The lights go down, a cheer goes up, and the Japanese salaryman loosens his tie off a little when Sir Mick Jagger struts on to the stage of the Tokyo Dome which is “On Fire”.
The Rolling Stones concert has started as has an excellent period of British rock Gods visiting Japan as this grateful expat re-lives his long lost youth. The next two and half hours was pure energy and noise. Mick, Ronnie, Charlie and Keith with Mick Taylor guesting raced (Iiterally in Mick J’s case) through a set-list starting with Get Off Of My Cloud to a firework finale of Sympathy for the Devil. By this time the heat was getting too much for the salaryman who had removed his tie completely.
Concerts here finish promptly, and it’s not surprising really as 50,000 people had to make their way out of the Dome and on to the subway system which is crowded enough at the best of times.
Two days later and only two years younger than the Stones’ front man, Eric Clapton strolled on to the stage of an equally packed Budokan for his final night of his 40th anniversary tour. His supporting band seems to change every time he comes here, but Paul Carrack on keyboards and vocals was an impressive bluesman. Although Eric is world famous for his electric guitar work, when he goes unplugged, which he did for Layla and Tears in Heaven the emotions from this sensitive man really show through. It was during this acoustic period that he thanked the Japanese audience for letting him play in “the best place in the world” for the last 40 years. In his early days he was not allowed to sing “Cocaine” in Japan, but for his final song on the final night of possibly his final concert in the Budokan he had the entire audience on their feet singing along to a rousing chorus.
And next up in the list of iconic British rock heroes to visit Japan? It’s going to be a difficult choice between Jeff Beck, Deep Purple and Asia.