Tuesday, April 28, 2015

He said this was the Legendary Night - Paul McCartney at Budokan


Budokan, the hall for Japanese martial arts in Tokyo, has special meaning for beatlemaniacs in Japan. It was the place of the first and the last concert of the Beatles in Japan, in 1966. Some Japanese old men criticized, "The foreigner pop stars use the holy place of Japanese traditional sports", however the administrator of Budokan admitted the Beatles to play in the hall. (Actually, at that time Budokan was the largest hall in Japan, and it was suitable for accommodating a big audience)

In 1975, Paul McCartney was scheduled to play there but the Japanese Ministry of Justice banned his entry to Japan. In 1980, Paul entered Japanese Customs for his concert at Budokan but he was arrested for cannabis possession. In 1990, 1993, 2002 and 2013 he played his music in Japan but not at Budokan. He finally released his plan to play at Budokan in 2014, however, he canceled all his concerts in Japan and Korea because of his sudden viral inflammation.

Such history makes this day so special - Paul sings his songs for the first time in 49 years after many incidents.

The Iconic Venue

Wating for the Show to begin

Yes, it is special even before starting. My music lover friend who has been to Budokan over decades said, "This is my first experience to see such big crowd surrounding Budokan four hours before the concert." The crowd is waiting for Paul to come.

The place around Budokan is also like the place of "the reunion party". Many beatlemaniac friends of mine from all over Japan gather here. What's more, I meet a Korean beatlemaniac friend. I enjoyed renewing my friendship. It also makes today more special.

After waiting in a long line, at last I enter Budokan.

All of the audience members find a small device and a explanation sheet on their own seats. The sheet says "Turn on and have this wrist band. This is a surprise for Paul McCartney-san. Thank you for your cooperation from Kyodo Tokyo (promoter) and The Beatles Club (fanclub)" What is this?

Sitting in the stands of Budokan, we are waiting for the show to begin.


Paul appears on stage.

The first song is, surprisingly, "Can't Buy Me Love". It is different from the other concerts of this present tour. This fact makes us feel impressed. We guess that Paul also might think this gig is special.

Not only the song selection but also other factors make this concert feel exceptional. Obviously Paul is surprised at our eagerness and passion. I realize that from his reactions - his talking on stage, guitar playing and singing. It's different from other concerts. In other concerts, he used many Japanese messages on stage with prepared scenario, but maybe he now talks with his unprepared messages and he concentrates on his music performance.

Our presumption is that "Paul feels this concert is special" turns out to be true when he says "Sekai-hatsu! (The first in the world)" and plays "Another Girl". Yes, it's the first performance! Big surprises from him!

After that, when Paul plays the piano for "Let it Be", suddenly all audience's wrist band light.

Paul seems to be surprised by this. It could be seen on his face. Our turn now.

Our wristbands become more colorful and audience becomes more excited.

Our wristbands show the Japanese flag and the Union Jack.

(photo by Mr. I. Yamano)

In response to us, Paul and his band members are gaining steam.

On the last track, the wristbands change their color every second and Paul, and his band and audience are reaching the high point of this gig.

Paul's face at the last moment of his playing.

The show ends. Paul says "This was the Legendary Night!"

After the show

With my beatlemaniac friends, we talk over this "Legendary Night" till midnight


My impsession

This show reminds me of a scene in the movie "13 days", which described the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. When the US tried to impose a naval blockade against Cuba, the Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara said; "This, all this, is language, a new vocabulary the likes of which the world has never seen. This is President Kennedy communicating with Secretary Khruschev."

Like that, Paul McCartney and Budokan audience were communicating together with no words but "new vocabularies" - music, airs of excitement and illuminating wristbands. It made the show unique.

In my opinion, all arts are also communications. Among them, This "Paul McCartney at Budokan" is the best art, aka communication.

Paul's action on the following day of the Budokan night is the symbol of our communication. He revisited Budokan. He must have been impacted from the Legendary night.

(quote from Paul's official Twitter)

It also reminds me of this lyrics of the Beatles song "The End", written by McCartney; And in the end, the Love You take is equal to the Love You make.


顺利 said...

Nice post, I enjoy your story from your post.

Are you a the Beatles fan? If so, well I am a Beatles fan as well.

The Beatles is also very popular in China, in China the Beatles is often called 披頭士 (pi tou shi). Many Chinese really love many of the Beatles songs especially "Hey Jude."

