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Hidemi Woods 

Singer, Songwriter and Author from Kyoto, Japan.

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Huge Absence hr581

November 11, 2016

I went to the Tulip concert the other day. Tulip is my lifelong favorite band and the reason why I became a musician. They are making a national tour commemorating their 45th anniversary. Since I was a teenager, I’ve been to several concerts every time they were on tour. They used to tour every six months, which made the number of my attendance soar. Most part of my monthly allowance was spent on the ticket. Among the five members, I was an avid fan of the lead guitarist of the band, Toshiyuki Abe. I was always enchanted tremendously by the sensuous sound from his red guitar in my youth. After I grew up and the band broke up, they reunite every five years to make an anniversary tour. I had been to several venues each time by spending costly transportation fees and staying at a hotel when the venue was too far to be in time for the last train back home. That had been my usual pattern concerning Tulip until their 40th anniversary tour was wrapped up. Although I had waited anxiously for their 45th, the wait ended abruptly two years ago even before the tour started. Mr. Abe, who I believe is the best guitarist in the world, suddenly passed away. Tulip’s 45th anniversary tour turned out to be a memorial to him, which I’d never, ever pictured happening. I wasn’t going to go to their concert this time. I didn’t want to see the band without him who had been my idol for such a long time. It would be too sad. Whenever something related to Mr. Abe popped into my mind in my daily life, my eyes easily swim with tears automatically. I couldn’t imagine how sad it would be that I actually saw Mr. Abe missing in the band and realized again he was gone. On the one hand, I thought I’d better not go, but on the other hand I was curious how the band would play without him. They announced Tulip would become a four-man band without having a new guitarist. Who would play the guitar part then? Would they change the arrangement and have the keyboard cover the part? Or, would one of the members switch to a lead guitarist? Or, would a robot stand with a guitar? I had thought of possible alternatives every day and couldn’t stop thinking about it eventually. To solve mounting questions, I decided to face the sadness and go to the concert. After I got the ticket, though, I still felt hesitant to go. I couldn’t believe I was holding a ticket of Tulip in which Mr. Abe didn’t exist. I had asked to myself what I was doing for three months. But about ten days before the concert, I began to feel excited and my heart leapt up. I was headed for the concert hall on that day with odd rapture. The minute the concert started, all my questions were answered in an unexpected yet totally reasonable way. In the back of Tulip, there were three supporting players. A supporting guitarist was understandable, but there were a drummer and a keyboardist that made up the band of twin-drums and twin-keyboards. The sound was different accordingly and for some reason, wasn’t good as it used to be. They also lost edge on vocals with no reason. The loss of Mr. Abe has had effect on the band much greater than I thought. It reduced the quality of Tulip. It didn’t sound or look like Tulip. I was disappointed and felt so sad. I witnessed the band suffered a massive vacuum. Mr. Abe’s trademark red guitar that I’d watched and listened since I was a teenager was placed on the stage and made me cry instead of exult this time. His song was played while his pictures were shown and I bitterly missed him. As the concert went on, I realized how hard the members was trying to fill in the big hole that they knew couldn’t possibly be filled in. With their desperate attempts, they tried to carry on at all costs. Their strong intention to sustain the loss and to survive as Tulip was conveyed from the stage. I was deeply moved by their effort to continue. Before I knew, I was jumping and sang myself hoarse along to their songs with other audience as I had always done at their concert. Looking back, I became a singer-song writer to be like Tulip. Now I will do anything I can to keep on until I die like Tulip is doing. Just one thing I will not follow them is to accept that the quality of my music gets poor. I wouldn’t, I hope…

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