While most Houstonites were out watching fireworks on the Forth of July, a self-selected group of intrepid explorers were out seeking great excitement at the last night of the Neo Tokyo Samurai Black World Tour 2010. Miyavi ended the North American leg of his world tour in fine style, giving hundreds of enthused fans more than their money’s worth and made missing the fireworks flying outside a dim consideration.
Excited fans pressed against the stage, eagerly anticipating the arrival and were finally satisfied when Miyavi bounded onto the Houston House of Blues stage at 9pm, ready to blast his staccato-styled rock throughout the club. Clad once again in the black tank, britches, boots and jacket that he’d worn in previous shows and sporting that natty asymmetrical oriental pattern with his trademark bedazzled trucker hat pinned to his head he moved about the wide stage with wild energy. He greeted the floor and balcony and the hyped crowd was quickly ready to rock. Joined by drummer Bobo (wearing tight black shorts, a loose black tank and a rubberband holding back the top of his long hair) and keyboardist DJ Camo84 (clad in black jeans and black hoodie pulled up to hide most of his face) joined him near the front of the stage, giving the audience a far more intimate perspective as they were able to watch the drumming from only a few feet away rather than behind everyone else.
The wide stage allowed Miyavi plenty of room for his frantic antics and gave ample room to showcase his accompanists. He used the entire front of the stage, roaming back and forth so that people on both sides could get a good view and not feel neglected. The eager audience crowded close but kept their cool, which made jumping and dancing a lot easier. Excellent lighting made it easy to watch Miyavi’s guitar work as his fingers flew across the strings.
During the show he did a variety of songs in the sixteen he performed before the encore. He chose both old favorites like “Are you Ready to Rock” and “Kimi ni Funky Monkey Vibration” and the as yet unreleased songs “Universe” and “Harmony”, changing guitars to match the specific rhythms and needs of the pieces. His open-handed piano-like style was used for all of the staccato songs that show his mastery of the guitar while the newer songs saw him switch to strumming to fit the mood of the more melancholy material.
Naturally charismatic, he chatted with the crowd after every song, making jokes, telling stories and giving each person in the audience the feeling that he’d like to get to know them personally. His engaging personality made it possible for him to have the entire room singing in unison “Boom hah, boom hah hah” and doing hand motions up in the air. Throughout most of the night, fans sang along to the chorus because of his catchy and driving rhythms.
Near the end of the two hours in motion Miyavi began to talk about the last year and the changes he’s made in his life. His marriage to singer Melody, becoming independent, beginning his own company and he culminated his talk with the announcement that his daughter Lovelie will soon be an older sister. The crowd erupted in cheers. Unlike the majority of Visual Kei artists, Miyavi speaks about his personal and home life, giving his fans greater insight and allowing them to take a peek into his world. Around the room, faces were filled with smiles and shouts of good wishes came from all around the large room.
He finally broke off and finished the set with “Are you Ready to Rock” and took a short break before coming out again to reintroduce the band and play up the excitement and ardor of the exuberant fans. When he finally released them they flew to the merchandise tables, where sadly for them (but happily for Miyavi) only glittery black t-shirts were left to be snatched up and taken home, fond reminders of the last night of the tour.
One thing that deserves mention is that a major highlight of the evening was the sound system in the House of Blues. Those responsible for the sound did a top notch job as no instrument drowned out any other, very important given Miyavi’s incredible skill on the guitar, and every word could clearly be hear and understood (at least if you speak Japanese). There wasn’t a place throughout the large room where the sounds of the show could not be clearly heard and it is unlikely a better venue could be found in all of Houston to showcase his immense talents.
Live Report by: Haleigh W.
Edited by: Ali W.