Yoshiki Classical ~ World Tour Part 1

Yoshiki Classical ~ World Tour Part 1 

Royal Festival Hall
Thursday 29th May 2014
Written by Rachel Yarwood

Forever Love
Golden Globes Theme
Rosa (Violet UK featuring vocalist Katie Fitzgerald)
Anniversary (theme composed for the Emperor Akihito of Japan )


Amethyst Improv.
Swan Lake (Tchaikovsky)
Hero ("Saint Seiya" theme featuring Violet UK vocalist Katie Fitzgerald)
IV Improv.
Bohemian Rhapsody (Queen)
Without You
Art of Life Improv.
Endless Rain

For the last show of his Europe tour, classical and heavy metal sensation, Yoshiki Hayashi performs for an audience in the UK's capital of London. Tonight sees a varied audience from families, youths and the elderly, to the die hard fans of X Japan who have come kitted out in their tour tees from 2011. 

Starting a little later than anticipated, the accompanying septet (or as Yoshiki called them his sextet because it sounds cooler!) made their way on stage and the first part of the show commenced with a short video montage of interview clips cleverly pieced together with contrasting footage of Yoshiki smashing his way through his drum sets and then some of his striking piano compositions. 
The first half the concert comprised of four compositions only, but two of which were themes that have earned Yoshiki even more recognition both nationally and internationally from different aspects, such as "Hero" which will undoubtedly reach out to those anime fans in the audience or the more humbling rendition of "Anniversary" which Yoshiki wrote and performed for his Emperor fifteen years ago. 

After a short interval, the second half of the concert started with something a little more recognisable for the X Japan fans in the audience. Beginning with an improvisation of "Amethyst" it was feeling a little bit like the opening of his rock concerts in Tokyo Dome and when "Swan Lake" followed it was hard to stifle the thought of whether this was going to be a clean version or whether Yoshiki's Kawai piano was going to end up in pieces. Luckily for the piano (and Yoshiki's hands) this version of "Swan Lake" was perfect from start to finish. 
Nothing goes down better at a live show, classical or otherwise, than a cover song that can unite more or less the entire of the audience. Yoshiki's cover of Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody" was superb and left both members of the audience and Yoshiki himself grinning at his tribute to one of Britain's most famous and influential rock bands. 
The final half hour of the concert was a mixture of laughter and of tears as Yoshiki gave a couple of lengthy monologues between his performance, one of which he thanked his father for encouraging him as a child to play and listen to classical music, "Rock 'n' Roll has always been by my side, but classical music is in my bones" was one of the poignant quotes from the start of the show. However it was the lighter and more amusing moments of Yoshiki's mini history of his musical endeavours that really gave the night that emotional and personal touch. 
The finale of "Endless Rain" was a brilliant but equally emotional finish to the concert and it was no surprise that as the concert ended the audience, who had been so perfectly contained sat in their sits, began to throng towards the front of the stage with their bouquets, roses and gifts to present to Yoshiki in thanks. 

Yoshiki's Classical performance tonight in London brought us the 'other side' of the musician. On the one hand we have seen Yoshiki as the fierce and unrelenting drummer of X Japan, we have seen him destroy instruments and perform recklessly until he is too shattered to walk, but now we have seen the beautiful side of Yoshiki who composes gorgeous pieces of music for side projects including his own Violet UK which was an absolute pleasure and an unforgettable experience.