Wednesday, November 5, 2014

YOSHIKI at Otakon 2014

On August 8-10, 2014 the 21st annual Otakon, one of North America’s largest and longest running anime conventions, was held in Baltimore Maryland at the Baltimore Convention Center. With a myriad of guests, panels and activities for otaku of every kind, it makes you wish the weekend would never come to a close.

This year saw the return of X Japan’s leader YOSHIKI to the guest list, his last Otakon appearance being in 2010. While he was accompanied by SUGIZO in 2010, this year YOSHIKI was joined by PATA and HEATH.

His YOSHIKI CLASSICAL Tour had come to a close less than two months ago. Beginning in spring the world tour took him to North America, Europe and Asia. Now, less than two months before X Japan’s highly anticipated concert at New York’s Madison Square Garden, YOSHIKI had come to Otakon to grace fans with a classical performance.

And what a performance it was. Deeply impactful, moving your very soul, YOSHIKI was phenomenal from start to finish. Accompanied by his strings section, made of four talented and lovely women, the compositions were pure bliss. Lyrics were given life by tender and heavenly voice of Violet UK’s lovely vocalist, Katie Fitzgerald. Last but certainly not least, X Japan’s PATA and HEATH took to the stage for an unforgettable performance of Art of Life.

This was my second year at Otakon, and my first time to experience YOSHIKI’s talent live before my eyes. It’s blatantly clear that he is an extremely passionate artist, and he seemed to incorporated every ounce of that passion into his music. From his music, to words to his countenance to the gestures of his skillful hands, it was all quite touching. Both he and his work leave a lasting impression.

Aside from the concert itself, the most memorable comment for me came during his press conference (which you can read the transcripts of here), where he stated “When you save people, I also feel saved for some reason. I want to keep on doing this for the rest of my life” The depth of his heart and emotions are plain and clear.

YOSHIKI jested that his next return to Otakon would be in 2018, after noticing a pattern of coming every four years. I certainly hope he’ll return much sooner than that.

Set List:
Miracle VTR (with video opening)
1. Forever Love
2. Anniversary
3. HERO (with Katie Fitzgerald)
4. Tears (English version, with Katie Fitzgerald)
5. Swan Lake (piano solo)
6. Without You
7. Kurenai
8. Strings Transition
9. Art of Life (with Pata and Heath)
10. Endless Rain
Say Anything (exit music)

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This report was written by Christopher Brown, edited by Alicia R. Thomas. Many thanks to Yoshiki for the stunning performance, and to Otakon for making it all possible!


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