Live Review Japan-Tour 23.03. – 29.03.1992
Tokyo – Monday 03/23/1992
The flight that took THUNDERHEAD and crew to Japan on March 23, 1992, lasted about 12 long hours, a little later also us (Gaby and me) in a different plane. We landed at “Narita” Airport which is located some miles outside of Tokyo.
While T-HEAD had long been accommodated in their “Hotel Ibis”, was able to recover from all the hardships of the long flight, lay in warm beds and tried to get rid of an approaching cold, a rather adventurous search began for our own lodging.
Since we wanted to “voluntarily” accompany T-HEAD on this tour, apart from food, flight and travel costs, we naturally had to find our own lodgings. Finding one for us was – at the beginning – less stressful than the actual journey there, because the “Japan Railway” (JR) first took us away from the airport and to Tokyo.
On our search for “JR” we faced our very first “can of coffee” – no joke! – which you could pull hot or cold from vending machines, depending on your preference. The cold drinks were arranged on the left and the hot drinks on the right.
(Today, in the year 2023, this is of course nothing new for us anymore. But back then in 1992 – so 31 years earlier – it definitively was quite extraordinary and new!)
From time to time, we also passed a small shop with the request “Let’s Kiosk” which we didn’t do because we were pressed for time.
The journey with JR was OK but took about 1 ½ hours.
Arriving in Tokyo, we now had to take the subway which we soon found. Fortunately, at least most of it was marked and signposted for tourists (in English) so that we had no trouble finding the right way. For us, however, it was adventurous and valuable in terms of experience in the subway itself.
In general, such a subway ride in Tokyo is really something, very interesting and quite uncomplicated once you have the right perspective.
There are very small, but also very huge train stations like the “Tokyo Station” where you’d better (like at the Airport in Frankfurt) taking a guide, because it is very easy to get lost inside there. Our very first learned, often searched for and later also most frequently used Japanese character therefore: 出口 (deguchi) = EXIT.
Before you start your trip on the subway you need to look at the fare plan, because the length of the route determines the fare. Such plans usually hang above the ticket machines. The station to which one wishes to travel is read on this plan; directly below is the fare that you must pay. Well, basically quite easy, but as a German tourist you are faced with a hurdle. You could see the fares, but reading the station was not that easy unless you knew Japanese characters.
Of course, the plans were written in Japanese, not always, but so often that you have to use your own subway plan which of course, with foresight, you got from the information stand beforehand and, thank God, you are able to read and always had to have on hand to compare it with the tariff plan above the machine, count the stations and take the fare below. Then, for free, you got a new learned Japanese word, namely that of the destination station.
When we finally got our tickets, we came to what we call the “gulp and spit” validators, where you must put your ticket in a small machine to get through the barrier. The ticket is immediately sucked in, validated inside, which at the same time releases the locking mechanism of the passage barrier, and as soon as you have passed through the barrier, it is spat out again at the end. Very useful, but also just too funny!!! (*laugh*)
Once on the platform, pay attention to the white or yellow markings immediately in front of the edge of the platform, because that’s where you must stand if you want to take a ride. These markings indicate where the doors of the incoming train will be and get opened, and that goes for every train that comes in. – Today these markings are also ribbed on the ground in Germany as a colour-coded safety distance, but especially for blind people!
It is also important to queue up in the queue that is already waiting, if there is one, and to get on the train calmly one after the other, which stops the same way, so that the doors and markings match exactly. – WOW! What precision!
When it’s your turn to get on, you must decide whether you should squeeze into the now overcrowded train or better wait for the next one. Sometimes the decision is made for you simply by a strong push from behind.
But we decided to wait for the next train, because with all our luggage we wouldn’t have had a chance to find a seat on this train anyway.
In the next train, where we got on first in line, we attracted attention and therefore received a lot of curious looks from all occupants. Of course, we got noticed! Not only because of our size and the lighter hair and skin colour, we always had to reckon with being stared at in one way or another by the Japanese. Also, not to be overlooked the way we were loaded and packed. With our large tour backpacks, individual bags and hand luggage, we then fought with at least four Japanese people for their standing places on the train. *lol*
It was quite cold in Japan, but thanks to the many people who crowded into a subway that was already overcrowded for us or were simply pushed in from the outside, real torrents of sweat ran down not only our foreheads. The only good thing about crowds like this was that you never had to hold on to anything because the chance of falling was like winning the lottery. Apart from that, one could study heaps of advertising during the journey, which was hanging all over the train or could also be viewed live on several small monitors mounted in the carriage. – Unbelievable! Only 30 years later do we have something like this here in our trams and buses in Germany!!
Depending on where you get off later, there is either a human controller who first checks the tickets before leaving the station to ensure that the tariff is correct before finally collecting them (if you are unlucky, you have to pay extra), or there is one of those barriers again, where the tickets are simply sucked in when going through, but this time they are not released again. In any case, you should always keep an eye on your ticket, because if you get to one of these barriers without a ticket, you will have difficulties leaving the station area.
When we finally reached our destination and left the train station, we were surprised by a heavy cloud of snow. That wasn’t very funny at all because it made the search for our Hostel even more difficult. We asked our way through, but most of the people we spoke to – or rather, just showed the address of where we were going – couldn’t help us much. But then we met someone who knew his way around and even took us to the gates of our Hostel. (Something like this should happen to us more often!)
Well, and there we finally stood, pretty exhausted and soaked, in front of the “Shinakano Hostel” and could hardly believe that we were there, because it was already after 5 p.m. Our twin room was on the first floor, but before we were allowed in there, all our belongings – including ourselves – were thoroughly wiped off and rubbed dry by the owner. (What a feeling…! *lol*)
Then our room…
You walked into the small hallway and stood right in front of the shower, which even had a sign with its “opening hours” on it. Accordingly, you could only enjoy a warm shower from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Outside of these times there was generally only cold chlorinated water.
