FROM TOKYO TO YOU - CHEAP
TRICK IN JAPAN, OCTOBER 1999 (by Kim Gisborne)
Just six weeks after Trickfest 3 and the 25th Anniversary Show in Rockford, I set out to fulfil a personal ambition, to see Cheap Trick in the country where they broke big back in 78. I'd been invited to stay with a friend in Tokyo, and despite the cost, it seemed like a good idea to go...
SUNDAY 10 OCT INTO MONDAY 11 OCT - LEEDS UK to TOKYO
I had to get up at 3am Sunday morning, 10th Oct, to be ready to be collected at 4.15am by an airport taxi. At that time in the morning, it was the only way I could get to Manchester Airport to check in by 6.30 am. The 1 1/2 flight into Frankfurt was fine, where I had 3 hours to kill. The overnight flight to Tokyo was crowded, and almost all were Japanese returning home. The flight lasted over 11 hours, and I didn't sleep a wink. The German service on Lufthansa was fine, but it was all a long haul. It was approaching 8am Monday morning (local time) as we landed at Tokyo Narita, and joined the long lines through immigration. It was a relief to walk out into the arrivals hall to be met by Mitsuru, who'd kindly said he'd collect me.
MONDAY 11 OCTOBER - TOKYO to YOKOHAMA
It was fine and warm as we drove the 40 miles to Tokyo. The roads felt a little like home, as Japan like Britain drives on the left. It was also a little like north of Chicago, with toll booths. There were also a number of golf range nets, also high barriers on either side, presumably to reduce road noise to those living nearby. As we entered the Tokyo city limits, we passed a Denny's.. Is there "anywhere" that hasn't got a Denny's ??
Mitsuru's apartment was a decent size, and I was impressed with his CT memorabilia, such as a triple platinum Budokan award to Sony, several guitars in a display cabinet on his living room hall, his checkerboard Explorer, and a replica of the George Harrison brightly painted guitar that Rick uses for Anytime.
After I got a well needed shower, we left at 1.30 pm to drive to Yokohama, but detoured en route into downtown Tokyo to Nippon Budokan ! Fantastic, I'd only been in Japan 6 hours and my pilgrimage was complete ! The hexagonal (?) building wasn't really much to look at from the outside. But my first stroke of luck (of many) in Japan was that a "Shogi" (a sort of Japanese chess) tournament was taking place, so Budokan was open. So we walked in, and I found myself on the first balcony level, looking at the arena where CT's famous, and career changing live album was recorded 21 years ago. Amazing ! The banked seats surrounded the floor space, and a large Japanese flag hung from the ceiling. I was almost speechless ! Mitsuru pointed out where the stage had been situated for those first series of shows.
We drove the 40 miles through built up urban sprawl to Yokohama, as the sunshine pushed the temperature into the high eighties. There wasn't actually any distinction between where Tokyo "ended" and Yokohama "began", the crowded housing, shops and industrial buildings just sprawled all the way down. We found the venue, then headed back up into Chinatown to eat. We also took in the bayfront, with its stunning harbour and downtown views. We headed back to the Bay Club venue around 4.30 pm, to find probably 40 fans already milling around. The outside of the upstairs club was unexceptional, though the building was on the waterfront, a mile or two from downtown Yokohama. Soon afterwards, Rick appeared up on the fire escape stairwell on the road side of the building, playing and discussing what appeared to be a white "teardrop" guitar with a couple of young Japanese musicians. Robin soon appeared too. Rick took a couple of pictures of the crowd three floors below, and he and I had a brief shouted conversation across the distance ! He said that most of CT's equipment hadn't arrived, and they'd had to borrow or hire some. A lorry arrived around 5.00 containing some kit, but it was far too late for the show that was due to start at 6.30 pm. Shows in Japan seem to start early, by 7.30 pm at the latest. Whilst waiting around, we met up with a number of Japanese friends from Trickfest's, also Ron who'd flown in from Milwaukee for the Japan tour. We then got in line, as a sizable crowd was eager for doors opening at 5.30. As had been explained to me earlier, there was no point in getting in line early, as people are admitted according to ticket number (for standing shows). And sure enough, doors opened at 5.25, and numbers were shouted out in Japanese. We were in the #80's. We stood patiently on the stairwell up into the club for 20 minutes, and the Japanese were patient as per their reputation. When we got let in, we headed into a club very similar to Rock City in Nottingham, England. It had a small stage, a good sized standing area, a bar area raised a little over to the left, and a raised floor area towards the rear. It was also very dark, though had 2 chandeliers hanging from the ceiling. I'd guess it could hold 1,000 to 1,500 max. We got perhaps 2 people back from the front barrier, though it soon became very crowded. In case anyone wonders, many things in Japan are very expensive, and show tickets were no exception. Each of the 4 shows cost around UK£43, approx US$65 ! Ouch !
