ONE OK ROCK 2019-2020 “Eye of the Storm” JAPAN TOUR – Yokohama Arena Live Report

ONE OK ROCK hit up Yokohama Arena for the second time on their “Eye of the Storm” JAPAN TOUR on January 9-10, 2020. This pair of performances were their first concerts of the new year/decade, and the first day fell on 1/09, aka Wanoku Day. Because of this, many were hoping for a special surprise (spoiler: there wasn’t any).

As usual, tickets were getting harder and harder to come by. I was able to get a pair of tickets for the first day through the first Primal Footmark lottery, but all my subsequent efforts to secure tickets for the second day fell through. My friend was finally able to get me tickets during the very last lottery, and I was able to get another pair through the general sale on LINE Ticket. It was surprisingly easy to get tickets through the general sale, probably because most people were using sites like Pia and Eplus. Now that people know that LINE Ticket was easier, I get the feeling that it won’t be so easy next time.

Doors opened at 6PM. Inside, they were selling merch and there were flower stands from a variety of groups, including fellow bands and TV networks. My seats for the first day were in the third row of the lower stands, towards the right of center in the back. I had a nice view of the entire stage. For the second day, my seats were the very last row on the third floor. There was a lot of distance between me and the stage, but I had a very good view of the entire venue, including the audience, which is great for writing reports such as these so I had no complaints.

ONE OK ROCK concerts are pretty much known for not starting on time, but the first day started just a few minutes after 7PM. (It was a little bit later on the second day, but no long delays like Tokyo Dome.) The crowd cheered as the Western songs that had been playing in the background faded and the lights went down.

As the intro played, a projection mapped image of Taka’s head was displayed on the veil screen in front of the stage. The image was distorted and rotated, and there was a lot of focus on Taka’s mouth/lips. At times his mouth multiplied. It was kind of surreal. Taka was singing something, but you couldn’t make out the words because of the effects on them.

View this post on Instagram

@julenphoto

A post shared by Taka (@10969taka) on

Then the intro died down and it transitioned into the opening of Eye of the Storm. The first thing I noticed was that there were effects overlayed on Taka’s vocals. His voice was deeper than on the CD recording. The veil was still up in front of the stage and there were projections of shapes, and when the guitar was strumming, there was a seismograph-like image moving along with the beat. Near the end, they made it look like a cyclone was twirling around Taka and there was a dragon going around it and the song ended with an echoing thunder noise. The live arrangement was great. I really hope they’ll come back to the U.S. this year and perform this.

The boys took it up a notch with Take me to the top. Taka yelled out, “First live of the new year!!” which got everyone cheering. The venue resonated with the crowd’s “whoa oh oh oh~” and there was lots of head banging during the breakdown. Taka sounded amazing. During the song, the words “ONE OK ROCK” flashed in big red letters behind the stage.

Next up was We are. I quickly realized that while everyone is familiar with the chorus, most Japanese people don’t know the lyrics or can’t sing the “never tell yourself you should be someone else” part even though Taka always has the crowd sing it. It was really awkward singing it all by myself both days, haha. Well, now we know why that part is always quiet on the BD/DVD.

Taka greeted the crowd by wishing them a happy new year, introducing themselves as ONE OK ROCK, and welcoming the audience to “Eye of the Storm 2020 in Yokohama Arena.” He said that last year ended with a concert, and this new year starts with a concert, and asked the crowd if they were sluggish from the new year break. If anyone was, they were going to blow all that away. As the crowd cheered, the intro to Taking Off began. As usual, the crowd sang along to “I know I know” and “drag me all the way to hell.”

As the ending of Taking off faded, there was a short silence and then Re:make started. This is one song I wanted to hear live so I was so happy when I found out it was on the setlist for this tour. There were some circle pits in the arena with people crashing in during the chorus. Everyone yelled out “another way!” when Taka sang “another day,” and also helped him finish off the chorus with “ikichigai out there!” Hearing Toru’s guitar solo for this song live was so awesome. You can definitely tell how pumped the crowd gets with these classics.

