Tuesday, 19 June 2012


I saw one of the dates at Kokusai Forum, Tokyo. and it remains one of the best gigs I've ever seen.

As far as I know, this is the only time Springsteen has played in Japan in the last 20 years or so. Tickets for this tour went on sale shortly after I arrived in the country, in November 1996, so I wasn't able to see any of the shows.

This was a "Talk and Signing" event at HMV, Shibuya, Tokyo, which I attended. It was a curious event, with most of the questions pretty inane. However, in the lack of live shows from this threesome, it's the closest you'll get to seeing them in public.

I didn't get to see Suede on their tour of Japan in 1997, though they were very good, by all accounts.

This is a flyer for Richard Thompson's tour of Japan in 2001, with my ticket for the Shibuya Club Quattro show in Tokyo underneath. I went with Nick from The Fiddler pub, and it was a great show, perfectly recorded on my MD recorder.

Little Barrie have been popular in Japan for several years now. I met Lewis Wharton, who plays bass, in Footnik, Ebisu, Tokyo, after they'd played Summer Sonic in August 2005, and then interviewed all of them a year later. The flyer on the left is for their Japan Tour in December 2006, when I met up with them again. Since then, I've seen many times and they get better and better.

One of my great regrets is not seeing James Brown live. Apart from this tour in 2003, the Godfather of Soul visited Japan on a couple of other occasions, one of them as co-headliner with Chuck Berry!
I think this tour was in 2002, as I'd seen Patti Smith at Fuji Rock Festival the previous year for the first time, and was completely blown away by her performance. Seeing her at Akasaka Blitz, Tokyo, on this tour didn't disappoint either.
This is a brochure for The Rock Odyssey, held in Yokohama International Stadium on 24 and 25 July, 2004. I'm not sure which day I went to, but I think it was the first day. What I do remember is that it was The Who's first ever show in Japan yet, for some reason, Aerosmith ended the show. Paul Weller was also on the bill, while Love Psychedelico opened the show in fine style.

I couldn't get to this gig and, in fact, I have never seen Guitar Wolf live. I've met one of the band, though, in a tiny late night boozer in Shibuya called Tombstone.


Though this musical didn't last long in the West End, it was a very enjoyable night out.

I saw this play when James Corden was playing the lead role, and it was an excellent performance by him.

I interviewed Simon McBurney of Complicite about Shun-Kin in Japan, so it was good to finally see the play.


Udo are one of Japan's oldest promoters, and tend to specialise in rock dinosaurs, such as Santana, Eric Clapton and Aerosmith. On this occasion, I was lucky enough to get an invite to The Who at the Budokan on 17 November, 2008, I think, which meant that I had pretty good seats as well. I took Barney Boytim along with me, and he had a great time too.
This pass is from 1995, when I was scheduled to interview Southside Johnny in Wolverhampton. Unfortunately, he pulled out of the interview because, apparently, he was too tired, so the promoters gave me a pass anyway. He was playing at a Bruce Springsteen convention at Wolverhampton Civic Hall, presumably seen as the next best thing to The Boss himself! Having said that, it was a great show.
I should dislike this band intensely, as their form of power pop is something I'd avoid at all costs. However, having interviewed this Canadian band a couple of times, and seen them live three times, they're such a good bunch of lads that I've warmed to their music. If only more bands could be as helpful as these guys.
I interviewed KT Tunstall backstage at the Assembly in Leamington Spa, in the trailer that Tammy Wynette used to use for touring. She was a great interviewee and very friendly. The show was pretty good too, especially as I had a photo pass for the first three numbers.
Crystal Castles at the Roundhouse was quite a full-on gig and, to be honest, not really my cup of tea. However, I interviewed Nathan backstage before taking my place with the photo pack to attempt to get some pictures, an almost impossible task from the side of the stage with limited lighting.
This was my first backstage pass, at Cropredy Festival in 1995, so I was a bit nervous, especially when I was suddenly offered an on-the-spot interview with Fairport Convention's Martin Allcock. I'm not sure who was more embarrassed about my inability to react to the situation, but I know that it seemed like the longest five minutes of the entire festival for me!!
I interviewed the lead singer of Brahman as part of The Daily Yomiuri's preview for Fuji Rock Festival in 2009. He was a good guy, and invited me to join him for an all night drinking session at Fuji. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to meet up as I had to leave immediately after Brahman finished their set. This guest pass was for a show at Studio Coast, in Shin-Kiba, Tokyo, on 1 July 2009, and was an amazing gig, mainly because of the crowd. I don't think I've seen such a riotous crowd, definitely quashing any myths about polite Japanese audiences.
I heard about Bonnie Pink in about 1998 from one of my students at Shibuya Higashi Guchi Nova who worked for Space Shower TV (an MTV-like channel). More than 10 years later, I got to interview Bonnie, and she was charming. This show was at Akasaka Blitz on 30 July 2009, and was an excellent gig.
I interviewed Beck over the phone from his home in Los Angeles, and he was very interesting, with one of the quotes he gave me ending up on the Rolling Stone website. This guest pass was for his show at NHK Hall, Shibuya, Tokyo, on 26 March, 2008 or 2009.