There was no support and Cheap Trick took to the stage at 6.15. The crowd went wild, and I got carried from side to side by the crush of excited Japanese ! I stayed near the front for 4 songs, then moved my way to the side bar area. The crowd reaction was just too much, they were swaying and crushing and pushing, plus it was very very hot ! And despite there being a bar, people were mostly buying water. These people were just drunk with the excitement of seeing CT.
RN: black suit, black "R's" t-shirt
BC: black pants, blue flowered shirt
RZ - black sweater with shoulder/elbow patches, black pants laced up the sides
TP: black flowered design jacket, black t-shirt with white kato-chan cartoon motif, dark flowered pants.
There were some regular guitars there, though Bun E was using a burnt red coloured hired Ludwig drum kit.
The set list was:- I Want You to Want Me, Come On Come On, Clock Strikes 10, Can't Take It, Whore, I Know What I Want, Hot Love, If You Want My Love, (a fantastic) Taxman, Ghost Town, Oh Caroline, Oh Candy, The Flame, Southern Girls, Surrender (MFH flat)/ Voices, Dream Police, Never Had a Lot to Lose, Goodnight.
The crowd were amazingly wild throughout, they were so enthusiastic. After Goodnight, the crowd continued to clap and cheer, despite the house lights and music coming on. Some drifted away, only to run back as the music on the PA stopped. A second encore I thought ? No, it was a PA breakdown, but it disappointed the crowd.
The band were extremely happy to be back in Japan, that much was obvious from the smiles, the frequent "domo arogato's" from Rick, and the way both the crowd and CT played off each others excitement.
There was a merchandise stand, though the range was small. The main items I can recall were the MFH shirt (same as in the US), and the 2000 calendar. Also much of the back catalogue on CD, incl the remasters and of course MFH, which the band were touring to promote.
After seeing the band etc leave for Tokyo in minivans, we drove back into the city centre (it was only 7.45-ish by now !), and went to the Hard Rock Café in the Minai Hall Mall. We all celebrated Ron birthday in style, with 2 Cheap Trick songs being played. Our group included Cheap Track, who'd won the Battle of the Bands at TF3. It was a lot of fun, and we drove out of Yokohama past the large lit up Ferris Wheel and lit up downtown. That night, I shared a room with Ron, both sleeping on rolled out futons on the floor Japanese style, at Mitsuru's in Tokyo. After having been awake over 30 hours, I slept well !!
