Ready Steady Go
“夢を描くよ、our hearts draw a dream.” –L’Arc~En~Ciel, ‘My Heart Draws a Dream’
Last night I experienced what was in all likelihood one of the most epic nights of my life. I was going to squeeze this into a post about redundant shrine visits in Kyoto, but after attending, I figured it deserved one of its own.
About a month ago some of my friends and I purchased tickets to L’Arc~En~Ciel’s 20th Anniversary concert tour at Osaka Dome (coincidentally, the band turns 20 the same year I do). L’Arc~En~Ciel is a Japanese band (with a French name, yes) who I have listened to since middle school. They are incredibly famous in Asia, and were actually one of the first bands I was ever really fond of, so it meant a lot to me to be able to go, especially considering that their shows are limited and they have not released an album since 2007.
Osaka Dome is a behemoth of a sports complex. Seating over 36,000 people, the show was completely sold out. The tickets available to us as non-fan club members were sold out in under 20 minutes. If it gives you any scale of the event, the concert we went to was the last show of the tour, and was broadcasted live to movie theaters across Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, and Taiwan for a charge of about $50 per ticket. Even though our seats were in the back row of the balcony, we could still hear and see everything that was going on, and hey, we were there, so we weren’t complaining.
At 5:02, two minutes past starting time, I really started to get anxious. And then, just as I was about to mention something about it to my friend, the lights cut out. And this might sound narrow-minded, and I may be reinforcing generational stereotypes, but I can say honestly that even after all the amazing things I’ve done in Japan so far, 36,000 glow sticks of different colors glowing in the pitch black darkness of Osaka Dome was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. No one was screaming, and the tension in the air was almost palpable. Then, on the screens and stage (the floor of which was a screen itself) appeared a scene of space, and the live orchestra, whose members were encased in moving glass boxes, began to play. Just as I thought the anticipation couldn’t get any worse, what sound cuts through the air but Hyde’s voice, singing with no backup, invisible from where I stood. The lights focused on him as he was lowered down from his position on the glass-encased orchestra, and continued to sing.
The next three hours were three hours of my life that I will never forget. Pyrotechnics, state of the art lighting and effects, endless chanting of the name “Hyde!” leading up to a hard rock number, the pleasantly surprising and upbeat “Hurry Xmas,” Ken reflecting on how Hyde is like a marshmallow…. From singing along with “My Heart Draws a Dream” to my friend from Maryland whacking me with her glow stick out of pure fangirl excitement, every moment is burned into my mind. …That’s not to say that I won’t buy the ridiculously overpriced concert DVD when it comes out later this month.
Roughly $100 of merchandise later (money well-spent!), we piled into the overcrowded subway, waves of adrenaline the only thing keeping us on our feet. I have a feeling that I will be thinking, talking, and singing about this for a long time. It will likely be a standout memory of my study abroad journey (which is saying a lot considering all the amazing things I have done already), and will most definitely be one I will cherish for the rest of my life.