On October 13, Japanese superstar YOSHIKI performed with the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra and GRAMMY award-winning artists Ellie Goulding and St. Vincent for a unique classical performance at the Royal Albert Hall in London. The ground-breaking concert, featuring a full orchestra as well as singing and ballet performances, commemorated the 10th anniversary of YOSHIKI’s acclaimed Yoshiki Classical album.
Due to high demand, the concert is currently available to stream globally (excluding Japan) through the platform On Air with unlimited rewatches for the next two years. JROCK NEWS covered this report virtually via OnAir.
The lights dim and the audience filling the Royal Albert Hall goes quiet. At a rock concert, normally the audience breaks into cheers and screams as soon as the show is signaled to begin, but this time there is the respectful silence of a classical hall—yet it is filled with anticipation, all the same. The conductor leads the orchestra into the first notes of Amethyst. The London performance of YOSHIKI’s Orchestral World Tour “Requiem” begins.
A video plays for the audience as an introduction to YOSHIKI, stitching together clips from his past interviews and performances of both classical and rock music alike. The clips highlight the contrast of elegance and chaos, while also capturing their commonality—deep, intense emotion and the way that it has reached audiences all over the globe.
YOSHIKI takes the stage wearing a vibrant red coat. The beginning of Tears is played by YOSHIKI alone. Then, the orchestra joins in and the song takes on a new scale. On the song Angel, singer Beverly joins in with her fittingly angelic voice. The beauty of YOSHIKI’s orchestra performance is the way he weaves different elements of music and performance art.
He pauses to address the audience and speaks a little about each of the songs they had just played, explaining and elaborating on the meaning behind each of them. He does not assume that the audience already knows who he is. For a figure with such a strong presence, he is quite soft-spoken and even seems nervous at times. But in the end, the message he conveys to this audience is this: “Every single moment is a kind of miracle. Don’t you think?”.
This leads him to the next song Miracle, featuring the vocal talents of classical singer Ai Ichihara. Following that, YOSHIKI is joined on stage by ballet dancers for Forever Love.
Another break between songs creates a selfie moment with the audience, as YOSHIKI asks everyone to light up the hall with their cell phones. The swaying lights accompany them through Kiss the Sky and Beverly leads the audience in a simple sing-along. The final song of the first set is Anniversary, the song he composed for the Emperor of Japan’s tenth anniversary.
After a brief intermission, YOSHIKI reappears in a shining silver coat. Instead of the piano, he makes his way towards his iconic drum set. With the orchestra playing in the background, he brings out the rock n’ roll side of himself in a fast-paced and physically demanding performance. Once told by his doctor that he would never play drums again, YOSHIKI proves that he has overcome the odds with this unique and dramatic drum solo that keeps the audience on the edge of their seats.
St. Vincent performs an emotional rendition of her song New York with an orchestral arrangement by YOSHIKI. Annie Clark (better known as St. Vincent) has been hailed as one of the most innovative and fascinating multidisciplinary artists working today. She has won multiple Grammy awards for Best Alternative Album for both her 2014 self-titled sophomore album and her 2021 album Daddy’s Home.
The next star to join YOSHIKI on stage is Ellie Goulding, wearing a mesh dress and a dazzling feathered top (which she ends up removing before performing because it’s getting in her way, but she wanted to have a moment with it). She sings Love Me Like You Do, the song that launched her career when it was used as part of the soundtrack for the 2015 film Fifty Shades of Grey. After, YOSHIKI describes the performance with Ellie as a “dream come true”.
Ellie Goulding is a celebrated singer-songwriter, with 10 platinum singles, three #1 albums, two BRIT Awards, a GRAMMY Award nomination, and a Golden Globe nomination. She has sold over 27 million albums and 218 million singles, amassing 43 billion streams worldwide.
“I’m so grateful to be performing with such an iconic, you know, superstar. Not only are they superstars, they are amazing artists. Today’s very special, performing in this amazing concert hall. How many times did I say ‘amazing’ today? I’m going to keep saying that. Because I feel very… you know, amazing”, YOSHIKI says with a laugh.
The tour’s titular song Requiem is dedicated to his mother. When YOSHIKI speaks about her to the audience, it is evident how much she means to him, and his voice is emotional to the point that it sounds as if he is holding back tears.
YOSHIKI recounts how she was there for him at many of the biggest moments in his life, such as when he played at the Tokyo Dome for thousands of people or when he composed for a Hollywood film. In those moments, she would ask him, “Did you sleep last night?” or “Did you eat this morning?”. There was only one time she told him “Good job, and that was when he composed for the Emperor of Japan.
On September 14, YOSHIKI became the first Japanese artist to be honored with a handprint and footprint ceremony at the Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. He wondered what his mother would say about that. Would she say he did a good job or would she ask him if he ate that morning? Well, perhaps she would say both.
YOSHIKI collects himself and moves on to the song Without You, which he dedicates to the late members of X JAPAN Hide and Taiji, as well as his father and mother. The concert ended with X JAPAN’s signature song Endless Rain, during which the entire audience sang along for the iconic chorus.
YOSHIKI’s performance united fans of rock and classical music and brought together artists from across different genres. After such an unforgettable experience, it is only right that it finishes with a standing ovation from the audience.
If you’re interested to read more of YOSHIKI’s thoughts on his orchestral tour, plus his many other projects, the JROCK NEWS team had the honor of interviewing YOSHIKI earlier this month.
YOSHIKI Classical “Requiem” Setlist
5. Forever Love
6. Kiss the Sky
1. Tchaikovsky – Serenade For Strings (Drum solo)
2. Górecki – Symfonia Pieśni żałosnych (Drum solo)
3. Say Anything
4. Tchaikovsky – Swan Lake
5. New York (featuring St. Vincent)
6. Love Me Like You Do (featuring Ellie Goulding)
7. Red Swan
9. Without You
10. Mendelssohn – Opus 13 in A-minor
11. Art of Life
12. Endless Rain
|🗓 Date||🗂️ Archive until||🎥 Stream|
|October 19, Y, |
|OnAir global livestream|