Chicago and Japan Tour, Spring 2006 -- Part 4 (Mar 2-4)
5/27/2017 2:23:10 AM - The beginning of the set was a disaster. I'd opened up with "Play It By Ear" and found the situation to be the opposite the title, in which we COULDN'T play it by ear as we could barely hear anything right!! The balance had completely changed from the sound check and I could barely hear myself, let alone the keyboards or the backing track. I got breathless and winded by the end of the first song, even a wave of dizziness; I'm not sure what was causing it, whether I was panicking or all the electricity surrounding me effected me, but it was scary. The great stage we'd experience just the night before seemed like a 100 years ago as we all struggled to find our place. At the end of the song, I am supposed to give Henry a cue so that he could get the bass to do the turn around to the ending, but he didn't seem to see me until the last possible second, then I wasn't sure if he cued the programming or not. I stopped in confusion and realized the song was ending without me; I wanted to crawl under a rock.

It took several songs for the sound to adjust and eventually settle into a somewhat doable state, although it was never quite right, and my brain stopped panicking over every little mistake I did or could hear the others make. My voice was in great condition so I knew it was just a matter of getting my attitude readjusted and relaxing to the situation and not panic over what I couldn't hear and focus on what I could hear.

Actually, it was the beginning of the third song that helped me in an unusual way. We were set to begin "Yellow Light" which I'd announced, but Henry must have accidentally hit something and instead "Philosophy Road" started. Henry and Genta fumbled to change from "Yellow Light" to "Philosophy Road" and it was just all wrong. Before we had gone on stage, Henry had told me that as this was being recorded for DVD, we should just stop the performance and re-do it if something wasn't coming out right, which I thought was a smart suggestion. With that in mind, I knew this was such an instance and stopped the band. There was first a gasp, then laughter from the audience -- what must have they thought! I quickly explained about all the cameras and the fact that we were recording the DVD. The audience was incredibly receptive and quick to support us with cheers. There's nothing like an embarrassing moment to glue people together, let down any fronts and just get real and honest. I realized how lucky I was to be performing to such a group of people. The sound didn't matter anymore, and I started just grooving and having fun, and somehow it began to click.

By the middle of the night's performance, the sound actually got comfortable (although we still had some problems), and I for one was having a lot of fun. The audience, tension dismantled after various happenings, seemed to also be having a good time. We actually ended up re-doing "Yellow Bird," then after our encore when the audience continued to clap for us we came out and I asked the audience if they wouldn't mind our redoing "Play It By Ear," and they approved with a roar. It was absolutely hysterical and probably unthinkable what I did, but now in retrospect, and especially after hearing the recordings, I feel that we did the right thing under the circumstances.

Eri Nobuchika came to see me back stage, and I also saw Kayoko Kimura (my old sax player), Toshi-chan (Major Force -- I hadn't seen him in AGES!), Lori and Watushi (Coldfeet), Shiro-san (Orquestra de la Luz), and many others. While I was happy and warmed to see everyone, I was still flustered over the night's happenings and was convinced that I'd given a disastrous performance. Nikita also needed to be put to sleep as it was nearly 11:00 p.m. so I slipped away as quickly as I could, not doubt being rude.

(March 3) We left late morning for Osaka, checking into the hotel we'd stayed at so many times and liked, the Hanshin Hotel, which had spa water for
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