Today is finally the day. Today, October 11, 2014, is the long-awaited day that the biggest rockers in Asia will finally take the stage at the World’s Most Famous Arena.
X Japan, a band that has lived through 30 years of the highest highs and the lowest lows, will pull out all the stops at Madison Square Garden at 8:00 p.m. tonight.
Two months ago Yoshiki, X Japan’s charismatic yet humble leader, held a press conference at Japan Society, giving a few details about the concert, which is sponsored by New York Comic Con as part of the inaugural New York Super Week. He also said he would appear alongside Marvel comic genius Stan Lee at New York Comic Con to make a major announcement concerning their collaboration on the graphic series Blood Red Dragon.
As it turns out, Stan Lee actually didn’t come to New York, but sent a video message saying how excited he was to work with Yoshiki. Lee and Yoshiki are eagerly looking forward to the release of their new e-book in the coming months. He told us that while we’re waiting for the latest Blood Red Dragon, we should enjoy ourselves at the X Japan concert at MSG.
Yoshiki showed a clip of what the newest installment of the comic looks like but didn’t give more information about the e-book, again saying that he “probably shouldn’t talk about it.”
So instead of the “big announcement” with Stan Lee, the rest of the X Japan band members joined Yoshiki, and the panel turned into a casual Q&A session, which was just as satisfying to all of the attendees. They talked about their favorite X Japan songs – “Art of Life,” “Tears,” “Rusty Nail” – their musical influences – KISS, Nine Inch Nails, Iron Maiden – and bands they currently like – Dir En Gray, L’Arc~En~Ciel, Marilyn Manson, Muse, and Slipknot, which Yoshiki described as “edgy.” Vocalist Toshi, who celebrated his 49th birthday yesterday, declared he was jet lagged. And they talked about how much they enjoy the food and drink in New York.
During the 25-minute chat, Yoshiki promised that X Japan will have a new album next year because they are planning a world tour.
“If we don’t have a new album next year, I will do hara-kiri,” Yoshiki joked.
They seemed genuinely surprised that so many Westerners not only know of X Japan, but also love their songs and their VisualKei style. The crowd erupted when Yoshiki informed them that the band will perform “Art of Life” and “Silent Jealousy” at MSG tonight.
When one fan asked about their recent concert in Yokohama, Japan, Yoshiki said the crowd was “fucking awesome!” then admitted that he cried at that show.
“X Japan has so much ups and downs,” Yoshiki said. “We lost Taiji, lost Hide [band members who both died], and the band disbanded and everything. But because of our fans, because of you guys, we are reunited, and we are here to perform.”
They are also here being filmed. A documentary film crew is following X Japan around and will record the concert as well. Yoshiki hopes the documentary will be finished next year so that they can enter it into various film festivals such as Cannes.
Yoshiki said that X Japan’s show at Roseland Ballroom in 2010 was the best show they’ve ever performed, but he’s looking forward to raising the bar tonight.
At Japan Society in August, Yoshiki described the MSG show as something akin to “KISS Times Ten,” saying that this is the first time the band is bringing its complicated stage show outside of Japan. Look for flying drum sets and pyrotechnics at the Garden.
For a band that sold out the 55,000-seat Tokyo Dome a record 18 times, the members seem to consider tonight’s Madison Square Garden show their crowning achievement. In the post-panel press conference last night, when a reporter asked Yoshiki, “What do you consider your proudest moment as an artist?” he responded, “The show at MSG will be the thing I’m most proud of.”
For more information about how to purchase tickets, please click here.