Yoshiki : Royal Albert Hall Review

Yoshiki : Royal Albert Hall Review

Rock music the international language of the world

When I go to the Albert Hall, I know it’s the place where my father, when he could afford it, spent many a night out in his twenties. He and my mother also spent time there until their life’s were interrupted by my brother and myself. When I go, I feel his presence.

I felt a feeling of coincidence at the Yoshiki concert and tour, which was named “Requiem” after the loss of his mother last year.

For those that don’t know, Yoshiki was the pianist, drummer and songwriter for the Japanese band X, who became known as X Japan. The band has sold a respectable 30 million records and were famous for innovating Visual kei, which is a bit like glam rock. Think of a Japanese version of Kiss or Hair Metal.

There first album, “Vanishing Vision” was ground breaking for metal in Japan.

Back to the Albert Hall. The house was a sell-out. I asked at the ticket office and there were no tickets available on the night. The audience was full of faithful fans, who knew all the lyrics. The last song of the night, the X Japan favourite “Endless Rain” there was spontaneous singing from the super fans in the Stalls.

This wasn’t a band night, Yoshiki played piano with a full orchestra for the first half, and had female singers such as Beverly and Ai Ichihara join him. By the second half, during the interval, a drum kit had appeared on the stage and Yoshiki played a drum solo, on the next song with the orchestra. The fans loved the drum solo has it was nostalgic for the X Japan days.

He had been told in the past not to drum again by his doctor, so this wasn’t the full-on X Japan style drum solo, even though he had a double bass drum. But enough to keep the faithful happy. I have to admit he is an excellent drummer and should be on best drummers in the world lists.

Songs played were all Yoshiki compositions from X, X Japan or part of his solo repertoire, except one, which was “Swan Lake” by Tchaikovsky.

Of course, during Swan Lake, he was joined on stage by ballet dancers.

During the second half he was joined by for one song by St. Vincent and by Ellie Goulding for another. Ellie who had gone a little over the top with her outfit, had to detach her feathers to be able to sing.

My only gripe were the two “adverts” he played during the show, one was for his champagne, which is the ultimate in super fan mech and the other was for his fashion house, “Maison Yoshiki Paris” though the video didn’t play for the fashion house. You could feel the audience take a step back, then the faithful forgave.

Yoshiki proved that it does not matter where you come from music and rock music that is understood worldwide and can unite people in love and community.

Timothy Hughes | Now Spinning Magazine

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