buttonBjörk @ Nippon Budokan (22nd Feb. '08)


      A concert at The Budokan on a Friday night. Get off the Hanzomon Line around 6:30 p.m. at Kudanshita Station and it's packed. Human traffic is bottle necked, and the staircase is packed but not moving. Beat the rush by taking the one-way escalator. Make it out the exit and drift with everybody toward The Budokan. Stop at meat-on-a-stick vendor and buy some canned beer to take in. Watch all the girls float by. And their boyfriends.

      Björk is in town playing two nights at the Nippon Budokan in support of her current album, Volta. There is more people than I thought there would be here. It reminds me of going to see concerts at The Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver - except without the pot smoking, beer drinking and whiskey bottle throwing. Along the concourse, the stands don't seem to be selling much of anything, though I see people standing off to the side in groups of two and three leisurely sipping beer and smoking cigarettes. I'm convinced its going to be a mild show - no two-fingered devil sign head banging and aggressive moshing once the show starts. A girl trips slightly on my foot, and doesn't start "an episode". She says, "Sumimasen. Gomen Nasai," and bows her head repeatedly then scampers off to the side.

Björk      Girls. Everywhere. Packs of them, roaming like Icelandic wolves in the taiga hunting their prey. I snap out of it. I'm standing inside the venue now. A girl wearing a colorful but ill-fitting woven sweater asks if she can get by me for her seat. The girls sitting behind me twitter amongst themselves. I reach into my backpack, pull out a beer and crack it (I learned my lesson at RATM). The girls in the aisle seats across from me look over at me, nervous or condemning, I can't quite tell.

      They play Okinawa country music, min'yo, as they set banners and flags with fish, and birds about the stage. It seems fitting. The crowd slowly but steadily rolls in: office girls, hippie chicks. I'm surrounded. A few others with XY chromosomes are scattered about me, but we're a minority. We make eye contact briefly, raise our beer cans, a short lived solidarity. This may not be a triple-X show we are seeing, but it is most certainly double-X.

      The lights dim at 7:30. Apparently the wait was worth it, as a wave of estrogen cheers ring out to the procession of Roman soldier-looking horn section marching in with "the band" (two keyboard/computer players and a multi-percussionist) and the diminutive one herself - Björk. This little intro is Icelandic marching music (I think), and gives the audience a chance to shout out her name before the show begins in earnest.

Björk      When it does, Björk starts off with "Earth Intruders" from her latest album, Volta. While I haven't given the album the thorough listen it probably deserves and am unfamiliar with the songs, the gaggle of hens around me must already know it by heart because they are singing along and already getting their groove on.

      The stage is visually striking without being overblown. There are the above mentioned red and yellow banners, as well as video monitors the size of bass cabinets in front of "the band". The monitors display a cool overhead shot of the keyboard players hand and arms as he performs.

      Björk wears a frilly, shiny skirt that balloons around her like a futuristic poppy - only light pink and metallic. Not flattering. I smell the perfume and the patchouli oil and the shampoo and the passionfruit gum around me. I wonder if she is going to take off some of the costume later. I snap out of it. The horn section stage looks like a phalanx of foot soldiers armed with brass instruments, flags stick out of the tops of their heads. They obviously didn't approve.

      The first songs are very mellow, including "Hunter", "All Is Full Of Love", "Immature", "Joga", and "Hope". Very little happens on stage. Björk flutters from one side of the stage to the other looking like a little pink bee, occasionally she ventures to the corners where fans in the area cheer, then heads back to center stage to put the microphone back in its stand and fuss with her costume. She never speaks to the audience except to say "Arigato," after each song.

Björk      Things change briefly when "Army Of Me" begins. Lasers shoot from the stage to the ceiling and the back of the Budokan. Bright and brilliant, they visually syncopate the dark beats of the song. There are other red lights on the stage and the effect is stunning. In fact, so stunning in contrast to the previous part of the show that I wonder if it is going to trigger photosensitive seizures. I need excitement and can only hope. I cross my fingers and wait for the Pokemon Shock to affect my Pikachu friends. No such luck.

      Björk's voice is warm at this point, and she now starts to use it. She sings beautiful, clear and strong; holding notes longer, rising to crescendo and summoning the amazing talent she used sparingly at the beginning. The audience greets this change with enthusiasm, calling out her name, cheering and whistling the more she gets into her delivery. She orchestrates a shower of confetti and the stage is covered in long strings of paper snow.

