LIVE REPORT: Visual Japan Summit Day 2 @ Makuhari Messe Part 2


The members of heidi. took the stage one by one as the crowd cheered in anticipation. They began with “Utakata” and its upbeat riffs was the perfect way to grab the crowd’s attention. The members jumped in place on stage and the audience followed suit.

After a quick pause, they amped up the energy a bit more with their soon to be released song, “Sakura Underground”. Flashing red lights accentuated the heavy beat as the crowd pumped their fists in time to the music. Without letting the lively mood taper out, they immediately continued with “Omaesan” and the stage lit up with flashing white lights. Before their final song, the band kicked their instruments into gear and vocalist Yoshihiko got the crowd chanting.

Showing off their solid performing skills, they continued with playing with just the instrumentals then ended with “Glide”.

  1. Utakata (泡沫)
  2. Sakura Underground (サクラアンダーグラウンド)
  3. Omaesan (おまえさん)
  4. Glide (グライド)


The curtains rose with drummer SORA alone on stage, pounding away as the members all entered one by one.

They began with “Ohayo” a which started fairly slow but wa soon joined by vocalist chiaki’s heavy growls and screaming. Making sure the crowd was engaged, chiaki got the crowd to come closer to the stage during “Satsui”, prompting them to let loose and headbang.  

The biggest disadvantage for the band was the fact that the majority of the audience had migrated to the other side of the venue in preparation for hide with Spread Beaver. Despite this DEZERT had come determined to be heard. chiaki jumped down into the throng of people during their third song and remained there for “Houchou no tadashii tsukaikata -jikkouhen-” getting the crowd increasingly hyped up as the band continued at a frantic pace.

He told the crowd, “Let’s start a revolution” and they started chanting aggressively. Then while the band were still playing, he yelled over to the people on the other side of the venue, demanding that they participate. and many of them began pumping their fists in the air in response.

Their final song “Pictogram-san” was in the style of a power ballad, showing off chiaki's vocals and winding down the frantic energy that had built up during their performance. They ended their set having displayed their dynamic performing ability as a band, successfully grabbing the attention of the crowd in the venue.

  1. “Ohayo” (「おはよう」)
  2. Satsui (「殺意」)
  3. Otsuka Headlock (大塚ヘッドロック)
  4. Houchou no tadashii tsukaikata -jikkouhen- (包丁の正しい使い方~終息編~)
  5. Pictogram-san (「ピクトグラムさん」)


The excitement was palpable as the crowd began squeezing themselves towards the SUMMIT stage in anticipation of hide with Spread Beaver. The sea of dark hair was peppered with bright spots of pink as hide cosplayers showed up in their numbers.

Tatsuro and George along with Ryutaro came out again to engage the crowd in the meantime. They screamed, “WE ARE...” and the room responded with a resounding,


Then the screen overhead flickered and began playing a past video of hide with the Spread Beaver members getting ready to take the stage. All the members were introduced as they took the stage; drummer Joe, percussion and computer INA, keyboardist DIE, guitarist KAZ, bassists Chirolyn, guitarist Kiyoshi and vocalist/guitarist hide.

The original Spread Beaver members looked just as colorful and fantastic as ever and by this point, the crowd was screaming non-stop. Without further ado, they started with “ROCKET DIVE”. The room was alive with energy and the screen showed an amalgamation of video clips of hide making sure he was still front and center as the vocalist.

They continued with “POSE” and then “BEAUTY AND STUPID”. It was impossible not to get hyped up during this song and not a single person was keeping still. The energy wound down with “FLAME” and the lighting made it so that all the attention was focused on the video of hide singing.

The stage went dark after and there was a moment’s pause before the lights brightened and Yoshiki was on stage with his piano playing the beginning of “GOODBYE”. The somber lyrics were displayed on the screen as hide’s voice came in over the speakers. Then a slideshow of photos of hide began to play. Photos of him by himself, with Yoshiki and with the rest of X Japan and Spread Beaver. The final photo was the one with hide perched on Yoshiki’s back, the both of them grinning at the camera.

The applause was thunderous and despite his choked up voice, Yoshiki took a moment to address the audience. He thanked them for cheering hide on for all these years. Then he thanked hide’s parents and all of the Spread Beaver members individually.

