Title / Artist
LUNATIC FEST at Makuhari Messe - DAY 1 (June, 27th 2015)
Date: 2015.07.06
Artist:   LUNA SEA   X Japan   DIR EN GREY   Siam Shade   DEAD END  
Date of Concert: 2015.06.27
If you haven’t heard about LUNATIC FEST, you probably have been living under a rock or on another planet for the last few months. Sponsored by legendary band LUNA SEA, this event live put to shame any other event live of the year, gathering together several well-known names of contemporary Japanese rock music in all his shades; from younger “kohai” to older “senpai” bands of the scene, in an impressive scenario spread over three stages and two days at Makuhari Messe.

Performing artists: LUNACY, 9mm Parabellum Bullet, the telephones, TOKYO YANKEES, coldrain, LADIES ROOM, SIAM SHADE, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, DIR EN GREY, DEAD END, X JAPAN, LUNA SEA

The first band to open the event on both days was LUNACY, basically an alternative and more “visual” version of LUNA SEA inspired by their original name in their starting days; on day one, their set list included older evergreen such as [CHESS], [MECHANICAL DANCE] and [SHADE].

LUNACY was followed by hardcore band 9mm Parabellum Bullet and the electronic-influenced rock of the telephones . Veteran TOKYO YANKEES took the stage third, firing up the crowd with their rough punkish rock, and X JAPAN’s Pata joined them for their last song [Hollywood Heartbreaker], almost shy at first, before the members invited him to come closer to them and play all together the end of the track on the front of the stage.
coldrain appeared next, accompanied by an epic SE. The young post-hardcore band, formed in 2007 and rapidly grown famous, brought a Western wind to Makuhari, thanks to its half-American, half-Japanese vocalist Masato and English lyrics. Their setlist included two of their most popular tracks, the catchy and high-speed [The Revelation] and the fierce [The War is On], played respectively at the beginning and the end for the maximum impact on the audience, who sang along and moshed.
SIAM SHADE brought a scent of Visual Kei with them; event without seeing them, one could feel their origins, and the hall rapidly filled up once again while they went through several of their hits, like [RAIN] and [1/3 no Junjou na Kanjo].
The following Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas brought a party atmosphere to Makuhari, with their mix of distorted vocals, growling and fast-paced metalcore sound that can be best appreciated live. The members entered the stage and invited the crowd to get wild right away, a call to which the fans complied jumping and raising their fists through songs like [Rave-up Tonight] and [Let Me Hear].

It was then time for the biggest acts of the evening to start appearing on stage, as it usually is at event lives, and the series started with and intense set by DIR EN GREY.
A white screen covered the stage, and various images started flashing in rapid succession; fire, falling autumn leaves, clouds, until the band’s name finally appeared among the fans’ screams. Lights turned on behind the screen, revealing the members’ silhouettes: [and Zero] started, and the band kept playing behind the screen, which showed an intricate animation sequence with some common elements – people, labyrinths, ants. Then the screen finally fell from above, revealing the band for the following [SUSTAIN THE UNTRUTH], an heavier classic by DIR EN GREY. All dressed in black, vocalist kyo pleased the crowd with the band’s typical blend of growls and matchless, characteristic singing, topping in an almost a capella deafening scream. Then, the audience was carried into the following [Hageshisa to, Kono Mune no Naka De Karamitsuita Shakunetsu no Yami], and the following video playing on screen revealed a DIR EN GREY ‘s classic, [saku], enhanced by red lights blooding up the stage until the final, solitary high note.
After [THE FINAL], the lights turned off, and when they went back on, LUNA SEA’s SUGIZO appeared on stage with his violin for one of the most magnificent moments of the festival. The stage was plunged into a yellow hue, and the violin notes flawlessly intertwined with the acoustic guitar for the beginning of [Kukoku no Kyouon]. kyo’s voice soon replaced the violin over the guitar strings, and images of floating lanterns appeared on the stage’s back screen, enhancing the already astonishing performance and creating an almost mystical, breathtaking scenery that had the whole audience in awe, speechless.
The setlist sped up again with the following [Un Deux]. Images of a church seen from a flying perspective appeared on the back screen, and cold white lights flashed the stage for this high-speed piece. Without a break, an almost oriental sounding guitar introduced the loud and screamed [Revelation of Mankind], in which kyo’s growling shone at his best above SHINYA’s tight drumming.

