The Stone Roses’ 2017 tour will kick off tomorrow with a weekender at the historic Nippon Budokan in Tokyo, Japan. The shows mark a fitting start to this year’s live agenda, after last year’s Budokan double header was cancelled when Reni suffered fractured ribs. Incidentally, the only band member yet to be photographed in the Land of the Rising Sun this week is the notoriously volatile drummer:
Things are done a little differently in Japan; and proceedings got off to an interesting start earlier in the week when what is essentially a huge travelling billboard paraded the streets of Tokyo in promotion of the events:
The Roses have always attracted something of a cult following in Japan, stretching back to a high profile run of 4 gigs across Kawasaki, Osaka and Tokyo during the breakthrough debut album tour of 1989. The Japanese crowd, ever respectful, treated the band like superstars just as they were beginning to make serious waves in the UK. This special connection would continue through to the Second Coming era when the group embarked on a huge 10-night run of Japanese gigs in September of 1995. This included the original Budokan double header.
Ian Brown particularly holds a special place in his heart for Japan. He impressively released The World Is Yours single, Sister Rose in Japanese back in 2007 and toured the nation regularly as a solo artist. On return, the Roses’ frontman appears to have been busy in the nation’s capital. He arrived earlier in the city than the other Roses in order to formally launch what appears to be a new clothing line – Own Brain.
Brown sported the brand during numerous 2016 shows; and Instagram posts from the event suggest he has collaborated with close friend and adidas Originals designer, Kazuki Kuraishi on the range. Brown’s love of Japanese streetwear is well documented, with him endorsing the likes of A Bathing Ape and Neighborhood throughout his solo career.
The band’s last shows in the country rouded off the Asian leg of the original Reunion Tour of 2012-’13 when they headlined the SonicMania and Summer Sonic festivals before a three year hiatus:
Ahead of this weekends shows, attending fans should especially anticipate the chance to experience the band in an indoor setting, something which proved to bring out their very best at Madison Square Garden and the Sydney Opera House last year. It will be interesting to see if the intensive rehearsing of late will result in any noteworthy additions to the setlist.
Archive photos assembled from various contemporary music magazines: Crossbeat, Rockin’ On, Music Life as well as Japanese CD Booklets. Special thanks to Geoff Ears of Don’t Stop