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Words to live by...

To see just pictures of the band, click here.  

To see pictures of the new Japanese Tour Book (also available at recent U.S. shows), click here.

I remember staring at the inside of Cheap Trick's Live at Budokan album jacket for periods of time that could not be considered normal.  While listening to the album, and the screams of the Japanese fans, and the nasty skip that eventually developed on Lookout, never did I imagine that  I would someday go inside the hallowed Nippon Budokan, let alone actually see the band in Japan.  Fast forward. Tokyo, Japan, 22 years later.   Here they are, and here I am. 


My traveling companions on this amazing journey were Mindy from Los Angeles, and Lisa and Elsa from San Francisco.  Our first Cheap Trick show wasn't until Tuesday, so I'll try to make this brief.   We decided to stay in the country-side at the base of Mt. Fuji in an area named Hakone - where everything was very traditional, very Japanese.  Lisa and Elsa stayed in a more Western-style hotel where you could order steak and eggs and normal food like that.  Mindy and I opted for the true Japanese experience and stayed in a traditional hotel where foreigners didn't often stay.  We hooked up with Lisa and Elsa outside of their hotel and then went to go look for ours.  It was not an easy feat, believe me.
After walking around a bit, looking for what we thought would be a hotel, we asked someone to show us where the hotel was, and they led us to what appeared to be a shack on a very narrow road.   It actually turned out to be the "entrance" to the hotel.  Set about 200 yards down a steep hill, the hotel was best accessed by a small tram, much like a ski lift, that took guests from the shack to the hotel entrance.  It was pretty cool, and the slight haze from a few Sapporo tall-boys and a bit of jet lag made it all the more enjoyable.

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After checking our bags, we did a touristy-thing and went to the Open Air Museum. There were a great many sculptures from all over the world.  One was from a German sculptor of a nude woman holding a rooster.  The plaque below it read "Girl with Cock"... 

I took this picture of a big suspended silver ball, and all of us looking up at it.  I like the kids next to us posing for the shot.

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Another sculpture was of a man lying naked on the grass.  I couldn't pass up the photo opportunity so I hopped the 6-inch security fence and joined the exhibit - living art, as it were.
It was a fun, mellow day.  We enjoyed our first taste of Sake, ate some wonderful noodles and relaxed.  Good preparation for the mayhem and debauchery that was to come.


Back in the Roppongi District of Tokyo, an area known for its "night life", the four of us check into our rooms at the Hotel Ibis and get ready for our first show.   I have to admit, I was pretty excited, even a bit nervous.  I was still having a hard time believing I was actually there.  We meet up with our friends Junko and Hiromi at the train station to head to Shizuoka. 
I had first met them at Trickfest 3 and while my band was doing Surrender at the Trickfest 3 Battle of the Bands , Hiromi was the lucky recipient of the "Speck CD" instead of the Kiss album flat.  I've also seen Junko at many U.S. shows.  She is simply amazing and helped us out with so many things during our trip. Thank you Junko!  If you listen hard, you can hear her screaming  "Tom-eeeee" on the Live at Budokan album because she was actually THERE! 

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Junko, Lisa, Mindy, Me, Elsa

We get to the venue and it's so incredibly amazing to see so many people you know.   We met up with  Kim Gisbourne from the U.K., Mika, Mari, sisters Noriko and Matsumi, Sachiko, Yaico, Mr. and Mrs. Sushi Man, Kaz, and of course Hiromi and Junko.

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Back Row:  Hiromi, Junko, Elsa, Noriko, Musumi, Me, Mika, Mrs. Sushi-man, Yae
Front Row: Mindy, Lisa, Mari, Sushi-man

Mika was also a tremendous help to us Californians.  She was so sweet, she would give us written instructions (in perfect English I might add) about which train to take to get to a certain show, and would have us give the taxi driver a piece of paper with directions to the show in Japanese.  She was awesome, thank you Mika!

