Day 1 of Mei-ed in Nippon is not complete just yet and this will complete it!
As you are all well aware of by now, I actually planned and went to Japan to witness ONE OK ROCK’s Special Live in Nagisaen for both dates. I even used it as one of my reasons for the trip, aside from me wanting to see Japan for myself and learn more about the country. I’m both a softie with new things and ONE OK ROCK stuff… that January live destroyed me in many ways… this band is costly to one’s fandom. But if that leads to you fulfilling a life goal, then go for it! I have no doubt as to where I am going next when I was on that camping ground.
This specific ticket slot was actually a victory on my end because Japan has those weird ticketing systems that would select those who can buy a ticket and which slot they can get with a lottery. I won this one on my third attempt via AMUSE’s subscription lottery. I am so lucky I did it coz the sold tickets online were more than the actual amount of the tickets.
After visiting Nagoya Castle, I traversed to Nagoya Station to get my JR Pass because without it, I wouldn’t be able to try out the Shinkansen and get around the JR lines which I have to use to go to Bentenjima Station, the closest station to Nagisaen. After an hour or so of waiting for my pass, I accidentally got into the wrong train which is not the Shinkansen (I was given the completely wrong directions though to the defence of the one whom I asked directions from, I asked which one was off to Bentenjima and she gave me the platform I needed) and into the normal JR train which would make my travel time longer.
However, seems my accidental train ride was just fine because I realized the gravity of the ONE OK ROCK fandom in Japan. When I got down Toyohashi Station to locate the train that passes by Bentenjima Station (tip: trains in Japan have specific schedules as to which ones would pass by specific stations so you have to be careful as to which train to ride), I found myself joining ONE OK ROCK fans on their way to the concert venue. It was amazing to see fans of all ages get into that train ride. I saw little kids in full gear with their parents, teenagers wearing a myriad of tour shirts which the band performed into (even saw someone wearing the WANIMA tour shirt), and even some elderly women and men. I know we also had this variety in Manila, but wow! this was out of this world! I wasn’t wearing a tour shirt coz I skipped that plan as I was going around Nagoya first before heading to the venue but I wore the ballers, a cap from the US tour and my 2015 tour towel (Which I used in the Manila live).
By the time we all got in Bentenjima, hello sea of black, grey and red as the fans walked their way to the Nagisaen camping grounds. To be honest, the camping grounds can be reached in 5 to 10 minutes, but since we were all herded to the venue and Japan has strict rules, it took longer than that.
Here are some photos for your enjoyment!
As far as the live went…. MY GOD! IM SO HAPPY TO BE THERE! NO! I’M AS ELATED AS IN MANILA AND MORE! It was like MLF in Yokohama but more… seriously one of the best lives ever and I stand by what i said in my reviews in the past, Japanese lives of ONE OK ROCK are hell better than the foreign lives in terms of the depth of the lives and how wild it is. Sure there’s the meet and greets in the foreign lives but … darn it! This live is just effin’ awesome!
Of course, the boys are just glowing, especially Taka as he wore lighter colors this time. Beige Metallica tee, white ripped jeans and shoes (which I later find out are NMDs coz of a friend in Instagram). Toru was also in his element and rocking that hair color of his, to which I am reminded of someone and she knows why I am reminded often about it.
I also saw Julen and said hello… darn it, another missed moment for an autograph! I also saw Rui Hashimoto (Why did you schedule your Stingray exhibit as such.. huhuhu, I still want one from the new list!!) and another guy… though I forgot his name.
Points from Mei on each song:
Re:make was the first song on the list, I didn’t get to actually start this because I was on the lines for the merchandise but the intensity on the part I reached was out of this world as everyone sang along as we watched Taka, Toru, Tomoya and Ryota do their thing. And if you were in the merchandise booth, you would definitely think everyone in Bentenjima would hear it even from the station coz everyone was just singing along. I didn’t want to do much since I wanted all my efforts exerted for the next live the next day, but heck! You just can’t help but jump along with everyone!
Jibun ROCK was the next song and I half expected Taka to mess this one just like in Jinsei Kakete Kimi Wa, but no sir, Taka knows this song like an anthem. Similar to Re:make, we all sang along, especially on the cheers bit and did I mention Taka and Toru just glowed in this. It’s interesting Ryota isn’t taking off his shirt like their previous lives. Hmm, something is a miss boys and girls! It’s kinda cool to see elements of their MVs are in the VFX and lights.
