Inside X Japan's Long-Awaited Wembley Arena Concert

Inside X Japan's Long-Awaited Wembley Arena Concert

During their initial breakout years in the '80s and '90s, X Japan would have been used to the sight of swarms of fans surrounding the band members on the streets, dressing in their signature outrageous "visual kei" aesthetic and jumping along to their mix of heavy-metal-meets-orchestral-ballad music. But it's March 4, 2017, X Japan hasn't released a new album in 20 years—and yet there is a rabid, cult-like following outside of London's Wembley Arena all for this Japanese rock outfit.

A day earlier, X Japan held a CD signing in London's famous HMV on Oxford Street for the soundtrack to their just-released documentary We Are X. While any passerby could see that the line for autographs wrapped around multiple blocks, what they didn't see was the extreme fandom that took over the store and made X Japan the first act in the store's history to sell out of physical copies for a signing, according to staff members. Some were shaking as they made their way to the autograph table, some had mini dolls of the band members, and they were all there to celebrate lead singer Toshi, guitarist Pata, bassist Heath, guitarist-violinist Sugizo, and their frontman, leader and drummer Yoshiki—all of whom would later be mobbed by the fans when they made their way to their separate private cars after the event.

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