The next song started off with some low, somber notes before Tomoya’s drums came in, and then Toru’s guitar. There was a short intro before Taka started singing Can’t Wait. Oh man, the way he hits those high notes! Taka had the crowd sing “gotta let go,” sometimes with him, sometimes alone, throughout the song. There was an extended instrumental with a guitar solo added for the live version. So. Good. It’s too bad they aren’t likely to ever perform this outside of Japan this song is only on the Japanese version of the album.

After was the first MC. Ryota asked the crowd to let him hear their voices. He yelled out, “How you feeling, Tokyo!” and when the crowd wasn’t loud enough for him, he said, “Tokyo, can you still keep going?” and then thanked the audience. Next was Tomoya’s usual, “Yokohamaaaaa!! You doin’ okay????” He said that it was great that they’re performing first thing in the new year and that it’s in Yokohama. Then it was Toru’s turn. He mentioned that it was the third day for Yokohama (fourth on the second day), and asked how everyone was feeling and pumped them up. Taka started his greeting with a “tadaima (I’m back),” to which the crowd responded with “okaeri (welcome back)!” He thanked the audience for choosing to spend their day with ONE OK ROCK. He said that their feelings haven’t been interrupted by the new year because the tour has been continuing for a while, but that they’ve powered up even more in the new year, and then he flexed both his arms. It so was adorable.

Taka point his finger up in the air and the familiar intro of Clock Strikes began. On the first day, I noticed he was a little late in raising his arm, so that was kind of cute. During the portion where the audience sings with him, he usually sings once, then the audience, and he sings it again, but on the first day, he had the audience sing first, and he sang the last two. I think that kind of confused people. But anyway, let’s talk about that long tone! Wow. It felt like an eternity on the first day. It was so long that I was determined to time it on the second day.

Yeah, he pretty much hit 30 seconds. WOW. It’s because of feats like this that I think it’s really hard for the band to remove this song from the setlist. There are always tons of people seeing the band for the first time, and this song really puts Taka’s vocals on display.

Next up was Head High. Taka and Toru started the song at the end of the catwalk which extended into the crowd. Taka still has trouble with his Rs and Ls because he continues to sing “fly” as “fry” in most instances. It’s pretty charming, if you ask me, but I feel mainstream audiences may be a bit more critical. Unlike the overseas performances up until now, Taka changed it up near the end, adding in “ta ta ta”s and some melodious harmonizing. At the end of the song, Taka and Toru were very close together with Taka’s arm leaning on Toru’s shoulder.

After was Grow Old Die Young. Taka has expressed how difficult this song is to sing because of its high key. He totally nailed it though. I feel his performance of this song has evolved since the tour in North America. There’s so much raw emotion behind it, especially when Taka sings, “Let’s go ooooold~!” He almost screamed “old” at times. During the song, the stage was drowned in red lights, and near the end, Taka pretended he was pulling on Toru’s guitar cord as Toru walked closer.

The lights went down and after a short wait, the four guys walked up the platform that extends into the arena. Tomoya mentioned that Taka looked like he was having so much fun, to which Taka explained it was because the audience was good. Cue cheers from the crowd. Taka also said that Yokohama was the closest to his hometown, and Toru pointed that Ryota kept saying “Tokyo” earlier. Taka said that that was rude to both people from Tokyo and Yokohama, haha. Ryota apologized and it was so cute.

Taka went on to talk about how people of so many different age groups come to see them perform, and how this tour had made them realized how old they’ve gotten. He also said that even grandmas and grandpas come to their concerts, and joked that he gets scared they might die from all the excitement during the show, and how he wants to pump up the crowd but sometimes can’t because he’s afraid they’ll keel over. Then Taka mentioned that his grandmother was there at the concert that day, which got lots of claps. Everyone looked over to the press seats and waved at Taka’s grandma. Taka said that she actually loves attention, and told her, “Please don’t die today,” LoL. He said she might get so happy, thinking, “My grandson is working so hard!” and then just kick the bucket. There was lots of laughter from the audience. Taka then faced the direction of his grandma and then in the sweetest voice, said, “Grandma, watch me until the end.” Taka has the cutest relationship with his family!

