One Ok Rock Live in Manila!!!! – A Newbie’s Thoughts

One Ok Rock Live in Manila!!!! – A Newbie’s Thoughts

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One Ok Rock Live in Manila was phenomenal. That’s coming from a relatively new fan, so I can only imagine what it must have been like for Pinoys who’ve followed them since their debut. Manila was lucky enough to be part of One Ok Rock’s 2016 “35xxv”Asian Tour.

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Fans were lining up for the show since the early afternoon and they only grew in number with every passing hour. I wasn’t in favor of the way security handled the entrance, but ces’t la vie. Although, I was impressed by how religious the security were with bagging and tagging backpacks, tablets, big cameras, and the like.

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You could feel the electricity in the air as concert goers eagerly awaited the start of the show. People were so giddy that any movement on the stage or change in the lights would send them into a tizzy. In the end, the delays didn’t matter as Taka Moriuchi (Vocals), Toru Yamashita (Guitar), Ryota Kohama (Bass), and Tomoya Kanki (Drums) made their debut in their first ever Philippine concert right here at the SM Arena!

😁😁😁 Photo by @julenphoto

A photo posted by RYOTA (@ryota_0809) on

The opening act was aptly Take Me to the Top, a great mood setter. It allowed awesome instrumental introductions by Toru, Ryota, and Tomoya before the leather-jacketed Taka took the limelight as lead vocalist. It still amazes me how well they can intertwine English and Japanese in their songs and it really shined in their next song, Memories, probably one of their most “hugot” songs ever. The vaguely Pop-like Deeper Deeper, at least to my filthy casual ears, was a wonderful screamfest followed by Stuck in the Middle.

Photo by @julenphoto #Philippines #とーる近くきすぎな #叩かれへんやないか

A photo posted by Tomoya Kanki (@tomo_10969) on

The next set of songs changed the pace, starting off with Clock Strike.  It was very emotional for a rock song and really highlighted Taka’s vocal range. The ballad-style song even got the audience to join in the singing. Last Dance was even slower, utilizing romantic legatos. Before Cry Out, Toru and Ryota had amazing instrumental duet in the dark, showing that Ryota had red led lights on his bass. Toru then switched to acoustic guitar to accompany Taka in a tear-jerking rendition of Heartache.

The concert proceeded with the awesome guitar riffs of Decision and Suddenly. One Ok Rock’s most headbang-y song, The Beginning, got fans jumping around and probably losing their minds. Taka then declared that their feature song during the end of the last Rurouni Kenshin movie, The Mighty Long Fall, would be their show closer. This was the song that brought the band squarely on my music radar so this was an apt way to finish my birthday celebration.

Manila photo by @julenphoto #oneokrock #35xxxv #asia

A photo posted by ONE OK ROCK (@oneokrockofficial) on

However, even a neophyte concert attendee like myself knew that the last song of the set isn’t really the final one of the evening. The resounding roar of “encore” and “one more song” echoed throughout the stadium, soon accompanied by the excited stamping of feet  from the bleachers. Taka & Co. clearly weren’t ready to go either and they stormed back on stage. One Ok Rock started their encore with what is perhaps their most emotionally moving songs in their repertoire, Wherever You Are. The crowd swayed their hands and even started making heart-shapes with their hands. Although lightsticks were prohibited, it didn’t stop the audience from creating their own light, resulting in the fantastic photo below. 

Fantastic!!!! In Manila

A photo posted by TORU ONE OK ROCK (@toru_10969) on

The energy turned up the notch up to ten with a blood pumping No Scared. The stage crew even started throwing giant “One Ok Rock” rubber balls into crowd, like the one at the top of this article. The VIP standing area became a mini-volleyball arena with giant balls bouncing all over the place. One Ok Rock’s grand finale was none other than Kanzen Kankaku Dreamer. Fans had one last chance to rock their hearts out before Taka, Toru, Ryota, and Tomoya gave their heartfelt thanks to all in attendance. Taka’s instagram post below says it all. Here’s to hoping we see Taka, Toru, Ryota, and Tomoya again soon! Long live ONE OK ROCK!

A photo posted by Taka (@10969taka) on

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Emile Josef
Emile Josef
Jack of All Trades, Master of None,
I'll write about anything under the sun.
Anime, Games, Comics, or Food,
I'll give it a looksie, as long as it's good.
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