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Hiromi, Elsa, Junko

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Hiromi, Junko, Me, Kaz, Noriko, Yae

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Mitsumi, Sachiko, Noriko

Shizuoka Public Hall was very much like a large college auditorium and thanks to Junko, we were 4th row, Rick's side.  Walking in, I heard an American yell "Rick" so I turned to see.  Their new sound man, Lee, called me over and handed me a few Rick picks.  In turn, I handed him the equivalent - a Trick World business card.   He said he'd been there before and liked the site.  That was nice.

Nothing special to report fashion-wise.  Robin was all dressed in casual black with the CT Bucket Hat (dyed black), and Tom wore his long white leather jacket and yellow shades.

The show was great, and Japanese crowds are so damn polite!  Between songs, you could literally hear a pin drop, it was that quiet.  Sure, you heard the occasional "Robeeeeeeen" which was pretty trippy, but for the most part it was silent.  Except for the "Bun E." chant I started after Oh Caroline. 

Tuesday April 3, 2001

Ain't That A Shame
Hot Love
Clock Strikes Ten
I Want You To Want Me
I Know What I Want
Wrong All Along
In The Streets
Eight Miles Low
Oh Caroline (acoustic)
Heaven Tonight
Southern Girls
Dream Police
Never Had A Lot To Lose
Goodnight Now

I think Rick was pretty happy to see us, although during IKWIW, he came over and pointed at me and did a thumbs down move.  This was followed quickly by a two thumbs up.  Little Robin was so cute, sitting on Tom's side of the stage playing drums on his lap the whole show.  Rick flicked a few picks at him but Little Robin never broke beat.  Maybe he's training to fill in for Bun should the need arise. After Wrong All Along, Rick was talking to the crowd without using the mic - it was that quiet between songs.  He thanked everyone for coming from wherever they came from - mentioning Kim from the U.K. and me from California.  He then saw I was sitting with my California co-horts and some of our beautiful Japanese friends.  He said, "There's Danny with his entourage.  That's like bringing sand to the beach!"  Funny, but a bit insulting to the lovely girls.  Then he tried to save face by saying, "No, I meant for them!"  Yeah right.  After Surrender , Rick thanked "Danny and Kim for showing restraint with all the women around."  It was a hard job Rick, but somebody had to.

I will never tire of hearing Heaven Tonight live, and this was an especially good version.  Tom and Rick's background vocals were beautifully haunting, and Bun E. did a nice little extended riff at the end.  Sushi Man got the Mandocello, as he would at every other show.  The sound was really good I thought.  Lee the sound man was doing some cool vocal effects throughout, and there was a decent light show going on.   After Goodnight Now, when everyone else had left the stage, Tom stayed on and bowed with his hands on his legs for literally three minutes.  It was so bizarre.  I thought he had fallen asleep.  The crowd loved it and Rick had to come back on to drag him off.  It was a great first show.

After the show, Lisa, Elsa, Mindy and I rode the train back to Tokyo station with Junko, Hiromi, Junko's friends Mina and Yuko, Yaico and her friend.  As luck would have it, the band was taking the same train and they and their "entourage" arrived.   We tried to remain subdued as a group of Japanese fans were asking for autographs.

I did see Tom and his wife Allison making out like school kids.  It was kinda weird, but in a good way.  I gave Rick a little bit of shit about his "sand to the beach" comment and got Tom to sign my Japanese Tour Book.

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Waitin' For My Man...

So we get on the train and the band and crew are in the "reserved" car just in front of us.  As they didn't sell beer at the show, I had quite a thirst and soon our car became the happening scene.  Red wine and beer were in abundance.  So much so, that people from the CT car would come back to say hello or just pass through (I don't know why though, they had their own bathrooms and bar...).  Rick's sons, Miles and Daxx, stopped by to chat, as did Dave Frey and Lee the sound man.  Bun E. poked his head through the door and motioned that we should be quiet, people in our car were trying to sleep.  Rick came back and wanted to see "what  the drunks were doing" and graciously posed for a picture with us.
When we get back to the hotel, the four of us head out to a bar called Abbey Road to check out a Japanese Beatles Tribute band.  The waitress was absolutely adorable, trying to speak English and to understand what tequila was.  She'd get flustered and laugh and shake - she was so cute.  The band was pretty damn good, for a group who sing words phonetically, and posed for pictures with us after the show.