Our room was quite small but sufficient for 2 beds, table, chest of drawers and wardrobe. There was even a “pay tv” next to the window (¥100 for 10 or 20 minutes of tv!!!) with a sign on it that said: No smoking! A bit frustrating for Gaby and me because we were still smokers at the time. But the price for the room at ¥8000 was OK.
But first we put our luggage down, rested for a bit and freshened up (with cold water!) and then headed straight back to T-HEAD. No problems with the train, found everything well, except for the hotel – but we had only mixed it up with another one… (uhm…)
Arriving at the “Hotel Ibis” soaking wet (the snowfall had meanwhile turned to torrents of rain), we could only talk to Beaker over the phone and let him know about our arrival in Japan, among other things. Beaker and 2 other crew members were in bed with a cold. T-HEAD got it too, but unfortunately, they couldn’t avoid eating with tour manager “Yoshi”.
“It’s all settled with your tour passes”, Beaker sneezed into the phone, “everything else tomorrow in Nagoya. C-Ya at the sound check… and bye!”
OK, so after that we drove back to our Hostel after a quick warm meal, missed the shower appointment there by exactly 10 minutes and felt like kids in the school toilet again as we crouched in front of our open balcony door to smoke quickly and secretly 1 – 3 cigarettes. 😉
Nagoya – Tuesday 03/24/1992
9:00 AM. – As soon as we had all our things together, we left our hostel and made our way to Nagoya. We didn’t have breakfast – everything that called itself a restaurant or coffee bar was still closed anyway – so we just took some food with us, including four of those unusual, canned coffees. (We old coffee aunts just needed our caffeine in the morning!)
Around 10:00 a.m. we reached Tokyo Station, reserved two seats for the next train to Nagoya and were even lucky with the “Shinkansen”, whose departure was announced for 10:25 a.m. – “Let’s hurry”!!!
After a hectic search, desperate questions and a guided tour to the wrong gate, we finally found the right platform and just made it to our train, which then rolled out of the station just 30 seconds after we got on. – What a morning!? And all without coffee!!!
Mighty roar and clapping as we walked through compartment 13…!! :O
Hey, what’s going on here!?! On closer inspection, we noticed that this was a male-only compartment and that this highly unusual reception was for us women. Hard to believe, but this group of overjoyed Japanese men actually tried to persuade us to stay with them and celebrate?!? – Uh…thanx but…
We arrived in Nagoya at around 12:20 p.m., and with that the longest and most frustrating search for a lodging ever began for us, because pretty much all hotels in our price range were fully booked to the last broom closet. Even the business hotels and ryokan lodgings were packed to the last tatami mat. And in the so-called “love hotels” (yes-yes!!!) you could only check in as “neutral” guests from 9:00 p.m. – Well fine!
In our frustration and sit-in on a curb overlooking Nagoya’s street traffic, we enjoyed the view of a “Forklifter” building and endured the many curious looks of the people who kept walking, rushing or driving past us.
But at some point, every frustration comes to an end – even if only temporarily – and so we were picked up on any street corner by a Japanese girl, who by the way spoke excellent English, and chauffeured us through Nagoya’s streets for 2 hours to maybe find a hotel somewhere that wanted us. – Unfortunately, without success.
We then decided to drive directly to the “Bottom Line” to vent our renewed frustration on Beaker – haha. Well, at least we were able to put our things down there, relax a bit and, if necessary, go on search again after the show.
There was already a lot going on in front of the doors of the “Bottom Line” when we were driven up there at around 5:00 p.m. Strange and curious looks from all bystanders as we dragged ourselves and all our luggage into the entrance hall.
We were warmly welcomed by “Katsumi” (0614) and “Kaori” (0620), who combined correctly right away, because this could only be HQ’s “Gaby & Tina”.
Tour manager “Yoshi”, who we didn’t know until then, happened to be at the merchandise stand when we introduced ourselves there as the F.C. leaders. He also knew immediately and took us – very pleased, it seemed – backstage to the dressing room. On the way we met Beaker, who had already been waiting for us, greeted us briefly, handed us our tour passes, only to then immediately disappear again. (Typical!)
T-HEAD was still at the soundcheck when we threw our luggage into the next corner and ourselves onto the first available couch to rest for at least 5 minutes and recharge our batteries.
Tina: “Hey, don’t I see a coffee machine over there?” – Gaby: “Yes, you are right! Let’s get to that thing!”
As soon as Beaker reappeared, we shared our lodging problem. Yoshi, who was also present and noticed everything, suddenly got up, went to the phone, dialed, spoke, listened, wrote something down, hung up, came over to us and gave us a piece of paper with the remark that we too have a hotel room now! So please don’t cry anymore. – Uhh!!! So, it’s that easy for him, eh!? – We were sooo grateful to him!!! – Arigato!!
While we were still trying to get out of our amazement, the sound check was over, and the dressing room filled with band and crew. Everyone, you could tell right away, was in high spirits! And when we finally accepted Yoshi’s “simple action” on the phone, the confusion about it subsided and we only now really realized where we were, namely in Japan, live and with T-HEAD, yes, then our mood barometer rose to the highest of all levels. YEAH!
And then it was already time…
While the guys were slowly getting changed for the show, we made a detour into the hall, looked around there for the first time and looked for a good spot with a good view so that we could film and take pictures undisturbed.
It goes without saying that T-HEAD’s very first Japan tour had to be captured in words and pictures, if only to tell posterity and all the fans who couldn’t be there later about it. Actually, one of the numerous German HR/HM magazines should also be present on this tour, but then it seemed that it was no longer considered necessary, because not a single writer and even fewer photographers appeared on the entire tour. So, it seems like we – The Headquarters – are the only ones who can even write anything about this tour!! 😀
Anyway, the hall held about 1000 people, of which about 100 could easily find a place on the balcony. There was also a counter up there. Otherwise, as far as drinks were concerned, there were one or two vending machines down in the hall. And thank goodness it wasn’t one of those halls where you had to sit in your chair during the whole show! That was one of our first fears, because with many concert recordings from Japan you always see the fans sitting on chairs, as if you were watching a movie. But that’s probably only the case for larger concerts and in larger halls, such as “Budokan” in Osaka.