TUESDAY 12 OCTOBER, TOKYO TO OSAKA
The next morning dawned bright and hot, as we headed to the Asakusa district and had brunch at Denny's. They had a very Japanese menu, extremely different to the menu Stateside ! We walked around, seeing many restaurants with the famous plastic food in the window. These dishes of various meals looked very real, and it was tempting to buy some plastic food to bring home ! We ended up visiting the amazing Asakusa Kannon Temple and surrounding area. After driving back to the apartment to get our stuff, we walked the 10 minutes to nearby Kameido Station, getting trains to Tokyo station, before boarding the 2.20 "Shinkansen" bullet train for the 350 mile journey to Osaka. Travelling by train seems a real institution, with attractive lunchboxes of food available to buy both on the platforms as well as on the train. The carriages were clean and spacious, the seats comfortable with lots of leg room, and the 2 3/4 hour journey almost a pleasure. An hour out of Tokyo we passed by Mt Fuji, a national symbol of Japan. And we were lucky to have a rare view unobscured by cloud around the summit. The symmetry was amazing, and my only disappointment was that there was no snow at the peak. But despite that, the sight was awesome, and a real highlight. On the way down we passed by fields of tea, mountains, small villages, and the train stopped briefly in both Nagoya and the old capital of Kyoto.
On arriving in Osaka we checked into our hotel which had a spectacular view over the river at the Government Buildings and other parts of downtown. But no time to admire the view, we had to head out to find the nearby Heat Beat Club. For a "5-7 minute" walk, it took us some 25 minutes to find our way to it, beneath a modern looking office block. It was still very hot, into the 90's as we arrived. The crowd were already going in as we arrived, though our numbered tickets allowed us to go straight in. The hall was a rectangular club type affair, and the half of the room up to the stage was already packed. So we decided to stand at the back and avoid the inevitable crush later. More so than in Yokohama the night before, people were coming in from work, many in suits or smart work clothes, carrying briefcases or bags. I'd guess the room could hold up to 1,000, and it was pretty full by the time CT were due to take the stage at 7pm. Whilst waiting (and as in Yokohama), we got somewhat monotonal announcements in Japanese. Around 7pm we got an American voice, speaking in a low, slow monotone (aping the Japanese announcer), stating "Tonight you will be entertained by Cheap Trick. On drums will be Mr Bun E Carlos. Playing guitar will be Mr Rick Nielsen. On vocals will be Mr Robin Zander, and playing 12 string bass will be Mr Tom Petersson. You will all have a great time". The voice later returned briefly to say that Japanese announcements weren't boring ! Of course it was none other than Rick, which a few of us recognised immediately, but it took a while for the bulk of the crowd to realise who it was.. if they did at all ! The band took to the stage at 7.10 to another wildly enthusiastic welcome. They had more of their own instruments this time, Bun had his gold Ludwig drumset, and Chairy was back on Tom's amp.
From my rare vantage point at the back, I'm confident the fashion report was:
RN: black check suit, black Mysterious Rick shirt
BC: black pants, grey flowered shirt
RZ: blue velvet suit, blue shirt
TP: beige suit, black shirt.
The crowd were amazing, possibly the most enthusiastic I've seen at a CT show. They even clapped along throughout the opening bars of "I must be dreaming" on the PA!
Set list was:-
I Want You to Want Me, Come On Come On, Clock, Can't Take It, Whore, I Know What I want, Wrong All Along, If You Want My Love, Never Had a Lot to Lose, Ghost Town, Take Me to the Top, Need Your Love, Southern Girls, Surrender/ Voices, Dream Police, TV Violence, Goodnight.
Rick screwed up the first set of chime notes on Clock; at the end of Clock, Bun E played a brief ELO Kiddies beat before ending the song. An amazing sight was of almost all of the crowd swaying their arms along "all" the way through IYWML (in Tokyo RZ told me that the Osaka crowd had first done that waving the arms during that song). After Never Had a Lot .., Rick announced that some fans had given them a 25th Anniversary cake, had it brought on stage, and proceeded to scoop up some of the topping with his finger and taste it. Twice. He also thanked the Japanese fans for their contribution to the bands success over the years. On being introduced by Rick for Ghost Town, Robin replied "domo arigato". Robin's vocal on that song was amazing, and the crowd were totally and respectfully silent throughout. The flat thrown out during Surrender was a MFH one, and it was sailing towards us at the back before hitting a ceiling fixture halfway from the stage ! The excitement and atmosphere was amazing, and I think this was one of the best Trick shows I've ever seen. As well as the crowd, the band seem invigorated by the buzz too.
