X JAPAN Live in Los Angeles

live report - 10.18.2010 20:01

X JAPAN kicked off their highly-anticipated North American tour at the Wiltern Theater in Los Angeles

The wait was expected as it was X JAPAN’s first night of their first ever American tour. This night took place on September 25, 2010 at the Wiltern Theater in Los Angeles. Part of the wait involved getting all of their fans inside the venue while the other part seemed to be the building up of anticipation for the fans. With not even all of the fans inside the venue, the opening band Vampires Everywhere started to play. After the vampire band played their last song, it was another hour before X JAPAN set foot on stage.

The wait was long but older X JAPAN ballads played and kept the anxious fans excited. As soon as each song stopped and a second of silence followed, the fans would cheer, thinking that the show would begin. It was more than an hour after the scheduled start time when the stage suddenly brightened and the members appeared one by one on stage. When YOSHIKI finally came out, he was greeted by the loudest cheer and the stage lights shone even brighter. The members waved to their fans and got into their usual positions and started their newer song, JADE. The song was not like their older songs, but a more modern updated version of their songs, showing the members' evolution of skills and musical taste. As ToshI sung this song, it was apparent that his voice had not only improved but also sounded a lot cleaner and less scratchy than on recordings.

They quickly changed directions with the next song, going from a new song to an X JAPAN classic. RUSTY NAIL was when the members started to get comfortable on stage and interacted with fans more. SILENT JEALOUSY was the next song with ToshI singing the full English version. YOSHIKI noticeably pushed himself a little more in this song and gave the fans glimpse of his old playing style. After this song, the stage went dark and the members had a short break.

When the stage lit up slightly, only HEATH and PATA returned to the stage with ToshI following shortly after. The song DRAIN featured hide’s voice as back-up vocals throughout, with the opening consisting of just back-up vocals and HEATH and PATA having fun playing. The two seemed to have a bit more fun with this song than the rest of the songs played during the rest of the night. When ToshI came out during the instrumental part, he danced a little to the electronic tune until his part came up. On the overall, this song was a drastic contrast to the rest of the performance that night, being more electronic-based as compared to X JAPAN's usual melodic metal and classical style.

When the three members left the dark stage, SUGIZO came out with his violin. With the spotlight on him, the violinist started to play his instrument in his smooth, flowing style and long draws of the bow. Silently behind SUGIZO, YOSHIKI sneaked in and sat at his classic acrylic piano situated right next to his matching drums. The fans screamed at the first sound of the notes of KURENAI on the piano. Instead of rushing from the piano to his drums as he was known to do, YOSHIKI took his time during the pause in music. This pause didn’t stop him from the intense drumming he did at the start of the music. The elaborate and high-energy song was clearly a fan favorite.

YOSHIKI returned to the piano only to do the first full MC of the night and spoke to the fans. He told them, “You guys fucking rock!” After the MC, he turned back to the piano for another new X JAPAN song, BORN TO BE FREE. The song started off slow yet gained enough pace for it to be a danceable song. Once it picked up, cages on each side of the stage were lowered. Each cage contained a woman in a maid costume dancing to the music and many fans were surprised and amazed at the visualization.

YOSHIKI’s solo seemed to be his highpoint of the night as he poured bottle after bottle of water on his drum set, creating an unique effect. He smiled widely, clearly having fun with this small act of mischief. After the solo, ToshI started up I.V., which involved the most fan interaction of the night. However, the song had barely started when something went technically wrong with YOSHIKI’s piano. The task of entertaining the audience fell to ToshI. He didn’t seem to have much trouble keeping the energy up at first as he got the crowd to shout “We are X!” After a few times, however, he seemed to be lost and so he walked back up to YOSHIKI to get him to say a few words. He laughed and joined in getting everyone to yell. Soon after, the piano was fixed and I.V. was able to restart.

Their signature song, X, was the last for the night. The song saw all of the members using the last of their energy to interact with the fans. SUGIZO ran around the whole stage, going from side to side while PATA leisurely walked to each side and ToshI visited YOSHIKI at his drums. After getting the fans to cross their arms in an 'X' and to jump, the song ended. The lights flashed off and the members left, leaving the fans chanting for an encore.

After ten minutes, the members returned to the stage with a costume change. YOSHIKI immediately went to his piano and the rest of the members sat down on the stairs leading up to the drum set and piano. They started on the ballad, ENDLESS RAIN, sitting on the steps in a picturesque scene. Once the ballad was over, the rest of the members walked off the stage and left YOSHIKI in the spotlight to play ART OF LIFE. He started and stopped multiple times only to break down. Once he even fell to the floor after a few notes. By the time he got back up and got into playing the song, the other members reappeared and joined him one last time for the night.

The song eventually trailed off and the members stayed on stage. They had fun and interacted with fans, with YOSHIKI even stage diving into the fans. And as a memory for the band, they took multiple pictures of themselves on stage and with their fans. Very slowly, each member left the stage one by one. As the lights died on stage, fans reluctantly left and slowly walked out of the Wiltern talking about the unforgettable show they had just seen.

Set list:

01. JADE
08. I.V.
09. X

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X JAPAN 09/25

Los Angeles, CA - United States of America
The Wiltern
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