Luna Sea at The Hollywood Palladium

In high school,  all of us, no matter who we were had a group of friends. Maybe you were popular. Maybe you were a jock. Or maybe you hung with a bunch of artsy geeks.

I was part of that last one.

I went to San Francisco School of the Arts (SOTA), which is a public visual and performing arts alternative high school.

To make it more clear, yes, we were like “Fame”.

Okay. Not really. But we did often break into spontaneous verse in the hallways.

Anyway, SOTA, though larger now, only had a student population of about 400 students when I went there. It was pretty evenly distributed at 100 kids per class and everyone knew just about everyone else by sight, if not by name and art discipline. Due to its student body’s creative nature, it was an exceptionally tolerant environment. There was little to no violence.  No bullying. No harassment. If you didn’t like someone, you just didn’t hang out with them. Students were capable of being who they were, without fear. As a matter of fact, we actually enjoyed being outlandish and eccentric.

My high school was a great place and I was lucky to have gone there.

If I had gone anywhere else, I’m sure I would’ve gotten the living crap kicked out of me on a daily basis.

My friends and I were (and still are) definitely too geeky to survive a regular high school. We were band geeks. We gushed about our favorite Shostakovich pieces and the awesomeness of John Williams’ compositions, particularly the theme to Star Wars. We liked Star Trek. Apple computers. Online text based role playing games (Oh how I miss my bronze dragonrider  on StarStones MOO!). Origami. Video Games. Anime (Yes, I did watch all seasons of Sailor Moon in Japanese, and I am NOT ashamed!).

And J-rock.


Japanese rock music.

The person in my circle of friends (with whom you all should be familiar by now) who started my group off into the love of Japanese things was Maya. She introduced us to anime, beyond what was being dubbed into English and she was the one who shared with us the pop and rock music  that was coming out of Japan. The end of my high school career and the beginning of my time in college was spent trolling Japantown, buying CDs and watching PVs at the music store.

We listened to several artists, but when I think of the artist I listened to the most, it would have to be Hide.

I won’t lie. I still kinda want one of those chibi pink haired Hide keychains.

The other music group that we all listened to was a band called Luna Sea. Their music is completely amazing. I remember hanging out at Maya’s place and watching her videos (yes, videos! we had pagers too!) of a couple of Luna Sea lives. They were definitely an amazing band, their music evolving as their career progressed. I loved those videos…the live show looked amazing! I never in a million years dreamed that I would ever see them in concert.

But I did!

A few months back, it was announced that Luna Sea would be doing a 20th anniversary world tour, with a U.S. stop….in California, no less! Sure, it was L.A., which isn’t my favorite place…but I knew with them coming so close, I had to go. I got in contact with other high school friend and Japanese music enthusiast, Cindy, and we made plans to head down for the show.

When we arrived at The Palladium on Saturday night there were already two long lines of people waiting to get into the venue. We got into one line only to learn that it was the “VIP” line (which obviously meant you had to of paid extra money to be in) and were informed that the general admission line was around the other side of the building.

When we got to the other side I saw the marquee and I thought to myself, “Holy shit. I’m about to see Luna Sea!”

Really, it was surreal and I had to keep thinking that to myself, to prove that it was real.

We ended up standing in line in front of a die-hard fan who was originally from Korea. Apparently it was illegal to buy Japanese music there back then and she bought it on the black market and spent hours on the internet (as did my friends) downloading material at incredibly slow connection speeds (how did we ever live with dial-up?). She even bought tickets to their final concerts (Luna Sea broke up at the end of 2000) in Japan, but ended up having to sell them because her father refused to hand over her passport –she was still a minor at the time. Now a days she resides in Idaho, but she had to come to California when she found out they were coming. I have never heard someone so pumped up to see a show.

Honestly, it made me even more excited to get in there. Also the fact that it was freezing outside made me want to get in there. Despite our tickets saying 7pm on them, we didn’t get in there until well after 8pm. Waiting makes me totally anxious.

Once in the venue we checked out the room. I immediately felt privileged that I was going to get to see the band in such an intimate venue. I could tell this was going to be epic.

After the initial scope out we made a visit to the crazy crowded souvenir stand (you better believe I was going to get some swag!) and got a cocktail while we waited for the show to begin.

