Coming into Hiroshima always makes me ponder about when the city that was once in radiated ashes. I don’t mean to keep saying what has long been the obvious to talk about Hiroshima; the first use of an atomic weapon in the history of this world. Yes we’ve all seen the pictures and probably watched some documentaries at one time or another.
The vibe and feelings can’t even compare to that, in my opinion, as to when you stand here in Peace Park and gaze at what has now become an iconic symbol for the advocating towards the prevention of ever using such a weapon of that magnitude again. It’s stirring and haunting at the same time. To think that the landscape all around me 75 years before was total and utter destruction. People evaporated within the blink of an eye. Men, women and children all gone in a literal flash. Those who perished in that blink were spared the pain and hardships that came with either their recovery or their agonizing slow death due to radiation poisoning and burns. This city has risen from those ashes and it’s a beautiful city now.
The food here is fabulous and the people are warm and generous. We’re playing Jive Juke House again and the interesting thing about this gig is that it’s on the 19th floor of a high rise right off Peace Avenue. All I have to do to view a portion of the Hiroshima skyline is to turn around while playing. Behind the staging area are big plate glass windows. At night it’s so gorgeous. I actually will pause between songs while I’m getting a drink and stand there and stare out at the city, can’t believing that I get to come here, play my music and look at this view from the stage. The only other stage that beats this is when I played in Italy on an afternoon gig in a little piazza and behind us was Lake Cuomo. Stunning. But here I have the advantage of knowing a little bit of the language and customs. I couldn’t feel more comfortable.
Tonight our opening band is my good friend Kaz. Kaz I’ve known for over 10 years and I met him when I did a gig in Charlotte, N.C. at the Double Door. Kaz at the time was a medical student at Duke University and he’d heard about me on the net or somewhere but he decided to come down and check me out. The rest is history or so they say. Dr. Kaz still has a passion for surgery and for music. He’s quite the accomplished player and I sat there in the front row to watch his entire show. Some people thought I was being mean but I know he’ll remember that for the rest of his life that he got to play for me and I did enjoy it. Dr. Kaz also has a Chicago Blues Box that he lets me take on tour while in Japan and I told him how big of a help that is to me because I don’t have to adjust my style when it comes to my tone. It’s the same tone I play with back at home so my ears don’t need to have an acclimation period and the learning curve is nonconsequential. I’m starting to learn the 819 pedals better and I’m starting to discover the different colors they have. We’ve begun to hit our stride as well cuz’ we’ve been banging out show after show while here in Japan and the clubs have had pretty consistent PA systems in them. Tonight was a lot of fun and we all had a good time.
This tour is shaping up to be one of my best and favorite tours over here. We’re coming near the end and I’m starting to feel a bit sad that I have to say good-bye soon.
Fukuoka and Saga are all that remain.