Oct 12
X Japan take a triumphant bow at Madison Square Garden, New York City, Oct. 11, 2014. (Vlad Baranenko)

X Japan take a triumphant bow at Madison Square Garden, New York City, Oct. 11, 2014. (Vlad Baranenko)


By Vlad Baranenko (Saitama-ken, 2000-02) for JQ magazine. Vlad is an avid photographer. For his photo gallery of X Japan’s concert at MSG, click here.

On Oct. 11, Madison Square Garden was ignited by the amazing energy of the sensational Japanese rock group X Japan. Realizing a lifelong dream of its founding members—vocalist Toshi and superstar drummer/pianist Yoshiki—X Japan overcame years of behind-the-scenes drama to finally play the World’s Most Famous Arena, as one of the most successful Japanese music groups of all time brought down the house in NYC.

For the first time ever outside of their native Japan, X Japan culminated their dream to perform an all-immersive concert, armed with a full array of fireworks, pyrotechnics, confetti, and incredible light effects. According to Yoshiki in one of many heartfelt messages delivered to the crowd that night, never before their performance at MSG has the group invested so much to awe an overseas audience, which he said was being broadcast live to Japan and other Asian countries.

Playing to a nearly packed arena, the group that started with a dream of two four-year-old boys almost 45 years ago kicked off the show with a pyrotechnic bang, letting the excited audience rock hard to “Jade.” By creating an all-immersive experience for their concert goers, X Japan’s mix of rock and the classical genres appealed to the emotions of young and old attendees alike. For their second appearance in NYC after their legendary show at the now-defunct Roseland Ballroom in 2010, the band’s deep appreciation for their fans’ support rang loud when Yoshiki shared the story of the group’s history and ups and downs. The death of former members Hide and Taiji hit everyone in the group hard, and as Yoshiki spoke about his late friend Hide as still being part of the group, many in the audience shed a tear.

Following the energetic “Kurenai,” the audience was then invited to sing along in a karaoke fashion when the lyrics for “Hero”—one of two new songs performed that night—flashed on the enormous background screen. Later on, the stage darkened, and without warning a light show stunned the audience when bracelets given out to all attendees before the show lit up in a multitude of colors in sync with the music. As the show continued into its third hour (and without a break), the audience was yet again treated to a grand spectacle when the platform of Yoshiki’s drum kit began to move. The high-tech riser slowly rolled down the stage platform in the center of the audience as Yoshiki rocked out on the drums, and upon reaching the end rose thirty feet into the air. The ensuing laser show, sparks, pyrotechnics and a torrent of crimson streamers then filled the air, creating a dreamlike spectacle that X Japan has become famous for.

Returning for the first of two encores, a teary-eyed and emotional Yoshiki ran alone down the stage with several dozen red roses and dove into the audience, thanking his dedicated fans for their continuing support that “…gives the band the wind to keep flying on with their broken wings…”

It’s fair to say that no one leaving the performance was disappointed that night, as echoes of “WE ARE—X!!!,” the groups famous slogan, were still heard an hour after the show all around Penn Plaza. X Japan has made a lasting mark on NYC, on America, and we can only expect the support and fandom for this sensational group’s extraordinary music to keep growing as they’ll always be welcomed back.

Read JQ editor Justin Tedaldi’s full-length interview with Yoshiki about the Madison Square Garden show here.

4 comments so far...

  • ai Said on October 13th, 2014 at 8:19 pm:


  • ai Said on October 13th, 2014 at 8:28 pm:


  • koneko Said on October 14th, 2014 at 7:49 pm:


  • JQ Magazine Editor Interviewed by FCI News on X Japan at Madison Square Garden | JETAANY.org Said on October 22nd, 2014 at 8:17 pm:

    […] three-hour show (see JQ‘s review of the concert here) was X Japan’s first and only American concert in four years, and the first to retain the […]

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