MIYAVI kicks off US leg of DAY 2 World Tour with charisma, power, and truth

El Rey Theatre – May 8, 2018

Concert review by Nhu Nguyen
Photos by Emi Nguyen


I’ve literally lost count of how many times I’ve watched MIYAVI live. He’s always charismatic –- from his comments to his stage presence to the way he plays guitar. People are completely enamored by him — it’s hard not to be. It’s enchanting to watch him move so excitedly and create big, crunchy, loud, flawless guitar sounds so whether he’s doing his signature slap technique or playing with a pick.


At the El Rey Theater in Los Angeles on May 8, the first US show of his DAY 2 World Tour, his energy was at 100 percent –- as usual — and the set list was energetic throughout. But while the concert was hopping from beginning to end, Tuesday night’s set had a few too many repeat songs from last year’s show, leaving a bit more to be desired. While the cover of “Youth of the Nation“ was beautiful (and it sounded cleaner than last year), I would have liked to have heard something new. I was also really looking forward to him switching things up a bit with the American set list like the cover of hide’s “Pink Spider” or his 2006 acoustic ballad “Itoshii Hito” featured in recent European dates. If you hadn’t seen him last year, the show was 10 out of 10, but for fans like me who’ve seen previous concerts, the set list still left us just a little hungry.


“Fire Bird” was the most memorable performance for me that night. It’s an empowering song on its own, but when he sang “I’m on fire!” — at full volume aided by the red lights — I could feel the power and truth in the lyrics emanate from his eyes and pierce the crowd’s hearts. Watching him perform this song reminded me how he represents the spiritual combination of life, love and music — there’s nothing negative coming out of him. He clearly wants to share that vibe with the audience, and for this hometown show, the global artist provided a warm, friendly moment to announce that his L.A. neighbors were in attendance and talked about the importance of community. A super-endearing bonus: the appearance of his assistant for the day, his daughter Lovelie aka Airi.



Other highlights of the night included MIYAVI’s handling of a fan who kept shrieking while he was trying to talk about his appointment as a UNHCR Global Ambassador (he had to tell her “Wait” two times before he politely shut her down with “You’re just like my daughters”, to the audience’s laughter and agreement) and calling DJ Johnny “the avocado to his California roll”. On the technical side, the rainbow lights for “The Others” was poignant, and on the fan-side, listening to Co-Miyavi’s response to the call-and-response song “What’s My Name?” and singing to old hit “What a Wonderful World” was a joy.



The biggest change I’ve seen in MIYAVI’s concerts over the years is how much he’s strengthened and personalized his already incredible guitar technique. In songs where DJ Johnny remixes original hits like Bill Withers “Ain’t No Sunshine” to a sample of Kendrick Lamar’s “Humble”, his guitar-playing sounds undeniably “MIYAVI” in the way the notes bend and shriek. MIYAVI continues to sharpen his own self-definition,and he’s an artist who continues to surprise music fans across all genres, and quite possibly even himself.

El Rey Theatre – May 8, 2018

Set List
1. Flashback
2. So On It
3. In Crowd
4. Bumps in the Night
5. Dim It
6. Ha!!
7. Ain’t No Sunshine/ Humble/ Icon/ Lemon Remix
8. Epic Swing
9. The Others
10. Long Nights
11. Fire Bird
12. Dancing With My Fingers
13. Strong
14. Day 1
E1. Youth of the Nation
E2. What a Wonderful World
E3. Real?
E4. What’s My Name? (2017)


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