日本青年館大ホール/nihon seinen kaikan



How many Rick Springfield concerts have I attended since my first Karma Tour show in July 1999, six and a half years ago? Nevertheless, this was the first time I looked forward to one of his concerts so much.  I was so eager for the show to start.  As soon as the opening song ‘Dreamtime’ started, everyone was on their feet.  I had never felt this much anticipation and excitement while waiting for Rick to show up on stage.  I even screamed for the first time!  (BTW, I noticed that crowd in the U.S. goes ‘Ri~ck!, but in Japan ‘Likku~~!’) 

Now, the band showed up on stage and started playing ‘I’ll Make You Happy’. Rick finally showed up in front of the Japanese crowd who had been waiting for this moment for 12 years.  Was it because of my strong anticipation or being in a different atmosphere?  Rick looked fabulous!  I like the way how he looks when he first comes out in his jacket, when his face and hair are still dry.  On the second night, he surprised us by wearing a Japanese school boys’ uniform ‘Gakuran’!  I remember Bono from U2 wore one when he performed in Japan many years ago.  I don’t know why but those Gakuran look good on foreigners.  I wonder if Rick starts wearing it at his US concerts?

He did basically the same set list as his US shows, but switched a few songs on the second night, just like he does in the U.S. when he plays more than one night at the same venue.  On the second night, ‘Will I?’ was replaced by ‘Kristina’ and ‘Alyson’.  He also added ‘Beautiful You’ before playing ‘LIANT’, but omitted ‘LIO’, a song he played at the 1st night encore.  He played the new medley, which I believe he started playing around last September.  It is different from the Alive CD version, and has more dance beat songs. 

Only in Japan….  When he switches to his acoustic guitar, Rick usually says it sounds like a banjo and then starts playing ‘Speak to the Sky’.  This time he sang in Japanese!  “tokiwa utsuri sugitemo……(can’t figure out exactly what he says here)….nai kokoro” (Though the time passes by ????  Your feeling doesn’t change….) Rick said he sang this 1997 hit song at Yamaha Music Festival.  It was actually ‘Tokyo’ Music Festival, not Yamaha.  I used to watch the show every year on TV, and I am sure I did watch it in 1972.  Someone mentioned that Mari Amachi, a then-very popular Japanese pop singer, was there and I think I remember watching her, but I have no recollection of Rick being there.  Perhaps he wasn’t my type back then…You never know how tastes change over the years, hahaha….

Then the band member had to show off their Japanese as well.  When Rick introduced the band members, George said, “orette ikeru? (Am I cool?)”  Everybody laughed loudly except for Rick.  Next, Roger had to say, “saiko~! (Great!)”

There were fewer people on the second night than were there for the previous night’s sold-out show, since the second show was announced much later, but many male fans were still at the both nights.  When the U.S. fans saw those concert pictures, they were not only surprised to see many guys in the audience, but also to see them in suits.  People don’t have time to go back home to change after work since they live far from their workplaces, and also concerts generally start earlier in Japan.  Well, things weren’t quite same back in the 80’s. Male fans didn’t have guts to come to a female-dominated Rick Springfield concert back then, but look at them now!  They were having a great time there and enjoying Rick’s human touch more than the female fans!

Rick looked like he was having a great time there, too.  When he was ready to dive into the crowd, he said, “Don’t let me fall,” while using a hand gesture to communicate.  People still didn’t seem to understand.  They didn’t know what to do since they had never seen anybody came down from the stage and mingle with the audience. Everyone seemed to hold back at first, instead of trying to hold Rick up while he was walking on the rails and chairs.  Rick started out with ‘Love Somebody’ and his infamous naked butt reference, and then ‘Jesus Saves’.  I personally think he wrote this song picturing himself singing it in the middle of the crowd. He showed his slide guitar skills on ‘You Really Got Me’ and also sang ‘Human Touch’ right before going back to the stage.  Rick was all over the place while he was out in the audience and looked totally ready to even climb up to the second floor!

In Japan, photography is a big NO, NO at a rock concert.  Rick’s show wasn’t an exception.  However, from the moment when Rick asked everyone to light up “keitai denwa” (cell phone - BTW, his pronunciation for this word was perfect.), everyone started taking pictures with their camera phones, no one said ‘NO!’  It was because Ms. Ito, President of Rick's Japanese Fan Club had been asking with UDO and JVC to allow the fans to take pictures just like his shows in the U.S.  We didn’t know for sure if it was O.K. until the concert started.  I brought my camera anyway and was nicely surprised the security check that they would let me take it into the venue. . Apparently, I wasn’t the only one who brought a camera to the concert.  Rick did it, too!  He asked us to say ‘cheese’ and took our picture in the middle of the show.  That picture showed up on his website just few days after the show….

