LIVE REPORTFIELD OF HEAVEN7/26 FRI
The Waterboys took the stage around 7:30 p.m. as the black-and-navy camouflage sky hung menacingly over the pine trees behind the stage; the branches of the pines being lit up, as if for effect. An MC announced, “Ladies and gentlemen, from London, Nashville, and Dublin, please welcome the Waterboys!”. Lead singer Mike Scott introduced his band in tentative Japanese, which came across to mixed effect in the audience. The band’s first song was a mid-tempo number with syncopated guitars and an organ part that could have been influenced by Bob Dylan. Projection mapping seemed to paste large white eyes shifting on the darkening walls of the forrest surrounding the audience.
As the band rocked out to their song “Out of All This Blue”, the stage lights shifted from blue to green. The next number seemed like a bit of a traditional rocker in the vein of Bryan Adams, and started with a long guitar intro, followed by the vocals entering the picture afterwards. After about 24 bars of guitar and vocals only, the band entered the fray. As the song ended, the stage-side lights burst into large white flashes before cooling down again. The next song started off with a mid-tempo piano vamp reminiscent of Elton John. Mike Scott tried to speak to the audience in Japanese again, with phrases like “rock’n’roll ga suki desu!” (“I like rock’n’roll”) mid-song, and it came off as awkward; as the audience didn’t seem to know how to react. Following this, the band leapt into a vivacious vamp of the song’s chord progression; which seemed to be one of their trademarks.
The Waterboys then jumped into the next song’s introduction, in a rather funky 60’s style, for a song called “Shimokita ga Suki Desu”. (“I Like the Shimokitazawa Neighborhood of Tokyo”). This is seemingly due to the fact that Mr. Scott recently married a Japanese woman. Due to a mixed reaction from the crowd, Mr.Scott shouted “Genki desuka” (“Are you well?”) and “Rock and roll ga suki desuka?” (“Do you like rock and roll?”) in between songs. The crowd cheered mildly in response. Half way through the show, Mr. Scott introduced the band, explaining that the keyboardist (Brother Paul) says he is from Memphis, but that his ass lives in Nashville, so they wrote a song about him, to that effect. Towards the end of the song, Mr. Scott called for a keyboard solo by yelling out, “Tell us your life story, brother Paul”. Afterwards, with the band still vamping on the song’s chord progression, Mr. Scott said “Sugoi (Amazing) Brother Paul. But, I think for Fuji Rock you have an even better organ solo”. Brother Paul then provided a second organ solo. The crowd went crazy at the end of the second solo. Mr. Scott then exclaimed “Sugoi, brother Paul. Kirei! (“Beautiful!”) But, we are in Japan. Japanese music is great. Japanese audience is great” [cheers erupt in the crowd] “You must play greatest organ solo in Rock History!” was his final command. Brother Paul then obliged, with a third organ solo, to wild audience cheers. Most people in the crowd raised both arms in approval, then clapped and cheered enthusically.
As their set drew to a close, the Waterboys finally delivered old classics like “When Ye Go Away”, and the audience appreciated them more than ever. Following that classic, Mr.Scott and Co. performed another classic in “The Whole of the Moon,” and, once again, the audience’s appreciation of them increased accordingly; as they cheered for this song more enthusiastically than for anything else thus far. Following two of their most beloved and classic songs, the band then reverted back into a distorted rock’n’roll vibe, to a bit of a confused response from the audience. To close off the set, Mike Scott strapped his acoustic guitar back on, and lead The Waterboys into “Fishermans Blues”. The song valiantly stood the test of time. To bring their performance to a close, the band continued vamping while Mike Scott reintroduced the band members in Japanese, and then lead them all into an even more powerful vamp, during which he thanked the audience and Fuji Rock. The crowd then applauded and cheered wildly, as The Waterboys left the stage with Mike Scott screaming “Oyasumi!”. (Goodnight!)