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 Post subject: Masayoshi Takanaka: Guitar Fantasia (1983) [LNK-301]
PostPosted: 13 Oct 2020, 11:30 
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Masayoshi Takanaka: Guitar Fantasia (1983) [LNK-301]

I bet you 7p that you've not heard of this bloke. Masayoshi Takanaka. Thanks for paying me so promptly. It's alright, I'd never heard of him either. I bought this disc completely blind, no idea why. I'm glad I did though!

What we have here is a recording of concert from 1982 at Yokohama Stadium in Yokohama, Japan. Takanaka-san has put together a superb ensemble from across the globe for this gig, a supreme array of talent is on stage here. The line up is as follows:

Masayoshi Takanaka - Guitar
Joaquin Lievano - Guitar
T.M. Stevens - Bass
Frank Martin - Keyboards
Sheila Escovedo - Percussion

As far as concert Laserdiscs go in terms of quality, this disc has pretty much everything you could want. For a disc pressed in 1983 you get a sharp, detailed picture, which although 1:33:1, is also presented in juicy letterbox. If you are fortunate enough to have a video processor like a DVDO or Lumagen etc this disc looks fantastic when you fiddle with the settings, switch on linear stretching and so on to make the most of that letterboxed presentation. You get a sumptuous analog stereo track with CX noise reduction (sorry, no digital here) all wrapped up in a fragrant seasonal bouquet of luxury CAV goodness!

There are previous pressings of this disc, none of which I have come across yet. One released in 1985, also on the Kitty Video label, is presented on a CAV disc. The other pressing came much later in 1991, again on Kitty Video. It's possible this disc may have a digital track but I've never seen it so can't say for sure. The release I have is the 1983 first pressing which is CAV and analogue.

As for the concert itself, it is an absolute delight. If you are in to stuff like Rush, Weather Report, Victor Wooten, Santana and anything Jazz, Fusion, World, Prog Rock or Disco then you will be in your element! There is some stunning stuff here that is seriously brought to life from Takanaka's back catalogue and also some other pieces not by the great man himself. If you like big, stadium epics filled with wild guitar, drum, keyboard and percussion solo's then you are in for a treat!

Highlights for me are Summer Lady and the encore track Blue Lagoon. Summer Lady is great, the band just lets loose and tries to get some interaction going with the rather reserved audience who eventually perk up and participate. Blue Lagoon has some absolutely epic guitar shredding and wrangling. You also get some early hit's like the more tranquil Finger Dancin' which opens the concert, and Manifestation which is just utterly biblical!

If you love a bit of intricate guitar work and silky keyboard skills then you will be in awe at some of the skill on display here. The whole concert is just so watchable and enjoyable. 60 minutes races by, I wish it was longer! I didn't realise it at the time, but the cover art for this disc seems to compliment the theme of the concert. Lots of neon and lasers adorn the stage along with some excellent early laser image and pattern generators which were probably cutting edge for 1982. At one point Takanaka has a laser attached to the neck of his guitar which fires a tremendous bolt of green light in to the Yokohama night sky!

The audio quality on this disc is absolutely fantastic, and being a live concert disc it obviously needs to be. Again though, as with so many of these older discs, I found that although the audio is crisp and clean and superbly mastered, it does need a little extra welly from your equipment to get it over the line and really start to sing. I know I don't have a 7 trillion Euro setup, but my audio gear is good enough to tell me if something is mastered properly or not. I'm going to try this disc through headphones at some stage too, just to see how good it sounds when injected directly in to my ears!

There is an extra benefit to owning this disc. As far as I can see the performance is unavailable anywhere else on any format, it's exclusive to this Laserdisc. I cannot comment on the two other releases of this concert, but going off of my experience with this one I would encourage anyone who enjoys music or concert Laserdiscs to try and purchase a copy of this disc. It's not exactly cheap, even on YAJ it does command a not too unreasonable sum, but I guarantee when you pop this one in to your Laserdisc player and crank up your audio gear, you'll have an absolute blast.

Run to your nearest computer terminal, log on to Yahoo and go hunt down a copy of this lovely little disc today!

BONUS! I've found a clip of Plastic Tears which is on this disc. Hopefully it gives you an idea of what this disc is like.

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 Post subject: Re: Masayoshi Takanaka: Guitar Fantasia (1983) [LNK-301]
PostPosted: 13 Oct 2020, 13:58 
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Interesting find there Ted, and that's quite up my musical street too. Although I'm loathe to do analog audio LDs unless that's the only way to go but it appears that 1991 release you mention actually has digital audio (perhaps this info should be added to the database?) so I wonder if the video had a makeover also?
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 Post subject: Re: Masayoshi Takanaka: Guitar Fantasia (1983) [LNK-301]
PostPosted: 13 Oct 2020, 14:22 
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Oh cool so it's possible this has had a digital version released?where did you spot the information? I'd be keen to buy that version too so I can compare them.

If you can't find the 1991 disc don't hesitate to buy this 1983 one as it is excellent. I wouldn't go for the 1985 pressing as it doesn't appear to be letterboxed and could well be a worse production.

Here's hoping the 1991 disc hasn't suffered from any.meddling with the audio. I'm going to hunt it down ASAP! :thumbup:
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 Post subject: Re: Masayoshi Takanaka: Guitar Fantasia (1983) [LNK-301]
PostPosted: 15 Oct 2020, 22:25 
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While reading the news at the Japan Times website, I noticed the Yokohama Stadium is in the news. Figured it may be of interest so here is the link:

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2020/ ... 00-people/
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 Post subject: Re: Masayoshi Takanaka: Guitar Fantasia (1983) [LNK-301]
PostPosted: 29 Oct 2020, 12:06 
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Another small update I thought would be nice to post here for completion (also thanks to laserfanhld-gb for the initial heads up!) with regards this excellent Laserdisc.

The eagle-eyed laserfanhld-gb (still recovering from Earthquake-induced perforated bowels) noticed that the drummer at this gig is none other than Narada Michael Walden who had a hit with I Should Have Loved Ya in 1979!

Who?

Yes, it took me a minute to make the connection too. I looked him up on my Tidal account and recognised the song instantly. Hopefully you will know the song too, at the very least you should know the bassline and the chorus as they've both been sampled about 8 trillion times. Here it is (on Soul Train no less!) if you want to listen to it:



If you want to know who sampled the track, look here (pretty sure that's an incomplete list as I've heard that bassline in a billion other songs):

https://www.whosampled.com/Narada-Micha ... a/sampled/

Digging a bit deeper it gets more interesting. For starters yer man used to be in Weather Report! :shock: Not just that but it seems that when the Guitar Fantasia show was touring in 1982, Narada Michael Walden had a new album out at the same called Confidence, which was released on January 1st 1982.

Track 2 on that album is called.....? Yes, it's called Summer Lady, which also happens to appear in the Guitar Fantasia concert! You can check it out here if you wish to:



I'm assuming that there may have been agreement to cover the song on Guitar Fantasia as part of a co-promotion, perhaps as part of a Japan marketing activity? I can't find any printed matter about the tour so it's a best guess for now.

Anyway, I hope this proves insightful for someone. Make sure to pick up the disc if you can, it's excellent. You may have a long wait for the digital audio version though, it seems to be super rare and the analog disc doesn't appear that regularly either. Best of luck! :thumbup:
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