My badass t-shirt. This is the back, the front just says LUNA SEA in the same font across the chest.

I really like my tote bag. I’m sorry it didn’t want to hang nicely off my door hook.

After we had alcohol and material possessions we went back into the auditorium. We ended up standing in the pit, to the left and towards the back. I probably would’ve gone in a little deeper, but Cindy was a little concerned about how rough it would get on the concert floor. Having been to a rock concert in Japan (I saw Oblivion Dust when I was in Tokyo in Feb. 2008), I knew that it would be chill. Even with a partially (a LOT of the crowd had actually flown in from Japan) American audience, I knew it would be nothing like a typical U.S. show. No moshing, slam dancing, getting kicked in the head, battered and bruised. I knew it would be bouncing, fist pumping and synchronized hand movements all of the way. And I was right.

I totally love to bounce and fist pump.

I’m not going to go through the concert song by song, as that isn’t the way I relive concerts in my brain. I’m not a note taker or a person who writes down setlists. I tend to just remember my thoughts and emotions during the show.

My thoughts throughout the show:

“OMG! Ryuichi is speaking broken English right in front of me!”

“OMG! It’s J! He’s playing bass! I love J and his bass!”

“OMG! J is hella cute. I had forgotten how completely adorable and amazing he is! J! I love you!”


Essentially I was a hysterical fan girl.

A hysterical fan girl who takes ugly iPhone pictures of the band while pogo-ing up and down and screaming.

I completely lost it when they started playing Rosier. I know, I know. Totally stereotypical. Freaking out when you hear one of a band’s greatest hits. I couldn’t help it though. I love that song so much…I still remember the words, all of these years later! The other songs that really stuck out for me from the show were “Genesis of Mind” and “Face to Face”. What can I say? I love their album, “Mother“, and it still goes down as one of my favorite albums of my teens.

I really want to share Rosier with you, but the YouTube videos that are up of the show I went to shake so much that watching them makes me nauseous. So instead, watch this performance from 2007:

Kick ass.

Anyway, I guess I don’t need to say this now, but in case you were wondering, the show was absolutely amazing and I cannot believe I even considered not going to it because it was in L.A. I’m sad to think that I may never have the opportunity to see them live again, but I feel happy about the fact that this tour was filmed and I will probably get the opportunity to buy the experience for my at home viewing pleasure.

If any of you buy it, look for me. I was the white girl jumping around like a maniac.

At the end of the show the band members threw out souvenirs into the crowd. Guitar picks, towels, opened water bottles (not really a souvenir, but still…) and of course, Shinya threw his drumsticks into the audience.

I didn’t see it coming.

I had fangirl towels in front of my face. Besides, we were way too far in the back to have anything flying at us…right? Wrong!

I got maimed by Shinya’s drumstick. I know it’s hard to see in this picture, but if you look at my arm, there is a welt. It lasted for 3 hours!

After getting hit, I turned around and saw Cindy on the ground, wrestling with a cute little girl. The girl kept saying, “Can’t you let me have it?” Cindy kept saying, “No.” In the end, however, Cindy handed it over.

Personally, I think I should have had dibs. I’m the one who was injured by it! Oh well.

After the show, we headed to Roscoe’s for their famous Chicken and Waffles. We both got the breast and 1 waffle plate, as well as Arnold Palmers (ice tea + lemonade), which were called something else. Can I say, to die for? I can. And just did.

Don’t worry. I did not eat that entire mound of butter.

What were you listening to in high school? Did you ever see them live?

15 thoughts on “Luna Sea at The Hollywood Palladium

    1. Well, it’s all very nostalgic for me. It was fun times remembering how into the music/culture we all were then. For my friend Maya, it’s her real life now…as it wasn’t just a phase in her case. But for me, it just takes me back to my late teens and all of the shenanigans of that time.

      You want to see enthusiasm though, wait until I finally post about my undying love for Bob Dylan! 😉

  1. Wow, that is some injury! You totally should have gotten some kind of loot out of that!

    I was really curious to hear how the American show went, and was wondering if the audience would be mostly made of Japanese people. It sounds like it was really fun! Ten years ago I would never have believed that Luna Sea would play in the U.S. Also, that tote bag is awesome! 😀

    1. No kidding! I might’ve caught it if this girl hadn’t had her towel up in the air, blocking my view of the stage. I didn’t see it coming…I’m taller than Cindy and the girl who got the stick, so I might’ve been able to catch it if I had been able to see it.