Next, the guys had the cameraman pick some people from the audience to come up on stage and chat. First was a little kid who was wearing the same jacket that Taka uses for his outfit. Next was another guy, a girl, and then an older lady. Taka went to get his jacket since the little kid was wearing a similar one. The guys commented on how well the kid’s jacket was made and then Taka had the kid take it off and put HIS jacket on! Toru suggested that Taka wear the kid’s jacket. It was a little bit short on him but he fit in it, and I think it was Tomoya who said that they’re the same size, haha.

View this post on Instagram

@hamanokazushi

A post shared by Taka (@10969taka) on

After they settled down a bit, Taka went to talk to “Taka 2.” He asked the kid’s name and his age. The kid was only 10 years old, so Taka asked him since when he had been listening to ONE OK ROCK. The kid said that today was his first time, LOL. Taka then yelled into the audience, “Hey parent!!” He asked the kid if his mom was the one who made the jacket, and the kid nodded. Taka commented on how well it was made, especially since he’s only uploaded a few photos up on Instagram. He asked the kid what he thought of ONE OK ROCK after watching them today, and asked if he was having fun. No response from the kid, LOL. The audience burst out laughing, and Taka said, “Well, he’s still a kid. You might start having some fun after this. I’ll do my best. ” It really sounded like he was trying to make himself feel better, haha. It’s funny how Taka loves kids and is so nice to them, yet they don’t always show him the same amount of love.

The girl Taka talked to next was wearing a dress shirt, and she explained that she had just come back from a business trip. She had a been a fan of them for quite a while and after pondering about the question for a few seconds, said that she liked all their songs. Taka laughed and thanked her for her consideration.

Taka asked the next lady her name and how old she was. She had turned 41 that day, and Taka said that this must be the best birthday then. Since it was her birthday, he said they’ll give her a birthday present later.

Last was a 17-year old guy. Taka was like, “You’re only 17 yet you’re taller than me! Kids these days are really tall. No? Maybe I’m just short.” Haha. The guy had been listening to OOR since he was about 12 because his mom often listened to them in the car. Taka asked how old his mom was and she was turning 40 this year, so not much younger than the lady who was currently on stage. He said that they have to be thankful to his mother for turning him into a fan.

After taking a photo together, Taka had to get his jacket back from the kid, and said that the tour is ongoing, but if it were the last show then he would have given it to him. Tomoya gave away his drum sticks that he had been using until just a moment ago; Toru gave away his pick that he was just using; and Ryota said he’ll give away his pick which you can probably buy anywhere, haha. Ryota felt bad and apologized a few times, saying that he doesn’t have a custom pick.

On the second day, Taka did not immediately come out to the front with everyone. It was just the other three and they were biding for time, so I think everyone was a little bit worried about Taka. They started talking about how they had to wait for him during Tokyo Dome too, and then Taka finally came out to applause from the audience. Taka said that his throat always gives him a little trouble when there are cameras recording. Toru mentioned that there were 60 cameras so it’s pretty safe to say that this will be the performance on the BD/DVD release. They then pointed out that there were like 4-5 cameras at the front of the catwalk and wondered if that many was necessary. Indeed it did seem a bit overkill, haha.

They went on to choose people from the audience to come up on stage next. This time it was a really really buff guy, a young child and his mother, a very nervous girl, and a girl who immediately hid from the camera when it was pointed at her. They wanted to pick someone who was a lot older, but the cameraman couldn’t find anyone.