Punctually at 18:00, the gates of the “Bottom Line” opened to the already very impatient and excited waiting fans, and everyone was admitted one after the other in numerical order – namely that of their ticket number – without stress and crowds. Well, when it comes to buying tickets, it’s important to be in the top 30, if possible, in order to get in first and get the best places in front of the stage.
While the fans then ran to the stage one after the other, there was real anticipation – and maybe a little nervousness – in the dressing room for the very first concert in front of a Japanese audience.
And then finally around 7:10 p.m., after the 250-strong crowd had been calling for T-HEAD in unison for 5 minutes, the band entered the stage with “City Cornered” and so, you can hardly believe it, transformed them otherwise rather “shy and well-behaved” appearing Japanese in a sheer indignant, wildly raging little people. – WOW! What a sight! Just the right “KICK ASS” for the band, who after “City Cornered” immediately went into the first chords of “Satisfied”. A short stop to say hello to all “Nagoyans” and all T-HEAD fans who have travelled for this purpose.
Further along in the lyrics with “Satisfied” followed by “Let The Dogs Loose”, “Let Go” and “Darker Side Of Yesterday” where Gaby was the only one who held up a mood flame. We later learned from some fans that although they already knew something like this from America, it wasn’t common in Japan. So, Gaby was all alone with her mood lighting on “Life In The City”, because Tina really wanted to film a little more. 😉
T-HEAD played “Ready To Roll”, “Life’s Only A Goodbye” and the THIN LIZZY classic “Warrior”, among others, and with every song the Japanese crowd roared, raged and feared until finally the last one was persuaded to join in. “Busted” followed and then the fans were asked by Ted what they would like to hear, whereupon Gaby’s little voice could be heard calling out “Torture Ride” from somewhere behind.
It was clear that T-HEAD wasn’t going to play this song, because we kept pestering the “Bullet” with “Torture Ride” before the show, but he always rejected it because the song just closed exhausting, but, hey, you could still give it a try, right?
Funnily enough, the audience immediately joined in with Gaby’s request (haha!), so that everyone was now yelling “Torture Ride”, which Ted skilfully ignored, and the band finally went on with “8-Ball”.
“Highway” followed as an encore, and of course no one had to do without “Ace Of Spades” either, because this song was dutifully blown around the audience’s ears as the second and definitely last encore, so that it almost seemed like the Japanese would now hit each other’s heads after all – so wildly everyone in the hall trembled and moved to the good piece.
Awesome show! T-HEAD agreed on that when they sneaked back into the dressing room, completely exhausted.
Ted immediately fell stomach forward onto the next couch, Henny already knew that he would have sore muscles tomorrow, Alex stripped down to his underwear and Ole was quite exhausted too, just managed to say “great show” before he also dropped himself into the next corner.
Barely 2 minutes later, the dressing room was already filled with all the people that belonged to it, including “Melanie”, who was hired as an interpreter for T-HEAD in Japan for this tour. She also did an excellent job and was simply indispensable. – A thousand thanks, Melanie!!!
The only topic that evening was of course the show that had just ended. They were also very enthusiastic about the T-HEAD banners, which were made by some Japanese especially for this show and presented to the band as a gift.
As a result of a raffle, six competition winners were then allowed to visit the boys in the dressing room. Still a bit shy, they asked for autographs, took a few souvenir photos of T-HEAD and unfortunately had to leave after 15 minutes because the band had to go out to eat.
So, we all packed up all our stuff, but the dressing room was not left until the last remnants of the catering had been looted or stowed away in the luggage.
Yoshi quickly gave us a note with the address of the restaurant and also a hotel address in Osaka, where he had found a room for us again during the show and had reserved it right away. WOW! We didn’t expect that at all, but before we could thank him extensively, Yoshi had disappeared again.
The reserved taxis that T-HEAD was supposed to bring to the hotel to drop their luggage were already waiting in front of the doors of the “Bottom Line”, but two dozen fans were also waiting impatiently for the band to appear, who finally got persuaded together for numerous autographs and photos.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the street, we just saw a taxi arriving, which we took for ourselves without hesitation. It’s possible that this taxi was also reserved for T-HEAD, but that didn’t really matter to us at the moment because it was raining, we were cold, and we were dead tired.
We then simply gave the taxi driver Yoshi’s note with the hotel address in his hand, but unfortunately the “good guy” didn’t know his way around this area at all, as he tried to explain to us in broken English. After driving up and down the same street at least twice, our chauffeur suddenly stopped in front of another hotel, got out and asked for the right way – while we waited patiently in the taxi and listened to the cheerful ticking of the taximeter (well, fine …!).
When we finally arrived in front of our hotel, we were literally abandoned by this driver, whose curses accompanied us throughout the journey (well, that really sounded funny in Japanese language!!), because as soon as we got there, the driver got out, opened the trunk of his car and our luggage – no joke! – actually got thrown out on the street and in the rain by him! Wow, we were shocked but then very upset about it! And because that wasn’t enough, there were some communication problems with the people from the hotel! Fortunately, however, these were quickly resolved when Melanie called us at that very moment, only to tell us that two places in the restaurant had been reserved for us. For us, however, the day was over. We only went to our rooms (solitary confinement!), but before that we killed the rest of the catering together and then slept the sleep of the avenged…
Osaka – Wednesday 03/25/1992
With a thick slice of toast and plenty of coffee from a nearby coffee shop, we got ready for our trip to Osaka. While a charter flight to Osaka was reserved for T-HEAD and crew, we enjoyed the approximately 1-hour drive there with the “Kodama Express”. Thanks to “Yoshi” we didn’t have to worry about accommodation first, because for a measly ¥12500 (~ 160,-DM) a comfortable room on the 11th floor of the “Nakanoshima” hotel awaited us.
Once we’d unloaded our stuff and freshened up, we went off to the “Moda Hall”, which was conveniently only three metro stops from our hotel – or so we were told by a passer-by in the concourse.
