Club Nokia was honored as the venue for The Yoshiki Foundation America Kick Off Party. Fans lined up hours before the doors opened for the free event. News traveled by word of mouth from JRR staff to fans of X JAPAN. Convention goers from the nearby Anime Expo also attended the party.
The giving nature of X JAPAN’s drummer, Yoshiki, led him to donate a total of $25,000 to three of his favorite organizations. The Grammy Association received $10,000 to support their donation of instruments to children in schools, Make-A-Wish Foundation also received $10,000 to continue granting wishes to terminally ill children and the St. Vincent Meals on Wheels Foundation was given $5,000 for the cause of giving free food to destitute people regardless of age or ethnicity. The three representatives of each organization gave an introduction of their cause to the audience and thanked the rock star for his incredible generosity.
A surprise announcement was made that the evening’s guests were to be treated to the premiere of a brand new X JAPAN music video, one of the four that were shot in Hollywood back in January. Fans cheered as the lights dimmed and the entrancing piano opening to the live version of “I.V” began to fill the small club. Close-ups of the crowd gathered on the corner of Hollywood and Highland were shown in between shots of X JAPAN performing on the clear-bottomed stage placed atop the Sephora building. Some excited fans even pointed themselves out to friends as they appeared in some of the crowd shots. The ending scenes of the video were accompanied by a bustling applause from the watching audience.
As the night grew on occurring events seemed to get better and better. After the music video of “I.V.”, Yoshiki, Sugizo and Toshi came out to perform an acoustic version of the song. Toshi took his place at the mic as Sugizo took his on the violin and Yoshiki on the piano. The club fell silent in awe as each musician played their part in the song. Toshi’s voice echoed through every ear as Sugizo serenaded the crowd with his violin. Yoshiki’s powerful piano fingers completed the acoustic trio. It was unforgettable for every X fan.
The breaks between main events were filled with the DJ styling of Ginger Fish, better known as Marilyn Manson’s drummer, as he spun everything from X JAPAN classics to club hits from bands such as VNV Nation, Nine Inch Nails, and Angelspit. Some fans stood and listened curiously while others got up and danced to the music, waving glow sticks they had obtained from the laser light show put on by Anime Expo just moments before the party.
The following production of the party was the anticipated h.Naoto fashion show. A collaboration between fashion designer, Naoto Hirooka and Yoshiki was announced right before the show started. The first five models flaunted the black, gloomy looks of the collaboration project and Naoto’s solo pieces followed. Each model walked down the make-shift runway of the Club Nokia venue without a single smirk. They held their blank stare and poised stance as they made their way down the center of the audience and back up toward the stage. It was a fashion run that started and ended at a steady pace.
As people filed in for a good view, fans in costume ranging from Visual Kei to Gothic Lolita to Miyavi cosplays and Versailles cosplays headed over to the JrockRevolution.com booth to enter the Masquerade hosted that evening. Each entrant had their picture taken for a chance to win X JAPAN prize packages. Contestants waited anxiously to hear their number called as three lucky winners were chosen by Yoshiki and were asked to come on stage to receive secret gifts. The winners strutted up the stage showing off their winning outfits with much confidence as the audience applauded their victory. Below are photos taken of our masquerade hopefuls!
A music video shooting for their new song ended the night. It took four takes of cheering fans, pyro-technics, women in cages and X JAPAN rocking out to the rhythm of their new song “Born to be Free” for the shooting to complete. The energy during takes between X JAPAN and the audience was incredible. Toshi hyped up the crowd until the floors shook from jumping. Cameras panned in and out, flew up and down, catching footage of excited fans and rock stars at their best. Even a glimpse of Hide’s guitar was caught sitting on his side of the stage, it’s clear that X JAPAN never forgets a fallen member. Yoshiki entertained us fans with some idle chit-chat in between takes. Someone in the crowd even held up their iPad to reveal an LED sign of “WE ARE X” that caught his attention. It was a charming moment for the rocking drummer. Once the cameras started rolling again everyone got into their rock zone. It was definitely an Xperience every X JAPAN fan should encounter.
Article by: Satou
Edited by: Ali W.