May 10, 2003

By Michael Strickland

Van Halen at the Tokyo Dome

[This is my "rerun" day for May. This time, I unearthed an ancient nugget from my newsletter "Strick-tly Speaking," which I sent to family and friends while stationed overseas in the Navy. This article was written February 15, 1989.]

When we heard Van Halen was coming to Tokyo to play, I and a select few of my buddies jumped at the chance to go get crazy. It had been a while since my last concert, and I needed to let loose. Come the day of the concert, we all managed to get off work at noon and proceeded to Club Alliance for a few beers before the train ride to Tokyo. On the way to the station, we passed a liquor store, and I made the suggestion that we buy some beer for the train ride. The others agreed, and we boarded the train with a five-liter mini-keg. We polished that off in no time, and our excursion was beginning to look like it would be a blast. We even made it to the Dome on the first try, with plenty of time to spare. We found our seats, and shortly the concert commenced. That's when it all started to go downhill.

Let me now interject that I will not go to another concert in Japan. The band itself put on an excellent performance, the crowd around us was enthusiastic, but the staff sucked. Our seats (which were wide enough for one of my butt cheeks) were in the first row of the section we were in, and there was a 15-foot aisle in between our section and the one in front of us. When the concert started, pretty much everyone stood up, and as it was cramped, we kind of moved out a few feet from our chairs. Almost immediately, a bouncer (dressed in a three-piece suit, as all of them were) came up and told us to move back. A little later, I lit a cigarette and another bouncer came up and told me I couldn't smoke. (You anti-cig zealots are applauding right now, but that was the first concert I've ever been to that I couldn't smoke at.) In the section in front of us, a guy got on another's shoulders, and the ever-present bouncer ran over and chided them. At the end of the concert, waiting for the band to come out for an encore, I lit my lighter and held it up in the air (as is customary). Immediately, a bouncer appeared at my side and told me to put it out.

All in all, the atmosphere was entirely too mellow for a rock concert, and I came "home" that night quite dissatisfied. Everything I was used to doing at a rock concert in the States was not allowed in Tokyo Dome. Part of the reason I wanted to see Van Halen was to get a feeling I was back home by association with past experiences. I guess I'll just have to wait till I can go home and experience the real thing!


©2003 Michael Strickland ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

What is "The Daily Strick"?

I have long called myself a writer, but too often I don't do what a writer must do daily: write. So you, dear reader, are the beneficiary of my resolution to make a positive change in at least one area of my life. Every single day of this new year, I will write something, anything, and post it here. It is my intention to use this daily exercise to jump-start my too-long-dormant creative energies, and perhaps generate some worthwhile material this year. Hopefully you will find at least an occasional amusement or insight in my daily musings.

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