Cry Out was the third song of the day and thank God its the Japanese version because I prefer it than the English one. Luckily, they didn’t seem to add tons from the 35xxxv. I don’t mind Mighty Long Fall, I love that song to pieces! Some elements from the Yahoo! Japan videos and the original MV of the song can be seen in the screens and several closeups of the boys! Moshpit? Definitely wilder than Manila I have to say!
Clock Strikes followed not long after and Taka pretty much got everyone jumping. I love this song too much like how they played it in Manila. However, the VFX is just making things add to the nostalgia this live is all about with the big bang and such. The lights, the VFX and the monochrome ONE OK ROCK? WHAT TIME MACHINE IS THIS?! AM I IN JINSEI KAKETE KIMI WA FOR SOME REASON?!?! GUHHH!
For this next song, Taka began on saying they will be performing a song from one of their early albums. To me and everyone else, that was a surprise because they rarely do that. In 35xxxv Japan Tour, the song which is not a hit but they played it was Liar from Niche Syndrome. They did do a backtrack from their first album for MLF in Yokohama which is Youkubo no Michita Seinendan and Living Dolls from their 2008 album. Taka then said that he didn’t think they would be able to reach that point that they would be performing for such an audience and he believes the next song would be appropriate. Taka announced the title and it was 20 Years Old from their 2008 album Kanjou Effect. We all didn’t expect this one to be played at all and we did sing along with Taka on some of the lines. I admit I didn’t recognize this song at first since I didn’t much linger in Kanjou Effect save for Living Dolls and My Sweet Baby, but when it got to the chorus, I did. It was i think appropriate to have it included since most of us in Nagisaen are likely to be around this age group. Hahaha!
Deeper Deeper came in and wow! I am really in Japan because we all clapped in sync, jumped in sync and did i mention how wild the moshpit is? So cool! Even if I was in the rails, seeing the other zones just added to the experience! I also noticed all the zones had moshpits, circles of doom and the sync headbanging? Japan only! One even threw his water bottle up in the sky much to my utter amusement!
Let’s Take it Someday followed and when the first chords played for this song, everything just went weird as we all rejoiced! The band hasn’t played this song for a while in a major live such as Nagisaen with the last one being in MLF if memory serves me. For me, hearing this one and being there to experience it was special because we all wanted to do this song in Manila but sad luck we had since the setlist was just for the 35xxxv promotional. We were all asked to sit down and crouch for the big jump by Taka and boy oh boy! We were in sync with this song! Luckily for me, I was in the ledge so hahaha, I could hold on as we all jumped and sang along. I never thought Id be able to sing and hear this live, just wow!
Kagerou was the next song to be played and a big surprise for us too but this pretty much cemented the idea for me that this will be MLF in Yokohama too much since this came from the first album. I then question why its not Yokubo… sigh, you can’t get everything. We did sing some parts and there’s this feeling that yeah… something is going to happen in the next tour and you wouldn’t want to miss it if the setlist is this good!
Always coming back came in next and heck, if this song brought my heartstrings to feel all kinds of stuff when it was first released in iTunes, hearing this live was deadly at best. Its like hearing Heartache, Wherever you are, Last Dance and Be the light played as a combo. You would also notice Taka clearly enunciate some parts and his facial expressions, ah, it makes it so difficult not to just gush and be reminded as to how that rehearsals back in Manila brought everyone in their knees as the emotions brought by this song were flowing so freely out of Taka’s voice. Out of the newly released singles of ONE OK ROCK since 35xxxv Deluxe Edition was released, this has got to be one of my favorites so far. Of course, this would change and I know it.