After we promptly went wrong again, despite the plan, we finally stood in front of the “Moda Hall” at around 5:00 p.m., where – already expected by a bouncer – we were immediately led to the backstage area.
A big “HELLO” to everyone present – and coffee for us!!! 😀
There was high spirits and anticipation for the now second show in Japan, and the one and a half hour wait until the show started was served with a certain exuberance and fooling around or walked up and down in the backstage area. For example, Ole Hempelmann found out, partly shocked and partly amused, that “there were even heated toilet seats at all the restrooms here” and that it “feels really weird; like putting your butt on someone else’s.” – Hahaha, what a howler! Everyone roared with laughter!
After the “Bullet” had calmed down to some extent, we were able to give him a short operating instruction for our video camera, because he wanted to try them out for a certain song during the show.
Then there was a short visit from two members of the soul band “Manhattan Transfer”, who were currently on a promotional tour in Japan and happened to be staying in the same hotel with T-HEAD (that’s how they knew about the show). Both, “Jamie Glaser” (voc/guit) and “Frank Colon” (dr. & percussion), stayed also for the show and were extremely enthusiastic about T-HEAD.
Around 6:00 p.m. in front of the Moda Hall, we followed the unique ritual of admitting the fans, who were already crammed together behind the hall for this purpose and were just waiting impatiently for their ticket numbers to be called. And then he finally came, the man with the megaphone, and called out a certain amount of numbers (about 20), whereupon those concerned (or the lucky ones!) immediately stepped forward and stood in a row, and then to be personally led to the entrance by the “megaphone man”, where, after a thorough check of the correctness of the card numbers, they were finally let in in numerically order.
The whole procedure was repeated until finally the last waiting fan has disappeared into the hall. But Gaby and I didn’t want to stay outside that long. Instead, we pushed past the second row in front of the entrance, walked to the merchandise stand, stacked our business cards on the counter and reserved five more Japan tour shirts for the fans back home.
Back in the dressing room, we found Ted & Henny lying on the floor! But that was ok, we were told. Since there was no couch or something else to lie down and relax in the dressing room, they were content with lying on the floor. Why not!?!
While the band got changed for the show around 6:30 p.m. and got ready, Gaby and I looked for a good and clear place for filming. This time we found him at the back of the hall beside light man “Holger” and the sound mixer “Ralf”.
7:00 p.m. – The hall went dark and the approximately 300 fans in front of the stage cheered and screamed in unison in anticipation until T-HEAD entered the stage and opened their show again with “City Cornered Man”. Immediately all hands went up, and again it was pure pleasure to watch the raging Japanese, how excited they were to finally be able to see and experience T-HEAD live! – Crazy!
After “City Cornered” the first chords to “Satisfied” again and then a quick stop for one of Ted’s typical announcements, this time noting that no matter what the guy here might have told the audience before the show, “fuck him and go crazy!”, whereupon everyone in the hall screeched in agreement and raged even more exuberantly. A divine sight!
The playlist wasn’t that different from the day before in Nagoya, but here the audience was 100% better, wilder and more numerous. It was also obvious to T-HEAD how much they enjoyed playing in front of this fantastic crowd. Even Ted had so much fun today that he – amazingly – kept his stories short or even left them out completely with the comment “ah, fuck the story”, as in “Let Go”.
The atmosphere was indescribable, the fans unstoppable and T-HEAD was just perfect. It’s a pity that Japanese TV didn’t record this show as well, but only opted for the last show on March 28th in Kawasaki.
Anyway, 70 minutes went by far too quickly and T-HEAD came to the end of the show with “What Mama Don’t Know…” only to be back on stage with “Life In The City” as an encore. But before this song was started, Ted finally surprised the fans with the video camera, which he happily held up to the howling, raging and enthusiastic horde in front of the stage, and with double the pleasure. YEAH!
Unfortunately, the show came to an end with “Highway” and “Ace of Spades”, where everyone got the last bit of energy out of themselves. T-HEAD, it seemed, was still so pumped up that they could have played at least 30 minutes longer. But they had to stick to the schedule, which said that the band was allowed to relax for 15 minutes before they had to go to a 15-minute autograph hour.
In a separate room, the 6 – 8 chosen fans were already waiting impatiently for T-HEAD to appear.
Meanwhile, Gaby took care of Katsumi, who was struggling to breathe in the crowd at the show and was about to collapse. Ah, the poor thing, lying there, her face white as chalk…! :O
Then it was time to go back to the Hotel Osaka first, so that T-HEAD could unload all their clothes. Of course, the lobby was full of fans just waiting to talk to T-HEAD, get autographs and take souvenir photos. Gaby and I also took this opportunity to introduce ourselves to the fans, talk to them and ask them about their impressions of the show. We diligently distributed our “HQ” business cards to everyone who wanted them or not. For example, on “Manhattan Transfer” and “Cool & The Gang”, which were also on a promotional tour here. 😀
During the whole tumult, Melanie unexpectedly gave us a hotel address in Tokyo/ Kawasaki, where Yoshi (of course) had once again reserved a room for us. There was also a fax with the exact directions to our hotel, to the hotel where T-HEAD was staying and to “Club Citta”, where the next two shows were to take place. And everything was conveniently located in close proximity to each other. As far as the hotel and club location is concerned, care was always taken to ensure that the band wasn’t too far apart from each other. Theoretically, T-HEAD would have only needed 5 – 10 minutes to walk from their hotel to the respective club. In practice, however, it looked like they were always driven around in an 8-passenger bus. – Just like us now.
After a 20-minute stay at the hotel, everyone who belonged to it (including the two guys from “Manhattan Transfer”) was invited to two 8-person buses and chauffeured directly to the “Hard Rock Café Osaka”, where three already reserved Tables were waiting for us. Compared to the German HRCs (if you can compare them at all), the HRC Osaka is a huge, cozy and also very well-arranged shop. The whole atmosphere there was just great and that wasn’t necessarily just due to the presence of T-HEAD & crew.
Of course, some fans didn’t want to be denied and simply followed us to the HRC. Others were already there when we entered the store, having somehow noticed the HRC visit from T-HEAD beforehand. Here, too, autographs were given, and photos were taken. Even Katsumi also felt fit enough to meet T-HEAD and us here again.