“It’s because of you, hide can still live on. Thank you from the bottom of my heart”

He turned back to his piano and began the unmistakable intro of “PINK SPIDER”. Then, quickly stepping away from the piano, he grabbed hide’s iconic yellow guitar and began jamming along with the rest of Spread Beaver as the music came in in full force. The venue was jolted into action again and they continued with a whirlwind performance of “DOUBT” and then “DICE”.

Next was “ever free” and the Spread Beaver members spanned out across the stage, running back and forth. They all had hue smiles on their faces that only grew wider in response to the audience's enthusiasm. At the end Chirolyn grabbed the mic screaming,

“Makuhari! We’ve come home! It’ been 8 years!!”

Despite such a long time the crowd responded with cheers and screams like no time had passed at all. He announced that they were going to call a special guest. The screams became even louder when Pata came out on the stage. He grabbed his guitar and looked up at the screen,

“hide are you ready?!”

The last song was “TELL ME” and gold tape shot towards the crowd as everyone waved their hands in the air.

As the music wound down, the final clip of hide was a shot of him on stage running full speed into a bright spotlight and disappearing from view.

  2. POSE
  4. FLAME
  6. Pink Spider (ピンクスパイダー)
  7. DOUBT
  8. DICE
  9. ever free
  10. TELL ME


While the crowd was still buzzing from the previous performance a loud voice from the JAPAN stage yelled, “LOOK OVER HERE!”.

Multicolored lights flashed along with techno music as the members of Kameleo came on stage wearing lurid frog masks. If nothing else, they were the perfect band to get the crowd’s attention. They were all wearing traditional-style clothes and waved fans for their first song “Unmei Kaika Disco”.

For “NEET hime” the stage was a frantic scramble of the members, the “princess” wearing a maid costume and an anime girl mask as well as dancing pizza delivery boys. Kameleo usually gave presents to the fans during this song. Although they were usually sweets, since it was an X Japan event, one lucky fan won a packet of Yoshiki’s own special brand of curry. Their sheer quirkiness made it hard to look away from the performance and even the people at the other stages glanced back in curiosity.

They switched to “boyband mode” for their final song “BANZAI \(・∀・)/Music!” as all of the members showed off their singing and dancing skills. At the end, they had the entire crowd doing the X Japan “X” jump and pose.

Finally they said they were going to do a special cover. The crowd screamed in surprise when they began to play the beginning of Glay’s “Yuuwaku” but it quickly turned to laughter when they stopped as soon as the intro was done and cheekily left the stage.

  1. Unmei Kaika Disco (運命開華ディスコ)
  2. NEET hime (ニート姫)
  3. Devil-kun (デビルくん)
  4. BANZAI \(・∀・)/Music! (万歳\(・∀・)/Music!)


Blue lights filled the stage and a piano melody played through the speakers as the band took the stage. Their first song was “Monokuro no Kiss” and the crowd went crazy. Multiple spotlights and lasers added to the upbeat atmosphere as the audience waved their hands. They continued with “V.I.P”. Bassist Aki and guitarist Shinji fanned out on either side of the stage, getting closer to the crowd to get them excited.

They continued their flawless performance with “cosmetic”, keeping the whole room dancing with its jazzy melody. Stopping for a quick chat with the crowd, vocalist Mao admitted that since the seasons had changed, the band really wanted to do an appropriate song, even if that meant slowing down the beat just a bit.

The stage lit up with warm orange lights as they continued with “hug”. Despite its mellow pace, the rich instrumentals and Mao’s clear voice made it a treat to listen to and the crowd stood in rapt attention. “Toge to Neko” kept the pace slow but turned the mood sultry. Deep purple and red lights added to the atmosphere. Mao sang on the mic stand, pouring his energy into his vocals. It was a song that allowed all the instruments to shine. Ending with a drawn out acapella note, the band continued their strong setlist with “Uso”.

Next was “Mousou Nikki” and most of the crowd began doing the matching furitsuke. The band and the crowd fed off each other’s energy creating an even livelier performance. They paused before the last chorus and the audience cheered and screamed before they continued. During “Dear Tokyo”, the members all sang the chorus along with the audience. They ended on a heavy note with “Memai”. Jumping with their fists raised and headbanging, the crowd gave their all until the end.

