There is something deeply entrancing about Miyavi. Beyond the raw sex appeal that emanates from his very being as he plays his guitar, I just didn’t realize how deep he was. I’ll admit it, up until recently my thirst got the best of me, and my love for Miyavi was equal parts audio, visual, and ovarian.
When Asian Junkie was granted access to Miyavi’s Day 2 World Tour, I squeed with delight! Just the thought of being in the same room as the god of sexy guitars himself was enough to give me palpitations!
But the experience was far from what I expected.
Obviously, nothing will beat the rawness of the first time I saw him live, my brain melting out of my ears as I overheated from witnessing his presence. Y’all might remember that mortifying experience. I wasn’t ready, then. I can’t even believe I survived that show. This time not only was I ready, but I anticipated the rush of heat from the stage.
What I didn’t expect was falling in love with his heart more than anything else, as the overall theme of the show was to spread love and equality to all. The El Rey Theater was packed to the gills with screaming fans who’d traveled from across the country to see him perform in LA. The line had started early in the morning and withstood a sunny day roasting fans in their spots as they huddled under sun umbrellas, hoodies, shades, and sunblock.
Once inside the venue, the line to the merch booth snaked the length of the place as prices for merch were surprisingly reasonable. As a starving artist, I refrained. Instead I headed to the press pit surprised to find a designated area just for photographers. I pulled out Empanada, hopped up and down in excitement, greeted my fellow photographers and chatted up the front row who’d traveled from the Midwest.
The lights dimmed, his band stepped out on stage, and “Flashback” began. He stepped into the light and unleashed a veritable sonic boom that slammed into the audience making everyone scream, and “So On It” followed before he greeted the crowd to cheers. We were treated to intense renditions of “In Crowd“, “Bump In The Night“, and “Dim It” before the most adorable little angel stepped on stage.
Miyavi announced that his stage assistant that night would be Airi, his eldest child, and that was the moment my whole heart just exploded. They were the cutest most adorable people together: Airi all smiles and shy giggles, Miyavi just gushing parental pride as he handed over his jacket, accepted a lil’ kiss and watched them run off stage. The entire audience went bananas. Airi had completely won the crowd with their precious pureness.
Without a hitch, Miyavi collected his feels and jumped right back into the set, periodically singing into the mic, wailing on his guitar while standing on a center stage platform, or jogging around the stage at breakneck speed, sometimes reaching the very edge making everyone hold their breath as he flew by.
Some of my favorite performances from Miyavi end up being covers, and he did not disappoint. He performed “HA!” before he roped the entire audience into singing “Ain’t No Sunshine” for him while he played his heart out. Then he turned up the heat with “Humble” (Kendrick Lamar would be proud!), “Icon“, and “Epic Swing“.
Airi came back out really quick, brought him water and wished everyone to have a good time into the mic before running back off stage. We swooned. Miyavi stopped then and took us to a new depth. He talked about the current political climate versus our current societal and cultural climates. He talked about his move to LA, bringing his family with him to a new world, and how he’d never witnessed such a strong community fighting for equality of all kinds.
“I am now an immigrant” and “LA is my home now”, he said into the mic. There was a collective hush followed by cheers as he spoke about how now he and his wife are members of the community who welcomed them. They are parents who work with their kids’ schools and participate in community events. He talked about wanting to very much be accepted in his new community and have found loving and kind people surrounding his family, but it’s not like that everywhere, he emphasized. And it should be. He dedicated “The Others” to everyone who stands up for what is right and good and made the entire audience cry while his child stood at the side of stage hidden behind the curtain, only two drumsticks visible that were too big for their tiny hands, expertly flailing as they air played to the delight of the Miyavi’s drummer.
He ended the show with high intensity as he played “Long Nights“, “Fire Bird” (one of my favorites!!!), “Dancing With My Fingers“, “Strong“, and finally, “Day 1“. He thanked everyone, the lights went dark and Miyavi and his band stepped off stage.
I stood, trapped at the corner of the pit by a massive crowd and watched as everyone became frantic. They chanted his name only to be rewarded by his presence. He introduced his band, one member at a time, and thanked Airi for their help tonight. His adorable offspring giggled as he placed the mic in front of them and thanked the audience for coming to see their dad. Airi ran off stage, and Miyavi sighed into the mic.
“I do this for them”, he said as he spoke of his kids with the warmth of love. He talked about how the struggles we’re going through was something we had to endure and overcome because we aren’t doing it for us anymore. We’re doing it for the next generation. His kind openness poured from him as he introduced the encore finale.
“We do this for the youth of the nation.”
“Youth Of The Nation” had the entire audience chanting the chorus as the waves of emotions crashed over them. He followed by performing a whopping four songs in his encore, including “Wonderful World“, “Real“, and finally “What’s My Name“. He thanked everyone for coming and stepped off stage.
I walked out of the theater, my heart pounding, excited, and overstimulated by the wild performance I just participated in, and made a mental note to get involved, because he’s right, if not for the youth, then for who?
Thank you to Alex for the invite and attendance, and Resonance Media for the press access. What an experience!