“Yoskiki knows The OC”


It isn’t often that international tours launch from Costa Mesa, let alone make scarce few North American stops before heading to Moscow and Mexico City, Beijing and Berlin. But that’s exactly the route Yoshiki is taking, starting in O.C. at the end of April.

The longtime leader of the symphonic metal band X Japan, a superstar at home whose group plays to sold-out stadiums, has made more of a name for himself in America in just these past few years than in the three decades before then. That’s due in part to X Japan’s trip to the States after reuniting in 2007, but more so it’s because of Yoshiki’s forays into classical crossover material, a shred-free extension of his artistry that began 20 years ago with the instrumental effort Eternal Melody. (Producer on that one: Sir George Martin.)

Since then, the 48-year-old pianist and composer, who began as (and still is) a drummer, cut a sequel in 2005 and last year provided the theme to the Golden Globe Awards. Roughly six months ago, that piece plus the best bits from both of his solo discs were culled for the fast-selling compilation Yoshiki Classical, which has topped iTunes classical charts worldwide (in the U.S. it stalled at No. 2). Also included on it are several other milestones from the first person to have his own line of Hello Kitty collectibles, most notably his themes for the Emperor of Japan’s 10th anniversary in 1999 and the country’s World Expo six years later.

Los Angeles has been a go-to destination for Yoshiki – he’s recorded there, X Japan played L.A. Live’s Nokia Theatre, and now the Grammy Museum in that same complex is hosting an exhibit about him, displaying his signature crystal piano as well as many of his flamboyant, gender-blending outfits and more. It’s the venue’s first such installation for an Asian artist.

But alongside unveiling that array with a performance on the Target Terrace there, Wednesday night’s opening also served to announce Yoshiki’s world tour behind his new compendium. That kicks off April 25 at the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall, the more glittering of the two big rooms at Segerstrom Center for the Arts.

After that, he plays only one more U.S. date, April 28 at Davies Hall in San Francisco, before he starts globetrotting: Mexico City, Toronto, Moscow, Berlin, Paris, London, Beijing and, finally, Shanghai on June 8.

Tickets for the Segerstrom performance, starting at $39, go on sale Saturday, Feb. 22, at 10 a.m. via the Center’s site or by phone at 714-556-2787.

OC Register