My Japan Tour 2005

Going on the road is always tough. Touring in different venues between long distances is extremely demanding both mentally and physically. Very often, you just do not get enough sleep at night (what with all the drinking and partying after each show) and before you knew it, the alarm clock had gone off and it was time to get up and get ready for the next show. Tiredness and not enough sleep are in daily attendance. Sleep deprivation sets in quite quickly. After a few days, you fall asleep when you are in a car, on a train and soon you could almost fall asleep on your feet.

There is inevitable a lof of gear to carry along on the road. As someone who has been touring Japan each year for more than 10 years, I learnt to take with me as little as possbile, just the bare minimum in terms of muscial equipment, clothes and other necssities. But the minimum do add up and the longer you travel the heavier they become. The minimum I need are two Steinbeger guitars, my effect padels, spare strings, thumb picks, slides, camera, video, tripod for the video, my iPod and iPod speakers, my Blues hat and a small amount of clothing. My wife has a medium size suit case, Ding san has his snare drum, a snare drum hard case and a soft case and a suitcase. Wai san has his bass gutiar, a hard case for the bass, a soft case and a suitcase. One top, each of us is carrying a hold-all with all our wallets and travelling documents. It ended up there were 18 pieces of baggage amongst the 4 of us to carry along and it looks something like this :-

So, by the time you get to the venue, you are most likely worn out physically. That is before you played the first note of the night. Traveling is something that can wear you out very quickly. On 24th August we left our hotel in Akasak at 10:30 a.m. in the morning. We walked to the underground station to catch a train to Shinjuku Station. Got off at Shinjuku Station and got up to ground level and shifted our gear to the Limousine Station to catch a Limousine Bus to Lake Yamankako which is in the Mount Fuji area. We got off the at the Amusement Park in Lake Yamanakako at 3:00 p.m. and soon Oya san and Takatani san came in their vans packed with music equipment to pick us up. We then travelled for over an hour to Auguri cafe where we were to play our show. In total we spent something like 6 hours travelling. By the time we finally got to the venue, we were really tired. Then we had to set up to whole stage from scratch, from the drum kit to the bass and guitar amps, the P.A. and P.A. speakers. Then we did the sound check. Soon after the show started. We did not have time to eat anything except an ice cream until 11:00 p.m. at night.

The next morning, we got up at 9:30 a.m. It was pelting with rain, a storm was coming to Tokyo. Masa Oya san and Minako san drove us to the bus station where we were to catch a bus back to Tokyo to catch the Bullet Train to Osaka. If the bus arrived on time, we would have 15 minutes to spare by the time we got to the Bullet Train station. The bus was late, we missed the Bullet Train. We waited for 45 minutes for the next one to arrive. But then this train was not an express train, it took us 3 hours 45 minutes to get to Osaka. We got off at Shin Osaka Station with all our gear and Masato san picked us up in his van and drove us to our hotel. The traffic was really bad and it took nearly an hour. We deposited our luggage at the hotel, grabbed what we need for the show, jumped back into Masato san's van and drove straight to the venue. It took 8 hours of travelling to arrive at our next venue. As soon as we got to Page One, we set up our equipment and did a sound check. We were just worn out before we even got to the stage. You really have to be strong mentally and physically.

But, there is nothing like going on the road, playing music every night, without a care in the world, meeting up with old friends and making new friends. For two weeks, the only thing that matter was music. That makes life worth living.

 

My 2005 Japan tour was the longest tour I had ever undertaken. At the end of the tour, I had travelled thousands of miles within Japan. I played 9 shows in 10 says, that was a record. I had never had such a good time playing in Japan. Since the close of 48th Street, I had not had much live shows. There simply weren't that many places, if at all, to play in Hong Kong. At 48th Street, I played music on stage at an average of 6 hours a week. Now I don't even get to play on stage 6 hours in a month; I would be luck to play 2 hours on stage once a month. I really miss the stage. The stage is where musicians perform, where they share their music and sharpen their music awareness. With the close of 48th Street, live performances are simply close to non-existence for me, they were so far and in between I had nearly forgotten what it felt like to be on stage. This Japan tour brought back to me the thrill of playing on stage, I could feel the pulse of playing music on stage again.

19th & 20th August
Sapporo
22nd August

 

Imagine

Tokyo
23rd August
Tokyo
24th August
Lake Yamnakako area
25th August
Osaka
26th August
Osaka
27th August

 

Howling Bar

 

Osaka
28th August
Osaka