Before we finally went back to the hotel, the band positioned themselves for a souvenir photo in front of the Elvis music box and let Gaby and me take the pictures.
Arriving at the hotel, T-HEAD was greeted repeatedly by fans who had certainly been in the lobby the whole time, just to see T-HEAD again. So, autographs were given again, and a good face was made for a few pics, until it was suddenly noticed that Henny and two crew members were missing. – Panic!
Stop! Nobody leaves the hotel!
Chief Inspector “Beaker” took care of the matter immediately, made his rounds and first asked everyone about Henny and the two crew members. But nobody could or really wanted to tell him when the three missing people were last seen or spoken to. Hmmm… very suspicious. Did they all have something to hide? Was there a conspiracy going on here?
“Well,” thought Chief Inspector Beaker, “I won’t give up that easily,” and filed a missing person report at the “scene of the crime”, which was immediately forwarded to all rooms in the hotel. The success was evident just 20 minutes later. The three missing persons had been found. They had, as they later admitted, kidnapped themselves to their rooms and hid under their covers to avoid the hustle and bustle.
Well, and so Chief Inspector Beaker had been able to solve one of his mysterious cases again. – Applause!
The crowd in the lobby breathed a sigh of relief and was now able to “dissolve”. The clock was already screaming at us 1:30 a.m., so it was high time to give our bodies a little rest. So, Gaby and I said goodbye to what was left in the lobby and walked the 5 minutes to our own hotel. But it was not until around 3:00 a.m. that peace and the desired sleep finally returned to us.
Tokyo, Kawasaki – Thursday 03/26/1992
T-HEAD and crew had their “day off” today and each of them enjoyed it in their own way.
With the “Bullet Train” the band first rode from Osaka to Tokyo, only to land after three further stations with “JR” in Kawasaki, where the rooms at the “Nikko” Hotel had been reserved there for the band.
Gaby and me also took the “Bullet Train” to Tokyo at around 12:45 p.m. On the three-hour journey there, a display above each compartment door provided various current news, sports and lottery results, weather forecasts and advertisements, tips and other well-intentioned pieces of advice.
We watched this display with fascination and with amusement of these Japanese characters – miling-miling-miling – scurrying across the display from right to left, from top to bottom and vice versa until we finally noticed where all the repetitions started, and then this little game got too boring for us.
The closer we got to Tokyo, the worse got the weather – and with that our mood. We couldn’t even enjoy the sight of the “Fujiyama” because the volcanic highest mountain in Japan was hidden behind clouds of fog and rain. – Uhh!
Arriving in Kawasaki, we stuck to the directions to “Club Citta”, where according to our fax message we should report to “Koki”, but somehow, we managed to walk a block too far and then lost view. Well, we annoyed a few people on the street again. After three or four negative answers, we finally met someone who knew the right way – even read it from our freehand sketch! – and then asked us to just follow him. Well, and that we did. We followed him – and how!
With all that luggage on our backs, a puff-puff here and a hackle-hackle there, we were busy chasing after him, because this rather small and wiry “little man” in front of us was really threatening to run away from us… like the sweat that meanwhile ran through our socks (well, and only the floods of sweat after the whole action! *lol*)
My goodness, what speed do the Japanese always have?! – Let’s “wetz”!
Luckily it wasn’t that far, because the club was in fact only three corners away from us. But still, for us it was still the longest and most exhausting three minutes that we had known and learned to whet in this hectic country. – We survived them!
So, now we were completely exhausted, sweaty and with smoking shoes in front of the doors of the Club Citta, which were still closed to the public. But that didn’t bother us at all, because after a short breather we just went to the side entrance, announced ourselves and asked for Koki and Yoshi at the same time. After a short consultation everything was clear, and we were let in.
We didn’t stay there too long either. We found out from “Koki” that a hotel room had been reserved for us where we could stay for 3 days. Well, that’s great! The constant change of hotels was getting on our nerves anyway. However, we weren’t exactly enthusiastic about the price range at first (¥41,170 for all 3 days), because to be able to survive the next 10 days in Japan, we really had to be very economical and careful with our money.
In the end we agreed to the price because we wouldn’t have had a chance to find something cheaper anyway and maybe risk repeating our frustration situation in Nagoya – no, we really didn’t want to do that.
Japan is a business country. Everything that has to do with business is given top priority there – tourism only comes after that. The same is true in most hotels. Businesspeople are preferred to tourists. But whether for business or pleasure – you will hardly find a hotel in Japan where you can stay for several days. Precisely because you want to keep one or the other room free for businesspeople in an emergency. From that point of view, we had no choice but to say “yes” – and we didn’t regret a single Yen!
Anyway, after a short talk with tour manager Yoshi, we were finally taken to the “Hotel Windsor” by Koki… and we were totally perplexed! – Hey, that thing was one of those “love hotels”!!!
How lucky! Exactly such a hotel we wanted to visit anyway – yes, really! We had read something about it in a travel guide, and then we really wanted to see one from the inside. Great that it turned out this way!
A “Love Hotel” is nothing more than accommodation for couples who want to spend a few nice hours together. Like in America, unmarried couples are not allowed to exchange affection under the roof of their parents’ house. For such cases, the “Love Hotel” offers a few cozy rooms with all the comforts of a small apartment, and everything is very discreet here. At the reception, the view between the guest and the hotel employee is separated by a frosted glass pane, so you can never look at each other’s faces.
Now you can imagine how people thought about us, the two girls from Germany, who also stayed in this hotel for three days. Haha, was really too funny!
Koki, the good one, was embarrassed and kept apologizing for putting us here. My goodness, what nonsense! We were able to convince her quickly that we were more than just enthusiastic about this accommodation and that we would definitely feel very comfortable here (even without messes – grin!). Yes, and since Koki saw the inside of a love hotel for the very first time, we naturally had to embark on a journey of discovery together! – And – wow! – what a great room!
