yeouya: (viola - eclectic electric)
[personal profile] yeouya
I have plans for more posts (like... memeage, whoops >.>), but first, a big flail. :D

I just got back from seeing X Japan in Oakland - though Yoshiki kept calling it San Francisco, more on that later - and though I, as always, had some misgivings before going 'cause I was going by myself, it was, as always, really awesome. :DDD

---

First, I have not been in the Fox Theater before, and it was gorgeous! It has a sort of... Persian theme going, with ornate fake windows and patterns and things. Second, I didn't bring a camera, since I expected them to not be allowed, but they were. And I had a pretty good view from the second row of the balcony, too (I think the guy in front of me took this picture. Or, well, that's the section I was in, at least - you can also see how Yoshiki has an entire stage to himself :P). But then I was thinking about how I was preoccupied with taking pictures at SM Town, and decided it was nice to not have to think about that at all.

I forget what my third was going to be.

Well, the opening act started on time; they were a band called Vampires Everywhere! and I used to have the font they use for their name on my computer. They all looked very similar - black hair, black clothes, some had tattoos - and the music was too screamy for my tastes. They got a good reception from the crowd, though, which is nice, since I've been to shows where people have been rude enough to yell at the opening act to hurry up and finish, or booed when they said they had more songs to play. They played half an hour, and then we waited another half an hour while dramatic orchestral versions of X Japan ballads played in the background.

Since the wings of the stage were wide open, I could see pretty far backstage, so I caught a glimpse of Sugizo walking by, and amused myself with watching the tech people wander around with laptops and things. :P At one point, an Aurora Borealis-y screensaver went up on the big background screen, and everyone cheered!

Eventually, the lights went down, and X Japan came out, and the big loud cacophony of sound began. I recognized most of the songs, but only knew a few by sound alone. Here is the setlist from the LA show that I stole from the Interwebz. Oh, and I guess I will throw in my observations as well, and then go into general things and ~fashion~.

1. Opening - Several minutes of Epic Classical Pseudo-Opera music. I wonder if Yoshiki composed it. If so, I'd love to hear him score some sweeping Hollywood movie someday. XD Hey, it'd be a nice break from John Williams and Hans Zimmer, the latter of whom I am fond of score-wise, but still... fresh blood? Given that X Japan is such an institution in J-Rock/Visual Kei, it was kinda strange to hear the voiceover say, "Now introducing... X JAPAN!" since it made it sound a bit like they were new. XD Which I guess they are, in a way, but still.

2. Jade - Overall, Toshi's voice still sounds the same as it did before, at least as far as I could tell with all of the instrumentals and the screaming. And of course, this is only the second stop on their tour, but I'd think they'd not try to launch a US invasion if his voice had significantly changed.

3. Rusty Nail
4. Silent Jealousy

Yoshiki started a couple songs on piano, and then went back to drums, but I can't remember which songs they were. >.> I just remember him taking off/putting on his neckbrace a lot (he only wore it when drumming), and a stage crew guy plugging his earphones back into the monitor thing by the drumset.

5. Drain - Yoshiki and Sugizo went away to prepare for their duet, so this was just Toshi, Pata and Heath. I think... it went on a bit long (as X songs can :P). By the end, people weren't as enthusiastic as they were before, since both Pata and Heath are not as big on playing the crowd as Sugizo is, and Toshi's Big Dramatic Voice does get a bit big and dramatic after awhile.

6. Piano & Violin Solo - "Niji," say some videos. I may have let out a little eep of glee when Sugizo came out with his violin. They'd laid it onstage before X even came out, and I'd seen the LA setlist already, but it was still exciting. XD This is also where Sugizo changed clothes, and I will talk more about this later.

7. Kurenai

8. Born To Be Free - This is one I did not recognize at all. But I believe this is the one where they had big CG wings on the background screen during the chorus, so I amused myself with watching those.

9. Drum Solo - I am pretty sure this is when Yoshiki started on the drums, then switched to piano, then went back to drums, for a longer solo. Every time, Toshi, who was mostly off-stage, would yell, "On drums, Yoshiki! On piano, Yoshiki!". The drum solo was typically epic, and Yoshiki was on the floor by the end of it.

10. I.V. - I... really love this song. Actually, I'm not a huge fan of X's rock stuff - I like a lot of the ballads more, and this one is not too crash-y for me. It started with a few minutes of Toshi warming everyone up by having us sing alternating lines of the chorus with him, which carried on through the song once everyone else came in, too.

