On stage, Miyavi croons KIMI NI NEGAI WO but my eyes were drawn to the single tear streaking through the cheek of the elderly Japanese woman to my left.  In front of us, a Malaysian teen clutches at the barricades not moving an inch, eyes transfixed in front as a group of Singaporean girls behind me struggled to contain their excitement. My friend who flew all the way from the Philippines clutched my arm tightly. Miyavi has preached about unity and share in love. True enough, in that powerful moment, irregardless of either race, gender or generation, we were one.

Last February 22nd, Miyavi kickstarted his much-anticipated world tour with a high-octane live in the city of Kuala Lumpur. The venue: the brand spankin’ new (and very much well ventilated) Mega Star Arena.

The live began past 8PM with the screening of the trailer of Unbroken, the Angelina Jolie-directed biopic of Olympic runner Louis Zamperini where Miyavi would be be having his big Hollywood debut. Already there’s no doubt that fans would be flocking to catch this movie when it lands in theaters in December as every time Miyavi appeared onscreen the hall erupted into screams.

The promo clip for the SLAP THE WORLD tour was then showed and not long after, local act Bunkface appeared to warm up the already restless crowd. To their credit, Bunkface performed a capable 4 song set enhanced by strong stage presence and good sense of humor. They even led repeated chanting of “Miyavi, Miyavi”.

The man himself didn’t keep the fans waiting too long as he stepped into the now darkened stage in true rock star fashion: decked in mostly white with a long cape trailing behind him. The spotlight revealed the cape to be actually a banner in which fans wrote in their messages earlier.

Miyavi began his 2 hour performance with aptly enough, DAY 1 from his current self-titled album. Immediately the crowd went wild as fists were pumped in tune to the beat. Upping the ante was the rapid transition from STRONG to CHASE IT to the breathtaking SECRET. Others songs from his latest album (he performed all tracks with the exception of FREE WORLD) were all received with escalating enthusiasm.

In addition to the emotionally charged rendition of KIMI NI NEGAI WO mentioned above, Miyavi also performed older songs such as WHAT’S MY NAME, SELFISH LOVE, and FUTURISTIC LOVE. His take that night on CHILLIN’ CHILLIN’ MONEY BLUES was a standout as it displayed his mastery of different styles after wowing us with the Spanish guitar-esque elegance of GUARD YOU just a few songs earlier.

In between songs, Miyavi regaled us with pep talk. As with his lyrics, he urged the audience to keep pushing forward in life with chins proudly lifted up.  He also spoke about the value of self-improvement. His MCs were always peppered with words of encouragement. Miyavi could actually make a lucrative sideline as a motivational speaker 🙂

And then there were the light moments which made the live even more endearing. Early into the live, Miyavi stopped his intro and sheepishly admitted that he made a mistake. He said it has been quite a while since he performed live and then he made “that movie”.  The live had to be paused briefly again when Miyavi had to take his special candy for this throat. He was after all still recovering from the surgery he had last Christmas. During this time, he directed attention to Bobo. The boxer clad drummer refused to speak but Miyavi egged him on. He relented by whispering “Xièxiè” to the microphone. Everyone laughed and Bobo, after being counseled by Miyavi, leaned into the mic again and said “Terima kasih”.

The funniest bit happened during the encore MCs.  As he thanked Bobo, he recalled how certain “rumors” were spread about them. His spiel went something like this:

Always us two men on stage, Bobo and I, that we were mistaken to be gay.  Can’t really blame them as I used to wear too much make up with the hair and was wearing see-through outfits. But let me clarify it right now:

Not gay.

I mean, I’m not saying that there’s something wrong with being gay. It’s just that even if I am gay, (points at Bobo), I WOULDN’T CHOOSE HIM.

Yep, Miyavi threw Bobo under a bus and it was freaking hilarious. Bobo just retaliated with a deadpan look.

The live ended with Miyavi promising to come back and to keep on improving. The rest of the audience was ushered out as holders of the meet and greet passes were asked to line up at the side of the venue.

The meet and greet was actually very orderly. Fans were allowed to enter in groups of five but would the face Miyavi alone (save for the staff and crew). Its only flaw? Me.

You see, because I was so disoriented and awkward that night, this happened:

Me: Hi, I’m Nerissa from the Philippines!
Miyavi: Oh Philippines! I also want to go to the Philippines. (gestures as if asking me how to spell my name)
Nerissa: N-e-r-i-s-s-a. I look forward to seeing you live in the Philippines someday! (grabs CD then starts to walk away)
Miyavi: (couldn’t understand well what he said but it sounds like “Tell everyone”)
Nerissa: (confused) Yeah, sure. (walks fast)
Miyavi: (as told by my friend) o_O

I still had much time left to speak with him but as I got strangely paranoid that I would be dragged out by security, I foolishly cut our interaction too short! I walked out on Miyavi while he was still talking to me! Argh. But as another friend said, at least I made an impression right? As rock stars are more used to fans mobbing them, I bet it’s rare they encounter ones who couldn’t hardly wait to get out of their sight asap. ORZ. Then again, it’s just another memory from this live which I wouldn’t be forgetting for a quite a while.

Thank you Miyavi for an astounding night. Until the next live! Really looking forward seeing you in Manila. I promise to not walk out on you again! My nerves should know better by then!