X Japan: London @ SSE Arena Wembley

X Japan has been around since the 80s and the band is one of the most influential rock band in Japanese history. X Japan was supposed to perform in London in March 2016 but had to cancel due to the member health issues. They finally rescheduled it to 4th March 2017 with the premier of X Japan documentary film “We Are X” which follows by an epic concert. London is the lucky one to be shown the exclusive 60 minutes cuts which includes the deleted scenes from the film and a 3 hours long concert.


The film starts at 6:40pm, packed with the back stories of X Japan. The message behind the film according to Yoshiki is to show that “nothing is impossible”. Right after the film ends the X Japan members, Yoshiki, Toshi, Sugizo, Heath and Pata stand on stage, ready to rock! The concert starts straight away with Rusty Nail!


After a few songs, it’s time for a casual talk. Yoshiki asks the staff to get Pata to come onto the stage then asks the fans “How are you London” to be answered with loud cheers! Pata who’s now healthy again greets the fans.


Yoshiki proceeds to talk about their upcoming album. As they are nearly finishing, adding final touches, Yoshiki announces that they are recording the fans in Wembley, voices which will be included in Kiss the Sky. How exciting is that! Yoshiki heads towards the piano to play Kiss the Sky while Toshi starts singing and at one part of it, conducts the fans to sing.


The banter between Yoshiki and Toshi are very entertaining. Yoshiki asks Toshi if he wants to say something to the fans which Toshi answers with “say anything”; and with that word play, Yoshiki proceeds to play Say Anything on the piano. Toshi joins in and starts singing the song even though it is not until later to perform the song.


The mixture of power metal, ballad and classical/symphonic music is synonym to X Japan. They go back and forth with X Japan songs to Sugizo’s violin solo, to Yoshiki’s piano solo, Heath and Pata solo and back to their roots. It feels natural and totally mesmerising!


During each break in between encores, the fans would shout “WE ARE…” which the crowd correspond by shouting “X”. This goes on until X Japan reappears on stage.


At the first encore, Yoshiki is the first to walk onto the stage and he has his fingers in “X” sign and the fans reply by putting their hands up forming the letter “X”. X Japan trademark! Whenever Yoshiki and Toshi shout “WE ARE…” the fans explode with “X”.


The second encore starts with Yoshiki playing Bohemian Rhapsody on the piano while the fans sing to it. Yoshiki then talks about the past, where he was influenced by KISS, Queen and he is surprised when the fans cheer when he mentions David Bowie. Being the spontaneous Yoshiki, he walks towards the piano and plays Space Oddity. Yoshiki goes back and forth from drums to piano.


When Endless Rain song is playing, the screen shows the video of their younger self and the song (and X song during the first encore) is a tribute to Taiji and Hide, the other X Japan members who passed away. Yoshiki couldn’t contain his emotions and has tears in his eyes. The crowd offers Yoshiki vocal support whenever he talks and tries to hold in the emotions about the death of his loved ones. Wembley is definitely filled with love, warm and fuzzy feelings, made me proud to be part of the X family.


When the final song ends, Yoshiki tosses roses to the fans. They even toss water bottles! Before they bid the fans goodbye, Yoshiki signals the fans to do the “X” sign for a photo. Of course, a selfie is also compulsory. Yoshiki takes one with his phone. The concert ends at 10:55pm. Yoshiki seems reluctant to leave the stage and he keeps waving for a few minutes before disappearing.


The stage is nicely done, and I can’t get my eyes off Yoshiki’s piano and drums where he has his name printed. The amount of pyro being used fit X Japan perfectly. Also, not forgetting the beautiful coats X Japan members are wearing especially Sugizo’s Union Jack coat. The whole concert is also streaming live for fans who couldn’t attend.


Outside the venue, after the concert, one of the fans shouted “WE ARE…” and obviously many couldn’t help but to respond by shouting “X”. While it won’t be any time soon, hopefully X Japan will return to the UK. Overall, I must say, X Japan is my favourite concert to date. It was fun, chill and I had the best time! Having known them since I was in high school, it was a childhood dream came true to finally attend their concert. It was so much more than what I imagined!


SETLIST:
Rusty Nail
Hero (YOSHIKI song)
Jade
Kiss the Sky (Recording of the audience)
Beneath the Skin
Pata & Heath Solo
Drain
Life on Mars? (David Bowie cover) (Sugizo Violin Solo)
La Venus
Say Anything (Acoustic version, first verse and chorus only)
Born to Be Free
Kurenai

Encore:
Moonlight Sonata (Ludwig van Beethoven cover) (Yoshiki Piano solo)
Yoshiki Drum Solo
Without You
I.V.
X

Encore 2:
Bohemian Rhapsody (Queen cover) (Piano)
Space Oddity (David Bowie cover) (Piano)
Endless Rain
Art of Life (2nd & 3rd movement)
Tears (English version)
Forever Love

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