ELLEGARDEN announced in early May that they were making a comeback after 10 years. Oh, how I had waited for that day. For me, before ONE OK ROCK, there was ELLEGARDEN. I had missed my chance to see them live when they played in the States many years ago, which I regretted very much. Who knew they would go on hiatus after? There’s no chance I would miss them this time around.
I put in an entry for tickets as soon as the lottery opened and was lucky enough to get tickets to the last performance at ZOZO Marine Stadium. So many ELLEGARDEN fans had waited for the band’s comeback so the odds of getting tickets were already low. (My friend who entered for tickets with me didn’t get any.) Imagine how much harder it was to get tickets after ONE OK ROCK was announced as the guest act! The announcement was icing on the cake for me, and I was so glad I already had tickets. Scalping was even more rampant after that, so much that they had to decide to do ID checks on everyone. Then finally the day came: August 15, 2018, the day I would see my two favorite bands on the same stage.
Goods at the other venues sold out very quickly and, as expected, there was a lot of scalping on goods too. I left the house at around 6:30 and got into the goods line just before 8AM. Oh my gosh, the line! There must’ve been at least a thousand people or more already lined up. There were reports of scalpers hiring old people to line up the night before to buy a bunch of goods and resell. I checked Twitter while in line and apparently the scalpers opened up shop right in front of a nearby hotel and were selling the goods for at least double the price. Geez, the nerve they have to do that in the open! Anyway, the line moved fairly smoothly, but because it was so long, it took me a little over four hours to finally buy my stuff. I wasn’t able to get the black collaboration shirt or gray cap because they sold out, but luckily they announced later in the day that they would do online sales after the tour. At least I got the white collaboration shirt so I was able to wear that during the concert. While lining up for the restroom, I heard ELLEGARDEN rehearsing and could make out Red Hot. That got me really excited. Later on in the day, I heard ONE OK ROCK rehearsing Take what you want. Love that song so I was happy to know that they would be performing it.
My friend who was going with me arrived just before the start time. We quickly got through the ID check and arrived at our seats which were in the stands, slightly to the right of center in the third row. Not a bad view but because we were close to center, there was a bit of distance between us and the stage. There were large monitors on both sides of the stage though so as long as the camera was pointed in the right direction, it was easy to see.
The choice of BGM before the concert was interesting. They must have chosen songs that were popular at the time ELLEGARDEN was active. I remember they played AKG’s Kimi to iu Hana. Once the music volume got turned up, the crowd started cheering and ONE OK ROCK took to the stage. Taka wore the same outfit he wore at DEAD POP FESTiVAL (green Nirvana tanktop with flame pants), and the others wore black. Ryota was in his usual oversized jersey and pants. Taka’s hair was a darker brown, and I thought it looked a lot better than photos from a few days before where it was a brighter blond. Bottom line, Taka looked good.
The first song was the English version of Taking Off. I was surprised to hear The Beginning as the second song, and it came without warning because they didn’t play their usual piano intro before the song. I suppose it was because there was no MC before it. The audience clapped along and such but you can tell there wasn’t as much energy as there would have been had this been a concert just for ONE OK ROCK. The guy next to my friend was obviously a fan though because he sang along loudly and knew all the correct responses.
Next up was Clock Strikes. Again, it was unexpected because Taka didn’t put his finger up in the air and do the usual ticking motions. Only portions of the crowd was singing along, but that didn’t stop Taka from belting out that long tone. It seemed like an eternity! He definitely hit over 20 seconds– Wow! His voice echoed throughout the stadium.
The song after was Take what you want, but they didn’t do the usual slow intro with long silence. They instead had a lower sounding intro, during which Taka yelled out, “ELLEGARDEN, welcome back!” which received cheers from the crowd. He went on to say that during the decade that they’ve been a band, they had been looking up to ELLEGARDEN, and that after 13 years, the day that they would be able to perform together finally came. There was a recorded echo of “take what you want, take what you want and go” before Taka began performing the song. Though this arrangement is a little closer to the original than past performances, I felt there was an overall low-toned echo to the instrumentals that makes it unique. I think it may have been the first time they performed it this way. The part near the end was absolutely amazing! While the crowd sang the whole “whoa oh oh oh oh” part, Taka harmonized and it was so beautiful!
Next was I was King. Taka must really like this song or something because they seem to add it to their set list a lot, even though it’s not one of their well-known songs. It’s not a bad song, but I don’t really feel it fits the atmosphere here… It’s a song that Taka likes the audience to sing with him but that’s kind of hard when not everyone in the crowd is a fan.
