Joanna Newsom – Unit (Daikanyama/Tokyo) – 7th February

Joanna Newsom played her second gig in Japan last night in Daikanyama – Unit.  I am not entirely sure why the gig was on here as it’s a terrible venue which can only be described a big corporate club type black box.  Surely one of the 1000 or so other venues in Tokyo would have been more suitable for her or even a theater.  When I arrived (super late because of work), the already sweaty crowd were restless and obviously not happy being wedged up against each other.  I did manage to wriggle (?) through the rammed sold out venue to get a decent view and I was not stuck behind pillars like some unfortunate folks at the back were.  Joanna’s stage time was delayed for some unknown reason and my heart nearly exploded when a Japanese announcement came on over the PA.  I had no idea what it was but it all sounded very serious.  It was funny to see every foreigner (about 10% of the crowd) look blankly at each other as it came on.  I thought it was all canceled.  Thankfully none of the Japanese budged so it was a good sign that everything was still going ahead.   She eventually appeared, half an hour late, with 2 other musicians – one playing banjo/flute and doing backing vocals and the other guy was quietly drumming and doing backing vocals.  All of her old songs were rearranged for her new band and tour.  New instruments, new rhythms and even new chord progressions thrown in for good measure.  Set list… hmm.

She opened with a new song and the (1 song) encore was a new song.  She also played Emily, Peach Plum Pear (piano version at the end of main set), The Book Of Right-On, Bridges and Balloons and recent song ’81.  Her set was half new and half old.

I can’t wait to hear he new album as the songs tonight sounded brilliant.

More photos and video of Bridges and Balloons.  The footage is awful as I was kind of up against a wall.  I just wanted to capture the live sound really.  I did record another song but it’s over 10 minutes (expect long songs on her new album!) so it’s getting no you tube action!

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~ by redegg on February 8, 2010.

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