      A lot of the people were Japanese and many of those who weren’t Japanese were still Asian. I gather many people came to the states to see them here. There were, of course, a sprinkling of geeky white people there too. There was a programmer guy from Berkeley standing in front of us who kept breaking into our conversation, diagnosing what was wrong with a laptop I was talking about with Cindy. He also waited in the merch line with us. I wish we could’ve hung out with him during the show. He seemed pretty cool.

      The tote is awesome! The geeky white guy mentioned above noted that he would have totally bought one, if, you know, he were a chick. Stamp of approval! 😉

  2. I’m really glad you decided to go in the end! It’s too bad that I couldn’t come along.. it would have been interesting to see them in such a small venue. I suppose I’ll have to be content with the Dome shows, Hong Kong, and possibly Kobe. >_>

    I’ve also been beaned with things at shows before. Actually, the first thing we ever caught at a J show was the water bottle that nearly knocked me out on impact with my forehead. Still have that one on our bookshelf somewhere. It has a nice big dent in it from my head. We’ve also been pelted with cake, beer, and drumsticks, though thankfully with no injuries in those cases! (kicks to the head and elbows to the mouth are another thing entirely, though).

    That said.. as adorable as J is when he’s up on stage, I’m still not used to his new hair after he suddenly and unexpectedly cut it all off this summer. I know some people were happy when he finally did it, but I miss his old shag.. (he had the same hair all 5 years we’ve been here, so I’m sentimentally attached to the look.. >_>)..

    The VIP line was probably for those with passes and the press..

    1. I’m glad nothing hit me in the head… x_X

      Anyone could have been a VIP…I saw an advertisement for it after the fact. It just cost more money. They got let in first and got a special t-shirt. There may have been another merchandise perk…but I only remember hearing about the tee.

      1. huh.. I have always been under the impression that VIP was the English equivalent of what they call kankeisha over here. That is, the people on the guest list. In Japan there are only two lines to get in, paying tickets (fan club ticket holders go first, then general), and kankeisha (lit. related persons).

        At any rate, they have a similar thing available here, but it’s only open to fan club members that pay extra and is called Slaves’ Premium seating or something like that. In 2007 it came with a red version of the rhinestone t-shirt they sold.

  3. It still cracks me up that you had the same alternative J-rock teen experiences I did, lol. We had a circle of illicit fan-subbed anime VHS traders and spent ridiculous amounts of money on trips to San Francisco to get legit Japanese CDs of our favorite bands, since generally we only had crap-quality MP3s or WAVs or whatever.

    Reno doesn’t have an arts high school, so I spent my first two years at a Catholic school, and then got super fed up with it and finished my last two years at a special high school program at the community college.

    I never did see any of my favorite Japanese bands live, but I wasn’t much of a concert-goer anyway. I loooooooove love love live music, but huge screaming crowds kind of intimidate me. O_O

    1. I still have a lot of my fansubs. The idea that I may watch some of them again is the only thing that keeps me holding onto my VCR. Maybe a Sailor Moon fest on Christmas Day? You never know.. 😉

      As much as I loved my school, I hated being a teenager. I wanted to test out of my senior year and start community college early, but my mom wouldn’t sign the paperwork….

      I love concerts. I don’t like the people either….often I will hang in the back to avoid the crazy folk. There are, however, some bands worth getting surrounded by nutzos for.

  4. Great report. =D

    I love hide and Luna Sea too! Did you know hide was the one who originally discovered Luna Sea? They were really good friends too, which I think is awesome. =3

    It really was surreal being there. Even more surreal was that I actually got front row. =O Of course waiting about 9 hours in line could have something to do with that.

    Also your high school sounds -amazing-. I wish I’d known about it when I was in high school, though I still lucked out in going to a visual arts magnet school called DASH in Miami (which was similar, but not much performing arts unfortunately D=).

    By the way, here’s my report if you’re interested. =)

  5. I caught one of ShinyA’s drumsticks too! 😀
    Do you by any chance know where you can find interviews of the audience after the show, because me and my friend were interviewed after the concert and we’re desperate to find our interview XD

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