On the Japanese tour...
Saturday 14th October 2000
It was the first date of this Japan tour, and also my birthday. What a wonderful birthday present I got from Sting! The venue was Pacifico Yokohama, and the show started shortly after 6.10pm. Sting looked very healthy and young, wearing a black tank top and dark khaki cargo pants. I couldn't believe he had just turned 49!
The set consisted of 21 songs and lasted almost 2 hours. The audience really enjoyed the show, and afterwards I went to the stage door, and at soon Sting and the band members came out of the door, got in their vans and left for town.
Sunday 15th October 2000
Today's venue was Sendai, in the northern part of Japan. My husband and I took the Shinkansen 'bullet train' and two hours later we arrived in Sendai. Interestingly, in an interview with a Japanese radio station Sting said he was a train buff, and was always happy to take the Shinkansen. We arrived at the hall quite early so we waited outside and at 2.30pm the band started rehearsing and we could hear 'Shape Of My Heart' and 'Bring On The Night' being played. We also heard Sting talking about singing!
The show started around 5pm, and because it was colder than Tokyo, Sting wore a black pullover with a blue front bodice and a yellow horizontal line in a back bodice - same pants as the previous night. The set list and arrangements were also the same as the Yokohama too, although Sting's guitar didn't seem to be in good condition during his guitar solo in 'Fragile'. When the show finished at around 7.00pm, 15-20 fans waited at the stage door to see them leaving. The door was open and we could see Sting and the band waiting inside. When they came out to get in their cars, we waved at them and they waved back to us, but only Sting waved to the staff.
Monday 16th October 2000
Tonight's show was held at Budokan in Tokyo. When I arrived at 3.45pm they were rehearsing and I heard 'Fragile' being played. Perhaps they rehearsed this song because Sting had problems the previous night? Sting was wearing the same outfit as in Yokohama, and although the set list of the show was almost the same as the day before, today Sting played the guitar solo very well during 'Fragile'. At the end of the solo part, I saw Sting smiling at the band members.
Wednesday 18th October 2000
Today was Osaka in the western part of Japan, three hours from Tokyo by the Shinkansen. My friend and I arrived in Osaka at early afternoon, and after some sightseeing we went to the venue, 'Castle Hall'. We were in luck and saw them entering the hall. The Castle Hall is a much bigger venue than Budokan, but it was full. As usual, Sting's costume was the same as was the set list. During 'A Thousand Years', Sting whispered ''I still love you...'' between the words and he began to describe a woman's bodyline in the air while he was singing 'We'll Be Together'. After the show, we went to the exit of Castle Park (the hall is in the park) because the security didn't let us wait for the band at the stage door. When the cars only four fans (2 other guys and us) were waiting and we leaped and waved when they came past. Of course they saw us and they smiled. And more over only Sting waved back to us!! We really had a good time.
Monday 23rd October 2000
Today we were in Nagoya. Nagoya is not as far to travel for us as Osaka, only about two hours from Tokyo by the Shinkansen. However, because I took a highway bus it took 8.5 hours to get there from Tokyo! I arrived at the Rainbow Hall at 5.30pm, and while waiting for the doors to open one of the crew members was there too. I spoke with him, and he turned out to be Nick Sholem, the lighting designer. He was really nice and we talked a lot. He told me that the Oct 25th show would be on TV. The show started shortly after 7.00pm - same costume, same fine performance. During 'Roxanne', Sting didn't play the 'Can't Stand Losing You bass' line tonight, instead, he improvised by humming. To me the melody of the humming sounded like the introduction of 'Spirits In The Material World', and during 'Fragile' he changed the guitar solo arrangement a little.
Wednesday 25th October 2000
At last they were back in Tokyo, at the Budokan. This show was video taped for TV. I again heard them rehearsing 'A Thousand Years' in the afternoon. Perhaps because of the filming every band member looked energetic, especially Manu Katché and Russ Irwin, whose performances were so powerful. The lighting was also a little different. They lit the audience near the stage during the show for the video shooting, and because of the light it was so hot that we sweated. It must have been even hotter for the band, as Sting was dripping with sweat by the time he finished the fourth song. The set list and songs and the arrangements were the same as usual, but this day's performance was really good!
Thursday 26th October 2000
I couldn't believe the final day of this Japanese tour had already come. Time really flies when you have fun! I went to Budokan early as usual to hear the last rehearsal, but I couldn't hear it because they came late. Around 4.40pm, I saw five vans entering Budokan and inside the vans I saw Sting, Chris, Dominic and a few crew members. There was only about an hour until the doors opened, so I guess they didn't do the rehearsal. The last show started at 7.10pm, with Sting's costume, the set list and the arrangements all the same as usual. However, I felt they were more relaxed, perhaps as it was the last day. Dominic was drinking a glass of red wine.
When they played 'Moon Over Bourbon Street', Chris's trumpet was supposed to hold the note at the introduction, but he cracked. Sting of course noticed it and immediately started chuckling. Chris did it again later and Sting giggled once more. However Sting did the same thing when he sang 'Englishman In New York', when his voice cracked in the middle of the song and he chuckled to himself. It was really fun to see them like that because they are always perfect. During 'Fragile' Sting played his guitar solo part longer than usual and the improvisation was a little different. We really enjoyed the last show and waited for them outside afterwards.
We waved goodbye to them as the two week 'Brand New Day' Japan tour had finished... These two weeks are a wonderful memory. A few days later my husband's friend told us that Sting came to the Italian bar which his friends own on the 26th after the final show. There were a few customers at the bar and he said Sting was 'quiet'. Thank you very much for giving us a great time Sting! We'll wait for you coming to Japan next time.
(c) Hiroko Sacripante for Sting.com