Watch The Strokes revive ‘Welcome To Japan’ at historic Sydney gig

It was the first show The Strokes have played to feature songs from all six of their studio albums and the ‘Future Present Past’ EP

At the second of their two shows in Sydney this week, The Strokes performed their 2013 song ‘Welcome To Japan’ for the first time in six years.

Sandwiched between ‘Hard To Explain’ (from the band’s 2001 debut ‘Is This It’) and ‘What Ever Happened?’ (from 2003’s ‘Room On Fire’), the cut surprised fans in attendance, given that Julian Casablancas and co. hadn’t featured it in their setlist since 2016. They played it twice that year, and incidentally, one of those performances was also in Australia, at that year’s Splendour In The Grass festival.

As pointed out by Reddit user Clarkey101, last night’s show was also memorable for being The Strokes’ first performance to feature songs from all six of their studio albums as well as 2016’s ‘Future Present Past’ EP. ‘Welcome To Japan’ was the only song pulled from 2013’s ‘Comedown Machine’, while ‘Future Present Past’ and 2011’s ‘Angles’ album were also represented by one song each (‘Threat Of Joy’ and ‘Under Cover Of Darkness’, respectively).

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Fans who attended Thursday’s (June 28) Sydney show weren’t left in the dust, though: The Strokes performed a total of 23 songs at that gig – including an improvised song and a playthrough of ‘Last Nite’ that wasn’t printed on the setlist – making it the longest show they’ve played all year.

Have a look at fan-shot footage of The Strokes playing ‘Welcome To Japan’ in Sydney, then check out the full setlist from last night’s show:

The Strokes played:

1. ‘Barely Legal’
2. ‘Juicebox’
3. ‘Bad Decisions’
4. ‘Automatic Stop’
5. ‘Hard To Explain’
6. ‘Welcome To Japan’
7. ‘What Ever Happened?’
8. ‘Reptilia’
9. ‘Threat Of Joy’
10. ‘The Modern Age’
11. ‘Brooklyn Bridge To Chorus’
12. ‘Heart In A Cage’
13. ‘Is This It’
14. ‘The Adults Are Talking’
15. ‘Trying Your Luck’
16. ‘Under Cover Of Darkness’
17. ‘Someday’
18. ‘You Only Live Once’
19. ‘Take It Or Leave It’

The Strokes are currently on tour in Australia to play Splendour In The Grass sideshows, having headlined the Byron Bay festival last weekend. 

NME gave this year’s edition of Splendour a three-star review, writing that Casablancas fronted The Strokes’ set “with a tired wobble and exasperated mumble”, but “when it came to classic cuts like ‘Juicebox’ and ‘Hard To Explain’, Jules’ vocals were sharp and compelling, gelling with his bandmates – particularly Nick Valensi and his red-hot guitar solos – with spellbinding aplomb”.

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Casablancas has drawn controversy for his behaviour at recent shows. At the TRNSMT festival, for example, he came under scrutiny from fans after many fans expressed concern that he appeared to be heavily intoxicated. Earlier in the month, he was criticised for his “erratic” performance at the Roskilde festival

NME saw none of that behaviour at Splendour In The Grass, though Casablancas’ tendency to ramble between songs was pointed out in its review of Barcelona’s Primavera Sound festival

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