|The Video contains the following note from Tino on the Lyric sheet.To our dedicated fans everywhere,
This, our fourth tour of Japan, was, as usual, extremely memorable but also nerve-wrecking. It is always difficult to relax when you know that you are being filmed and recorded live simultaneously – it even made my moustache curl upwards, ha ha!
We have listened to all your comments in the past and, as a result, played a much longer set. Obviously we did not play all of our songs and some fans may be a little disappointed with the omission of a particular favourite of theirs. Nevertheless, we felt that we provided a good cross-section of Mantis material.
Bruce Bisland was very sad because he could not join us on tour. It was his own silly fault for falling off his bicycle and breaking his arm (drunk as usual). The road suffered many bruises too!! Thankfully, Clive Burr was able to step in.
The tour was highlighted by the FUTSAL game in which MANTIS, and certain members of staff, engaged in manic conflict between the fans. This is a greatly enjoyable event that takes place each time we visit. It also happened to be a very sad day for me because I had made a bet with the fans stating that if MANTIS were to lose, I would shave off my beard we lost!, who cares? – it makes me look younger anyway!!
I would just like to reflect on the past for a while and say that we never thought that we would ever make it to Japan, but since our first visit in 1990, it has become a marvellous experience for us. Praying Mantis are not like other bands; we appreciate what our fans in Japan have done for us and in return, not only do we play for you, we do our best to interact with you, talk with you, shake your hands, hug you, party with you and even play soccer with you – you name it, we just want to do it!
We frequently receive endearing fan mails from you asking when we shall return. ‘Tomorrow’ would be the answer that I would like to give but alas, we have to prepare for our next visit. Whilst you read these liner notes, we shall be working on a new ‘old style’ Mantis album. throughout our relationship with you, we have learned that the majority of you prefer the MANTIS of the 80’s. That is the reason we have got together again, in an attempt to re-capture the essence of “Time Tells No Lies”. Yes, we have experimented in the past, but doesn’t everybody like to try something different now and again? The X-factor is still there, that magical element that has never died – we want to share that magic with you.
The next time we come to Japan we would like to stay for longer. I hope that we can play more shows in other cities and also find some time to relax a little. No sooner than we stepped off the plane at Narita that we were stepping onto the stage at Nagoya. Rush, rush, rush! We were already nervous enough maybe next time it will be a different story. Maybe Pony Canyon can treat us to a day at the beach, or Disneyland I’m only joking here! – I would like to say a big thanks to all the staff at Pony Canyon for their great work and support.
I would like to end by saying ‘Thank you’ for your undying belief in PRAYING MANTIS “Thank you all”.
Anyway, enough of the serious stuff, as Dennis would say, “LET’S RAVE A PARTY!” enjoy the next 84 minutes!
Until the next time
PRAYING MANTIS – ALIVE IN TOKYO CITY PRAYING MANTIS & PAUL DIANNO, DENNIS
STRATTON – ZOOM CLUB
Praying Mantis were one of the better NWOBHM bands doing the rounds in the late seventies/early eighties although they never had the commercial success enjoyed by the likes of Saxon, Iron Maiden and Def Leppard. In the days of Rob Loonhouse ‘Captured City’ could be heard alongside Iron Maiden’s ‘Sound House Tapes’, Saxons ‘Stallions Of The Highway’ and Def Leppard’s ‘Getcha Rocks Off.’ The scene was far from glamorous, but bands at least toured, even if they did play in arenas like Cheltenham Town Hall and Deptford bike sheds.
Praying Mantis missed the boat in the UK but instead caught one to Japan where they are now enormous. The core of the band remains the same with Chris and Tino Troy as the driving force but ex-Iron Maiden chaps Dennis Stratton (guitar) and Clive Burr (drums) have now been roped in to add their weight, although Bruce Bisland has now replaced Burr on drums. Ex-MSG veteran Gary Barden handles
lead vocals, although Tony O’Hora has now replaced him.
Praying Mantis now combine the twin guitar attack of Iron Maiden with the big harmonies of the short-lived and highly underrated Lionheart. The songs are competent but are very much formularised; each having a verse, chorus, verse, chorus approach that becomes tedious.
Praying Mantis are hugely melodic such as on ‘A Cry For The New World’ or the pomp orientated ‘Rise Up Again’ and their musical mettle is no better demonstrated than on the instrumental ‘The Horn’. ‘Children Of The Earth’s song from the bands early days is fine tuned and brought up to date with its Maidenesque harmony guitar parts whilst the opener ‘Victory’ proves the need for bands to suck up to the Japanese market. Barden is in fine form on vocals as is drummer Clive Burr but even they somehow fail to make this into anything more than an average melodic rock album. The new material on the Frontiers label should be more encouraging.
Zoom Club have seen fit to capitalise on the success of Praying Mantis by releasing an album that is basically Praying Mantis, with ex-Iron Maiden/ Battlezone propping up the microphone stand (or should that be the other way round). ‘Live At Last’ features material that has been of relevance to the careers of Stratton, Dianno,
and Praying Mantis. Six Praying Mantis songs are given an airing-‘Children Of The Earth’ being the pick of the bunch-along with six from Dianno’s Maiden days. Two tracks represent Stratton’s Involvement in Lionheart, ‘Dangerous Game’, and the title track from the Epic release ‘Hot Tonight’.
The line up of songs is, on paper at least, a good one but Dianno who on this evidence has turned Into the club singer ruins the whole affair. ‘Running Free’ and ‘Wrathchild’ are more suited to Dianno’s screams and growls, but the more melodic songs prove an impossible task for someone who has a clear problem remembering the lyrics.
‘Live At Last’ is a poor release that does Dianno no favours at all. Record companies would do themselves and the record buying public a favour if they invested their money more wisely. How about releasing the Stampede or Lionheart demos with Rueben Archer on vocals, surely this would be much more worthwhile.