Godiego Live in Tokyo 2008

[Many thanks to Mickie Yoshino and Godiego]

On Saturday 22 November 2008, I went to see Godiego live in concert for the first time - at CC Lemon Hall in Shibuya, Tokyo! This was the last concert of a mini tour - just 3 dates: Akita, Nagoya, Tokyo.

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:

  • Mickie Yoshino wrote all the music for a new comedy film called "Happy Flight", just released in Japan, The director of this film was at the aftershow party!
  • At Godiego's Todaiji concert in 2006, not only did they play the entire "Magic Monkey" album, they also played lots of the instrumental music from "Monkey" (da da da da, dada, dada etc.) that isn't available on CD anywhere... Mickie told me he still has the master recordings... this concert was available to buy on DVD. See the GODIEGO / GODIEGO in Todaiji [Limited Release] page. You can buy it secondhand online from Amazon.co.jp, but this page is only in Japanese (but the info page, track listing etc. can be found in English here). If you find it available to buy online in English somewhere, please let me know using the Monkey Feedback page.
  • Lots of Godiego's albums were recently digitally remastered and rereleased in Japan - including "Magic Monkey"! You can buy it online from CDJapan - just go to this page: GODIEGO / Saiyuki (Journey to the West)
  • Following lots of requests on their web site, one of the karaoke disc manufacturers (JoySound) added the Godiego song "Thank You, Baby" to the catalogues in 2008 - so if you go to a karaoke box that uses JoySound discs, you can sing it on karaoke now - and of course, I have!
  • Godiego will do a concert in Tokyo again in March 2009 - be there!

    CC Lemon Hall in Tokyo CC Lemon Hall in Tokyo

    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
    Godiego in Tokyo 2008 - meeting Yukihide Takekawa
    Meeting Mickie Yoshino and Takami Asano - Godiego's keyboard player (and founder member) and guitarist
    Godiego in Tokyo 2008 - meeting Mickie Yoshino and Takami Asano
    Meeting Steve Fox - Godiego's bass guitarist - that's my friend Eiji on the left, and Go on the right
    Godiego in Tokyo 2008 - meeting Steve Fox
    Meeting Tommy Snyder - Godiego's drummer
    Godiego in Tokyo 2008 - meeting Tommy Snyder
    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 in Tokyo 2008 - meeting Mickie Yoshino and Tommy Snyder
    Godiego - Best Songs CD - autographed by all the band members
    Godiego in Tokyo 2008 - Godiego - Best Songs CD, signed by everyone

    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!

    Godiego in Tokyo 2008 - Godiego, all together, at the aftershow party Godiego in Tokyo 2008 - Godiego, all together, at the aftershow party Godiego in Tokyo 2008 - guest pass for the aftershow party


    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.
    Meeting Mickie Yoshino in Tokyo, May 2008

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