Photo by Takeshi Yao(公式写真) Text by Nina Cataldo

Posted on 2021.8.21 02:04

This year's headliner wows the crowd in person and through the livestream

The highly anticipated headliners, RADWIMPS performed late evening on Friday at Fuji Rock’s largest stage. Festival goers poured onto the grounds from left to right, front to back. Many were relaxing in chairs or on the grass, but as soon as the first chord hit, everyone was up and ready to witness the magic on stage.

Yojiro Noda put the set into gear by starting with “Natsu no Sei” and not long after, hitting their most well-known songs which are from the internationally acclaimed movie, “Your Name”.

Noda noted that even though the audience could not sing along or cheer, everyone can use their hands and bodies to show excitement and emotion. So, throughout their set that ran ten minutes over their scheduled hour and a half, silhouettes of hands waving in the air and bodies jumping up and down were seen all around the field.

RADWIMP’s set was not shy in using special affects. Namely, laser lights and psychedelic imagery on the backdrop and side screens. From cosmic images to laser light beams, human frog to a night sky full of star for the song “Sparkle,” the band took us on yet another visual journey just as the beloved movie did.

Noda admitted to making a mistake at one point in “Sparkle” due to insects crawling on his hands that played the piano, and one flying into his face and surprising him. According to the hand claps, about a third of the audience noticed, but he was not ashamed. He credited this happening to the beauty of the nature that surrounds us at Fuji Rock – to which we all are the guests, not the inhabitants like the insects. He even alluded to “Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind” yet another classic movie with a beautiful soundtrack.

Guest Suda Masaki joined the band onstage halfway through their set. A famous Japanese actor, his voice is just as talented as his acting. Him and Noda sang “Utakatauta” together on stage.

After a melodious first half, the second half of the set was full of energy and dance vibes. For the final song, RADWIMPS debuted a new song that they made as a present for everyone at Fuji Rock. Titled “SUMMER DAZE” the song began with heavy drums and percussion, followed by the synthesizer resembling classic 80s dance tunes. Paired with strobe lights, the song became reminiscent of the pop tunes from the early 2000s, like Metro Station. Quite different from their usual sound, but it worked magically in a new normal like this one.

After a long pause that had many audience members holding their breath, wondering if there would be an encore, RADWIMPS flicked the lights back on stage and played two more songs; “Grand Escape” and “Kimi to Hitsuji to Ao”. As the set came to a close, ten minutes over the schedule hour and a half Noda and the band acknowledged all who were watching the livestream around the world and thanks everyone who was tuning in – physically at the festival and those in other places.

All in all, RADWIMPS played their classic and beloved tunes and paired them with one of the greatest psychedelic light shows of this year’s festival yet.

[Photo: 1 All photo]