I’m not usually inclined to fawning or showering wet, slimy praises on musicians or audiences, but I will crack the mold here and earnestly say that the week in Tokyo was nothing short of incredible, exhilarating and personally moving. The eight back-to-back shows had me a bit concerned about our level of commitment to each and every performance, not to mention the heavy lifting on the chords. (Rein is getting Popeye arms) True—pacing, a little technique, cool heads, great food, and my daily double dose of apple cider vinegar and water helped, (still makes me wince) but in the end it was those shining faces and sparkling eyes that kept crying out ‘hit me…harder…do it again…and again’ that really shoveled coal into the steam engine. Some came to all eight shows. Hell, even doting wives or girlfriends artfully bucking for baubles and/or other perks don’t do that. The band, despite jet lag, (17-hour time difference with west coast) played all out. The boys are true, blistered and scalded, road-worthy warriors, stuffed with sweet fury and clockwork precision—hot-blooded, smart and beastly—my preferred combinations in a musician. What a joy to have Rein, Greg, Damian, Jay and Patrick at my back. Interesting to watch the guys cock their heads, straining to hear a little better during certain passages, really listening to each other’s playing, and not just overly obsessed with their own solos and performance—the key to real synergy. They say the sound at the Cotton Club was as good as it gets, and then some. That of course is my brother Ross’s doing (with a little help from new-comer Matt Greco at the monitor helm) Ross’s scope and production genius is so much part of this show. My heart and gratitude go out to the self-christened crazy people who have smothered me with so many hand shakes, hugs and personal gifts, tipping the 50-pound weight limit on both my bags with their bits of love and kindness. And now, a few days of hammering away at return-to-base jet lag, and catching a deep breath this Thanksgiving week before the action starts all over again.