Japanese rockers go back to future

Leon Lee
Leon Lee |

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On Hitomi No Junnin, L'Arc~en~Ciel sat around a drum kit as a video of the world played.
Japanese rock band L'Arc~en~Ciel have been around since 1991. Along the way, they've sold more than 13 million albums worldwide and amassed a legion of fans. More than 10,000 of them packed the arena at AsiaWorld-Expo a week ago to show them some Hong Kong love.

The show began when a giant LED screen lit up with a futuristic video of the band on a space station. As lead singer Hyde broke the "camera" in the video, the band appeared onstage to a rapturous welcome from the crowd.

They jumped into their first song, Ibara No Namida, with the crowd screaming their heads off - a regular feature of the two-hour concert.

The light show on their next song, Chase, appeared to move and shake the whole stage, as if by sheer force of the excited fans.

Just before the start of Honey, Hyde tried to speak to the audience in broken Cantonese, which the crowd loved. He showed his sense of humour, too, because he didn't hide (pun intended) the fact that he was trying to read from a "cheat sheet" on the floor.

The band kept the energy high with Revelation, featuring a "call and response" with the crowd. This perfect stadium track had the place rocking, with the crowd throwing their arms to and fro.

Things finally slowed down with Hitomi No Junnin. The band sat around the drum kit and performed with only a white spotlight on them and a video of the world rotating behind them. Then came the first of the solos: guitarist Ken was left performing a haunting refrain alone in the dark before the band joined him as the music turned into My Heart Draws a Dream.

A couple of tracks later, it was bassist Tetsuya's turn to strut his stuff. After he was done, he took out a banana, sniffed it and threw it into the audience. Apparently this is a tradition of his at concerts. Drummer Yukihiro's turn came after the band sang the popular Ready Steady Go, which led to a 10-minute break...

The band returned with Anata and a crystal ball. After three more songs, Hyde announced that Niji would the last track of the night, and blew a kiss to the crowd.

Playing to the loudest cheers of the night, they sang with feathers floating everywhere, like a scene from a dream.

The show was definitely a success for L'Arc~en~Ciel - their first stop on a 13-city world tour, which includes Paris, New York and London. It was a fun night and one that will satisfy fans around the world.