View this post on Instagram

@hamanokazushi

A post shared by Taka (@10969taka) on

Taka first talked to the mother and her kid, and asked them their names. He asked the kid how old he was (6 years old), and if he came with his mom only or with his dad too. The kid was really really shy, and his mom had to answer for him, saying that he came with her. Taka then tried to ask the kid if he always listens to ONE OK ROCK. When the kid still had a difficult time answering, Taka was like, “I’m not scary~,” haha. The mom explained that it was the kid’s first concert, and that he had always wanted to go, so she said she’d take him when he started elementary school. Taka was amazed at how composed the mother was since most people get really nervous when brought up on stage. He then told the kid that they’ll do their best so he hopes the kid has fun. Toru pointed out that the kid wasn’t wearing any shoes. The mother explained that they were taken off earlier when she was holding him in her arms trying to get the camera’s attention and that they didn’t have time to put them back on before heading to the stage. Taka told the kid to put his shoes back on when he returned to his seat, and he used the word “kukku” which is like baby talk for “kutsu” (shoes). I think it’s pretty clear that Taka is often around small kids, haha.

Next was the really buff guy, and Taka was like, “What’s up with your upper body?” Haha. The guy said, “I train every day,” and Taka responded with, “We can tell just by looking at you!” LoL. Turns out the guy was aiming to become a pro wrestler. Tomoya asked him what his specialty was, and he said binding moves. Taka suggested that he do something on Tomoya, and Tomoya’s like, “But let me still be able to play drums.” The guy put his arm around Tomoya’s neck in a choke hold and Tomoya commented on how quickly it closes in around him. The guy explained that he failed the test this year to start training with a team (not sure what it’s called… it’d be like a dojo in karate or a stable in sumo), and Taka was surprised that there was a test, so he asked him what kind of test it was. There were things like 500 squats, and Taka laughed that they were all physical tests, and not necessarily being able to do a certain move. He encouraged the guy and told him to come back next time as a pro wrestler.

The next girl was very nervous. She had her hand over her mouth the entire time. She had been listening to the band since she was in 4th grade and was wearing Ryota’s red Dickie’s so it was a sign that she’s been a fan for a while.

And then last was “the one who hid.” Taka asked her why she tried to hide, and she said in a quiet voice, “I sort of skipped out on work.” LOL! The guys apologized and Taka was all, “What would happen if we put this on DVD?” He thanked her for taking time off work to come see them, and said that if she got fired, they’ll happily take her in.

They were going to take a photo next but Taka realized that if he put the photo up on his Instagram then the girl who skipped work would be outed. He then said that they’ll take a photo with her separately, and told the audience to keep her secret. The buff guy then tried to say that he took time off work to be there and wanted a separate photo too, but Taka was suspicious and the guy admitted that he wasn’t telling the truth. When the audience expressed their envy as the girl lined up with the guys to take her photo, he said that of course they’ll give extra service for her since she’s taking time off work for them, but made sure that everyone understood that they’re only doing it this one time and that everyone should go to school and work properly. If everyone skipped out on their obligations to go to their concerts, then ONE OK ROCK would get a reputation for being a bad influence, haha.

It was back to some awesome music after that, and Taka pumped up the crowd while the others played an intro leading up to Change. I know a lot of people criticized Change when it first came out, but I see that everyone on both sides of the ocean sing and groove along when it’s played live. Taka had the crowd swing their arms in the air, as usual. Tomoya looked so happy drumming near the end of the song.

Worst in Me was next and purple lights filled the stage. I love this song, and as expected, it’s even better live. You can clearly hear all the instruments in the live arrangement. Toru’s quick notes during the verses really stood out to me. An extra instrumental was added near the end with some awesome guitar work. The song ended with strong drumming from Tomoya. I’ve seen people say that this song is a lesser version of Bedroom Warfare, but remember how that song turned out live? Yeah. It’s kinda like that. I think more people will like this song when they hear it live.

Before the next song, Taka said that there are some things that humans can’t do anything to prevent, such as natural disasters. Toru was playing a melody on his acoustic guitar and when Taka finished talking, they started playing Be the light. The venue was illuminated by the lights from everyone’s phones. This song really does hit you when you’re listening to it live.

