Concert Report by R.B. Araki - UFO - at Nakano Sunplaza, Tokyo April 24th, 1998
Added on 04/25/1998 Updated on 05/02/1998
A Self Made Man
Out In The Street
One More For The Rodeo
Michael suddenly left the stage and the show was canceled.
What can I say? What should I say? He did it again! This show at Nakano Sunplaza lasted for only 40 minutes before Schenker left the stage just after he finished playing One More For The Rodeo, leaving the rest of the band speechless.
Just after they finished playing One More For The Rodeo, Michael started saying something in a low and subdued voice to the microphone. However, since one guy shouted just behind my ears while he was speaking, I could not recognize what he was saying except for his last word "I'm sorry." Then he threw the white Flying V against the stage floor and left the stage. Apparently, the neck of the V was broken and it definitely needs to be fixed. But it's not yours, is it? Mikee!
After Michael left the stage, the rest of the members stood speechless and shrugged for a while. Then, Phil started saying words for apologies and then left the stage with Pete, Paul and Simon. Audience never stopped clapping and screaming like "Michael, come back please" and "UFO, UFO." However, a Japanese guy from UDO, a promoter, appeared on the stage to announce that the show was canceled and tickets would be refundable. He explained the reason why Michael suddenly left the stage is his illness. He said that UDO people talked with Michael at the backstage and Michael refused to come back to the stage because he was sick and no longer able to continue to play for the night. After a short while, Pete, Phill, Paul and Simon came back to stage and Pete on behalf of the group said a word for apologies. He said that Michael's condition has something to do with what happened in the U.S. in the previous week*. And, he positively stated that they will be carrying on. But neither Pete or the UDO guy could say that the shows tomorrow and the day after tomorrow will definitely go on.
Reporter's note: I guess Pete refered to the gig at the Edge on April 15, 1998. The show only lasted for 45 minutes before Schenker left the stage mid solo during Venus. This was also officially said to be due to Michael's illness. However, on the contrary to the Japan tour, the show on the next day went ahead as scheduled, and UFO did make up April 15's shortened show on April 18.
It seemed to me that Michael was not in a bad condition. Even he seemed to be playing with a smile for some parts. Apparently he had still enough power to throw the Flying V aginst the stage. Then, what was wrong with him? Maybe he was actually ill. Maybe he was not satisfied with his guitar works. Maybe he was not satisfied with the response from the audience. Maybe there was some discord between members. I don't know.
Actually, his guitar playing was not the coolest but it was "normal" (from his standard). He made little mistakes and there were almost no unintentional noises. Only one mistake was that he failed to adequately control volume during Out In The Street. However, it was never a great deal.
Whatever happens, I still love you, Michael! Come back, Please!
Finally, Pete, Phill, Paul and Simon, I really respect you. I highly appreciate your patience.
[Addendum No.1] The above report was written in the midnight after coming back home from the 04/24/98 concert. After finishing this report, I went to bed. Next morning, I was awoken by the ring of the phone which told me about the cancellation of both 04/25 and 04/26 gigs at Nakano Sunplaza. I guess that, if Michael cannot justify the reason for the cancellation,
their future shows in such a big hall in Japan would never be promoted
regardless of the band (MSG, UFO or solo). It looks like the lights are turning red.
[Addendum No.2] After I wrote this report, I have got several contradictory information on why he left the stage; (1)Michael was feverish, (2)Michael's finger was broken, and (3)it was confirmed by Michael himself that his finger is not broken and he will be doing the G3 tour.