buttonJack Johnson
@ Yokohama Akarenga Park (12th Apr. '08)

Saturday in the Park

Jack Johnson
      After some of the torrential rain this past week, it cleared up just long enough for thousands of fans to enjoy Jack Johnson and his friends Mason Jennings, Kuakahi, and Matt Costa give an outdoor show at Yokohama's Aka Renga Soko on Saturday afternoon.

Mason Jennings      The show got under way right around 3 pm with Mason Jennings giving a solo acoustic performance. It was warm and the sun felt good beating down on my bare arms as most people were content to enjoy conbini beers while they lounged outside of the fenced off area of the park. The historic red brick warehouses were jammed with people getting in a little shopping and dining before the show. And why not? Since you weren't allowed to bring anything in to the site, you could still listen to the opening acts and catch a cheap buzz before the main event (and avoid the lengthy lineups for food and drink that inevitable appeared).

      Minneapolis native Mason Jennings troubadoured to the early birds, the curious, and the picnickers as well as those of milling about the garden area. Still touring on the back of his 2006 release Boneclouds, Jennings is the latest addition to the growing roster on Jack Johnson's own Brushfire Records (now including Money Mark, G. Love, Rogue Wave and Matt Costa). Playing without a band, he warbled a bit flat while presenting older material and showcasing tunes from his as-yet-to-be released new album. One of them, "I Love You & Buddha, Too", is covered by Jack on his latest album and would make an appearance near the end of the evening.

      As the crowd slowly grew, the beer lineups were bearable but it was apparent that bratwurst hot dogs and loco-moco were the order of the day for snacks. Impossibly long queues for simple festival fare like this had people waiting some thirty to forty minutes, and made it difficult to navigate the back areas away from the stage - though the ground sitters near the stage made it virtually impossible to go forward.

Kaukahi      A note to those of you that show up early to sit near the stage: once the shows start and people move toward the stage, please stand up. Your steely glares to those that have paid the same as you to be there only serve to annoy. It is a music concert, not a picnic, and you are not free to plop yourself down in the middle of the mosh pit. Okay.

      As the afternoon wore on, the sun helped lighten spirits and mellow people out who were spending an inordinate amount of time in said queues. Kaukahi certainly helped, too. The sunset drenched music of the Hawaiian quartet went down just as easy as that cold Kirin you just managed to get. Acoustic and eco-positive, the group (whose name in Hawaiian means ‘singleness of purpose'), eased and coaxed many smiles and bobbing heads, all the while stressing the importance of taking care of our mother earth.

      Their mix of island sounds and storytelling was appreciated by the crowd, and even their attempts at getting the audience to say long Hawaiian sentences proved successful.

      The sun started to dip and the clouds swarmed as Matt Costa and band took the stage.

      A quick, "Howdy. We're from Southern California," sent up a few ex-pat cheers as he launched into an upbeat set of west coast country rock. Another member of the Brushfire Records family, Costa looked typically bedraggled with his 1970s thrift shop fashion, stubbled face and longish, unkempt hair. And while his retro Army & Navy western shirt screamed slacker, his tunes were concise and well written slices of country pop. He opened with "Yellow Taxi" from his 2006 release Songs We Sing, perhaps unaware of the derogatory term ‘yellow cab' used to describe shy Japanese girls living in metropolitan centers overseas, but maybe that was just me.

Matt Costa      Now with a full electric band on the stage, the sound warmed up and more people started heading to the stage - some drawn by Costa's engaging performance, and others in anticipation of Mr. Johnson. Lap steel, slide and telecaster guitar licks swirled in the ocean air.

      He performed great versions of "Mr. Pitiful" (which saw him banging away on an electric keyboard as if it were an upright and beat-up honky tonk grand) and "Cigarette Eyes", clearly enjoying himself. The crowd enjoyed it too, as evidenced by the much larger gathering of people bopping up and down by the stage.

      He said good night at about 5:30, and the weather seemed to turn. Clouds broiled overhead and you could smell rain in the air. The t-shirt and shorts clad concert goers started putting on their sweaters and jackets and getting up from the now damp and cold grass. The reality that it wasn't quite summer was cooly evident, but the rain never came.

