Festival producer Creativeman celebrated the 10th anniversary of Summer Sonic, held in Tokyo and Osaka over the Aug. 7 weekend, in grand style by expanding the event from two days to three.
The extra day didn’t dent attendance. Advance three-day tickets for the Tokyo end sold out, as did one-day tickets for Saturday. That was largely due to the appearance of B’z, Japan’s most popular rock band, which made what was announced as its only concert appearance of the year.
The only cancellation before the festival was a last-minute bow out by Katy Perry, who called in with non-cooperative vocal cords.
During the festival, Tahiti 80 had to cancel its appearance on the Beach Stage in Tokyo Friday night because of a sudden downpour that left the sandy area totally unusable.
Though Japan has seen a very wet summer this year and rain was forecast over the weekend, the Friday-night deluge lasted only about a half hour, which was enough to add some apocalyptic fireworks for Nine Inch Nails’ reported last-ever show in Tokyo.
Lightning bolts repeatedly flashed across the sky above NIN’s main stage performance.
There was no rain on Saturday, but some intermittent afternoon showers on Sunday.
The more startling visit from Mother Nature was a 6.9-magnitude earthquake that struck at about 6 p.m. Sunday night. The people dancing to Gogol Bordello at the Beach Stage thought it might have been a geographic response to all those bouncing bodies, but everything continued as if nothing happened. The quake was centered in the ocean.
Lady Gaga made her “Asian festival debut” at Summer Sonic with a special late-night show on Saturday. Hordes of Gaga lookalikes, dressed in sparkly costumes and makeup as well as the requisite blonde headgear, showed up at the packed Sonic Stage venue, prompting Gaga herself to coo, “Welcome, my little monsters.”
Ne-Yo and Beyoncé played back-to-back sets to close out the festival on the main Marine Stage Sunday night.
It was Ne-Yo’s third trip to Japan this year. The previous two arena tours were instant sellouts and Creativeman has already announced he’ll be back in October to play the Saitama Super Arena, the biggest hall in the country.
Beyoncé will also play there this fall, so this was sort of a sneak preview.