2008年07月08日

Tamas Wells live in Tokyo & Kamakura

The English translation follows the Japanese text.

本当は一昨年のグレン・ティルブルックのときみたいに、三夜連続でライヴレポートをあげようかとも思っていたんだけど、ちょっと今回は無理。毎晩ライヴが終わって家に帰ってきたら日付が変わってたもんだから(鎌倉は遠かった…)、それからブログを書く気力がちょっと出なくて。なので、今回は三日間の出来事を、思い出す順につらつらと書いてみることにしよう。

今回は全6公演のうち、青山のグローリーチャペル、鎌倉のcafe vivement dimanche、自由学園明日館に行ってきた。それぞれちょっとずつ構成が違って、青山は前座+タマス・ウェルズ・トリオ、鎌倉は前座+タマス・ウェルズ・ソロ、明日館は前座なしのタマス・ウェルズ・トリオ。

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教会で観るコンサートって、僕はオークランドでのホセ・ゴンザレス以来だけど、普通のコンサートホール以上に音響が素晴らしいよね。きっとこういう類の音楽でなければ、音が反響しすぎてよくないんだろうけど、こういった、声と楽器を一音ずつつぶさに聴いていたいような音楽には最適。二度目のアンコールは、マイクを通さずに一人で歌ったけど、きっと後ろの方の席まで綺麗に聴き取れたことだろう。

タマス・ウェルズ・トリオの基本フォーマットは、タマスが歌とギター、ときどきミャンマーのシタール。500円で買ったそうな。ちなみにギターは去年の800円ギターじゃなくて、“もうちょっと高い”(タマス談)新しいやつ。ネイサンがギターとタンバリン(だいたい足で踏んで鳴らしていた)、それから、歌詞のアンチョコをギターの上に置いての(笑)とても綺麗なコーラス。アンソニーはギターとマンドリン、最終日にはピアノも。

タマスのギターの弾き語りももちろんいいんだけど、複数の撥弦楽器の音が有機的に絡み合い、それに乗せたタマスのあの声とそっとかぶさるネイサンの高音のハーモニーを聴くのはまた格別。まさに、至福の時だった。

今回も演奏を始める前にいくつかの曲の歌詞について解説していた。実は現在のミャンマーの状況を歌っていたという「Signs I Can't Read」。「The Day That She Drowned, Her Body Was Found」で溺れるデニースの携帯から電話を受けたのは、彼女のことを知らない人だったこと(間違い電話だったなんて)。あの物語の一人称をずっと同じ人物だと思い込んでいたことが、ストーリーをうまく理解できなかった一因だったのか。

「14 Acacia Court, Sanctuary Green 3093」(ちなみにこれは架空の住所だそうだ。どこなのかと思ってあちこち検索したのに)を録音していたときに、階下で子供が叫んだ声がそのまま収録されてしまったエピソードも披露。この子供の声は、CDを聴いていても、フーフー鳥の鳴き声(去年のライヴレポート参照)よりもクリアに聴き取れるよね。そういうエピソードを話す際に、実際に歌の一部を歌ってから、子供の叫び声の真似とかフーフー鳥の声の真似をしたりするんだけど、この人って本当に喋るときの地の声と歌声が別人のように違うよね。喋っていて急にあの声で歌いだされるとびっくりするよ。

去年はお好み焼きを連日食べていたようだけど、今回は岡山で食べたキビダンゴのことも気に入ったようだ。

 タマス:「ナゴヤチキンワー、ドーデシタカ?」
 ネイサン:「オイシ」
 アンソニー:「オイシ」


という掛け合いが最高(笑)。

個人的に嬉しかったことがひとつ(いくつもあった中のひとつだけど)。ライヴ終了後にタマスと話をする機会があり、僕の『Two Years In April』のレビューを読んで、“あのブックレットのアートワークと物語の関連を読み解いたくだり、80〜90%は合ってるよ”と言ってくれたこと。“自分でも意識していなかったようなこともあった”って。おせじ半分だとしても、嬉しいよ。

