“Come on break my heart Filipino Girls!”
I screamed at the top of my lungs as Taka does the hip thrust with clenched fist. I know someone who doesn’t really like this but I kind of enjoyed that part even if I don’t really like “American Girls”, tbh.
I finished work at 4:00pm after an overtime training. It was a good decision to bring clothes and the ticket rather than going back home first to take a rest. My work is only a walking distance from the concert venue so I’ve decided to recharge my body in the sleeping lounge rather than be stressed with the EDSA traffic which may take me an hour to arrive home and another hour back to SM MOA.
I wasn’t feeling so excited that day despite of how I’ve been so excited days before and after I got my ticket. I have been so restless, tired and have been disorganized the past couple of days. It was a good decision too (had to pat my back for this) to have a follow up check up with my Surgeon a day before the concert because the cyst has been bothering me since I’ve known it in December. Good thing it’s benign which obviously nothing to worry. So I can continue with my life according to the doctor. Phew!
But my excitement to see the band has been affected by the series of events that almost made me give up. I wasn’t thinking about not going though because “duhh, got my tix, girl!” and besides, they’re a must see… LIVE in FLESH.
As I’ve mentioned in my previous hanash, I am a newbie to ONE OK ROCK. I wasn’t really a fan but I liked their songs. I’ve heard about them in 2012 from a LArcMNL friend who attended their 2012 concert in Singapore (her live report will make you jealous). Back then it was more of a curiosity about other JRock bands that led me to listen to ONE OK ROCK. I was so focused with L’Arc~en~ciel that I easily just put other bands behind after listening to their songs.
I was inside the arena 30 minutes before the show. I arrived there after getting lost by taking the bridge-way from the Mall to the Arena and ended up in the Arena’s Admin Office. Was I alone? You ask. Yes. Unfortunately, I couldn’t contact friends via social media. I was only able to meet Therese for a brief moment- just a “hi-hello-where’s everyone else?” and then I lost her… That or I got lost when I got inside the arena. So I ended up with a sea of strangers. Too bad I couldn’t say hi to my LArcMNL fam! 😦
The fans I must say are admirable. They were all wearing yellow bandanas tied on their arms or heads, live shirts and their phone lights were a mix of pinks and yellows (the latest album’s color).
Finding my way to the Upper Box section, I saw a line and realized I was staring at the Official Merchandise queue. Merch! I don’t have extra cash. WHY DO I HAVE TO BE SO SABAW LIKE THIS? So after scolding myself to move on and just be in the moment, I walked away from the merch and found my seat inside the arena.
I took a few deep breathes and looked around. The venue gave me an intimate feeling. The set up was not as intimidated as I thought it might be. I still had a good view despite of how far I was from the stage.
The cold air conditioning was biting my legs. I could have worn long jeans than shorts! But thankfully, I had my scarf with me so it somehow saved the day.
I was feeling a little bit disappointed (or maybe just sad, idk) while I observed the crowd. It’s not a sold out show. There were a few seats left in the Upper and Lower Box sections and the VIP and Platinum areas weren’t really crowded. I hope the band will not be disappointed with this.
The crowd in the Platinum section went frenzy. A sound check. Moments later another frenzy. Another sound check. I checked my time; 8:15pm. I know my watch is 5 minutes advance but they’re already late. What’s taking them so long? I started to get really worried. The girl seated to my right probably saw my growing impatience and asked if it will be the first time I’m seeing the band live. I told her yes and we talked a little bit about the band and our other favorites. To my relief, she’s also just new to the fandom but was able to attend the first live in 2016.
The lights went down. The stage was dark and in a fraction of second after hearing the first boom of the drum, I saw Taka running on the stage. I bolted up from my seat and started punching the air. I couldn’t sing the entire song but I sang to the chorus of “Bombs Away” which I’ve learned from listening to the song repeatedly wrecking youtube’s replay button. There’s just one minor problem though, I could barely hear Taka! Mic problems? Technical? Or is just in our area? I could have upgraded my ticket! Why did I even trashed that option?
The boys MC was enjoyed by the fans- I mean Filipino fans because the Taiwanese fans in front of me were all laughing in confusion about what the boys were saying. One even looked at me and asked “What?”. I had to simply just laugh. It was adorable to hear them speak our language. Taka even mispronounced “Tagalog” as he was telling us something about him practicing the language in the backstage- something like that. Again, I could barely hear him even without the instruments. But I could tell, he’s got an amazingly powerful voice.
I don’t remember the set list because I am not really familiar with the song titles. But I’ve noticed how well-organized it was. Dropping “Bombs Away” as an opening song really set the mood. The songs regressed to slower songs. I felt a sudden emotion burning in my chest when the crowd was silent for a moment as Taka sang some lines of “Take What You Want” (?) in a heartfelt voice. It was only installment moments of silence followed by a scream here and there and then a “shhhh” from other audience. Someone from behind me shouted “Taka bilisan mo!” as the silence grew longer. That made the emotion hide somewhere as I laughed. Taka took a while before singing the entire song in a normal pace. And I forgot about the tears.
They slowly progressed the set into upbeat songs. All the time, my eyes are on the vocalist. Because he’s got my attention from the opening. Taka seems to have never ran out of energy. I really admire his charm. He’s got the steering wheel that night and he surely drove the show so well. From opening to encore songs, he didn’t let go of the crowd. He’d never ignore the people in the Upper and Lower box sections despite of how near he was with the Platinum ticket holders. He was running, jumping, extending his arms sideways like he’s hugging the crowd, he sometimes breaks into a dance which is very adorable not even missing a single note! He doesn’t sound to be running out of breath even when he screams or talks to the fans. But I’m not willing to be biased because the other boys were in their best that night. They would even break into a synchronized head bang and I loved it because despite of having their own small worlds on stage, they still create an amazing one solid great performance. They were all equally engaged with the audience. I’ve found myself breathless a lot of times for the entire night. In fact, I was only able to sit down and calm a bit after the event.
When Taka announced that they’re down to the last song, I heard the audience letting out a sound of sadness. I wasn’t ready to let them go either.
The lights went down and I recognized the image on the background. “We Are”. It’s happening! I wasn’t really expecting that this song will be part of the set tonight. I even thought they’ll have it as an opening song but when I wasn’t hearing the song, I was feeling so cool about my feelings. But then I’m going to hear it live! This was the same song I was listening to sometime last year. The same on-point song that helped me go through yet another anxiety attack on that same year. I sniffed. “Not gonna cry tonight”, I’ve told myself. Pushing my tears back to where they should be, I put my hands up and with a clenched fist, I punched the air as hard as I can. I sang the chorus so loudly as the rest of the audience.
Overall, despite of my Upper Box sound quality complaint and the dramas I had to go through before January 29, I enjoyed the show so much. I really wish this will open up doors to other Japanese artists. And I wish we didn’t disappoint them that they’ll keep on coming back. Thank you, ONE OK ROCK!
P.S. Dear Larc~en~Ciel, what about the next world tour?
*Featured Image: Screen-capped from Taka's IG