After the heart-wrenching Always coming back, the band did their usual MCs. Taka asked around as to who came from which area (including the foreigners) and they did their usual banters, such as Toru’s hair, Tomoya and Ryota’s weirdness (i forgot what exactly they argued for this day) and as always, Taka’s comedic one-band banters. He did also ask around for the kids who attending the concert and then spoke about this pair of kids he saw on IG who perform ONE OK ROCK tracks with the kids doing air guitar rifts. He invited the kids and called them over to the stage. I couldn’t give you guys much details on the discussions, but the kids are obviously starstruck to have been on that stage. Toru even allowed one of them, the older brother if memory serves me, to hold one of his guitars and pose with it with his younger brother holding on to Taka’s mic and called us to cheer. Of course, Taka had to tease the kids relentlessly in good fun. We were all envious though when the band gave them signed merch and the complete set too… ah, I’ll have that chance someday again. It also proves to show the band does check every post which they are tagged in.
After that, my area just looked at the side rails because the band got out of the main stage and into the second stage which we all thought was not a stage but a platform for the lights and the sound systems. I was too lucky my place was close to the platform to get a clear glimpse of the boys… most specifically Toru who was at my immediate clear vision. Haha, I teased Chari and Kim when this occurred since I could definitely see his jawline and facial features… ah Toru, you are indeed Adonis. Though, I still prefer the chibi, who was also visible clearly in my side.
Before they started, there was some problems with the echoes from the stage so Taka asked us to keep our cheers down due to the echoes and feedback from the sound system. He then said they will do an acoustic time (much like in MLF) from that stage and asked us to sing along if we know the songs.
The first acoustic song they did was the same as (Acoustic). I am reminded of the original acoustic version of this song for their first Studio video and adding the ambiance in Nagisaen? It was magical. They haven’t performed this song since Jinsei Kakete Kimi Wa (my favorite live after MLF), and wow, ONE OK ROCK should really do an acoustic album one of these days for their top tracks. The videos shown in the monitors showed how serene everyone is and Taka’s voice? What is this chibi thinking of when he was singing this?!? He sang like an angel!!!
Be the light (acoustic) was simply magical. I like the original arrangement of this song and the acoustic? Guh! Please ONE OK ROCK! Get rid of our misery and make an acoustic album! They played this song in light of the Kumamoto tragedy much like how the song is dedicated to the past tragedies in the country and worldwide. We sang along in the places we should and as that afternoon slowly set, Taka had remarked that God must be watching and listening to our hearts as we sang, giving us one weather that is perfect for such a live. I have to agree to him in that.
Before the last acoustic song, Taka shooed his bandmates away since that was his moment. Of course, everyone cheered for the other three as they got down close to their areas with Taka asking everyone as to why they were cheering while he was standing there. We didn’t disappoint him and cheered for him too. Don’t worry our one and only chibi vocalist, we do love you too but your bandmates are cool too and they just happen to pass by close to us. He then said the next song was recorded in a similar location, an open field and he said Nagisaen reminds him of this song too much given the location, the weather and everything else. As if heaven heard him, the sun didn’t blind all of us as Taka sang the first lines of C.h.a.o.s.m.y.t.h (acoustic) from that stage. I can’t tell you much about what was happening around me, but to me, that song relaxed me and Taka’s warm and mellow tone just blended in. You would know why there’s this feeling of gratitude in that song and from what people would know about this song, he dedicated it to the special people in his life and for that live, he was dedicating it to us. In the final bits, you would hear Toru, Ryota and Tomoya play as well with the same passion Taka had on that stage.
After that song ended, Taka vanished for a little bit and Toru, Ryota and Tomoya came in for their one of a kind instrumental battle. If Manila had Toru and Ryota on the offensive, Tomoya was on fire since he came into the fray. Toru and Ryota of course didn’t let him have all the fun and countered with their own impressive tunes. And as if by magic, the first rifts of Take me to the Top came along and woah woah woah! Its nothing like how the band performed this song for the 35XXXV tour!
After Take me to the top… boy oh boy did I jump in jubilation as I heard the opening cords for Answer is Near. Out of all the songs from the band, this is one of my utter favorites and I am not saying that because I loved the MLF performance, but heck! Let’s take it someday and this one? ONE OK ROCK concert experience target attained. Of course, I’d love to hear my other national OOR anthem, Juvenile, but this one, definitely a song I am so glad to experience live! We did the echoes and jumped as Taka got us all pumped up. It’s also interesting that in the main screens, you would see the skyscrapers that was featured in the original MV of the song. Its really back to the past for Nagisaen! And I am not complaining! Thank Kami for bringing me to Japan!
