Last night, March 25th, was L’Arc~en~Ciel’s performance in New York City. The band was the first Japanese act to play at Madison Square Garden’s arena theater and while they did not play to a sold-out crowd, the arena was near capacity with fans I met who travelled from California, Massachusetts, Virginia and several other locations to be a part of the 20th anniversary of one of Japan’s most popular rock bands.
The stage displays were some of the most exciting and interactive I’ve seen at a J-rock concert. The band had massive screens behind them and to the left and right, the backdrop playing sections of music videos while they performed, as well as different graphics like fire, falling cherry blossoms and more. Throughout the concert there were streamers shot into the audience, fire erupting from behind Yukihiro as he played drums, fireworks going off across the front of the stage, and feathers blanketing the audience during the encore’s last song.
The band members themselves were fantastic showmen, putting on absolutely wonderful solos and dancing and bouncing across the stage for nearly two hours. They looked like they were having as much fun as the fans, which only encouraged the energy in the arena to grow. Ken told a story part-way through the show about his trip to the Museum of Natural History because he loves the movie, Night at the Museum. He bought and presented Yuki the board game, The Nightmare Before Christmas Monopoly and said he wanted to play it after the show. Tetsuya also spoke briefly, asking the audience coy questions about his bananas and lollipops, which he was carrying around in a hand basket, before tossing out the goodies to fans.
L’Arc~en~Ciel’s show was a wonderful experience and certainly one I will remember for many years. It was very exciting to see them live after waiting over a decade for the chance.
Japanese Rock Examiner: