On February 3, titans of rock THE LAST ROCKSTARS made their explosive US live debut in New York City. Fans camped out in front of Manhattan Center, braving freezing winds on the city sidewalk overnight—all for the chance to see megastars YOSHIKI (drums and piano), SUGIZO (guitar and violin), HYDE (vocals), and MIYAVI (guitar).

To those waiting in the cold, it was a small price to pay for this monumental first look. In the life of an overseas Jrock fan, legendary shows are shared through the grapevine of social media but rarely experienced in person. But this time, they’d be the first in America to bear witness to this once-in-a-lifetime collaboration. 

THE LAST ROCKSTARS gather beneath a mammoth billboard in iconic Times Square.Keiko Tanabe

An exhilarating kick-off

THE LAST ROCKSTARS could have chosen anyone or no one to be an opening act, yet that honor went to an all-girl rock band from Tokyo, BAND-MAID.

While the set was a short 20-minute sprint, the five metal mavens served up a delightful four-song sample of their most popular tunes. They started with the hard-rocking NO GOD from the 2021 album Unseen World. Next up was the energetic fan-favorite Play from the 2018 album World Domination. Also, from that same album, their mission statement rang out in the anthemic DOMINATION. Finally, their big hit of 2022, Unleash!!!!! rounded out the set.

Many BAND-MAID fans relished this tremendous opportunity for their beloved maids, plus audiences for THE LAST ROCKSTARS appreciated this guest performance.

The birth of a legend

THE LAST ROCKSTARS commenced in darkness, greeted by a rising roar from the crowd. A massive screen stretching from stage to ceiling ran the opening SE, narrated by an AI who introduced the legends YOSHIKI (X Japan), SUGIZO (X Japan, Luna Sea), HYDE (L’arc-en-ciel, VAMPS), and MIYAVI. The screen was used all night with cutting-edge graphics and camera work, allowing even fans in the balconies to get a close-up glimpse of the rock stars’ faces.

Vocalist of THE LAST ROCKSTARS, HYDEYoshimasa Miyazaki

The band performed a high-energy combination of original material and previous hits—including new songs Psycho Love and Shine. They also pulled out covers from the member’s individual projects, such as X Japan’s Born to be Free, and L’arc-en-ciel’s Honey.

The set was punctuated by epic solo performances by each of the four virtuosos. Guitarists SUGIZO and MIYAVI faced off in a groovy duel of guitar work, each musician shining with their individual play style. After, SUGIZO ripped into the audience’s hearts with a chest-stabbing, weeping electric violin, later joined by HYDE’s soaring vocals.

Guitarists SUGIZO (left) and MIYAVI (right) embroiled in an epic guitar battle.

Dual-wielding drummer and pianist YOSHIKI took the limelight in his solo performance. He transitioned with ease from crashing, floor-shaking drums you could feel in your throat, to an emotive piano cover of X Japan’s Kurenai.

Following this rare and superhuman display, a lone voice in the audience shrieked what was on all our minds: “What the fuck did I just witness?!”.

Pianist YOSHIKI (left) wields his ethereal clear piano, with vocalist HYDE (right).

The show was indeed a spectacle for the eyes and ears. The artists’ combined decades of showmanship were set on maximum output with no holds barred. YOSHIKI’s crystalline drumset flashed with bursts of red and blue, HYDE swung his mic stand with dramatic ease, and SUGIZO and MIYAVI played the crowd into their clutches. All the while the stage blazed with pyrotechnics, set moody atmospheres with smoke machines, and dazzled with brilliant light displays.

After an encore, the night culminated with a second performance of their debut single, THE LAST ROCKSTARS. But this time, YOSHIKI, covered in a sheen of sweat from rigorous playing and crowd-surfing, asserted that the audience was in fact “the real rock stars”.

Over the course of the tour, the band’s US circuit saw them perform for 10,000 fans, plus over 15,000 more who watched global livestreams of the Hollywood event through Veeps. Live Viewing of the Hollywood show was also shown in Japan in over 100 movie theaters.

Many will hear of it, but these few, lucky attendees will be able to look back at this famed night and say, “I was there when THE LAST ROCKSTARS first played in America”.

Guitarist SUGIZO reaches out to fans at New York’s Hammerstein Ballroom.Keiko Tanabe

THE LAST ROCKSTARS Live Debut 2023 New York, February 3, 2023


Opening SE

Opening video

  1. The Last Rockstars (Opening ver.)
  2. 6 or 9
  3. Messiah
  4. Here’s the Love
  5. Beneath the Skin
  6. SUGIZO vs. MIYAVI guitar battle
  7. SUGIZO violin solo
  8. Folly
  9. Hallelujah
  10. YOSHIKI drum solo
  11. YOSHIKI piano solo
  12. Born to be Free
  13. Honey
  14. Up and Down
  15. Bang!
  16. Red Swan
  17. Psycho Love


  1. Shine
  2. The Last Rockstars (Ending ver.)
Subscribe to new comments
Email notify on
Most votes
Newest Oldest
Inline feedbacks
View all comments
  1. The Last Rockstars (Paris Mix)
    The Last Rockstars (Paris Mix)
Twitter SUGIZO
Twitter HYDE
Twitter MIYAVI
Instagram YOSHIKI
Instagram SUGIZO
Instagram HYDE
Instagram MIYAVI
Twitter MIKU Kobato
Twitter SAIKI
Twitter KANAMI
Twitter AKANE
Twitter MISA
Instagram MIKU Kobato
Instagram SAIKI
Instagram KANAMI
Instagram AKANE
Instagram MISA