  1. Monokuro no Kiss (モノクロのキス)
  2. V.I.P
  3. cosmetic
  4. hug
  5. Toge to Neko (刺と猫)
  6. Uso (嘘)
  7. Mousou Nikki (妄想日記)
  8. Dear Tokyo
  9. Memai (眩暈)


Now it was time for another highly anticipated act. The curtain rose and the spotlight focused on Yoshiki’s infamous piano at the center of the stage. Screams and cheers filled the room when HYDE and Yoshiki took the stage. Yoshiki in all white and HYDE, his contrast in all black.

The crowd held their breath as Yoshiki sat at the piano, HYDE leaning casually against it, and began to play L’arc~en~ciel’s song, “My Heart Draws A Dream”.

With nothing but simple lights and the piano melody, the raw power of HYDE’s vocals were on full display. There was hardly any movement in the hall as everyone fixed their attention on the seamless collaboration. Then at HYDE’s prompt, the piano paused and the whole room sang “yume wo egaku yo” together. Then Yoshiki resumed the piano as the crowd kept singing, their voices building as one. The last moments were sung acapella by HYDE before the room exploded with cheers and applause.

Yoshiki began the MC with the “We are X” call and response then talked about the newly formed “HYDE x Yoshiki” unit.

He thanked HYDE for coming and mentioned that the two of them had been drinking together often recently, talking about the old days of visual kei. Then after mentioning how interesting an X Japan and L’arc~en~ciel collaboration would be, the pair took a selfie (much to the amusement of the crowd) and got ready for the next song.

This time it was a cover of X Japan’s “Say Anything”. The crowd waved penlights as the two of them delivered another flawless performance. At the end, they shared a hug and promised to continue working together in the future.

  2. Say Anything


The last performance on the VISUAL stage was R-shitei and their fans showed up to rock hard. Beginning with “Gyokusai Melancholy”, red lights and the wail of a siren set the scene as vocalist Mamo sang into a megaphone. The crowd was intense, headbanging violently and they began and ended the song by saluting military style together with the band.

“Kokuritsu Shonen -National Kid-” had everyone moving some more with its catchy beat. Flashing purple and green lights made the atmosphere more festive. The fans took out their towels and waved them in the air. By this time, R-shitei had grabbed the attention of a good chunk of the concert-goers in the venue.

Their fans continued to give 100 percent of participation, singing the bridge for “Yanderu Kanojo” as Mamo urged them on. Then they all started waving folding fans for “Haranbanjou, Tsubaki Uta”. The band’s energy was consistent throughout and they kept the mood lively and dynamic.

Their final song was “THE Hai Ningen”, a song that had the listeners going wild. The members shouted into their mics as the crowd headbanged with seemingly unending energy until the end.

  1. Gyokusai Melancholy (玉砕メランコリィ)
  2. Kokuritsu Shonen -National Kid- (國立少年-ナショナルキッド)
  3. Yanderu Kanojo (病ンデル彼女)
  4. Haranbanjou, Tsubaki Uta (波瀾万丈、椿唄)
  5. THE Hai Ningen (THE廃人間)


Next up was Glay. The cheers were non-stop as soon as they took the stage and they began with “DEATHTOPIA”. The crowd’s energy was amazing from the get-go. The whole room was pumping their fists or waving penlights in the air. Smoke cannons fired into the air prompting more screams from the audience when they continued with “Scoop”, one of their newer songs. The crowd needed no further encouragement  as everyone screamed “Baby!” in time with the catchy rhythm.

“Freeze My Love” came immediately after and had the room singing “It’s my life” in unison. Next up was another of their newer songs, “Chou Onsoku Destiny”. The crowd seemed to be listening at first, then gradually they were all sucked into the performance, waving penlights and dancing. They took a quick break after that and vocalist Teru introduced all the members. Then he talked about how they had met Yoshiki at a tiny livehouse where they were performing for about 10 people. He said that the band owed so much to X Japan and hide and the members nodded their heads in unanimous agreement.

In tribute, their next song was a cover of X Japan’s “Joker”. The performance was incredibly fun and lively and the whole room was jumping and dancing. Then they announced they were going to do a collaboration for the next song, “HOWEVER” and called out D.I.E. from spread beaver (who used to play keyboard for the band). The crowd went wild and after the performance D.I.E commented, “It’s been 18 years! I wanna cry!!”.

They performed in perfect harmony like no time had passed, continuing with “Ikite Tsuyosa”. Guitarist Hisashi played his solo next to a cheerful D.I.E. and the other members kept looking back at him with huge smiles on their faces.  

