Japan Newcastle City Hall 1978 and 1981

Japan Newcastle City Hall 1978 and 1981
japan The band Japan first came to my attention when they supported Blue Oyster Cult at Newcastle City Hall in June 1978. There was quite a buzz about this new band at the time, reports portraying them as heavily influenced by Bowie, The Dolls and glam. To be honest, I was somewhat disappointed by their performance that night. They seemed at the time to be all image, with little substance in terms of the music, which was pretty ramshackle punk/new wave. David Sylvian played out his best David Johansen poses, and they did have a quite fun version of “Don’t Rain on my Parade”. But the sound was poor, and they were no match for BOC, who were at the height of their success. I also recently read that Japan supported Jim Capaldi and The Contenders on his UK tour which took place in October 1977. japantix81 Now I saw Jim Capaldi around that time at Newcastle Poly, but I’m afraid that I don’t remember seeing Japan. By the time I saw Japan again, on the “Visions Of China” Tour in 1981, they were a totally different, and very impressive band. They had released their fifth and most successful album Tin Drum, which featured the beautiful and haunting “Ghosts”. Japan were amazing at the 1981 gig at Newcastle City Hall. David Sylvian and Mick Karn were both excellent front men, and I was simply transfixed when they played Ghosts. Supporting Japan that night were Blancmange, who went on to further success themselves. Setlist: Canton, Swing, Gentlemen Take Polaroids, Alien, Talking Drum, Visions Of China, Quiet Life, My New Career, Ghosts, Cantonese Boy, Methods Of Dance, Still Life In Mobile Homes, European Son, The Art Of Parties, Life In Tokyo, Fall In Love With Me, Canton (finale).

One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Mitch on July 17, 2013 at 3:14 pm

    I was at both of these concerts – the concert at Newcastle City Hall when they supported Blue Oyster Cult was on Sunday 30th April 1978.
    I thought that Japan were great at this concert. However, I appreciate that I was very much in the minority as they were booed and heckled relentlessly throughout their set by the majority of the BOC audience.
    Putting these two bands together on the same bill was a horrendous decision by the promoters – Straight Music.

    I have all of Japan’s albums and to this day I still prefer their first two to any of the others.
    The Newcastle 1978 setlist included a Stones song and the B side of the Don’t Rain On My Parade single (Stateline), as well as tracks from both Adolescent Sex and the unreleased Obscure Alternatives.
    Set list was –

    Love Is Infectious
    Communist China
    Doo Doo Doo Doo Doo Heartbreaker
    Obscure Alternatives
    Suburban Berlin
    Adolescent Sex
    The Unconventional

    Once Japan released their next couple of albums – Quiet Life and Gentlemen Take Polaroids – they never performed anything from their first two albums in concert again. Shame.


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