Delectably opening this evening of smart prog-pop and good times, the quartet Fuji Fabric of Masahiko Shimura (vocals, guitar), Souichirou Yamauchi(guitar), Shinichi Katou (bass) and Daisuke Kanazawa (keyboards) alongside touring drummer Ryota, warmly slingshot matters into shape. Daisuke's handiwork on his Hammond and Nord make Manzarek proud from afar as well as Roger. His sitting in for Fabric's finale births a truly sunshiny "bah-bah-bah" stereo chorus as he and Daisuke take turns into a Wurlitzer crescendo finish amidst a teeming sea of happy humanity.
As this sweet swell subsides, Linus Of Hollywood (a.k.a. Kevin Dotson) glides onstage with his acoustic and inviting smile as accompaniment. A collaborator and friend of Roger's, 9 tracks of cleansing, reflective beliefs unfurl effortlessly as he gives a fair shake to the dualities within as he smirks upon launching into the taut, nerve-wracking ode of begging in need "When Are We Gonna Do It?" Following with "A Perfect Mess," the truth couldn't be further as his infectious yet subtle inner peace beams brightly. Wielding humor throughout, his intro to a "brand new song," actually Skid Row, disarms all into laughter. Inspirations are not denied, as LOH unleashes a pitch perfect rendition of Gilbert O'Sullivan's 70's classic "Alone Again (Naturally)." Smiling in giving grace to Budweiser, he aptly closes with "Thank You For Making Me Feel So Much Better" as all inside warmly embrace and bid adieu.
Alas, this goodbye stranger is short as Roger takes the stage with him (bass, vocals), Aaron Kaplan (guitar, vocals) and Imperial Drag band mate Eric Skodis (drums, vocals) for a familiar foursome of feelings. Center stage on his Roland X8, the proud pop/moog piper from Pleasanton and his merry men immediately take it to 11 with a raucous, full-bodied "Fat-Bottomed Girls." In a reprise to his Fuji Rock '06 baptism and second coming since his 1996 tour, Roger's timeless sense of wonder and gratitude stretches outward. "Too Late For Us Now" jaunts about playfully with LOH seamlessly harmonizing. Drowsy, key droplets in "Land Of Pure Imagination" opens up to the steadying stance of hope from "Pray For The Many." The falling, cascading keys of "Wish It Would Rain" liberates with the comforting acknowledgement of "Loser" giving further sustenance. Stroller "Pretty Please Me" leads to Roger's pole position in finding his yellow brick road with a pumping of Thomas Dolby's "Europa And The Pirate Twins." Giving credit to his stylish wardrobe to a flea market grandmother, this sort of homecoming reigns naturally with a rare Jellyfish blessing of "The King Is Half Undressed" as Skodis proudly proclaims afterwards, "Linus and I have been waiting 15 years to sing that song!"
Balanced like anything nutritious and tasty, Roger, Aaron, Kevin and Eric top it with the splendor in their spreading Elton John's 2-part crown jewel, "Funeral For A Friend/Love Lies Bleeding" all over. Unforgettable.