MIYAVI Live in Boston 6/25: 2/2

The tension kept building as the lights kept dimming in a tantalizing way, and the black-shirted crew members bopped on and off stage. Finally the lights flickered low in a seductive promise, and the group of teenage girls standing behind me squealed “Yay! A white guy!”, another countered simply with “ew.” The audience was shifting, the background noise was starting to grate, and it was as easy to ignore the little black door at the back of the stage as it is to ignore a tarantula crawling up the back of your neck. Every second seemed to whisper he’s coming…he’s coming… And then the music cut out and the black door opened, emitting a slightly white glow, and the shorts-and-t-shirt wearing, pony-tailed figure wielding a promising pair of drumsticks emerged, acknowledging the audience with a glowing smile. Everyone flipped out. Hands were up in the air, people were screaming, I’m surprised no one fainted right then and there as a silhouette appeared, a shadow against the door, cast in the white light, a tipped trucker hat and angular shoulders. The screams reached a crescendo, calling out in a rhythm-less chant, MIYAVIMIYAVIMIYAVI. And then he strode out.

The badass-ness of that moment can’t be described in words, and I’m not even going to try. Bedecked in skinny leggings, a tight punkish tank-top, and a black waist-coat paneled with swatches of kimono fabric, back-combed brown and green hair sticking out from a Volcom trucker hat, MIYAVI pulled darkness and light into his orbit like a magnet, cutting a stark image of perfection and punk. The low lighting glanced off of the milk-white angles of his face as he strode up to the microphone, black guitar swung across his chest. Casting a sultry glance over his waiting fans, spidery white fingers strummed several heavy, ringing chords, and, lips brushing the mic, he rasped, “Hello…Boston!”

Accompanied only by the unbelievable drumming talents of Bobo and some off-and-on keyboards, it was unbelievable how much noise MIYAVI could make. His heavy slap/pop style percussive blues playing, skat/rap/spoken-word/screamed/English/Japanese lyrics and shouted cues such as “Jump up!” and “Make some noise!” filled the entire club, creating as much volume as a full on band– definitely as much, if not more, music. After the first song or two, he stopped for a brief introduction, saying “I am MIYAVI, Japanese from Tokyo…”, and expressing his gratitude for everyone’s attendance. He admitted that this was the third consecutive show in as many days (Boston followed Chicago and Toronto), and that he was really tired. However there was no sign of him taking it easy on us, and he didn’t forget any details. Before continuing, he checked with the audience to make sure everyone could see and hear, before launching into another series of full-bodied, incredible tunes that rocked down the house. He drew on our vocal power as well, calling out “What’s my name?” and when we responded, “What’s my fuckin’ name?!”

Rockin’ across the stage, this guy covered some miles, darting from one mic to the next, launching his charisma and sultry, mischievous glances out over each angle of the audience. Every time he moved to a new mic, all the club’s energy surged in to that spot. Shredding his guitar mercilessly, crouching in a near-split to pull the full capacity of sound from his guitar strings, MIYAVI was a terrific tease, starting to throw his weight over the waiting, grasping hands, only to pull back at the last moment, smiling sneakily. At points, he would flip aside the folds of his jacket to reveal a flash of red-satin lining and several inches of bared midriff, only to hide it again as the fangirl’s screams reached a crescendo. Despite his overall reserved attitude around fan-service, MIYAVI created an incredibly sensual performance, filling out each moment with complex facial expressions, smoky glances, and a darting, serpentine tongue. He teased with words, too, challenging us to be a raging audience, “Are you guys gonna be crazy? Are you? Maybe…Maybe…”

Instead of doing one or two longer MCs, MIYAVI broke it up with small, almost conversational breaks. He would stop for water and to wipe off his face, turning to say “it’s really fricken hot in here. I’ve got water in my eyes…” At one point he stood there fixing the tousled ponytail sticking out of the back of his hat, only to pull out a long extension. Dangling the piece of hair, he deadpanned, “Yeah it’s all fake now. I’m bald…” before sticking it awkwardly on the keyboard. With each MC, it was impossible not to hang on his every word and follow his every move, each expression. It was amazing and inspiring to see such an incredible musician up there who, for the past hour had been rocking out and screaming his throat raw, only to stop now and talk about his daughter, apologizing about canceling the previously planned tour due to his move to J-Glam Inc., and then a heartfelt message about how he believes we can be united by music, and how “as long as you call my name, I will keep coming back.” His attitude was reserved and cool, but the energy he sent out to the audience was truly sincere, warm, and all-encompassing. There were a lot of humorous moments as well, such as when he spoke Japanese to us and got a response in Japanese, to which he responded “you’re Japanese? You too? You too?…Whatever.” And when he apologized for his English, saying “I’m sorry my English is not good, even though I am a genius.”