After seeing the band leave the venue from the underground car park, the 5 of us stopped at an Italian restaurant to have the Japanese version of an Italian meal. Unusual is the word I'd use for the omelette and pizza. The streets we walked through to get back to the hotel were narrow, yet brightly lit, full of bars and upmarket clubs, lots of smart businessmen and women around, some women out in traditional kimono's, and the whole feel was very alive and vibrant, yet very Japanese. Whilst sitting in the hotel lobby late, I watched half an hour of a 25-30 year old "junior" being totally and amazingly subservient to his 60-70 year old boss. Difficult to describe, but it was incredible to see a stereotypical Japanese display of dominance and servility, almost to the point of humiliation it seemed.
WEDNESDAY 13 OCTOBER, OSAKA to TOKYO
After breakfast at the hotel, we caught taxi's back to the Shin-Osaka railway station. We passed by the downtown, which included a very large Ferris Wheel mounted on a building. I'm not sure why we found Ferris Wheel's in both Yokohama and Osaka.. but they were certainly striking. We got the 10.33 am Shinkansen back to Tokyo and normal service was resumed as we passed by Mt Fuji as most of it was obscured by cloud. Still, we'd been more than lucky yesterday.
After dropping our bags at Mitsuru's apartment in Tokyo, we headed almost immediately out again to get to the venue. We took trains to Shibuya, leaving the rail station into a plaza surrounded by tall buildings, neon signs, giant video screens, and the hustle and bustle of a huge crowd. This is one of the most famous parts of Tokyo, with the multiple pedestrian crossings, and overwhelming neon. We walked for 10 minutes up the hill towards the Shibuya Kokaido (Public Hall), and once there, had a great view of the Tokyo Olympic Stadium. The venue looked like a low rise office building from the front, and was very quiet at 3.30 pm. However, soon afterwards people from UDO (who were promoting CT's tour) arrived and started setting up merchandise and putting up very cool posters (and no, I couldn't get one). At 6pm, doors were opened and a line formed - purely for merchandise! For some reason, some merch was to be sold from one of the doors before the show. The merch stand later moved back inside and was open as normal before and after show.
We got in at 6.30, and the hall was very impressive. All seating, holding perhaps 2-2,500, the stalls banked down to the stage so everyone would have a great view. There was also a balcony above, not deep, but two arms of it extended along the wall towards the stage. There were a lot of security men around, but unlike in the US these were very polite Japanese dressed in suits and ties ! (Same at the last show in Tokyo too). Apparently they are very strict on no photography or recording at shows, and I didn't see a single flash from the crowd at any show.
We had seats some 8 rows from the front on Tom's side. A buzzer sounded just after 7pm, and a couple of minutes later CT took the stage to a great reception as everyone stood up for the show.
RN: black check suit, MFH t-shirt
RZ: white t-shirt, gold flowered suit, shades
TP: green suit, balck roll neck shirt
BC: black pants, grey flowered shirt.
Set list was: I Want You to Want Me, Come On Come On, Clock Strikes 10, Can't Take It, Whore, I Know What I Want, Wrong All Along, If You Want My Love, Never Had a Lot to Lose, Ghost Town, Take Me to the Top, Need Your Love, Southern Girls, Surrender / Voices, Dream Police, Auf Wiedersehen, Goodnight.
It was amazing, the atmosphere built up throughout the show, and it ended up as being one of the 3-4 best CT shows I've ever been to. Before Can't Take It, Rick said that the first thing he'd bought in Japan was a brand new guitar..". Everyone screamed, then he added "..that was 20 years ago !". Before Ghost Town, Rick pointed out Cheap Track in the crowd and mentioned that a band from Japan had won the worldwide "Battle of the Bands" at TF3. Robin's vocal on Ghost Town was fantastic. During Surrender, it was a MFH/KISS flat that sailed out into the crowd, and was caught cleanly. I saw none of the frenzy as at some American shows, the guy caught it, and everyone around him left him with his prize intact ! And I honestly almost died as I heard Rick end his piece during Dream Police with "..They persecute me right here in ...TOKYO JAPAAAAAAN !!!". I know I'd heard similar in Yokohama and Osaka, but hearing it in Tokyo was somehow very different, and rammed home exactly where I was. At the end, Rick made as if to give Uncle Dick to a fan at the front, then just lay it at the front of the stage. Robin noticed and did the same, as did Tom, leaving a pile of 3 guitars as the lights went down.
