The concert marks a major step forward for Japanese bands performing in the UK and will hopefully pave the way for many Japanese artists to follow. L’Arc~En~Ciel are one of the many bands that have built up a large and loyal fanbase not just in Japan, but globally. This London date is one of several pit stops for the world tour which has also seen the band perform in cities such as Hong Kong and New York amongst others.
L’Arc~En~Ciel formed in Osaka back in 1991. Their debut album Dune made the No. 1 slot in the Oricon independent chart and this attracted the interest of major labels, with L’Arc~En~Ciel signing with Sony’s Ki/oon subsidiary label in 1994. They have sold in excess of 13 million albums and 16 million singles – a phenomenal record for any band.
L’Arc~En~Ciel’s 1998 single winter fall became the group’s first number one single and was swiftly followed by the simultaneous release of their two albums Ark and Ray, with Ark reaching the No. 1 slot in the Oricon charts and Ray at No. 2. A compilation album, Clicked Singles Best 13, was issued in 2001 and included songs chosen by the fanbase. Their first single for the 21st Century was Spirit Dreams Inside (Another Dream) and an English version of the track was used as the ending theme for the film Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within. Following this, the band took some time out whilst the members pursued solo projects, including two albums from vocalist hyde.
The band were also closely tied with the popular anime Fullmetal Alchemist and their 2004 single Ready Steady Go featured as the series’ opening theme. The same year the band made their debut American concert at the Otakon anime convention.
On January 1, 2011, L’Arc~En~Ciel celebrated their 20th Anniversary with a special midnight concert and also released the compilation album Twenity, which covered the wide span of the band’s career. The same year they provided Good Luck My Way – the theme song for Fullmetal Alchemist the Movie: The Sacred Star of Milos (marking their fourth contribution to the Fullmetal Alchemist series). A Japanese tour followed the same year with a world tour scheduled for 2012 which would see the band perform in Hong Kong, Bangkok, Tapei, New York, London and finally Paris.
J-Pop Go hopes that everyone attending tonight’s concert has a fantastic time – even if AKB48 are not lending support to the occasion.
Text by Paul Browne
11th April 2012