In early March, 35 people gathered on the first floor of a two-story house in Tokyo to listen to the British keyboard player Morgan Fisher reminisce about his days with 1970s rock act Mott the Hoople. This month, Fisher is joining a reunion of the band for brief tours of the U.S. and U.K. Since 1985 he has lived in Japan, and occasionally puts on “salon” concerts in the former piano instruction studio where he keeps a collection of keyboards of various vintage, a video projection setup and folding chairs.
On this night, Fisher, who turned 69 on New Year’s Day, sat behind his bank of keyboards telling stories, syncing up videos on his laptop and performing songs with accompaniment from a drum machine. There was no discernible script, just Fisher’s memory, which veered off on unexpected tangents. While describing Mott’s cover of The Velvet Underground’s “Sweet Jane,” he related an anecdote about going to a pub with the song’s composer, Lou Reed, and interpolated the song’s familiar guitar strum on the piano. Somehow, it morphed into Jimmy Webb’s “MacArthur Park” and then Procol Harum’s “A Whiter Shade of Pale.”