L’Arc~en~Ciel Live 2014 Broadcast Report
It’s been two years since New York City last saw L’Arc~en~Ciel on their World Tour, in 2012. When the band announced they would be performing two shows at Tokyo’s National Stadium, it was very exciting, but for those of us in the States, it was very unlikely we would be attending. Live Viewing Japan had the solution to our problem — to broadcast the concert via satellite to cities all over the world! New York City was one of 10 U.S. cities to view the delayed broadcasting of the March 22 concert.
You may be thinking, “Why would I want to watch a movie of a concert?” If you consider the fact that you are watching this just mere hours after it occurred in Japan in the comfort of your own neighborhood (if you were lucky enough to be in a chosen city), on a large movie screen for a fraction of the price a DVD — it’s not a bad way to spend a Saturday afternoon with some friends and fellow Jrock lovers.
Live Viewing Japan had a street team at each venue to hand out glow sticks and special limited edition postcards to attendees to make it further feel like a real show. In a typical movie theater, beforehand there would be an announcement to please silence your cell phones and to refrain from speaking. However, for this broadcast attendees were encouraged to clap and sing along! New York City did just that.
It was a relaxing atmosphere, sitting in comfortable movie theater chairs, but as the lights when down and the band emerged via space shuttle looking capsules, everyone was on the edge of their seat and clapping just as the audience in Japan clapped. Glow sticks could soon be seen waving in the air throughout the theater as the music started and the band worked their charm.
It is a hard experience to describe unless you have previously experienced it. You aren’t at a concert, and yet you are, thanks to technology. When vocalist Hyde put his face close into the camera, looking directly at the audience, girls screamed as if he were truly in front of us. One of the downsides is technical difficulties. The broadcast was a delayed stream, simultaneously shown in all 10 U.S. cities. Early on, there was an error in the broadcast and a blue screen appeared, with groans from everyone. Thankfully this only lasted about 30 seconds.
As everyone waved their glow sticks as if they were in the National Stadium, the voices of Japanese fans and American fans merged together as one. When Hyde yelled, “Are you READY?” those in the theater responded by singing and cheering along. Yes, the NYC audience sang along, aloud, with the broadcast — and nobody complained. Everyone was in attendance for the same reason — to have fun.
Unfortunately, due to copyright and legal reasons, L’Arc~en~Ciel’s newest song was not shown. There was about a six-minute break where a message was put on the screen stating for copyright reasons, the next section could not be shown overseas. We later realized it was a brand new song. Audience members sighed in disappointment, but gladly took this short break over the 3-hour long concert to run to the restroom or stretch their legs.
The band members each gave extensive MC’s as they often do in Japan — but of course these were spoken in Japanese. Unless you understand Japanese or have a friend nearby who could translate, these MC’s would easily be lost. The feeling was there, yet as Ken’s story or Hyde’s heartfelt message were not subtitled and therefore the message lost.
During Tetsuya’s MC, he looked directly into the camera and said, “People are watching this in theaters, right? How are you?”
For Hyde’s MC, he stated something to the effect of, “I don’t know when we will meet again as L’Arc~en~Ciel, but it was nice to play in a place like this.” A bittersweet message.
As the broadcast came to a close, fans applauded one final time for a job well done. Smiles could be seen on everyone’s faces as they left the theater. Some lingered in the hallway outside the theater, chatting with old and making new friends. It was an overall great experience for the Jrock and L’Arc fans of the NYC area to come together for one night for a common cause. Fans can only hope L’Arc~en~Ciel may return in person to the Big Apple one day in the future.