L’Arc En Ciel’s Madison Square Garden Show Is A ‘Turning Point’

Rock band will become first Japanese act to headline MSG on Sunday, which frontman Hyde calls 'highlight' of a 20-year career.

On Sunday, Japanese art-rock act L’Arc en Ciel — French for “the rainbow,” naturally — will make history when they become the first band from their homeland to headline a show at New York’s iconic Madison Square Garden.

The show, part of the band’s 20th anniversary world tour, was originally scheduled for the much smaller Theater at MSG, but due to overwhelming demand from their long-suffering Stateside fans — L’Arc have played just one North American show in their two decades of existence, a 2004 gig at an Otaku convention in Baltimore — organizers moved it to the venerable Garden arena. And for a band that has had approximately zero promotion here in the U.S., it is understandably a very big deal, as frontman Hyde told MTV News (via translator) on Friday (March 23).

“This is huge for our band to perform at the world-famous Madison Square Garden, so I want to make sure we give you the very best show for the American audience. … I want to take the very best of everything we’ve done in Japan and put it in this show,” Hyde said. “It’s so hard for a Japanese act to be successful in America, but we were given this opportunity, so that means there is a possibility for us to break in the American market. I definitely feel lucky to be here after 20 years as a band.”

And for Hyde, who grew up listening to “L.A. metal … Guns N’ Roses and Mötley Crüe,” the opportunity to take the stage at the World’s Most Famous Arena has an even bigger significance. Mostly because, when L’Arc first started 20 years ago in Osaka, Hyde never thought he’d be singing before 19,000 folks in New York City. He wasn’t even sure he’d ever make it to Tokyo.

“This world tour is definitely one of the highlights of our career. It ranks at the top of all the highlights, but amongst it all, this Madison Square Garden performance is such a turning point in our career, so we look forward to it,” he said. “It’s very hard to predict what’s next for L’Arc en Ciel, and for us, it’s almost a miracle we’ve lasted this long. When we first started, I was just happy to be able to eat. Our goal back then was to be #1 in Osaka so that people in Tokyo could hear about us.”

Luckily, he and the band will have a few days after the show to soak up the New York City experience. Of course, thanks to the warm weather, there’s one aspect of the city he’s sadly already missed out on.

“We’re going to be here in New York for a week, and I was looking forward to the steam coming up from the streets, but I haven’t seen that yet, what happened to that?” he laughed of the blasts of warm air that often spring up from subway grates. “Also, I watched a lot of Billy Joel videos growing up, and I would love to see some of the scenes from those videos.”

Will you check out L’Arc en Ciel at the Garden? Tell us in the comments!