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Our adorable waitress

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Hey Now!

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With John and Paul...

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...and George and Ringo

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When we got back to the hotel, Elsa decided to call it a night so Mindy, Lisa and I ventured out to an after-hours club.  There was an American guy working the door so he talked us into coming in (a free drink will do that every time).  Things got a little strange there and I had to pull the girls outta there, for their own good I believe.  We kept looking for those damn vending machines on the street that sell beer but for the life of us, couldn't find one.  Where the hell is that beer vending machine when you need it?   On our way back up to the room (it's now 6:15am), I politely ask the person at the front desk to re-stocked my mini-bar, which he kindly did.  I think we finally got to bed at around 7:30am.


This was a general admission show but our tickets had numbers on them and we had to line up according to number to be let in.  Sorry for the lack of band photos but cameras were not allowed and security was tight.  This was very cool club. In the open area, they had padded railings so the crowd couldn't get too packed together.   We were about 10 feet from the stage, between Rick and Robin.  Unfortunately, the set list was the same as the night before.  Rick wore his silver space suit and was very energetic. 
The show was being taped for an internet broadcast so the between-song banter was kept to a minimum.  He did however, acknowledge Kim and myself.  At one point, he flipped up the brim of his hat and pulled his shades down on his nose to show his eyes. 

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Mika, Kim, Cheryl, Mindy, Elsa, Me

That was very cool - looked like the Rick of 20 years ago. It was good to see Cheryl B. from New York, who had flown all the way out for a couple of the shows.
After the show, a bunch of us head to a place called the Cavern Club, to see another Japanese Beatles Tribute band.  The group included Lisa, Elsa, Mindy, Kim, Mari, Mika, Tokyo Zander and my new friend Kay.  Earlier in the day at our hotel, I held the elevator door for this woman.  Later at the show, she came up to me and said hi.   She partied with us most of the rest of the trip. 

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Paul, George, John, Ringo

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Mari, Kim, Me, Mindy, Lisa, Tokyo Zander, Mika, Kay, Paul, George, Elsa

The band was good, especially the John Lennon guy.  As the biiru and tequila started flowing again, we were really getting into it.  Between songs, the band would tell the crowd how happy they were that the Americans were enjoying themselves so much.  We requested, and got to hear, Magical Mystery Tour and Day Tripper.  Needless to say, we closed the place down at around 2:30, and had a wonderfully intoxicating time.  Afterwards, Lisa, Mindy, Kay, Tokyo Zander and I headed up to my room for a night cap or two.   Approximate bed time, 6:00am. Japan0102.jpg (44659 bytes)
Rick's old goatee?
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Tokyo Zander
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Elsa and Kim
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Kim and Biiru
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Dancin' The Night Away
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Kim and Biiru

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Kim, Mari, Mindy

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The Checker Bathroom

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Mari, Me


No Cheap Trick show this night but Junko and Lisa had tickets to Bon Jovi and Mindy and I decided to buy tickets there.  It was at the Tokyo Dome which is a massive indoor venue.  There must have been 50,000 people there, it was truly an amazing sight.   After the show, we met up with some of Junko's friends, Mina and Ikeda-san, and had a nice, quiet dinner with lots of pitchers of biiru!


We checked out of the Hotel Ibis and moved over to the Capital Tokyu Hotel, where the band was staying.  Kim, Mari, Junko, Hiromi, Mika and Matsumi had also booked rooms there and it was good that a lot of us were together.  After we checked in, Lisa, Elsa, Mindy and I wanted to do a bit of shopping.  As Mindy and I were waiting for Lisa and Elsa in the lobby, Rick comes out of the elevator by himself.  Danny "F" Saint he says as he reaches to shake my hand.  Rick "A" Nielsen, I reply.  He asked what we were doing that day and we told him we were going shopping.  He then proceeds to give us very detailed instructions on where to go - down to which train to take, which station to get off, and where to walk once you got outside.  It was very impressive but I couldn't remember a damn word he said.

