NB: This was originally on the main site but for some reason now no longer displays so it’s been imported to our blog.

The leaflet promised a “Powerful And Soulful Night In Okazaki” during the Hilltop Jazz Concert 2000. So this was my anticipation of the night during the 16 September 2000.

My main taste of music is NOT Jazz nor Soul music, it tends to lean towards music which is a bit more heavier.  Nevertheless, I’d give Jazz and Soul music a go. Leaving the house in the pouring rain, we arrived at the “hilltop”, which was infact the local performing arts building (which happened to be located at the top of a hill) it was still raining, so a careful walk up the wet stone path under umbrellas to the entrance of the building was in order.

After fighting with the umbrella bags that were supplied to sheathe the wet umbrellas it was a noisy walk across the wet tiled floor (apparently not everybody made use of the umbrella bags), to the hall entrance. Handed in my ticket, it was ripped and 3/4 given back to me. Then we were allowed to enter the main hall.

Heading to section “S” I noticed that people were taking any old seats. I was informed that some sections were “general seating” sections, so it was a case of anything goes. (I later learned from some people I saw there, that some people had been sitting in the hall since 11:00am that morning! – Too much time on their hands I think).

Once we found some reasonable seats it was a case of waiting for 35 minutes until the show started (the show was due to start at 6:00pm), leafing through the brochures/flyers that were handed to me, I could see (and “read”) information about upcoming events and the evenings performers.

The main performer of the concert was a lady called “Keiko Lee”, who I have never heard of, but according the (Japanese) flyer, she’s been around for a while (6 CD albums). So assumed that she must be decent to have been around for such a length of time. The other group was a Japanese group called “The Gospellers” along with backing music by an outfit who call themselves the “Doki Doki Monsters”!

At 6:01pm the lights dimmed and a Japanese man walked onto the stage. (I later learned that he was the guitarist for the Doki Doki Monsters. He introduced the other members of the Doki Doki Monsters and then himself. Then he introduced Keiko Lee, but where was she? Suddenly the building spotlight’s started to swirl around and then they focused on a member of the audience, I, along with everybody else just sat there wondering what the hell was going on…

Suddenly the guitarist shouted out “KEIKO LEE” again, and the woman who was spotlighted stood up and ran towards the stage while in the process of taking off her sunglasses and floor length coat.

Having only seen two pictures Keiko Lee (both in the flyers) I was unable to tell if she looked any different from the pictures than she did in real life. Once up on stage she greeted the crowd very briefly before launching into her first song.

As I said before I don\’t know anything about Miss Lee, so I am unable to recall the name of the song, nor the contents of the song (or even if it was her song or a cover). The biggest shock which was apparent right from the begining of her set was the fact she was singing in English. When the audience realised that the song was in English you could feel the atmosphere change to something a bit more unreceptive, though this unreceptive mood of the audience soon vanished once the second song was underway.

The second song was called “New York State of Mind”, from her latest album. The overall feel of Keiko’s set and the songs she presented felt like “club jazz”… slow and soft.

When The Gospellers took to the stage the tempo increased a bit (a welcome relief), but having not heard the Gospellers before I (again) was unfamiliar with their music, but I guess they sounded like the Backstreet Boys.

Towards the end of the show both Keiko Lee and The Gospellers did a few duets, and the pace/tempo picked up even more, especially the Doki Doki Monsters’ drummer who started to bash the living daylights out of his kit.

To be continued… (one day, if ever)

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