Daily Archives: May 5, 2006

Rocking the Buddha

Today is Children’s Day (Kodomo no Hi), a national holiday and part of Golden Week.

Veteran Rock band Godiego chose a World Heritage Site for their first concert in six years. They played at the Todaiji temple in Nara yesterday as part of an event to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the foundation of UNESCO. The site was designated in 1998 and this was the first rock concert to be held there. 3,000 fans waited excitedly to catch a rare performance by the legendary group, best known outside Japan for the 70s song “Monkey Magic”. The song was the theme tune for the TV series “Saiyuki” (shown abroad as “Monkey”). With the 15m-tall Buddha as a backdrop, the group also played such hits as “Gandhara” and “Ginga Tetsudo 999”. With the Chinese folk tales that inspired Saiyuki being about ancient Buddhist travelers and Gandhara being an Indian kingdom steeped in Buddhist history, the setting seemed very appropriate. Vocalist Takekawa Yukihide (53) spoke for all five band members when he said that it was an inspirational way to relaunch their career. The band, a rarity in that it is made up of Japanese and foreign members, consists of Takekawa, Mickie Yoshino, Tommy Snyder, Steve Fox and Asano Takami. In their heyday, from the late 70s to the 1985 break-up, they released something like 27 original albums and about 40 in all. They were also the first rock band to perform in China. They reformed briefly in 1999 and played a tour the following year.