Xaimi's Nerdy Blurbs: MIYAVI Rocks Philly: Day 2 World Tour 2018

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

MIYAVI Rocks Philly: Day 2 World Tour 2018

Seven years is a long time.

In the time since MIYAVI’s last world tour in my backyard, the U.S. had two presidential terms, my high school class celebrated their ten-year reunion (but I missed it), Snoop reverted his species nomenclature to Canis, l lived in the Southwestern United States for two months, VAMPS performed at the Fillmore in Maryland, and the Philadelphia Eagles won the Super Bowl.

You and I last spoke about the Samurai Guitarist himself after his WHAT'S MY NAME tour stop in Washington, D.C. November 2011. That review-- if we can even call that small trinket a review-- was my first true piece here on Nerdy Girl Blurbs (formerly Twilight Yellow Horizon).

Time to come full circle!

The gods must have known my concert withdrawal symptoms were spiking because MIYAVI announced a North American leg for his Day 2 World Tour March of this year. D.C. did not make the cut, so this left either Philadelphia or New York.

It was not a question of if I would go, but rather where? I mean, could you tell this face no?

I hail from South Jersey and most of my family is from Philadelphia. Besides, with my sister’s baby shower scheduled the same weekend, Philly was the obvious choice. Gave me an excuse to visit my second home and leave the D.C. area for 24 hours; my travel bug stays chomping at the bit.

New Year, New MIYAVI

Those of you familiar with our slap-style boy knows that he loves changing up his fashion and sound. His last full-length, mostly English, self-titled album was more him and the ever-infamous Bobo rocking out. He followed up that album with a role in the biopic Unbroken and a new single, “Real,” that was produced by the legendary Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis (Janet Jackson’s former music producers in the late 80’s and early 90’s). He also received an honor dear to his heart and was appointed as the first Japanese Goodwill Ambassador for UNHCR.

Fall 2017 into 2018 saw MIYAVI embark on a fusion of rock, pop, and dubstep. New songs like “the Others” and “Afraid to Be Cool” meant I had some catching up to do if I wanted to rock out with my...locks out. MIYAVI updates his Instagram with regular frequency, so that is how I happened upon news of his single “So On It,” featuring Seann Bowe on vocals. Seann’s vocals on this track are powerful and blunt, so I fell for it hard. It is a digital only download and stayed on replay for more than 24 hours.

Yeah, I might have a problem, but who does not?

The song played for so long that I knew half the lyrics in twelve hours, but I knew pride would not allow me to continue singing in ignorance. So, I reached out to Seann for the rest.

...I never expected a response, but not only did he respond to my question, he provided the lyrics too! Several talented musicians joined the Day 2 World Tour starting from the Germany leg. I will do my best to recount their names, but know that if one of them is not noted in this piece, it attests to my lack of memory and not to their importance to the tour or the concerts themselves.

Day 28 of Day 2

Theater of the Living Arts, a live music venue nestled along Philly’s eclectic South Street,   served as host and stage for Day 28 of the tour. Doors were at 8pm, but the line extended some ways down the street.

Early doors for Co-MYVs-- MIYAVI’s VIP fan club-- were at 7pm, but the line progressed with ease after they were ushered in. This was my first time attending a show at the ToLA, but I must say I was impressed with the staff and venue. Let this serve as a personal shout out to the security personnel that allowed me to bring my cheesesteak inside the venue. My bus ride back to Maryland would have been fraught with hunger-induced rage were it not for you.

The concert hall is small and intimate, just the way us fans like it. Enthusiastic folks clamored for space near the barricade, while others paid a little extra for balcony seats. Yours truly chose to stand in the dead center of the floor. ProTip: The best sound and view is usually near the venue’s soundboard engineer. I chose to trade potential sound quality for decent photograph opportunities. You could see Bobo’s drum set up near stage right with Miya-kun’s guitars center-stage. Stage left was home to standing mics and the DJ’s set up. We had an hour between doors and showtime, so the stage was dark. The occasional flashlight flicker from the tour’s stage crew elicited the crowd’s giddy whoops, hollers, and “yeahs.”  
Early crowd view after doors opened
Band merch addicts like myself had pullover hoodies, t-shirts, and a few other collectible options. I was expecting a little more variety due to the prior concert experience in 2011; back then, terry cloth wristbands, posters, and I think cds were available for purchase too. I settled for two t-shirts and made my way back to the floor.

