In the last few days leading up to Luna Sea’s Dec. 4 concert, a few things remained consistent throughout for many on the industry side and in the fanbase. Curiosity. Anticipation. Expectation. The same feelings the band likely felt up to the point of the lights dimming on the Palladium’s stage and the first note sounding over the roar of cheering fans. In Hollywood, California, fans from around the world descended to see this iconic band live — many for the first time in their lives.
Luna Sea consists of Ryuichi on vocals, Sugizo and Inoran on guitars, J on bass and Shinya on drums. Starting out in 1989, the five rocked Japan and quickly gained a dedicated fanbase that only grew after their hiatus in 2000. Each musician, accomplished in his own right, went on to have successful solo careers before the stars aligned, Fate intervened or — as Shinya had pointed out — the timing was simply right to come back together.
“We’ve been looking forward to playing here in Los Angeles and we’ll put on a good show for fans!” Ryuichi had told us in our interview a day before the show. Indeed, the anticipation of seeing Luna Sea live had fans lining up early with a line that wrapped around the entrance to the sidewalk to Sunset Strip, to the end of that block and up toward the next one.
Once doors opened, many were quick to locate their preferred spots against the barricade and around the expanse of the main floor. Equipment for the 3D cameras took up some of the main area, but left plenty of room to find excellent vantage points. Photographers were permitted to stand on a whole twelve-inches of carpet so as not to impede the large camera on a rolling track in front of them. Until about 8:30 p.m., most refused to move from their spots lest they lose them.
The concert started once the lights dimmed. Ryuichi, Sugizo, Inoran, J and Shinya took their places and almost at once, the first song started. From the first note to the last, Luna Sea demonstrated just how they could attain the fame they have in Japan. Though a smaller venue rather than an arena holding tens of thousands, their performance was energetic, almost frenzied at times and a true illustration of their collective talents. Lighted pillars added to the energy and even gave a surreal edge to parts of the performance. Fans started moving and as the night wore on, they ranged from bouncing to fist pumping to outright jumping.
Sugizo had said Luna Sea was maybe “too big” before their hiatus, which had led them to separating for as long as they did. From their interaction onstage, it was clear that their chemistry was likely as strong now as it had been a decade ago. While many factors happened to bring this incredible band together, there were probably as many complications before they disbanded. One would guess there’s as many now with their reunion.
During the second encore song, many fans were in tears, still with smiles on their faces. Some sang along and after bows were made, pictures taken and the lights coming back up, many remained in their places if for a fleeting hope of just one more song. Outside the venue, fans spoke of what it had meant to see Luna Sea live; quite a few mentioned they hadn’t thought it possible.
“Thank you for waiting for us!” Ryuichi thanked the audience with a smile during one of his MCs. He had said he hoped to show Los Angeles a great performance and Luna Sea definitely delivered. Sugizo had said he wanted people to go away from their shows thinking, “Wow, that was a great show!” For the people we spoke with, Luna Sea more than succeeded in achieving that goal.