At last, the vocalist broke the silence typical of the band’s performances. “Last!” he simply repeated several times, his hand in the air, staring at the crowd. Red and white lights punctuated [Rasetsukoku], with all moving members of DIR EN GREY headbanging on stage. Both the crowd and the band went wild for this last track, with guitarists Kaoru and Die walking around the stage, firing up the audience, and bassist Toshiya’s chords filling the speakers.
It was then time for another stage change and for DEAD END to play. The members captured the crowd’s attention right away with their glam rock appearance, and swiftly proceeded through their set, including the “old school” sound of [I Want Your Love], the funkier [Psychomania] and [Serafine], for which SUGIZO and RYUICHI of LUNA SEA joined the band members on stage, playing with them in perfect harmony for this cadenced and slow track.
The crowd rapidly moved back to the Moon Stage, and everyone in the building gathered for one of the most anticipated sets of the evening. After a long wait, the X JAPAN logo appeared on stage and people screamed, raising their glow sticks in the air to form the typical “x” sign.
The tension rose too, and after what seemed like an eternal wait, blue lights turned on and a video of the most recent world tour started playing on the stage’s back screen. At last, Yoshiki appeared behind the drums making the “X” sign with his arms, welcomed by the fans’ cheers and follow-up identical gesture. The other members also climbed on the stage, and the set started with their most recent release, [Jade]. Yoshiki’s drums was the source of a bundle of lights, and the fans once again waved their hands in the air in rhythm and sang the refrain in perfect unison.
Green lasers and fireworks’ explosions opened [Rusty Nail], another song that the audience knew by heart. The two guitars SUGIZO and Pata playfully dueled facing each other, and the green lasers became waves that filled Makuhari’s ceiling. Then, Yoshiki left the drums to sit on his Kawai piano. Toshi started singing, beautifully matching his voice with the piano notes, but the crowd concluded the lyrics for him in an emotional moment, before [KURENAI] picked up speed. Silver ribbons blasted from the ceiling and red lights dyed the stage, while the members moved around interacting with each other: Pata went to play closer to Heath, while Toshi climbed on the drums, located himself behind Yoshiki and started hiding behind him, eventually hitting the cymbals, while the drums rolled like thunder. Lights then turned off and the hall was plunged in shadow, with the audience’s colorful led lights punctuating the dark. The band members thanked everyone for coming to the show, and then they announced a surprise for the fans: their voices would be recorded to be included in one of X Japan’s new songs. “ Will you lend your voice to our new album?” aked Toshi, and the crowd replied enthusiastically. “Let’s practice – he continued- Because recording is strict”. After a few more rounds of instructions, Yoshiki sat at the piano to play a beautiful, melancholic ballad, [KISS THE SKY]. Toshi started singing, and the crowd sang the following “ooh” sections as it had been told to, with Yoshiki checking the result in his headphones. One by one, the other instruments also entered the song, including the drums, before one last chorus.