7:00pm, showtime.  Shows in Japan start exactly when the ticket says, with no opening band.  Another reserved seating show, and sadly enough, no biiru.  Lisa and I sat 2nd row, Tom's side.  It was nice that they changed the set list a bit, replacing Downed with Taxman, and playing It All Comes Back To You instead of Oh Caroline.   Robin finally stopped wearing a hat and he looked great.  He seemed happy that night and sang the shit out of Taxman.  It was awesome.  Rick mentioned that a brand new studio album would be out "next year"..  That was comforting but he also said to the crowd at every show that he'd "See Ya Next Year"...   Another Japan tour perhaps?  Or just hopeful words.  We shall see.   During I Know What I Want, he came over by me, pointed at me a motioned like he was drinking.  I think he's really just jealous because he stopped drinking this year and I didn't.
Again, another polite Japanese crowd.  It was so quiet between songs, Rick once asked if there was anyone left out there.  There was a great moment during Heaven Tonight where Tom and Rick  stood on either side of Robin while he was singing.   Damn I wish I could have gotten a photo of that!  When they came on for the encore, Rick had changed into a Cheap Track t-shirt, and during Voices, Bun E. draped his kick drum with a Cheap Track t-shirt.  All in all, a very excellent sounding show, probably my favorite of the four and I managed to grab a Direct TV Pick during Dream Police.

Friday April 6, 2001

Ain't That A Shame
Hot Love
Clock Strikes Ten
I Want You To Want Me
I Know What I Want
Wrong All Along
In The Streets
Eight Miles Low
It All Comes Back To You
Heaven Tonight
Southern Girls
Dream Police
Never Had A Lot To Lose
Goodnight Now

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After the show, we (Me, Junko, Hiromi, Elsa, Lisa, Mindy, Mina, Mutsumi, Yaico, Noriko, Sachiko and our freind Kay went out for a little dinner - a little dinner and a lot of sake.  
The girls ordered the food and I ordered the drinks.  Big glassess of Biiru and lots of bottles of sake.  It was Mina's birthday so we had several toasts to her and eventually started a little game where everyone would yell someone's name and clap until they drank a shot.It seemed like Mina and I were being called out the most, followed closely by Lisa and Mindy.

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Post-show, Pre-Sake

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Junko's Turn
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Hiromi's Turn

I think my lack of sleep got the best of me and at one point, and I passed out.  Not for long though, as soon as I heard the chant "Speck, Speck, Speck, Speck", I'd wake up, down another shot, and then blissfully lay my head down in a plate of sushi.

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Yae's Turn
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My Turn

After a qucik 10 minute power nap, I eventually came back to life and things started getting rowdy.  I won't go into the sordid details but let's just say that three of the lovely girls got very sick, and one had to be carried out by paramedics on a stretcher!  

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Right after Mina's Turn
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Lisa's Turn

It was without a doubt our craziest party night and one I won't soon forget (thank god for pictures or I probably wouldn't remember a damn thing)!

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Elsa's Turn
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Mutsumi's Turn
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My turn again...
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After such a taxing evening, somehow Mindy and I manage to go shopping as  Elsa and Lisa aren't up for going out.  I think the Japanese are fascinated with checkers.  While walking down the street one day, I saw a girl with a checker skirt and took a picture.  When she turned around, I saw that it was a full checker dress complete with checker scarf.  I don't think she was a CT fan but I had to have a picture with her.  We walked around, snapped lots of photos and headed back to the hotel to get ready for our last show.