The small, cozy living room was furnished with a short-legged table in the middle of the room, around which four bright red cushions had been arranged. To the left of it was a large TV (60 cm screen diagonal) and there was a very classy refrigerator filled with various drinks, which had a glass door that could be opened. The device really annoyed us later, because the light shone through the glass door all the time, and that was particularly annoying at night. So, we always had to cover the good piece with something when we wanted to sleep.
We were particularly pleased to discover a kettle that stood on top of the fridge, because at least that way we could have our daily morning coffee. Our sleeping places were on the right side of the room, separated by a typical “Japanese wall” and consisted of only two thick, wide mattresses. (There was also a condom machine next to one of the two mattresses!) A console with a built-in radio ran along both headboards, which was always turned on– at a minimal and relaxing volume, of course – when we entered the room. Although we turned the radio off whenever we were out, the staff seemed to turn it on again and again while we were away!
But the three of us were really impressed by the bathroom, because it was quite large and tiled in black up to the ceiling, partly with a red pattern on it. In addition to a large shower area, there was also a red round bathtub with a diameter of about 120 cm, which looked very inviting.
So, all in all our accommodation was very comfortable and the whole atmosphere was quite homely and very comfortable. The whole thing had one disadvantage: there wasn’t a single window in our room!
Going to sleep without an open window was bad enough for us as fresh air fanatics – but still bearable for a short time. What we couldn’t get used to, however, was the fact that the time was constantly wrong due to the lack of window light. Every morning we found ourselves under the delusion that it was far too early to get up, but when we looked at our watches, we were proven wrong.
Yes, that was quite confusing, but we still enjoyed the three days and nights in our nice dark double room love apartment. 😉
Tokyo, Kawasaki – Friday 03/27/1992
In the middle of the night, or so it seemed to us, the alarm clock woke us up, insisting it was time to get up. Well then, we did him the favour, groped groggily to the kettle for one to five “reasonable” cups of instant coffee, but only felt really fit after the first inauguration of our super bathroom.
At first, we went to the “Nikko Hotel”, where we had arranged to meet Kaori for a tour through Tokyo. Among other things, we wanted to get postcards for our family, friends and HQ members. While we were waiting for Kaori in the lobby, Vasco just got back from a trip (more likely a “Mc D breakfast trip”). Beaker was awake too, got off the elevator 2 minutes later and waited with us for the rest of the boys. (At 12:20 there was supposed to be an interview somewhere, but later only Henny was present). It wasn’t long before everyone was there – uh, except for Ole. The good guy had to be called out of bed first (*grin*).
Before the assembled team finally dispersed, we were given the opportunity to quickly get some dough and were also asked, if we could get a few more postcards and stamps.
Back home from our trip, we went straight over to Club Citta and even met “Naomi Ohno” from the “BURRN! Magazine” there with a photographer who just shot the last pictures of a photo session with T-HEAD. While all the preparations for the soundcheck were being made afterwards, we started with our “Special Greetings” from Japan to our family and HQ members, and had the latter sign the “Bullet” who was sitting at the same table to write to his own family.
During the soundcheck we watched the guys with relish making jokes, took one or two pics of it and of course also recorded this funny colourful going-on with our video camera for posterity. Tour manager Yoshi gave us our five reserved Japanese T-HEAD tour shirts, for which we only had to pay ¥5000 in total. He also gave us a Club Citta T-shirt as a present! 😀
At around 5:00 p.m., the soundcheck came to an end and mentally and outfit-wise one prepared for the show. Vasco also quickly patched the two huge tears over the buttocks of his pants with a few generous strips of gaffer tape in front of a large mirror. (What a sight!) Before the doors of Club Citta finally opened around 6:00 p.m., we again left numerous HQ business cards at the merchandise stand and kept our video camera ready for the big rush.
The show was unique again! Around 350 people turned up here at the Club Citta and literally made hell hot for the band with their shouts of jubilation and enthusiasm. The band came up with something special about “alcohol” and sent their manager (Beaker) around with numerous beer-filled mugs on a tray to distribute them to the first three rows in front of the stage. The audience was so impressed by this action that the cups were almost ripped out of their hands.
And finally, as the second surprise of the evening, the unique THIN LIZZY classic “Warrior” was played as the last song before the encore.
After an almost 80-minute show, the exhausted fans made their way outside into the fresh air. Some fans actually looked as if they would fall over on the spot from exhaustion. We followed them into the lobby and almost immediately found the familiar, now sweaty faces of Kaori, Takemi, and Asuka (0628). Finally, we also met “Aki” (0625) and “Saori” (0626), who had just experienced and survived their very first T-HEAD concert. The two had come all the way down from Sendai to Kawasaki just to see this show, and they were mighty impressed!
Still very excited about the whole event, one had to be quite astonished and embarrassed to realize that Gaby is not male at all, as they had assumed all along (hee-hee). The two could hardly be calmed down because of this misunderstanding. (It was only later, when we were back in Berlin and sorting the fan mail, that we noticed that Gaby was indeed always addressed as “Mr. Gaby”. We never noticed it before and therefore never corrected it.)
For numerous souvenir photos, we positioned ourselves with Kaori, Takemi and Asuka in front of the next best T-HEAD tour poster, were given a few gifts for the band, of course we got one ourselves, and then unfortunately, we had to leave again and say goodbye to everyone. It was about time to pack up our things because eating out again was the order of the evening, and this time we didn’t want to exclude ourselves. (We were also terribly hungry!)
Later, at the Chinese restaurant, we weren’t the only ones who ate pretty much everything that came on the table. Everyone seemed famished, and while one didn’t always know exactly what that meal was, never mind, throw that stuff in and wash it down with a good sip of sake -… hicks…
Filled to the brim, we all enjoyed the 10-minute walk back to our hotels. Halfway down we said goodbye to the boys, turned left and disappeared into the pedestrianized hustle and bustle of Kawasaki’s entertainment district. As we arrived at the hotel, we withstood the helpless, questioning looks of the receptionist and had to hold back a grin when we picked up our key there.
