Oharabreak Festival August 5th, 2017.
After the one-man-lives in Osaka, Ebisu and Nagoya, this was FLOWER FLOWER’s first venture onto the festival circuit since their hiatus. The beautiful remote location on the side of Lake Inawashiro in central Fukushima prefecture made this a memorable occasion. Many Flower Flower fans from all over Japan and indeed the World made the journey to support the band. To access the site meant taking the infrequent local train from Koriyama main-line station to Inawashiro, then taking one of the many small shuttle buses. The two small gazebos that served as the entrance signalled this was a very small festival. To reach the “Love Lake Stage” meant walking through the woods, the atmosphere was very calm and peaceful, there were many small tents pitched amongst the trees and small stalls selling mainly food, one was selling band merchandise, so yui-lovers who hadn’t already attended a recent live immediately headed for it to update their towel and T-shirt xD.
Next meant booking a place in front of the stage and a 3½ hour wait, as midday approached it got incredibly hot but die-hard fans stuck it out!
Eventually the mediocre first band finished and the stage crew started setting up the familiar gear. yui’s regular guitar tech checked every instrument, then Sacchan appeared and everyone stood up. Mafumafu and Mura-Jun soon followed. A short time later yui appeared, wearing a bright red billowing blouse coupled with a black skirt with a fine white motif, leggings and large ankle length boots. There were gasps of “kakkoii” in the audience.
After sound checking to Seki wo Tatsu, yui played a couple of what were possibly Tibetan finger cymbals into her mic, possibly to help cool us down, she then said hello and asked if we were O.K. in the heat, (we lied) before launching into Natsu. yui didn’t play guitar on this and used the freedom to walk to the front of the stage letting her long hair catch the gentle breeze. The contrast of black hair and red blouse against the deep blue sky was quite striking. The sound was superb and played live this song really came to life.
Next yui strapped on her acoustic for Start Line; during this a dragon-fly started flying round yui and eventually landed on her mic, it obviously appreciated good music. This was followed by Toumeinauta, cue goose-bumps all round, the combination of this song and the surroundings was magical, yui’s voice was really powerful, Sacchan and Mafumafu locking together perfectly in rhythm and expression, with Mura-Jun sprinkling piano over the top, this was FLOWER FLOWER at their best. By now the dragon-fly had perched itself on top of Mura-Jun’s mic and was sitting there just looking at him, quite extraordinary.
/////There was only one main talk from yui, from what I could understand it involved Mura-Jun, a toilet and a truck-stop! Not sure, but they either left him behind or had to wait for him. /////
Next was Takaramono followed by the acoustic version of Kamisama with Mafumafu on double bass and Mura-Jun using piano instead of distorted guitar, this is a much preferable arrangement. Next was Mannequin followed by Tsuki and Subarashi Sekai. The last song was Honoo, yui didn’t play guitar, she wanted to get everyone clapping but hesitated until the beat was established, then she came to the front to orchestrate arm waving followed by sitting on the edge of the stage, then in old YUI tradition sitting crossed legged!
At the end Mafumafu took out his camera to take the audience, Mara-Jun walked in front just as he pressed the shutter. It looked like he took another photo but he tweeted the one with Mura-Jun.
The performance was recorded on camera but it’s unlikely we’ll ever see it going on past experience.
Set List – Thanks to momochi:
A couple of hours after the performance a small number (7 or 8) dedicated yui-lovers hung around in the public area hoping to catch a glimpse of the band leaving. Luckily the band appeared and at first it seemed as though they might come and thank the fans for their dedication and support for the band in the blistering heat, they waved at the cameras but unfortunately turned right and disappeared out of sight. yui was hard to spot being smaller but still waved her hand. Looks like they are still banned from interacting with their fans by management. Such a shame as it would have meant so much.