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Guest Submission: Live Report — X JAPAN in Utrecht

For fans anticipating the upcoming X JAPAN concert, the night between Friday and Saturday was a long one. Trains were full, delays were weathered — there wasn’t an address on the ticket for the venue — all of which contributed to difficulties for some. Adding to the stress was the fact that the venue wasn’t distinguishable as such from the outside. In fact, it bore a resemblance to a house, similar those it sat alongside.

Fortunately for late arrivals, the door opening had been delayed by 45 minutes. Some fans in line mentioned that SUGIZO and PATA had walked alongside the queue earlier that afternoon, too, which undoubtedly helped assuage the wait to enter.

After the door opening had finally started, everything went smoothly. Fans went through a small tunnel to reach the stage area. Some went directly for the stage while others hit up the merchandise booth since it was relatively peaceful before the show.

There were shirts, tops, buttons, stickers and even hot-pants of the famous Yoshikitty. The prices were very acceptable, the selection was good and the vendors were very friendly.

From the outside the venue had looked like a house, but on the inside the hall has enough space for what looked to be around a thousand people. The stage seemed very small, just big enough for YOSHIKI’s drum set and piano.

After a wait which felt like years, the intro started around 9:25 p.m. YOSHIKI took the stage and went to his drums, followed by the other members. ToshI appeared last and they started playing “JADE,” which was directly followed by the English version of “Rusty Nail.”

While ToshI greeted the crowd, YOSHIKI went to his piano and started to play the intro of “Silent Jealousy,” which was celebrated wildly by all the fans. When it was over, SUGIZO and YOSHIKI left the stage while the rest played “Drain.” When everyone disappeared afterward and the stage went completely dark, it was time for SUGIZO’s violin solo. It was really beautiful to listen to and even more beautiful when YOSHIKI joined on his piano.

SUGIZO and YOSHIKI launched into “Kurenai” with the violin and piano intro. Even though the band played the English version of the song, that didn’t stop the fans from singing along with the well known Japanese lyrics.

YOSHIKI took the mic from ToshI and talked about their first European tour and the recent shows in London and Paris. During this ToshI sat down at the drums, making noise on it.

YOSHIKI returned the microphone to ToshI and began to play the piano intro of “Born to be Free.” The song was even more powerful played live than on record. The other members left the stage after this song and YOSHIKI gave us a taste of his skills in a small drum solo followed by a piano solo.

SUGIZO and ToshI returned to the stage and began to sing the chorus of “I.V.” Fans threw flags on the stage, which YOSHIKI and Toshi used like a cape or held up. After the energetic performance of “I.V.,” the powerful show escalated even further as “X” began. No one was quiet anymore. The dutch public is usually a little calmer, but that doesn’t stopped anyone from making the X Jump! YOSHIKI came down to the lower part of the stage, grabbed the mic and shouted “WE ARE!” The audience answered with wild “X!” screams. At one point, YOSHIKI jumped into the audience. Suddenly everyone surged forward, and a barrier was broken.

“X” was over far too quickly and the band left the stage. The organizers came up on the stage and appealed to all fans to step back, because it was too dangerous in the front. After about ten minutes YOSHIKI and ToshI came back on stage. YOSHIKI took the mic and went to his piano while ToshI went to the drums. YOSHIKI spoke about the tour, the earthquake in Japan, over croquettes and why they came to Utrecht. Apparently someone from his staff hailed from Utrecht and told him so many fans were there, waiting for them.

PATA, HEATH and SUGIZO came back and YOSHIKI began to play “Endless Rain.” Unfortunately, it was shortened, but the singing from the fans was wonderful. Once again all members left the stage, except for SUGIZO, who grabbed his violin and played another solo. After he left the stage, the audience could hear a piano that opened “Art of Life.” YOSHIKI came back and played the piano solo of it.

“Art of Life” was unfortunately the last song of the evening and the band said goodbye to all while “Forever Love” ran in the background.

The lights went on and slowly everyone walked towards the exit. The wardroom was good and clothes were returned quickly, it was only a rush at the merchandise stand. Soon enough, everyone was on their way out, surely with feelings that this had been worth the wait.

The show was very, very energetic. “Endless Rain” was the only ballad and the new songs mixed with the old songs to give a perfect blend. The performance was a great success and all the fans were more than happy!

WE ARE X!!

Live report by: Andre
Edited by: Ali W./Deb

Special thanks to the collaborative efforts with XPlosion Online!