Guest Submission: Live Report – X JAPAN in London
Arriving at the O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire venue just after midday, there were already more than 50 people queued up. Some were gathered in group discussions, some were re-touching their makeup and some were signing a U.K. flag with a huge, hand-made X JAPAN logo in the middle. As time went by the queue grew and grew, eventually circling the whole block of the venue.
Once the venue had been filled up, the warm-up band, Japanese Voyeurs, took the stage. After a 30 minute set they left the stage. People started to scream “WE ARE! WE LOVE! WE WANT! WE NEED!” After a short wait the lights dimmed and the intro track started.
It is an understatement to say that the crowd went crazy. As expected, there was much pushing from behind towards the stage. The band entered the stage and the crowd’s excitement surged.
YOSHIKI stood over his drum set bathed in the deafening screams of the crazed fans. The band dove right into “JADE” and it seemed to blow everyone away. “Rusty Nail” followed and those who had planned to sing along were in for a surprise — the band preformed it in English. Fans that had the calmer balcony seats later claimed the lyrics were quite solid and actually fit the music. Hopefully, by the next time X JAPAN comes to this part of the world fans will have already had the chance to learn the lyrics by heart. Next was “Silent Jealousy” and then “Drain,” and the audience went even wilder.
Everyone calmed down when SUGIZO appeared and started to play his solo — including some notes of “Providence” from LUNA SEA — dancing with his violin, hypnotizing the crowd.
After SUGIZO’s violin solo, it was YOSHIKI’s turn. He continued with a short piano solo, then they started playing Kurenai with piano and violin intro and the crowd went crazy again.
After Kurenai ,YOSHIKI said he wanted some PG Tips (A popular tea brand in the U.K.) while TOSHI started to play the drums and tried to stand in the drum stool like YOSHIK and failed. YOSHIKI then thanked the crowd for being coming, saying it was their dream to be there after so long. People began to scream in response. “SCREAM! I CAN’T HEAR YOU!” YOSHIKI said, and the audience went wild with the “WE ARE!” chants again. He began to play the piano intro for “Born To Be Free,” and then his piano and drums adding “Swan Lake” to it.
When they played “I.V.” and “X” the audience went wild one more time, making it difficult for those right in front of the stage to stand. YOSHIKI jumped into the crowd at one point and tried making his way back to the stage soon thereafter. He managed to come back to the stage and then they took a break.
For roughly ten minutes, the audience called for the band one more time and YOSHIKI came back wearing a kimono, thanked the crowd again, talked about hide, the band’s break up and being back again. Someone threw the UK flag everyone had signed before the concert and YOSHKI picked it up and started to play with it. Then TOSHI playfully blindfolded YOSHIKI with it just before he started to play “Endless Rain.”
YOSHIKI started to play “Art Of Life,” starting from the piano solo. In his usual dramatic way he then ran to the drums. TOSHI started to sing, and everybody seemed charged to listen to this legendary song live.
After the last notes of the song, a recorded acoustic version of “Forever Love” started and the audience knew the show was coming to an end. The band started to greet the audience, exhausted and happy, and suddenly YOSHIKI jumped into the crowd for the second time.
Once the band was off the stage for good, people started to move around excited, looking for their friends to share their experiences.
X JAPAN, thanks for this amazing concert!
Live Report by: Silvia
Edited by: Ali W.
Special thanks to the collaborative efforts with XPlosion Online!