The band were clearly exhilerated, both by the great sized stage they had, plus the incredible reaction of the fands throughout the show. Frequently during the show, I watched the fans not the stage, and they were all standing and going nuts, but all at their seat. No attempts to storm down to front stage.
A number of us were allowed backstage, and after waiting 10 minutes in a lobbyway, we were taken back through the theatre to the other side. The sight of the stage was amazing, in 10 minutes, it had been almost totally dismantled. A crew of maybe 25 people were like ants, taking everything apart, including the backdrop. I've never seen anything like it. There must be something in the contracts that says the stage must be dismantled by 9pm or something. The band were very gracious with all those backstage, with many of the Japanese fans making the most of their rare sighting of the band here on home territory.
Afterwards we went and ate in an upstairs Chinese restaurant, next to an apparently English pub ! Shibuya, where we caught our train home was even more crowded at 11.30pm, very humid, and the huge neon signs and video screen were an awesome sight.
THURSDAY 14 OCTOBER, TOKYO (no show)
The daytime was spent shopping and sightseeing, Ron and I went to check out the electronics area at Akihabara before splitting up. I walked up to Ueno Park, then down towards Asakusa, along the river from Asakusa and followed the railway line from Asakusabashi to Akihabara. I picked up the Japanese Complete Budokan there, before heading for a train back. I was pleased to be able to buy a ticket on my own, and find the right platform and train back to Kameido.
That evening we had a magnificent sushi meal at Mitsuru's family restaurant with Rick and some of the CT party, though I can't pretend I found the hot wasabi (green horseradish) appealing. After the CT entourage had left, around 7.45, we sat around, ate more tempura and had sake. This small group were amongst the few to have seen me drink alcohol, both beer and sake ! Later on we watched some video back at the apartment, including the Japan 92 video from Japanese TV. If you have this, take another look. I was amazed to recognise the venue as being where Cheap Trick had played the night before, at Shibuya Hall !
FRIDAY 15 OCTOBER, TOKYO
Sadly, the day of the last show. It was a comfortably cooler day, overcast and damp. We had a quiet day too, staying in, with me writing my diary and postcards to family. Managed to find a small local post office, and to mail the postcards. That was around 1 or 2pm local time, the postcards reached England and were delivered in under 3 days ! Ron and I left the apartment around 4.15, and caught trains to Nakano Station, and easily found the Sun Plaza. It was in an impressive, modern office block some 10 minutes from the station.
The queue to go in was again very orderly, and on entering, we found the theatre to again be very plush and impressive, perhaps holding 3,000. I was later told that ticket's for the two Tokyo shows sold out in 3 hours. The theatre was modern and again had a balcony and we had 3rd row, centre seats. The stage again was a decent size, and taped to the bottom of Rick's amp's were flats of the first 3 remasters. Tom's amp had Chairy, which had some sort of yellow Pokemon or Teletubby creature sitting in it. Rick had makeshift steps, put together from equipment boxes. The band took to the stage at 7.12 pm, to another enthusiastic welcome.
RN: black suit, MFH shirt
RZ: looked very cool in white suit and white t-shirt
TP: aqua blue suit, rust cloured shirt and shades
BC: black pants, grey flowered shirt.
Set list tonight was: I Want You to Want Me, Come On Come On, Clock Strikes Ten, Can't Take It, Whore, I Know What I Want, If You Want My Love, Never Had a Lot to Lose, Ghost, It All Comes Back to You, The Flame, Didn't Know I Had It (electric), Southern Girls, Surrender / Voices, Dream Police, TV Violence, Goodnight.
