Tag Archives: jrock

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.

X Japan 2010 Concert Recap with some tangents

Venue in lights!

Everyone who reads this blog, should know about X Japan, after all they are trying to make it big in the United States, as they are enormous in Asia. X Japan has one song that was taken as an movie anime theme, “Forever Love” is  CLAMP’s 1996 movie version of X. In fact they are as I like to call, Japanese ‘KISS’ since they are the band credited with popularizing the wave of Visual Kei.

From, Sugizo and Yoshiki’s appearance at Otakon, to them officially debuting at this past summer’s Chicago Lollapalooza. X Japan launched a North American Tour, that had them going from the West Coast, to Canada to Chicago and finally at their last stop in New York on October 10, 2010 at the Roseland Ballroom.

The previous night on October 11, 2010 was also VAMPS 2nd New York concert, where I saw Hyde of La Arc En Ciel for the very first time in concert. FYI, VAMPS is a new band that Hyde is part of, so there was unfortunately no anime song as of yet covered by VAMPS, but I am still as impressed as I was with Hyde. I am guessing if anyone seen my rapid Tweeting, you can see what I was thinking more of… mostly on the various reactions I saw of Hyde. Also there was really cool guitar swinging and head swinging action by K.A.Z.

I was not as familiar with VAMPS music as I was with X Japan’s music, so I really can’t comment on it per se. One thing I can comment on, was how there was actual space to move and breath at Saturday’s concert. But fast forward to the next night.. it was a completely different story all together….

Weekly Biz - Japanese News Paper Scan  - Weekend Concerts
NYCC/NYAF 2010 Weekend's Top Acts

Both concerts were on the Saturday and Sunday of  NYAF/NYCC 2010. This was a concert filled weekend, that probably had music fans like me gasping out “why oh god why.” Mainly, because I was also  also attending the NYAF/NYCC as well. GendoMike, and some other friends can attest to the stress I was feeling last weekend. Prior to the convention, I had already given up going to go see VAMPS in concert, since I knew what a very packed weekend the convention promised to be. But at the very last minute, I was notified that I won concert tickets to see VAMPS. I was at my wits end, thinking about what to do. So I was even contemplating on skipping VAMPS, until a friend pulled me aside and told me to definitely go. I went and certainly enjoyed myself. Hyde was fantastic to look at in person.

Just so many music opportunities to either hit or miss this past weekend. Starcreator, and other friends I know were at Irving Plaza watching Puffy Ami Yumi, Boom Boom Satellites and other acts that were part of the Far East to East Showcase.

Back… back to X Japan Concert though!!!! This is a highly memorable concert experience. Once I heard that they were going to come to New York, for a concert, I literally had my eyes set on news of when to purchase tickets were available. I do believe the venue was sold out. From my cousin’s experiences to the band’s first stop in California, and the continual live tweeting/blog reports from JRockRevolution.com. I was definitely ready to be as what Yoshiki said, “X-ed!”

New York City is definitely a city of many events, and opportunities. However, other than seiyuu, mangaka, or Japanese singers appearances, there is rare opportunity for me to enjoy seeing an actual Japanese concert appearances. To have two rock concert experiences of this nature is like mana from heavens above.

Now back to Saturday night… first thing I got to say, was that right after I came out from the VAMPS concert. I saw the line for the X Japan concert, and learned that some hardcore X Japan fans were waiting since Thursday, which was around the time I picked up my badge for NYCC/NYAF. I quickly took a very short video of the line on Saturday, and uploaded it on Youtube. A friend of mine in Tokyo, told me that her friends were already waiting on line, so I knew some line tidbits. The line was filled with fans of several nationalities, as I tweeted I heard Spanish, Chinese, English, Korean.

By the time Sunday rolled around, the line eventually went to wrap around the city block twice. On that time.. I was walking to the line with another friend at 5:52pm, and we were waiting on the line at 6:04pm. Thankfully at that time, I was only on the second corner slightly, so I was waiting mostly on Broadway, and West 53rd. The Ballroom is on West 52nd. Yoshiki as my other concert going friend told me, loved his fans, so he treated fans to hot chocolate and pizza!

During the concert,I stood on the stage left, and was eventually pushed over to around stage center of the room, there were at least probably 7-8 people that stood before me though. Let me say that for a majority of the concert, I really really hated taller people. They blocked all great views of the stage, so I definitely was watching parts of the concert from between the shoulders of many. Still the excitement of just being in the same room as X Japan!  I can remember how I heard music, the excitement and energy of the crowd.. and how my arms and legs were so sore from when the concert started to the end.I didn’t even realize that Yoshiki threw himself off the stage, for a bit of crowd surfing until my friend told me after the concert.