After five songs, it was finally time for a proper MC. Taka started off with the usual, “Good evening, this is ONE OK ROCK!” He said that if there’s a beginning, there must also be an end, and that he was already sad. He was proud that ELLEGARDEN chose to use ONE OK ROCK as the opening act for all three performances during the tour. Taka then started saying that normally they would have purchased tickets and be in with the audience because ELLEGARDEN was their hero, but since the tour announcement they knew that tickets would be impossible to get, and Taka joked, “We wanted to watch them no matter what so I wondered if they’d let us do the opening act,” which drew a laugh from the crowd. He said that like everyone in the audience, they’re very happy to see ELLEGARDEN back on stage after 10 years. He then joked again, saying, “There may be people in the audience who don’t know about ONE OK ROCK, but you should thank us,” followed by a huge cheeky smile. OMG, I can’t emphasize enough how adorable his smile was! You can tell he was having such a great time on stage.
The last songs for the set were Mighty Long Fall, We are, and Kanzen Kankaku Dreamer. They seem to be performing the English version of MLF often lately. I jumped and all that but I felt the head banging was a little lacking on the part of the audience. Taka called for a circle pit in the middle of the song. I’m not sure how it went because they didn’t show it on the screens, but I assume people did make one. Taka ended the song with a couple glorious screams of “don’t go.”
Before We are, Taka explained that everyone has songs or artists that they listen to when they’re happy or sad. For some people, that artist may be ONE OK ROCK, but for ONE OK ROCK, it was ELLEGARDEN. He said that they want to see more of ELLEGARDEN too, and hopes that they’ll go on another tour, which got lots of cheers from the audience.
My voice was already leaving me but I had to sing along to We are. This time Taka sang the entire Japanese version of the song instead of switching to the English version in the middle. It was kind of sad not hearing the entire crowd singing “we aaaaare, we aaaaaaaaare.” It was incredibly quiet during the part where the crowd is supposed to sing a verse. (Of course I sang, and so did the guy next to my friend.) During the riff, Taka jumped off the stage on the left side and went up to the front of the third base stands, singing the rest of the song from there. He returned to the stage for Kanzen Kankaku Dreamer.
I would like to think the crowd was more into Kanzen Kankaku Dreamer, perhaps because it’s one of their most well-known songs among Japanese people. I was so tired after ONE OK ROCK’s set, and my voice was already mostly gone. I hadn’t yet completely recovered from my cold so my throat wasn’t in the best condition from the beginning, and this certainly didn’t help. Totally worth it though.
After ONE OK ROCK finished, the stage hands prepared for ELLEGARDEN by changing the set. Man, the cheers as the band took the stage! It was a totally different atmosphere from 15 minutes ago. ELLEGARDEN got the crowd pumped starting with Supernova. It’s kind of funny because I hadn’t listened to ELLEGARDEN in a long while (I’ve been listening to nothing but OOR for the past 8 months), but even if the song titles didn’t come to me right away, the lyrics did. I guess that goes to show how much I used to listen to them. This was my first time seeing them live but all the songs were familiar and felt so nostalgic. I couldn’t help but sing along even though my throat was dead. I actually had the taste of blood in my mouth when I coughed sometimes. Oops. ^^;
The crowd was so into ELLEGARDEN, singing along the entire time. We’ve all been waiting a very long time for this. I can just imagine OOR singing along too from backstage. The entire crowd yelling out “pepperoni quattro!!!!” during Pizza Man was great.
During the first MC, Hosomi san thanked ONE OK ROCK, and explained that because the venue was an open-air stadium, Taka made ten teruteru bozu to keep the rain away, LoL. Hosomi san said he was going to make some too but he forgot. ^^; Some people yelled “welcome back!” so he replied with a “we’re back.” He asked for the audience (except for the little kids, haha) to be quiet, and then yelled out, “Hey you guys listening outside! Don’t you guys get injured either!” That’s so nice of him to recognize the people who weren’t able to get tickets and were trying to listen in from outside. Apparently there were thousands of people outside, too.
They started up again with Fire Cracker. Man this band has such awesome tunes! Seeing them live reminded me of how much I’ve actually missed them. They slowed things down a bit with Koukasen and after the song, Hosomi san said that they didn’t think it would take 10 years either and apologized. He said that a few days later, the four of them will probably go out and eat together and talk about this day. He then asked the bassist Takada if he had anything to add, to which he replied, “Eh, not really.” Haha. People continued to wait for him to say something, and then he was all, “So no one’s gonna help me out, huh?” which drew a laugh. The drummer Takahashi then said that about 10% of his attention is on Takada’s hair which looks like Captain Tsubasa’s, haha. The guitarist Ubukata san then said that even after 10 years, this many people came to see them, that there were tons of others who couldn’t make it, and that they were very happy (for all the support).