It was then time for another emotional moment, when Yoshiki sat at his piano, followed by SUGIZO, chatted a bit with Toshi and thanked the fans once again, almost moved to tears. He then announced another X classic, [Endless Rain]. Blue lights, the silver speckles of the mirror ball and rain images on the back screen enhanced the pensive mood of this beloved track. Yoshiki stayed at the piano for a bit more, gradually going erratic and pounding into the keys: eventually he went back to the drum set, poured water over himself and this launched the wild [Born to be free]. SUGIZO and Pata once again played face to face, while everyone in the hall sang the chorus with hands high in the air.
Yoshiki once again went back and forth between piano and drums, until he eventually disclosed the last song of the evening. “We are X!” he screamed, and the crowd impetuously replied. The rolling rhythm of [X] then filled the hall, while fans pumped their fists into the air and jumped. Once again behind the drums, Toshi called out one by one the band members, and also hide appeared on the back screen. “We are X! You are X!” screamed Yoshiki and Toshi multiple times, and each time the whole crowd jumped with the signature crossed hands above the head. In the meantime, the writings “In memory of Taiji, 1966-2011” and “ In memory of hide, 1964-1998” appeared on the two side screens, and the screams became louder. “I can’t hear you!” said Yoshiki, teasing the crowd, while SUGIZO replaced him behind the drums. “Louder!” he requested, and the crowd complied in an earsplitting scream, in particular when an older video recording of hide appeared on the back screen.

When the X members left the stage, the audience welcomed a 30 minutes pause, perfect to recharge the batteries in preparation for the last act of the first day.
While the crowd clapped hands in rhythm, lights on the stage revealed a red drum set, and LUNA SEA's name appeared on the screen. One by one the members entered the stage, and they delivered a set full of their evergreen songs that everyone in the hall loved and knew by heart.
[LOVELESS] started off their performance, with SUGIZO sporting his triple neck guitar and INORAN his acoustic guitar. Fireworks went off at the beginning of [Dejavu], and the crowd waved their hands and headbanged in perfect unison as a sole being during this classic, upbeat track.
"Thank you for coming! - said then RYUICHI - A lot of bands played today; kohais, senpais and our friends. It's been a long time since we did an event as hot as this and with so many bands, I'm really happy! It looks like a stratigraphy or rock music, having all these years of history gathered together in one place. I want everybody to sing aloud with us today...". He then announced the following song, [ROUGE], a sensual and cadenced track for which the stage was aptly dyed in red lights and the back screen turned into a lava bed.

A single back spotlight illuminated the vocalist while introduced [JESUS], before the pounding drums came in and bassist J joined the chorus singing the haunting lines "Jesus, don't you love me?". In the following [TONIGHT], RYUICHI's voice slightly faltered, and he jokingly addressed this in a short MC. " My voice just died a bit, but I'm really having fun! Are you having fun too?" he asked the audience, and screams ensued. Right after, silver lasers and violet lights opened [gravity], and all eyes were once again glued to his touching performance.
Then the stage was once again literally transformed in a furnace for [SWEETEST COMA AGAIN]; both the crimson lights and fire erupting on the stage put the final touch to the voluptuous atmosphere created by this song. The mood changed with the following [I FOR YOU], probably LUNA SEA's most famous ballad; the back screen once again proved essential in enhancing the mood, with the images switching from a starry sky to the ocean seen from a flying point of view.
The band then surprised everyone by playing a song that no fans would have expected: hide's image appeared on the screen, and the band launched into a rendition of his signature solo song [Pink Spider]. Without a break, the show continued into the popular [TIME IS DEAD]; the five members appeared on the back screen side by side, and everyone in the audience headbanged and sang the chorus; SUGIZO concluded the track with an earsplitting, flawless solo at the center of the stage.

" Last song!" announced RYUICHI, regaining his position and starting off [ROSIER].
This was partly a lie, as the band did come back for an encore, with several of the guests of the day on stage with them, including the members of X Japan. Yoshiki appeared smiling, with hide's signature yellow guitar in his hands, and everyone on stage sang and played LUNA SEA's [PRECIOUS] together, before the other bands left and LUNA SEA members concluded the day with [WISH].
The best, however, was yet to come.

Setlist: LUNACY and LUNA SEA
-SE- (King Volcano)
-SE- (月光)
2. Dejavu
3. Rouge
6. Gravity
7. Sweetest Coma Again
8. I for You
9. ピンク スパイダー (hide with spread beaver)
EN1. PRECIOUS (セッション)
Author: Diletta F.
last update: 2015-10-19