It was all quite scary for some parts, for the crush of people was quite immense and overwhelming. At moments I felt very claustrophobic.  I have never experienced a mosh pit like this, parts of it felt like a  living roller coaster, trying to keep my balance and not fall. There were times of not being able to breath or even be able to move – due to how much people were crammed in one space. Everyone was fighting to get to the front, I actually saw someone faint, and later I read that people who fainted were brought over to the side. When there was a pause between songs or the crush was particularly overwhelming I heard Japanese fans asking if everyone were all right.

I definitely saw people around me filming the concert with their cameras. I was sadly mistaken when I mention I’ll try to actively tweet, or take much pictures, since the crush of people was that extreme. I feared for my main camera, but I still had my Droid camera, which was running out of battery. I did get some decent cell phone shots though.

At some points during the concert, I noticed that Toshi was trying to prompt the crowd to sing lyrics after him, but I believe everyone was a bit too excited. I definitely knew that I cried when “Endless Rain” was sung, since it is my favorite X Japan song. There was a lot of fans who sang the chorus:

Endless rain, fall on my heart 心の傷い
Let me forget all of the hate, all of the sadness

One really memorable fact, on 10-10-10 was vocalist, Toshi’s 45th birthday, so prior to the show, fans on line were asked to throw confetti, onto the stage and sing “Happy Birthday.” The area where I was, was literally peppered with confetti.

X Japan members are also like a a lot of rock groups, drinking, and spraying water into the overheated crowds. I was ecstatic when I caught the maybe first or second bottle to be thrown off the stage by Toshi. The bottle came flying , I held my hand up, and just caught it. When I told GendoMike about what I caught, he happened to mentioned about another incident with a bottle of water, in this case it was Chihara Minori’s bottle of water. But unlike that incident, that bottle of water is a souvenir on my bookshelf.

Toshi's Bottle
I will never drain/drink or pour you! You contain salaiva DNA! Lucky Catch!

I definitely knew I lost my voice, I had limited speaking from the VAMPS concert the night before, it was further gone when it was the X Japan concert. I can’t imagine how many time I definitely shouted, either lyrics, “X”  or “WE Are X.” As I also mention arms and legs were so very sore, just how many times I threw up my arms?

Still the memories of this concert will remain. I am actually waiting for the new CD that will be out next year. There are some talk on the net, not confirmed about X Japan having a Europe Tour, a second North America Concert Tour, and South America Tour. All this is quite exciting. One last note, actually pretty sad I wasn’t able to get a Concert T-Shirt.. now I can only be on the search for someone/somewhere to sell it. Also if you what to see more pictures from this concert, be sure to check out Anime Diet’s Flickr page.

X Japan’s New York Set List
Jade
Rusty Nail
Silent Jealousy
Drain
-Violin and piano interlude-
Kurenai
Happy Birthday
Born to Be Free
-Drum Solo-
I.V.
X
Endless Rain

Encore
Art of Life
Forever Love (end recording)

Otakon concert: Geist and Kanon Wakeshima

wakeshima

The hall was packed Saturday at Otakon, the line forming three hours beforehand and stretching around and back. Only the careful attentions of staffers kept it from devouring itself like an ouroboros of human bodies. Gear in hand, I sat in the press section and chatted with the official photographers while we waited for the seats to fill.

Continue reading Otakon concert: Geist and Kanon Wakeshima

VAMPS at Otakon 2009

VAMPS, the new project of HYDE and K.A.Z., had previously advertised a show at SONAR the day before Otakon. “Going to Otakon? Come early!” their ads urged. While at the time this struck several Anime Diet staff members as a clever bit of juxtaposition involving a shared demographic, we had yet to truly appreciate the lengths to which VAMPS would go to secure an American fanbase. Now Otakon has released more guest news, and VAMPS is putting in an appearance there as well.

Jim Vowles, Otakon’s head of Guests, Industry, and Press Relations,  commented, “I guess we must have made a good impression on HYDE a few years ago.  We’re delighted and flattered that they changed plans to
meet the fans.” HYDE previously appeared with L’Arc~en~Ciel at Otakon 2004.

As previously announced, Anime Diet will be covering Otakon 2009.  VAMPS will be at Otakon on Friday afternoon, with exact times and locations to be announced when their schedule is finalized.