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When The Thrill took the stage to end the weekend at the Orange Court there were probably less than 70 people in front of the stage, but an hour later there were easily eight times that number, and everyone was having the time of their lives. Like Shang Shang Typhoon two nights earlier on the Field of Heaven, The Thrill enjoyed their heyday in the early to mid-90s, and this was their first time at Fuji Rock. But don't call them retro. This fourteen-piece big band's rock sound is as timeless as the sun.

The Thrill's strength is a kind of free-form rock'n roll. Everything they do it aimed at the big effect, from their cool clothing--feather boas, silver lame, tight with shirts and stovepipe pants--to their tighter than tight arrangements. At times, the tempo became so severe that the dancers in the audience nearly collapsed from the effort. In a sense, The Thrill is all about showing off, which they can do easily with their personnel, which includes MC/tenor sax player Hiroaki Ishikawa; "the sexiest tenor player in the world" Yukarie, whose saucy solos, low-cut shift, and billowing brown hair made her the visual centerpiece of the set; pony-tailed honker Smiley on baritone; and Gaku, a hard rock guitarist with the soul of a poet. The highlight of the evening was a sax battle that ran the gamut from alto to baritone, and by the time the group left the stage everyone was exhausted. There's only so much fun you can take.


I never in a million years would've thought to look at things that way. This will make my day a bunch easier.

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