As the lights went out and the background music crescendoed, a big cheer arose from the crowd as they surged forward. Expectations had run high amongst the crowd for the first Tokyo date of ONE OK ROCK's latest tour and with another great show from this young band, those expectations were fulfilled.
The show opened with an explosion kicking off into the high octane, Never Let This Go. Ryota's bass shone brightly in the darkness, having been dolled up for this song in glowing red lights. From both band and crowd the atmosphere captured an energetic, passionate western-style gig without any restraint. The members continued to excel individually too, with TAKA's English pronunciation fast becoming flawless while Toru continued to shine in the lead guitar position.
The set list combined the most fun of the older songs with examples of ONE OK ROCK's new direction from their most recent album. Yoru ni shika sakanai mangetsu, Kaimu and Reflection got the crowd warmed up, particularly the anthemic Kaimu with its fantastic twirling melody and Tomoya's thudding drums.
"Welcome to This is my own judgment tour ZEPP!" yelled TAKA as they took their first break. "It's the first of two days and I intend to give you a great show!" And that they did with a recent song from the album Shake it down. As TAKA rallied the crowd, strong notes from Toru before the catchy, high speed number got everyone dancing more than ever. TAKA showed his ability to go seamlessly and perfectly between aggressive screams and high pitched falsettos, particularly in Mikansei koukyoukyoku. As the music went between harder American-styled rock to other songs bearing ska influence, they still had time for a more classic J-pop feel.
As they took a break, TAKA spoke to the crowd a little more. "Are you enjoying it? Ah it's super hot, this one. Everything here in ZEPP is amazing, I think." The amazing audience with boundless energy kept bouncing and moving throughout. Some caused surges, moshing violently together while others happily held onto the railing and simply jumped. It made TAKA's question of "Can you jump?" to introduce Konzatsu Communication a little strange.
While the set had been fun, the highlight of these energetic songs was the popular Crazy Botch. As it had been given a new arrangement, Ryota's bass took on a deeper, funkier edge while TAKA's vocals were more subdued. This created a fresh new balance to the song. During the introduction the lights highlighted Ryota and Toru as they played.
Crazy Botch shone as a heavy song, but for the quieter side of ONE OK ROCK, Wherever you are was a delight. "This next song was made for a friend's wedding. This is a quiet one," TAKA said to introduce the song. It was a lovely, heartfelt ballad that the band played with true emotion. Ending on a single ringing note from Toru's guitar in a soft green light, the music segued with breathy vocals and snare drums into Yes I Am, a gentle anthem with a chorus that the band and audience sung as one.
As enjoyable as the songs were, there was a cheer when the speedy numbers returned with Jibun Rock. The foursome looked so confident and assured on stage, so much so that TAKA wandered over to Ryota mid-song and played his bass while Ryota still wore it for a portion of the song!
TAKA then took a while to speak for a longer time after Liar. "This is the first of two days but who is here for the first time?" Surprisingly, many hands shot into the air. TAKA too was surprised and joked with them, saying, "That's a lie, right?" He continued by speaking more seriously. "There is no job better than this. Thank you very much. For us as a band, this new album has much meaning. We saw many things for the first time in many places, and the more we do this the more it feels real. We want to make things simply, but to do this is hard." He continued, "To all people here seeing us for the first time, to people for whom this is your first live, please find other bands that you like and go see them, because the feelings of lives are amazing and as a person who makes music, I feel really happy doing them."
During a pause, a member of the audience shouted something. Although it was hard to hear the first things they said, it transpired that it was a French fan asking the band to come to Europe. In a remarkable turn of events during the live, TAKA stopped what he was doing to converse with her personally across the livehouse. "Your Japanese is very good! How long have you been studying?" he asked. "Three years," the fan replied.
This fun little exchange led neatly to the final flourish of ONE OK ROCK's most popular crowd pleasers. Koi no aibou kokoro no cupid was as fun as ever, with a sudden dead stop midway through, spicing up the performance. The towels then came out for the twirly melody and violent fun of the aptly named, Viva Violent Fellow before the mass singalong of the calmer Lonlina. The set came to an end with more punchy fun though, and the crowd went wild as bodies began surfing over the heads of their fellow concertgoers. The band had their fun with the crowd surfers too, giving them high fives as they came down around the front row. Ryota and Toru were both running about the stage, playing their instruments close together and generally looking like they were having the time of their lives.
As they left the stage, the four members could not stop smiling. They came close to the audience to high five the front row and the audience on their part cheered endlessly, shouting for the band until long after they had gone. Their encore was answered quickly too. The lights came back on and the four members reappeared.
One might have expected a final bang for the encore but ONE OK ROCK ended in style, giving a memorable final performance with the mellower singalong Nobody's Home. Before performing, TAKA spoke finally to the crowd, "Speaking of keeping things simple, I want to finish with this song." With that, strummed notes from Toru led into a song that gradually built into a stirring finale.
ZEPP wasn't the final date on the tour and ONE OK ROCK are looking to their first Budokan appearance in November. They played though with true heart and soul for the home Tokyo crowd and with their ever growing legion of fans, they are becoming an ever stronger presence in the Japanese rock music scene.
ONE OK ROCK at Zepp Tokyo - This is my own judgment
live report - 01.11.2010 00:01
ONE OK ROCK warm up for the Budokan tour final with a hot summer night at Zepp.
© ONE OK ROCK