A first-hand journal of The Reducers' Japan Tour 2004.

The Reducers at the El 'N Gee Club, New London, CT

The Big One

Posted by Hugh

I'm sure I won't do this justice, but perhaps with the viewpoints of all parties combined you will get a sense of what yesterday, and especially last night, was like.

Before I get into it, I want to mention something that has been implied in many entries, but perhaps not stated explicitly enough. The hospitality that our hosts have demonstrated time and again, in ways both large and small, has without a doubt, been the most moving aspect of this whole experience for me (and perhaps for all of us.) Fifi, Fink, Jimbo, and Sami, Tetsuya (aka Tachi), Cozy, Cohe, Shintaro, Masa, and many others whose names I would include here if I could remember how to pronounce them, have made us feel as if our well-being is the single most important thing in their lives right now. We have been guided with grace, understanding, humor and compassion through every step we take in this complex and exciting cross-cultural experience. I could go on, but I don't want to ramble too much.

Yesterday: I walked for an hour and a half this morning along this tree-shaded walkway that extends through the Tokyo neighborhood where we're staying (known as Hatagaya). I was listening to tapes and just taking in the daily routines of our Japanese neighbors. Very relaxing and enjoyable after being cooped up in a car all day yesterday. In the afternoon, we went up to the top of the Metropolitan Tower in Shinjuku (the central district). From there we could see Tokyo spread out forever in every direction - it never seems to end - with the outline of Mount Fuji presiding majestically over it all from a great distance. Breath-taking!...

Last night: Gig at The Fiddler - 3 sets at an authentic English Pub in the Heart of Tokyo!

The place smelled dank and puky to use Tom's words. The bartender was an A**HOLE from New Zealand who set the tone by saying that since it was our first gig there, we wouldn't be getting paid. He looked sort of like Gene Simmons from Kiss, but without the make-up - ugly? You bet. I ordered the Shepherd's Pie but got the Poughman's Lunch. It figures. Oh yeah, the equipment was for sh*t. Mostly solid state Peavey stuff. But Richard and this kind Brit, named Julian, taped together something workable. But that's not what this is really about.

The gig: By 8:45 the room was close to full. (Richard used the leverage of the nearly full house (100 people?) to get some kind of concession about the pay from the barkeep- like, OK we'll pack up our gear and leave! Richard rules!)
At 9:02 we went on. Fifi and Tachi introduced us. It started as a slow boil - Heartbeat. The rest of the night is kind of a blur for me, but here are some highlights that have stayed with me.

Richard fixed my amp so that I could get some more volume after the first set. The first set was sort of like the other two gigs. Strong audience response. Lots or energy and support. Then, right before the second set, they took out some tables and stools and made a small dance floor. Immediately it was packed. We started the second set with Don't Mind Rockin' Tonight and the place erupted - I mean it ERUPTED! And it stayed that way for two more sets plus a number of encores (I lost count).

Fifi and Tachi were the instigators, and the crowd pogoed madly, veering drunkenly as a single entity from side to side, back and forth, onto the stage(!), singing on every chorus, knocking over microphones repeatedly(Peter and Steve both took one in the teeth), knocking guitars out of tune, ecstatic over every pub rock number, making requests for Clash and Hippy Shake. Shintaro came up and sang Capitol Radio with us. It definitely ranks as the single most intense Rock and Roll experience I've ever had - like the ElnGee in our heyday. but triple that. No, quadruple that! Before the second encore the whole crowd was chanting our individual names, each for about five minutes it seemed - Tom, Tom, Tom, Tom....Steve Steve Steve...., etc...) Mind-blowing! (And Richard captured most of it on video!)

After the show, Jimbo told us to go mingle with the crowd, because Japanese people are shy even though they really want to talk to you. I just walked over to tables and people were just incredibly friendly and gracious, thanking me for an unforgettable experience and a precious memory (I told them it was unforgettable for me too, and that's the truth).

I'll leave the commentary about what happened next to others who were closer to the action, but for me, what I've just told you is a brief sketch of what I'll always keep and cherish.

More later.


Posted by Hugh on June 29, 2004 at 09:00 PM EDT

Comments

Hugh, thanks so much for this!!! WOW!!! Thrilling!!! (Except for the part about Peter and Steve getting the mike in the teeth, my fear all these years - hope the teeth are still intact..)

Can't wait for the video!

love from Marty

Posted by: martha at June 29, 2004 at 09:51 PM EDT

Hugh,
What a concept.. The cd release party, followed by the movie premier.
And you guys could play a set after the movie.. All done at the Garde Theater..
Sounds like the show was a great one.
Can you repeat it at the Sailfest?
Later,
Kevin

Posted by: Kevin Gallerani at June 30, 2004 at 06:51 AM EDT

I suspect these reports are bringing tears to many an eye and not just mine. Thanks so much for capturing it all for us.

The adulation coming your way is so completely deserved!

Keep on rockin' in the free world,
Dawn

P.S. If you run into any Big Dipper on CD...

Posted by: Dawn at June 30, 2004 at 10:43 AM EDT

Hi Hugh,
This is at once awesome and angering! It's awesome because you guys really deserve this and much more… Also, you are all really humble and that is a great trait! As I read the posts I keep thinking boy, this is so cool!
Its angering because as good as its going, uhm, I am not there to see it! SHOOOOOOOOT@@!!

Thank Fifi and Fink so much from your hombase fans, they really have the same sentiments about you guys as we do!

Can't Wait for Sailfest!

Rodi
POGO POGO POGO POGO POGO!

Posted by: Rodi at June 30, 2004 at 04:45 PM EDT


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