X Japan Plan European Live Debut

(HER) For the first time ever, X Japan will bring its show to Europe with four special concerts set to take place in London (June 28), Paris (July 1), Amsterdam (July 2), and Berlin (July 4).

The London show was originally scheduled for the O2 Academy, and the Berlin venue was Huxleys, but with both of those shows selling out in about 30-minutes, the show's promoters have moved the concerts to larger venues. More X Japan concerts are currently being confirmed around the globe an will be announced shortly.

"We are all so excited to finally come and play in Europe," said Yoshiki, X Japan's leader/drummer/pianist/songwriter. "Because we've never played Europe before, we didn't know how many fans we had there, so we're so excited to have this kind of support."

In addition, X Japan has confirmed they will play a special guest slot at the two-day "Summer Sonic" festival set for August 13 in Osaka and August 14 in Tokyo. Although on its own, X Japan sells out Japanese venues twice the size of the "Summer Sonic," it is a big honor for the band to be part of this bill as the annual festival features the biggest and most-buzzed about international artists. This year's headliners also include the Red Hot Chili Peppers and The Strokes, and X Japan will play immediately before the Chili Peppers.

In Asia, X Japan - Toshi (vocals), Pata and Sugizo (guitars), Heath (bass), and Yoshiki (drums, piano) - plays arenas and stadiums, bringing elaborate production including lasers, catwalks, and holograms. For the UK/European and South American dates, X Japan will tailor its "stadium-sensibility theatrics" to the more intimate venues, focusing primarily on its "Queen-meets-Guns-N-Roses-meets-'The-Matrix'" rock assault.

"We had a wonderful time last fall on our first North American tour, playing theaters, something we hadn't been able to do in Japan since the early days," Yoshiki explained. "We were able to make a strong connection with our audiences because they were right there, just feet away from the stage. I even crowd-surfed a few times! So, we're looking forward to the same sort of close-up-and-personal but intense experience on these dates."

Yoshiki and X Japan's vocalist Toshi were in Paris last July, making a special appearance for more than 5,000 fans. The duo performed a handful of X Japan songs "unplugged," and had the entire audience singing the chorus to one of the band's most exquisite compositions, "Endless Rain."

The members of X Japan have been writing and recording what will be their first album to be released outside of Japan with English lyrics. According to Yoshiki, about half of the album will feature some of the band's most popular songs from throughout their career, with nearly all of the lyrics re-recorded in English, and the other half, brand new songs written specially for this album. The album's first single will be "Jade," and will be on the 2011 European set lists as well.

With many more dates coming, X Japan's 2011 global concert schedule is as follows:

28 Shepherd's Bush Empire ,London, UK

1 Zenith de Paris, Paris, France
2 Tivoli, Utrecht, Netherlands (Amsterdam)
4 Columbiahalle, Berlin, Germany

13 Summer Sonic Festival, Osaka, Japan
14 Summer Sonic Festival, Tokyo, Japan

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