It was about 32 minutes past eight in the evening when the lights finally dimmed inside the Mall of Asia Arena
last January 19th. The live was behind schedule but needless to say, the overly enthusiastic crowd was used to the wait. The mere minutes delay was nothing compared to the hours endured by those who lined up early in the morning just to secure a good spot, to the months counted down by those who bought their tickets the moment it became available, to the years toiled through by those who relentlessly campaigned to have the band over, and yes, to the decades weathered by jpop and jrock fans who earnestly hoped that a major Japanese act would finally include the Philippines in the itinerary. The very second ONE OK ROCK
walked onstage, the audience erupted into a loud roar and all hands reached out forward. History was about to be made and everyone was determined to soak up every moment.
ONE OK ROCK came in strong. After instrumental track ‘3xxxv5
’ ushered the members to the stage, the band immediately launched into the powerful back-to-back assault of ‘Take Me to the Top
’ and ‘Memories
’. The choice of ‘Take Me to the Top’ as the first song was an inspired one as its fast paced melody and soaring vocals was quick to incite the crowd into frenzy. Then the explicit lyrics of ‘Memories’ firmly cemented what would be the tone of the evening: unapologetic, raw and feral. Each member attacked their roles with intensity and just within those initial songs, ONE OK ROCK already proved that indeed good things come to those who wait.
After a very short pause, the band segued to 'Deeper Deeper
'. Taka shouted "Are you ready?
" and the already hysterical crowd went into overdrive. Everyone sang along at the top of their lungs, especially after Taka yelled "Philippines!
". Such enthusiastic was the response that after the audience belted out in unison the lyrics "We never we never we will not stop..
", Taka couldn't help but exclaim "You guys are fucking great!
The first MC for the night was delivered right after 'Deeper Deeper'. Taka, who was the only one to deliver an MC the entire live, addressed the crowd with "Hello Philippines! We are ONE OK ROCK. This is our first time in the Philippines. I wanna say thank you a lot! Thank you a lot for coming and singing this song. Finally, we made it here. Alright, who wants to have fun tonight Philippines? I said, who wants to have fun tonight Philippines? To make it better, I need your help. Everyone, I need you to wave your hands right now. Alright? Let me see your fucking hands!
". In actuality, it seemed he didn't need to ask. Hands remained in the air as the band pounded through their next song 'Stuck in the Middle
The mood calmed down a notch as the stage darkened while sound of soft melodic guitar strumming floated in. The spotlight settled on Taka whose hands were extended like a clock's. This signaled that the destined to be classic ‘Clock Strikes
’ was next. By this point, one could be expected to be bracing for Taka's distinct vocals. However, as strong as his vocals were, Taka was easily overpowered by the thousands in attendance who loudly sang in unison with clarity and conviction. The audience was singing along the whole live but there was something in their response to 'Clock Strikes' that was truly impressive - a feat that would be repeated later during obvious crowd favorites, 'Heartache
', 'The Beginning
', and 'Wherever You Are
Then there was rhythmic clapping to the mellow beats of 'Last Dance
'. It was a heartfelt performance but its position right after the powerful rendition of 'Clock Strikes' by both band and audience made the song feel more like a breather. This downplayed a bit the emotional punch of the song. And speaking of breather, Taka had his as Toru, Ryota and Tomoya enthralled in their instrumental number. Bassist and guitarist faced off front and center, each one feeding off the energy of the other. The exchange was commendable and their close proximity definitely drew loud shrieks from the crowd. Not to be overshadowed, Tomoya's solid drumming brought cohesiveness to the mix.
Taka returned and introduced the next song, "(For the next song), sing it for as long as you can and it's called 'Cry Out'. Let me see you fucking move Manila! Make some noise. Let's go!
" The anthemic nature of the song was the perfect platform for the audience to share in the intensity of the performance once again. As Taka crooned the lyrics, "Can’t you hear the voices screaming? Out loud to me I feel it...
", the crowd would enthusiastically respond with "..shout it out now, shout it now!". Growling background vocals from Toru were also a welcome addition.
The lights dimmed again as the band took a quick break. Then shrieks reached record heights as Taka and Toru came back on stage - the latter holding on to an acoustic guitar. But before breaking into the song, Taka took the time to addressed the crowd once more, "You guys are fucking awesome! Thank you so much! Oh my God. I told you this is our first time in the Philippine(s). We feel really good and are really really happy to be here. Thank you for having us. Appreciate it. Alright for the next song, we're playing a kinda slow song. And now we sing in Japanese. So if you know the words, please sing along with me. Is that ok?
" The next song was of course the painful ballad 'Heartache
'. It was a beautiful moment as the audience one again sang their hearts out. Mobile phones were also used as light sticks and it was as if the darkened arena was illuminated with fireflies.
Afterwards ONE OK ROCK switched gears with a heady rendition of 'Decision
' which quickly segued to 'Suddenly
'. Taka then relayed the band's gratitude and delivered a promise that had everyone screaming some more: "Thanks for coming out tonight. Hope you are having a great time. Thank you Manila! You know we can't say the world is at peace right now. But we are still here believing in the power of music. We are definitely coming back here! That's a promise Manila! We only have two songs left so let's end it with a bang. Are you ready Manila?
" The moment the opening lines of 'The Beginning' were heard, there was a palpable shift inside the arena. Clearly, it was one of the most anticipated songs for the evening basing on the crowd's exuberant reaction. Nevermind that it was already close to two hours of singing and headbanging, neither band members nor the audience showed any signs of exhaustion.
The high level of energy continued to escalate as the band charged through their final song, 'Mighty Long Fall
'. It was also during this time wherein Taka amusingly tried to encourage the crowd to mosh harder. "Let me see your fucking wall of death! Come on separate, separate! Push it back, Push it back!
" he yelled. Couple of minutes later, Taka was screaming the ironic final lines of the song, "Don't go, don't go". But the main set was finally winding down to a close. The band exited the stage and the audience was left reeling.
Fortunately, there was no long wait for an encore. Taka came back on stage with Toru and teased the crowd, "Do you still want a bit more? Me too
". Then they launched into an acoustic version of the tearjerker 'Wherever You Are
'. Again, Taka's voice was close to being drowned out by the multitudes who seemed to have poured out their every last bit of energy into singing along. Taka encouraged the crowd further and even allowed them to sing a full verse. As the song ended, Taka was generous in his praise, "Thank you so much. We love you guys! You guys are so beautiful. Thank you so much! Do you want to listen to a couple more songs? Let's do it! Let's get crazy one more time everybody. Manila!
What followed next was pure pandemonium. The band promised to end with a bang and they did it by pummeling everyone with the exhilarating combo of 'No Scared
' and 'Kanzen Kankaku Dreamer
Finally, ONE OK ROCK was bowing to everyone in the audience whose intense screams could only be topped by those which welcomed the band when they first set foot on stage barely a couple of hours ago. After taking a photo of everyone via his phone, Taka yelled "See you next time!
". The crowd roared. Tomoya, the final one to exit, pulled off a surprise. He took to the mike, smiled brilliantly and screamed, "MAHAL KITA!
" (I love you!). The response was deafening.
Next thing the audience knew, the arena was again well-lit. The crowd trickled out, reluctant to leave. Majority were all smiles. Not a few seemed to be bracing themselves for the coming days when this night would only be a memory, albeit a really cherished one. And then there were those who were just letting it all sink in - in their mind wondering if this experience would ever happen again. But ONE OK ROCK did promise to come back and that could only mean one thing.
Let the waiting begin.
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Shared by: kenryoku