April 16, 2004

Concert Report

September 3, 2002
Yoyogi Outdoor Stage, Tokyo, Japan

Let's start at the beginning.

October, 1994. I'm watching MTV Japan and there is mostly crappy American music ("best of hair rock"), a bit of British stuff I'd never heard (Oasis, Jamiroquai, Blur), and some forgettable Japanese music (Yellow Monkey, Sharan-Q, etc). One of the few bands that catch my attention is The Mad Capsule Market's, with their video "Hi-Side".

Winter, 1995. I'm back in Japan. In Rockin' On Japan magazine I see that MCM will be playing a show in Tokyo. I call up within the first half hour of ticket sales, but it's sold out.

Over the next several years I am constantly in the wrong place at the right time, or the right place at the wrong time. I just miss them in Tokyo several times. I even just miss them in London.

September 3rd, 2002, the stars come into alignment. Several times over the previous month I really wasn't sure if I would be in Tokyo or not.

My busy schedule of shopping and eating during the short time in Tokyo makes me late for the show. I miss Balzac entirely, and arrive halfway through Wrench. Getting there isn't a problem though. For one thing, I'd been to the spot before. Yoyogi Outdoor Stage is across Omotesandou-doori at the juncture with Koen-doori. When I first came to Japan Omotesandou used to be closed down each weekend between there and Harajuku station. Bands, breakdancers, and precision glove teams used to live like stars for a few hours as tourists and teenagers mobbed around them.

Wrench is loud and has a good mosh pit jumping around. Surprisingly, when I step just a bit down the road the band is drowned out by the oppressive chirping of crickets. And I jump around a bit from mosquitoe bites I receive. Later during MCM I notice swarms of bats thankfully eating the insects. I am impressed by the nature show in the middle of the city.

Another thing I am surprised by is the sheer variety of Mad Capsule Markets T-shirts people are wearing. Other than the special event shirt they sold that day at Tower, it seems like no two people had on the same concert T-Shirt. No wonder the T-shirts are so expensive! That work alone must be keeping a whole team of designers employed.

The venue is a covered stage with a large paved open area in front of it. The paved area is divided into an inner semi-circle and a half-ring of distant viewing. Between the two zones is a line of light poles, trees and the mixing table behind a low fence. The inner zone is the limited admission/mosh pit area, which you must need a stamp to enter. Only the early arrivers could get in, which bums me out. I probably would pass out if I mosh though, because it is hotter and more humid than I'm used to. The outer zone borders Koen-doori (which is pedestrian and bikes only at this point). Along the outer border are restrooms, the end of a pedestrian bridge over Omotesandou, and a bunch of little stands selling food, ice cream, and most importantly *beer*. For MCM I stood in one of the few areas of the outer zone that had an unobstructed view of the stage, just a bit back from the fenced area.

Wrench finish up, and people disperse. The crowd begins to reform, denser than before because of people waiting out Balzac and Wrench on benches along Koen-doori. The crowd cheers as MCM takes the stage, and then the fun begins.

MCM plays for about an hour and a half. Here's the set list:


  2. island

  3. tribe

  4. gaga life

  5. possess in lop!!!!!!

  6. all the time in sunny beach

  7. jam!

  8. crash pow

  9. asphalt-beach

  10. kumo

  11. bit crusherrrr

  12. pulse

  13. Encore: Kami-uta

There is a good crowd, but I feared there would be more because it is free. I am in too much shock to actually think much about the concert while it is happening. In addition to the normal 4 members, there is also a guy doing synth/effects, which surprises me. Kyono speaks in a really weird voice between songs, hopefully intended as a joke because it makes me laugh. The crowd gets most worked up for Pulse and Kami-Uta, making it seem odd that both songs are at the very end. Guess you want to end on a high note.

This entry is in..
Pill Box
Posted on April 16, 2004 8:45 AM
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