steady Go
~Encore~
あなた (Anata)
Winter Fall
Blurry Eyes
虹 (Niji)

Post Concert

While walking again past Times Square, where the L’Arc billboard was supposed to be, my friends and I came across the advertising company taking down the poster. In a few minutes of fan frenzy, fans who also were there took photos with the fallen poster. The Paper was one of them, so we are going to have images of that later.

A friend of mine also caught a banana Testuya threw into the crowd. Since there was no way to preserve it for long, she had to eat it. As my friends and I took lots of photos, she said it was a very strange, but tasty experience. Since the only thing that she could preserve was the sticker, it was an incredible moment.

With this show, L’Arc-en-Ciel finished their North American leg of the concert, but they return next week in London to kick off their European tour.

Be sure to check out Anime Diet’s Flickr for more photographs that I took from the concert.

6 thoughts on “L’Arc-en-Ciel at Madison Square Garden”

  1. Thanks for reporting! Wow, the stage is packed! Wish I was there! J-pop is this popular in NYC? Really cool! Banana! That’s so surreal! Elvis threw towels, but Laruku is banana! This is not a pipe! Even fans from Brazil! Probably Laruku’s music stimulated Brazilian’s saudade.

    1. Thanks for your comments. Are you confusing this with J-rock? New York City has somewhat of a large population with Asian cultures. L’Arc en Ciel is “slight” visual kei.. but not really. Bananas are a signature thing thrown with Tetsuya who is the leader of L’Arc. L’Arc is quite famous world wide.. their music pretty much rocks. ^_^ Since there was no concert in South America, fans there who can afford it, had to make do with traveling up here.

      1. Oh I see. So Banana is Tetsuya’s parlor trick to trot out. Too bad South America was omitted, for Brazil has pretty big Japanese community. Brazil is musically a rich nation, and it’s awesome that people from there appreciate J-rock and come all the way to see the concert! That dedication. True okkake! Ah, the age of internet!

Leave a Reply