Someone Call Guinness: The Longest Concert, EVER!

Posted on Monday, January 25, 2010 | 0 comments

   We went to a jazz (sort of jazz...'jazzy'?) concert on Saturday night, since Yuki was dying to see an internationally-acclaimed bass player who would be playing along with a famous 14-year-old drummer and a couple of other guys who are well-known artists in Japan.
 The drummer (the young prodigy) is Riku Taira. He lives in Shizuoka and obviously has a lot going for him. He's something of a wonder here and seems like a great kid overall--Yuki has actually played with him a few times, having first met him when he (Riku) was only 11. This whole concert was put together for (and maybe by?) him, to celebrate his 14th birthday, so there were a lot of family/friends there to wish him well, along with his usual fans.
The bass player/lead vocalist, Kenji 'Jino' Hino, grew up in the US and comes from a family of musical greats--his father is well-known jazz trumpeter Terumasa Hino (the man has his own page on Wikipedia), and his grandfather was also a trumpeter. Kenji himself is obviously a very talented studio artist and has worked with artists such as Boys II Men, Jessican Simpson, Marcus Miller, and many others.
  Also comprising this group were: Masa Kohama, Penny-K, and Nobu-K. Masa is a guitarist working in Tokyo right now, but he lived in LA for quite a long time (I can't remember the exact number he gave me when we chatted during intermission, but his English was perfect and natural, so I'm guessing it was quite a while). I'm sure that it says more about him on his profile online, but considering that I can't read the Japanese, I'm afraid I can't go into more details on him here. Too bad, since he's a wonderful guitarist! I wish that I could've heard more of his playing, actually.
  Penny-K and Nobu-K were the keyboardist and bass keyboardist, respectively. Again, I couldn't find anything about them online in English.
  So now you know the group. As for the concert itself...I have to admit that I initially wasn't really looking forward to it, seeing as 1. I'm not a fan of instrumental jazz at all,  2. I have the attention span of a ferret, or maybe a cranked-up squirrel, and 3. did I mention that I'm not a fan of instrumental jazz at all??  But, Yuki asked me to go with him, and since I am a HUGE fan of my husband, I said ok.
 I was happily surprised to realize that I liked the first half of the show...Jino, who was leading the group, is also pretty good at singing, and the talent on stage was undeniable. Intermission came quickly, and I figured that my brain and rather antsy legs could easily survive another 45 minutes to an hour of the second half.
 HAH! Jino fooled us!
 For some reason, he begin performing more and more solos during the second act, while the rest of the guys just stood around listening or maybe doing some soft background accompaniment. The other guys did of course take their turns for solos, too, but Jino's were far more frequent and much, much longer. The first couple of times I was ok with it (although in my mind, one can only hear bass solo for so long), but after a while I slowly began to feel as if I was being tortured. And then I felt guilty for thinking that way...that thought quickly being followed by 'Am I uncultured? Should I be appreciating this??'
 Time dragged on...and on...and on. Ok, maybe I'm exaggerating a bit. A very little bit. And I began to feel less guilty for imagining that I was trapped in a bad dream, since I noticed that quite a few people around me were either dozing off or casting ever-less-surreptitous glances at their watches. The other guys on stage even began to look pained, and slowly some bolder (smarter?) people in the crowd started to slip out the door.
 At 9:45 (the second set had started at 8 pm), I was about to tell Yuki that I was leaving at 10 sharp and taking the train home by myself, having determined that it was probably less rude to leave 'early' than to lose it during the concert, when Jino finally decided that enough was enough! YEA! I know that I personally was clapping mostly because they (he) stopped; I'm not sure about anyone else's intentions.
Of course, then there was the encore, but thankfully it was just one more song. We finally left (ok, I bolted out the door, I'll admit it) at about 10:20, well more than an hour past the expected ending time.
  Now, I don't want to sound like an awful, overly-critical person, and I really hope that I'm not coming across that way. Jino and the rest of those guys have AMAZING talent and were all great to see in concert. The first set, like I said before, was incredible. But I think the lesson from this experience (which hopefully some of us...'us' being you-know-who...have learned) is: all things in moderation...especially when it comes to performing solo after long solo and tooting your own horn (yep, bad pun intended!) at a child drummer's birthday celebration!

                           Kenji Hino with Riku Taira on the drums

    Penny-K on keyboard

           On the guitar: Masa Kohama