Miyavi “Slaps The World” With Fans In London

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My original route within the East Asian music industry started with Japanese rock and visual kei fashion. One of the key players in my growth into alternative music was Miyavi, and finally getting to see him live and in person was a dream come true. There was a time in the good old days where Miyavi was known for his screamo music, and of course his own growth into the legendary name “Guitar Samurai” he is now known by.

The concert was held at the O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire in London. Upon arrival to the hotel near the venue at midday there was already a big queue forming with people waiting excitedly. Luck was on our side, and for a change the weather was bright sunshine and a cool breeze, keeping everyone and their emotions on a happy high. Arriving at the venue there were three distinctive queues snaking around the surrounding areas, but what was nice to see was the different types of people that had come to enjoy the show. You had your usual rockers, visual kei, lolita and gyarus there to show their support, but you also had middle aged to elderly fans as well. Like most events I have had the pleasure of attending, everyone was considerate, polite and laughing and joking with each other. Contrary to many beliefs, as much as this was a rock concert, it was more of an open community for one big party. You had your usual headbangers and party groovers, but there was no violence and no silliness.

Miyavi DSCN2436(2)When the lights went off and the stage lit up, the crowd screamed the roof down, and the man of the moment stepped on stage to cheers, whistling and screams from every corner of the venue. Joining Miyavi on stage was his drummer Bobo, a man of few words but one with extreme talent. The stage was simple; it contained Miyavi’s guitars, the drums for Bobo and a music mixing deck with some speakers and three microphones. There was no huge fancy background, no VCR’s or big screens; it was a very personal concert. For a few seconds Miyavi looked over the crowd, and with a huge smile and his little rebel yell he started the concert off with a bang.

Throughout the concert he played a few of his old classic songs, mixed with a few from his recent album. He went full blast from the very first chord he struck till he couldn’t move or speak no more and had to get a drink. Within just three songs the crowd was emitting electricity with how pumped up and excited they were. When Miyavi began to speak to the crowd using his amazingly great English (with a hint of a Japanese accent), it sent the crowd off yet again. One thing that can be determined from seeing him on stage is that this is the place he belongs. In his music, his lyrics, the way he looks into the crowd or the way he holds himself on stage, you can see that this guy was born to be a performer.

Halfway through the concert there was a moment where he walked off to freshen up, to take off his sweat drenched shirt and dry off whilst getting some fluids into his system. Through this mini break the crowd chatter between themselves and a stage directer sets up the music for the next set. Glancing around at the crowd during this time and all I saw were happy faces. These people were dancing, jumping, singing and screaming whilst waiting with baited breath to prepare to follow the lead of Miyavi. When he entered the stage for the second and final time, he was wearing a tight white shirt which now covered his tattoos. He looked refreshed and after a few deep breaths he began to tell the story of what he had accomplished over the past few years, how he began to write his new music, and the impact the tragic tsunami and earthquakes had on himself and Japan in total. He dedicated one of his songs to the victims of that horrific event and asked the crowd to join in. With arms raised in the air swaying to and fro you could feel a connection between the pain Miyavi felt for his people, and the pain the fans felt as well.

One thing that was evident in his performance was the fact he had grown up. My recognition of him whilst I was growing up was one who lived life on the edge, playing pranks 24/7, screaming, shouting, and giving a playful jester styled yobbish outlook. But now, seeing him on stage or in person, he has mellowed down, grown up gracefully, and I believe he has found himself not only through personality but through his own journey of his music. Though he is still far from bland, during the second part he made sure to give Bobo a microphone and hushed the crowd to listen, as for one night only Bobo was going to host something extremely rare and special. For London only, Bobo had something he wanted to say. With a little goading from Miyavi and cheers from the crowd, a very shy drummer looked out towards the hundreds of fans, cleared his throat and in a very clear Japanese accent belted the words “Fish And Chips”, and with a serious face he went back to the drums as if nothing had happened. This obviously sent Miyavi himself and everyone around into laughter. It seems the Great British food of the gods is a big hit with these Japanese rockers.

Miyavi DSCN2410(2)As the night came to a close and Miyavi sung his last song after an encore scream from the fans, you could see that he physically did not want to leave that stage. He had dominated that stage all night and made it his home, whilst opening his arms to the fans and welcoming them in. Now the time to say goodbye was upon him and he didn’t want to leave. He ran to the left hand side of the stage, jumped down and leaned as far as he could into the crowd, hugging, handshaking and stroking the heads of the fans. The crowd went ballistic and were in a complete uproar of cheers and screams. He then repeated this to the right hand side of the stage and then the centre. Once he had made sure all the fans were seen he stood centre stage placed, one hand on his heart and gave a huge bow, repeating profusely, “Thank you. Thank you so much London.” With a swift goodbye and a shake of his hand, it was the end of the show.

I was lucky enough to go meet Miyavi after the concert, and was able to get a little bit of the true personality of Miyavi behind the scenes. Hand on my heart, the man is humble, gentlemanly and kind. Fame certainly hasn’t gone to his head. He is caring not only towards his staff, but to his fans as well. He embraced me in a hug repeating the words, “Thank you for coming” and with his soft boyish charms and glistening eyes he gave a smile that would melt anyone’s heart. This was the one moment where he could thank the fans face-to-face, and to him maybe this was one way of gaining closure to that particular concert. I will never forget this concert. Should he return to the UK again, I guarantee that I will be there, waiting for tickets to go on sale. It was an experience I had waited many years to attend, and it was worth every ounce of energy that was used to make it possible.

I would like to personally thank Wrasse Records, UMI Japan and of course the security, staff, crew, Bobo and Miyavi himself for making this concert possible. If people went to the concert not knowing what to expect, it’s a given that they are now fans. It was a personal performance, and it was an honour to have such an amazing and talented person here in the UK. In the words of Miyavi. “As long as you know my name, I will keep coming back.” We truly hope that in the future we can look forward to yet another concert!

Be sure to check out the MCMBuzz Facebook page for more of the Miyavi “Slap The World” Tour In London concert pictures. You can show your support and visit his official website and also check out his latest release “Guard You” which features on his new album titled “Miyavi“.

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