The set-list flowed flawlessly. He played some songs off the “new album”, and a song that he “just wrote a few days ago” (which was one of my favorites of the evening), as well as older pieces such as Super Hero, Please Please Please, and the highly interactive and fun tracks Are You Ready to Rock which gave our vocal chords a run for their money, and Boom Hah Boom Hah Hah which challenged the audience’s clapping coordination.

Toward the end of the live, we had been able to move closer to the front in time for the Jrock Ablutions. MIYAVI pulled out the water-bottle and took a drink, before squirting us down with it. He took another big swig, turned around, bent over backwards and spat the water over the first few lines. It was like Visual Kei baptism. I’ll be able to live my life in pride being able to say “MIYAVI spat water on me.” Yes, it’s like that.

Finally, after disappearing off stage, MIYAVI made us scream  a lot before reappearing for an encore. He played around with the other musicians, mashing keys on the keyboard and pushing the keyboard-player away from the keyboard with his butt while still shredding chords. He teased the keyboard player, calling him a “fuckin geeky no girlfriend cherry boy looks like Chinese from Tokyo!” At the end of the song he put down his guitar and walked along the edge of the stage touching and shaking the audience’s hands. Roukun was able to shake his hand, and reported that it was very soft. For me, having arranged this experience for my pal as a birthday gift, I feel that standing just a few people back from the stage, getting showered in MIYAVI’s spit, and being able to touch his hand, I think I succeeded in my mission.

Finally, MIYAVI disappeared backstage and the little black door swung shut, swallowing him back into the universe from which he emerged like a blazing star only 2.5 hours earlier. The audience slowly, hesitantly began to disperse. After standing for a moment in an afterglow of sound and visualism, we left the flickering purple and red lights, and the earlier-celebrated crew members packing up drums and guitars, amps and chords, and stepped out onto the street, into the hazy summer midnight, Are you ready to rock? Are you ready to rock? Are you ready to rock? echoing in our ears; what’s my name? what’s my fuckin’ name? coursing through our veins.

What’s my name? What’s my fuckin’ name?! MIYAVI. MIYAVI. MIYAVI.

MIYAVI  image (top): TraciGrant

23 responses to “MIYAVI Live in Boston 6/25: 2/2

  1. You surely did not disappoint with this article!

    I think its great that you were able to do all this for your friend and be able to have some fun yourself! MIYAVI sounds like a real character, to say the least. He seems to have a captivating personality, and I can’t believe his hair extensions came off! XD

    • Glad to hear it came out okay!

      Yeah, you know, I think that the general misconception about seeing live music is that we’re going to “hear the music performed live”. While this is a huge part of it, for me at least it’s just being able to experience the artist as a living, breathing, real human being up there on stage just a few yards away. These aren’t photo-shopped images or edited videos, it’s all real. You get to see these amazing people like MIYAVI who, although “perfect” in our eyes, stand up there being quirky, pulling out hair-extensions, worrying about their English, and playing unbelievable music. Somehow it feels like a revelation– like in some way while you’re waiting in line for the show, there’s still a chance that you could get in there and find out that it’s all fake. But when MIYAVI steps out and starts speaking, it’s like “damn. I can go home and die happy.”

  2. i am so pumped for the show!!! you’ve made me feel like i’m already there!!! thanks so much for this!! imiyavi’s show will be my first live…and i’ve heard that they’re strict about not taking pics n such….but i’d really like to snap at least one or two shot while there… any tips?

    • You’re welcome. It was fun to write up, although I admit, trying to piece together the exact flow of events was a challenge, as it all became a blur after leaving the club. I tried to get down all the details I can remember.