Before the next song, a different intro came along and for us, we were indeed waiting if the song was the newly announced song ‘Taking Off’ which the band announced hours prior that would be released on September 16 (the day I am already in Manila) or ‘Hard to Love’. I even posted on my way to Nagisaen that I hope it is indeed Taking Off that will be played for the Nagisaen setlist since they gave a preview of Hard to Love in the Sounds Like Summer tour in the US. Taka then said a little trivia about this next song and asked if we’re fine to listen to a new one. We did want it and they performed Taking Off. Taka here was on fire as he danced to the beats and Toru and Ryota were not far behind as they would switch places ever so often. Someone should really invent a walking ramp for Tomoya. First impression? it was a little pop but reminded me of falling alone and insane dream from Aimer’s new album and One by One from 35xxxv in terms of the depth. But hey, whatever song they perform new, its clear they are still in the learning curve in their quest in dominating the world.
The Beginning came after the new song and like in Manila, everyone just went cheering like madness! I did study the other zones and I saw fans crowd surfing even though it was not allowed. The staff people in C3 had to watch the front area coz the fans were crowdsurfing in that bit. I also noticed how biased the video camera people were close to me. Though I think I shouldn’t say that because they also zoomed in on me several times. Hahahah! Do add me in the documentary bit coz I’d love that greatly! We also had the moshpit and wow, I dunno why but the C blocks reminded me of the VIP 2 zone back home. Oh well, every zone in Nagisaen that day was just veeery lively! Aside from crowd surfing, water bottles were flowing up and down, headbanging everywhere and darn it! Everything was being shown on screen! GUH! I AM SO GLAD TO BE HEREEE!
Mighty Long Fall followed not long after and Taka of course knew exactly how to get us all going as he roared the count and asked us to get the **** up! Haha you get the picture! The moshpits came back to life and wow! I never felt so alive as we all sang and jumped! Definitely threw my resolution not to jump that much for this live and save it for the next day out of the window. Hahaha!
The final song for the main set was Nobody’s Home and before he began, Taka mentioned that this is the song that allowed him to be who he is today. He also mentioned that this is the song he wanted all of us to see and we all applauded when we heard the music come to life. We sang on the major chorus and boy oh boy! there’s something in this song and to be heard live is just… wow!
After Nobody’s Home and when the band got off the stage, several cues from the various blocks started, calling for the encore. Some shouted for the band, some clapped, some did the echoing parts from Answer is Near and some called for the encore. It was also still early so we waited patiently. The band did come in after wearing their official tour shirts. Amusingly I had the same shirt as Toru wore (The long shirt) with Ryota having one of the skull shirts for the live, and Tomoya and Taka are wearing the black and yellow tee variants respectively. Taka ended up looking golden to be honest with his still light brown hair, yellow tee, white jeans and shoes.
Wherever you are was the first song and although it was the original version, you can’t help but just sing along as we saw all of us in Nagisaen shown on the screen and how Taka, Toru, Ryota and Tomoya saw us from their end. Its giving us a look as to what the band sees and what we see that day. I would have loved the acoustic similar to Manila, but like the other songs in this setlist, there’s just something in this live that makes everything special.
Kimishidai Ressha came in with a flourish and wow, hearing this live is a treat! I don’t remember much with this song but you know exactly what will come next with it considering that it was played before and it followed.
Kanzen Kankaku Dreamer is the finale song for the live and wow! its explosive! It’s massive! It’s GAAAH! The fireworks added to the beats of this epic ONE OK ROCK anthem. We all roared, cheered and danced along as Taka, Toru, Ryota and Tomoya gave us the beats, showing the emotions they have for that overwhelming live. I was so contented with this live and I don’t know why but it all clicked! After the song, the band walked to the various ends of the stage and did their customary waves and bow to the crowd and our selfie! Shame I am not included in the front bit though I’ll have my chance next time. The band then said their goodbyes with all of us chattering as to what just transpired before us. In my case, mostly with Kim who I was teasing the entire time. hahaha.
Even till now, I feel so content with this live. Haha, it wasn’t like Manila which got me filled with regrets and felt ‘Is that it?!’ However, what is Mei’s reaction with a double dosage? Let’s see in the next update shall we!