X JAPAN Filming in Hollywood

live report - 16.01.2010 11:01

Hundreds of fans gather as X JAPAN stands upon a glass stage high above the Kodak Theater in Hollywood

The intersection of Hollywood and Highland has to be the busiest and brightest area in Los Angeles. Hollywood Boulevard, the street where the filming took place, is known for countless tourists flocking to the streets looking at remnants of classic Hollywood. They’re either taking pictures of the stars for famous people, going to attractions such as Ripley’s Believe it or Not and Madam Tussaud’s Wax Museum, or even taking pictures with the strange people dressed up as famous characters.

This is the crazy place where X JAPAN filmed four of their new music videos. The four videos they ended up filming were I.V., Jade, Endless Rain, and Rusty Nail. It had been announced unexpectedly a few weeks before that X JAPAN was to film four videos in Hollywood and asked that people sign up at Jrocknation.com. As this was such short notice to many fans, many of X JAPAN’s fans could not make it to this event. Thousands were expected to attend however it seemed as though only a few hundred fans had attended. Surrounding these fans were the hundreds of typical tourists this part of the city gets on a daily basis and the club goers that come out to Hollywood on Saturdays. With the energy and excitement from the fans, these tourist and club goers got excited themselves, staying to watch a bit of the performance.

The weather was a typical beautiful, partly cloudy day in Los Angeles, but at 4 o'clock, when fans were told to show, nothing happened. Fans were told to check in at security when they got there, however there was no security and no organization. Therefore fans just gathered right under the clear high stage that was built on the edge of the mall with no information on what to do.

As with most of X JAPAN’s stages, this stage was equally beautiful, extravagant, crystal-clear and towering. The clear stage was placed at the edge of the rooftop, allowing the members to be seen from below. Every once in awhile during the filming a member would lean out over the railing of the stage and wave to the fans on the ground. The fans went wild at this and the camera people loved it. The total amount of cameras around the stage was uncountable. There were a few cranes filming overhead shots, a few cameras around the fans and of course many on X JAPAN themselves.

It was at 4:30 PM when the music started up and the large screen showed YOSHIKI on piano beginning Endless Rain. The screen finally showed fans exactly what was happening above them, as YOSHIKI played and TOSHI lip-synched next to him. As this was only a music video filming, they were not required to play their instruments to the fullest. This ended up being good for TOSHI, who had recently canceled all live performances due to his health. For the filming he was in good health and he was the one who would look over the stage’s railing the most, grinning as he poured water over the edge onto the fans below.

As the day turned to dusk and finally into night, the effects while they played became more astonishing. At first it was just lots of smoke and fog, then as it became darker, laser lights could be seen swirling along the adjacent buildings. The pyrotechnics started up as soon as the night fully set in. The fire only appeared once per song, behind them on the stage, yet the intense heat could still be felt down below. A few times some sparks were set off randomly during songs, shooting out to the fans. They even had staff go around to fans handing out X JAPAN labeled glow sticks. Slowly more and more fans held up two crossed glow sticks, forming an ‘X.’

Although certainly expected, they played the same four songs over and over again for about six hours, when they weren’t taking breaks. At the end of the night, a particularly bold fan announced, “I won’t miss hearing those four songs for awhile.” They took several small breaks as well as one large break right in between, showing clips from multiple concerts. The clips were from X JAPAN’s performances in Taiwan and Hong Kong as well as older clips. As soon as hide made an appearance during the older clips the fans were louder than they had been during the whole night. This video montage kept the people occupied while the long forty-five minute break went on. During this break some fans roamed around until X JAPAN came back, although a majority of these dedicated fans kept the same spot during the whole night, not moving once during the six hours.

From what fans could see of the performance itself, it seemed like a beautiful show, just like how a real concert of theirs would have been. It had YOSHIKI alternating performances on piano and drums, and when sitting at the piano, he would expertly and effortlessly play while TOSHI stood beside him. There wasn’t much footage of the other members on the larger screen the fans could see although PATA and SUGIZO seemed to be having a good time, playing their guitars with enthusiasm.

By the time the filming was over at 10:30 PM, no one really knew it had ended as they waited for more. The fans were still screaming for their favorite member, holding up their signs and glow sticks. However as the members walked off the stage one last time the whole light show slowly died. The staff turned off the large screen and got to work on tearing down the structure almost immediately. The fans slowly wandered away and walked aimlessly around the arena excitedly talking about what had happened. There was a lot of picture taking, photographing the cosplaying fans from Japan, the various signs fans had made and even of other fans they met. For this one event, dedicated fans came from all over the world for their favorite band, showing the true dedication and craze for X JAPAN.
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