Karl's Corner - 07/26/2009
2009/07/26 FujiRock Festival
...in 1997, Weezer was invited to play the very first FujiRock Festival. We got as far as a picturesque resort town situated on a beautiful lake, when a typhoon rolled in and nearly destroyed the whole festival. We learned that the main stage had started to collapse due to flooding and that the field where the audience was supposed to watch had turned into a dangerous zone of 3 foot deep mud and floods. We were advised to not even go up the hill to the site because the road was blocked with emergency vehicles and people trying to get out of there. I recall spending a bizarre afternoon with Pat and Matt buying bottle rockets at a 7-11 and shooting them off behind the hotel to kill time. I also recall sharing the shuttle bus back to Tokyo with Richard James (Aphex Twin, who also were cancelled out) and his buddys the Squarepusher guys. The whole experience was an adventure, but it was a big disappointment that we couldnt rock the Fuji stage.
In the 12 years since, the festival has had more typhoon action but no actual cancellations that we know of. And finally Weezer has returned to the stage we never even got a chance to see the first time. FujiRock is held up at a major ski resort on Mt. Naeba. It not actually on the slopes of Mt. Fuji, but its right next door. We took a series of trains and busses up to the resort from Tokyo, and the weather changed dramatically as we went up. Tokyo was bright sun, around 95 degrees and nearly 100% humidity, but up in the mountains is was overcast, misty and foggy, and a good deal cooler, with periods of rain.
The ski areas were plastered with thousands of tents set up by the attendees who come for the full 3 day festival and live out of their tents for the duration. It looked a lot like Glastonbury and other UK/Euro festivals, only squeezed onto a steep mountainside. Pretty cool looking.
We met up with Jimmy Eat World again who had just played and were already heading back to Tokyo when we arrived. Fall Out Boy was in the dressing room across the hall and arena-alt-rock hellos were said. The guys then went over to the press tent to do video interview for Spaceshower TV, during which Rivers practiced his planned singing of the Japanese National Anthem. The Spaceshower crew seemed to think he did a fine job, and that it was ready for the show that night.
FujiRock is the biggest festival in Japan by far, and one of the bigger festivals in the world. I dont know how many people were out in that field watching the Weez, but it was a massive number, and they were super stoked, singing along to everything (and/or clapping along in the case of the new songs with unfamiliar lyrics). The Japanese know how to go nuts, and they did not dissapoint. And weezer played their hearts out, relieved to have finally taken the FujiRock stage after all these years.