ライヴ終了後は、去年同様に自発的サイン会。それほど長尺ではなかったライヴ自体の長さに匹敵するんじゃないだろうかと思えるほどのたっぷりとした時間を、タマスや他のメンバーは一人ひとりのファンと費やしていた。僕ももちろん、『Two Years In April』のジャケとTシャツにサインをもらったよ。

Signed Two Years In April.gif

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鎌倉に来るのはもう15年振り以上になるけど、いい街だね。ライヴは8時からだったけど、数時間早めに着いて写真を撮ったり買い物をしたりしながらぶらぶらしていた。同じくお土産を買っていたネイサンとタマスにばったり出会ったりも。この写真、こないだ載せた台湾の夜市の写真にそっくりだね。日本もアジアの一部だと思い出させられるシーン。

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会場のCafe Vivement Dimancheは、こじんまりとしたお洒落なカフェ。上の写真の商店街からちょっと入ったところにある。テーブルを取っ払って、70席近くの椅子をびっしりと詰め込んである。立見席も含めて80人限定だとのこと。一番前の席なんて、タマスのマイクから何十センチも離れてないよ。タマスも、“音が足りないと思ったらそこからギターの弦を弾いてくれていいよ”なんて冗談言ってたけど。

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前日のライヴが終わった後にタマスと話した際に、ニューアルバムから演ってほしかったのに聴けなかった曲のことを訊ねた。「Fine, Don't Follow A Tiny Boat For A Day」、「I Want You To Know It's Now Or Never」そして「Writers From Nepean News」の3曲。“「It's Now Or Never」はハーモニーが難しいからできないんだよ。でも他の曲は明日演ってあげるよ”とのことだったのに、この日の5曲目でいきなり「It's Now Or Never」! あ、そうか、ソロだからハーモニーとか関係ないもんね。個人的にはこの曲がこの日のハイライト。ラスト近くで歌の途中にふっとブレークを入れたところが最高にしびれたね。

“どうしてもっとニューアルバムからの曲を演らないの?ニューアルバムのプロモーションツアーなんでしょ?”と訊いたら、“だって日本の人たちは最初によく売れた『A Plea en Vendredi』の曲の方をよく知ってるでしょ”だって。もう、どこまで謙虚な人なんだよ。

この日はネイサンがシャツを着替えてなくて臭いなんて話を何度もしてたなあ。自分がプロモーション写真と同じシャツを着て出てきたことの照れ隠しなんだろうけど(笑)。ネイサンの名誉のためにここに書いておくけど、前日とは違うシャツを着てたし、そんなに臭くはなかったよ(笑)

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ネイサンといえば、前座のステッドファスト・シェパード(The Steadfast Shepherd)は、彼と彼の奥さんのユニット。今回はソロでその名義だったけどね。僕は彼のマイスペースでずっと同じ曲ばかりを聴いていて、いつになったらアルバムが出るんだろうと思っていたんだけど、この度このツアーに合わせて待望のEPをリリース。会場でも売っていたので早速入手。このCDについては、また機会を設けて別記事で取り上げることにしよう。

この日は前日に比べてセットが若干短め。まあ、開始時間自体が遅かったし、メンバーもほとんどのお客さんも、東京まで帰らないといけないからね。でも、お客さんの盛り上がり方は、前日以上だったかも。小さな会場はいいね。ああ、それにしても、鎌倉からほとんど終電近くのたくさんの路線を綱渡りのように乗り継いでの帰路は、ほんとうに遠かったよ。

そして、今回の日本公演の最終日は、明日館講堂という、これもまた素敵な造りのホールで行われた。二部構成+アンコールも含めて、たっぷり1時間半の(タマスにしては)長丁場。

全22曲のほとんどは、前二日に演奏した曲(青山では演奏したが鎌倉ではしなかったもの。またはその逆)の集大成といった感じで、目新しい曲といえば、昨年の東京公演でアンコールで歌われた「Open The Blinds」ぐらいか。

あ、いや、個人的にはこの日の目玉のひとつは、第二部と一回目のアンコール、それぞれのオープニングとしてアンソニー・フランシスがピアノで弾いた「A Dark Horse Will Either Run First Or Last」と「Melon Street Book Club」だったかも。ほんとに、心が洗われるように美しい曲だよね、どちらも。