There was some narration in English that connected Be the light with the next song. The acoustic section continued with In the Stars. Toru and Ryota were sitting in the back of the left side of the stage. Toru was on an electric guitar, Ryota on an acoustic guitar, and Tomoya on piano in front of them. Taka was in the middle of the stage. OMG, this was so beautiful! The effects made it look like there were stars above the stage. In the second half of the song, the notes were played more strongly.

The instrumental was longer than the one the guys played previously. The beginning was bass heavy with Toru playing notes in the background that were a little reminiscent of jazz. There was lots of cymbal work from Tomoya. Once the intro ended, they did the same session as the overseas tours. No complaints from me because I thought it was really cool. I think there was a small addition between Tomoya’s drum solo and Ryota’s bass solo too.

Push Back started with Taka near the back of the arena. There was a platform behind the FOH which raised up. After he sang the opening verse, he ran around the right side of the arena and went back up on stage. Kind of sad that that was really the only time any of the guys got close to the back of the arena. Taka messed up the lyrics a bit near the beginning on the second day. We’ll see if they leave it on the home release or if they edit it. The camera went up in the faces of the guys. Tomoya was fiercely drumming with the camera up really close and he had a straight face on. Then he gave the biggest smile. So cute. Taka and Toru shared a mic to sing the chorus together and they made faces at the camera.

Next was Kimi Shidai Ressha, and Taka shouted that it was up to us whether it would be a local or express train. Everyone jumped along and you can tell how much the audience loves this song. We all sang “can’t see the light” and “whoa oh ohhh.” People in the arena would run into the circle pit during the chorus.

Toru and Ryota were at the end of the catwalk when they started playing Jibun ROCK. Along with Re:make, this was one of the songs I looked forward to hearing live the most of their older songs on this tour. It’s a cursed song, but Taka was able to perform it flawlessly both days. Before the last verse, Taka ran up to the end of the catwalk and sang there. I absolutely love Tomoya’s drumming during that part. He’s such a beast.

During the MC, Taka reminisced about the previous year. He talked about how happy they were that people bought the new album and were waiting for them around the world. He then went on about how regardless of their genre, there are people who pick up their album to support them, and that he of course understands there are also people who look down on them, but they don’t care about that. He sincerely feels that of all the artists he’s seen throughout the years, they have the strongest connection with their fans. So what more could they want? Taka reiterated that their goal is to take over the world, and in order to achieve that, they can’t go on with half-assed feelings. While Japanese bands before them have tried it, they all failed, but Taka feels that ONE OK ROCK can do it. He went on with an inspirational speech about how they’re only able to give an encouraging push from behind because you are the only one who can reach your goal. The next song is one that is meant to remind people of the band’s, as well as the listener’s, potential.

Cue Giants. After hearing Taka’s speech, it really felt like he was singing both for himself and for the audience. Since this was a song that they’ve previously played overseas, I was surprised that they added an extra instrumental to it. I really do like the Japanese version of this song better, especially near the end where “eikou no basho” is emphasized. Like he did during the world tour, Taka had the audience yell out “giants, giants” several times near the end.

Next was the piano intro to The Beginning. The crowd went wild when the song started. There were a number of moshes and crowd surfers. You could hear the audience sing along during the chorus. Since I was up in the very last row on the second day, the lights were actually pretty blinding at times.

View this post on Instagram

@cazrowaoki

A post shared by Taka (@10969taka) on

We got the usual one-two punch with Mighty Long Fall after. This song always knocks the wind out of me. So much fun! Lots of singing while jumping, and I love hearing the venue resonate with the audience shouting in sync. Taka called for a circle pit and the people in the arena responded. On the first day, the person next to me actually pulled me in for a group head bang, haha. Taka closed out the song with his screams of “don’t go!” and the crowd cheered hard.

Taka thanked the audience and emphasized that they are the band’s treasure. He said that there were some people who couldn’t attend this tour but while today’s concert will be ending, the tour isn’t over yet, and that this year, they’ll have another concert where everyone can come. (Special live!?) He wanted to sing the last song with everyone and hopes that it’ll be the start of a wonderful life for everyone.

