Coming at the end of a climactic week for X Japan, having had their ‘We Are X’ London film premiere and released the accompanying soundtrack, ‘X Day’ had finally arrived. A well-behaved crowd packed Wembley Arena to see a shortened version of the film before the main event, and as the film screen was raised X Japan appeared in pyrotechnic glory.
Their shows are epic explosions of colour, sound and tickertape that even KISS would be proud of. ‘Rusty Nail’ kicked of the evening’s entertainment with all the pizazz that has come to typify X Japan’s live offering. They are quite literally on fire.
Vocally Toshi is far superior than you might expect having watched the ‘We Are X’ documentary and the sound quality all night is stunning. X Japan seem to hover around a magical musical sweet spot, the guitars, keyboards, drums, piano and occasional violins combining to form much more than the sum of their parts.
Sugizo’s ‘Life on Mars’ solo violin cover was an early emotional highlight and one of the best Bowie tributes I’ve heard yet.
When Yoshiki transfer’s from drums to piano it is mesmerizing. Each member has their chance to shine with solo performances showcasing their technical ability throughout the night.
Yoshiki engages with the crowd on many heart-warming occasions and it’s easy to see why fans hold him in such high regard. An emotional connection is made. “Life is beautiful,” he says and though his life has been a constant struggle he’s conscious of his position as spokesperson of the band and is keen to send a positive message out to all their hoards of fans.
Using the extremities of stage left and right, lasers flashing and fire exploding into the air it is a sight to behold. Camera’s are rolling across the venue capturing every move and I dare say it won’t be long before another X Japan DVD will be available.
There are fans from all over the world evident with Columbian, Russian and Brazilian flags waving but the majority of the audience is made up of Asian women clearly besotted with the band.
Yoshiki and Toshi combine emotionally, personally and lyrically to fulfill all their passions. In a thought provoking speak Yoshiki references his father, whose suicide has shaped his whole life, and it’s clear he is still gripped by an inner turmoil, which will never leave him. This said, he communicates a message of love and acceptance at all times using his platform to spread his message of peace, love and understanding and his ultimate message “nothing is impossible”.
‘Endless Rain’ is a barnstorming highlight and as the long head-thrashing evening comes to an end it’s clear that X Japan’s dedication to their cause is unfaltering. It’s their greatest accolade, apart from their clear musicianship, showmanship and undeniable song-craft it’s this feeling of unity that wins you over.
It has been an exceptional night of music from a band still in their prime. As the band selfies are taken with everyone’s arm’s raised in X homage, tonight we are all X.
Hero (YOSHIKI song)
Kiss the Sky (Recording of the audience)
Beneath the Skin
Pata & Heath Solo
Sugizo Violin Solo (Life On Mars Bowie cover)
Say Anything (Acoustic version)
Born to Be Free
Moonlight Sonata (Ludwig van Beethoven cover)
Yoshiki Drum Solo
Bohemian Rhapsody (Queen cover) (Acoustic)
Space Oddity (David Bowie cover)
Art of Life (2nd & 3rd movement)
Tears (English version)
Check out our recent We Are X interview with Yoshiki and Stephen Kijak below.