Since this was the first concert that my wife and I attended in Japan, we didn't know what to expect. Apart from the prices (almost $60 for a ticket, $30 for a t-shirt), it was just a well-done show. The crowd, which appeared to mainly be college-age kids, was less rambunctious than in the US, but they seemed to know most of the songs and did stand up and dance for the whole concert, contrary to the rumors we heard that they would just sit still and politely clap at the end.
The Goos came on stage about 6:10 pm (with no opening act) playing "Dizzy", apparently the opening song of choice these days. After ripping through several of the quicker songs from the last two albums, including "Slide" to an enthusiastic response, Johnny addressed the audience for the only extended time during the evening, apologizing for his lack of Japanese outside of "biru kudasai" (beer, please) and introduced the band. He had a little fun with this, but the introduction of the keyboardist as "Harry Reames" went over the head by all of the crowd as far as we could tell. He also called Mike "Paco", before properly introducing him. They then played "Name" before Robby got to sing for the first time on "January Friend".
The rest of the show zipped by too quickly, but they did play most of "Dizzy Up the Girl", about half of "A Boy Named Goo" and just a few (not enough for me) of older tunes. They finished up the main set with (of course) "Iris". Johnny played most of this with one, if not two broken guitar strings, but no one seemed to care. For the encore, they played "Hate This Place" and then Johnny and Robby dismissed the rest of the band to play "Two Days in February" by themselves. At the end, they turned to each other and jammed away, then played most of song again, jammed again and left the stage with Johnny trying and eventually succeeding in smashing his guitar and left with a "Domo Arigato". This act of destruction completely confused the crowd and showed how silly the act really is when you think about it.
Sonically, the show was very good-Johnny's vocals came through perfectly (we had no problem catching the line about OJ Simpson in "Flat Top"), Robby's a little less perfectly, but nothing to complain about. Their energy level was great-much better than when we last them on the state fair circuit a couple of years ago with the completely untalented Gin Blossoms. Johnny kept the crowd moving, Robby eventually took off his socks and did some incredible jumps, and Mike pounded along as steadily as always. We didn't really understand what the addition of a second guitar player added, though. Nothing against Nathan's playing, but aside from the mandolin and solo in "Iris", we couldn't see why he was there. All in all, it was great-just too early-who ever gets home from a show before 8:00?
Set list (from memory), for those who care-in approximate order:
Dizzy Long Way Down Wait For The Blackout Slide Naked Name January Friend Bulletproof Broadway Full Forever Fallin' Down Flat Top Another Second Time Around Iris Hate This Place Two Days in February