Review and photography by Noradila Nordin.

Takamasa Ishihara or better known by his stage name MIYAVI, also referred by a well deserved nickname, Samurai Guitarist shut down O2 Academy Islington with his amazing finger slapping guitar playing style and slayed the crowd! This year marked his 15 anniversary which made it all more special! The fans were already queuing long before the doors opening time to get to the front row and it was worth it!


MIYAVI was supported by SKIES, a two member band consists of the vocalist and guitarist Alie Cotter and on the drum, Jericho Tozer, both from Kent who are currently on an ongoing UK tour. I would recommend checking them out if you haven’t. They got the crowd hyped up, ready to party with MIYAVI!




The venue was packed right from the beginning; fans were excited and restless while waiting for MIYAVI to perform. There were quite a lot of fans who flew all the way from outside the UK; Spain, Belgium, France, Russia, Bulgaria, Poland and many more to name as the last time MIYAVI had a world tour was back in 2015. Now, bringing another tour in 2017 called the “Fire Bird World Tour” to the US and Europe is something not to be missed!

Fans were chanting his name at every opportunity they had. When he finally stepped on stage, the fans went hysteric! Performing “Raise Me Up”, he owned the stage! The energy, the trademark high jump had the fans reacting to every move he made. He was fun, excited, energised and acknowledged every single fan that came, making all of them feeling special, communicating to them individually; even the fans that were high up on the balcony were not forgotten! He was standing near the edge of the stage each time, to get as close as possible to the fans. All the fans were jumping, waving their hands to the songs, having their hands up throughout the concert. Fans even had lightsticks lighting up the venue.



MIYAVI took the opportunity to thank the fans for coming and said that he is glad to be back in London after the last concert in 2015 and 2011. MIYAVI, a devoted family man, talked about his family and shared news regarding his daughter who had done well in school and shared the feelings of being a responsible parent to protect and watch over the children to grow to be independent and strong; introducing his next song “Where Home Is” co-written with his wife, Melody that reflected his take on family love.

MIYAVI is known to be involved with the United Nations as he is a volunteer for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) where he is concerned regarding the education and well being of the refugee children. He talked about the issue and recalled the time when he visited the refugee camp in Lebanon and also in Thailand, and said that while music cannot change the world, it can change people to create something worthy for the future. MIYAVI introduced his next song, “Long Nights” that he said, visiting the refugees had inspired him to compose it.



As part of the fan project, the fans prepared a Union Jack flag filled with handwritten messages and signatures from the fans. MIYAVI took the flag on stage and showed them to the crowd which followed by a loud cheer. The flag had 15 years anniversary written which is a huge milestone to MIYAVI’s career. Having followed his growth when he was in the rock band back in 1999 to a blooming solo artist, he grew to be very successful as a singer songwriter, guitarist, producer and an actor. MIYAVI had his phone out and recorded the fans, the atmosphere in O2 Islington as he was overwhelmed with all the undivided support which he has posted the video on his personal Instagram.



During the encore, MIYAVI sang his well known song, “What A Wonderful World” and fans can he heard singing along. He ended the concert with “What’s My Name” and fans couldn’t get enough of it! MIYAVI signalled one more where obviously the fans said yes, but it wasn’t enough. The fans were still so hyped up and many wished for it to never end. MIYAVI took a photo with the fans and stayed on stage for a while before standing next to the crowd, nearly gotten swallowed by the fans, thanking, waving, shaking hands with many of the fans before exiting the stage at nearly 10:30pm.

MIYAVI stayed true to his style and I thoroughly enjoyed the concert, amazed every time of his finger slapping style which I cannot get enough of! Once you see and listen to it, you’ll get hooked! Overall, the concert was superb, more than enough to get me energised to get through the busy week! The other fans obviously feel the same way!




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