Concert Review: Asia On Tour puts on an entertaining show

There’s nothing like live music, at least in my opinion. So you can imagine my excitement when I first heard that Live Nation was doing a special concert tour across North America that featured some great rock music from Asia, appropriately named “Asia On Tour”. The first, and hopefully not the last, “Asia On Tour” featured three acts, each from a different country – Japan, Thailand and South Korea. And it hit 14 cities, opening in Vancouver and closing in Toronto (the other 12 cities were all in the US). Not bad. Of course it was by Live Nation, and they definitely know how to throw a concert.

I attended the Toronto show and it was amazing – both as a fan and as media, it was a great experience. Okay, I was a bit annoyed at having to stand in line with the ticket holders as that’s unusual for media but that’s on the venue and I’ll be honest, it wasn’t an issue just me expecting something different. Once they started letting everyone in, it was quite orderly and other than the huge queue for merch, everything moved quickly and smoothly.

Okay, I know I rarely talk about my experience as a concert photographer and/or media person, mostly because it’s generally not relevant to the majority of you, our lovely readers, but I was super surprised by the lack of other media. This made the show a dream to shoot as there was a ton of space in the photo pit but I was sad for the artists as it meant less exposure for them. However, it did allow me to get this cool shot of Miyavi when he literally stepped over me to straddle the photo pit.

Yep, Miyavi is literally right above me – Asia on Tour Toronto

But enough about that, let’s talk about the music!

Kihi & The Faces – Asia on Tour Toronto

Kiha & The Faces

They were amazing. Okay, I was expecting that as I’ve heard their shows are a ton of fun and the delivered. The perfect opening act, lead singer Kiha is an entertaining showman, who plays to the crowd very well. You can definitely feel his experience and comfort on stage.

Of course, the music was great but it was more than just that, they gave such a fun performance that regardless if the crowd knew their music or not, by the end of the first song, everyone was engaged. Between the funny chats with the audience and energetic songs, the crowd was happy.

And as a cherry on top, there were some surprises like Kiha crowd-surfing – I wasn’t expecting that – and he almost didn’t make it back as he went to the end of the crowd before returning. Afterwards the band threw drum sticks, guitar picks (several), set sheets, and even Kiha’s jacket into the crowd so there were many lucky fans who went away with a free souvenir.

To learn more about Kihi & The Faces, check out their website.

Slot Machine – Asia on Tour Toronto

Slot Machine

This was the band I was least familiar with as I’d only listened to a couple of songs after hearing they were on the docket. But I was expecting good things as friends at earlier shows fell in love with their music and performance. And all I can say is my friends didn’t exaggerate. They played a very good set and made a bunch more fans.

From the first moment they walked on stage, they established a strong vibe with the charisma of the lead singer, Foet (a cane is an interesting prop) and the swagger of the bassist, Gak. And man, can the lead singer can hold a note! There was a lot to love about their set, from the drumming session with the lead singer to the simply great rock music, it was a performance I was happy to see.

And I wasn’t the only one who was enjoying their show are the crowd loved them as well. And beyond the music, which was good all on its own, I loved the message they shared with the crowd “Our true nationality is mankind.”

To learn more about Slot Machine, check out their website.

Miyavi – Asia on Tour Toronto

Miyavi

“When I play the guitar, I feel free.” Miyavi is always a thrill to watch – and having just seen him perform a couple of times at South by Southwest, I can definitely attest to that. He has so much energy that he’s both a treat and a challenge to shoot with a camera – the constant motion, the expressions, the energy, and the unpredictability. But that’s what makes him so much fun to watch. And this performance was no different.

The crowd loved him! And he brought his ‘A’ game to the set, filling the stage, and the whole venue with energy, positive vibes and the sounds of his guitar. His playing is so unique that it’s fun to watch and hear – and often reminds me more of a violin than a guitar, or perhaps the love child of the two. Regardless, Miyavi put on a fabulous show to close the night.

To learn more about Miyavi, check out his website.

Final Thoughts

I really, really hope that “Asia On Tour” wasn’t a one-time thing because I’d love to see other bands and artists come. Every comment I’ve heard and read about the various shows was super positive and if that’s not a sign that it should be repeated, I don’t know what is. While I’m not sure about the actual attendance, the Toronto venue looked to have a solid crowd. Another good sign that the “Asia On Tour” series should be repeated (with different artists of course). But in the meantime, Live Nation is bringing G Dragon and Mayday to North America.

Did you attend any of the “Asia On Tour” shows? What did you think?

Cindy Zimmer

Live life to the fullest everyday - this is a the philosophy I try to live by and it's taken me on many adventures. I write about Korean culture from a non-Korean perspective as the editor/founder of ATK Magazine and I'm the Chair of the Board of Directors of the Toronto Korean Film Festival (TKFF). Previously, I ran a Korean-English language exchange group (in Toronto) for 3 years to stay connected to my three years living in Korea as an English teacher. I love music, film, food and sports and write about 3 of the 4.

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