After ONE OK ROCK, one of Japan’s top rock bands, were stunned to the might of Filipino fans who have been dying to see them since 2013, Manila yet again welcomes another Japanese rock band that many fans – especially the anime fanbase – would want to see perform in Manila.
A few months after ONE OK ROCK Live in Manila, Amuse Asia Inc. and the organizers of Ozine Fest announced that another Japanese band is coming to play and they are FLOW!
FLOW – comprised by vocalists Kohshi Asakawa and Keigo Hayashi, lead guitarist Take Asakawa, bassist Got’s Kasugaru and drummer Iwasaki Hiroshi – is pretty well-known in the Japanese rock music industry and for anime fans, this band sang some of the most iconic hits from NARUTO, Code Geass, Eureka 7, Dragonball Z Remake to Durarara x2! I am not that much of a fan of this band to be honest, but like in ONE OK ROCK, you never get a chance like this for a while and to hear these guys rock Manila and sing those iconic songs… well, someone is indeed interested of watching along.
Although there were mishaps along the way, Saturday eventually came and here are some of the shots and the stories behind them.
Around 9 pm, we were slowly ushered in the huge function hall and saw the stage. Its like a mini ONE OK ROCK concert for me and I guess this is how any Japanese band would start normally in any stage. I wish I can experience this in Japan and watch in Zepp Tokyo or something.
After waiting for a few minutes, the show began! I won’t be able to give you guys the rundown of the setlist because to be honest, not only was I super super close to the speakers (making you completely deaf when you are near it), I am not as familiar with the songs they sang. Though after confirming with some friends and consolidating details, the band performed mostly the tracks from their Anime Best Kiwami Album. We got ‘Colors’, ‘Re:member’, ‘Cha-la-head-cha-la’, ‘Sign’, ‘Hero’ and many others!
But here are some of my favorite highlights from this super cool live (of course, OOR is still hands down for me but this experience is also special)
The intro was amazing coz it started off with the usual Japanese Star Wars-ish like feel. We just went completely nuts when they all got in places. More photos and impressions below XDD
Keigo was the first who spoke to us and greeted us in Japanese. We said hello too and he asked if its ok if he spoke in Japanese, we answered him back in Japanese, prompting him to ask if we understood Japanese. We answered back much to his surprise and the band’s since we replied so strongly.
After thanking us, he did get a paper close to the drumkit and asked if its ok if we heard him read what was in that paper. We did and wow oh wow! Keigo greeted us in Filipino!
Here are snippets of that from my friend Jumi. I did get this in video but it got cut in the middle much to my annoyance. I took tons of photos of this concert so my memory is shot to infinity XD
I have to admit his diction is quite good, give and take a few more practices and he’ll be flawless. I have to admit he is damn handsome! He smiles a lot too! *not converting, I still love my short favorite vocalist thank you*
When the band introductions came along, we were treated to some of the best instruments I have seen by far! Iwasaki went to do a super cool drum solo with matching lights to strobe the effect to fit every beat. Got’s got the same one and when Keigo shouted for Take, everything went black till the god man himself appeared wearing a LED jacket and shades. He danced to the beat, throwing some LED balls here and there and once he stopped, he took of his LED shades and heck! We were loud! THIS MAN IS AWESOME!
He did ask us a few questions in English like ‘Do you like anime?’, ‘Do you like music’ to name a few but in the last question, we were all saying ‘We love you too!’ because we all thought he will ask ‘Do you love FLOW’. To our utter amusement, he asked ‘Do you love Voltes V?’ and we said yes! He then sang the song itself and we sang along much to the amusement of the band because we sang it completely with Take. I have to say Take has quite a charisma and his smile is so charming! Prior to these introductions, I got a free rock and roll shower courtesy of him! Haha. It was hot but heck, he sprayed cold water on us in his side. Hahaha. Rock and roll Take!!!
Kohshi did also speak to us as well. He was telling us about their first Pinoy dish – Kare Kare – and pretty much said he was so surprised because it tasted sweet and like peanut butter. Keigo also spoke to us again, saying how hot it is in the country and how warm our reception to them is. Awww Keigo, it is nothing!!!
I also love the snippets when the band would talk to us how they are very happy that we are connected not just by one sky but also with music. I remember Kohshi saying that and it is quite true. We are connected in more ways than one and that’s something we should all remember.
Here are some of the other photos I can show you that I like from my set!
Of course after their main set (GOTTA LOVE GO!!!), we joined in the group selfie!!! LOL. Kinda exciting to be in it for FLOW ^^V
After they left, we did call on for Encore in full force. Reminds me of Manila’s first foray to a Japanese performance and FLOW responded in kind! They told us how thankful they were with all the love and asked if we want to sing with them some more. Of course we did! They sang two more songs for us and Keigo said they will come back for a longer show since obviously, Manila is a different crowd. Of course we are XD
Like ONE OK ROCK, FLOW had been stunned and overwhelmed with Manila as seen in these posts!!! Gotta love the fact I’m seen in the selfie shot. I am also seen in the OOR shot but best I get a full-resolution of that to make sure.
