On a dreary morning in September, a small group of dedicated X Japan fans braved the rain, taking shelter under scaffolding, and patiently waited for a glimpse of Yoshiki, the Japanese hard rock group’s charismatic drummer, pianist, and leader. He cheerfully greeted each fan and posed for pictures, even as the crowd grew, before entering the JW Marriott Essex House to participate in the Japanese National Tourism Organization’s Visit Japan Tourism Seminar.
As a panelist in the seminar, Yoshiki joined former New York Mets and Chiba Lotte Marines manager Bobby Valentine and Japanese Olympic medalists Kaori Icho and Kasumi Ishikawa to encourage travel to Japan as well as to offer tourists tips on where to go and what to see. The Visit Japan Tourism Seminar was also an opportunity for Yoshiki to plug his upcoming projects, namely his classical concert at Carnegie Hall, which takes place January 12 and 13.
Yes, the leader of Japan’s most successful rock band and a major influencer in the Visual Kei movement’s characteristic big hair and wild makeup is playing a classical music concert at Carnegie Hall.
“I grew up playing classical music,” says Yoshiki, who first took piano lessons at the age of four. “When my father passed away when I was ten years old, I met rock. So I started playing rock as well. I didn’t give up classical music. A few years ago I made my first dream come true, playing Madison Square Garden with my rock band, so this time in 2017 . . . playing Carnegie Hall in New York City will be another dream come true playing classical music.”
Yoshiki’s latest CD is Yoshiki Classical, which debuted at #1 on the iTunes Classical Music chart in ten countries. The CD features collaborations with legendary Beatles producer Sir George Martin, the London Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Tokyo City Philharmonic Orchestra.
For the Carnegie Hall concerts, Yoshiki will be accompanied by the Tokyo Philharmonic, which was named one of the Top 10 greatest orchestras in the world by CNN in 2015. With that prestigious orchestra he will perform his original compositions, and he will play several traditional classical pieces. The probability of the audience hearing classical re-imaginings of X Japan’s heavy metal tunes is high, as evidenced by Yoshiki’s performance of “Endless Rain” in Hong Kong on December 30.
Special VIP Meet & Greet Packages are available for each night. In addition to a pre-concert meet and greet with Yoshiki, the package includes a sound check experience and amazing prizes. This is a unique opportunity to see the classical side of one of the world’s hardest rocking drummers.
To purchase tickets and VIP Meet & Greet Packages, please visit Yoshiki’s official website.