Chapter 9 ~ 1999
See ya again in the next world!
By April of 1999, it had become clear what the band was planning on: they were preparing for a double album release! With 6 singles out already, they persisted on. On April 18th, they released "HEAVEN'S DRIVE", another one of hyde's catchy, rockier songs like "HONEY". Once again, a remix was featured as the c/w song. It was another instant hit and of course went right to number 1, and sold a million copies as well. During this month, they also became a regular on the TV show LONDON HEARTS, in which they would play songs from their upcoming albums.
As summer rolled around, the group produced yet another single, the 8th since HEART, titled "Pieces". Finally, they had released a grand, sweeping ballad as a single, and it proved to be another success. yukihiro's "fate -fake fate mix-" appeared as the c/w. It was finally time to stop releasing singles... now the wait was for L'Arc's double album release.
"ark" and "ray" came out on July 1st, in 7 different Asian countries: Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, and the Phillipines. The titles of the two albums were chosen for their meaning regarding the new millenium: riding the "ark" to the "ray" of light. These two albums sold over 2 MILLION copies each! "ark" was the more popular of the two, staying #1 on the chart, while "ray" held #2. It was the first time a band had ever accomplished such a feat before. No longer were they Japan's rock band, but they were the band of most of Asia now too. Imagine the excitement they must have felt, knowing their work was reaching such a large audience, after toiling in livehouses with maybe a hundred guests just 7 years ago. Now they had proven their might, and that they were still strong, even after the problem with sakura.
It was of course necessary to begin touring for their new albums. Instead of a huge tour like their last one, they played only 12 shows in 6 different locations, but each one was massive and sold out. A total of 650,000 people attended the GRAND CROSS TOUR, far more than their shows of past.
On August 11th, shortly before the end of their tour, the song "Driver's High" was recut off of the "ark" album into a single, because it was being used as a theme for the popular anime show "Great Teacher Onizuka" (GTO). On the same day, another PV collection, "CHRONICLE" was put out on video. While there was nothing new on either of these, except a remix by yukihiro that appeared as the c/w to "Driver's High", fans were still excited for new merchandise.
Just three months after the huge release of "ark" and "ray", Laruku came back with yet another single on October 27th. This new song, "LOVE FLIES", written by ken, had a substantial amount of English. hyde explained that this was because the band was so international now, and they wanted fans in other countries to be able to understand their lyrics. This song, especially, conveys a very happy feeling, and one can infer that the lyrics are about the feeling the band gets during their live performances from the fans. Once again, a remix appeared by yukihiro as the c/w, "shinjitsu to gensou to -out of the reality mix-".
"LOVE FLIES" was the last new material from the band in the millenium, but that didn't stop December from being an exciting month once again. It began with a video of "GRAND CROSS CONCLUSION" being released on both video and DVD on the first. On the seventh, L'Arc~en~Ciel won the award for best dressed for 1999. Once again Laruku also made a performance at the Kouhaku Utagassen, playing their wildly successful single "HEAVEN'S DRIVE", a hyde song like last year's "HONEY".
Finally, to round out the millenium, they played one last live "RESET>>LIVE*000". This live would be played in two different milleniums, and a countdown was held at the concert. 35,000 attended the live, and 20,000 watched the virtual live broadcast over the internet. They played two new songs at this concert: one to start the show, and one to start the new millenium.
To Chapter 10...