But unfortunately, when the Beatles was highly popular through the 1960s, the Chinese weren't so lucky to enjoy the Beatles because that time China was still ruled by Mao Zedong and China was still isolated like North Korea of today. When the Beatles was on its height of popularity throughout the 1960s, China was so miserable and suffering because that time Cultural Revolution was happening and the Chinese had to endure the harsh rule of Mao Zedong. If I lived during the 1960s China, listening to the Beatles music would be like drinking fresh water from the spring or breathing fresh air. The Beatles was considered as one of the "forbidden capitalists things" by the communists in the 1960s China.

Nowadays, when the younger generation of Chinese could enjoy few freedoms to enjoy other countries' products, the Beatles finally got appreciation among the young generation Chinese, especially those who love music. Not just young generation Chinese, even some older generation Chinese like to enjoy the Beatles.

Personally, I think the Beatles is a great band, the songs are mostly enjoyable and quite well-written. I like "Strawberry Fields Forever," "Penny Lane," "Yesterday," "Michelle," "Let It Be," "Imagine," "Hard Days' Night," "Norwegian Wood," and "Back in the USSR" the most among all the Beatles songs they are very enjoyable to me.

As for the Beatles members, here are my impressions about them:

John Lennon: He was very talented and creative, most of songs that he wrote are very well-crafted and special. I feel so sorry for his death and I hope that John could rest in peace.

Paul McCartney: He was talented too, he was doing very well with romantic songs, and I also think that he's quite a good looking guy (at least when he was younger). Good to know that he still performs despite of his old age.

George Harrison: He was serious and quiet but talented, most of the songs he wrote are simple but enjoyable which reflected his serious and quiet personality. I also hope that George could rest in peace as well.

Ringo Starr: He was quite likable and if I compare him to the other Beatles members I think he would be the most light-hearted and easy-going. The songs he write like "Octopus Garden" are kind of childish but enjoyable which reflected his light-hearted and easy going personality. I also happy to know that Ringo also still performs despite of his old age.

How about you, do you know the Beatles too? How was Japan when the Beatles got popular throughout the 1960s?

顺丽 said...

And btw, sorry for typing my ID name wrongly, my ID is supposed to be “顺丽” but I typed it wrongly because I was yawning.

Yoshiteru said...

I'm a big fan of Paul McCartney. He is the origin of the power that I live my own life with and I love his works the most among all other artists of all ages and arts.

I listened to and have his all official works (CDs, DVDs). I have been to Liverpool three times for visiting places related to the Beatles, have been to Australia only for his concert, went to the hotels that he was staying in Japan to watch him and have shook hands with him on stage of his Tokyo gig.

Of course I enjoyed all his concert tours in Japan. Next April, his 6th tour to Japan is planned, so I'm looking forward to enjoying him very much and his newest album (maybe it will be released next summer.). You can find such experiences on over 100 entries of my blog (sorry in Japanese; http://yositeru.hateblo.jp/), including the entry about the Beatles CD that I bought in Chengdu. The CD caption in Chinese language was interesting for me (I can't read Chinese but can understand Chinese characters) http://yositeru.hateblo.jp/entry/20070708/p1

I also enjoyed only one concert by George Harrison in Japan and Ringo Starr's three concerts in Japan of his four Japan tours.
For my condition I mentioned above, I'm truly interested in your comment related to the Beatles.

You wrote that the Beatles are also famous among Chinese people. Actually, when I visited Jiuzhaigou in 2002, I talked to my tour guide about the Beatles. She (maybe born in the 70s) said she didn't know of the Beatles. I asked, "Do you know of this song?" and sung "Yesterday", but she didn't know that. She said, "I know "Yesterday Once More" " Is it a special case in China?

I will write later about the popularity of the Beatles in Japan.

顺丽 said...

Well thank you about your comment about the Beatles. Yes you are right, the Beatles is very popular in China, every single songs from the Beatles are very well-written and special, that's why the Beatles is so popular in China.

And btw, John Lennon is my most favorite Beatles personnel because among all the Beatles songs that I have been listening so far, his songs often stood out as being the most uniquely written. "Norwegian Wood," "A Hard Day's Night," "Strawbeery Fields Forever," "Imagine" are all special to me. I know that John Lennon was a troubled man like Kurt Cobain, judging from the biography that I read about him but he still managed to be successful and able to write many good songs, which is admirable. Too bad, he died so tragically because of being shot by a fan, I hope he could rest in peace.

I also love all the other members of the Beatles like Paul, George, and Ringo they are all very special to me as well. Paul is special because he and John both are very good songwriters, George is special because he is a good guitarist and he could write several good songs too, while Ringo is special too because he did a good job as a drummer for the Beatles.