By Roog Kubur, October 27 2021—
The return of live music in the MacEwan Hall Ballroom was ushered in by an international rock sensation — a performer’s name that gets passed around in all circles, whether it be for his innovative guitar riffs, a skillful blend of electronic and rock sounds or even his acting skills. The performer in question is a Japanese rock legend, known mononymously as MIYAVI. This was not only the kickoff to his North American tour where he will be performing in 19 cities across the continent but also his first time in Calgary.
In true rockstar fashion, the stage was his. Every moment was a sight to be witnessed, from boisterously marching across the stage to the eerie standstill, reaching out to the audience impatiently waiting for the next beat drop. He wasn’t simply singing the songs — each song brought a different spectacle with it, different characters and attitudes to match the energy of the track. The room was laced with his iconic finger-slapping guitar riffs and the ensemble band that brought the pounding percussions, inventive synths and powerful backing vocals.
In between songs that energy carried through, shrugging off each track as the room hadn’t just gone into a frenzy. The Samurai Guitarist, as he’s known by his North American fans, kept the enigmatic charisma with each interaction, playfully flirting and making jokes, especially when the audience encouraged him to show off his back tattoo.
The message of the night was the power of music, how it can move individuals to stand up and make a change in their world, encouraging the crowd to proudly sing his lyrics “instead of rifles, we play guitars.” Between the high-energy headbanging and jumping, there were comforting moments of hope. He spoke of his status as a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations while praising Canada’s commitment and response to the refugee crisis.
This sentiment remained in place throughout the whole concert, from his vision for a united world in “Bang!,” to embracing our differences in “The Others,” to remind us that no matter where we are, we all live under the same sky with his track of the same name. He thanked the crowd for their energy but more importantly for letting him be able to perform during such difficult times, remarking that, as of that night, everyone in the audience were his friends. These moments strengthened the aura of hope within the room, a much-needed beacon of light in our world today.
MIYAVI in Calgary was an event that will be celebrated by his fans across the globe.
The electricity that was created was unmatched and awe-inspiring, the audience and him working in tandem to bring his music to life. He promised to come back to Calgary one day but until then the memories and feelings of that show will stay with every one of his “friends.” Photos of the night were posted to his Instagram as well as updates for the rest of the tour.