What could be going on in this person’s head? Does he really think we both are in love with each other? *grin* Thinking about it was so amusing that it took us quite a while to finally fall into bed tired.
Tokyo, Kawasaki – Saturday 3/28/92
Somehow, we found it very difficult to get going this morning. We only crawled out of our hotel at around 1:30 p.m., only to disappear right back into the next one, namely the Nikko Hotel. We met Asuka there and just took her to Kaori and Takemi’s room, who were busy finishing their T-HEAD banner.
After watching them for about half an hour, we left and went shopping with Asuka again. What we urgently needed were white or silver Edding pens, because we wanted to have the band sign the shirts that we got from Yoshi for a cheap price before we sent them out to the people. We also had our gift to Yoshi professionally wrapped in a special shop by an employee there.
We thought long and hard about what to give Yoshi as a “thank you” for everything he has done for us and finally came across our bottle of Jim Beam that we had brought from the UK Duty Free shop. Everything that has to do with alcohol is quite expensive in Japan, so we thought that Yoshi might be able to offer the whiskey to his guests.
Anyway, back at Club Citta, they were doing the soundcheck and started setting up the TV cameras, among other things, because this show was supposed to be recorded by the TV Sendai station today. A total of four cameras were used for this. One got its permanent place at the back of the hall, the other three were placed in front to be able to move with the band.
Of course, when you had all the cameras there, interviews with T-HEAD were inevitable. So, we were all surprised twice with a visit from a TV camera in the dressing room, and an unplanned interview took place. Radio stations didn’t stay away from the boys either, asking Ted and Henny holes the stomach, until Ted was then forced to shout a message through the microphone to the listeners from the radio station in Sendai – which, however, only really worked on the third try.
In a quiet minute we gave Yoshi his gift, for which he was really happy about. The boys also thought our idea was really great. But honestly, it was the least we could do to show Yoshi how grateful we were for all his support and help!
We then quickly got everyone to sign the T-shirts and postcards for the fans back home before it was time to change. And then, at 6 p.m., it was time again: “TIME 2 ROCK!!!”
Yes, today everything started much earlier than usual. At 5pm the gates opened for the fans and truly, it was just a wonderful sight to see over 600 people rushing to the front of the stage to try and face each other being able to stand face to face in front of their favourite band or musicians! An indescribable mood prevailed within this audience, and whether you wanted to or not, you were simply infected by all the excitement and anticipation in the hall! The show was accordingly.
What followed was the best show of all T-HEAD shows so far here in Japan, but also the best show T-HEAD has ever put on, and that we were able to witness it at all, yes, we were particularly proud of that – even today still!
The band was in a great mood and the audience confirmed that all the time. The hall shook with the loudly raging, banging fans – an almost unbelievable, fantastic sight, which only made it easier for the band to completely forget all the camera crews at the edge of the stage and thus to concentrate completely on the audience.
For legal film reasons, we were forbidden from filming with our own video camera today, but we didn’t care that much. The show was just too good to only be there with one eye, and that’s why we enjoyed everything to the fullest today, participated, banged along and yelled along until the bitter end. LET GO! YEAH!
With the song “Face To Lace” everyone got their money’s worth in two respects, because just before he told his story, Ted came back onto the stage with my video camera and surprised a completely amazed audience, who immediately cried out with enthusiasm and joined in hands and feet or a few grimaces desperately tried to draw attention to themselves. When Ted came up with his famous story, today’s story guest star ‘Elvis Presley’, he even brought him on stage and had him say a few words to the fans.
Who was behind Elvis’ masquerade? None other than “Ulsch”, the drum roadie of this tour, and he also looked delicious in his homemade costume! – Haha! What a joke! Everyone in the hall just had to squeal in delight. “Elvis lives! Yeah”
And the best part was that not even Beaker knew about this gag! Beaker, who is always available for such jokes, stood on one side of the stage, laughing, and could hardly contain himself when he saw the “Ulsch” padding onto the stage.
The reaction from the audience was very impressive when T-HEAD left the stage after “8-Ball”, because their initially slow rhythmic clapping accompanied by the ongoing THUNDERHEAD-THUNDERHEAD choir singing became noticeably faster and faster and lasted until T -HEAD finally got back on stage and kicked off their encore with “Life In The City”. “Highway” followed and finally, of course, “Ace Of Spades” as well, where the entire audience in the hall gave themselves up to the aggressive riffs, the sound and the lyrics in an uninhibited and exuberant manner. – What a show!
While T-HEAD went into the dressing room completely drained and exhausted afterwards, the fans outside in the hall kept screaming for the band.
But the boys were really exhausted, they just dropped onto their armchairs to maybe be happy for 5 minutes about the extremely successful and best show in the band’s existence and to enjoy this success. Then Beaker stormed into the dressing room and, with bright eyes, excitedly tried to explain to the band that the fans out there were making such an “alarm” and just wouldn’t stop calling for the band!
That cannot be real!!
For the first time ever, and only for just a brief moment, there was general speechlessness here in the dressing room, but it was a tough one. Everyone looked at everyone in amazement and helpless, and in the silence, you could actually hear people yelling at Thunderhead from the outside, even through closed doors – an almost unbelievable, indescribable feeling for everyone!
The brainwave came from Henny with just one word: “Universe”! – Ted was the first to jump up and yell enthusiastically, “Yeah, let’s play ‘Universe’!”, and he had already made a mighty leap for the door before he had even finished the sentence. And then they were back on the stage and once again worked hard for all 600 visitors who just couldn’t get enough of T-HEAD. It was amazing!
After that the show was defenitely over, and so was the band, and also the fans were finally exhausted (and definitely hoarse) from the whole show.
The boys found it difficult to change within the given 5 minutes. So, they were still half busy getting dressed when some fans were already let into the dressing room and, to celebrate the day, Beaker, who had posted himself at the entrance, gave them a beer. When everyone present had something to toast in hand, Beaker, now standing on an armchair, toasted the show that had just ended and thus also the very first Japan tour in the history of T-HEAD, which had just been successfully completed and went brilliantly, and thanked them to everyone who made this possible for the band in the first place.