      All the girls in the building are standing now. Björk goes into a dark, techno version of "Hyperballad", and while most of those few fellas remain planted in their seats, drinking their tins of beer (ahh...solidarity!), the rest of the crowd around me grooves in that polite-but-into-it feminine way, sings along, and shakes their hips non-sexually. This is the height of the concert, and I don't hear one voice yell out, "Fuckin' A!" So I do. Just for the hell of it.

      She finishes with "Pluto" and another, "Arigato," then exits the stage along with the musicians and the Roman horn section column thingy.

      After making the crowd wait for a few minutes she returns to the stage. She introduces her musicians (the horn section foot soldiers are apparently the "Wonderbrass"), and then attempts to get all in attendance to sing "Happy Birthday" to her percussionist. The audience doesn't know what to do until she agrees to sing in Icelandic, if the crowd sings it in Japanese. The horn section plays the music - but I don't hear any Japanese. She dedicates the final song of the evening to the people of Kosovo (this is the most she has spoken all night) and they play "Declare Independence".

      A mellow and somber end to a mellow and somber show.
report by jeff and photos by naoaki
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buttonmag files : Björk

buttonphoto report : (08/02/25 @ Osaka Jo Hall) : photos by ikesan
buttonEstrogenic : (08/02/22 @ Nippon Budokan) : review by jeff, photos by naoaki
buttonphoto report : (08/02/22 @ Nippon Budokan) : photos by naoaki
buttonTraduction francaise suivra : (08/02/19 @ Nippon Budokan) : review by seb, photos by izumikuma
buttonDiva in Town : (08/02/19 @ Nippon Budokan) : review by seb, photos by izumikuma
button完璧とは何か? : (08/02/19 @ Nippon Budokan) : review by nob, photos by izumikuma
buttonphoto report : (08/02/19 @ Nippon Budokan) : photos by izumikuma
buttonOut Of This World : (08/02/16 @ Olympic Hall, Seoul) : review by shawn,photos by hanasan
buttonビョークがビョークである所以 : (07/06/22 @ Glastonbury Festival, Pilton) : review by kaori, photos by yusuke
buttonphoto report : (07/06/22 @ Glastonbury Festival, Pilton) : photos by ryota
buttonphoto report : (07/06/22 @ Glastonbury Festival, Pilton) : photos by yusuke
button21世紀の発明家か : (01/12/02 @ meiwajyoshi university) : report by nishioka , photos by hanasan

The official site



Local label site

check 'em? --> MySpace / iTunes

the latest album

Björk - Volta

(国内盤 / US import / iTunes)

previous works

"Medula" (国内盤/ UK import / iTunes)
"iTunes Originals" (iTunes)
"Drawing Restraint No.9" (国内盤/UK import / iTunes)
"Selmasongs" (国内盤 / UK import)
"Homogenic" (国内盤 / UK import / iTunes)
"Greatest Hits" (国内盤 / UK import / iTunes)
"Vespertine" (国内盤 / US import / iTunes)
"Dancer In the Dark" (iTunes)
"Post" (国内盤 / UK import / iTunes)
"Debute" (国内盤 / UK import / iTunes)
The Latest DVD


"Medula DVD"

previous works

"Trace of Björk Artiset Legend" (国内盤)
"Live In Cambridge 1998" (国内盤 期間限定生産)
"MTV Unplugged and Live" (国内盤 期間限定生産)
"Vessel" (国内盤 期間限定生産)
"Minuscule" (国内盤 期間限定生産)
"Inside" (国内盤 期間限定生産)
"Greatest Hits - Volumen 1993-2003" (国内盤 期間限定生産)
"Live At Shepherds Bush Empire" (国内盤 期間限定生産)
"Live At Royal Opera House" (国内盤 期間限定生産)
"Later With Jools Holland" (国内盤 期間限定生産)

check the albums?

jeff's works

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buttonEstrogenic : Björk (22nd Feb. @ Nippon Budokan)
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buttonThat's The Way We Get By : Spoon (6th Feb. @ Daikanyama Unit)
buttonSheik Yerbouti : FZ, You Is What You Were : Zappa plays Zappafeat. Dweezil Zappa, Steve Vai, Ray White (22nd Jan. @ Zepp Tokyo)


buttonFuzzy Logic of The Super Furry Animals : Super Furry Animals (9th Nov. @ Liquidroom Ebisu)
buttonDubnobasswithmyhead...man : Adrian Sherwood & The Slits (26th Oct. @ Shibuya O East)
buttonJuliette Gets Her Licks In : Juliette & The Licks (20th May. @ Liquidroom, Ebisu)
buttonClap Your Hands Say Tokyo Police Club : Tokyo Police Club (1st May. @ Harajuku Astro Hall)

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