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.

Yoshiteru said...

I agree with your comment. One of the Beatles' unique points compared to the other bands is that all the members of the group radiated their charisma.

I write about the popularity of the Beatles in Japan, as my reply to your question of the first comment.

In the 1960s, the Beatles were a hot topic in Japan, too. Among their first and last visits to Japan in 1966, they got into the spotlight. The viewer rate of their concert on TV was 56.5%, the 15th highest in Japanese TV history and the top of concert programs on TV in Japan.

Last year in 2016, some special TV programs and books about the 50th anniversary of the Beatles Japan tour were released. A book of them gathered all articles about the Beatles from major Japanese newspapers and magazines (in total over 1 million pages), another book reported details of the tour, for example "the seat locations of the airplane which the Beatles came to Japan" from an interview with the cabin attendant of the airplane.

These accounts tell us the popularity of the Beatles in Japan from the 1960s to now. The Beatles were and are one of the most talked-about groups in Japan.

顺丽 said...

And btw Yoshiteru, I personally always annoyed when I see there are some Beatles fans out there who likes to pit John and Paul against each other. Both John and Paul were talented songwriters that made The Beatles great, pit the both of them against each other is simply unfair. I really don't really like it when there are some Beatles fans out there who likes to put down John to make Paul look better and vice versa. And besides, John and Paul's relationship is actually closer than some other people like to think. John's style of songwriting tends to be more complicated and intense, while Paul's style of songwriting tend to be more melodious and fancy. Yet both styles are just as enjoyable and as praiseworthy.

George Harrison was also a great songwriter, Something and Here Comes The Sun are my most favorite songs written by him. Sadly, he is rather underrated in comparison to John and Paul.

Ringo Starr was a great drummer who provided the spice and color to any Beatles songs that we all love to hear, I personally find it annoying when there are some people out there who like to look down on Ringo just because he was the drummer. He was also important for the band, his drumming skill is very suitable for the band.

顺丽 said...

Now I am listening to Come Together, my new favorite Beatle song. The song is very catchy and the lyrics are also very cleverly written, John did a good job on that song. My father also really likes that song very much, he even always requests me to sing that song for him. When I introduced Come Together to my father, he liked that song instantly and he said that he likes the guitar playing the most.

I have a question for you, could you mention to me what are your most favorite Beatles songs? Just five songs is enough. Thank you.

Yoshiteru said...

I also don't like such comparison which who the greatest beatle is. It's nonsense because The Beatles consists of Paul, John, George and Ringo. If a member is lack or changed, the group is not The Beatles.
Come Together is one of their great songs. I think that the song is ahead of their time of featuring a feeling of rap music. I'm also fond of a cover version of the song by Michael Jackson.

My most favorite Beatles song? Their many gemlike songs make it too hard to choose one song. It's variable, so my answer will change every time you ask. I say "Strawberry Fields Forever" is the most favorite for now. The song is unique, featuring impressed melody, floating feeling with its psychedelic sound and Ringo's great drumming. I'm a big fan of Paul but I never hesitate to praise John's sense at the song.

顺丽 said...

Well, "Strawberry Fields Forever" is one of my favorite Beatles song too, that song made me became interested on John Lennon. That song is a perfect companion to Paul McCartney's "Penny Lane". Both "Penny Lane" and "Strawberry Fields Forever" have special place in my heart.

You are right, I also think choosing my own favorite Beatle song is rather hard because I love many of the songs. The Beatles was blessed with three great songwriters like John, Paul, and later part George (not to discount Ringo, who was a great drummer on his own). My favorite Beatle songs tend to change over the time, depending on my personal mood.

Yoshiteru said...

I agree with you. The coupling of Strawberry Fields Forever / Penny Lane is the best of all the single vinyls that I know and listened to. That's miraculous.

顺丽 said...

"Strawberry Fields Forever" has the characteristics of John's style of songwriting. The lyrics are complicated and instropective like which portrays John's inner mood at that time very well, the music is haunting and experimental which suits the song so well.

"Penny Lane" has the characteristics of Paul's songwriting. The lyrics are like storytelling and playful which portrays Paul's ability as a storyteller very well, the music is catchy and bouncy which suits the song so well.

