Following on from their reunion concert at Todaiji Temple in Nara in 2006, they released a new album "Big Mama" in 2007, and they sometimes tour.
Just before I continue, a few items of Godiego information / news that you should know about:
So, I arrived at CC Lemon Hall in Shibuya (wearing a Monkey t-shirt that a Japanese friend made for me many years ago) with my 2 friends - Eiji and Go, Eiji is the person who first told me about Godiego in the early days of this website, back in 1997 - he provided most of the first Godiego information on this website - which CDs contain which songs from "Monkey" etc. Go has also contributed a lot of content to my web site over the years.
A few weeks ago, Mickie Yoshino told me I could go backstage before the concert and meet everyone... so we spoke to the staff, and at around 5pm, we went backstage and met everyone from Godiego!!! It was good to meet everyone at last - plus their families. Since I live in Osaka now, I presented them with a local speciality - takoyaki manju (small cakes in the shape of Osaka's speciality food - octopus balls).
Meeting Yukihide Takekawa - Godiego's vocalist
Meeting Mickie Yoshino and Takami Asano - Godiego's keyboard player (and founder member) and guitarist
Meeting Steve Fox - Godiego's bass guitarist - that's my friend Eiji on the left, and Go on the right
Meeting Tommy Snyder - Godiego's drummer
Meeting Mickie Yoshino and Tommy Snyder - Godiego's keyboard player (and founder member) and drummer - that's my friend Go on the left, and Eiji on the right
Godiego - Best Songs CD - autographed by all the band members
6.30pm came, and the concert began, to rapturous applause from the 1600 or so fans assembled in the hall. They played lots of non-Monkey-related songs of course (apparently, many of these were "maniac" songs - songs that are only known by diehard Godiego fans who have all their albums).
Then the moment came...
Thank You, Baby - LIVE!!! This song wasn't on the set list for the tour, but Mickie added it just for the Tokyo date because it's my favourite Godiego song... this was a great moment!
Next, the tempo built up, and after a long intro, they belted out "Monkey Magic", which got everyone in the audience up on their feet, clapping and singing along.
Just think about it for a moment - Monkey Magic - LIVE!!!!!!
[Tommy Snyder, the drummer, did the "Monkeeeeeeeeeey" yell at the start (although Steve Fox did it on the recorded version - apparently, for timing reasons, Tommy has to do it when they play it live)]
Next up was the legendary "Gandhara", apart from being well-known to "Monkey" fans as the end theme in season 1 of the show, it's also the song that everyone in Japan knows, even people who don't know Godiego so well.
Gandhara - LIVE!!! Again, what can I say?! I spent half of this song with my eyes closed, savouring every note... thinking about when I first heard this song as a child, every Friday evening after school, during the closing titles of "Monkey". Extremely "natsukashii". I couldn't speak afterwards - this was really, really moving.
Afterwards, before moving onto lots of other Godiego hits, they played "Holy and Bright" (the end song to season 2 of "Monkey"), which really surprised me too!
Later songs included "Galaxy Express 999", "Beautiful Name" and "Cherries Were Made For Eating". "Beautiful Name" included the obligatory audience participation game where the audience were divided in two, and each side had to sing "Ooh arr ooh arr ra ra ra ra, ra ra ra ra, ra ra ra ra" the loudest. The other side won!
After the show, we went backstage again for the "uchiage" (a toast to the band by all the assembled guests, plus speeches by the band members).. this was really nice, and I got a chance to speak to the band members a lot more, in particular, Yukihide Takekawa. He's a renowned Japanese manga comic collector, and has a collection of several thousand at home!
A truly magical evening - thanks, Mickie, for inviting me!
I first met Mickie Yoshino from Godiego on a visit to Japan in 2001 - thanks to my friend Nori, I was invited to a small solo show that he did in Osaka. At this show, his only instrument was a piano, yet - for me - he played "Monkey Magic", including the long "The Birth of the Odyssey" on piano!! I got to meet him before and after the concert - he told me so many stories about Godiego and about the Monkey cast, all of whom he is friends with.
Around 10 days later, I met Mickie again, at Godiego member Takami Asano's birthday party in Tokyo.
In 2003, I visited Japan again, and attended a concert in Yokohama where Mickie played keyboard alongside a shamisen (traditional Japanese instrument) player.
On Sunday 25 May 2008, along with the UK video / DVD distributors of "Monkey", we met up with Mickie Yoshino and Godiego's manager. During this concert, before "Thank You, Baby", Mickie briefly played a few notes from "Monkey Magic" on a children's toy stylophone, which was a present from the UK "Monkey" video / DVD distributors at this meeting.