At 8:58 pm, the lights dimmed and blue lights washed the stage. Miyavi, Bobo, Seann, Heather, and Co. ran across to exaltations and praise. The magic began.

“Be Strong!”

Ever been to a mega church? This must be what spiritual ascension and “finding the Holy Ghost” feels like. MIYAVI, Bobo, Jonny Litten, Seann Bowe, and Heather Ogilvy poured energy throughout the venue. It seeped from their voices, beats, the way each musician played off of each other. If you need to find the Holy Spirit, look no further than watching our front-man serenade, court, and then, with flourish, screw the hell out of that guitar until it cries chords and screams for sweet release..

Allow me to briefly re-work a known Bruce Lee scene so we can understand how effortless MYV makes this look:

Adoring Fans: “Your skills have transcended the physical plane. We have questions about your guitar playing. What is the highest riff technique you hope to achieve?”

MIYAVI: “To have no technique.”

AFs: “What are your thoughts when playing before a foreign crowd or large audience?”

M: “There is no foreign audience, because ‘...we are all one through music…’”

AFs: “Go on, tell us more.”

M: “A powerful performance with the crowd is like a passionate exchange, but at a dangerous and sexy pace. When you guys are excited, I give you even more energy. When you’re ready to swoon and sway, I dial back to a mellow luring strum. And when my guitar is ready to sing, I do not prod her… *looks at his hands with a smile* they explore all by themselves.”

To quote my friend and fellow guitarist: “He is fucking that guitar.”

Yes. Yes he was, but MIYAVI was not the only one sharing his talents on that stage. Like I said before, I did not know who Seann and Heather were until late April of this year, but boy do I know them now. As they made their way through “So On It,” “In Crowd,” “Real?” and “Dancing with my Fingers,” I could feel my senses clear and my favorite tattoo tingle. Their vocal styles compliment MIYAVI’s riffs, Bobo’s syncopated, punctuated playing, and Jonny’s slick beats, yet stand out on the own. Heather has a sassy, sultry tone as she sings. Think Jessica Rabbit or Little Red from the old Big Bad Wolf cartoons.

All of us were so caught up in the rapture of this performance, that you could feel the energy shift when the crew walked off stage at 9:55pm. We were being teased and we wanted more of this euphoric performance! The encore was well worth the wait. MIYAVI mixed in classic and modern tunes. I was taken aback when I heard the gentle acoustic strums of “Kimi Ni Negai (W)o.” I felt tears well as the orchestral version of this song holds my heart. A brief, blurry-eyed scan of the audience told me I was not the only one affected.

Captured by NoWayfarer Guitarist

Lyrical Power

“Words have power.” We have heard this before. “Pen is mightier than the sword.” I know all of you know that one in some shape or form. I decided to live by another mantra or principle: “The pen and the sword are synonymous.” It implies that we treat words and weapons as separate entities when in reality, words are powerful weapons that can devastate or uplift for millenia.

MIYAVI uses his songs to promote the latter. Look out for the “Youth of the Nation,” “the Others,” and share your “Futuristic Love” (the latter was not played, but you get the point). Our world--this country--is so screwed up, but the Samurai Guitarist stands at the forefront to remind us that we have a duty to be positive effectors. He lives his principles through his lyrics, infectious playing, and his actions.

There is really nothing else I can say about this man that has not been mentioned in his 20 year career, but boy am I trying. By the time you read this, the Day 2 tour would have finished its last stop in South America and the team will be back at their respective homes. Seann has new music he shared on Twitter, and MIYAVI is back on the grind with other projects.

I hope you had the chance to witness the frenzy during one of his tour stops this year, but if not do not worry. He never sits still for long.

Until Later Guys,

Xaimi ^_^

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