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When we get to the hotel, there's a message for us from Lisa saying that we were gonna be late to the show if we didn't leave immediately.  We didn't realize Yokohama was so far away so we blasted to the train station and finally got to the venue about 30 minutes before showtime.  As luck would have it, Lisa had just poked her head outside to find us so we went in with her.  Although a general admission show, they had reserved us prime spots directly behind the soundboard, raised from the floor about 4 steps. It was Myself, Mindy, Mari, Mika and Kim.  We had a perfect view of the stage, dead center, above everyone else.  All of the other girls opted for the crowded floor.  Everyone was packed together so closely, that after the band came on, the entire floor would sway and bop, it was truly a sight.  I don't even think poeple could bend down to pick up any of the picks Rick tossed.  We had such a perfect photo spot but again, security was tight even though I managed to sneak my camera in.
The Yokohama Bay Hall was a small, wide venue - very crowded and very hot inside.  Lee the sound man gave us a sneak peek at the set list.  STOP THIS GAME was added, as was Didn't Know I Had It.  It was amazing to hear STG again.  Robin sounded fantastic and Tom absolutely went nuts.   I love watching him play that song.  I guess he didn't feel like singing this night as IKWIW was left our of the set.  A couple of interesting changes in the way Rick's been playing.  Before Hot Love, he starts playing the intro to Stiff Competition.  Also, some of the very familiar solos he does were either gone or changed, most notable is the Heart of Stone lick he does at the end of Oh Caroline - gone.   Regardless, it was their last show in Japan and they truly gave it all they had.   I was getting bummed because I knew the trip would soon be over but all I had to do was look at Mari and I'd get back into the excitement.  If you've never been next to Mari at a show, look out!  She rocks pretty damn hard and you might get hit with waving arm!    

Saturday April 7, 2001

Ain't That A Shame
Hot Love
Clock Strikes Ten
Stop This Game
I Want You To Want Me
Didn't Know I Had It
Wrong All Along
In The Streets
Eight Miles Low
Oh Caroline
Heaven Tonight
Southern Girls
Dream Police
Never Had A Lot To Lose
Goodnight Now

After the show, everyone is just hanging out, taking pictures talking about the amazing shows we'd seen and begin saying goodbyes.   We then hear some commotion down the road and find out that the band is leaving the venue, heading for their cars.  That's about the only real time anyone had the chance to take unrestricted shots of the band. 

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We said our goodbyes to those that we wouldn't see back at the hotel, which was a bit sad. Thank you all for making this trip so wonderful. 

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Back at the Capital Tokyu Hotel, it's Kim, Me, Mari, Mika, Mindy, Lisa, Elsa and Kay.  Eventually, Rick passes through the lobby and stops for a bit to chat and take some pictures, thanks Rick. 

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I could not leave Japan without a trip to Budokan so Junko, Hiromi, Mina, Yuko, Mindy, Elsa, Lisa  and I head out in the mroning.  There was some sort of college induction ceremony going on and the grounds surrounding Budokan were packed with students, parents, political groups and protesters.  Combined with the truly beautiful Cherry Blossoms that in full bloom, it was quite a sight.

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The Moat and Cherry Blossoms
surrounding Budokan

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We walked around and posed for pictures.  Junko showed us the backstage entrance seen on the Live at Budokan video.

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It didn't look like we were actually going to go inside the auditorium, but sweet Junko talked our way in and we were priveledged enough to poke our heads into the hall.  I turned my flash off and snapped a quick pic of the stage and seats.  I looked around and wondered what the vibe felt like -  the excitement in the room, the screaming fans - some 22 years ago.  I could almost feel it still.

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In case you forgot,
This is Budokan and
we're Cheap Trick fans.

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Inside Budokan

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The famous Golden Onion
atop Budokan

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Mindy and had to leave for the airport so it was time for our final goodbyes.  It was very tough to leave, I had such an amazing time.  Rick even came out to say goodbye. 

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Steps leading to the
Temple of Talented Artists...

I want to thank all the wonderful people who helped make this trip so spectacular, Thank You!  I look forward to seeing some of you this summer for the California/Vegas shows, and hope to see the rest of you soon!  Thank you also to the band for making it all happen.