      They are pretty strict about cameras, but it usually varies a lot from venue to venue. For example, when I saw a.b.s in London, they didn’t check for cameras and I was able to take some shots/video during the show. At this show at Harper’s Ferry they checked for cameras at the doors, but the bouncer didn’t confiscate them. He did, however, warn everyone not to take pictures inside, at peril of being removed from the club. I would personally never risk being evicted from the show in order to get a blurry pic, so I’m afraid I don’t really have any tips for you in that respect.
      If I were you, I would check the camera policy for your venue. Otherwise….just be careful!

      Hope you have an awesome time at the show! MIYAVI blew everyone away in Boston, and I’m sure he’s gonna rock you guys just as hard.

      • you’re review was really awesome!! you did a great job!!! i’ve been reading it out loud to my aunt and cousin who will be joining me at the concert…the aunt said..”ya know..i think i’m really gonna enjoy this!” which i was excited to hear since i basically forced her into it… thanks for that!! ^_^

        also, i don’t think i’m gonna chance it either…i’ll just enjoy the show and hopefully get close enough for miyavi to spit on me!!

      • Thanks for your kind words. :) I’m happy to hear that my review was able to help your aunt get a little excited for the show! I’m finding it interesting how the more people I talk to, the more the idea of the Jrock fandom begins to expand. I have spoken to multiple people who have attended lives with their parents/families, and I for one know that if GACKT or abingdon boys school came within radius, my parents wouldn’t say no to a couple of tickets. I think that although it’s in a “rock/metal concert” context, the actual content and energy of the [Jrock] performer is quite different than one would expect. I was really touched by the ageless message of MIYAVI’s MCs, and the incredible quality and power of his stage presence that I have no doubt would appeal to and engross people way beyond the scope of the typical fangirl/boy.

        Have an awesome time!

  3. Awesome review! I got the MYV spit too, still pondering if I should wash my hair yet… (only joking). But it was a great show, probably the best live I have seen in a long time, it was many many years ago the first time I saw MYV live and he’s only gotten better over the years. I got the tote bag, if you’d like a pic of that to share here, just let me know. (^__^)v

    • Thank you! Although I’m still building my Jrock-lives experiences, I have to say that out of all the (Jrock and non) shows I’ve attended, this show was particularly amazing. It’s going to take an incredible performance to top MIYAVI’s. I am really digging his new sound/look, with just the bare minimum in regards to production and instruments, and I am really looking forward to seeing what he does with the new album. Can’t wait for it.

      That would actually be awesome if you could share a pic of the tote bag. If you have one on hand and don’t mind, you can email me directly at gacktpause @ gmail . com. If you send it on, just include what name you would like me to credit, and a link if you have a website you want included. Thanks for offering!

      • I don’t mind sending a pic, I have a few, but they’re not at a good enough angle so people get a good view of the bag.. and it’s no trouble at all to take a new pic. I’ll be sending you one shortly inclusive of the other information. ^__^

  4. your review just brought me back to that night!!! it was freaking awesome. we were chuckling at him and he said “dont make-a-fun of me” OMG so cutee. i was too busy trying to touch his hand (which i couldnt even!) when i saw a flash and im like damn i shouldve just snapped a picture we abt to get kicked out anyways. is that picture from boston one? if it is, you sneaky youuu! lol

    • I’m glad that my report was able to capture some sense of the feeling of being there. If I can come even a little close to expressing the experience, then I consider my mission a successful one.
      The show was incredible, wasn’t it? I was totally blown away– I thought I knew what to expect, but MIYAVI just nuked it all from the moment he walked out on stage. Absolutely amazing; what an unbelievable performer. I wasn’t able to touch his hand either, just a few inches too short. XD But the fact that I was close enough to try made it fine by me.
      I didn’t take the picture I used for the post, found it online somewhere. I would have loved to be able to take some pictures for my blog, but also with each new live that I attend, I become more and more comfortable with just holding on to the memories in my head. I guess it’s because the opportunity to see MIYAVI not in a static image is so incredible that it’s worth having it be a fleeting moment.
      Thanks for reading!

      • I agree. Sometimes, when I try to capture a moment in my small viewer, I miss the bigger picture. Did you notice people around us taking pictures that night though? Someone even used flash. It was more of a distraction than anything. It happened in NY too and right behind me.

      • I believe GACKT even mentions this in GACKTIONARY. He says something about the human obsession with taking pictures of everything, that we have to have a hard-copy instead of just holding the image in our minds/hearts. Although I don’t really agree with living that idea exclusively, I do think in some situations it actually makes sense and can be quite meaningful.

        I did notice the flash go off. The most annoying thing is you know the pictures never turn out good anyway, so what’s the point of annoying people by doing it?

      • I wouldn’t live that idea exclusively either. I’d like to but my memory fails me at times and having a picture really helps trigger the memories. I did give it a try yesterday though when I celebrated GACKT’s birthday by going to the fireworks show and didn’t bother to bring my camera. It was amazing to see all those smiley faces fill the sky. GACKT probably doesn’t care for fireworks but I’d like to think that those smiley faces were for him.

        That was my train of thought when I saw the flash go off – it wouldn’t be a good picture. But it never stops people from trying.

  5. This review totally brought the fuzzy memories I have back together =D I went to the New York concert just this Sunday, and he was amazing. I don’t think I ever really believed he was real, and human, until I saw him on stage <3 I wish I was close enough to touch him too, but unfortunately, I was more in the back than in the front =( He did come onto this side bit of stage once, and he was so close it was amazing. I loved your review though, he really is amazing in everything he does. "What's my fucking name!!??" <3333

    • I know exactly what you mean when you talk about not believing he was real. The whole experience was surreal until he literally glided out onto the stage before our eyes, practically a smoky entrance, hands lifted slightly in beckoning gestures as we screamed our fucking lungs out…

      Until finally, after a good solid five minutes of screaming, he managed to slink up to the mic, and we quieted down long enough to hear a very sultry, heavily accented – sexily so – voice,


      Cue more screams.

      In that moment bodies surged forward as the first guitar riff of the night was brought to life and we were all suddenly jumping, expelling energy and using muscles that we’d never had before the night just to party that much harder.

      It was perfect. PERFECT…. So unreal, so amazing; my friend and I kept saying, “oh, god, this is going to happen.” “oh god this is HAPPENING.” “oh my god I can’t believe that happened.”

  6. Few things to say:

    -acts as if he didn’t hear- hu? what’s my name?!
    …-slyly- that’s riiiight. -GUITAR SLAMMIN’ INTRO TO SONG-

    “:| I know, I’m bald under the hat u.u”

    the part that really got me was when he turned his eyes down at the stage and said, very softly and earnestly,

    “when I hear you calling my name… I just want to sing to you, forever.”

    Best moment of the night.

    • There were so many (and yet still too few) moments like that, casting those smoky, melancholy glances down at us and speaking like he really was talking to every single person individually.
      I guess that’s really the magic of attending a live, and makes what MIYAVI said about music helping us all to become “one” certainly make a lot of sense in a very powerful way. There can be several hundred people packed around that stage, but the artist standing up there can still make us all feel like he’s singing for each of us personally.

      I chuckled reading your comment– MIYAVI was such a tease! Just being reminded of those details from the show is a sweet feeling…Knowing that it’s all over this time around is sad, but it was so damn awesome, I definitely know that I can appreciate MIYAVI’s work to the fullest until we’re all able to see him again.

  7. ur review is amazing, the detail u put into the concert is amazing. I’m jealous XD I saw Miyavi in NY the concert was great, i definitly can’t wait to see him again.

    • Thank you very much!

      I’ll definitely always remember this concert and appreciate it as one of those rare transformational experiences that don’t happen very often. Let’s keep calling his name, and hope he keeps coming back to rock harder and harder in the future.

  8. I took my sister to see Miyavi in Chicago, it was really a great experience just like you described! I fell in love with him because of his guitar playing. The only thing that I kept thinking about afterward is that I wanted to see him again and again! I tried to catch him in Houston before he left, but wasn’t able to, but my dreams were not dashed because we just got tickets to go see him in Tokyo on Aug 25th! I am so excited! I keep thinking that when we see him next he’s not going to be speaking so much english this time! I also can’t wait to see how much the experience is going to be different, because from what you wrote it seems he is a great performer time after time!

    • How cool that you’re going to see him live in Tokyo! This is an especially awesome time to be seeing him, as it’s his re-debut livehouse tour, so a bit different from the usual thing. It would be interesting to hear how the experience of seeing him live varies depending on whether it’s USA or Japan. Better brush up on your Japanese for those MCs….

  9. Pingback: MYV The Ever International « Secret Garden

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