I traveled for more than 12 hours, ran like I was being chased by zombies, endured hunger and thirst, paid the cab driver double the fare just to get me to the arena on time… did not get a wink of sleep on the bus, experienced chills and a terrible headache… was almost late for work… BUT IT WAS ALL WORTH IT!!! One of the most epic and unforgettable concerts for me. If I could, I would do it all over again just to hear the fans’ screams and cheers, feel the adrenaline rush, listen to Taka’s awesome voice and see the band rock it out on stage.
Undeniably one of the best things coming out of Japan, the band, One OK Rock, consists of Takahiro Moriuchi on vocals, Toru Yamashita on guitar, Ryota Kohama on bass and Tomoya Kanki on drums. These four amazingly talented guys totally rocked the whole Mall Of Asia Arena last January 19, 2016. It would go down in my history ( as a music fan) as one of the most phenomenal and exciting concerts I’ve ever attended. With the release of their full English album, 35xxxv, there is no stopping these lads from taking over the entire globe. The concert was just freakin’ fantastic from start to finish. There was never a boring or ho-hum time!
So, I mentioned in my blog about them before that I’m not really a big fan. But after this concert, I AM NOW A HUGE fan. I even felt ashamed when they sang a few songs that the whole crowd seemed to know the lyrics to and I was just standing there awkwardly, not knowing a line of it. But then again, I’m a new fan, so go easy on me guys. 🙂
If you must know, I was a bit hesitant about going to their concert because it was on a TUESDAY night. I mean, come on, people. Who decides these stuff? Recently, I’ve missed far too many concerts because they were on a WEEKDAY. Like, WTF concert organizers?! Students need to go to school and working people like me need to go to work! The biggest dilemma was the fact that the concert was held at the MOA Arena in Pasay and I live a good 6 to 7 hours away from Manila. I live in the City of Pines, Baguio City. Luckily, there is now a “deluxe bus” from my city to Manila, which would take a route with less traffic and it has no stopovers, so it’s faster than the regular bus. It would take about 4-5 hours, instead of the usual 6-7 hours. The next predicament is the fact that I have work until 2 PM and the concert is at 8 PM. So I have to figure out a way to get to the arena before 8 PM, or at exactly 8 PM. It was just impossible, I thought. So I booked a Joybus ticket which left my city at 3 PM. I was still calm through the first half of the trip. But when the clock struck 6 and I was still nowhere near SM North (where I planned to get off and take the North Avenue MRT to Taft), I started praying. Like, really. I never pray. Just so you know. Adding fuel to the fire is the heavy rush hour traffic and the bus taking a different route than I expected. So while we were stuck in traffic at Mindanao Ave., I saw the MRT station from afar, a good 20 minutes away on foot. I made a split decision to just go for it. I got off the bus and ran for my life. I ran like I’ve never run before. It took me about 10 minutes to get to the MRT. It was already 10 minutes to 8 PM by then. I was a bit euphoric when 8 PM came and my friends, who were already inside the arena, texted me and told me that it hasn’t started yet. I reached the MRT Taft station after about 20 minutes. I ran for my life again and flagged the first cab that I saw. I told the driver I would pay him extra if he could get to the MOA arena fast. And he did. I arrived at the arena at exactly 8:30, out of breath and my heart pumping wildly in my chest. That’s when I heard the screams of fans and the beat of the drums. Good thing we got Lower Box tickets, so I only had to take the escalator to the 2nd floor. The moment I stepped inside the arena, Taka sang the first line of “Take Me To The Top”!!!
The triple headbang
The first thing that left me flabbergasted was how close we were to the stage! I mean, my friend bought the tickets and I had no idea where our seats were. I didn’t care. I just wanted to be in the same arena as these awesome guys. Out of all the concerts I’ve been to, so far, this was the closest I’ve been to the stage. I didn’t zoom in when I took pictures and videos with my phone’s camera. Now… I promised myself (during The 1975’s concert) that I wouldn’t take too many pictures and videos and I would just “live in the moment”. BUT I COULDN’T! Especially when they kept on singing one song after the other! I was on my feet the whole time. I could only sit down for about 30 seconds before they started playing another one of their incredible songs. It was probably the most exhausting and energy-draining concert I’ve attended. But then again, it’s a ROCK concert, so I’m supposed to jump up and down, sing my lungs out and throw my fist up in the air the whole time.
The band never failed to keep us on our feet: frenzied and pumped up for 2 hours. Even when they were singing their Japanese songs, the crowd was still singing along and cheering wildly.
I honestly don’t know how many times I’ve told my friends how incredible Taka’s voice was. There was no other way to describe the quality of his vocal performance. It was breathtaking and extraordinary! He was so hyperactive; running around, jumping up and down, screaming, headbanging, doing some kind of pirouettes and yet, he didn’t show any signs of fatigue or even getting slightly winded! He would belt out their songs effortlessly – like he does it in his sleep!
Toru and Ryota didn’t miss any of the action too. They were also all over the stage, playing the hell out of their guitars, eliciting loud cheers and applause from the fans. The drummer, Tomo, was kinda short so his drum set was blocking him from our view, but I could totally see him banging hard on those drums like his life depended on it.
The marvelous “sea of lights” during their ballad song, “Heartache”, was moving. I just loved that everyone momentarily stopped recording with their cameras and just waved their phones up in the air as one. It was beautiful. He sang the Japanese version and was touched when the crowd actually sang along to it. I liked how he kept on putting his hand to his chest to show how touched and grateful he was.
Taka was the only one speaking in English, with only a slight hint of his Japanese accent. He never failed to amaze me with his showmanship and confidence when he was on stage. It’s astonishing how someone so small (actually they all looked tiny on stage ^^) could command the crowd and release a litany of “F” words like a boss.
Taka jumped like he’s telling gravity to “go on and fuck yourself” (a line from my favorite song “Memories”).
The crowd totally went bananas when he sang “The Beginning” – the theme song of the first Rurouni Kenshin live action movie. It was followed by the theme song to another Rurouni Kenshin movie, “Mighty Long Fall”.
Just when I thought it was over, of course, they came out after a few minutes for the ENCORE part! Prior to that, we were all screaming “WE WANT MORE!!!” So when Taka and the boys came out, Taka was like “You want more?! Me too.” Haha!
The best part for me was the ending when all four guys, sweaty and out of breath, came forward, held hands, raised them together and went for a 90-degree bow. And it was the LONGEST AND DEEPEST BOW that I have ever seen in my life. I’m sure everyone in that arena felt their heartwarming gratitude.
I promised myself that I would watch every single concert that they would have in my country no matter what. Nothing can stop me. I don’t care about the distance, the time, the day and even the weather. I started listening to this band just because I was kind of into Japanese music then. But now, I can proudly say that I am not just a fan, I respect them as artists.
Take Me to the Top
Stuck in the Middle
Mighty Long Fall
Wherever You Are
Kanzen Kankaku Dreamer
EDIT! My friend has finally uploaded her BETTER fan cams… So here are a couple:
CREDITS: The good and high quality pics are of course NOT MINE. LOL. The crappy ones are mine. All credits go to RAPPLER.COM