It has been 6 years since Miyavi was last in New York City – but CoMiyavi do not waver in their love and dedication for the artist. Asia on Tour (also called Fire Bird Tour 2017) featuring Miyavi, Slot Machine, and Kiha And The Faces toured their way across North America and stopped by New York’s Irving Plaza on Sunday, April 23, 2017. “This is my favorite venue!” Miyavi shouted during the night, which New York fans delighted in hearing.
Dedicated fans lined up early to get the best spot in this general admission venue, with the line going down and around the block hours before doors opened! Despite it being a Sunday night, the turnout was fantastic. The venue was packed from front to back and up to the balcony. Many fans said they missed his last New York appearances in 2010 and 2011 and were thrilled he was back, meaning they could finally see the artist they loved in person.
While most attended this show specifically to see Miyavi, all bands had a good length setlist, with openers Kiha and the Faces and Slot Machine each playing for 45 minutes and Miyavi playing for a little over 1 hour.
Kiha And The Faces is from South Korea. They had the crowd smiling right from the get go, their music enticing to make the audience dance along even if they were unfamiliar with the group. They proclaim to be, “Witty like Talking Heads, psychedelic like The Doors, and catchy like The Beatles.” They even covered a Talking Heads song in English!
The singer, Kiha, asked the audience to repeat after him and said a string of ba-ba-ba sounds in varying tones. The audience tried their best, but didn’t live up to Kiha’s standards. “Repeat after me…or just say anything. Just do something.” Kiha said, which made the audience laugh. He then asked the crowd to wave their arms and they did as instructed. A song later, Kiha said in a serious yet joking tone, “Now that I know you’re good at something nonverbal, I want to ask you for something verbal.” He asked the audience to repeat the Korean word for “my person” – it has many meanings and Kiha said, “You guys are all my person from this day on!”
Kiha And The Faces had a very fun joyful vibe overall and the audience seemed to feel that and respond, always having their arms in the air and jamming along.
Next up was the rock band Slot Machine from Thailand. They walked out, all dressed in suits, with the singer carrying (for lack of a better word) a pimp cane. People were a little skeptical but as soon as the music started, the audience responded positively. The band started out performing in English and later switched to singing in Thai. They had a great energy they kept up throughout their performance.
“We came a very long way from the other side of the world. You guys make us feel welcome!” They said very positive words about how we aren’t that different from one another – we are all mankind and we are all united. “Our true power is love!” To which the fans applauded in agreement.
Slot Machine put on an enjoyable rock concert and fit very well among this tour. For the last song, they asked the audience to make a triangle with their hands, which is a symbol of the band. “Until we meet again, now its time to say goodbye.” Their last song was fittingly called, “Goodbye.”
And then what everyone was waiting for, the man of the hour – MIYAVI!
Miyavi walked out on stage in style, each step deliberate. The stage remained dark with background music playing as drummer Bobo and DJ Jonny took their spots, Miyavi following to the center of the stage before slinging his guitar over his shoulder. He wore a baggy loose fitting top and loose fitting baggy pants, easy for moving around and boy did he move around that stage!
Miyavi is called the samurai guitarist for a reason. The guitar is essentially a part of him – the way he plays it, its like another limb – something that has always been there and is second nature; guitar playing looks like it comes as easily as breathing. His fingers fly across the strings of the guitar in record time.
Walking to the edge of the stage, Miyavi threw his head back, shaking his head and tossing his hair from side to side, front to back, raising the guitar up so the audience could see precisely the magic he was working on the instrument and wooing the crowd.
As the music for Dim It began, Miyavi took off the top layer of his clothes to reveal a tank top underneath, perfect for showing off his multiple tattoos. It was about to get hot in this venue!
“We’re back, huh?” Miyavi said, spreading his warms in a welcoming gesture and the crowd cheered. “WE’RE BACK IN NEW YORK CITY! This is one of my favorite venues in the whole world… we’re so happy to rock you guys – the western and eastern cultures are getting closer and closer together.” Tonight we’re going to prove we are one. Again Miyavi said how Irving Plaza is his favorite club venue and he’s played there twice before, each time being crazy – but he assured the fans tonight would be way hotter.
Miyavi asked if everyone was having a good time, which all applauded at. He said how he is from Japan but now lives in the States with his family. “The next track is the 4th one I wrote with my wife, Melody. She’s somewhere in the house,” Miyavi said, glancing around and waving his fingers, as if to illustrate she was around. He went on to describe the song, as long as you have that feeling in your heart, you’re never far away from home. “We want to dedicate this song to everyone who is struggling in life far away from home.” The song is fittingly titled, “Where Home Is” with recorded vocals by Melody. It’s a hauntingly beautiful song, starting out slow with only vocals before adding guitar and backing track as the song progresses. “Tell me that you know I’m here, tell me that you love me like I love you” the lyrics sing. We can only hope Miyavi will release this lovely song sometime soon so everyone who was unable to attend his lives can hear it as well!
