Chapter 5 ~ 1995
Now in 1995, the biggest changes were about to come for L'Arc~en~Ciel. This is a very transitional time for the band - still holding onto their indies days, but moving away from it at the same time. By the end of this year they would be a completely different band.
The year started with a quick four stop tour starting January 24th, called "Ciel/winter '95", a fanclub member only live. During these lives, they play DUNE and Tierra songs, as well as some older indies songs thrown in as well (such as "No truth"). So far they still seemed to be the same.
But by February they had began recording a single for a new album. By May 21st, they released their first post-Tierra single, a video single for "and She Said". Already, it was like a new band. "and She Said" was a straightforward rock sound, done in a way not really heard from them before. Also on this day, they decided to do another all-Japan tour called "in CLUB '95", their largest yet. They played 20 shows from May 21st to June 27th, focusing on "and She Said" as well as upcoming songs such as "Vivid Colors" and "Brilliant Years". Yet they still found themselves playing their old favorites like "As if in a dream" for encores, rather than their new songs.
July 6th, shortly after the end of "in CLUB '95", brought the band's newest single "Vivid Colors", c/w "Brilliant Years". This single, a pop tune by ken, sold better than "Blurry Eyes" as expected. It became obvious now that the band was moving towards a more pop/rock style, rather than the more mysterious sound of old. Their musical style had become completely different, and their visual was changing as well. hyde and tetsu still had long hair, but wore feminine clothing now as opposed to the gypsy garb from before.
In August, the band not only began recording for a new single, but also went on a campaign to promote themselves, their latest single "Vivid Colors", and their upcoming album "heavenly". It was ten stops, with the members going in pairs to every other stop to do the promotion. ken and sakura would go to one place, and hyde and tetsu to the next the next day. By the end they were all going together. They played an alternate PV for "Vivid Colors" at these events.
Now, after promotion themselves for the last month, they were ready to release their third album "heavenly" on August 1st. It reached #3 on the Oricon chart, meaning it was doing much better than Tierra did. All their touring and promotion had paid off it seems. A week later the tour "heavenly '95" started, and they played 9 shows to entirely sold out crowds. With their popularity booming, they finally finished the single they had been recording since August, "natsu no yuuutsu [time to say good-bye]", on October 21st. It didn't sell as well as their others, probably because it was a re-cut from the album even though it differs significantly from that version. Nonetheless, the band was not discouraged with sales figures and pushed on with even more confidence.
Tour "heavenly '95" had ended on October 4th, but they still wanted to play more concerts, so they started "The other side of heavenly '95" on December 12th and played three more shows. Not only had their appearance become much lighter, but the band was having more fun at their lives now. No longer just entirely serious, they could make jokes with their fans and be a lot more playful now. This short tour demonstrated that. For their first stop, they covered three DEAD END songs for an encore. For their last stop, they switched members and became KIOTO, a parody band of TOKIO, and played TOKIO's song "LOVE YOU ONLY". Even though they were still playing older, indies songs, it was clear this was not the same band of 1994.
To close off 1995 with a bang, L'Arc~en~Ciel played the Budoukan for the first time in "TOUR heavenly '95 FINAL". For many bands, it is a dream to play at Budoukan, and many never reach it. But on December 27th, L'Arc~en~Ciel took it by storm, playing an assortment of all their heavenly, Tierra, and DUNE songs. Tickets for this live sold out in a mere 28 minutes.
To Chapter 6...