YOSHIKI’s “REQUIEM” Tour: A Symphony of Emotion and Resilience (Live Report)

J-Rock Reviews

Yoshiki Classical 10th Anniversary World Tour with Orchestra 2023 “REQUIEM”
Dolby Theatre – Los Angeles – October 20, 2023

Live Report by Christan Copeland

Yoshiki Requiem Dolby 2023

Nothing embodies YOSHIKI’s legacy, with its triumphs and trials, quite like his extensive music catalog. From his role as the rock star drummer and composer of X JAPAN to his transformation into a classical maestro, lyricist, and producer, YOSHIKI’s 10th anniversary classical tour, “REQUIEM,” pays homage to the songs that have shaped his artistry and continues to inspire millions around the world.

At the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, fans wearing a spectrum of fashion styles, from X JAPAN-inspired aesthetics to formal wear, rock t-shirts, jeans, and Lolita dresses, filled the audience. As the anticipation swelled, the orchestra took the stage, followed by a violin solo that introduced the opening song, X JAPAN’s “Amethyst”. This classical rendition of “Amethyst” showcased the orchestra’s dynamic range and held special significance as it’s often played as the opening theme at X JAPAN shows.

Yoshiki Requiem Dolby 2023

Yoshiki Requiem Dolby 2023

Following “Amethyst”, a 10-minute video presentation took the audience on a journey through YOSHIKI’s life, from his prestigious handprint and footprint ceremony to his tenure with X JAPAN. The video highlighted the emotional and intimate connection YOSHIKI’s music has forged with fans worldwide.

Greeted by loud applause, YOSHIKI made his entrance. He exuded rock elegance and flair, bowing demurely to the audience before taking his place at the piano, gracefully arranging his shimmery red coattails. With gentle strokes of the piano keys, YOSHIKI embarked on the beautifully haunting “Tears”. Composed in memory of his father’s passing, “Tears” set the tone with delicate melodies, which eventually gave way to enthusiastic swells in orchestral strings and harp flourishes.

Between songs, YOSHIKI punctuated the transitions with, “I would rather live with love, with dreams, and forever with… “TEARS.”

Yoshiki Requiem Dolby 2023

World-class vocalist Beverly delivered a heavenly rendition of X JAPAN’s latest release, “Angel.” Following this performance, YOSHIKI took a moment to greet the audience, cleverly integrating the song titles into his storytelling:

YOSHIKI: “I’ve been through a lot, but I’m still standing here because of you. You’ve saved my life so many times. Isn’t it a kind of Miracle?”

“Miracle,” originally a collaboration with Sarah Brightman, was given a bewitching operatic treatment by Ai Ichihara. YOSHIKI’s orchestration of low strings and rolling chord progressions beautifully captured the cinematic drama of this arrangement.

Yoshiki Requiem Dolby 2023

Yoshiki Requiem Dolby 2023

During “Forever Love”, ballet performers from USC’s Glorya Kaufman School of Dance added a unique and breathtaking dimension to the performance. “Kiss The Sky” marked a special moment when YOSHIKI encouraged the Los Angeles audience to join in a sing-along, with cellphone lights shimmering throughout the concert hall.

YOSHIKI: “I want you to sing. Are you a good singer?” (Audience murmurs) “Oh, come on! Beverly is going to sing, and you can follow that.”

Beverly proved a stellar vocal guide, guiding the audience with soaring vocals as phone flashlights twinkled in the concert hall. “Anniversary,” composed as a tribute to the 10th anniversary of Japan’s Emperor Akihito in 1999, marked a significant milestone in YOSHIKI’s career and a fitting climax to the first act of “REQUIEM.”

Act two welcomed YOSHIKI in a flowing white top and a buttery silver shimmering tailcoat. Seated at his legendary drum kit, YOSHIKI’s edgier syncopated percussions complemented the orchestra’s softer accompaniment, while Ai Ichihara’s hypnotic operatic swells enveloped the audience. Classics like Tchaikovsky’s “Serenade for Strings” and Górecki, which fans recognize from X JAPAN shows, gained new grandeur with a full orchestra. Pulsating rhythmic lights and choreographed lasers accentuated YOSHIKI’s masterful percussion of illuminated drums. As expected, YOSHIKI climaxed this part of the show by climbing atop his drum kit, signaling the indomitable “X.”