U2 TICKETS IN U.K. [1982] AND JAPAN [2006]

Birmingham Odeon on 4 December 1982, the only time U2 played "Sunday Bloody Sunday" twice.

Saitama Super Arena on 4 December 2006, the same date, 24 years on, as the Birmingham gig.


Flyer for Glenn Tilbrook Japan Tour 2005. I went to one of the shows at Star Pines Cafe, Tokyo, and I remember it being a highly entertaining evening.

Ticket for Squeeze (including Jools Holland) at Shrewsbury Music Hall on 19 February 1980, with Wreckless Eric. Wreckless blew Squeeze off stage, to be honest, though I saw Squeeze again five months later (with The Police at Milton Keynes Bowl) and they were much better.

CD insert signed by Glenn Tilbrook at Star Pines Cafe, Kichijoji, Tokyo, in 2008, I think. The reference to uni, or sea urchin, is connected to an interview I did with him before this show for the article he mentions in his dedication.


By the time I saw Secret Affair at Birmingham Odeon on 19 April 1980, they had enjoyed some chart success, and I think that "My World" was in the chart at this time.

Secret Affair had released a couple of singles when they played Shrewsbury Music Hall on 12 December 1979. I was looking forward to this show but have a feeling that it was a pretty underwhelming show.


Flyer for Alone With Everybody album

I remember this Richard Ashcroft concert at Zepp Tokyo on 18 October 2000 for the last 15 minutes or so, as, up to that point, he had been preoccupied with his guitar. Once he discarded it, and reverted more to his Verve persona, the gig got much better. On the same night, Jimmy Webb was playing in Tokyo and Kevin [Parker] and myself still regret not jumping into a taxi after this show to catch his second set.


Flyer for Japan Tour 1998 and ticket for concert at Kokusai Forum, Yurakucho, Tokyo, on 16 January 1998. I went to this gig with Bill Savage, and it was a great show, though it would have been much better if we'd had tickets in the stalls, rather than up in the balcony.

Flyer for Japan Tour (not sure of year)


This is the programme for the Heineken Music Festival at Roundhay Park, Leeds, on 22 July 1995, at which Pulp headlined, though there was a pretty good undercard, including Sleeper, Skunk Anansie and a very early Catatonia. Pulp were fantastic, and it was one of the last big shows where I forced my way to the front of the crowd.

These are a flyer and ticket for the Japan Tour 1998. The concert at Akasaka Blitz, Tokyo, on 18 September 1998, was a bit disappointing, as Jarvis Cocker had become quite a lot darker since the heady days of Britpop in 1995.

Flyer for Japan Tour 1998

Akasaka Blitz, Tokyo, newsletter previewing Pulp show in 1998

This is a flyer for a 'Talk Event' at HMV in Shibuya, Tokyo, on 20 September 1998, which I attended. It was an odd event, with lots of inane questions, including one asking what Cocker had done on his birthday, which had fallen a couple of days before. He answered that they'd travelled to Hakone and seen the "Smoking Mountain," aka Owakudani, Hakone, a volcanic hillside that is a popular tourist attraction where it appears that the mountain is belching out smoke.

Set list for Akasaka Blitz and rear of ticket for show on 18 February 1998


This ticket was for a show at Akasaka Blitz, Tokyo, on 12 February 2000, during the XTRMNTR tour. It was quite a spectacular gig, with Kevin Shields, of My Bloody Valentine, on guitar.

This is a guest pass for Zepp Tokyo on 28 January, in 2009, I think. After the show, I went backstage and chatted to Barrie Cadogan, the band's 'extra' guitarist, who complained that he was the only member who was drinking on the tour!!


This is a flyer for Paul McCartney's Japan Tour 2002. I went to see him with Junko, my wife, and a good friend, Barney Boytim, at Tokyo Dome on, I think, 13 November 2002. It was a good show, though the seats were quite a long way from the stage.

Flyer for Paul McCartney's Japan Tour 2002


This is a ticket for Oasis at Nippon Budokan, Tokyo, on 20 February 1998. As it was the first time they'd played in Japan since becoming superstars, these were hot tickets, and I remember having to use a public phone in Hakone to call the ticket agency when they went on sale.

By the time Oasis played Yokohama Arena on 6 March 2000, tickets were a little easier to obtain. Ironically, I think this was a better show than the Budokan gig two years before.

Review of Budokan show in The Daily Yomiuri 

Flyer for Japan Tour 1998

Flyer for Japan Tour 2000

This is a flyer for the Oasis Japan Tour 2002. I went to one of the shows (I think it was 28 September) at Yoyogi National Gymnasium, in Shibuya, Tokyo, with Junko, my wife. It wasn't a bad show, though they never played "Wonder Wall," and simply played a tape of the song to mark the end of the concert.

Flyer for Japan Tour 1998