Fuji Rock 2004

Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals (USA)
Special unexpected treat of the weekend award goes unreservedly to Mr. Harper. I was going to bag this set because I’d seen him before, albeit seven years ago, but man am I glad I stuck around. I left our “home base” on the lawn to get a drink, and I didn’t come back. The set brought my somnolescent “jam-band” genes – once watered daily on an exclusive diet of Grateful Dead, Phish and Dave Matthews – roaring back to life, and I got my Southern-Boy boogie on down by the stage. Here’s the setlist from his website, I’ll bold the songs that really rocked: Take My Hand, Steal My Kisses, Burn One Down, Diamonds On The Inside, Brown Eyed Blues, Excuse Me Mr., Temporary Remedy, Where Could I Go, With My Own Two Hands/War. Also from the website, he sat in with The Blind Boys for their day-two performance (which I missed) as well as accompanying Jack Johnson on Flake for his encore (missing that set is probably the biggest tragedy of the weekend, but it was in direct conflict with Most Fun Performance of the Weekend™…which alleviates some of the sting). Also also, his website gives attendance numbers at 65,000…

The Dropkick Murphy’s (USA)
“LET’S GO BOSTON!” First time back in three years. The boys rocked hard. And at the Spicy McHaggis Jig they added “…and since we’re in Japan, there’s NO moral to this story.” I was hoping it would be obvious that I was from Boston and they would invite me up on the stage to jig, but ‘twas not to be. I got up close for “Baba O’Riley” because I thought it would be the last song but that also was not to be, and so I got moshed on for the finale…on the plus side, the genki moshers were psyched to see a gaijin hangin’ out in the pit…

Yeah Yeah Yeahs (USA)
In the words of my Japanese concert friends “saiiiiko!” (or “psycho”, popular exclamation for “exciting, mind-blowing, etc.”). Schizophrenia as pop rock. My companions with were totally blown away by them, well mostly by her…I thought they were very good, but a 35-minute set was strrrrreeetched to an hour by her goofy writhing antics on stage. There’s lots of people who appreciate spectacle as much as music, and in a cool NYC club where everyone is up close to the stage it can be fun I’m sure, but in a big festival tent with 15,000 people, I didn’t think it translated as well. They are hip & cool, too cool for me I think…

Another Japanese performance. James Brown with bizarre Japanese flavor. At one point a band member enrobes him in a pink cape with fur trim and gold crown, then disrobes him (cape only folks, this is Japan) puts him to sleep on a big pink futon on stage, then wakes him up…puts the cape and crown back on, and escorts him off the stage. Then he comes back and sings for another ten minutes…?

About Jonah

personal|professional musings ...of potential (obscure) scientific interest: sporadic first-person account of dreams either entering low-earth orbit or heading Mach7.3 into bridge pylon... i will do my bestbest to keep it interesting ;o> cheers!

2 thoughts on “Fuji Rock 2004

  1. yay! Wicked good wrap-up. Glad to hear you had such a fun time. And SO JEALOUS that you met Stuart from B&S. I would have scream-asked him to sing “A Summer Wasting” or “Electronic Renassiance” but hey, at least you remember ONE of their tracks. ;o) Boston B&S fans are the best uber-dorks on the planet…especially since NONE of them would stand up during the concert. God forbid you startle the band by having a good time.

    I’m happy you had fun poopeye!!!!

  2. Dude! Awesome!!!!!! Some of that stuff sounded like it was worth all the rest of it. I don’t know how you keep the energy level up at stuff like that. It must be something you eat. But that sounds awesome! I just want to say that Ball & Biscuit and The Big Three Killed My Baby are my favorite White Stripes songs, so I’m glad they kicked at the show. I also want to tell you I know what you mean about playing an album three times in a row after buying it, I did that with Neutral Milk Hotel’s Aeroplane Over the Sea, except it was more like five times in a row (and I think I did that with Modest Mouse’s most recent one, Good News for People Who Like Bad News).

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