There were a few people who didn’t like Rick coming down into the audience area - the Fire Department and the venue managers.  On the second night, there was a big sign on the entrance door that said ‘No gifts, No Flowers’.  The fire department didn’t like Rick walking on the chairs and the venue people didn’t like cleaning up all those rose pedals Rick sprays everywhere. They placed a few steps on the aisle for him to stand up during the crowd scene.  Right before the show started, they finally allowed people to bring in roses, but they were all collected and Rick was ONLY allowed to smash them on stage.  Well, at his Japanese concerts, Rick is the one who causes a problem, not his fans, hahaha….

As I mentioned earlier the set list was same as his usual U.S. concerts, so were his remarks.  He didn’t look hesitate to speak English in front of a Japanese crowd who didn’t understand English well.  I noticed that Rick smiled a few times when he didn’t get the reaction he expected from the crowd.  On the first night, he cut his finger and asked for a band aid in exchange for a backstage pass.  No one had one at first, but then Derek brought one from backstage.  At the same time, Rick saw Ms. Ito walking to the stage with a band aid and, of course, he took it from her.  Then he switched his guitar and said, ‘This is my favorite 1962 (not sure?) Stratocaster and I don’t break this one.  I usually use Japanese guitar Fernandez.”  The Strato guitar surely sounded great especially during his ‘Red House’ solo.

Rick talks the most during DTTS.  He also has a habit of pulling back from the microphone during ‘Why don’t you tell me….’phrase.  This time, unlike at his U.S. shows, everyone went, ‘……(silence)…..’.  Then again at ‘Now, who’s this…..’, everyone went, ‘………..’ again.  I saw Rick had a huge smile on his face and said, “Don’t worry, I forgot the lyrics, too.”  Well, we made up those two silent moments with the “Don’t talk to stranger” chrous!. (Yes, stranger without `s`. There is no plurals in Japanese with a few exceptions; therefore, we often forget to pronounce `s` in English.)   As usual, Rick found his first victim.  This guy sang very well, then Rick went on to his second victim - a venue security guard .  He didn’t know what was happening on stage as he had his back to it.  When he finally became aware of what was going on, Rick already had his mic right in front of his face.  Rick said, “I’m Rick and you are?”  It took Rick for a while to figure out this guard’s name was ‘Shu’.  Shu-san couldn’t make out what he was supposed to sing, but he finally sang, “Don’t stop to strangers!”

Now, Rick called one Japanese fan for his third victim and made her sing 'Don't talk to strangers' in Japanese. She was hesitated at the beginning, but ended up singing in front of all these native Japanese speakers,  “shiranai hitoto ha~nasuna.”  Oops, too many syllables... . Rick said, “It didn’t work.”  Well, it didn’t, but it was literally correct though.  He made her do it again and this time she sang, “daretomo ha~nasuna”.  Yeah!  He asked everyone to sing ‘daretomo ha~nasuna”. 

Let’s talk about this next day's victim.  He had his eye on her earlier at the show and told her from the stage that he would come back to her later.  When DTTS started, he came over to her and asked her name and her age.  7 years old ‘Aya’ was totally shy and didn’t want to sing at all.  Rick begged her and said, “please, please….”, but she still wouldn’t sing.  Finally he got her sister and mother to sing DTTS.  Later in the show Rick dedicated ‘Beautiful You’ to her and gave her a rose from the stage.  (Well, I can already tell she will have a hard time finding a nice boyfriend later in life because of the treatment she already got from Rick Springfield!)

As Rick occasionally fueled himself with wine (He said, ‘kan pai’ in Japanese), he demonstrated his powerful and energetic stage performance in front of his Japanese fans.  I noticed from my Rick concert experience, when he is in a great mood, he does a hand gesture during ‘And I’m lookin` in the mirror….’ part in JG song just like he did on the music video, and also does heavy breathing after ‘why cannot find a woman, like you’ part.  Yes, he did these at this Japanese show!

Of course Rick's great performance led these shows to success, but we cannot forget that quality of the sound and lighting and also hard working of those crews, securities, merchandise staff and all other backstage staff contributed to that success significantly.

Lastly, Rick mentioned during his radio interview in Japan that he was there because of his Japanese fans.  I totally agree with that comment, and also believe Ms. Ito’s effort to connect with his Japanese fans while trying to connect with the record company and various people in the Japanese music industry made this concert possible. I also would like to thank JVC, UDO and Rick’s management for their hard work.  At last, thank you, Rick for your wonderful performance and the memories I will never forget.  After seeing your energetic shows in Japan, I feel that there won’t be a concert that will top these two concerts for a long time…