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この日もまた、日本の食べ物の話題。

 タマス:「キビダンゴワー、ドコー、デシタカ?」
 ネイサン:「オイシ」
 タマス:「違う、違う、ドコは場所だろ」
 ネイサン:「ああ…オカヤマ?」


と、先日よりも若干進歩した(でもネイサンいまいち覚え切れてない)日本語会話のレッスンを披露(笑)

アンコールの最後は、タマスが一人で登場。ステージから降りて、またもノンマイクで歌った「Grace And Seraphim」。『Two Years In April』のエンディングをしみじみと飾るこの曲を、こんなスタイルで眼前で歌われてしまったら、いくらもっと演ってほしくても、もうわがまま言えなくなってしまうよ。タマスたちにとっても、きっとすごく長かったろう10日間をも締めくくる、おだやかなエンディングだった。

ありがとうね、タマス、ネイサン、アンソニー。忘れられない、素晴らしい三日間だったよ。また来年来てよね。

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Setlist 04 July 2008 @ Ivy Hall Glory Chapel Aoyama

1. Lichen And Bees
2. When We Do Fail Abigail
3. Reduced To Clear
4. Vendredi
5. The Day That She Drowned, Her Body Was Found
6. 14 Acacia Court, Sanctuary Green 3093
7. The Opportunity Fair
8. Stitch In Time
9. From Prying Plans Into The Fire
10. Broken By The Rise
11. Three Courses And An Open Canoe
12. The Northern Lights
13. Signs I Can't Read

[Encore 1]
1. Valder Fields
2. For The Aperture

[Encore 2]
1. Nowhere Man
2. Grace And Seraphim


Setlist 05 July 2008 @ Cafe Vivement Dimanche Kamakura

1. For The Aperture
2. When We Do Fail Abigail
3. Reduced To Clear
4. Vendredi
5. I Want You To Know It's Now Or Never
6. 14 Acacia Court, Sanctuary Green 3093
7. The Opportunity Fair
8. Broken By The Rise
9. The Day That She Drowned, Her Body Was Found
10. I'm Sorry That The Kitchen Is On Fire
11. The Northern Lights
12. Signs I Can't Read

[Encore]
1. Stitch In Time
2. Valder Fields
3. Lichen And Bees


Setlist 06 July 2008 @ Jiyugakuen Myonichikan Hall

1. For The Aperture
2. When We Do Fail Abigail
3. Reduced To Clear
4. Vendredi
5. I Want You To Know It's Now Or Never
6. 14 Acacia Court, Sanctuary Green 3093
7. The Opportunity Fair
8. From Prying Plans Into The Fire
9. Broken By The Rise
10. Valder Fields
11. Signs I Can't Read

12. A Dark Horse Will Either Run First Or Last
13. Open The Blinds
14. I'm Sorry That The Kitchen Is On Fire
15. The Day That She Drowned, Her Body Was Found
16. Nowhere Man
17. Stitch In Time

[Encore 1]
1. Melon Street Book Club
2. The Northern Lights
3. Three Courses And An Open Canoe
4. Lichen And Bees

[Encore 2]
1. Grace And Seraphim

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Tamas Wells live in Tokyo & Kamakura

Originally I was going to write live reports three consecutive days like I did for Glenn Tilbrook two years ago. But I gave up. It was always after midnight when I came home after the show (Kamakura was so far away...), so I couldn’t have energy to carry on writing the blog. Instead I just want to note down some of my three days' memories randomly.

Out of the six shows at many places in Japan, I went to Glory Chapel in Aoyama, Café Vivement Dimanche in Kamakura and Jiyugakuen Myonichikan. They had slightly different formations each night. Opening act + Tamas Wells trio in Aoyama. Opening act + Tamas Wells solo in Kamakura. Tamas Wells trio with no opener at Myonichikan.

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The last time I experienced live music at chapel was Jose Gonzalez in Auckland. It's always the great acoustic production better than the normal concert hall. Maybe it's not so suitable if it's for louder kind of music as the sound repercussion could be too much, but it's perfect when it comes to this kind of music which you’d like to listen to every single note and the voice. Tamas sang without the microphone for the second encore. I guess the audience sitting at the far end of the hall could clearly hear his song.

