Japan Aid 1986 (Virtuoso 119/120)
Jingu Stadium, Tokyo, Japan – December 20th & 21st, 1986
Disc 1 (54:24): Red Rain, Here Comes The Flood, Red Rain, Shock The Monkey, San Jacinto, Sledgehammer, Biko, Band Introduction, In Your Eyes
Disc 2 (50:30): Red Rain, Shock The Monkey, No Self Control, Sledgehammer, Band Introduction, In Your Eyes, Biko
Peter Gabriel ended his busy 1986, after a long tour of the US and Canada, with two shows in Tokyo, Japan. The Hurricane Irene – The Concert for the University of Peace/United Nations University Japan Aid was a two-day, 15-hour concert with performances by Peter Gabriel, Lou Reed, Stas Namin, Youssou N’dour & Les Super Etoiles de Dakar, Rebecca, Howard Jones, Takako & Crazy Boys, Sandii & The Sunsets, Little Steven & The Disciples of Soul, Nona Hendrix and Yoshihiro Kai.
Of all the charity events and causes in the eighties, this is perhaps the most obscure. A video featuring some performances from the event was released in 1987 but quickly went out of print and the entire festival has lapsed into obscurity.
Robert Keating, writing in Spin magazine, wrote: “What happens when some of the world’s best known musicians get together for a giant benefit concert and leave their PR people at home? Hardly anyone ever hears of it. That’s exactly what happened when Peter Gabriel organized a major benefit concert in Tokyo in December 1986 (to fund an ambitious peace project) that could have reached the scale – and the hype – of the Live Aid and Mandela concerts.”
But, worried about losing control of the final product, Gabriel spurned offers from networks and corporate sponsors.
The article continues, “Working under the premise that ‘peace is too important to be left in the hands of the politicians and diplomats,’ their goal was to raise funds for a global computer network for the university, which had been created by the United Nations in 1980.”
Japan Aid 1986 on Virtuoso presents two excellent sounding tapes covering both of Gabriel’s sets. The December 20th show appeared on an older release called Take The Sledgehammer (DGDC 009). But Virtuoso found two excellent, previously uncirculated tapes for this collection. Meiji Jingu Stadium is a outdoor baseball park and there is obvious evidence of the outdoor venue on the tape.
The set for both nights are similar: the big numbers from So such as “Red Rain” and “Sledgehammer” together with past hits like “Shock The Monkey” and his big political anthem “Biko.” The only two differences are “San Jacinto” is sung the first night and “No Self Control” the second, and “In Your Eyes” change places with “Biko” each night.
The first show is notable for a breakdown at the beginning. The band are introduced and they start “Red Rain.” After a minute the music stops and Gabriel tells the “We have problem. We have no bass guitar.” He sings a verse of “Here Comes The Flood” to the piano accompaniment before the situation is fixed and they can start again.
It’s a shame the sets are so short because the performances are very good. Japan Aid 1986 is a good release to have because it offers excellent sounding tapes of an extremely obscure period in Peter Gabriel’s performance history.