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Legendary Japanese rock band to hold concert in Seoul

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Published : 2012-05-04 19:05
Updated : 2012-05-04 20:03

The legendary Japanese rock band L’Arc-en-Ciel will meet long-waiting Korean fans at a concert on Saturday in Seoul, making the city the 10th stop on their grand world tour.

Celebrating its 20th anniversary, the band embarked on a 14-city world tour, expecting to attract a total of 450,000 fans.

“I really thank our fans. Their love and cheers have driven us to keep doing what we have been doing,” said the bassist Tetsuya at a news conference on Friday in Seoul.

“I feel so lucky because there are few bands in the world that have lasted more than 20 years. I am really grateful that our fans and staff have been always supportive,” said the band’s front man Hyde. 
(From left) Drummer Yukihiro, bassist Tetsuya, vocalist Hyde and guitarist Ken of the Japanese rock band L’Arc-en-Ciel pose for photos at a news conference on Friday in Seoul. (Kim Myung-sub/The Korea Herald)

The tour started in Hong Kong on March 3 and continued through several Asian cities ― Bangkok, Shanghai and Taipei.

On March 25 the band became the first Japanese artist to perform at New York’s Madison Square Garden.

After performing in London, Paris, Singapore and Jakarta, they are meeting Korean fans at Jamsil Stadium in Seoul on Saturday.

“We are really happy to meet our Korean fans as we are in our best condition,” said Hyde, adding that the style and concept of the show will not be much different from those they held in Japan.

The members of the band recently drew local media attention with their comment on Girls’ Generation as one of their favorite K-pop groups.

“I like Girls’ Generation. They have good songs, nice style and good choreography. And they are also cute. We have heard K-pop songs in every part of the world that we thought at one point that we should sing our songs in Korean,” said Tetsuya.

“With the K-pop boom, we thought we would like to go with the tide,” he added.

The four-member outfit is one of the most famous rock bands in Japan along with X Japan, having sold more than 13 million albums and 16 million singles.

Since its debut in 1991, the band has released several chart-topping songs.

Their 12th studio album “Butterfly,” which came out in February, includes all their latest singles such as “Chase,” a theme song for the Japanese action film “Wild 7,” and “Bless,” a theme song for the NHK live broadcast of the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics and “XXX.”

“Our 12th album that marks our 20th anniversary has songs in different genres. This is the rare thing that only L’Arc-en-Ciel’s can do. Each song is different, but they are connected into one concept. This is what we are proud of,” said Hyde.

L’Arc-en-Ciel drew a huge fan base in Korea even before the country officially opened its doors to Japanese music in 1998.

After holding the first sold-out concert here in 2005, the band headlined the Pentaport Rock Festival in 2007 and held another concert in 2008.

Although the band members are in their 40s, they haven’t lost vigor in their style or their heavy make-up, dramatic outfits and exaggerated hairstyles.

All wearing trendy and unique clothes that reflect their personalities, four members also anticipated fun activities outside of music during their stay in Korea.

Guitarist Ken said he is into Korean dried laver and that he is looking forward to finding a nice one here; Hyde said he would try eating live octopus; Tetsuya said he planned to go to a massage parlor; Yukihiro said he was just happy to hold a live concert.

The band members have also played solos and formed another group called P’unk-en-Ciel, characterized by a faster and heavier sound.

In the “alter ego” band, the members switch their parts ― vocalist Hyde takes over the guitar; guitarist Ken plays the drums; drummer Yukihiro plays the bass; and bassist Tetsuya sings.

“After 20 years, people keep asking me what keeps us going forward. I don’t know why we are still strong. But we rather receive strength from our fans during concerts, not exhaustion,” said Hyde.

The L’Arc-en-Ciel concert takes place at 7 p.m. at Jamsil Indoor Stadium.

By Lee Woo-young (wylee@heraldcorp.com)