Honestly, I think there was another song in here. Maybe the order was just different, or I'm imagining things. I.V. DID go on for awhile. XD

11. X - This definitely ended the show on a high note, energy-wise. And for many minutes afterwards, Toshi - and then Yoshiki - yelled, "We are...!" and the audience all yelled back, "X!" Sometimes they switched to "You are...!" I think this is whent he big smoke-jets set up on stage went off. They were set in front of Yoshiki's raised platform, so they obscured him completely from view for a little bit.

= ENCORE =

12. Endless Rain - There was a disco ball hanging from the ceiling! Toshi had the crowd sing the chorus for... a long time. First with him, then a sort of call and response with alternating lines, and then it was just the audience singing, with no instrumentals. Sugizo disappeared at this point to get his violin.

13. Art Of Life - It opened with Sugizo's solo violin, and was mostly Yoshiki's epic piano solo, with accompaniment by a woman who had a keyboard at the back of the stage, followed by some rawking with the rest of the band. Yoshiki's epic piano solo was even more dramatic than his drum solo. He kept falling dramatically off of the piano bench, but managed to hit the right notes even while angsting on the floor (or, well, the section of keys with the right notes - it was dischord that worked).

14. Forever Love - Recorded, it just played as they bowed their goodbyes. Yoshiki threw me off before the singing started by putting on a red shirt as if he was going to be sticking around. I mean, who would expect Yoshiki to put on a shirt just to leave? XD

Yoshiki dragged a staff photographer out with his camera to take a picture of the band with the audience in the background, and there were some antics as Sugizo also wanted to take a picture of the band with his iPhone, but was then supposed to be in the picture too. :P

They all threw water bottles (and picks and drumsticks) at the end of the encore, and throughout, in the case of Toshi. Sugizo managed to lob a few water bottles all the way up into the balcony (including one that narrowly missed a bank of lights), though he then missed a couple more times. XD Yoshiki got one up to the balcony, too, which was nice of them! And provided some excitement for us, since, yay! Flying waterbottles! I've been hit by a flying waterbottle before, though, and it was not fun. Granted, it was thrown via lacross stick.

Yoshiki went through a lot of waterbottles, just because he would pour them out on his head and then try to chuck them into the crowd from behind his drumkit. Pretty sure he definitely just splashed Heath and Pata once. XD

---

MCs were mostly done by Toshi, and mostly consisted of things like, "I CAN'T HEAR YOU. SCREEEEAAAAM." and "HELLO OAKLAND!!" (which, btw, was somehow really hilarious), "ARE YOU FUCKING READY?!" and so on. At one point, though, he asked if we wanted to hear Yoshiki's voice. Of course, the answer was a resounding YES, so he went up to Yoshiki who was by his piano. Yoshiki attempted to run away, but was caught by his earphones, which were either still plugged in, or had been grabbed by the stage crew guy. XD

His voice is a lot softer than I remember it being, though that's maybe also because it was following Toshi, who favors screaming. XD He went on to call us "San Francisco," followed by "Oakland," but later on, went back to "San Francisco." Actually, it was more like, "HOW ARE YOU, SAN FRAN?! CAN I SAY 'SAN FRAN?' IS THAT OKAY?" And no one is going to tell Yoshiki he can't say SAN FRAN if he wants to. XDD

Yoshiki talked towards the end, too, about how he felt hide brought them all back together, and how they want to make their mark in the US, and how this tour has been a dream come true for them, and how he hopes for all of our support. It was quite nice, all in all, and not too emo.

The other three didn't talk at all, though Sugizo sang back-up vocals, and Heath sometimes yelled along, too.

---

~Fashion~ :D This can best be summed up as tight pants + flowy tops + chokers (optional). The guys themselves can best be summed up as: they all look old. Except maybe Yoshiki, who certainly doesn't look like he's in his 20s anymore, but doesn't look 44, either. It's probably the eyeliner and a pound of foundation. >.>

The breakdown!

Toshi - looked like someone's dad who is trying really hard to be a rockstar/pimpmaster. XD He wore sunglasses all evening, and always had some sort of coat on - the first was black, the second white, with what looked like fur bits on it. Tight black pants and boots, too. He also kept going up to the other guys and trying to rock with them, which mostly failed (hence the image of him being a guy trying really hard to be rockstar), though Yoshiki kept grinning at him and he got to bash a few cymbals.

