There was Yoshiki, principal songwriter, brutalizing percussionist and virtuosic pianist of X Japan, standing on his drum throne, casting a shadow that was, via the jumbotron behind him, framed with fluttering, demonic wings, like the final boss in a video game. The technical exactitude that allowed that moment to happen -- planning where and how the star would stand, and illustrating the projections to match it exactly -- were in full supply at the band's much-advertised return to New York at Madison Square Garden on Saturday (Oct. 11).
It's been four years since X Japan's relatively recent entree to America (the band was formed in 1982 and didn't make it stateside for performances until after its reformation in 2007). While massively famous in their home country, their relative obscurity has been a long-established question mark. Apart from a series of shows in 2010, at Lollapalooza and a handful major U.S. markets, they have generally kept quiet in America after a promotional push in the '90s failed -- likely due to grunge's concurrent rise. The chance to see them is a rare one, and something to be cherished (and puzzled over) by attendees... probably for a lifetime.