Wasted Nights was the last song of the main set, and everyone belted out the chorus along with Taka. He had the crowd sing “koko de ikiru imi wo~!” There was a lot of clapping, which I wasn’t used to since we don’t usually clap to this song overseas. Taka extended the final “no more waaaaaaaaaaasted nights.”

The audience started the Answer is Near call for the encore. Then the opening of Stand Out Fit In started as the guys came back out on stage. I love hearing the back vocals of the other band members in this song. Unfortunately Taka doesn’t often do the “oh oh ohhh ohhh” part and instead gets the crowd to jump. That’s one of my favorite parts of the song so it’s too bad he almost never sings it.

Last of the night was Kanzen Kankaku Dreamer. Taka explained that they’ve played this song every tour, and that it was the first song that really connected them with their audience. But he said they’ve played it so many times that they’re tired of it and that it’s no longer interesting to them anymore. But the only reason why they don’t remove it from their setlist is because they can see everyone’s happy faces when they play it. Similar to the Dome Tour, the lyrics during the beginning and chorus were displayed on the screens behind the stage. There was more crowd surfing and I swear I heard Tomoya yell out “WATAAME!” (cotton candy) on the second day, LoL. The crowd sang along and their voices echoed throughout the venue. We’ll have to wait and see if they continue to sing this song on future tours. It’ll be a shame when it really gets retired from the setlist but I can understand how the band feels too.

At the end, the band members threw sticks and picks into the audience. A towel or two were thrown too. On the first day, someone threw a stick of lip cream onto the catwalk and Taka picked it up, used it quite liberally on his lips, smacked his lips for the camera, and then threw the stick back into the audience. Lots of screams from the audience when he threw it and I’m sure there was a battle for it in the arena, haha.

On the second day after they took a photo with the audience with all the banners they received spread out on stage, Taka, sprawled out on stage, grabbed them all towards his body and shook his head as if to say, “These are all mine! I’m not sharing!” It was so cute. Too bad none of the photos made it onto IG, and they never include these parts on the home release.

Kinda funny, but you can actually see me in the photo.

Of course I’m the only one who knows that it’s me though, LoL. During the photo, I was holding the red towel up above my head, and I was the only one wearing the yellow tour shirt in my area. Being in the very last row helps pinpoint my position as well.

It was an amazing two days at Yokohama Arena. My throat was shot both days after all the singing, and my muscles were sore. Having sat down on a plane for 15+ hours the day before certainly didn’t help, but this trip was absolutely worth it. With the Australia and Asian tours, and the band having yet to visit South America, there’s a big chance that they won’t come back to the U.S. this year, but I can’t wait until they do and sing the songs from Eye of the Storm that they didn’t sing last time. (Plus I really want to hear Letting Go live!)

They’ve already announced that this Eye of the Storm Japan Tour concert will be aired on WOWOW in April so that’s something to look forward to. It sounds like there will be a special live later this year too, and the ongoing trend of two years in between such concerts tells us there should be one. It’s also the band’s 15th anniversary year so I’m thinking I might have to plan another trip across the ocean, haha. Every time you think the band can’t get any better, they exceed your expectations. Even when you know they will exceed your expectations, they go even further than that. Taka’s speech before Giants made me want to support them even more. I know they’ll reach their goal and that one day, everyone will know the name “ONE OK ROCK.”


Setlist

  1. Eye of the Storm
  2. Take me to the top
  3. We are
  4. Taking Off
  5. Re:make
  6. Can’t Wait
  7. Clock Strikes
  8. Head High
  9. Grow Old Die Young
  10. Change
  11. Worst in Me
  12. Be the light
  13. In the Stars
  14. Instrumental
  15. Push Back
  16. Kimi Shidai Ressha
  17. Jibun ROCK
  18. Giants
  19. The Beginning
  20. Mighty Long Fall (English ver.)
  21. Wasted Nights

Encore

  1. Stand Out Fit In
  2. Kanzen Kankaku Dreamer