We hope you didn’t miss out on an extended preview of Jrock Revolution Festival 1 footage at Otakon 2008! But if you did, read on for just what you missed.
The events of May 25th and 26th of 2007 in Los Angeles were like stepping into another world. For some it was a step into that world for the very first time, while for others it was a dream come true after years of following the JRock movement. The California hotspot was indeed a Mecca for many fans of Japanese rock music, particularly visual kei. Unfortunately, many hundreds of fans could not attend the two-night festival to celebrate several U.S. debuts by artists such as Kagrra,, alice nine., girugamesh, MUCC, and others. These fans had missed the start of something wonderful in the rock music world: the beginning of the JRock Revolution.
Now, well over a year since those fateful nights at the Wiltern Theater, those fans who thought they would never have the chance to see these artists perform finally had that opportunity. Otakon 2008 was proud to present the first glimpse of the long-awaited, much-speculated, and highly-sought-after DVD of the first JRock Revolution festival. Kicking off the premiere was footage from Kagrra,’s performance on May 26th. Two full songs were played for many cheering viewers. This pattern of two songs per artist continued throughout the screening, just enough to whet the appetite, but nowhere near enough to fully satisfy anyone.
Following Kagrra, were the other three artists from the first night of JRR: Miyavi, Vidoll, and alice nine.. Each segment was greeted by screams and shouts from the audience as the artist’s name appeared on the screen prior to their performances. Miyavi enjoyed a huge amount of applause from con-goers… and he wasn’t even in the room!
The second half of the screening featured artists from night two of JRR, a night with much harder and darker sounds and themes than previously shown. Footage from the performances by Merry, girugamesh, D’espairsRay, and MUCC had many banging their heads as well as they could in their seats. I half-expected a mosh pit to form right there in the theater! The one song that garnered the most noise and response from the audience was “Sixty Nine” by D’espairsRay; once the first notes of that song blasted from the speakers, everyone went insane with yells and cheers and applause.
As if the JRock Revolution footage wasn’t enough, con goers were also treated to a special sneak peek of the X Japan reunion concerts that took place at Tokyo Dome March 28th-30th earlier this year. Beginning with the PV for “I.V”, the audience once more burst into a very enthusiastic response of clapping and cheers, some even making X arms. Several fans teared up upon seeing X Japan once again. The words, “They’re back. After ten years, they’re really back. X is back!” were like a mantra in my head. Even on the screen, the power they still exuded pulsed throughout the room.
Quickly following the PV, the title “X Japan Returns: 3.28.08 Tokyo Dome” faded onto the screen. Once the interior of Tokyo Dome exploded with light and Toshi began to sing, the audiences, both on screen and in the theater, broke into piercing applause. Tears glittered in some fans’ eyes as Yoshiki grabbed a microphone and started screaming “WE ARE!!!” as the thousands of people in Tokyo Dome replied “X!!!” over and over. Everything seemed surreal and ethereal. I saw several people with smiles on their faces making X arms as the screen turned to black.
Those two hours at Otakon 2008 are the closest some fans might get to JRock Revolution and X Japan. It truly was a magical time; it was like a dream we never wanted to wake from. Perhaps in the coming months, with the amount of Japanese rock artists that are beginning to venture overseas to the US and Europe, we will never have to dream again; it is already becoming a reality.
Written by Michelle Lawhorn (WOLR)