Live Event: 雅 - "What's My Name?" Tour - Slim's, San Francisco 2011

“We’ve been here since 11 yesterday.”

My first thought? “Holy shit.”

This was only the beginning of Miyavi’s 2011 North and South America Circuit of the What’s My Name World Tour and people were camping out before he even officially started.

Dedicated fans lined 11th Street's pavement where the venue was located, and (perhaps as an extra treat), those who were lucky enough also got a chance to get a glimpse of Miyavi offstage as he went in and out of his trailer parked in front of Slim’s.

Following my intuition (and advice from friends), I decided to scope out the venue to figure out the situation before maybe wandering off to explore close by.

After seeing the lines that stretched out past Slim’s though, I decided I should probably stick around to make sure I would get a decent view of the stage. This was at around 17:45. The doors didn’t open until 20:00.

As I went around chatting with fans and other people who were there for the show, I also caught a glimpse of some people who had gone above and beyond to dress up and really make this a party.

The sky started to darken and the wind picked up, which wasn’t so bad for me in my three layers, but definitely bad for those who were preparing for an extremely hot live and had worn sleeveless tanktops and tshirts.

The box office opened at around 19:30, so will call (me included) got to pick up our tickets and hustle to the other line for actually getting into the venue.

The doors opened at around 20:00, and Co-Miyavi members were allowed in first with VIP following shortly after. The rest of the attendees was a long line against the building.

The actual live didn’t start until around 21:30, and there were a few false alarms when people would randomly cheer as if they were trying to lure Miyavi out of the stairwell.

When he did come out with Bobo, the crowd went wild. Extremely calm and down-to-earth people I had just been having a normal conversation with were suddenly screaming enthusiastically while waving their arms as Miyavi strutted onto the stage.

“What’s my name?! WHAT’S MY FUCKING NAME?!”

This wouldn’t be the first time Miyavi would ask this question, and yet no matter how many times he asked, the crowd never tired of it.

“MIYAVI!” everyone would scream back.



He also thought it would be a great idea (and it was) if he pulled up his shirt, “You guys wanna see my new tat?” The happy screams around me were deafening.

The focus of the music was--of course--on his newest album in October 2010, but he played older fan requests which was a nostalgic taste in between all the new tracks.

He started with his electric guitar, and opened with “What’s My Name?” When he finished the song, he spoke to the audience when a girl who had been hanging on to his monitors screamed, “IT’S MY BIRTHDAY!”

Miyavi gave her an amused look before saying, “Happy birthday,” to the cheers of the audience. A bouquet that had been prepared for him by a fan also got passed up to the front, which he accepted graciously and spoke to the audience. One of his big phrases that night was, “San Francisco, I fucking love you.”

Later that night, the topic of him loving his fans would also come up when someone screamed, “I love you!” Miyavi replied calmly as if it was the most obvious thing in the world, “I know. Because I give you my love.”

Awesome, clever and frank much?

Although he started with his electric guitar, after a few songs, he switched to his acoustic. Before he started playing though, he spoke with the crowd, and the topic of how long people had been waiting for his live came up.

“Two days?!” his eyebrows went up in surprise. “That’s fucking crazy. You’re fucking crazy.”

When the fans cheered, someone wanted her hand shaken, to which Miyavi shook his head slightly, “No, I can’t. If I shake your hand, then I have to shake everyone else’s.”

“YEAAAAHHHH!” fans cheered.

“Ok,” Miyavi grinned at the audience. “We can do that, but we’ll have to stop the show now or we won’t have enough time.”

At some point, he also spoke in Japanese, “私は雅です(Watashi wa Miyavi desu)。あなたは・・・最高 (Anata wa...saikou)。Not ‘psycho’,” he stressed in English. “最高 is Japanese for ‘awesome.’ You guys are awesome.”
Following this brief compliment, Miyavi also talked about learning English.

“You know, I went to study English in LA five years ago,” he held out five fingers to the audience. “It was hard, and blah blah blah.” Everybody laughed as he looked bored already with his own story. “You guys understand me, right?” The fans chorused, “Yes!” before Miyavi gestured to the back of the venue.

“Good, because sometimes people don’t even fucking know when I’m speaking in English or Japanese. Like those guys in the back, they think I’m fucking speaking in Japanese or something.”

He pointed at Bobo, “Bobo speaks a little bit of English too. The only word he knows is, ‘Hola.’” In continuation of the joke, he also called Bobo a “Brazilian Mexican" later on to which Bobo gave a resigned smile and the crowd laughed again.

At some point, one of the fans presented a banner than many other fans had signed that wished Jewelie happy birthday.

"Oh whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa," Miyavi looked happily surprised when he saw the banner and a wide smile spread on his face. "In Japan time, yeah, my second daughter made fucking one year," he held up a finger insistently. "Yeah, thanks for your celebration my sweet and precious," he gestured as if he was reciting poetry, "shining," he looked up at the ceiling as if he was surveying something far away, "and crazy...daughter, Jewelie." He took the banner with a happy grin and held it up for the fans to see.

“Yeah, I got a present for her,” when the crowd laughed, he continued with a deadpan face, "Yeah, we went to Gap Kids,” he jerked this thumb back. When the audience, "Awwed," he chuckled. "No, seriously, I got something for her. So, I'll see her tomorrow in LA," he nodded as the audience cheered.