It was nonstop excitement for the crowd and the band kept the energy high with “Kanojo no “Modern”” right after. The whole band kept moving around the stage, interacting with the fans and with each other. You would be hard pressed to find someone who wasn’t dancing along. Afterwards, they thanked D.I.E. over and over and he left the stage to thunderous applause.

They began building the hype for their next song. Their drummer Toshi began with a slow and steady beat, eventually joined by riffs from Jiro, Hisashi and Takuro. Teru let out a drawn out scream as it morphed into a jam session between the members. Hisashi stood on the platform at the middle of the stage rocking out then stopped and began another melody.  

The crowd screamed when they recognized the beginning of “ACID HEAD”. The performance was intense, punctuated by bursts of flame shooting into the air as the band went hard and heavy. Teru and Hisashi shared the platform, screaming back and forth into the mic, getting the venue even more fired up.

Their last song of the night was “Yuuwaku”, an unmistakable crowd pleaser. Looking at the crowd, it was impossible to tell that they had been watching bands since 9 in the morning. Their energy was amazing.

  1. DEATHTOPIA (デストピア)
  2. Scoop
  3. Freeze My Love
  4. Chou Onsoku Destiny (超音速デスティニー)
  5. Joker
  7. Ikiteku Tsuyosa (生きてく強さ)
  8. Kanojo no “Modern” (彼女の “Modern…”)
  10. Yuuwaku (誘惑)


Tatsuro and George did their last emcee gig for the night, welcoming LM.C onto the JAPAN stage. The band took the stage to the pounding beat of their SE song, “No.9”.

Vocalist Maya grabbed a tambourine for their first song, “DOUBLE DRAGON”. The energy on stage and in the crowd was good as the crowd clapped along to the beat. After the performance, Maya paused to talk to the crowd,

“Can I say something? What is with this lineup? They put us between Glay and X Japan, how are we supposed to deal with that? What do you even sing after Glay performs “Yuwaku”??”

This got everyone laughing but Maya admitted that despite that, they loved their songs as LM.C just as much.
“OH MY JULIET.” was next and it was the perfect choice to keep the crowd energized. They followed with “MOGURA”, not letting the energy die down. Guitarist Aiji’s heavy riffs had everyone headbanging and the crowd kept dancing and pumping their fists.

Multicolored lights flashed across the stage leading into their techo-style number “Chameleon Dance”. After that, Maya chatted with the audience again, telling a story about an encounter he had in middle school with a very kind girl (who was wearing a hide backpack that he had really wanted). He admitted that, like most of the bands gathered there that day, if wasn’t for X Japan (and their kind fans), he wouldn’t have had the inspiration to start a band himself.

The combination of the band’s catchy songs and Maya’s amusing talk made sure that LM.C had the attention of most of the venue by the time the played their final song “PUNKY HEART”. The support members were all moving around the stage along with Maya and Aiji. During the bridge, Maya got the crowd to do the “X” jump and towards the end, staff members came out on stage waving bright pink flags with black hearts emblazoned on the front.

They kept the crowd going with their infectious energy and had their audience dancing the entire time.
  4. Chameleon Dance
  5. DREAMscape


Finally, the time had come for X Japan to take the stage. All throughout the venue, the members of the audience held their hands up in the air, making an “X” shape with their penlights. The sound of a choir accompanied by a sweeping orchestra echoed across the venue. It was the band’s opening song “Miracle” and the crowd held their breath as blue lights spilled over the stage. A video flickered to life over the stage, showing clips of fans all across the world screaming and going crazy over the band’s performances. Then the music crescendoed and Yoshiki’s form appeared silhouetted in light above the stairs.

The crowd went wild and the cheering got louder still as the rest of the band took the stage. Fire and smoke shot into the air as they began with “JADE”. The whole room was lit with the penlights that the fans were waving and the atmosphere was charged. Toshi sang the chorus acapella then trailed off prompting the crowd to pick up where he left off. Their collective voices were powerful in the room and when it was over, Toshi led them in the call and response of “We are X” over and over again.

The unmistakable intro of “Rusty Nail” began to play and lasers flashed through the venue. The members all ran across the stage. Sugizo and Pata switching sides while Toshi climbed the stairs to sing next to Yoshiki. The whole room was swept up in the band's energy and once again, everyone's voices echoed in the room as they sang along.

