|RANT 'N' RAVE
Rock harder, Japan
After years of rock concerts in Japan, the
last one I saw left me so disgusted that I made a solemn promise to never see another one
in this country again. I'm not talking about clubs, I've got no problem with them - at
least not yet. I'm talking about big arena venues.
All the little annoying things finally got to me, like the disco dances the fans do in
their seats. With all the flailing arms you can't even see the band. The "fans"
jump around doing Jackson Five maneuvers in their seats no matter how much of a hard rock
band it may be. Watching 20,000 people do a Soul Train dance, in unison, in the middle of
a rock concert, doesn't really appeal to me.
Who schedules the times for these things? They generally start between 4 and 6pm and
finish precisely 2 hours later. Now, I don't know about you, but I like my concerts to
start at a reasonable hour. Don't you think that it should at least be dark outside when
the band comes on? If the thing starts in the early afternoon you don't even have enough
time to grab a beer or two before the first act. They finish so early you could go home to
your mommy and daddy for dinner and still have time to finish your homework... which is
probably what most of the audience does.
Every time I've been to a major concert here, I knew that something desperately vital to
the atmosphere of the show was missing. I just couldn't figure out what it was. That is,
until I took a whiff. Nothing! You know what I'm talking about and don't pretend you
don't. Although I don't indulge in anything combustible myself (including cigarettes), a
concert without a certain odor is like buying a nice bottle of wine and then chugging it
on a street corner. Somehow the experience gets cheapened.
This may or may not be a good thing but have you noticed that nobody ever gets forcibly
ejected? Even when there are mosh pits there are no real fights. Unbelievably, the fans
actually seem to respect the bouncers and their fellow patrons. A big rock concert in
Japan is sort of like a Dick Clark TV special, sanitized and harmless. Wasn't a rock
concert supposed to include a little rebellion? I thought it was!
Worst of all, and I hate to say it, but when big Western acts come to Japan, don't you get
the feeling they are working and not performing? They start on time, do the bare minimum
and are out the door as soon as humanly possible. Did anyone see a concert like that in
Yokohama in the not too distant past? (I don't want to name the band but think of red
spicy vegetables.) All you bands out there listen up! Compared to the rest of the world,
I'm paying double the price for the show - so how about giving me twice the performance?
Many thanks to reader Andrew Nau for this Rant.