Osaka was the first stop on the world tour, the band’s first time here, and the first time the band played new Immigrance songs live since the release of the album less than one month earlier and the GroundUP Music Festival live debut in February. It was an enthusiastic crowd and a nice set list mix of four Immigrance tunes and four older standards. Here’s a rundown of the personnel lineup and set list, followed by aspects of the set that sound special, including any samples, covers, guests, arrangements and so on which I’ll be detailing for each recorded show in 2019 with the help of some other Snarky Superfans!
Bad Kids to the Back – Probably fitting to start the tour with one of the singles, that also had its own fantastic animated/live video and was more familiar to the fans. This one sticks pretty closely to the album in overall structure and length. Bullock starts an extended solo with a nice deep tone before blasting off. JT does a great job handling the “three” drum solo at the end before the tune closes out.
While We’re Young – This tune naturally will be most evolved from the album where it clocks at 2:42 but on the road will naturally be much longer lending itself to multiple variations — this one clocks in at 8:24 so interested to see where it goes. It starts with its almost psychedelic opening before breaking into a dreamlike guitar sequence and a nice extended solo from Bob (although without the visual on the tour it’s going to be hard sometimes to distinguish guitar from Bobby’s clavinet).
Semente – This one starts with an extended percussion solo from Keita accentuated by some kind of warping cymbal sound!? Of course he got a well-deserved rousing round of fan appreciation in his home country! The band is very crisp on this one and the mix is excellent. Maz takes a terrific flugelhorn solo in the middle with JT and Michael pacing. Definitely an excellent rendition of this tune.
Chonks – This one sticks pretty close to the album at the beginning and I hear what I believe to be Michael being very animated vocally (as he is through most of this set). There’s the expected clav solo and antics from Bobby Sparks as well as the great horn cascade throughout. There’s a great section in the middle that actually sounds a like some female chants of “oooh” from one of the instruments (hah!). Some great spacey Moog from Bobby Sparks closes out the tune as well.
Thing of Gold – As of this posting, the site lists this tune as Lingus but it is actually a great rendition of ToG. This version showcases a feature of Snarky Puppy that I love which is their ability to adapt and “localize” a song. This versions guitar intro definitely is transformed into a Japanese- sounding tune with some tight notes from Bob and some very bright keyboards as well. Terrific trumpet solo from Justin (?) as usual. Unexpected short stop ending from Shaun gets a laugh and he builds to the end.
Xavi — Michael breaks out the now familiar “Pass the God Damned Butter” audience clapping training as the intro to the song. This is the first “single” from the Immigrance album and this version is a heater. There is an absolutely blazing solo from Bob Lanzetti (had to use his full name here for sure with respect!). Immediately following is a keys solo that continues to turn up the heat.
Shofukan – Of course this is a natural for this set as I always feel an Asian vibe from it (even though I think its origins are Middle Eastern). Beautiful solo from Justin on this one, very punctuated and jazzy. The end has a great JT drum solo (with Keita accompaniment). This extended version is quite fun.
Quartermaster – Michael introduces Quartermaster by explaining that a Japanese group arranged the song and played it in New Orleans and dedicates the song to them. It is an excellent version of this older tune that will turn out to be very infrequently played on the early part of the tour. Chris Bullock takes another nice solo here followed by some terrific call and response with the other horns. See the sidebar quote from superfan Steven Haugereid.
Quartermaster is the main thing that sticks out to me on this date — the band gets into a really funky groove after the solo, first dropping down to just clavinet and then the horns and piano exchanging small phrases.Steven Haugereid