      Jack Johnson took the stage just before six. As he walked out on stage, the whole crowd stood up, thousands upon thousands, and the outdoor venue was suddenly full and alive. Cheers rang out as Jack said, "O-genki desu ka?" and he started into "Hope". From that moment on the crowd didn't stop singing and dancing - politely, of course - to a selection of songs that spanned all of his albums with a generous helping from his latest, Sleep Through the Static.

      The sound was amazingly full and warm, as was the stage setting. Deep reds and purples were the back drop colors on stage, along with six jumbo flat screens hung like picture frames that mixed live footage with that of surf, trees and abstract sunsets.

      Though Johnson's songs all tend to sound similar to me, it was good to hear him play around with them a little. During "Staple It Together" he segued into a Johnson-esque version of Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love", and during the crowd favorite "Sitting, Waiting, Wishing" he touched on The Cars' "Just What I needed".

      Later in the set he brought back Costa and Jennings to help him out with a few of his tunes, as well as versions of Jennings' "I Love You & Buddha, Too" and Costa's "Sunshine" before saying his first good night.

      As the crowd roared for more, the lights of Minato Mirai filled the wonderful Yokohama skyline. Johnson reappeared on the stage, as if blown back by the sea breeze, and the stage lights dropped a notch. He performed a handful of songs solo on acoustic guitar, and it was chilled out end to a great afternoon. As he sang his last song, "Better Together", you got the feeling that we actually were. The last notes ringing out from the stage went down as softly and easily as an island sunset shared with friends.

      Let's do this again.
Jack Johnson

report by jeff and photos by ikesan

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buttonmag files : Jack Johnson, Mason Jennings, Matt Costa, Kaukahi

buttonジャックとその仲間たちフェスティバル (08/04/12 @ Yokohama Akarenga Park) : review by kemji, photos by ikesan
buttonSaturday in the Park (08/04/12 @ Yokohama Akarenga Park) : review by jeff, photos by ikesan
buttonphoto report (08/04/12 @ Yokohama Akarenga Park) : photos by ikesan
buttonNo Monkey Business In The Riding Giants Of This Tripartite (06/04/15 @ Makuhari Messe) : review by michael

The official site

Jack Johnson


check 'em? -->My Space/ / iTunes

The latest album

Jack Johnson
"Sleep Through the Static"

(国内盤 / US import / US import - '12analog / UK import / iTunes)


Jack Johnson
"A Weekend At The Greek / Live in Japan"

(国内盤 / US import)

"Thicker Than Water" (国内盤)
"The September Sessions" (US import / 国内盤)
"Bonnaroo Music Festival 2002"
( US import / 国内盤)

previous works

Jack Johnson
"In Between Dreams"

(US import / UK import with bonus trax / 国内盤初回限定DVD付き / 国内期間限定盤

"If I Had Eyes [Single]" (UK import / UK import - '7analog)
"iTunes Originals - Jack Johnson" (iTunes)
"Sing-a-Longs and Lullabies for the Film Curious George" (国内盤 / US import / UK import / iTunes)
"On and On" (US import / 国内盤)
"Upsaide Down" (US import)
"Better Together [Single]" (UK import)
"Some Live Songs [EP]" (US import)
"In Between Dreams"( US import / 初回限定生産DVD付き / iTunes - Bonus Track Version)
"Brushfire Fairytales"(US impot / 国内限定盤 / 国内盤)
"On and On"(US import / 国内盤)
"The September Sessions"(US import / 国内盤)
"Sitting, Waiting, Wishing [Single]"( UK import )
"Thicker Than Water: Original Soundtrack "( US import / 国内盤 )
"Life in These Islands"( 国内盤 )
"Tropicalize[compilation]"( 国内盤 )
"Tropicalize 2[compilation]"( 国内盤 )
...and more

The official site

Mason Jennings


check 'em? -->My Space

The latest album

Mason Jennings
"In the Ever"
( US import / US import - '12analog)

The official site

Matt Costa


check 'em? -->My Space / iTunes

The latest album

Matt Costa
"Unfamiliar Faces"
(国内盤 / US import / US import - '12analog / UK import / iTunes)

The official site



check 'em? -->My Space

The latest album

"Life in These Islands"
(国内盤 / US import)

check the albums?

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