I arrived in line about 17:00 h, as during the morning and afternoon I had been tree hunting (more of that in other post). Concert was supposed to start at 19:30. I have to say that this has been the worst queue ever, as the French seem to have no sense of personal space. The person behind the person behind me was invading my space, and I’m not exaggerating.
The Trianon seemed to be quite ready for us, entry was well organised and managed in order not to bother the local commerce, leaving space for people going in and out. However it is probably rare that a theatre like this gets lines, judging by the faces of the sellers around. Staff gave instructions in both French and Japanese.
Gates opened around 18:45, and I managed a seat on 7th row, in what I thought it would be a good position to actually see Yoshiki’s face as he played. The stage was equipped with the Kawai piano, a synthesiser, and the seats for the stings, along with a standing microphone – judging by this I chose my seat where I did. The screen showed the Yoshiki Classical World Tour banner.
Placement was free so I did not dare leaving my stuff and go hunt for goods. However at 19.25 people kept dripping in trying to find a seat on first row. Meanwhile a member of the staff was selling light sticks, ten Euro per stick, through the venue – no way I was paying that kind of money for that.
Around 19.50 the floor had started to get nervous, but at that point the press had started being shown in to their seats, which meant that the interviews were over. The music CD had run twice and I was grateful this was a recital and I was sitting down – this would have deadly having to stand.
Finally at 20.05 the concert started, with the entrance of the seven strings – three violins, two violas, two cellos. The assistant gave them the tuning note and the video launched behind them – started with a fragment of the Golden Globes museum interview, where Yoshiki explained the two sides of him, the destructiveness of heavy metal and the peace of classical music. This was illustrated by short clips of X Japan drumming and other activities – such as playing for the Emperor, or Yoshiki Symphonic, all to the music of Miracle.
Finally he sneaked in, there is no other way to describe what he did. Suddenly he walked in, as casually as one strolls down for a glass of water. He sat in front of the Kawai and played the Intro of Forever Love.
He did quite a lot of talking, with a few words in French, but mostly English. He explained that we would have two parts – I used the intermission to go get goods and buy an overpriced bottle of water.
Throughout the concert he introduced the strings by name, he knew all of their names even with effort (and named then Yoshiki Sextet with great mischievousness), and Katie, the vocalist of his Violet UK project – he himself said that he had too many projects and that he had been recording with X JAPAN forever, but also with Violet UK. He put the blame on himself for being a perfectionist and Katie rolled her eyes at him. They seemed to have a good chemistry going on. At the very beginning he told us that he was used to being in the back of concerts, playing drums and that being so close and seeing us made him nervous. He joked that as it was a classical concert he would not stage dive.
As he played the piano the screen behind him projected images, some of them abstract, some of them related to the song, such as roses for Rosa or Saint Seiya images for Hero, or raindrops for Endless Rain.
He told us about the history of X JAPAN and how he started playing piano when he was four, the same year he met ToshI. Then how he started playing drums at 10, in Chiba, and how he hunted down Pata, Taiji and Hide, “having to break their bands to get them to come to his band”. Then he spoke of Taiji’s and Hide’s passings, and not talking to ToshI for about 10 years. At this point he broke down. It makes one wonder about the kind of pain this man harbours in his soul. You could feel the rage as he pounded into the piano at some points, and yes, I am sure he was crying during the song he dedicated to his father, Taiji and Hide. He said that he had learnt that big venues and stadiums did not really mean anything, but that the support of the fans was what kept him going.
At some point we lost him, I’m sure. He was so carried away by the music that when the song was over he could not remember what he had actually played. We had a Swan Lake improvisation, and a song he had heard on the radio the day before. He confessed that being on tour he lost track of days and places.
He also announced that the October concert in the Madison Square Garden may be the start of a new X JAPAN tour, but we all know how that may go.
All in all, music-wise. He is good, he is a damn good pianist, musician and artist, and after the concert I am completely sure that he is a good person, too. It’s not an act, a persona that he created for the stage. Nobody is that good at feigning pain. Also he picked up a bunch of presents from the crowd on the first couple of rows himself, be it flowers, plushies, flags, anything went. I found that tremendously adorable.
I am very glad I got to go to this concert, it completely blew my expectations. Now, Yoshiki, for the next one, please try to pick a better part of town XD.
1. Miracle (during the video)
2. Forever Love (X JAPAN)
3. Golden Globe Theme
4. Rosa (Violet UK)
6. Amethyst (Strings only)
7. Swan Lake Improvisation (Tchaikovsky)
9. I.V. (X JAPAN), fragment
10. Hymne à l’amour (Édith Piaf cover)
11. Without You (X JAPAN)
12. Kurenai (X JAPAN), fragment
13. Art of Life (X JAPAN)
14. Endless Rain (X JAPAN)