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X Japan’s Yoshiki Goes Classical for Intimate Los Angeles Performance

Yoshiki, leader and co-founder of X Japan, unveiled his new project ‘Yoshiki Classical’ at a sold-out performance at the Grammy Museum in Los Angeles. As the title suggests, this endeavor sees the typically hard-rocking Yoshiki delving into the world of classical music and the result is quite impressive.

Yoshiki’s first love was classical music, introduced to him by his parents at an early age. With X Japan he’s most often seen behind the drum kit, but on this night he sat before a clear, custom-made piano. As Yoshiki tickled the ivories, his notes stirred and swelled. The sound was further accentuated by the gorgeous tones of an accompanying string quartet.

For fans used to seeing him crowd surfing or smashing instruments, this set may have seemed subdued. However, Yoshiki managed to tone down his performance without letting the songs lose their intensity; he simply allowed the music to bring the emotion.

“I think everybody has both sides, I’m just a bit extreme,” said Yoshiki, referring to his dual ability to work in both hard rock and classical genres. “I hear some punk elements in Mozart.” A brief interview segment allowed fans to see a side of this international superstar not often revealed to the public. Yoshiki’s humor and personality shone through as he talked about topics ranging from his songwriting approach, to what Japanese food he keeps stocked in his refrigerator. Though Yoshiki didn’t divulge too many details as it is still early, he did reveal that a new X Japan album is in the works, with a 2014 tour also being discussed.

The intimate evening came to a close with more music, as Yoshiki returned to the piano to play a handful of fan requests. Highlights included ‘Forever Love’ and ‘Art of Life,’ but the best moment was truly saved for last. His final song was a beautiful rendition of the X Japan ballad ‘Endless Rain.’ With no vocalist on stage, the crowd filled in as lead singer, their voices rising as one through the entirety of the song. It was a poignant end to a very special night, as Yoshiki took his bows to a standing ovation.

‘Yoshiki Classical’ is available is available for digital download via iTunes and Amazon. The album’s physical release is set for Sept. 24.

Next: X Japan's Yoshiki Receives Wax Figure From Madame Tussauds

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