The basic format of Tamas Wells trio was; Tamas Wells - vocal, guitar and occasionally Burmese sitar which he bought for 500 yen. By the way, the guitar was not the last year’s 800 yen one, but "slightly higher" new one according to him. Nathan Collins - guitar, tambourine that he mainly played with his foot, and the beautiful harmony with the lyrics notebook on his guitar :). Anthony Francis - guitar and mandolin. And piano on the last day.

Tamas' solo guitar and the voice was of course good, but it was exceptional when the multiple plucking string instruments organically entwined, and Nathan's high tone harmony gently covers Tamas' voice. Supreme bliss, if I'd name it.

Tamas explained about some songs' lyrics again before he started to sing them. In fact Signs I Can't Read was about the current situation of Myanmar. In The Day That She Drowned, Her Body Was Found, the person who received drowning Denise's phone call was somebody who didn't know her (she called the wrong number). I thought the first personal pronoun in the story was always the same person. That was one of the reasons I couldn't really understand the whole story.

He explained the episode that a child yelled downstairs when he was recording 14 Acacia Street, Sanctuary Green 3093 (by the way, this is a fictional address. I searched here and there when I wrote the album review though). This child's voice is more clearly heard on the CD than the hoo-hoo bird (refer to the last year's live report). When he talks about those episodes, he actually sings a part of the song then imitates the child's voice or the hoo-hoo bird. It's amazing how his usual voice differs from his singing voice. I'm always surprised when he suddenly starts singing while he was explaining about the song in his normal tone.

Last year he ate Okonomi-yaki every day. This time he came to be fond of Kibidango along with other Japanese foods.

Tamas: Nagoya chicken wa dodeshitaka? (How was Nagoya chicken?)
Nathan: Oishi (Delicious)
Anthony: Oishi (Delicious)


It was funny to hear such Japanese conversation of theirs :)

One of the happiest things personally was something Tamas told me after the show. He had read my Two Years In April album review and told me my interpretation about the connection of lyrics and the booklet artwork was 80-90% correct. He also said there was something he hadn't been aware of. He might be just flattering, but I'm glad.

There was a spontaneous signing event after the show, same as last year. Tamas and the members spent abundant time (almost close to the not-very-long live show itself) for signing and chatting with each and every fan. Me? Of course I've got him sign on my Two Years In April cover and the T shirt.

Signed Two Years In April.gif

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Kamakura is always a nice cozy town, though I went there after more than 15 years. The show would start at 8pm, but I went there a few hours before and strolled around. I met Nathan and Tamas who were buying some souvenirs. This photo resembles with the night market in Taiwan that I posted in my last article. It makes me realise Japan is a part of Asia.

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The venue Café Vivement Dimanche is also a cozy stylish café. A short walk from the (pictured above) shopping street. They took out all the tables and put 70-odd chairs with almost no vacant spaces left. It was limited to 80 people including the standing seat. The front row is only less than a meter from the microphone. During the show Tamas joked that the front row audience was allowed to put some notes on his guitar.

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After the previous day's show I asked for some songs that I liked in the new album which they didn't play. They were Fine, Don't Follow A Tiny Boat For A Day, I Want You To Know It's Now Or Never and Writers From Nepean News. Tamas said “It's Now Or Never has too complicated harmony, but I'll play the rest tomorrow”. But in Kamakura he suddenly started to play It's Now Or Never as the 5th song of the show! Ah, of course, he didn't have to worry about the harmony when he sang solo. Personally this song was the highlight of the day. It was really thrilling when he put the break near the ending of the song.

“Why don't you play more songs from the new album? This is the promotional tour of Two Years In April” I asked. Tamas replied “Because Japanese fans should know the songs from A Plea en Vendredi more”. How humble this guy is...