Kanpai (かんぱい)!! Cheers!!
A nice toast, to which everyone immediately applauded. He was proud, our Beaker, you could clearly see that, and there was nothing wrong with that, because no one could have foreseen that T-HEAD’s premiere in Japan would go so well. A huge “domo arigato” first and foremost to JVC, who had really prepared everything 200% well here for T-HEAD, so that the rest was almost child’s play without much effort. And finally to the entire Japanese fan community, who came to these four gigs from almost all Japanese cities to always stand by the band’s side with a banger head, cheering fist and powerful voiced support. They not only ensured the right mood, but also a successful course of each individual show. – So again: “DOMO DOMO ARIGATO YOU ALL!!!” Because without you this would never have been possible!!!
Afterwards there was still a nice party atmosphere in the backstage area, until after about half an hour they got ready for the big departure, packed with numerous bags and made their way to the hotel. Besieged by fans, they pushed their way through the hotel lobby to the elevator, were congratulated on the way there for the just successfully completed tour, gave an autograph here and there, before finally disappearing into the elevator.
We celebrated the end of the tour and at the same time farewell to Yoshi with Korean food. Of course, the whole thing was washed down with plenty of sake. Yes-Yes!
Kawasaki – Sunday 03/29/1992
Well, so this was our last night at the Love Hotel and we had to start looking for accommodation again.
Around 8:00 a.m. the alarm clock rang us cruelly from sleep and we started to pack up all our things. Strange, somehow our bags and backpacks must have shrunk in the meantime, because nothing really fit in anymore. We had to squeeze a lot to get everything under.
Check-out was at 10:00 a.m. and we did it on time. When we handed in our keys at reception, the clerk finally dared to speak to us for the first time, even dared to carefully ask where we came from and whether we were on vacation here in Japan, etc. After our detailed explanation, the receptionist seemed visibly relieved, and we also thought we noticed a certain relaxation in him when we told him about our hotel plight (hee-hee). Now that everything was clarified, they wished us all the best on our way and a really nice stay in Japan.
We headed to Tokyo Station (due to our “packaging” we caused a lot of attention on the train for a change) and inquired about affordable accommodation at the information desk. But all they could offer us was a twin room for a whopping ¥24,200 (~ 314,- DM) in the “Roppongi Prince Hotel”, and that was still the cheapest! – Well fine!
There was nothing else, but Yoshi had already warned us about this, and so we had no choice but to grope to the “Roppongi”. We already knew how to get there very well, because we had mistakenly gone to this hotel on the very first day to let Beaker know we did arrive, but we got it mixed up with the “Hotel Ibis”.
Anyway, just at that moment it occurred to us that T-HEAD should also stay here at the “Roppongi” today, and a quick look at our tour rider confirmed our assumption. Hey, great! We were really happy about that. That way we could say a last goodbye to everyone later.
Check-in was at 12:00 p.m. But our room wasn’t ready yet and we should please wait in the lobby until 1:00 p.m. We would then be informed. – Nothing happened!
During our impatient wait, we saw Vasco and Ulsch go on their regular Mc-D breakfast trip together, the rest of the crew disappearing into their rooms. After T-HEAD kept us company in the lobby for a short time, our room was still not ready.
About half an hour later, Beaker and Vasco came into the lobby, borrowed our video camera, and captured the “Roppongi” inside and out in great detail on tape. Finally, we had enough and we inquired for the third time at the reception about our room, which – so we were told – was already waiting for us for a long time!! – Huh, what!?! We felt a little cheated here! So, we just grabbed the room key a little annoyed and quickly disappeared into our room.
At 6:00 p.m. T-HEAD was supposed to give an autograph session in Club Citta and of course we didn’t want to miss it. So, we went there with Kaori and Takemi at around 5:00 p.m., arrived there on time, but they wouldn’t let us in! What was that supposed to mean now!?! All our explanations about who we were and what we wanted here were in vain. That man just stayed stubborn. He then even threatened to call the police if we didn’t immediately leave the side entrance and the entire site?!? – This cannot be real!
Kaori and Takemi said that we should better get out of the area, because the Japanese would really be on it here and would call the police. Well, so we stood outside in the rain and let the cold wind blow around our ears. From a few fans we met outside we heard that the autograph session was not scheduled until 7:15 p.m. Haha! Kaori and Takemi didn’t feel like waiting anymore and went back to their hotel. Gaby an me just went to the nearest store and got some donuts and a hot coffee.
When we got back to the Club Citta, we cheekily went to the side entrance again and saw that the door was open. So, we just went in, lucky enough to meet Ted right away and of course the man who didn’t let us in, who was now walking around with a funny face but now couldn’t do anything against us anymore.
T-HEAD had only arrived 10 minutes before and have had the same problems getting into the club at all. Well, at 7:30 p.m. the autograph session finally started, for which one even had to have a ticket! The fans were lined up outside in a row and admitted in groups of 10. As soon as they had all their autographs in their pockets, they were almost thrown out of the club again, probably in order not to stop the traffic.
There were three superfluous white autograph boards in the dressing room, which we immediately confiscated. Asuka, who unfortunately couldn’t get a ticket for this book signing, we just took in, gave her one of those white boards and then joined her in the waiting line “just for fun”. After almost an hour the last fan left the club satisfied. We made ourselves comfortable in the dressing room for a while and rummaged through the numerous gifts from the fans that T-HEAD also got to see on this occasion. Here jokes were made without end. Alex inaugurated his little children’s drum, Ole made us all laugh with his old Japanese fire alarm. And because the thing looked like a skipping rope that was too short, he tried it right away. Ted was treated to plenty of alcohol, but also a pair of socks – no one knew why *laughs*.
Finally, we took the subway back to the hotel, and before T-HEAD embarked on a business dinner with the BURRN! magazine, we then said goodbye to the band and crew, who had to fly back to Germany very early the next day while Gaby and me were able to enjoy another week’s vacation in Japan. 😀
Photos and possibly video recordings will follow later.