Yuzawa-cho, Niigata, Japan

Olympic Gymnastics Arena

July 29, 2018

[Soichiro Irie], [Padraig]

Review by Soichiro Irie

The news of Bob's appearance on FUJI ROCK Fest stage mede us so surprised.
It's the first Bob's  performance on huge outdoor concert since '94 The
Great Music Experience in Japan. We were worried about typhoon that was
coming to Japan, but on 29th July, the he rain as finally stopped. I was
relieved. Anyway, here is a review.

1. Things Have Changed
The first song wasn't "All Along The Watchtower". There weren't big
spotlights. That's ok. Bob's Fes has started. 2. It Ain't Me, Babe His
singing voice was very powerful. 3. Highway 61 Revisited He struck the key
of piano. Blazing rock & roll! 4. Simple Twist Of Fate It's growing dark.
There is a nice breeze. Beautiful "Simple Twist Of Fate". Perfect. The
ending of the song, Bob played some funny notes on piano. 5. Duquesne
Whistle Groovy swing. Bob's vocal getting free articulation. 6. When I
Paint My Masterpiece No intro. He starts singing "Oh, the streets of
Rome..."  We're so happy to hear the song! 7. Honest With Me I've wanted
to hear that new arrange! Twist and shout!  Just like Little Richard. He
smiled. 8. Tryin' To Get To Heaven Kazuo Ishiguro's desert island song.
Beautiful. 9. Don't Think Twice, It's All Right Intro was a little
unnatural. On the Big LED screen, Donnie Herron looked surprised. I
imagined that the song was unplanned set. 10. Thunder On The Mountain
50-60's Surf-Rock arrange. So groovy. We all danced. Amazing 77 year-old
guy!! 11. Make You Feel My Love Last year, Bob didn't play the harp. I was
happy to hear his harp again. We go to the ends of the earth for you, Bob!
12. Early Roman Kings Heavy blues!  Stu didn't play the maracas. I
couldn't see Great Muddy Waters, but I saw Bob Dylan. 13. Desolation Row
Great performance. It is so awesome, this spectacular and magnificent
image! Bob and Donnie's jam was professional work. 14. Love Sick I love
this song. There's no Sinatra song, but this "Love Sick" was velvety and
so sexy. He stretched the end of verses. 15. Ballad Of A Thin Man Climax.
I wanted him to play at center stage, but he didn't do that. It's ok. I
was really moved by blazing harp solo. 16. Blowin' In The Wind Long intro.
Bob looked like enjoying play the piano phrase. Amazimg harp solo. Bob's
hair was also blowin' in the wind. Come back soon Bob, we already miss


Review by Padraig

I have lived in Japan for 29 years, and although it has been going for 20
of those years, I had never been to the Fuji Rock Festival. This year was
not going to be any different, until April when Bob Dylan was added to the
bill. I was thrilled. I had seen Dylan 6 times before, once in Ireland and
5 times in Japan, but never outdoors and never at a festival. I knew this
was going to be special. I also knew that April was too late to reserve a
room at an inn in Naeba since the festival had been announced in February,
so I did what any self-respecting Dylan fan would do and ordered a
sleeping bag on Amazon and borrowed a tent from a friend. Jack Johnson was
on right before Dylan, from 16:50 to 18:00. Jack and his band were
brilliant. They played a wide variety of Jack's song in the late afternoon
sun and livened up the crowd. I was up close to the stage but most people
were sitting on the mountainside overlooking the stage on their ultralight
camping chairs which they carried around all day. A few people left the
pit right after Jack was finished, so I was able to move up closer and
eventually was about 10th from the stage. Japanese audiences don't tend to
push and shove like home, so I was happy with my position and waited for
the show to begin. The band came out to the opening chords of Things Have
Changed just before 18:50 and soon Dylan was with them playing the piano.
This is one of my favorite songs. I remember when he planned it for the
Academy Awards in 2001 and it had a great impact on me. The crowd
responded to it as well. The warmth and love that is felt for Dylan in
Japan were immediately obvious. He has always gotten a great response here
and Fuji Rock was no different. The Japanese knew all the songs. Each was
greeted with a great roar and a loud applause.  Dylan continued to play
songs from his all over his long career, and his band followed him closely
on each one. The show started in the half-light but soon it was dark and a
little hard to see Dylan clearly from behind his piano where he stayed
most of the night. Between songs, the lights went out completely so we
could not see what was happening on stage. A few times when the lights
came on, Dylan was standing in the middle of the stage and we all hoped
that he was about to pick up a guitar and come to the front. However,
every time he quickly moved back to the piano and started the next song. I
saw Dylan at Zepp City in 2014 and Bunkamura in 2016. Both times he took a
break for 10 or 15 times after about 40 minutes before playing the second
half of the show. Considering he was in his 70s and played lots of shows
every year, nobody ever complained. This time it was a festival and
Vampire Weekend was due to come on soon so that luxury was not afforded to
anybody, even Bob Dylan. So he played for 90 minutes non-stop and never
let up. His piano and harp playing was outstanding and his voice was
strong and clear. It was a real honour and pleasure on to be there on a
mountainside in Niigata to see him play. And then it was over. Dylan and
his band came to the front of the stage, bowed, left and not a word was
spoken. My work here was done and I went out and enjoyed the rest of the


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