Thank you sooooo much！
We come back again！ pic.twitter.com/d7XjBBAG8q
— KEIGO_FLOW (@KEIGO_official) April 16, 2016
— GOT’S FLOW (@GOTS_FLOW) April 16, 2016
— TAKE_FLOW (@TAKE_FLOW) April 16, 2016
It was super fun to watch these awesome dudes in a super close venue like that but heck, twas not enough! Rock concerts are meant for jumping! Hahaha! Which we couldn’t do!
But if Keigo, Kohshi, Take, Got’s and Iwasaki’s promise will indeed come true, best do it on a place we can really jump. It was kinda hard to stop that impulse especially as Keigo himself wanted us to jump but we can’t or else we would fall.
However, we cannot disregard the mishaps that occurred throughout this live. I have heard many things about Ozine Fest prior to this from friends and previous congoers. From what I heard, the con organizers have repetitively cause several headaches and done tons of failures for the past few years for both congoers and guests alike. Considering this event has one of Japan’s top bands, failure is not an option but there were several thing that indeed happened again for this con that is a little disappointing, if not maddening. You may have noticed I jumped hours in my retelling above.
- Tickets- Well, I heard this is pretty much a problem with Ozine constantly because they always release the ticket prices late. In this year’s case, they announced the FLOW performance a month before the con, leaving some unable to make it because of the sudden announcement. The Gen Ad tickets were announced a few days before the main convention which I think is something they shouldn’t have done. For the FLOW tickets, additional stress for us was the bank deposit thing. I understand the fact third-parties like SM tickets would charge us, but the fact the organizers didn’t tell us in advance that BDO doesn’t recognize the name we were giving and it was registered to another name was quite annoying. I know my friend Jumi – who paid for our tickets – pretty much got completely confused when she paid our Gold tickets.
- FLOW ticket packages – Another completely disappointing one is the announcement for the meet and greet perks. As it was also announced completely late, many are taken off guard because we didn’t know that Ozine will indeed offer meet and greet with the band till a few days before the con itself. This should have been announced with the ticket prices for the live especially for those who really want to see the band and want to prepare for the ticketing. There was this confusing detail about e-mailing for the tickets. Emailing for reservations for the required CDs? They even made a misprint on the meet and greet package regarding the prices
- Merchandise mishap – Simple as this, we were not able to buy shirts from Amuse. Amuse Asia did announce this as well. Not so sure if this is the fault of the organizers or there was just really some technicalities.
- Lines for the seats – Ah, when I arrived in SMX after some errands, I was told by my friends that the seatplan for the GOLD ticket owners would not follow the numbering written on the back of our IDs. There were people who claimed their tickets on that very day and didn’t have those numberings at the back which was understandable. As we waited in the line, there were points saying that so long as we were first in line, we will be able to select our seats. Then there was another point saying we have to follow our designated places. After a while, SM had to intervene and sorted us as we waited for the live
- Schedule mishaps – The concert was supposed to start at 8 pm but we waited for hours to get to the concert hall much to our grief, hunger and stress. Since SM intervened to sort our lines, we thought it was ok already. But around 8pm the organizers told us there was a supplier problem and that there’s money involved again. I think this is a problem Ozine should have sorted out way before the con because not only are we fans waiting, the band is also waiting. If we want to make a good impression, we need to show these people that we mean what we promise. That we will deliver the best live ever and no mishaps will happen
- Seats… again – Well, come the time we were allowed to the function hall, the seatplan was pretty much not followed at all because we pretty much saw a different layout that expected. We were all given the choice as to where we wanted to seat coz of that but the line was still followed as to who goes first and whatnot. Some fans were furious at that because they did slave away the previous day to get good tickets and now they got bad seats.
- Location flaw – The function hall were the live was held was in the second floor and well… before the con even began, we were told not to jump because we might fall below or pretty much disrupt the whole setup. That proved to be a difficult one, especially as the band themselves are enticing us to move along and jump. Keigo, when they performed Go!, did tell us to jump but we did say we can’t and the band did get notified at that point too so they understood. For me, this one was a pretty much a let down. You got the urge to jump as you enjoy the songs but you just cant! Recommendation wise, please do make a rock concert like that in the first floor… less the stress, more of the fun.
- Sorries – Another let down and I know some fans who watched that night would remember Keigo saying sorry if we had to wait for the live to start. To some of us, we were like, ‘Keigo, its not your fault and all. Its ok. We hope it won’t mean anything and that you guys and Amuse Asia would still come back despite this mishap’. That pretty much was mortifying and shaming because that pretty much would affect our image to the band. So ok, we did overwhelm them and all with our cheers, but that’s a big black mark. I do hope Amuse Asia and FLOW would be ok with it and they won’t have it against us that. The organizers did say sorry after the con as we went out of the hall and promised they will do better next time
We did something good again Manila despite the mishaps. I do hope the mishaps won’t happen again and that we get more love and cheers from our friends from Japan.
Now… which Japanese artist would get Manila’s overwhelming love next?