I was in the States on business and it was around 3AM on the day I would be flying back when my friend messaged me saying she got tickets to Ed Sheeran’s concert at Tokyo Dome where ONE OK ROCK was special guest. The concert was on the day I got back to Japan. After landing thirty minutes late at Narita due to strong headwinds, I had about 25 minutes to get out of the airport to make the train. Japan was Japan though, and I was out in 20.
My friend and I made it to our seats on the first floor of the first base side with only a few minutes to spare. We were probably less than 10 rows from the back so the stage was pretty far away, plus there was scaffolding that held up speakers that blocked the center view of the stage. Not the best view but we were just glad to be there. However, what was startling was the number of empty seats around us! There were at least a hundred unoccupied seats. I thought maybe they belonged to people who were skipping out on ONE OK ROCK’s opening act, but the seats remained empty throughout the entire show. That’s really sad for all the people who wanted but couldn’t get tickets…
Anyway, the lights went down pretty much right at the 5:45PM start time and the intro music used for the North American Tour started playing. The band members came out on stage with Taka being last. Taka wore a white long-sleeved flame shirt with light gray pants. He must be going through a flame phase or something since a lot of his outfits lately have had flame designs on them, haha. (And let us not forget his adorable little flame pouch he brought to the acoustic concert in Long Beach in February!)
As with the North American tour, they lead off with Push Back. It felt kind of weird because there was that “away” feeling where most people were not singing along as they would if it were a concert for ONE OK ROCK. I think this made me hold back a little, but that was also in part because I was recording video (they were allowing photos/video in Japan!) and didn’t want my horrible singing to overtake the audio. Push Back is a really good opener and I wonder if they’ll use it as the first song for the Japan Tour in the fall too.
Next up was the intoxicating heavy bass of Deeper Deeper. I was kind of sad because I was holding up my phone in one hand so I couldn’t clap along at the beginning. but let’s just say my footage of ONE OK ROCK’s opener was a lot more shaky than my video for Ed Sheeran, LoL. Taka yelled out “soshite!” and the crowd was supposed to sing “good good days” but it was sadly pretty quiet because most of the audience didn’t know the lyrics. I think Taka might have briefly forgotten about this because you could sort of hear him sing “days” at the end. While I certainly yelled out the “ue he!” part before the bridge, the crowd as a whole was definitely quiet. At the end, Taka let out a glorious shout that was about 15 seconds long. So so good!
Taka did all the MCing for their entire set. He started off with the usual, “Good evening everyone, we are ONE OK ROCK.” He then added, “There are probably a lot of people seeing us for the first time so I’ll say this just in case, but we’re not Ed Sheeran. Ed Sheeran will be coming on after us.” That got some laughs from the crowd. He continued talking about how he’s known Ed for several years and is grateful that they could share the stage together, and how Ed’s been looking forward to this performance at Tokyo Dome. He wanted to warm things up for Ed and while the audience’s time with ONE OK ROCK would be short, he hoped that we would all have a good time.
Then, Taka introduced Clock Strikes and the familiar ticking sound played. He encouraged the audience to sing along if they knew the lyrics during the part where the audience always sings. As expected, I could really only hear myself and a few scattered people around me singing, but then Taka went into that long tone and held it for about 22 seconds. This was enough to get claps and loud cheers from the entire audience. I think this is a great song to show off Taka’s vocal talent and I don’t know how anyone could not be impressed after hearing him do that long tone.
Before the next song, Taka commented that while they were at Tokyo Dome, the stage is pretty small for four people to be on. Indeed, they weren’t able to move as freely as they would had the stage been set up specifically for them but what can you do? He asked if the people in the back could hear them which got a lot of cheers. Taka said he was glad and then began singing Head High. The way they ease into this song when performing it live is so nice. I love when Tomoya’s drums kick in and the beat picks up a bit. I still don’t know how Taka can consistently hit those high notes. Just, wow. Unlike the North American Tour, they didn’t have the crowd do the “oooh”s.
Next was Stand Out Fit In and I absolutely love the guitar intro to this song live. I thought it was kind of cute how Taka was all, “Here we go!” as Tomoya’s drum beat began. I’ve loved this song since the first time I heard it at the orchestra concert. It sounds so great live. When you listen to the studio version is doesn’t seem like a song that you would jump to, but when performed live, you can’t help but get your feet off the ground.
The piano intro to The Beginning immediately began after Stand Out Fit In. There were lots of cheers as Taka started singing so I guess many people were familiar with this track. (There were noticeably more people recording this song too.) Taka only sang, “Just give me a reason…” and then had the crowd finish the verse. At least with this song you could hear more people singing. Taka yelled out, “Let’s go, Tokyo Dome!” and we were rockin’ away. This being my favorite song, I was singing along the entire time. I couldn’t help rocking my body near the end either.
They weren’t going to give us any time to rest because next up was Mighty Long Fall. It was kind of lonely not having the entire place jumping and echoing of “whoa whoa.” After the first chorus, Taka let out a howl that was pretty unexpected, and before Tomoya’s double kick near the end, Taka yelled out, “Let’s get f*cking dooooownnnn!” He really screamed that “down.” A couple amazing screams of “don’t gooooo” at the end and the song ended with Taka doing a fist pump.
After a few seconds, the gospel-like oohs of Wasted Nights began. Taka explained that this would be their last song and thanked the audience for watching them. He then said, “Next time, we’ll be looking forward to seeing you at our concert,” but he flubbed the end and it was so cute. With the mic in his right hand, he kind of just put his left hand up in an “oh well” gesture. He had been absolutely perfect until this! LoL. He continued saying that Ed would be coming on soon and asked for the audience to celebrate his Tokyo Dome performance and have fun.
Wasted Nights really is a song meant to be sung in huge venues like this. Taka’s vocals totally echo throughout and it is amazing. He had the audience repeat the “I don’t wanna wait, I don’t wanna waste a night” lines before going into the final chorus. After the song, he took a video of the crowd and the band exited the stage.
As with all ONE OK ROCK performances, they were breathtakingly amazing! I was wondering if they would be performing the Japanese versions of the songs since they were in Japan, but all the songs were the English version. I suppose it’s because that’s what they had rehearsed up until now. I think some people were surprised that they chose to play heavier songs like Deeper Deeper to an audience of mostly Ed Sheeran fans, but I believe doing so gives them a good opportunity to showcase all the different styles of music they have in their discography. While I mentioned that most people didn’t sing along, I’m sure that was simply because they weren’t familiar with the music and not because they weren’t into it. There were loud cheers after every song, and I’ve read people saying that they’ve read others expressing their enjoyment of ONE OK ROCK’s set even though it was their first time hearing the band. Here’s to hoping many more people discover the awesomeness that is ONE OK ROCK during the remainder of the Asian leg of Ed Sheeran’s Divide World Tour!