I know we don’t do a lot of music reviews here, but I had to share this with you all. It’s not a review but more of a fan-girling, so if you don’t like that kind of thing, feel free to move along.
I’ve been a fan of ONE OK ROCK since 2014— literally since right after they did the Vans Warped Tour that summer. Unfortunately, I missed those concerts by a couple of weeks. Anyway… I discovered ONE OK ROCK on YouTube, since, as you might guess, I have
very few no peers who could introduce me to their music. Jinsei x Boku was the first album I bought and fell in love with. I really love the variation of ONE OK ROCK’s music, from screaming hard rock to soul wrenching ballads. Then ONE OK ROCK did the music for the live action Rurōni Kenshin movies and became really popular. I’ve since bought all of their remaining albums that are available in North America. I missed their tour in 2015, so when they were finally coming back to North America this year for their Ambitions tour (and to a location I could get to) I had to grab tickets to the local concert.
The concert was held at the House of Blues in downtown Dallas, Texas. The venue is very small and intimate. I really wish the house had been sold-out but there was a very enthusiastic crowd – and everyone responded well to the band (even my husband). You can see that in the later videos I linked.
I wasn’t going for the cheap tickets either, since this will probably be the only chance I get to see them live. I bought two VIP tickets in hopes of dragging one of my friends along with me. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to convince her, so my husband came as my bodyguard. Lol. One of the perks of those VIP tickets was that I GOT TO MEET THE BAND! That was so cool and nerve-wracking at the same time! We got signed copies of the recent album Ambitions and commemorative photos. And all the band members gave me a hug! I was totally not expecting that from a Japanese band.
Since we had VIP tickets, we were also let into the venue before everyone else, so we were right up front at the stage barrier. There was no one else in front of me. I had a clear and up close view of Toru most of the time and then Taka whenever he came to stage left. Ryouta occasionally switched with Toru as well so we also got to see him up close.
Here’s the set list and the order of the songs they played:
The guys did a fantastic job of keeping the energy in the crowd up and performing well. My favorite moment was when Taka messed up singing Hard to Love, and cussed (“shit”) when he started to sing the first verse again for the second verse of the song. Everyone laughed and they kept right on going. During Mighty Long Fall, Taka sang only the English version of the song, but the audience was singing the Japanese – and got caught off guard – people weren’t sure what to sing. At the end of the song, Taka got the floor audience to separate down the middle to create the wall of death and then come crashing back together after a countdown. Taka also crowd surfed during the encore of American Girls, which was funny to watch as well. I really had no idea how little the guy is! He’s smaller than I am at 5’5”. He’s got such a big voice for a little body. During the performance he would often jump onto a platform while singing to be seen better. Toru is the tallest one, and his stage presence is fantastic as well. I can’t keep count of how many different guitars that guy plays during a concert. It seems he was switching them out almost every other song. Then there’s Ryouta who can’t help but stand out – dyed hair and shirtless for half the show. His bass skills are awesome and he even impressed my musician husband with his bowing of the ViolaFon for Hard to Love. Although my husband is not a fan, he had to admit that the guys were good musicians – and even left with a song stuck in his head. That’s like mission accomplished for me who has been trying to get him to listen to them for the last three years! (Husband’s Comment: I didn’t HAVE to admit it, they are indeed good musicians. Didn’t hurt that both opening acts sucked though…)
This was the best performance by Taka we heard last night. Freaking spectacular!
Looking at other venues, our crowd was really into it. The audience made for perfect backup singers. It’s really great when musicians get that kind of response from the crowd (HC: yes, yes it is…). Everyone down on the floor pretty much sang along to everything including all the Japanese. It was a ton of fun!
Here’s the encore that one person recorded at the venue. Don’t know how long it will stay up, so if it’s gone it’s gone.
Overall it was a fantastic experience and one I won’t forget for a long, long time. I hadn’t been to a concert in almost 15 years, so it’s not something I do often. This was very special and I’m so glad I got to live it! If you have a favorite band then I encourage you to go see them live – it’s the best musical experience for both bands and fans.