Another songs that have John and Paul contrasts which I love are "Michelle" and "Girl."

"Michelle" is sweet and romantic, the lyrics and the French jazz like music suit the song very well. The song is about a man who falls in love with a girl and he confessed his love to that girl. I like this song when I was a child, I listened to this song for the first time when I was 6 years old.

"Girl" is bitter-sweet yet romantic, the lyrics and the Greek like music suit the song very well too. The song is about a man who has a complicated feelings for the girl that he loves.

Yoshiteru said...

I enjoyed your lists. They are similar to the lists of many Japanese people's selections, so I realized again that music exists without borders.

FYI: The result of 26K Japanese voters on the Beatles songs (not only Paul's works) in 2009 is as follows;
1.Let It Be 2.In My Life 3.Hey Jude 4.Help! 5.Strawberrry Fields Forever 6.A Day In The Life 7.The Long And Winding Road 8.Yesterday 9.Something 10.While My Guitar Gently Weeps

What's my lists? It is too difficult to choose them because the lists change everyday. My all-time bests are;
Paul's Beatles songs: Here There and Everywhere, Hey Jude, Your Mother Should Know, Oh! Darling, Back in the USSR
Paul's solo works: Maybe I'm Amazed released in 1970 (My all-time best of Paul's solo works), Venus and Mars + Rock Show released in Wings Over America, My Brave Face, Loveliest Thing, No Words, Mull of Kintyre, Getting Closer, The Back Seat of My Car
John's Solo works: Love, Out The Blue, Mother, Oh My Love, Gimme Some Truth

顺丽 said...

Nice list, those Beatles songs that you listed are all great.

Then again, although The Beatles created many great songs that I enjoy yet on the same time there are also Beatles songs that I like the least. I hope you won't be offended because I am stating my honest opinion here.

Here are my least favorite Beatles songs and the reasons why I don't like them:

Revolution 9: This song is really creepy, I always cannot sleep in the night because the song really creeps me out. I love John but I have to say John was doing a poor attempt on creating "avant-garde" music on this song.

The Ballad of John and Yoko: This song really irritates me because John strikes me as being too whinny on this song. Although I dislike this song, I still enjoy Paul's drumming there.

Run For Your Life: This song is too harsh, John was venting irrational jealousy on this song.

Got To Get You Into My Life: This song is too poppy and rather vapid, the music also kind of annoys me. Although I dislike this song, I still enjoy Paul's singing voice there.

Maxwell's Silver Hammer: This song really annoys me because I think the song sounds overdone and vapid. I am really sorry to say this, I have to agree with John, Ringo, and George for not liking this song.

The Story of Bungalow Bill: This song annoys me, especially the chorus part.

Sexy Saddie: John Lennon really irritates me on this song, I sometimes find John's cynical tendency to be rather annoying.

顺丽 said...

Next, I would like to tell which Beatles songs are the funniest to me.

Funniest Beatles songs to me:

Octopus Garden: When I listen to this song, I just cannot help but laugh so hard because it is just so funny. Ringo's singing voice makes the song even funnier.

Savoy Truffle: George's attempt on poking fun at Eric Clapton's chocolate obsession makes me laugh so hard. Plus, the Ob La Di Ob La Da reference on the song makes it even funnier.

Ob La Di Ob La Da: Clever song with playful lyrics, the ska style music added the charm to this song. I don't understand why many people hate this song, I cannot hate this song because it's so catchy.

Yellow Submarine: The most child friendly Beatle song, Ringo's vocal makes this song even funnier. I sometimes like to sing this song when I take shower ahahahahaha.

I Am The Walrus: John's funniest moment ever, I find the nonsense lyrics on the song to be hilarious and John's psychedelic vocal even makes this song funnier. I just cannot help but laughed so hard when I listen to this song.

Piggies: George Harrison is hilarious on this song and the pig-like snort sound effect makes the song even funnier.

Yoshiteru said...

It's interesting for thinking about my least favorite Beatles song.
I understand what you say about the songs.

My least favorite Beatles song is maybe "What Goes On" from Rubber Soul. The melody is boring, and the playing and vocal aren't exciting. The Beatles added something special to all their songs, but it is the exception, I think.