On October 5, MIYAVI returned to The State Theatre near Washington DC. This show kicked off his 20th-anniversary tour, a whirlwind circuit spanning 18 cities across North America.
MIYAVI played at this venue last year, but with the nation’s capitol now free of masking mandates, this year’s audience was a whole other animal. Fans came out in full force wearing vibrant styles representing each era of MIYAVI’s career. From the balconies to the dancefloor, the intimate theatre was packed to welcome the artist’s return.
The Samurai Guitarist played a massive setlist of 25 tracks, including throwbacks from his visual kei days.
This time MIYAVI performed with singers Chloe and Dolly, drummer Anthony, and DJ Johnny. MIYAVI explained that they were so busy traveling, they completed their final rehearsal in Japan before flying stateside for the tour.
MIYAVI spoke to the audience like they were old friends, regaling them with funny quips throughout the night. “The only place we went today was Aldi,” he said during his first MC, “You know how the carts are chained together? Well, I tried to break the chain. Someone stopped me and said, ‘No, you need money’! Then an old lady gave me a quarter. So that is my first memory on this tour.” The audience roared with laughter throughout the night—if he ever tires of being a world-class musician, actor, and human rights advocate, he has a promising future as a stand-up comedian.
MIYAVI wielded his full custom Fender Stratocaster, an instrument with a full timbre and rich voice. It suits his signature “slap” style of playing, which fuses blues grittiness with rock and roll.
In observance of his 20th anniversary as a solo artist, MIYAVI sprinkled his setlist with old releases. One familiar face was SELFISH LOVE, now aged like a fine wine, mature with smooth intensity.
Later in the set, MIYAVI shocked us with a tender, acoustic version of Girls, be ambitious., from his first album released as a solo artist, -gagaku- (雅楽). This version of Girls, be ambitious. fully realized the original’s potential. Though the song has been rerecorded multiple times in his career, this one hit us in the chest. MIYAVI crooned with palpable angst fitting the lyrics, yet the soft melody of the acoustic guitar painted them with a faint outline of hope.
The night was also packed with feel-good throwbacks—Freedom Fighters, Dear My Friend, and Señor, Señora, Señorita had the crowd singing along. The musician even acknowledged his KAVKI BOIZ era by playing the upbeat fan-pleaser Sakihokoru Hana no You Ni -Neo Visualizm-. It felt like meeting a friend you haven’t seen in years, and feeling proud of how far they’ve come; a fitting sentiment on this 20th-anniversary tour.
Naturally, MIYAVI showcased his recent releases as well, including Snakes, the opening theme of the Netflix animated series Arcane, and Futurism. The artist also debuted a track from his upcoming cover album MIYAVIVERSE – Anima –, Get Wild, from the anime City Hunter.
From the comfortable old tracks to the brand-new, the night passed quickly as if catching up with an old, close friend. MIYAVI excelled at showing how much he has evolved since his debut as a solo artist. Yet at the end of the night, we were left with an optimistic feeling, that the best is still to come.
MIYAVI 20th Anniversary Tour North America, Wednesday, October 5, 2022
- Snakes (SE)
- So On It
- In Crowd
- WHAT’S MY NAME?
- SELFISH LOVE
- Freedom Fighters
- Dear My Friend
- Girls, be ambitious.
- Señor, Señora, Señorita
- Under the Same Sky
- Sakihokoru Hana no You Ni -Neo Visualizm-
- Get Wild (City Hunter cover from MIYAVIVERSE – Anima –)
- Long Nights
- Fire Bird
- New Gravity
- No Sleep Till Tokyo
- DAY 1
- Me and the moonlight
- The Others