Chapter 13 ~ 2003
Heading for the sun
The first news to come in 2003 was that SOAP would finally be releasing music. They had been in the recording studio since late 2002, preparing for their first mini-album "GRACE". It finally went to the public on the sixth of February. About two months later, a second mini-album was released in April, "gimme A guitar". Each contained 4 full-fledged songs and sort of a crazy, random final song at the end. Each was released on SOAP's label, DANGER CRUE, as you might recall being L'Arc~en~Ciel's old label when they were an indies band. They were also responsible for acid android's "tracks on drugs".
Speaking of acid android, he released a mini-album of his own in March on the 25th, in-between SOAP's two mini-albums. This one, titled "faults", featured five songs and was released on Ki/oon as opposed to tracks on drugs. He began a tour for this album, "acid android live 2003" in the beginning of March, playing 5 shows. The last occurred on the 27th of May.
March also finally brought some news regarding the band. Sony would be releasing three CDs, basically just "best" collections, with no new songs. One CD had an assortment of their c/w tracks, one was for their music from 94-98, and one was for 99-00. Mostly singles and songs that have remained staples at lives, like Shout at the Devil and trick. The band was probably mostly unaware of this decision, and it was undoubtedly just Sony squeezing the last drops out of impatient fans.
It was in the spring of 2003 that SOAP began performing "BUBBLE FESTiVAL"s. This is essentially a tour for them as well as other acts. During the BUBBLE FESTiVAL, SOAP was accompanied by HYDE on every stop, as well as acid android on the 5/8 show. Other bands that came along included deadman, MUCC, monoral, Merry go round, and others. HYDE was playing significantly rockier music now, but nobody really knew much about it at that point. But he was still clearly keeping busy as a solo artist.
The next few releases were from HYDE, after being quiet for over a year other than his work on MOON CHILD. On 6/4, a new single came out, titled "HELLO", c/w "THE OTHER SIDE". In these two songs, HYDE showed an entirely different side (yes, the other side indeed). Both songs were aggressive, loud, and definitely rock. Very far cry from his work of 2001. However, the song was just as popular and it ranked #1 on the Oricon once again.
Also in June, the moment everyone had been waiting for occurred: L'Arc~en~Ciel back together! Starting on June 25th, L'Arc~en~Ciel, once again a unit, began a short tour called "Shibuya 7 days". Their first show, for fanclub members only, was at Akasaka BLITZ called "Akasaka Zero day". The following seven stops were all played at Yoyogi National Stadium. The band had managed to sell out 87,035 tickets in 3 minutes this time around; that's more tickets in less time than their record-breaking REINCARNATION live. Clearly they still had a lot of support.
At the end of the last day, three things were announced. First, a photobook of the 7 non-consecutive concert days would be released on August 20th. A DVD of concert footage would be out December 17th, and a new album would be released on 3/31/04. Even though excitement was high about the band coming back, the rest of 2003 was still dominated by the members' solo works.
During August, acid android began touring once again, with a new tour "acid android live 2003 ver. 2", playing seven shows throughout August and September. He also played another "acid android in an alcove vol. 3" in the end of September, this time at Shinjuku LOFT. But he was definitely overshadowed by HYDE during this time.
It wasn't until November that HYDE released another single, "HORIZON". It wasn't as popular, only reaching #6. Also during this month, SOAP put out their third mini-album, "high!". They continued playing shows and more BUBBLE FESTiVAL tours throughout the year.
It also went public that Ooishi Megumi had given birth to (presumably) hyde's child on November 11th. This didn't stop him from releasing his second album, "666". Like the singles, it was a rough, rock album, through and through, contrasting significantly with his older works. It ranked higher than ROENTGEN however, reaching the #2 spot. December finished off with a live presented by DANGER CRUE, featuring SOAP, acid android, TETSU69, and other bands. What a way to finish the year, you almost have the whole band together at one live!
2003 proved to be far more exciting than 2002. The band reformed for 8 concerts, released a few new items (though there was no new music), and most of the members kept the fans temporarily entertained with solo works. But every fan, in Japan and abroad, was waiting for the surprises that 2004 would bring; promises of a reborn L'Arc~en~Ciel.
To Chapter 14...