Photo by Ryota Mori
Getting the masses going early
Kicking off the day requires a certain finesse, requiring an artist to both be sharp and in tune with an audience that very likely just rolled out of bed. Strange Reitaro and his sharp-dressed backing band. They ambled on stage just after noon, as many punters near the Field of Heaven stage waited in line to get a coffee or a pizza (we all wake up in our own way). But he got the energy level up right away, ripping into an uptempo rock number that showcased his throaty, at times Kiyoshiro-Imawano-ish voice. Initially, Reitaro and company barreled through songs with the same high-energy thrust, hinting at a very active start to the day.
Yet Reitaro adjusted accordingly throughout, slowing things down mid set with more mid-tempo numbers with jazz flourishes courtesy of the lounge-ready keyboard notes. These moments made sure nobody — including Reitaro — would be gasping for air before 12:30. It was a well-paced set that had one more trick, as Strange Reitaro and his band ended on a zippy, snarling run that gave punters a last boost of energy before heading off to their next destination. Reitaro could have worked at any point of the day, but being the first on the Field Of Heaven was an especially ideal match.