Karma Tourが始まり約半年後の1999年7月からの約6年半、何度彼のコンサートに足を運んだことだろうか、、、。しかし、こんなに待ち焦がれたコンサートは記憶にはない。席につきしばらくし会場が暗くなり、オープニングの「Dreamtime」が始まる。するとみんないっせいに立ち上がる。リックがステージに現れるまでのこの少しの間の期待感と緊張感が自分の中でこんなに高ぶったことはなかった。生まれて初めて黄色い声を上げて叫んだ。(アメリカなら「Ri~ck!」と叫ぶところが日本のみんなは、「リックゥ~!」)

曲が、「I’ll Make You Happy」 に代わり、いよいよ12年ぶりの日本ステージを踏みしめながらリックが登場。期待感からか、またまたいつもと違う空気からか、いつもにもまして素敵に見えた。ジャケットを着て、汗のまだ掻いていないこの最初の顔と髪のリックがいい感じ。二日目はいつもの黒のジャケットにはあらず、学ラン着用。昔、U2のボーノが来日公演の時に着ていた記憶があるが、どうして外国人にこの学ランが似合ってしまうのかが不思議だ。次のアメリカのコンサートでも着るだろうか、、、。

コンサートのセットリストは基本的に現在のアメリカでのコンサートと同じだった。二日目も通常同じ場所でコンサートをする場合はややセットリストを変えて演奏するいつものアメリカでのコンサート形式。一日目の「Will I?」の代わりに二日目は「Kristina」と「Allyson」、そして「LIANT」の前に「Beautiful You」を入れ、最後アンコールでは一日目でやった「LIO」がなかった。それ以外はメロディーを含め同じ。そのメロディー、昨年9月ごろのコンサートから演奏し始めているのだが、AliveのCD盤とは趣を変え、ダンス風な曲を交えているので思いっきり踊って乗れてしまう。

また、日本ならではの試みだが、リックが「LIANT」の為、ギターをアコースティックへ持ち替える際、音がバンジョーに似ていると言い「Speak to the Sky」の一節を歌うのだが、今回は日本語で歌ってくれた。「時は移り過ぎても-----(うーっ、聞き取れない)---- ない心」。「この曲は72年のYamaha Music Festivalで歌った曲で当時は大きなヒットだった。」と言っていたけれど、実は、YamahaではなくてTokyo Music Festival。当時も最初の部分を日本語で歌った様子。ちなみにリックはそのとき銀賞受賞。子供の頃は毎年TBSに入っていたこの番組を観ていた記憶があるので、きっと72年のリックも観たと思うが全くリックの記憶がない。その年、天地真理も出たらしく、そういえば彼女はおぼろげに覚えているが、、、。当時、リック系は趣味じゃなかったのだろう。本当に人間って後でどう変るか全く分からないものだ。


14日は後から発表された追加公演ということでお客さんの入りは前日の売り切れコンサートよりは少なかったが、どちらも男性客の多さには驚いた。アメリカのファンがその会場シーンの写真を見て驚いていたけれど、背広を着た人が多いのにもかなり驚いたようだ。日本はコンサートの始まる時間が早く、家も遠いので、仕事をしても一旦家へ帰って着替えて夜遊びに出かけるアメリカの観客とは状況が違うのだ。80年代には、1人で、女性ファンばかりのリックのコンサートへ来るには気が引けた男性ファンが、今回は女性ファンをしのぐ勢いで叫んでいた。特にリックが観客席に下りて行った時には、嬉しそうに男性ファンの皆さんHuman Touchを楽しんでいたのだった。

その会場シーンでは、リックもみんな以上に楽しんでいたように思えた。その時まず、「Don’t let me fall.」と言いながら、手で一生懸命に「後ろに反り返ったら支えてくれ」と言わんばかりの説明をしていが、ちょっと通じなかった様子。また、アーチィストが自ら観客席の中に来るなんてアメリカでもそうだが、日本ではまずありえないことなので、最初みんな戸惑い気味で椅子のへりを渡り歩くリックが後ろに反り返るのを支えるどころか、恐れ多くて手にも触れようとしない。その会場へは、ワイヤレスのマイクとギターに持ち替え、「1984年の映画Hard to Hold観た?観たのなら僕の裸のお尻も見たね」の紹介で始まった「Love Somebody」の途中で飛び込み、会場に入り込んで熱唱するために作られた曲なのでは?と思えるほどの「Jesus Saves」、また「携帯電話を使ってのスライドギターも披露してくれた「You Really Got Me」、そしてみんな思いっきりリックにTouchした最後の「Human Touch」をそれぞれ歌った。リックは二階にも行かんとばかりにその間会場中を練り歩き回ったのだった。


