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The Red Hot Chili Peppers: Me and my, me and my friends

As I headed to the Green Stage area from the Field of Heaven it was obvious who most everybody had come to see at Fuji Rock. From the official merch store to the very edges of the Green field, there was nothing but people and more people, all waiting for the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

To the delight of the assembled, Chad Smith and Flea took to the stage, followed closely by John Frusciante in floppy hair and floppy velvet blazer. After a loose little jam, the crowd roared as Anthony Kiedis bounced out and into "Can't Stop"--and neither they or the crowd did for nearly two hours.

With a set comprised largely of slower material from their latest releases, each song amped the crowd a little more. By the time they got to "Scar Tissue" fairly early in the show, all hands went skyward, and so did the voices. People were dancing in the slick mud and the night sky cleared to reveal some stars. With the break in the clouds came a first break in the set list, at which point Kiedis confided to the crowd that he and the band had come to Japan three days ago and that, "unfortunately, I got Hello Kitty pregnant. But it's gonna be a cute baby. I guarantee."

The crowd seemed to keep swelling, and looking out across the tops of heads all one could see was an ocean of people in a small green Fuji Rock bay. Camera flashes popped like beacons, syncopated with the cheers coming from all around.

Every once in a while, Flea would take to the mic for some spontaneous gibberish and mumbled non-sequitirs, even a short rendition of "If You're Happy and You Know It" that had the crowd clapping their hands to show that they were indeed.

The band picked things up with "Throw Away Your Television" and "Me and My Friends" before they settled a little. Kiedis asked John if he would like to sing, so Frusciante and his well-used Fender Strat took center stage and played one of the highlights of the show--a scaled down and enjoyable solo version of the Bee Gee's "How Deep Is Your Love". Frusciante was truly enjoyable to watch throughout the show. Note perfect, and spinning, jumping, and twirling enigmatically; thouroughly caught up in the moment and never missing a beat. All going to prove that cleanliness is next to rock godliness.

The few breaks for gear changes and adjustments provided ample opportunity for the hardcore fans in the audience to start The Great Album Debate. "Play "Suck My Kiss"!"

"No, "Californication"!"

It seemed as if we were about to be divided into before and after Blood Sugar Sex Magik camps, but the Chilis then launched into "Californication" and all was forgotten. When they moved into "By the Way" it seemed like the whole world was singing along--at least the whole of the little world that surrounded me down near the stage. People soaked up the exuberance of the band and tried to give it back to them. They were happy and excited. At one point near the end (or maybe it was closer to the middle, it did seem to go by that fast), a young woman behind me exclaimed enthusiastically, and for all to hear, "I'm getting WET!"

It hadn't rained a drop.



wow . . . it always amazes me what people will say . . . and as one not very good at watching what i say in response

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