The documentary "We are X" was released in 2016, and premiered in the Netherlands at the International Documentary Festival Amsterdam, held during November at the Dutch capital’s Melkweg concert hall. The screening was followed by a special piano concert from YOSHIKI, which had been announced at short notice.
Once the doors opened, the front rows of the auditorium quickly filled up with people, many of whom had attended an X JAPAN fan-meeting earlier in the day. This was a rare sight in a cinema where people tend to prefer the middle rows. The cinema hall was almost completely full as the lights dimmed.
As with many IDFA screenings, time was made for a Q&A with the documentary’s director, Stephen Kijak. He explained how he started working on this movie with no knowledge of X JAPAN, and that his main objective with the film was to capture the band’s essence. Meanwhile, the stage was made ready for YOSHIKI.
After an introductory film, YOSHIKI walked onstage accompanied by a string quarter. Sitting down at his piano, he talked a little with the audience before starting off with the famous Forever Love, showing he was just as comfortable in the role of a classical pianist as the rock drummer everyone had seen in the documentary.
Before the second song, YOSHIKI spoke briefly about how he’d written this piece after hide’s death, dedicating Without You to his deceased father, Taiji and hide. The song swept the audience away, with the clips projected on the screen behind the musicians strengthening the emotional punch even more.
Next was an excerpt from Art of Life. This interpretation of the song, with the piano and string quartet substituting for the heavy guitars and drums, was skillfully done. The passionate performances of the violinists and cellist gave this extract of the half-hour song extra body, accompanying the piano perfectly.
The fourth and final song was easy to guess: Endless Rain. The audience were encouraged to sing along, and a couple of crowd members even looked up the lyrics on their phones to be able to join in. It must’ve been an intriguing sight for attendees who were unfamiliar with X JAPAN to see so many people singing along at a classical performance.
The concert ended to loud applause and was followed by a talk with YOSHIKI about concerts around the world and questions about "We are X". This second Q&A session was disappointingly cut short because the scheduled time ran out, but YOSHIKI stayed around after to pose for photographs with the many fans who’d come specially to attended the screening and concert.
01. Forever Love
02. Without You
03. Art of Life
04. Endless Rain
YOSHIKI at International Documentary Festival Amsterdam
live report - 02.09.2017 19:01
X JAPAN drummer YOSHIKI demonstrated his classical pianist side in an aftershow set at the Dutch premiere of "We are X".
© Carola van der Drift