March 12, 2009

Simply Great

I know he's getting old, but really, he's not falling down, just trying to show some spunk.

Went to a Simply Red concert last night ... and it was ... great! For someone who is already a big fan. If you weren't a fan you might have thought that Mick Hucknall phoned it in and looked old and tired.

No one could argue with those chops though. Even though the backing vocals were pre-recorded (his was the most dominate voice on the track) his singing was live and strong and as clear as ever. Tons of wonderful skating songs in his repertoire -just ask me for suggestions.

This tour is the 25 year Anniversary of Greatest Hits, which meant, no new album to push, which meant we heard all the old tunes we like so much.

It was also nice to see tens of thousands of fans at this concert. I didn't think there would be much a fan base for an eighties British band down here in Juanes land, but the auditorium was packed.

Why am I telling you about this? Come on Ice Charades, does this have anything to do with show skating?

Why yes, thanks for asking.

Back when I skated in Atami, Japan in 1987, we met the band at a bar on our first night off in Tokyo. Okay, okay, I saw Mick Hucknall, just barely, because he was surrounded by models, but we ended up talking to the roadies. I think they lied to us and told us they were warm-up guitarists. All was not lost, I did talk to Janette, the backing vocalist at the time, for a while and she was so nice.

She was getting paid a lot more than I was, stayed in nicer hotels to be sure, but we had similar lives at that time. Backing performers.

While it was a nice coup to crow about who was in the Lexington Queen the night we were there, the Atami cast the year before us, did one better. They met Genesis, the band, and later got to see one of their concerts.

Joyce, if you're reading this, please tell us about your star-studded time with the band!

But here's the rub: being an American/Canadian skater in Japan in the mid-eighties was still a novelty and came with some perks. Perks like free entrance into bars to enhance their reputation. Perks like gifts from strangers or long car rides from strangers going way out of their way. (I'll save that one for another post.)

At that time, you could pretty much slot any "western" foreigner working in Japan into five categories: finance guy, military, missionary, model or English teacher. Luckily, we often passed for models, short models (I could never pull that off in anywhere but Japan).

So Mick, I know you didn't see me waving way up in the nosebleed seats, but it's a safe bet that I was the only one out there last night who saw you in bar in Tokyo 21 years ago. Please give my best to Janette, wherever she is right now.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I too was there in Atami in 1988. I remember staying in the dorm up the hill from the New Fujiya Hotel. I remember Simply Red, but I fell UP some stairs on the way to the train and busted my knee. Too much saki? Very good memories!