"I'm sure my daughters are gonna be banging their heads during my show," he did a minor "headbang" (that actually resembled bobble head figurines).

He also talked about Lovelie and Jewelie and how they rock out with him at home.

“Always, always, you know, Lovelie, my other one is alllways, y'know, shaking her," he shook his hips in imitation of his elder daughter. "And playing the mini guitar like me, 'BUUU, BUUU,'" he imitated the distortion of his daughter's "mini guitar". "'Daddi,'" he imitated Lovelie's pointing at her father. Clearly, they had another rockstar in the making at home.

Miyavi held his hands up, as if to say, "Well, what can you do?" before smiling and saying, "Crazy, right? And Jewelie, the second daughter's, always like, 'What the fuck are you doing?'" he imitated Jewelie's blank confused face.

"But once the music starts," he continued, "she starts, 'Fuuum fuuum,'" and he showed the audience Jewelie's uniquely drunken head bang/roll. He grinned again.

"Crazy. Thank you."

I think the audience came to love the kids as much as they loved the father that night.

He chatted on a bit and did a few more songs before asking, “Alright, what songs do you want to hear--” Before finishing his question though, the fans started shouting titles that weren’t from What’s My Name?

“Ok, wait, wait,” he held the mic stand, and there was a slight grin on his face. “Let them speak. Let the crazy people who waited here for a fucking two days tell me what they want to hear.”

The audience laughed, and while there were fewer people shouting, someone shouted a name of an older song that had been played on his electric guitar.

He gave the audience a highly skeptical look, “You want me to play that on my acoustic guitar?”

The audience laughed and he tried to convince everyone to pick a song from “the new tracks”--which no one did.

Eventually Señor, Señora, Señorita won out, and Miyavi turned to Bobo, saying in Japanese, “Just some of it,” before turning back to the audience and saying, “Whoa whoa whoa whoa. Sorry, I don’t remember all the lyrics to the old tracks, so can you sing it with me?”

In actuality, he jammed out the song very well for someone who didn’t “remember" it, and the audience loved it.

Immediately after Señor, Señora, Señorita, an audience member (from right behind me) yelled on behalf of one of the fans, "MIYAVIIIII!!! THIS IS FOR YOU!"

Miyavi turned to see one of the fans in the front row holding out a miniature hand-made plush of him, complete with one of his outfits and a hat sewed on. He strode over and picked it up, "Thanks!" before returning to the center of the stage. "It's mini me," he declared before changing his voice and holding up the doll.

"I'm from San Francisco! I'm mini Miyavi!" the doll rasped.

"No, really," Miyavi insisted, "Where're you from?"

"I'm from fucking Tokyo!" Miyavi gazed at it for another second before pulling hard on the "mini Miyavi's" hat, "I can't take off my hat!" mini Miyavi growled. "I can't take off my hat!! I'm can't take off my hat!!!"

Miyavi looked over at the girl who had given him the gift before giving her a warm, "Thank you," and placing mini Miyavi on the stand behind him where the bouquet also rested.

In between all the sets, Miyavi made the live intimate and I’m sure everyone felt pretty warm and fuzzy inside--if they weren’t already warm from being surrounded on all sides by very excited people and weren’t fuzzy from the bar that was at the back of the live house.

Eventually the first set ended, but soon enough, after chanting, “MIYAVI. MIYAVI. MIYAVI,” a few times, both Miyavi and Bobo emerged from the stairwell, this time wearing the tour tshirts.

Part way through a song, Miyavi also grabbed a water bottle, and took what seemed to be a sip, but in reality was just a mouthful of water. He strode over to the left side of the stage (right above me), and what seemed to be a giant water/spit bubble landed on a few people in the front (me) while others got a spray of saliva.

When he finished the song and finished spraying the center section as well, he only offered a few words of apology (which weren’t very apologetic at all), “Sorry I got you guys wet. I--I’m also wet."

After a song, Miyavi spoke again, “I’m actually not sure why the fuck we’re wearing...my T-shirt.”

Everybody laughed and clapped.

The encore lasted about half an hour, before Miyavi and Bobo finished the concert for real. People swarmed over to the merchandise table, which had tour T-shirts (black and white) available along with hoodies, sweaters, posters and wristbands.

The next great thing about this live was the fans. Everyone was very friendly and outgoing, so even though I didn’t know anyone going in to the concert, I definitely left Slim’s with some new friends. It doesn’t mean much coming from me, but Miyavi fans, thanks for being such a nice group of people. You were the other factor that made this live so fun.

All in all, this was a great live. Although the audience did have to wait another half hour before the show actually started, I think that and the money everyone paid was extremely worth it since Miyavi really made the live a very intimate personal experience.

For those who attended the live and (for some reason) are reading this--it was awesome seeing/meeting/knowing you!

For those who will be attending the rest of the lives in the leg--have fun! I’m sure you will because Miyavi was/is seriously just that awesome.

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Disclaimer: This article is drawn from personal memory, and therefore is a rough summary of what I remember. Order may not necessarily be as written, and quotes certainly aren't verbatim.


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