MIYAVI "DAY 2" World Tour at The El Rey, Los Angeles

live report - 06.03.2018 20:01

The "DAY 2" World Tour 2018 continues MIYAVI’s ambitious endeavors to showcase the raw power of guitar in an ever-changing music scape.

The "DAY 2" World Tour continues MIYAVI’s ambitious endeavors to showcase the raw power of guitar in an ever-changing music scape. The stage at El Rey Theatre, Los Angeles held no frills and only the essentials: a drum set, small platform stage, DJ booth, and mics, proving it is all that is necessary to rock an audience. A unified surge of energy flows through the crowd as the vocalists take their positions, and the DJ kicks off the opening riffs of Flashback. Applause and welcoming cries of excitement greet MIYAVI as he coolly saunters onto the stage. Sending a quick blessing into the sky above, MIYAVI strikes his iconic pose, leather jacket gleaming under the bright lights, and the dance party begins.

The collaborative nature of the "DAY 2" World Tour 2018 allows for a sharper focus on MIYAVI’s guitar work. MIYAVI’s set list flows rapidly and never lets up, especially as he jams with the audience to his new EP releases, So On It and In Crowd. Both of these songs feature the amazing talents of vocalist Seann Bowe, who has collaborated and toured with MIYAVI since the Firebird album. Another key player in MIYAVI’s musical soundscape is DJ Jonny, who seamlessly takes charge of those robust beats and hooks. Long time drumming companion BOBO also lays the perfect rhythmic groundwork for MIYAVI to bob, weave, and slap his guitar freely to.

MIYAVI is fearless in his exploration of iconic music, via cover tracks like Ain’t No Sunshine, and Humble, as he navigates through the melodies and responds to the vibes with his own signature flow. MIYAVI’s guitar licks glide, swagger, and soar through a variety of musical genres, from electro to hip-hop, dance to pop, and everything in between. MIYAVI doesn’t just “play” his guitar — he melds with it. Each note dances through him as much as they flow from his fingertips.

The connectivity of MIYAVI’s music to the audience is further strengthened by his ideology. Behind the dazzling riffs and powerful stage presence beats the sincerity of a man who uses his instrument to communicate beyond borders.

“Music can’t change the world right away,” MIYAVI says to the audience, “but music can change people, and people can change the world.”

The nods, claps, and yells of affirmation from the audience solidifies the warm, inclusive energy that MIYAVI exudes. It’s during these breaks within the set list that we see the humanitarian who utilizes his music as a vessel for connecting hearts and minds around the world. MIYAVI’s sense of humor shines as he commiserates over the shared frustrations of DMV lines and customer service as a Los Angeles resident. The sneak peek at the day-to-day life of MIYAVI is highly relatable and an endearing contrast to the “Samurai Guitarist” who rocked hard just moments before.

“I’m an immigrant, I moved to the States and … What I’m most proud of in this country is the diversity and acceptance ... different skin colors, races, cultures … I learned here that it’s okay to be different. We are all different, but we can be one through music. We are all The Others,” he concludes, leading into the song.

The Others speaks to the empowerment of diversity in the face of a volatile world. Followed up by the track Long Nights, with a message of hope and love through pain and struggles, really hits home with the diverse audience. MIYAVI continues to rock out the crowd with the uplifting tracks Firebird, and Dancing With My Fingers. MIYAVI plays to every side and corner of the stage; every bit of his energy feeding the audience, and it is enthusiastically answered in return. After leaving the audience on a high with the tracks Day 1 and Strong, the crowd doesn’t leave a moment for breath before they are shouting for an encore.

At first MIYAVI takes the stage alone, refreshed and sporting a "DAY 2" tour shirt. Throughout the show, MIYAVI’s eldest, Lovelie, rocked out in the sidelines and took the stage as his assistant. MIYAVI brought the microphone down to Lovelie, and all hearts were stolen with the sweetest message: “Thank you for coming!”

With Lovelie’s prideful fist-punch into the air, a resounding “awww” from the audience solidifies this show as one of the sweetest MIYAVI concerts in existence. Highlighting his camaraderie and admiration, MIYAVI gives each of his band mates a loving introduction and fist bumps as they take the stage. Vocalist Heather Ogilvy was a recent addition from the European leg of the tour, yet it felt like she had been with the team all along. It is a testament to the synergy of the MIYAVI band and crew.

After welcoming his bandmates back to the stage, MIYAVI shares another day-in-the-life story regarding his recent activity as a safety monitor at his children’s school.

“This past week, we have been doing cross guard, safety monitor…you know I’ve been doing Ambassador activities, (and) it’s just as important as that. I really respect local supporters, community, because the children are going to make our future.”

MIYAVI goes on to mention the names of some of the young women he’s met or admires during his UNHCR work, all of whom are inspiring greater changes for the future. The gravitas of his speech prepares the audience for the poignancy of his cover of Youth of the Nation. Vocalists Heather and Seann beautifully set the tone, with their haunting vocals punctuating the tonal weeps of MIYAVI’s guitar. The track invokes a collective silence over the audience, with an unshakable awareness of its relevancy to our turbulent times.

MIYAVI rounds out the atmosphere of unity with encore songs What a Wonderful World, Real?, and the always iconic What’s My Name? (2017). By the end of the show, some audience members are just as drenched as MIYAVI, but their energy never waned. While the “Day 2” team takes their final bows and heads off stage, MIYAVI bounds over the edges of the stage to clap and touch hands with as many fans as he can. The fans gift him a large signed banner that he displays proudly.

Even as MIYAVI waves his last goodbyes, the crowd is reluctant to move. After being swept into the glorious maelstrom of a MIYAVI show, it’s hard to come back to reality. MIYAVI harnesses an unbridled ecstasy through his performances that very few artists know how to channel or share so openly with an audience. In a time where music often takes a backseat to staged spectacles and trends, MIYAVI proves that an artists’ authenticity, passion, and a meaningful message needs no additives.

Set list

01. Flashback
02. So On it
03. In Crowd
04. Bumps in the Night
05. Dim It
06. Ha!!!!!!!!!!!!
07. Ain’t No Sunshine
08. Humble
09. Icon
10. Lemon
11. Epic Swing
12. The Others
13. Long Nights
14. Fire Bird
15. Dancing with My Fingers
16. Strong
17. Day 1


01. Youth of the Nation
02. What a Wonderful World
03. Real?
04. What’s My Name? (2017)
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