“Say Anything” and “Swan Lake” transitioned the show into a joyous mood, with the USC ballet performers returning for a dance to YOSHIKI’s take on Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake.”

YOSHIKI humorously remarked, “Why did I choose to play this difficult song (“Swan Lake”) after drums? Very rock and roll!”

Beverly graced the stage once more for “Red Swan” a beloved track known as the theme song for the anime Attack on Titan. Originally performed by HYDE, Beverly’s rendition gave the song an angelic, majestic twist, eliciting abundant applause.

YOSHIKI’s introduction to the final set of songs reflected his emotions about the recent loss of his mother. The simple question, “Did you eat this morning?” from a mother to her son, evoked fond memories. Tears streamed silently down YOSHIKI’s face during an impassioned piano performance of “REQUIEM” and “Without You”.

Yoshiki Requiem Dolby 2023

A spellbinding and moody performance of Mendelssohn marked a distinctive shift in YOSHIKI’s playing style, silencing the air in the concert hall. Blond locks of hair whipped around a deeply focused YOSHIKI as he pounded the keys, releasing a torrent of bittersweet, deeply evocative melodies. Within the brightening flourishes of “Art of Life,” YOSHIKI emerged from the eye of the musical storm, beaming triumphantly toward the audience. “I kind of blacked out,” YOSHIKI bemused, as he gathered himself for his concluding thoughts.

The night culminated with “Endless Rain,” one of X JAPAN’s most famous songs to date. The audience visibly swayed to the music as YOSHIKI played his classical rendition. As YOSHIKI looked out into the audience to sing along, the crowd responded without hesitation, singing steadily and clearly. When the final notes sounded, the audience rose from their seats, clapping enthusiastically for the exquisite show.

Following the theatrical tradition of three curtain calls and bows, YOSHIKI made a final dash onto the stage, enthusiastically shouting:
Audience (shouts): X!
Audience (shouts): X!
Audience (shouts): X!

Arms formed an X, pumping in the air, and the rock ‘n’ roll vibes eagerly dispelled the modest classical tone.

YOSHIKI’s classical show was like a quiet storm, a culmination of his compositions and performances where the drums thundered his convictions, refrains fell like rain, and melodies blew away the debris of sorrow through evocative lyricism. YOSHIKI’s complex journey in the global spotlight gathered into a singular dream: to create music that heals. Every exciting venture for YOSHIKI births a whirlwind of creativity that centers on the love of his fans. “REQUIEM” serves as a retrospective of YOSHIKI’s finest works, influences, and inspirations. It is not only an homage but also a eulogy, an ode, and a celebration of the power of music to unite and heal.

Yoshiki Requiem Dolby 2023

If you missed the opportunity to see YOSHIKI during his stateside shows or want to relive the wonder of it all, the Royal Albert Hall show is available on Onair.com, a premium livestream catalog of artists’ concerts from around the world, available for live stream and on demand. You can relive and rediscover the magic of YOSHIKI’s curated musical works in the 10th-anniversary “REQUIEM.”

YOSHIKI Classical “REQUIEM” Setlist:
1. Amethyst
2. Tears
3. Angel
4. Miracle
5. Forever Love
6. Kiss The Sky
7. Anniversary

1. Tchaikovsky – Serenade for Strings (Drum solo)
2. Górecki – Symfonia Pieśni żałosnych (Drum solo)
3. Say Anything
4. Tchaikovsky – Swan Lake
5. Red Swan
7. Without You
8. Mendelssohn – Opus 13 in A-minor
9. Art of Life
10. Endless Rain

Yoshiki Classical 10th Anniversary World Tour with Orchestra 2023 “REQUIEM”
Tokyo Garden Theater – October 7-9
Royal Albert Hall (London) – October 13
Dolby Theatre (Los Angeles) – October 20
Carnegie Hall (New York) – October 28

Tour information:

Tour teaser: