MIYAVI Live in Boston 6/25: 1/2

Although as a city I think Boston is awesome, at 4 hours, it’s a bit of a drive, so I don’t head down there very often. I think that the old architecture, the medley of people attracted by a big-city-status, and its unique attitude are all quite charming. As a place to drive, however, I think that we almost died about 40,000 times. When my sister went to Cairo, she told me about the fact that there are almost no road-rules, so stepping into the street is like hopping into a Flood of Imminent Death. Now that I have experienced Boston traffic, I can tell her that such lawless abandon and auto-aggression lies much closer to home.

Accompanying Visualist Roukun and I left around 6AM Friday morning. After the basics of arrival were taken care of (check-in, etc), we decided it would be a good idea to drive into Allston and scope out the venue beforehand to lessen the chances of stress later. It’s highly fortunate that we did so, as we ended up going the wrong direction and getting caught in some hell-trap of ultimate doom called Massachusetts Ave. which was, needless to say, nowhere near the venue. Around 3PM we finally found Harper’s Ferry, located right on one of the main strips of Allston– a hive of Korean karaoke, restaurants, and an extremely popular liquor store. At that time, the line was still really short– consisting primarily of the extremely hardcore who had apparently camped out overnight in order to be first in line.

We ended up getting in line around 6PM, two hours before doors opened. The line had grown so that it actually wrapped around the building, but it was still an utterly do-able situation. Although we had two hours to wait, we were positioned between the club and the aforementioned liquor store, right on an insane intersection where we could watch hundreds of people encounter near-death-experiences without even realizing it. During the wait, countless people stared, yelled out of car-windows and from passing bicycles, and stopped at points on the line trying to figure out what so many heavily-decked-out people were doing. A lot of them thought we were waiting to get into the liquor store. Try and trace that logic– I couldn’t do it. People along the line responded to the question “What are you guys waiting for?” over and over. “We’re waiting for Miyavi!” “Who?” “Miyavi. A Japanese superstar.” “Oh, never heard of him.” Understanding that people have different interests, I still have to make this annoying comment. Oh people, how do you sustain meaning and fulfillment in your existences?

"What are you guys in line for?"

Finally the clock struck 8PM and the line started moving. Waiting for a show is a strange mixture of experiences. On one hand you’re standing on the street for multiple hours. This is not something the average person chooses as an entertaining pastime. On the other hand, the excitement, nerves, and adrenaline that starts coursing through your veins while the seconds tick by is an awesome rush that builds steadily. You’re bored, and yet you’re having the time of your life. At about 7:50 you realize you’re there to see MIYAVI. At about 8:10 your segment of the queue gets funneled into the club in a tiny cluster, and you’re hustled through black-marker, wrist-band, and ticket-stub procedure, and sent into heaving bass background music, dim red and purple lights, crowds of murmuring gothic teenage girls with green hair, and one of those heavenly creations sent down to us by higher-beings: the merchandise stand.

The merchandise was slightly disappointing– according to consensus vote. But pretend I didn’t say that. The selection was slightly different from the other reports I read. They had white (girls’) T-shirt, black (guys’) T-shirt, girls’ and guys’ tank-tops, the tote bag, pen, and a poster which apparently other lives didn’t get. I ended up buying the pen, poster, (guy’s) tank-top, and Roukun got the tour t-shirt. Just as a note, by the end of the show the tote bag and some of the t-shirt sizes had sold out.

We found a great place to stand near the stage, settling in around 8:15-8:20. Our spot was dead-center, four or five people back from the barrier. The stage was positioned so that people could wrap around three angles, and the stage was set up with 5 mics at different points, so not everyone had to try and stand directly in front of one mic, which was awesome. At this point, I would like to make a special shout-out to the really sweet woman we queued-up with/stood with during the show. It was awesome talking to her, and we were glad we got to watch the performance with her! Sorry that we didn’t get a chance to say goodbye at the end.

People milled around for a while, and then as it got closer to 9:00, started packing in around the stage. The club was getting intensely hot, and everyone was starting to get impatient. The purple and red lights, although dim, created a stifling atmosphere, and along with the pulsing background music and stale air only seemed to encourage people’s antsiness. As the wait stretched from five to ten to fifteen minutes, one of my favorite parts of Jrock lives began to unfold. As the wait-time grew beyond the scheduled start time, the little black door leading from backstage became the axle of time and space, the focal point of all human obsession. And every time that door opened and someone stepped out, the crowd would squeal, scream, wave their arms, and roar MIYAVI’s name. And every single time, it was a crew member stepping out to tune guitars and arrange mics. This happened probably three or four times. I swear, MIYAVI doesn’t even have to come out. The sound-guy can just stand there tuning his guitar and the crowd will be totally satisfied. The crew member was smiling and shaking his head like “these crazy Americans…”

Images: Roukun (2,3), gacktpause (1,4,5)