On Valentine’s Day 2019, it was suddenly announced that ONE OK ROCK would be opening for Ed Sheeran on the Asian leg of his Divide World Tour. There would be two dates in Japan. Tokyo was already sold out but tickets to Osaka were still available. It took me some time to confirm if I could get the day off work and to find someone to go with. After everything was settled, I went to purchase tickets and got the dreaded two words: SOLD OUT.
Luckily a kind soul would later offer me their extra ticket, and after work on April 22nd, I headed down to Osaka on an overnight bus. The bus ride was not kind to my neck, eeks. I made it to Osaka early in the morning and then my friend picked up me and we went over to her house so I could rest a bit before going out for lunch with another friend. (We had yakiniku— yum!)
We reached the venue at around 4PM. My friends went to buy some merch, but I didn’t buy anything since ONE OK ROCK wasn’t selling anything. I met up with the person who was giving me their ticket and we chatted a bit before entering the venue. Our seats were up on the third floor on the third base side. It was far from the stage but unlike my seats for Tokyo Dome, I had an unobstructed view of the stage.
The concert started on time and right about 6:15PM, ONE OK ROCK took the stage. There wasn’t anything really different content-wise compared to the Tokyo Dome concert, so you can read my report for that here. Taka wore the same jeans with black fringes but with a different shirt. He also cut his hair and it looked really good.
Before Head High, Taka mentioned that it was nice that the audience could take video, and he asked what people do with them after. “Do you rewatch them after you get home?” He said that you can’t record this moment though, and urged the audience not to watch Ed’s concert through a screen but instead experience it with their own naked eyes. I think it’s great how Taka always shows the highest respect for other artists. He totally understands ONE OK ROCK’s role as the opening act and tries to set the stage for the main act. You can tell Taka sincerely wanted Ed to have a great performance in his home country.
I suppose the biggest highlight of the night was the equipment trouble that the band went through. I didn’t realize exactly what was going on at the time because I was so in the moment, but apparently Toru’s guitar amp broke down during The Beginning. I did notice Taka walking over to Toru and get really close to Toru’s guitar, even kissing it, but because of the distance from the stage, I wasn’t quite sure what was happening. I had figured it was just some fan service.
After reviewing my video recording, it looks like the amp broke down at the beginning of the song and Toru had left the stage for the majority of the song. They probably thought something was wrong with the guitar at first but then realized it was the amp when spare guitars weren’t making any sound either. Noticing something was up, Taka walked over to Toru and Toru seemingly said something in his ear. I assume he was explaining the situation. That’s when Taka gave Toru’s guitar a few pats and kissed it, yelling, “Koi ya! (Come on!)” as if that would bring it back to life, haha.
At the end of the song, Toru had switched guitars again, this time to his green one, and was testing it out. The amp was back up and running, and the guitar was properly making sounds. Toru said into the mic, “It’s nothing.” Before going onto Mighty Long Fall, Taka confirmed with Toru, “Ikeru? (Good to go?)” and then introduced the next song. Toru mentioned in his IG post that his ear monitor also went flying, but I didn’t notice it at all.
For the last song, Wasted Nights, I think you could tell that the live-action Kingdom movie was having an effect since a lot of people cheered for the song. The movie had not yet premiered when it was performed at Tokyo Dome a few weeks earlier.
Despite the mishap with Toru’s amp which could have been easily be overlooked if you weren’t paying attention to the stage and were mostly looking at the screens, ONE OK ROCK gave another amazing performance. During Ed’s set, he mentioned that there was a song he didn’t play in Tokyo, and Taka told him that he liked that song, so Ed was going to play it tonight in Osaka. He performed Happier and dedicated it to Taka. Ed also played this song at Taka’s request for his birthday at the first show in Hong Kong on April 17. I could just imagine Taka fanboying somewhere inside the venue watching this. I hope they get to collaborate one of these days.
This will be my last ONE OK ROCK concert in Japan for a while unless I manage to make my way back in the fall for their Japan Tour. We’ll see. I still have Warped Tour in July to look forward to, and hopefully they’ll do something else in the States during the summer too.