そんなエキサイトした会場のファンとは反対に、リックが会場に下りてくるのを嫌った人がいたのだ。消防署と会場側。二日目は会場入り口に来てびっくり。前日にはなかった、「プレゼント、花束持込禁止」の大きな張り紙が2枚。会場からは、前日、散らばった花束のかたずけ、消防所からは、リックが椅子の上を上がって歩く危なっかしさにクレームがついたようで、二日目は通路の所々に台が置かれ、それにリックが乗っかるということで観客席シーンは切り抜けた。また花束はステージ上でならRose ExplosionがOKということで最終的に持っていったファンの花束はすべてステージに置かれた。アメリカと違って日本で問題を起こすのはファンではなくてリック本人なのだ。(笑)

先にも、セットリスト、コンサートの構成はアメリカツアーと同じと述べたが、曲の間のMCもその調子でリックは話し続ける。途中、観客からの反応がなくてリックとバンドが思わず笑い出すシーンがあったりした。一日目、リックが「Red House」のギターソロの前にギターで指を切る。後で写真を見るとくっきり手から血が…。「誰かバンドエイドはないか?持ってきた人にはバック・ステージパスをあげるから」と会場に問う。誰も持って来ないのでしばらくし、キーボードのDerekが持って現れる。が、一瞬遅し。我らがいづみさん、後ろの人から手渡されたバンドエイドを持ってリックのいるステージへ。もちろんリックは、Derekからではなくて、いづみさんからバンドエイドをもらう。それからギターを持ち替え、「これは自分の好きな1962(確か?)Stratoだ。このギターは壊さないよ~。普段使っているのは日本製のFernandezギターだけど。」とリック。確かにこのストラト、ギターソロではいい音を奏でていた。

特にMCが目立つのはDTTSの最中。まず曲の「Why don’t you tell me some slick continental dude,、、、」のフレーズの歌詞をみんなに歌わせるためリックがマイクから一瞬離れる。ここで会場、一斉に「シーン」リックは大笑い。次に二番の「Now, who’s this.,,,,,」の部分、再び会場「シーン」。リックは、「大丈夫、僕も歌詞を忘れたから」とつくろってくれた。しかし、コーラスの「Don’t talk to Strangers」(そう、本来、最後に「s」があるのです。)はみんな一緒に大合唱。そして、日本でもいつものように観客めがけて「DTTS」を歌わせる。第一の犠牲者で前にいた男性は、うまく「DTTS」と歌いこなす。第二の犠牲者、前にいたガードのお兄さんをめがけて歩くリック。反対方向を向いているので彼はリックが何をステージでしようとしているのか全く気が付かない。ふと後ろに気配を感じ振り向いたときにはすでにマイクが彼の口元に、、、。リック、「僕は、リックだけど、君は?」と挨拶。最初何のことか分からずうろたえていたお兄さん、とりあえず名前は「Shu」さんということで、リック、一生懸命「DTTS」と歌わせようとする。やっと歌えたと思ったらShuさん、「Don’t stop to strangers」。

Shuさんへの拍手も終らぬ間にリック、第三の犠牲者を指名。何を思ったか今度は会場に名指しでファンの名を呼び、日本語でDon't talk to strangersと歌わせてしまった。指名された彼女は戸惑いながら「知らない人とは~なすな。」と歌ったはいいが字余り、、、。リック、「It doesn’t work.」ということでやり直させられる。今度は、やや意訳で「誰ともは~なすな」ちょうど曲に収まった。リック、次にマイクを会場に向けみんなで「誰ともは~なすな」そして最後にみんなへ「I love you, guys!」と叫ぶ。

二日目の犠牲者は小さな女の子。コンサートの初めの方で、観客席の前の方にいた彼女「後でそこに行くから」とステージから話しかけ、リックはその時、後の犠牲者をすでに発見。約束通り、DTTSが始まりリックは彼女に年と名前を聞く。しかし、7歳の「Aya」ちゃん恥ずかしがって歌えない。何度もリックが「プリ~ズ、プリ~ズ」とお願いするのだがなかなか、、、。最後はお母さんとお姉さんが奮闘した。リックは後で「Beautiful You」をその「Aya」ちゃんに捧げると言って歌い出したのだった。そしてステージにたくさん残されたバラの花束から一輪、彼女に投げてプレセント。(7歳の女の子があのリックにこのような待遇をすでに受けてしまったのでは、将来ボーイフレンド探しが大変だ。)

時々ワインを口に運んで、(はい、「かんぱい」も日本語でした。)力いっぱいにギターを引きながら歌うリック。両日ともにギターを一台ずつ叩きつくしてこわす。長年のコンサート経験から気づいたのだが、リックはノリがいい時、アンコール前の最後の曲「JG」の「And I’m lookin` in the mirror…..」部分でそのMusic Videoでもやるように鏡に向かって髪を直すような手のしぐさをし、また最後の「Why cannot find a woman, like you」の後で、とでもセクシーな深い深呼吸の音を何度も繰り返すのだが、やっぱりこのコンサートでそれらをやっていた。




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東京/tokyo, japan

December 14 & 15, 2005