It’s been days since ONE OK ROCK played their Ambitions Tour in Manila but I can still hear Tomoya’s glorious heavy beat pounding my ears.
When I close my eyes and recall how the night of January 29 kicked off for all of us at the Mall of Asia (MOA) Arena, I’m instantly taken back to the casual entrance ONE OK ROCK did, and the explosive opening performance of “Bombs Away” they rendered after.
The night’s setlist ranged from Niche Syndrome to Ambitions, so you can just imagine the joy of both old and new ONE OK ROCK fans when classics like “Re:make”, “Wherever You Are”, “Clock Strikes”, “The Beginning”, and “Kanzen Kankaku Dreamer” were played.
But the crowd also jammed well, pure energy, to “Mighty Long Fall”, “Deeper Deeper”, “Taking Off”, “Cry Out”, “Bedroom Warfare”, “One Way Ticket”, “Bon Voyage”, “I was King”, “Take What You Want”, “We Are”, and “American Girls”.
The band’s frontman, Taka, is always an absorbing force to watch once fully warmed up on stage. His tattoos make him seem intimidating and not one to wear his heart on his sleeve, but that’s exactly how he always does it up there—all heart and music genius, nothing less.
But that’s not all there is to ONE OK ROCK.
What’s most remarkable about the band is the superb artistry and technical expertise of each member.
Taka, Toru (guitar), Ryota (bass), and Tomoya (drums) are four grand towers on stage.
Anywhere you look—left, right, middle, and wherever the constantly-on-the-move lead singer is—you’re treated to an intensely captivating display of love for instruments and passion for music. Almost to the point you’d think they’d have no moment to spare for audience interaction. But that’s not how it goes. Toru and Ryota are two of the most aggressive instrumentalists you’ll ever witness. They dance to the beat, they headbang like they’re not strapped to their chordophones, and they run around to feel and share the moment’s energy with the rest of the crowd throughout the entire live. Tomoya is another sight to behold beneath his percussion because he’s one to always feel himself and their harmony from the get-go.
This is why to any ONE OK ROCK fan, a ONE OK ROCK live is more than just an event to attend. It’s a special encounter that energizes the soul and heals it in a way only notes and words can. They make people experience an incomparable musicscape that can only be offered by them, and you’ll never get enough.
Ambitions Tour in Manila only featured 17 songs, but they all felt longer than they should because the band took us on a journey through each of them. (The people’s worn out vocal cords would agree.)
So… how do you move on from this?
Sorry but… we don’t have the answer.
There’s simply no way out of the PCD when the music experience is THIS good.
Resistance is futile so indulge some more (go blast your ONE OK ROCK playlist on loop) and, perhaps, beg PULP for the next show already.
ONE OK ROCK Ambitions Tour in Manila was presented by Amuse Singapore, 必應創造 B’in Live, & PULP Live World; GEM TV Asia, & Diamond Hotel; with INQUIRER.net as media partner.
Official photos by: @JulenPhoto