Odaiba, an artificial island that houses an array of entertainment complexes, sits in Tokyo Bay and is home to Zepp Diver City—a 2,400 capacity concert hall nestled on the edge of a shopping mall.

The penultimate show of the Japan leg of MIYAVI’s No Sleep Till Tokyo tour took place here on December 18, managing to sell out the venue, even on a Wednesday night.

Floor packed front to back, he tore the night open with a stellar rendition of Stars, first track on the No Sleep Till Tokyo album and a fitting start before launching straight into Flashback. MIYAVI’s showmanship really shone through, working the crowd even on a weeknight, his charismatic guitar playing enough to get even the most tired businessman up and dancing.

Photo by Takamichi Yuasa

The dark background of the stage gave a stark contrast to the brilliant white of his two-piece suit, making for a visual feast when combined with the lasers and spotlights. In recent years, as well as his musicianship, the visual elements of MIYAVI’s live performances have really taken a step up and that was evident here at Diver City.

Powering through a few more of his newer songs, including the tour namesake No Sleep Till Tokyo, the crowd was really fired up and singing loud and proud. Occasionally, he slung his guitar behind his back to bring attention to his movements. The deliberate, animal-like actions during Other Side really brought a different vibe, especially when he spread his arms behind him like wings, and were enhanced with a live picture-in-picture shot projected behind him, adding to that other-worldly atmosphere.

After a brief MC where he joked that the tour should have been called No Sleep Till Osaka as that’s where the final show would be held, he switched to an acoustic guitar and shifted the pace down with Guard You before surprising us all with a heartfelt rendition of Kimi Ni Negai Wo, reducing this reporter to tears. Pulling out another classic in the shape of Subarashiki Kana, Kono Sekai -What A Wonderful World- before heading into the much newer Under The Same Sky, the audience belted both tracks out with all their hearts.

Photo by Takamichi Yuasa

A MIYAVI show wouldn’t be a MIYAVI show without Bobo on drums. The pair are so in sync after years of working and playing together, and HA!!!!!! highlights that perfectly.

The experience as an audience member is made so much more enjoyable simply because MIYAVI himself appears to be having the time of his life, too.

Though it felt like it had just begun, the start of Day 1 heralded the end of the show, and as swiftly as he had appeared, MIYAVI disappeared off stage.

After a raucous encore call, he reappeared with an acoustic guitar to perform an as of yet unreleased song, Hands To Hold, and asked the audience to sing along during the chorus. Changing the pace, he continued with Long Nights, followed up by The Others, both songs with a powerful message and ties to his work with UNHCR spreading awareness of the plight of refugees.

Photo by Mikey Newell

Rounding off a performance packed with hits new and old, he upped the tempo once again with the high energy What’s My Name?, tweaked slightly for this tour. A crowd favorite, the audience gladly shouted and grooved along, ending the penultimate show of his No Sleep Till Tokyo tour on a high note.

Though his tour may have ended, during the MCs between songs, as well as teasing the news that he was joining LDH and informing everyone that the Ishihara family had relocated to Tokyo this year, MIYAVI revealed plans to release not one, but two albums during 2020 so we have a whole lot more to look forward from the Samurai Guitarist this year!

Setlist

  1. Stars
  2. Flashback
  3. In Crowd
  4. Bumps in the Night
  5. Rain Dance
  6. No Sleep Till Tokyo
  7. Samurai 45
  8. Tears on Fire
  9. Other Side
  10. Guard You
  11. Kimi ni Negai wo
  12. Subarashiki Kana, Kono Sekai -What A Wonderful World-
  13. Under The Same Sky
  14. HA!!!!!!
  15. Strong
  16. Firebird
  17. Raise Me Up
  18. Last DAY 1
  19. Encore – Hands To Hold
  20. Encore – Long Nights
  21. Encore -The Others
  22. Encore – What’s My Name

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