Japan’s most prestigious music festival has to be Fuji Rock but that is just too expensive for me to get to in terms of getting tickets, reaching it’s location in Naeba (Niigata), paying for a hotel (no camping at this festival!), taking time off work and so on. Thankfully Summer Sonic came along which was very much a music festival in the city.
For those not in the know this is quite literally an urban festival as it takes place at the Chiba Lotte Marines baseball stadium with all the other secondary stages indoors at the huge indoor exhibition centre known as Makuhari Messe (the same place where I have attended various Tokyo ComicCon events and Star Wars Celebration Japan in 2008) which is a 20 minute walk away across a very busy highway or you can even take a free shuttle bus. A world apart from Glastonbury and Reading!!
The atmosphere of Summer Sonic is also very different in that there really isn’t any! This festival is purely about the music only which in a way isn’t so bad but it’s just different. There is no crowd surfing, no sitting on shoulders, very little alcohol consumed, no photography, cleanliness (the rubbish collection is a highly organised operation which is probably a bit OTT but at least it means you’re not constantly standing on old bottles and cans), and silence and patience between songs. Nothing really wrong with all of those things but it all just felt a bit too over-organised for me.
My first experience was way back on Sunday 14th August 2005 when Oasis, Weezer and Kasabian were the three biggest acts on the main stage. Before that I can vaguely remember seeing Japanese hip-hop band Rip Slyme (I was a fan of them at that time back when I actually used to listen to some Japanese music!) and The Ordinary Boys who had had some recent chart hits at that time.
Kasabian took to the Marine Stage at 16:45 and worked their way through the following eleven song setlist: Pinch Roller; I.D.; Cutt Off; Reason Is Treason; Test Transmission; 55; Processed Beats; Stuntman; L.S.F. (Lost Souls Forever); Ovary Stripe; Club Foot.
Water hoses were employed to “cool down” the crowd after their set before Weezer appeared on stage for their 6pm slot. Concerts and festivals start much, much earlier in Japan than they do in the UK. Weezer were better than expected but I was just thinking about seeing Oasis after them. ‘Island In The Sun‘ and ‘Buddy Holly‘ were among their 14-song setlist.
8:20 pm was the moment when Oasis began their headline slot. Thanks to Japanese music magazine ‘Rockin’ On’ (which came out the following week) I can tell you that the following was their setlist: Turn Up The Sun; Lyla; Bring It On Down; Morning Glory; Cigarettes & Alcohol; The Importance Of Being Idle; A Bell Will Ring; Live Forever; The Meaning Of Soul; Mucky Fingers; Champagne Supernova; Rock ‘N’ Roll Star; Wonderwall; Don’t Look Back In Anger; My Generation. Looking back now, there’s one or two tracks there from their sixth album which I can hardly even remember!
I’m sure you’ll agree that the two disposable camera shots below paint a great picture for their set, if not the whole festival!!
There was a delightful surprise last month on the 22nd July when the official Summer Sonic YouTube channel put the Oasis headline set up online for just 24 hours. Sadly, it was recorded on the Osaka leg of the festival so was not the one I witnessed. Secondly, it featured just three songs.
Bonus: It’s hard to imagine in the YouTube era but way back in the 90s bootleg CDs were something I always liked to look out for. Luckily, there was a music shop close to my houses of the time which specialised in such CDs and I bought a few Oasis ones between 1995 and 1998. A couple of them were just live concert recordings but the others contained radio sessions, rarities, demos and other such delights which I was really into at that time.
This was my copy of The Sun from Friday 13th September 1996 when news of the Gallagher brothers row and possible split even made it onto the mainstream news in the UK. It was something of an iconic headline from a time when they were probably at their highest point having played to 250,000 people over two nights at Knebworth the month before. It turned out to be complete b*llocks which is not too surprising for such a lowlife tabloid paper but I did quite enjoy the sensationalistic journalism of it all!
Thanks to the internet (and not my memory!) I have been able to work out the exact dates for when I saw Oasis. Only two of the six were actual Oasis concerts with the others all being part of music festivals.
The dates I saw Oasis perform live were…
1. Badesee Düren-Gürzenich, Germany (9th July 1995)
2. Knebworth, UK (10th August 1996)
3. Reading Festival, UK (25th August 2000)
4. Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival, USA (28th April 2002)
5. Summer Sonic, Japan (14th August 2005)
6. Yoyogi Daiichi Taiikukan, Japan (20th November 2005)
That total would’ve been a lot higher had I managed get tickets for other shows but this was in an era when you had to order via phone and getting through to the ticket operator was really difficult due to the heavy demand created by the band’s huge popularity. On reflection, I guess I was quite lucky to have seen them half a dozen times in four different countries.
Click here to read ‘Summer Sonic 2006’
Click here to read ‘Summer Sonic 2012’
Click here to read ‘Oasis Masterplan25 Exhibition In London’
Click here to read ‘TF Flashback – Coachella Festival In The USA (2002)’