Another fantastic performance. For Can't Take It, Robin played the white telecaster with the CT logo on the headstock, and checkerboard trim. Before I Know What I Want, Rick introduced Paul Gilbert, ex of Mr Big ! He got a huge ovation, obviously well known in Japan. Rick said that Paul had come in from the States and interviewed them for Burn magazine. Paul then played guitar and shared backing vocals for Rick on Tom's song, during which Rick and Paul took turns to strum each others guitar. They were both obviously enjoying the song. Before IYWML, Rick announced that the first thing Tom had done in Japan was to buy a new bass. He then proceeded to play an aqua blue Chandler bass, though I've no idea if it was new or not. After Never Had a Lot.. Rick said "Rick-san, Robin-san, Tom-san, Bun E-san, that's us, we're Cheap Trick. We always say that Budokan made us famous, and we made Budokan famous !". And who can argue with that ? Before the Flame, Rick announced that "..you helped make this ichi-ban - (#1) - around the world". I'd again been watching the crowd during the show, and saw two girls nearby in absolute tears during The Flame. I'm not sure if they had been earlier, not sure if it was the song, or just Robeen, but they were very emotional. The "trilogy" of Ghost, It All Comes Back to You and Flame was incredible, the accoustics of the hall, and Robin's vocal performance made this 12 minutes or so the absolute highlight of this show. During surrender, a MFH/KISS Dynasty flat was thrown out. The chorus ended with "Tommy's Alright, Robins alright, Bun E's alright, Paul Gilbert's al-right", with Rick looking at Paul sidestage at the end. At the end of the show, Rick again went to give Uncle Dick to a fan before placing it at front, centre stage. Robin did the same, Tom placed his bass on Rick's "steps".
After show was similar to Wednesday night, with our being able to go in some 10-15 minutes after the show had ended, by which time the team of "ants" had all but cleared the stage area. Amongst the people backstage were Paul and Adrienne Chandler, makers of Tom's bass guitars. The main room was pretty packed with people, all wanting to talk and be photgraphed with the band. I was lucky enough to get a couple of minutes to chat with Robin, who positively enthused about the reaction of the Japanese fans. He also confirmed that the band will be going into the studio around February (2000) to record the new studio CD. As he'd said in Knoxville TN earlier in the year, he was really excited about it, saying that it sounded "really different".
After the 30 minutes post show, us fan's headed to a local Chinese restaurant, where we sat, traditional Japanese style at the low table, and had an assortment of Chinese and Japanese dishes.
SATURDAY 16 OCTOBER, TOKYO
The CT element of trip wasn't over yet. Although Robin, and perhaps Bun E were flying back to the States, Rick and Tom were to make an appearance at the "Musical Instruments Fair - Japan 99" in Tokyo, early in the afternoon. But first, another Japanese experience. Was up at 6.30 am, and out with Mitsuru and his Dad soon after 7am, to go to the Tsukiji fish market. Incredible, the worlds largest fish market was indeed huge, and whilst my hosts got on with purchasing various fresh seafood for the day's menu at the sushi bar, I explored, amazed at the huge size of the market, and at the range of seafood to buy. Dead or alive, it seemed that anything that could be caught in the waters surrounding Japan could be bought here, from crawfish, crab, lobster and eel, through to fish the size of a man. The place was bustling, and it was incredible to experience being there.
