More from year 2013
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From For Whom The Bell Tells, December 4, 2013:
Saturday 9th November:
It’s 4pm at Osaka Airport. I arrived here yesterday. The combination of jet lag, being so far from home and the sense of excitement here is all very discombobulating. Sometime in the next couple of hours our boss is due to arrive. There are literally thousands of people in the arrival hall all hoping to catch a glimpse of our man. It’s orderly chaos here. Some fans are laughing, some are crying, groups of people are singing – there are all sorts of emotions here but everyone one is united over a common cause. By the arrival doors I see evening TV news channels making live broadcasts. I can’t speak any Japanese but something from the tone tells me it is all very positive and the news anchors are as excitable as the fans themselves. The photographers all jostle for position in what to me seems like a very polite way. I’m not sure my friends in the UK press would be as accommodating to each other as these guys are. Each time the arrival doors open and an unsuspecting traveler walks through there is a sense of disappointment in the crowd as the poor traveler looks totally bewildered walking out to thousands of fans and a media pit crammed full of TV crews and photographers.
Just after 6pm airport officials let us know that Paul has landed and is working his way through immigration so he’ll be coming through the doors shortly. Excitement here in the arrival hall is almost tangible! For some fans it looks like it could be getting a bit too much but their friends and fellow fans keep them calm. Then it happens – boom! – the doors open and out comes Paul McCartney with his wife Nancy. The airport erupts.
The fans scream, the media shout, everyone goes wild – even the airport officials scramble for their mobile phones to get a keepsake. Paul and Nancy look happy in their Happi coats and smile for the photographers and Paul takes his time to walk past the fans, stopping to sign autographs, say hello, read signs and take some gifts. There are children here as young as three and four, equally caught up in the excitement. Paul sees one of these youngsters, a little boy, and makes a beeline for him to shake his hand. As a father of a three year old I thought it was such an amazingly cool thing to do; something that little boy will talk about and treasure his entire life. The parents were beaming!
Eventually after navigating his way past all the fans and media Paul reaches a lift which security whisk him into to take him away safely to a car that is waiting on another floor. In the lift (his first moment of calmness after the incredible scenes) Paul is clearly very moved by what he has just experienced. ‘Oh boy’, he says to us. ‘Isn’t this something, just incredible’. As the lift goes up through the building there are even more fans screaming with banners on every floor we pass. The lift reaches the top floor and Paul leaves, off into a car and hotel bound. What a welcome! Japan, you certainly know how to do things.
Sunday 10th November:
My first trip of the day is to the newsagent. Sure enough I’m not disappointed. The text looks totally alien to me but I recognise the couple in the pictures. Paul and Nancy’s arrival has certainly got some attention here, hitting the front pages of the leading daily papers. McCartney buzz is alive and well in Osaka. The TV news is running on-the-hour bulletins and I hear ‘New’ in the taxi as I travel back to the hotel. As I check all the Google alerts on my phone looking at all the global coverage I see a story from The Sun newspaper in the UK with the headline ‘Hey Judo’, nice one guys.
In the afternoon Paul is scheduled to rehearse in a theatre about an hours drive from the hotel. I travel over with Charlie (tour videographer) and MJ (tour photographer) and on the drive we excitedly chat about yesterday’s arrival, looking at pictures on social media sites. The drive to the theatre takes us through a heavy industrial area which is a striking site as the sun starts to set. We arrive ahead of Paul and I meet up with the local PR guy who takes me through the text of the morning’s coverage and explains that Paul’s arrival here is big national news, which I had kind of worked out without speaking the language! Additionally he has brought some monthly music magazines, which Paul is on the cover of to support the tour and release of ‘NEW’, a number one album in Japan.
After rehearsal Paul is scheduled to record a TV interview with ‘Tokudane’, Fuji TV for Japan’s largest breakfast TV show. He is to be interviewed by a legendary Japanese broadcaster, Mr Ogura, a household name in Japan and is treated with great respect by everyone in the rehearsal building when he arrives. Mr Ogura asks to watch some of the rehearsals and asks questions excitedly about the songs Paul and the band are jamming and the instruments that are being used. In the rehearsal we are treated to some songs from ‘NEW’ that Paul has yet to play publicly live. He jams ‘On My Way To Work’ and ‘Alligator’ amongst treasures such as ‘Nineteen Hundred And Eighty Five’ and ‘Maybe I’m Amazed’ and they do not sound out of place against such well-established tunes.
I linger waiting for Paul to finish up so I can grab him for the interview and as soon as he’s done I do just that. First up Paul goes into makeup that the TV crew have set up for him. The local makeup girl, who doesn’t speak much English, introduces herself. In return Paul says, ‘Hi, I’m Paul’. The makeup girl blushes and giggles and says something in Japanese. The translator laughs and says, ‘Yes, she knows who you are’.
Minutes later Paul is in the interview seat and patiently listening to the questions in Japanese, then the interpreter, before answering each question. It reminds me of a scene out of ‘Lost In Translation’. It turns out Mr Ogura is a massive fan who saw The Beatles when they played in Japan as well as seeing every one of Paul’s solo shows here to date. As a present for Paul he has brought him a miniature hand made Hofner bass guitar. At the end of the interview Paul has his picture taken with all the crew and shakes everyone’s hand individually before leaving the room. The producer tells me that many western artists are not this polite.
Minutes later Paul is in his car and off back to the hotel. And that’s it for day two.
Setlist for the soundcheck
The setlist for this soundcheck is incomplete, or we have not be able to confirm in an accurate way that this was the setlist. If you have any clue, pls let us know and leave a comment.