A week after and I still think of the L’Arc~en~Ciel concert as some sort of a dream. It was a trip that was made of so many firsts: first time to go out of the country on my own, first time to organize a trip by myself, first time to travel abroad for the sole reason of watching a favorite band perform. To think that I don’t even understand what they’re singing about.
Warning: Long, rambling post ahead.
I thought I was going alone to the concert, but my online friend Ren said she wanted to go too. We thought it was funny that we’ve been online contacts for a while now, but our first meeting would be in Hong Kong. We agreed to book one room in order to save money, and we were happy with the hostel that we got.
We didn’t really plan anything for the trip. I guess we both had the mindset of “concert first, bahala na whatever after.” In fact, we spent the afternoon before the concert just going around Harbour City in Tsim Sha Tsui. Around 3 PM we headed towards the Asia World Expo Arena. It was actually quite a distance away from where we were, but because Hong Kong’s trains are very efficient, it wasn’t a difficult trip.
In the train, we saw a few other concert goers. There was a pair of Japanese girls who said that they followed the band from their previous location, and will continue to Taiwan and the other places. They also had various memorabilia on them. Talk about hardcore. Ren talked to them and I just smiled at them because I couldn’t really understand what they were saying (I still need a bit more levelling up on my Japanese skills).
When we arrived at the arena, I was surprised that there wasn’t much people yet. I mean, I had expected that there were more people loitering about. My first goal was to find the merchandise table, but I didn’t find what I wanted and the CDs were sold out. I ended up not buying anything, which is fine.
Ren and I went around, looking for a place to eat as well as observing the others who were there for the concert. We spotted a few Pinoys, but none whom we knew. We signed one of the banners that some fans had, and took random photos. Later on, we met with two girls also from the Philippines. We waited at the side of the staff entrance in hopes of seeing the band come in before the concert started. No such luck, but it was fun talking to them and doing some people watching.
It was amusing to watch the fans go around in various costumes to show how much they loved Laruku. There were so many girls who were in Gothic Lolita dresses we joked that it was a Lolicon with Laruku as special guests. Some girls even sported braids similar to Hyde’s. Too late I realized that I should’ve worn a white, short-sleeved polo with a necktie. Or Filipiniana. Now that would make me stand out. Then again, we were the “mature” fans, because we wore normal clothes hehe.
We deposited our stuff for safekeeping (mostly because we were lugging around SLRs and the concert organizers didn’t allow cameras inside during the performance). We were giddy as we made our way to our seats. While Ren and I bought our tickets separately, we found out that we were just a few seats apart. My seatmate is Jennifer, the girl from Malaysia I bought the tickets from.
Are you ready?
The concert was slated to start at 8 PM, but it was nearly thirty minutes after it when the stage sprung to life. The crowd was screaming as the huge LED screen lit up, showing a butterfly flying around a city (reminded me of Final Fantasy). The screen then showed a globe flashing the names of the countries included in the tour. The screen then changed to four copper-looking panels that had the name of each band member (it was so steampunk-ish). When it opened, it showed four people curled up and sleeping in some sort of pods (again, another FF reminder for me). The butterfly landed on the hands of a guy with braids, and you knew that it was Hyde. After a bit more of this fantastic sequence, the band went onstage and kicked off the concert with Ibara no Namida.
Right now, my memory of the concert is pretty fuzzy. I can’t really remember the proper sequencing of the songs, but JPopManila has the set-list (great for reference).
- The first “glitch” of the evening was during the performance of Honey. A little into the song Hyde suddenly stops singing and tells the audience “Please wait”. Then they start again. Rather than be pissed at the interruption, the crowd just clapped.
- Hyde’s dancing and outfit brought to mind a hybrid of Axel Rose and Captain Jack Sparrow. If you don’t know who Axel Rose is, then that means I am old. Haha.
- Hitomi no Juunin wasn’t one of my favorite songs when it first came out, but I loved how they performed it during the concert.
- I was waiting for Stay Away the whole night and as the last strains of Driver’s High faded away, I noticed three huge, Dalek-looking speakers behind Tetsu, who was still playing his bass. Right then I knew they were going to play my favorite song and when they did, I just wanted to cry. Disappointed that Hyde didn’t dance, but he did gyrate a bit so I guess that would do.
- The solo of each member is pretty awesome, especially when Yuki started banging those drums after Ready Steady Go. Ken’s was also very moving during the start of My Heart Draws A Dream, and the song was made even more memorable when the crowd was singing along with the chorus.
- Hyde and Ken tried to talk to the audience in Cantonese. This is where I was thoroughly confused because I can’t understand it. Ren was able to ask her seatmate what they guys were saying. Earlier, Hyde was trying to say “Let’s rock!” or something, while Ken told the audience about how he saw a lot of Angry Birds merchandise while he went out shopping. He handed a plastic bag to Hyde, who had this “WTF” expression on his face when he opened it. Tetsu threw some bananas, and squirted water to the audience using a banana shaped water gun.
- There was a lull after Ready Steady Go where the band exited the stage and it was quiet for about 15 minutes. The crowd was restless, continuously clapping and shouting “encore”. What I found amusing was when everyone started doing the huge body wave. The guys at the front (near the stage) would start, and everyone would follow. Afterwards, everyone would clap and laugh and do it all over again. Some folks at the stands would start stomping their feet, and everyone would follow.
What an encore
Anata was the first song of the encore set, moving on to Winter Fall. I was pretty stoked when they played 4th Avenue Cafe, which was one of the first L’Arc~en~Ciel song I ever heard, thanks to Ruroni Kenshin. Link and Niji rounded up the concert line-up, and then, it was over.
It seemed that a lot of the people didn’t want to leave just yet. The merchandise booth was still open, and they were selling off the last of the stuff that was there. On the second floor, there was a line to buy various Laruku cds, which I had to pass because I didn’t want to wait. Suddenly, I was tired. Ren and I had a long train ride ahead of us, so we made our way back.
Curiously, I didn’t have that high feeling that I had normally after I watch a concert. While I enjoyed myself, there was a part of me that was a little detached from everything. Still, we couldn’t help relive a few of the fun moments in the show. If the guys ever decide that they want to perform in Manila (ha!), it would be a riot to hear Hyde and Tetsu try to speak in Tagalog.