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pink spider & cancellations

March 28, 2011

After the earthquake, most events and social gatherings here in Tokyo were immediately placed on hold. Eric and I had plans to go to two events over the weekend directly after the quake, and I’m sure it comes as no surprise that they were both cancelled. However, the cancellations did not stop there. Over the next few days announcements of cancellation or postponement came for almost every single event that we had scheduled for the rest of the month, and most of the social engagements we had planned were put off indefinitely as we processed the shock of what was going on.

One of the events that we had been planning to see the weekend after the quake was the musical Pink Spider. Most people outside of Japan, and even most of those here in Japan, probably haven’t heard of this particular musical. It pieces together the music of hide to into a rock musical, and was produced with the cooperation of everybody’s favorite bassist J. I’ve been a huge fan of both for many years, and dragged Eric down with me shortly after we started dating 8.5 years ago, so it was a given we’d want to see what this was all about.

Several performances of the two week run of the musical were cancelled, including the show we had purchased tickets to at 1pm on March 12th. Performances resumed several days later, and we received information around then with instructions on how to exchange or refund our unused tickets. I was not really in the correct headspace to go to any events for the first two weeks after the quake, so we put off exchanging our tickets until the last possible day, which was Friday of last week.

The theater Pink Spider was being performed at is actually relatively close to where we live, so we chose to walk there directly. It only took about 20 minutes to get there from our apartment, which is not much longer than it would have taken on the train, considering there would have been a transfer involved. It’s definitely the closest we’ve ever had to go for a music event, which was strange.

At the venue we were directed into a long line outside for people who had called to reserve a spot, and waited our turn to exchange the ticket. It was quite crowded, and I got the impression that many others affected by the cancellations had probably chosen to wait until the Friday evening performance to exchange their tickets due to work, etc.

As always, we were the only non-Asian foreigners present, but somehow this time it felt different in light of all that had happened and the knowledge of how many others had left while we stayed.

We had no real idea what Pink Spider would be about prior to the start and, it being our first Japanese language musical, we were vaguely worried that we’d have a hard time following the story, but it turned out to be a lot of fun. In the end it was pretty much exactly what I’d expected: a thinly veiled excuse to rearrange hide songs for a full musical cast and perform them with choreography. There was just enough story to kind of keep things together and moving forward, but the main point and attraction was definitely hearing how the songs would be performed.

J wandered in and out of the scenes at random intervals with very little reason, and I suspect the entire point of casting him at all was so that he could pay tribute to his friend, attract more viewers, and be involved somehow. He did perform two actual songs (including Rocket Dive) himself during the course of the musical, complete with bass and mic stand, which set off the crowd (myself included, of course) screaming out “J——!!” like the crazy devotees that we are.

After the performance the two headliners and J all said a few words about the earthquake, and thanked everyone for coming to see them despite the hardships that Japan was facing at the moment. There was definitely some of the same feeling of “let’s band together and overcome” that has been oozing out of every orifice in this country lately, and it was both sad, and cheering at the same time.

I had been concerned that I would not be able to get through the performance without getting distracted and going off on mental tangents related to the earthquake, or that I would be too emotional to really concentrate on what was happening on stage, but thankfully that was not the case. I actually think I was somehow LESS emotional than under normal circumstances, considering anything done in tribute to hide usually sees me devolving into a teary mess. I  actually only really teared up during two or three of the more meaningful songs, wondering what hide would think if he were alive and knew the circumstances under which the musical was being performed.

On our way out of the theater Eric purchased the pamphlet, and I stopped by the obligatory donation box to offer up a few thousand yen to the relief efforts under the name of the musical cast and crew. Overall, it was nice to get out and do something normal again after two solid weeks of living and breathing nothing but post-earthquake life.

For reference, here is a list of some of the other lives and events we had scheduled for this month and next that have been cancelled or postponed:

3/12 – Pink Spider Rock Musical at Globe Theatre (postposed to 3/25)
3/13 – Kawamura Ryuichi100 monogatari” live at Nihon Budokan (postponed to 5/3)
3/16 – Inoran Teardrop at Ebisu Liquidroom (postposed to ??)
3/19 – Earthbound Papas Fantasy Rock Fes 2011 at Club Citta (postposed to ??)
3/19 – Yaya Kurofuku Gentei GIG J & Luna Sea Cover band live at Club Top Tsurumi (postposed to ??)
3/21 – Luna Sea Session Tokyo fan music event (postposed to ??)
3/21 – Buck-Tick Standing Tour 2011 at Zepp Tokyo (postposed to ??)
4/23 – Make a Wish Charity Race and Walk in Shin-kiba (cancelled)

2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 29, 2011 5:43 am

    I’m glad that you guys did get to go, and was really wondering what sort of a musical it would turn out to be. Pretty funny to think of J showing up so randomly, but it sounds like it was worth seeing.

    On an unrelated note, did you get the email I sent last week or did I send it to the wrong address again?

    • March 29, 2011 3:37 pm

      The story was just kind of woven in between the songs, and didn’t seem to relate to them too directly. There were 25 songs on the list, and sometimes they did 2-3 back to back with no dialogue at all from one to the other. My theory is that J was supposed to be the ‘benevolent force’ or whatever to counteract the obvious negative influence from Taka, the backing band’s singer. Eric wrote it up in a little more detail than I did.

      Huh.. I -did- get your email.. but that apparently does not translate directly into actually seeing it.. whoops!

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