By Madeline Bocaro ©
On August 1, 1974 Yoko began a week of rehearsals for her tour of Japan with her Plastic Ono Super Band. The single, ‘Yume O Moutou 夢をもたう(Let’s Have A Dream)’ b/w ‘It Happened’ was released on September 20 only in Japan.
The Japanese people highly respected Yoko. She was not scorned for her association with John Lennon or the Beatles in her homeland as she was in other countries. Yoko was recognized in Japan as the artist she had been since the 1950s. This is evidenced in the amazing welcome she received upon her arrival at the airport when she stepped off the plane.
Yoko arrived at Haneda airport, Tokyo on August 9th to a wild and warm reception!
Photo: Bob Gruen
Yoko was barraged by the media, giving several press conferences.
Photos: Bob Gruen
Yoko was now separated from John, who was in Los Angeles. He played on Ringo’s solo album and soon started recording his own Walls and Bridges. A week later, the verdict of his deportation hearing was that he must leave the United States within 60 days. He would appeal the decision. One month later, Nixon resigned his presidency. This was all a big strain on their marriage. Therefore, their separation was necessary.
The first of Yoko’s six Plastic Ono Super Band concerts in August 1974 was held on the final day of Tokyo’s One Step Festival. The organizer of the festival was the eccentric Japanese rock star Yuya Uchida who passed away in March 2019.
Here is beautiful (silent) color footage of her performance of ‘Mind Train’, ‘One Way Road’, ‘Move On Fast’ and more. Also clips of Yoko’s momentous arrival, pursued by crowds of photographers and fans – and interview/press conference with ‘Shiranakatta’ as a soundtrack:
The next stops were Nakano Sun Plaza / Shinjuku – Kosei Nenkin / Nagoya – Shi Kokaido / Hiroshima – Kenritsu Taiikukan (on the bombing anniversary). The final show was at Osaka’s Kosei Nenkin Kaikan on August 19th.
The Plastic Ono Superband:
Yoko Ono (vocals) Steve Khan (guitar), Andy Muson (bass), Don Grolnick (keyboards), Randy Brecker, Michael Brecker (sax), Rick Marotta & Steve gadd – Drums
The concert programme:
Music Life magazine profile:
Below is video of a full performance from Yoko’s 1974 tour of Japan at Nakano Sun Plaza. It includes rare songs including the unreleased “One Way Road.” There are also some Japanese-language interview clips.
Set List: It Happened, Midsummer New York, Angry Young Woman, Mind Train, What Did I Do?, I Felt Like Smashing My Face in a Clear Glass Window, 3 songs with Japanese lyrics: One Way Road, Yume o Moto, Tabetai), Don’t Worry Kyoko, Yes I’m a Witch, Yume o Moto (reprise)
The song ‘Tabetai’ is included, but not listed – after ‘Yume O Moto’. In 2013, Yoko re-worked Tabetai for her album Take Me to the Land of Hell. The title translation is “I wanna eat.” Juicy steak, sweet pancakes and fried chicken are all on the menu. It is a playful commentary on famine/gluttony, in an upbeat/offbeat song. When there is no food left (as in her childhood in war-torn Japan)Yoko sings, ‘let’s go to another country.’
There is an amazing version of Don’t Worry Kyoko at 32:00
I am adding 3 links in case one is eventually removed.
Yoko’s message from Fukushima:
“I think it lonely to see a dream alone.
However, since the same dream as 50,000 people was seen. I was glad.…I regard man as not being isolated. People cooperate mutually and are living.
I think that someone cries when I cry.
I think that there are people with the same hope as me when I have hope…”
“Japanese should dream and project something higher than just being economic animals.”
8/10 – One Step Festival Tokyo
8/12 – Nakano Sun Plaza Tokyo
8/12 – Shinjuku Kosei Nenkin Hall
8/13 – Nagoya Shi Kokaido
8/14 – Press conference
8/16 – Hiroshima – Kenritsu Taikukan
8/17 – Travel to Osaka
8/19 – Osaka Kosei Nenkin Kaikan
Photo: Bob Gruen
One Step Festival Poster – designed by Tadanori Yokoo
Tadanori Yokoo is a highly renowned graphic designer and painter in Japan – influenced by Kurosawa and by Mishima. He had an exhibition at MoMA in 1968 (shortly before Yoko’s first ‘exhibition’ there!) He even appears in an Oshima film.
Miles Davis commissioned Yokoo to design the cover of his 1975 album Agharta for its release in Japan.
“Tadanori Yokoo’s works reveal all of the unbearable things which we Japanese have inside ourselves and they make people angry and frightened. He makes explosions with the frightening resemblance which lies between the vulgarity of billboards advertising variety shows during festivals at the shrine devoted to the war dead and the red containers of Coca Cola in American Pop Art, things which are in us but which we do not want to see.”
– Mishima, 1968
Yoko visited her old friend Yokoo in March 2019. (I always knew him as the guy throwing paper planes into the audience on the David Frost television show in 1971 while John & Yoko sang. – mb)