X JAPAN Live Report (Roseland Ballroom, NY, X/X/X)

New York—a bustling city filled with world-renowned attractions and known for its animated nightlife—the city that never sleeps. And in front of the Roseland Ballroom, from the few days before and leading up to a certain spectacular night on October 10th, 2010, it was just that. Dozens of fans from all over the world—Japan, Europe, Canada, and even Mexico, lined the streets waiting for their beloved band, X JAPAN, to take the stage on Sunday night.

The day of the show was like no other. By midday hundreds of fans were already in line, and by opening door more than 3,000 concertgoers had arrived, causing the line to wrap around the entire block—twice. Several fans including ones from Japan were in full X JAPAN cosplay, ranging from their late 80s look, to different outfits of the late member hide, to even a current YOSHIKI and newest member SUGIZO. And then, when it was thought that things could not get any better, drummer – and face of X JAPAN – YOSHIKI had staff give everyone in line pizza and confetti (to throw inside later on). Indeed, the excitement and anticipation was a spectacle to behold.

Once doors opened, it was a mad rush inside to get to the front. Within a short time the venue was packed and even the second floor balcony was filled. The opening band, Vampires Everywhere, soon took the stage, playing a half hour set before leaving again to the cheers of “We are X!” in barely contained excitement.

It was time.

Soon, none other than YOSHIKI stepped out onto the stage and a roar of screams and cheers sounded throughout the venue, followed by the rest of the members HEATH, PATA, SUGIZO, and TOSHI. All picked up their instruments and instantly the party started. A surge of fans pushed to the front, heads banging, bodies dancing, and fists shaking as they rocked to the wild, intense sound known as X JAPAN.

Lights flashed. Double bass shook the floor. Fingers flew over guitars and bass, arms flailed over drums and voice pierced the air as the Japanese rock legends played song after song giving everyone in attendance the time of their lives. With the band’s extraordinary ability to combine the styles of metal and hard rock with emotional, heart wrenching, soulful melodies, it’s no wonder fans from the far corners of the globe would travel so far to see Japan’s biggest stars. The performance was so intense that at one point YOSHIKI stage dived into the audience and crowd surfed, and it took nearly half a song to drag him out.

After the song “Kurenai” ended, YOSHIKI ran off stage to the confusion of lead singer TOSHI. The crowd, however, was well aware of what was happening—and as the drummer returned to the stage, signaling to fans to sing “Happy Birthday” and throw confetti, a massive birthday cake was wheeled out, much to the surprise and elation of TOSHI who turned 45 that day. Afterwards YOSHIKI gave a brief history of how he and the lead singer met, and how they were able to come this far, to be able to play in America. Nearly everyone was in tears, but all were smiling.

The explosive show resumed, now with more vigor than ever as they jammed classics like “X” and newer songs like “I.V.” The adrenaline rush came back and fans were going crazy. The crowd was so fierce that several people fainted and had to be carried out to the sidelines to recover. Then, sadly, the inevitable came. “Art of Life” began to play, and fans knew that this was the end. YOSHIKI’s passionate yet graceful movements as expert fingers flew over piano keys had everyone watching in silent awe and wonder, tears in the eyes of many. Arms were raised in the “X” symbol when the rest of the band joined in before they were exchanged in favor of fists and devil horns.

Once the song ended, all five members of X JAPAN came to the front of the stage to take pictures with the fans, then stood in line, holding hands, to do the traditional stage jump to the roar of thousands of cheering and crying fans. All too soon they were gone, disappearing off the stage of their last live in the U.S. It was, truly, an amazing end to one amazing night and the finale to a tour that’s been years in the making.

NY Roseland setlist:
Rusty Nail
Silent Jealousy
-Violin and piano interlude-
Happy Birthday
Born to Be Free
-Drum Solo-
Endless Rain
Art of Life
Forever Love (end recording)

Live Report by: Kei
Guest Submission – thank you!