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)

MIYAVI Live in Boston: Merchandise

The full report is almost finished, don’t worry! I didn’t rest at all when I got home, I just raced in from the car and started blogging and uploading pics. Uploading and editing the pics took a little longer than expected, which is why the write-up isn’t finished yet. Should be up today or tomorrow at the latest. In the meantime, here are some shots of the merchandise available for this  tour.

Poster (sorry, I cropped it slightly)

I was slightly disappointed when reading other live reports from this tour, as some of the other locations didn’t get the poster as an option. Was quite glad when I saw that they did have it, although it came at the cost of the missing wrist-bands.

Men's T-shirt

The back of the men’s T-shirt. They always call the white t-shirts “girls'” and the guys’ sizes “unisex” which doesn’t make sense to me. They should just say M and W, because that’s what they are. The white T-shirts and girl’s tank-tops were both sold in junior (AKA Japanese) sizes, and the “unisex” shirts ran S,M,L in normal (male) American sizes.

Guy's (technically ALL clothes are unisex if you think about it the way these people apparently do) tank-top

Front of the guy’s tank-top. The front is the same as the T-shirt, but the back doesn’t have the locations listed on it, just the MYV382 emblem up by the nape. The S is a little big on me (don’t say anything, I know, I know…), which I usually cannot abide, however in the case of tour-shirts I make special allowances. Wish they had an XS, though.

Just as a side note, the girl’s tank-tops were a different style. They looked like that ordinary stretchy ribbed fabric. Fabric on this one, as you can see, is just straight cotton.

Detail of the shirt graphics

I also got the pen as a last-minute impulsive decision, and I’m actually really glad that I did. It writes really smoothly, and is a good quality tool. I didn’t think I would actually end up using it, but I figured even once the ink runs out I can keep it.

If you tip it upside down, the guitar drains so that he's holding a katana instead. BA.

Here are several pictures of the MIYAVI tote bag which has been an insanely popular item for the tour. I didn’t pick one up, personally, because money doesn’t grow on trees, and because I already have a Visual Kei tote bag which doesn’t need unfair competition.

”]

I do really dig the graphics on the bag. The shirts are all really busy, graphic-wise, but the emblem here is so crisp and clean, and the way the font for the kanji is designed makes it look so cool. I also really like just the straight-up no frills -MIYAVI- printed at the bottom.

”]Tote-bag images by 藤島明輝子さん (Fujishima Akiko-san). Thanks very much  for letting me publish these on Secret Garden!

Poster: $10, pen: $10, tank-top/t-shirt: $30. I think people were hoping the tank-tops would be cheaper than the t-shirts. Well, they weren’t. I also overheard some people talking in the merchandise line about how why should they spend $30 on a tank-top when they could buy the base shirt for $2 at Walmart and just write MIYAVI’s name on it. I covered this issue previously in a post, but since hearing that remark Friday night, and now that we’re talking about merchandise, I guess I’ll mention it again.

It is true that you could probably make your own T-shirt for less than they sell for at the merchandise stand at a show. It’s true that you can custom-make your own posters using some services now. With the added availability of photoshop and other editing software, you can even probably make it look pretty legit. However, when you custom-order a MIYAVI-themed T-shirt from some company, maybe it costs you $15 instead of $30. That’s $15 that goes to some random company you could care less about. In my eyes, I’d rather be an extra $15 or $20 or $30 poorer and know that the extra cost is going to supporting the artist who I truly admire. In the 2.5 hour show, the gift that MIYAVI gives with his time, energy, and performance is so truly priceless, that by the time you stagger back to the merchandise stand for the final time before heading out into the moonlit streets of some dingy random neighborhood, there’s no way you could feel like you could ever give back what you received.