X Japan Still Big In Japan

Though X Japan made quite an impression at Lollapalooza in its so-called American concert debut, Japan’s original visual-kei band saved its biggest surprises for its homecoming shows at the Yokohama Stadium the weekend of Aug. 14, which marked the group’s first-ever outdoor concerts in Japan and drew sold-out crowds totaling some 130,000 people.

The concerts were mainly noted by two events. The first was a 12-minute drum solo by leader Yoshiki, who has been warned to avoid such strenuous workouts since he underwent back surgery last year. Wearing a neck brace, Yoshiki reportedly performed the “hyper-speed” solo at 800 beats per minute, and on a 10-meter-high revolving stage.

The second big event was the participation of Toshi, X Japan’s original bassist who left in 1992 after the group’s third album because of “musical differences.” Toshi is usually credited with creating the group’s striking costumes and hairstyles, which basically ushered in the visual-kei movement.

The show reportedly costs 1 billion yen ($11.7 million) to stage. The band will start the North American leg of its world tour Sept. 25 at the Wiltern Theater in Los Angeles. The venues will be much smaller than the ones X Japan plays in Japan.