Turning away from the wall
Nothing I can see.
The scream deep inside
reflecting another person in my heart.
He calls me from within :
« All existence you see before you
Must be wiped out :
Dream, Reality, Memories,
And Yourself »
I CAN’T BELIEVE THESE PICTURES CAME OFF MY PHONE WHAT EVEN IS LIFE
okay no seriously i don’t think anyone understands how important Saturday night was to me.
I don’t give X Japan nearly enough credit for their lasting impact on my life.
I was a ten year old nerdy kid when I watched the X/1999 movie for the first time. I randomly remember this in vivid detail - sitting in the basement of my then-best-friend’s house as the movie ended and the credits rolled… and just as she was about to turn off the tv, I stopped her because I had heard a song beginning to play. “WAIT,” I said, “I want to hear this.”
I knew next to nothing about music, but I was immediately drawn to Forever Love. I went home and looked it up, and listened to it over and over. X Japan won me over with their ballads initially. From Forever Love, to Tears, to Crucify My Love, to Endless Rain… I put them all on my mp3 player (iPods weren’t even a thing at this point!) and listened to whatever I could get my hands on obsessively. Something about their music moved me in a way that, up until that point, no band had ever done.
When I first heard Art Of Life, it was all over. I remember the first time I listened to the entire song all the way through, I was terrified of the piano solo. I was convinced I FELT the song - and the mind of the composer - coming apart and spiraling into madness. But I loved it for its chaotically composed beauty. It’s still my favorite song in the entire world, ever. That song changed so much about me, and how I would come to perceive, hear, and feel music.
To this day, no song has ever moved me so much. I STILL get chills every time I hear it. The woman’s whispers STILL give me goosebumps. And, at the right moments, the piano solo still makes my heart skip. Those lyrics are powerful, man. I DARE you to find a song with half as much meaning.
My parents were concerned and confused when they’d come to find X Japan lyrics on my notebooks and sketchbooks. Imagine seeing your 10/11/12 year old daughter writing “If it’s all dreams, don’t wake me up/If it’s all real/Just kill me” and etc.etc.
X Japan was the start of my Japanese rock/visual kei love. I would eventually branch out to discover Malice Mizer, Buck-Tick, Dir en grey, L’Arc~en~Ciel, and others. The following three years were spent listening to nothing but Japanese music. I was… (well, am) an interesting child.
I never hid my love and passion for the music I listened to, but I couldn’t share it with any of my friends, so I really never said anything. They didn’t understand it, literally and figuratively. I tried to share Art Of Life to a few of my closest friends, who immediately dismissed it - “30 minutes of music? Who has time for that?? Piano?? Japanese people? You’re so weird” etc.
None of it ever dissuaded me from loving it with my whole heart, I just kept it to myself. It was just another something I loved and loved alone. I would spend hours on the Internet watching live performances and tv appearances/interviews (some translated, some not), reading articles about the history of the band and romanji lyrics of songs so I could sing along the right way.
Did I understand what they were singing? Apart from the english verses, not really. Did it matter? I didn’t think so. While all the kids around me found nothing to like about music not in their native language, I was overwhelmed with the entire sound and message they embodied, before I was old enough to understand and to have felt even a fraction of the emotions they were singing about.
If you had told my ten-year-old self that, twelve years later, I would be standing in Madison Square Garden - a stadium that can hold about 19,000 people - seeing these legends perform right in front of me… I would never have believed it.
There was so much emotion in that stadium that night. I know I wasn’t the only one who felt it. We all did. I laughed. I cried. I screamed until my throat was hoarse. I danced, I chanted, I was interviewed (?!?!), I fangirled the FUCK out with thousands of people from all over the world and reveled in the fact that FINALLY, for the first time in my life I wasn’t rocking out to Japanese music alone. Damn, did that feel good.
From the tribute to hide and Taiji, to Yoshiki’s tearful speech about the history of X and his friendship with Toshi, the sound of an entire stadium singing Endless Rain, the look of pure joy on Yoshiki’s face when he threw himself into the crowd (directly to the left of me, holy shit)…. and - on top of it all - they ended with a piece of Art Of Life. I couldn’t even cry at that point; I was so stunned by what I was seeing and hearing.
I can’t even say that it was a bucket list experience I get to cross off my imaginary list, because I NEVER thought it was going to happen.
X Japan singlehandedly changed my life, and for me to have been able to be a part of such an important milestone in their career is absolutely surreal in the best way. This is something I will never, ever forget. I am so fucking proud of these guys for coming this far, and I can’t wait to see what comes next.
This is proof that impossible dreams can come true.