X Japan vocalist Toshi (44) held a “breakaway” concert at Akasaka Blitz in Tokyo last night. The show was largely to promote his newly released solo album “Bushi Japan,” but he was joined on stage by the other four members of X Japan and the emotional show also represented a symbolic break from Toshi’s troubled past. He recently divorced Wanku, the former idol singer Moriya Kaori and his wife of 12 years, though for much of that time she lived with the leader of a “self improvement” group that siphoned off all of Toshi’s earnings. The stress of that relationship caused him to lose his voice on occasion and even consider giving up music altogether. He will no longer perform solo or with Wanku and will concentrate on X Japan’s expansion into the U.S. market.
Last night’s show was a simple acoustic affair in front of about 1300 fans. In addition to songs from the new album, they performed X Japan standards such as “Endless Rain” and “Forever Love.” X Japan are due to perform at the Lollapolooza festival in August, but drummer and band leader Yoshiki dropped a hint that there may be a “warm up” show in Los Angeles. No further details were given.
Arashi took just about every prize going at the 24th Gold Disk Taisho awards yesterday. Including the top honor of being named as Artist of the Year, the Johnny’s Jimusho idol group won a total of 10 categories, the most ever. Other awards included Album of the Year (“All the Best! 1999-2009”), Single of the Year (“Believe/Kumori Nochi Kaisei”) and Best Music Video (“Arashi Around Asia 2008”). Members Ohno Satoshi, Aiba Masaki and Matsumoto Jun were on hand to pick up the 10 trophies. Aiba joked that there were so many that they should give them away to fans in a lottery. The awards are given out annually by the Recording Industry Association of Japan, and are based on sales figures. In 2009, Arashi sold 2.45 million singles, 1.77 million albums, 1.14 million videos/DVDs, and 3.07 million downloads for an accumulative total of 8.42 million. The New Artist of the Year, for the top-selling artist who debuted in 2009, went to the band Hilcrhyme.
The main award in the overseas music category went to The Beatles, based mainly on last year’s sales of their remastered albums, while Michael Jackson’s “This Is It” was Album of the Year. Guitarist Slash took Single of the Year for the song “Sahara,” which featured B’z vocalist Inaba Koshi.