During this show he repeatedly saying Nathan was a smelly man as he hasn't changed the shirt. He must be embarrassed since he was the one who's wearing the same shirt as he wore in the promo photo. For the honour of Nathan here I testify, he was wearing the different shirt from the previous day, and wasn't too smelly :)

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Talking about Nathan, the opening act The Steadfast Shepherd is the unit by Nathan and his wife Fairlie. This time it was Nathan alone. I have been listening to the same songs on their Myspace and wondering when they would release the album. Finally, in line with this Japan tour, they released the long-awaited EP. It was on sale at the venue and I got one. I will write a review about the EP in the separate article.

The show was slightly shorter than the previous day's one. Maybe because the starting time was already late, and both the members and most of the audience had to go back to Tokyo. But I thought the audience was more lively than the previous day, thanks to the small venue. From Kamakura I had to go home changing many last trains just like I was walking tightrope. It took me more than two hours.

And then, the final show of this Japan tour was held at the fancily built hall called Myonichikan. It was two parts show, plus the encores. One hour and half marathon show (for Tamas Wells).

Most of total 22 songs were already played in the previous two shows (some were played in Aoyama but not in Kamakura, or vice versa). Only Open The Blinds was new to me this time, though this one was played at the encore last year.

No, there was another. My personal highlight of this day was A Dark Horse Will Either Run First Or Last and Melon Street Book Club, which were played solo by Anthony with piano as the opener of the second part and the first encore respectively. They both were really soothing, beautiful tunes.

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A topic about Japanese food again.

Tamas: Kibidango wa dokodeshitaka? (Where was kibidango?)
Nathan: Oishi
Tamas: No, no, doko means where.
Nathan: Oh, Okayama?


A little bit of progress (but not much for Nathan) than the previous day :)

The final song of this year's Japan tour was Grace And Seraphim that Tamas sang alone, off the stage, without the microphone again. Even though you wanted more, you couldn't demand anything after listening to this heartily closing song of Two Years In April right in front of your eyes. It was also a calm closing of their 10 days tour (it must've been very long for them).

Thanks Tamas, Nathan and Anthony. It was unforgettable three days. See you next year.

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Setlist 04 July 2008 @ Ivy Hall Glory Chapel Aoyama

1. Lichen And Bees
2. When We Do Fail Abigail
3. Reduced To Clear
4. Vendredi
5. The Day That She Drowned, Her Body Was Found
6. 14 Acacia Court, Sanctuary Green 3093
7. The Opportunity Fair
8. Stitch In Time
9. From Prying Plans Into The Fire
10. Broken By The Rise
11. Three Courses And An Open Canoe
12. The Northern Lights
13. Signs I Can't Read

[Encore 1]
1. Valder Fields
2. For The Aperture

[Encore 2]
1. Nowhere Man
2. Grace And Seraphim


Setlist 05 July 2008 @ Cafe Vivement Dimanche Kamakura

1. For The Aperture
2. When We Do Fail Abigail
3. Reduced To Clear
4. Vendredi
5. I Want You To Know It's Now Or Never
6. 14 Acacia Court, Sanctuary Green 3093
7. The Opportunity Fair
8. Broken By The Rise
9. The Day That She Drowned, Her Body Was Found
10. I'm Sorry That The Kitchen Is On Fire
11. The Northern Lights
12. Signs I Can't Read

[Encore]
1. Stitch In Time
2. Valder Fields
3. Lichen And Bees


Setlist 06 July 2008 @ Jiyugakuen Myonichikan Hall

1. For The Aperture
2. When We Do Fail Abigail
3. Reduced To Clear
4. Vendredi
5. I Want You To Know It's Now Or Never
6. 14 Acacia Court, Sanctuary Green 3093
7. The Opportunity Fair
8. From Prying Plans Into The Fire
9. Broken By The Rise
10. Valder Fields
11. Signs I Can't Read

12. A Dark Horse Will Either Run First Or Last
13. Open The Blinds
14. I'm Sorry That The Kitchen Is On Fire
15. The Day That She Drowned, Her Body Was Found
16. Nowhere Man
17. Stitch In Time

[Encore 1]
1. Melon Street Book Club
2. The Northern Lights
3. Three Courses And An Open Canoe
4. Lichen And Bees

[Encore 2]
1. Grace And Seraphim

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