The Power Station Live In Japan (1996)
It was 1996 and the 80's had come to a disappointing conclusion in contrast to its glorious on-set. However, Brit-Pop had seen off naff pop, Grunge has passed along with Curt Cobain, House music was exploding, Ibiza was back to its best and something about getting "loved up" was essential. So what were we going to do different, bugger all, we had a soulful Blues singer from Sheffield and stuff like that's written in stone, although Mr. Palmer was intuitive at flavouring his sound with contemporary influences, not being one to stand still, but he may not have been on the same frequency as Teenage Fan-club or The Inspiral Carpets.
The tracks uploaded are taken from some of the shows that we did in Japan '96 with Robert Palmer on vocals. He didn't do a lot of big touring after this. In fact, he had told me that he was pretty much just doing it for himself now… So, I've put it up because it sounds different, indeed very rock, and this line up only indulged themselves in this one jaunt, sadly unable to ever go out and do it again… I always believed we would have done a third Power Station album had Robert and Tony not passed away. Robert and I had mentioned this in conversation just prior to his death.
Of course, being Power Station, it wouldn't have been right if there wasn't some form of chaos heading our way, just over the horizon. And sure enough, Guy Pratt, the bass player who substituted for Bernard Edwards, substituting for JT, missed his flight from San Francisco where he was on a Pink Floyd gig… He's now a full-time comedian. At the time, it wasn't even momentarily funny… Sunday morning, I get the call first. Guy's flight is delayed. Who's to know if he missed it or it was delayed but we faced letting down 4,500 people and suffering a huge loss if we missed the show. And it's Sunday…
How we pulled it of I will never know. We had to locate a left hooker bass guitar on a Sunday, which we did. So Luke Morely heroically stepped in and played the bass parts… Swift shot, on stage, keep it together, bit like a tough working man's club gig… We were over, out and well into the post show hotel bar jolly-up when Guy eventually showed up, a few Jack n' Coke's has evened the tempers for the moment, but it was a bit of a ride for a few hours pulling the bass line out of the hat… And with only 1-guitar on an already minimal line-up, it was about as bare assed a sound as you get away with.
I remember after everybody had retired from the hotel bar, Luke and I decided that there must be another bar open late somewhere and indeed, as the instinct took over, we found it. God knows how we remembered our way back to the hotel, but there's a homing device that all blokes are fitted with on the road that enables getting back to you room, mostly in one piece, a possibility…
The band line-up for this leg was:
Robert Palmer: vocals
Tony Thompson: drums
Luke Morely: guitar and backing vocals
Guy Pratt: bass and backing vocals
Myself: guitar, backing vocals and... "Lets travel economy to save some money"… Dunno what had gotten into me!!!
A classic two guitars, bass and drums sound (my favourite)… The overall audio on the recording ain't that bad, there's a bit of image jigging here and there but it feels like a gig, with a very Wednesday night audience. I think it was Jim Ebdon who did the out front and he was very very good, probably the best I've heard.
Robert is talking a lot in-between songs, not always his way… "In fact, its so rock that the English banned it from the radio" That was in reference to She Can Rock It. We were also banned from mainstream US TV stations - one of the ABC breakfast news shows - because of the reference to "kisses like cocaine" and "donut holes"… I mean I get the first but funny looking donuts!!!
There's a rather long version of James Brown's Hot Pants. We never actually rehearsed this song and I don't recall that anybody ever really knew the arrangement, just sort of waited for the singer to make a move and go with that. But generally Robert seems to be in good spirits, high spirits even…
I think we exhausted the EMI label representative, they thought we were not taking our promotion duties very seriously. True, there wasn't any career pressure and, as we were driving around Tokyo doing interviews, we did indeed make many stops at the Saki dispensing machines, even though it was cold, it was still good…
Andy Taylor (2011)