Fuji Rock Festival Review

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RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS had a Japanese festival show blown out in the most literal sense imaginable last week when Typhoon Rosie hit the Fuji Rock Festival at the base of Mount Fuji in Japan. The typhoon brought conditions to put the Glastonbury mud in perspective, sweeping parts of the country with torrential rain and winds up to 89mph, and bringing almost all transport in Japan to a standstill. The festival therefore began in conditions which might have seemed oddly familiar to anyone who’d attended this year’s Glastonbury, with four-inch deep mud in a venue that’s used as a ski area in winter.

The first day of the festival, on July 26, went ahead with a supporting cast of characters including Foo Fighters and Raga Against The Machine playing on a stage at the bottom of the ski slope. However, as the previously steady rain intensified, the Chili Peppers were obliged to abandon their headlining set after 45 minutes. The stage was at the bottom of the slope, and audience members began to slide forward and become crushed against the barrier in front of the stage.

RHCP frontman Anthony Keidis [sic], performing with his arm in a sling, did his best to overcome the language barrier sufficiently to persuade the audience to back up and allow each other room to breathe. However, conditions worsened, and by the time the Chili Peppers abandoned their set, rain had soaked the band as well as the audience and backstage staff had been forced to hold sections of the stage and the components of Chad Smith’s drum kit together with their bare hands.

After the fiasco, RHCP guitarist Dave Navarro blamed divine intervention. He said: “I guess the gods of Mount Fuji just weren’t interested in having Western decadence turn a buck at the base of a holy spot. The typhoon hit full force right while we were playing. We were contracted to play for an hour and a half, but it just wasn’t safe to play after a while.

“The rain was coming down at incredible speeds, sideways, coming at us from all angles. The rain went right into my and Flea’s pick-ups, and Flea’s bass amps got so soaking wet the speaker cones looked like saturated sponges.”

The second day of the festival, at which The Prodigy, Beck, Massive Attack and The Seahorses were among the acts scheduled to play, was cancelled. Ironically, however, the weather improved dramatically on the day, enabling the bands to take time off and party at the Chili Peppers’ hotel!

“It was weird,” Navarro commented. “It was prefect on the Sunday, and since the bands had nothing to do, they came over to the hotel we were staying at, which had an amusement park. “

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