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X Japan Mastermind Yoshiki Performs Classical Hits at New York’s Historical Carnegie Hall [Review + Photos]

Japanese multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, composer, record producer and X Japan leader Yoshiki recently performed two back-to-back sold-out shows at New York York City’s acclaimed Carnegie Hall on Jan. 12 and 13. Presented by Knitting Factory, the special concerts saw Yoshiki play original compositions, symphonic renditions of X Japan favorites and traditional classical pieces alongside the world famous Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra.

We caught Friday’s performance (Jan. 13), which initiated promptly at 7:30PM with the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra, led by conductor Yuga Cohler, quietly ushering in a majestic performance of “I”ll Be Your Love” (theme for the World Expo Japan) from Yoshiki’s 2013 studio album Yoshiki Classical. Following a brief clip from the documentary film We Are X, Yoshiki took to the stage in his white suit, posting at his ceremonious grand piano.

For the first half of the concert, the renowned Yoshiki introduced and performed classical interpretations of X Japan tracks: “The Last Song,” “Forever Love” and the Oscar-nominated fresh new hit “La Venus.” The initial part of the program also included Yoshiki’s composition from the 69th Golden Globe Awards, the Violet UK (Yoshiki’s solo project) song “Hero” (theme for the animated film Saint Seiya), an ode to Japanese Emperor Akihito dubbed “Anniversary” and a captivating depiction of Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata.” Singer Katie Fitzgerald, who has performed with Yoshiki on concert tours across the world, complimented a handful of songs with her enthralling voice.

Following a brief intermission, the Tokyo Philharmonic Orchestra warmed up the crowd with the theme for the TV drama Nikushimi ni Hohoende┬átitled “Tears.” Directly following that and with the help from soprano Ashley Knight, Yoshiki charmed the audience with his 2013 ballad “Miracle,” which is often used as the opening intro theme song for X Japan shows.

The soft-spoken rocker also played a surprise rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” and a heartfelt performance of X Japan’s “Without You,” which he dedicated to the memory of his fallen bandmates Hide and Taiji, along with his departed father. Accompanied by bright lights emanating from the ginormous disco ball stationed above the stage, Yoshiki ended the night with the memorable ballad “Endless Rain,” which fans gently sang along to.

The New York City shows, which were streamed online for fans across the globe, marked the final performances of Yoshiki’s “Classical Special World Tour.” Next up, X Japan hit the Wembley Arena in London on March 4 and fans hope to have a new album from the group this year.

Check out our photos from the Carnegie Hall show on Jan. 13 in the gallery above.

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