Toshi thanked the crowd for making the second day of the summit a success and he called for a cheer. The band and all the crowd gave 3 cheers for visual kei. Yoshiki, already seated at his piano, expressed his gratitude at being able to perform with hide, with HYDE and now with Toshi.

He began the intro of the next song “Forever Love”, before stopping suddenly to remove his neck brace, much to the amusement of everyone else. He began again and a hush instantly fell over the crowd. All of the penlights had been turned off and all the focus was on the stage. The performance was pitch perfect and tugged at your heartstrings.

As the last strains faded out, the sound of an orchestra playing the melody of “Kurenai” began. Red swirls floated across the screen then as the orchestra stopped, it switched to a video of hide playing the opening riffs. The venue exploded with energy and gold tape burst out from cannons and showered over the crowd. Yoshiki had a drum solo and they continued with everyone in the audience screaming the song at the top of their lungs.

Then the fans were given a special treat, a preview of one of their newest songs. It’s called “La Venus” and was written for the “We are X” documentary. Everyone listened intently, letting the music wash over them. It had the classic X Japan sound that the crowd loved, seamlessly blending beautiful and complex melodies. When it was over, Yoshiki said he felt like it would become a pretty popular song and judging from the crowd's response, it would do just that. Then despite his fading voice, Yoshiki led the crowd in another call and response of “We are X”, continuing to scream even as his voice cracked under the strain.

Once the crowd was hyped up again, he began “Born to be free” on the piano before quickly switching to the drums. There was a moment’s pause before Sugizo came in on the guitar and kicked off the powerful performance.

Next was the song that everyone had been waiting for. “X” began and hundreds of arms shot into the air making a cross as everyone screamed “X!!” at the top of their lungs. Pata moved to the front of the stage for his guitar solo followed by Sugizo, turning into an exciting duet. Then they followed with a rollcall of all the members and the screen overhead lit up with the words

“In memory of Taiji 1966 - 2011”.

Cannons shot confetti into the air as the members and the crowd kept screaming “We are X” over and over and over. This time Heath joined Sugizo and Pata at the center of the stage as the three of them rocked out. When it was over, the band left the stage one by one followed by the cheers of the crowd.

It was a while before the band came out again. Yoshiki entered first then a voiceover called the rest of the members back onto the stage.

Toshi went to sit next to Yoshiki on the piano and a hush fell over the room as they began “ENDLESS RAIN”. Clips of the band over the years flashed on the screen. Multiple disco balls glittered overhead during the chorus and everyone kept still, eyes fixed to the stage. When it was the final chorus, the audience sang in lieu of Toshi and it was really beautiful. Then the instruments stopped until it was just the voices in the venue. The band members all sat together around the stage listening to the singing of their fans, who continued Toshi joined in for the final note.

Not breaking the still atmosphere, Sugizo continued with a violin solo, showing off some of his impressive skills. His playing flowed into Yoshiki’s piano playing and it was another moment before the song took shape and became the start of “ART OF LIFE”. Yoshiki kept going on the piano, playing over a recording and layering the melodies. It began to build up as he continued, getting more and more intense in tone. Then he moved to his drum set and the other members joined in. They continued to play, going all out. It ended with Toshi’s final note morphing into a drawn out scream. Yoshiki toppled over onto the ground panting and Sugizo, Pata and Heath all flopped across the stage.

The final song of the night was “Tears”. The song began playing while the members were still too tired to move. So instead, they all sat and listened together with the crowd. It was an odd way to end a set but it was easy to feel the sense of togetherness that the band had with their fans. When it was over, they posed for a final photo and they left the stage one by one but not before a final call of “We are X”.

  1. Miracle
  2. JADE
  3. Rusty Nail
  4. Forever Love
  5. Born to be free
  6. X
  10. Tears


The day came to an explosive end with a final performance by Muteki Band. The band consisted of an amalgamation of members from most bands that had performed that day. The stage was in chaos with so many people but the music was seamless.

They all performed two final songs, "God Save the Queen" and "Anarchy in the UK" by the Sex Pistols. It had been a long day but the crowd still gave their all, proving that visual kei (and punk) were still alive and rocking hard. 

Part 1 here!
Photos © VISUAL JAPAN SUMMIT 2016 Powered by Rakuten.
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