X JAPAN's Countdown Live

live report - 01.21.2009 07:00

X JAPAN kicks off the new year with a wild night at Akasaka BLITZ.

On the eve of 2009, fans of X JAPAN crowded Akasaka BLITZ to ring in the new year with their beloved band. The venue was set up so a giant screen on stage, as well as small TVs on the second floor, showed everything that was being broadcasted - and this live was broadcasted in theaters all around Japan. At 10:30, the live began with footage of X JAPAN's last New Year’s live. The excitement of the fans was palpable, and the temperature spiked as the video switched to show YOSHIKI and TOSHI, dressed all in white, on stage somewhere in Roppongi.

With YOSHIKI on piano, they performed Forever Love. Then, amidst screaming cheers, TOSHI welcomed everyone and led the crowd in singing Endless Rain. A video montage of past X JAPAN lives was shown on screen as the chorus to Endless Rain was sung on loop. During this time, fans at Akasaka BLITZ calmed down a bit and reminisced at the clips that featured hide; the presence of the animated, bright guitarist was definitely felt by the waiting audience.

When the video ended, all the members of X JAPAN were announced, much to the audience's delight, and the live truly got underway. Dressed sleekly in black, the band stormed out and the fans immediately went crazy. SUGIZO played as a support guitarist in place of hide, and he was just as well received. As the band threw themselves into Blue Blood, video clips of hide were played on the screen behind the stage, and it really seemed as though the pink haired guitarist were at the live. TOSHI shouted so enthusiastically his voice cracked, and YOSHIKI was grinning the entire time.

Rusty Nail had the entire building chanting along and the energy was so high HEATH seemed to get swept away: at one point, he was rolling on the stage! YOSHIKI pulled on a black lace shirt and disappeared midway through, only to return seconds later with a fire extinguisher. In a move many X JAPAN fans should remember, he started spraying those closest to the stage, and they only screamed for more. While YOSHIKI was cooling off the crowd, TOSHI took up the drumsticks and playfully pretended to imitate the drummer-gone-wild.

Then, as the band returned to jamming hardcore, a clock appeared on screen, showing only a minute to midnight. But as midnight came and went, the band didn't stop. Only after they seemed to realize they passed the countdown did they drop their instruments and, waving cheerfully, leave the stage. Shouts from the confused fans grew louder and louder, finally culminating in a "WE ARE X!" chant, which managed to call the band back to the stage. They returned dressed in black haori (kimono overcoats) except YOSHIKI, who had draped himself in a red kimono.

TOSHI then revealed the little joke: the first countdown was fake, and there was still a minute to go! He led the real countdown, and as the clock struck midnight, silver streamers exploded to his scream of "happy new year!" The band picked up their instruments and tore right into the new year, and the audience fell into a frenzy. X had everyone thrashing; SUGIZO spun all over the stage, and PATA played side by side with HEATH in revelry. Both YOSHIKI and TOSHI took turns leading extended "WE ARE X!" chants, which ended only after YOSHIKI poured a bottle of water on the smiling vocalist.

After a short MC, YOSHIKI pulled on a red jacket and took his place at the piano. The lighting grew soft, and as he began playing a familiar melody, the audience joined Toshi in crooning out the chorus to TEARS. This period of calm was broken as the rest of the band picked up the song and YOSHIKI went back to the drums; his short drum session send the crowd’s energy soaring. The night wrapped with I.V. and Kurenai, one of X JAPAN's oldest and most well loved songs. When the song came to an end, the crowd reluctantly said goodnight to the band.

Though the band had left the stage, the live wasn't quite finished. A message from the band scrolled across the screen, thanking everyone and announcing their intentions for 2009 with, of course, hide. The audience was thrilled to find out that the live at Akasaka BLITZ was the first stop of X JAPAN's planned world tour! As the credits rolled, fans began making their way outside, and already there was a feeling of bubbling excitement in the air. With the start of a whole new year before them, everyone was looking forward to see what X JAPAN will accomplish!


Set List

01. Forever Love (through VTR)
- TOSHI MC - (through VTR)
03. ENDLESS RAIN (through VTR)
04. WORLD ANTHEM (SE)
05. Pf & Vocal Blue Blood~ Short SE
06. Blue Blood
07. Rusty Nail
- MC -
08. Oragasm ~ Countdown
09. X
- MC (piano) -
10. Tears
11. I.V.
12. Kurenai
13. Say Anything (SE)
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