Hosomi san said they would play a nostalgic song. Cue Missing, which is one of my favorites. They had the audience sing a verse near the end. Next was Starfish which of course everyone loves. The crowd sang along to the chorus. They clapped along to The Autumn Song. I was happy to hear Kaze no Hi live since, along with Migite, it was the song that introduced me to ELLEGARDEN. (Both songs were ending themes for the I’ll/CKBC anime OVA.) Everyone sang along during the chorus, as did I.
During the next MC, Hosomi san explained that they never thought of wanting to become rock stars who would perform in a baseball stadium like this. But after getting a push from ONE OK ROCK to perform together, he wanted to try being a rock star just for this one day. It was also revealed that the idea of them getting back together and performing with ONE OK ROCK first came up two years ago! Hosomi san said that probably half the crowd was seeing them live for the first time, perhaps having grown up with their parents listening to ELLEGARDEN’s music, but finally when they were at an age that they could attend concerts, the band went on hiatus. to those people, he said, “Nice to meet you. We’re pleased to make your acquaintance.” And then for the old fans who waited for them all this time, they dedicated the next song to them: Middle of Nowhere. I wouldn’t be surprised if there were a few people who got emotional listening to this.
The mood lifted with Surfrider Association. The audience’s voices echoed throughout the stadium during Marry Me. Lonesome is another of my favorites so I was happy they played it.
Hosomi san said that while there were a bunch of cameras, a DVD won’t be released. The crowd immediately went, “Ehhhh~!” He explained that the week they spent touring with ONE OK ROCK, though it was a short trip, was very movie-like, and if they released a DVD, it would no longer be something that belonged to only the people who were there in person. I suppose that’s true, but I’d still like to relive it again. T_T Lastly, the other three gave their greetings, with Takada being forced to be last, haha.
The crowd got pumped up again with Red Hot. We then got down the last songs with Salamander, Jitterbug, and lastly Niji. We didn’t have to wait long for the encore.
Everybody sang along to Make A Wish, and Hosomi san urged us to sing even louder. During the middle of Tsuki, they asked us to sit down and said they would wait as long as is needed. When Hosomi san realized that it was impossible to have everyone in the arena sit down, Takada started making really funny faces. At the beginning of the next chorus, everyone jumped up. It was a party until the end.
I didn’t realize they would do a double encore, but the band came back on stage. This time, Hosomi san was shirtless. They sang BBQ Riot Song and it was surprisingly kind of quiet for this very last song. At the end, fireworks went off for over a minute as a finale. It was a nice surprise and a great way to finish off the day. After the fireworks, ELLEGARDEN came back on stage with ONE OK ROCK and they took some photos with the audience. They asked if it would OK if they published the photo in a magazine, so I guess it won’t be put online.
And thus ended ELLEGARDEN’s comeback tour with guest act ONE OK ROCK. Some final thoughts… During OOR’s set, I really felt the crowd could have been a little more into it, even if they weren’t a fan. The “away” feeling was hard to ignore. Hosomi san mentioned during one of the broadcasts of his Hedgehog Diaries radio show that it was actually thanks to Taka that ELLEGARDEN got back together. Regardless, the crowd’s enthusiasm during ONE OK ROCK and ELLEGARDEN was like night and day. That was slightly disappointing, but in the end, ELLEGARDEN is the main attraction here, as they should be, so I guess it can’t be helped. I went all out during both sets, and I think my body hates me for it. Sooooooo sooooore! I thought it was hilarious how Hosomi san was drinking a beer on stage. He didn’t bring any attention to it at all, but you could totally tell that he was holding a can of Asahi, LoL.
Anyway, I’m so glad I was able to get tickets to this. I wish ELLEGARDEN sang The End of the World, which is one of my favorites, but the overall set list was great. It would’ve been cool if they covered each other’s songs. I would definitely like to hear that, and I’m curious as to which songs they would choose. I hope there will be more opportunities to see these two awesome bands perform together.
ONE OK ROCK Setlist
- Taking Off (English ver.)
- The Beginning
- Clock Strikes
- Take what you want
- I was King
- Mighty Long Fall (English ver.)
- We are
- Kanzen Kankaku Dreamer
- Pizza Man
- Fire Cracker
- Space Sonic
- The Autumn Song
- Kaze no Hi
- Middle of Nowhere
- Surfrider Association
- Marry Me
- Santa Claus
- Red Hot
- Make A Wish
- BBQ Riot Song