Pata - looked like he was stuck in the 70s. On the other hand, go Pata for wearing colors! Even if they are just brown. XD He had brown bell-bottoms on (which were tight around the thighs), and a lighter brown jacket, probably over a white collared button-down? And he was wearing normal shoes, not boots. Kinda just... played, and tolerated Toshi/Sugizo/Heath coming over. XD

Heath - looked hot, or would've, if he didn't also look really skeletal. XD I am biased towards Heath, though, because I think he is/was pretty. He definitely looks older now, more haggard (though that is also because he is SKELETAL), but still pulls off the rocker style pretty damn well, and has nice hair. He had on a sleeveless black shirt that I'm sure had more details on it I couldn't see, armwarmers that went up almost to the edges of the shirt, (tight) black pants, knee-high black boots (or maybe calf-high? It's hard to tell when everything is black on black :P), and a choker/necklace with some little silver chains hanging in loops from it. He moved around a bit more than Pata and threw the goat a few times, but was nearly as expressionless, facially.

Sugizo - also looked hot, and not skeletal! His hair is redder than I think it was at Lollapalooza, and long and pretty. His first outfit was black pants, tight ofc, calf-high black boots (again, I think >.>), a shirt that was a bit ruffly down the center, and a duster-sorta long coat. There may have been a scarf involved? His second outfit had the same pants, I think, but the top was different and I wants it. Actually, I wants Heath's clothes too. I'm probably not tall (or self-confident?) enough to pull them off (even in my size XD), but I'd like to try. :P Anyways, the top of the second was... long-sleeved, but the front was kinda shaped like a vest - or like a butterfly? Basically, there was some skin exposure on his sides and in the front. The back had some decorative corsety lacing up the middle of his back, and there were some mesh-y, thin cotton-y looking pieces hanging down to his knees, as if someone had used scissors to shred the bottom of his previous jacket. I can't describe it well, but I liked it. XD He was definitely the most active (since Yoshiki was mostly stuck behind his drums) and camwhorey of the bunch. He played to the audience, to the press, went over and played next to Heath, went up onto Yoshiki's stage, gestured grandly at Pata when they were swapping sides, and let Toshi try to rock out with him. When he was wearing the second outfit, he struck some rather feminine-seeming poses, especially when he was playing the violin or standing with it and twirling his bow around. XP

Yoshiki - looked the same as he always does, with his half-clothed-ness and his heavy eyeshadow. He usually came onstage in an unbuttoned shirt or robe-like top, which was promptly discarded before he picked up his drumsticks. There was the white button-down, the patterned gray/black-and-white robe thing, probably something all black, and the bright red one he put on at the end. But more often than not, there was no shirt. Black choker, tight black pants, and black shoes, the style of which I do not remember, even though I know I saw them when he was lounging/sprawling/laying on top of his piano like he was doing a photoshoot. XD He had a glittery belt on, which was not actually connected to his pants in any way, since when he sat down, he'd pull his pants down a little, and then have to pull the belt down too.

---

The audience was really interesting. I saw a rather spry woman who was probably almost/around 60 standing in the aisle and rocking out. I heard people speaking Korean, Mandarin, Cantonese... I saw your stereotypical sits-in-front-of-the-computer-all-day Jrock fan, married couples, dating couples, rawkstar possees. There were four girls cosplaying different costumes of hide (I think they were at the LA show, too), and they looked to be about my age, if not younger for one or two of them. I wonder when they became X fans, since... if they're around my age, they would've been in 5th grade when hide died, which I guess is possible, but I don't feel it's all that likely?

Another observation I had was that those who go all out at these shows - not in the same category as cosplaying, but huge platforms, pseudo-Lolita skirts/dresses, pseudo-gawth, emo, punk, dramatic hair dye, whatever, (often multiple) facial piercings and heavy makeup - tend to be white, Filipino, or Hispanic. The East Asians tend to dress up a little (in a skirt, or sandals with heels), but are ultimately pretty casual. The crowd-watching tonight was interesting that way, but I also kept thinking I saw people I know and don't particularly care for, though they always turned out to be just similar-looking people. XD

People were smoking pot, which was annoying because I have a pretty sensitive nose and I don't really like the smell of pot. But then it was masked by the smell of the giant jets of smoke that came shooting out onstage. :P

---

The whole show, from opening band to the end, was almost exactly 3 hours long - minus about 45 minutes for intermissions. Not too shabby! There was a table with the usual band merchandise, but I didn't even look this time partly because I had $7 in cash on me. I could've added to my tote bag collection, but eh, Myv's is prettier, and I am running out of space on the back of my door. Plus, VAMPS is coming up!
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March 2013

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