I set off to the Music Exhibition around 11.30 am. The Sunshine City exhibition halls complex at Ikebukuro was set in a colourful district, and was part of a huge shopping centre. We soon found the Chandler bass stand, complete with a couple of bass guitars, also what looked to be the white telecaster that Robin had played last night. There was also a small Hamer stand, as well as a small Ludwig drum stand. Rick and Tom arrived around 1.30, and Tom immediately set about trying out a couple of the Chandler basses before playing one (no CT tunes) for maybe 10 minutes. He invited the bass player with Cheap Track to try out the bass and gave him a few minutes personal tuition, very cool. Tom then did a signing session, whilst Rick went exploring. I had to leave around 2.30, but I later heard Rick had joined Tom to play California Man, but minus a vocal. Damn, I missed my chance to sing with them !! <LAUGH>
I caught the train to Shinjuku, and met up with Yumiko, who'd been at TF3. We explored the video and CD shops locally, finding various boot video's, and, get this, already a boot CD of the Osaka show 3 days earlier. Sound quality was excellent, though some of the set list was incorrectly printed. We explored the food hall of a nearby department store (Rick's advice !), mmmmm !! Went on to Harajuku, where we walked down crowded Takashita Street, and around the area. Very lively, smart, and fashionable with the younger generation. Yumiko's husband Atsusi then picked us up and drove us to a Japanese Yakiniku restaurant at Yoyogi. Here they serve strips of raw meat, which you cook yourself on the small gas barbecue set in the centre of your table ! And I discovered I'd met these people several years ago. For those at TF1 in 1995, they were the sole Japanese couple who attended, and Atsusi was the man who announced the band (in Japanese) on stage at Champaign/Urbana ! On the drive back to Kameido, we passed through the Ginza, which was lit up with huge amounts of neon, an amazing sight.
SUNDAY 17 OCTOBER, TOKYO - FRANKFURT - LEEDS
Up at 6.25 am and out at 7am, 3 friends took me to Narita Airport, 40 miles away. It was a wonderful gesture, to be willing to drive me there and see me off. Or maybe they just wanted to be sure I'd left the country ! After checking in OK, we had breakfast at the airport before I went through passport control and to my departure gate. I was very sad to see them go, and sad to be leaving Japan. It had been an incredible week. The journey home was long, over 21 hours door to door, 11 hours to Frankfurt, then a flight to Manchester and minibus back to Leeds, where I found my TF3 photo's awaiting me.
To end the Cheap Trick report, it was a real honour to experience the band in Japan. Their support there, whilst no longer quite the frenzy of Budokan days, is still very enthusiastic and loyal, and the band visibly responded to the crowd reactions. Nice that the set list changed for 3 of the shows. I'd guess that since the band tour Japan infrequently (ie every 3-4 years?), perhaps they feel that the fans deserve some changes from night to night ? My guess only. It was also a pilgrimage come true, to go to Budokan after so many years.
A few general things to add about Japan. It was very clean, and the people very polite, apart from getting onto trains/subway during afternoon rush hour ! The main roads of Tokyo, and indeed Osaka were wide and spacious, most of which had tree's along them which took a little of the harsh, big city feel away. As it was autumn, many tree's had artificial orange and yellow leaves stuck on too, giving a colourful and autumnal look to the streets. Yet off these wide throughfares were mazes of narrow backstreets, with tangles of overhead power and phone lines. The buildings were densely packed together, and spreading upwards, as ground space is at a premium in Japan. And Tokyo has miles and miles of such built up urban areas, it sprawls for miles in every direction. It probably sprawls like LA, yet is far more densely built and populated, more like London I guess. And you have to watch out for cyclists.. on the pavements ! Japan is an amazing place, with an amazing culture. I can understand why Cheap Trick love going back. I hope to return myself, in the not too distant future.
DOMO ARIGATO !!
I owe huge thanks to my friends in Japan for their overwhelming kindness and generosity, without which, I'd either have not made the trip at all, or it would have been so much more difficult. Huge thanks to them all - for putting me up (and putting up with me!), buying show tickets, buying Shinkansen (train tickets), driving me/us (me and Ron) around, interpreting into English (and putting up with my horrendous Japanese), and generally taking great care of us. And of course thanks to Cheap Trick and Carla, as ever.
That's about it. Until next time, Sayonara !
Kim Gisborne, Leeds, England) - Nov 99
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