Saturday 15th June began with a mild headache. The relief of getting through our first concert relatively unscathed so soon after a long journey meant that we allowed ourselves some time to celebrate and let our hair down on Friday evening. Dan, Sasha and I decided we would sample some world-renowned Japanese whisky, only to be met with a look of disbelief from the barman when asking for doubles. It turns out singles in Japan are the equivalent of our cost-cutting UK double measures so naturally, we thought we should take advantage of this and have another. We felt as though we deserved it – Septura concerts are terrific fun and I particularly enjoy the physical and mental challenges the gigs present, but as a brass player, no amount of practice and rehearsal can truly prepare you 100% for a gig of this nature. There will always be things that are left to chance and this is often the catalyst for a really exciting performance.
We were met by Septura no.1 fan Tadao, whom I had heard so much about. He’s a charming and enthusiastic man, who has supported the group from the very early days. Tadao had organised a joint concert with Tokyo brass and the whole event ran from 1 30-4 15 with numerous intervals, finishing up with a great arrangement for “massed band” of Pomp and Circumstance, or “Pomp and Stomp” as the Gubbay aficionados of the group refer to it. We were all very grateful that artistic director Simon Cox remembered to pick up all of the Septura music from his hotel room, thus avoiding the panic and despair of the previous day.
With gig number 2 done, we proceeded to a post-concert reception that Tadao had organised for us, joined by the wonderful people from Tokyo Brass plus various friends and family.
After a couple of hours socialising, taking pictures and having a good giggle when one of the ladies from Tokyo brass put all of us through the gender swap “filter” on Snapchat (Simon Cox was by far the most convincing), we returned to the hotel for some necessary “me-time” only to be met by a barrage on the group WhatsApp chat. Dan West was busy doing his research for the evening ahead and advised us that we should go and check out Shinjuku. He didn’t let us down – it’s an incredibly vibrant part of Tokyo, bursting with character and full of locals enjoying an evening out. Completely by accident we ended up in a posh restaurant, indulging in a delicious 7 course taster menu (well we’ve got to spend that daily subsistence somehow!). We then ended up in an arcade, where the group got to show-off their various skills including shooting zombies, basketball and Mario Kart. Dan and I were very distressed when we saw the out-of-service Air Hockey table, both claiming that it was “our game”. With the competitive edge in us bubbling away, perhaps it was for the best that we didn’t get to play it… we have to stay friends if we’re going to do all of these concerts together!
Mindful of another early start, we made our way onto the last tube home. The next morning we travel out to Mito for another concert, put on by our fantastic host Genroh Hara. The train journey is a great opportunity to catch up on some admin, catch some more “Zeds”, look at the picturesque Japanese countryside or in my case, compile this blog…