“We play music…but at the same time we’re responsible for the next generation. I have two daughters, so I feel responsible for them. We are the generation that will make the future. We are the ones who can save us.” This led into the group playing “Youth Of The Nation”, a cover song by P.O.D. Miyavi’s version is a slowed down version of the original, and the lyrics very important of what Miyavi tried to emphasis in his MC.
This led into the next song, Fire Bird, which is the name of Miyavi’s tour and the title of his recent album. This upbeat song had dramatic colorful lighting and the audience moving along to the sound, often clapping to the beat.
“Cry Like This” from his self-titled 2013 album had Miyavi and DJ Jonny waving their arms, asking the audience to do the same in time with the music and they did just that, all arms in the air, all in sync.
“I’m so glad to be back in New York to rock out with you guys. You know, as an Asian, it’s – I’m happy.” Left momentarily speechless, the crowd clapped for Miyavi as he continued on to talk about his work with the UNHCR, a part of the United Nations that supports refugees. Speaking about America’s status at present time, Miyavi went on to say, “It’s not the time to make a wall, its the time to make a bridge!” Leading up to the finale song of the night, Miyavi added, “As long as we know that tomorrow will come, we can get through a long night – ‘Long Nights’.”
As the last song of the evening ending, Bobo, Jonny and Miyavi all walked off stage with the audience still cheering and clapping. Only moments later, all 3 reemerged to the delight of the crowd. As Miyavi readjusted his guitar, he began to speak, “I remember the last time we played here, so many people fainted and just,” he waved his arms around in a crazy motion, “It was just crazy.” The crowd clapped and laughed, some in remembrance of his last appearance, some only imagining what happened in years past.
“So this year is Miyavi’s 15th Anniversary. And also, Bobo is going to be a dad!” which led to some of the loudest cheering of the night, the spotlight landing on Bobo while he looked abashed. “My kids Luv and Jewelie and his kid might made a band in the future.” Miyavi thanked everyone for supporting Miyavi throughout the years. He spoke of how he found himself with the guitar and how he was able to feel free. “That’s the power of music – freedom!” With that, the song began, the Mission Impossible theme song! Dark dramatic lighting emphasized Miyavi’s dramatic guitar playing for this well-known song.
“I want you all to sing along to this song…in Japanese!” Miyavi asked the audience, before going into a fan favorite and MYV classic, “What A Wonderful World” – everyone in the room immediately started singing the lyrics, in Japanese, with no hesitation, just as Miyavi had asked.
To end the night, Miyavi asked the audience, “What’s my name?” Just incase anyone forgot. But nobody did – everyone shouted back his name multiple times as he requested. The version he played of “What’s My Name” is the remixed version from his Best-Of album “All Time Best “Day 2”. If there’s one thing Miyavi knows how to do, it’s how to go out with a bang. He climbed up onto the ledge on the left side of the stage, halfway between the stage itself and the balcony positioned next to it. He decided to jam out on his guitar from up there – so everyone could clearly see him, front to back to balcony! At one point, he even sat down and dangled his legs over the edge, still playing guitar. It’s high enough up that nobody from the floor could reach him, try as they might. The night ended as it started – a full on dance party, everyone jamming along to Miyavi as he jammed up on that ledge.
As the song ended, he handed his guitar off to a staff member before waving to the crowd, then going over to high five those on the balcony. Jumping back to stage, he took the mic once more, “Thank you New York! On Drums, Bobo! DJ Jonny! Miyavi deshita. Peace!”
The trio then positioned themselves to take a group photo with the crowd. Miyavi turned around to entice the audience to throw up their arms for the photo. Not done yet, he jumped down, bridging the gap between the stage and the audience and reaching as many people as he could, high fiving and grabbing hands of those who reached for him. He very deliberately took his time, not rushing off stage, trying to greet as many fans as possible. Climbing back on stage, he blew a kiss to everyone and took one more bow before finally exiting the stage.
You can find Bobo and DJ Jonny on the follow sites:
1 Raise Me Up
2 So On It
3 Cool Girl
4 Dim it
7 Epic Swing
8 Kids (MGMT Cover)
9 Where Home Is (feat. Melody)*
10 Youth of the Nation (P.O.D. cover)
11 Fire Bird
12 Afraid to be Cool
13 Cry Like This
14 The Others
15 Long Nights
What a Wonderful World – Day 2 Mix
What’s My Name 2017 – Day 2 Mix
* Track co-written with MELODY, who does vocals on the song.
For full gallery of photos, please visit Flickr here.