November 13, 2018. ONE OK ROCK had just announced their North American Tour for Eye of the Storm, and tickets were going on sale the next day. I had my eye on the Vancouver concert because it was on a Friday and the day before was a holiday in Japan, which means I would only have to take one day off work. Fast forward to a little past 3AM JST on November 14 and I had three VIP tickets. Couldn’t wait for March 22nd, 2019!
I used miles to book my trip to Vancouver. I had to book business class from Japan because they didn’t have any award seats available in economy, but got economy for the trip back. It was kind of a good thing I got business class going there though because I had slightly injured my back due to being slumped over a desk for over four hours writing letters to the boys, haha. I flew ANA and they had Eye of the Storm on the flight’s entertainment system.
My friend and I booked an Airbnb near the venue. It was only a couple or so blocks away so it was quite convenient, even though the place itself wasn’t the cleanest place I had ever stayed at. My friend had planned on arriving on Thursday but had to come in on Friday instead due to work. Before heading to the apartment on Friday morning, she swung by the venue to check if there was a line and there was one so she went ahead and lined up. I joined her after showering and getting ready.
The lines were split into VIP and general admission. Ahead of us in the VIP line were several Waterparks fans. We became the third group after they split off the Waterparks VIP people. We were lined up from about 11:30AM and while in line, we could hear them rehearsing. I could hear Taka belting out, “Let’s grow oooooooooldddddd… and die yoooooooung~” as well as, “Let’s live like we’re immortaaaaaalllll~~~!” They also rehearsed the instrumental and I think I also heard a bit of I was King. Unfortunately my friend was back at the apartment during all this but at least she got to walk past Tomoya on her way there! Haha. Apparently he looked away when he noticed her because she was in OOR gear. Oops.
The email sent to VIP ticket holders said we had to be there by 5:30PM so at around 4:45, I headed back to the apartment to drop off some stuff. They did ID checks and gave out the VIP lanyards while I was away but I was able to get them upon my return to the line.
Staff let us into the venue shortly after 5:30 and we were allowed to purchase merchandise beforehand. I already bought everything at the concert in Denver so I didn’t need to get anything. The line was no longer organized once we got inside the venue lobby. They basically had people who wanted to buy merch line up near the stairs and everyone else on the other side. When we were taken inside, the line was two wide and we basically had to work out amongst ourselves the order in which we would go in. There was a small group of Japanese people in the line on the right side. They seemed to be getting friendly with the guy who was at the very front of the line but I was certainly not going to let them cut and go in front of us when we had waited six hours to get our positions.
The guy at the front of the line had gathered messages on a Canadian flag from the people who were in line and gave it to the band during his M&G. He said it was from all of us and Taka turned towards the line and thanked us. After the guy and his friends were a couple Chinese girls, and then it was my turn. I put my stuff on the table and handed my phone to the staff…
The order was Ryota, Taka, Toru, and then Tomoya. I went up to all the guys and gave them each a hug. I had heard beforehand that Taka gives the best hugs so I made sure to pay extra attention, and indeed he does! He’s the only one who really squeezes when hugging, haha. The other guys gave more like pats. Looking at my photos, Ryota was very distant when giving his hug. Because of this, he really leaned into me from afar and I didn’t need to tippy toe to reach him. I did some stretching with the other three, haha. It looks kind of funny (in a good way) in the photos.
After giving Tomoya a hug, I introduced myself with an, “It’s so nice to meet you. My name is (my name).” Taka replied saying, “Hi, (my name), nice to meet you.” Ahh~~ He said my name! XD The rest of our conversation went kind of like this:
Me: (in English) I think maybe only Taka will know what I’m talking about, but (*to Taka*) do you remember the petition for Jimmy Fallon?
Taka: No, I’m sorry, I don’t.
Me: You said you wanted to be on The Tonight Show.
Taka: Oh, yeah!
Me: I was actually the one who made that petition.
Taka: Thank you!
Me: Thanks for liking my post on Instagram.
Taka: Sure, you know, I was just looking at Instagram…
Me: (in Japanese) Is it OK if I speak in Japanese?
Taka: (in Japanese) Sure.
I then apologized for flying in from Japan because I know they don’t really like that. I explained that I plan on moving back in May so I’m not sure if I’ll be able to make it to their Japan Tour in the fall, and that’s why I came here. They did not seem to mind and Taka was all smiles the entire time.
Me: I discovered ONE OK ROCK’s music when I was going through some tough times and you guys really helped me out. Thank you so much.
Taka: Thank you!
Me: I wrote you letters… *fumbles inside bag*
Taka and Ryota: *starting to hold out their hands, expecting me to give the letters to them*
Me: Oh, I’ll give them to you later.
LOL! So awkward!! I’m sorry!!!!! I didn’t want them holding the letters in my photo which is why I didn’t give it to them. I had planned to hand everything over to the staff.
Me: I have a present for Tomoya. *to Tomoya* Do you like ______?
Tomoya: *a little confused* Oh, yeah.
Me: (*insert short explanation*) I got you this. *shows him a little bit of the present before putting it back into bag*
Taka: Oh, that’s nice!
I then handed my bag with the present and letters to the Japanese staff guy and went back to take my photo. I asked Taka, in Japanese, to hug me from behind. He was very quick to grant my request and there was a very audible reaction from the people in line when he put his arms around me, haha.
Sorry I can’t go into detail about what present I got Tomoya. It was something pretty rare that I thought he would be happy to receive. I had actually gotten it for him last year before they announced the tour. I assumed that I would have some opportunity in the future to hand it to him personally, and I’m glad I didn’t have to wait too long for that chance.
I honestly don’t remember Tomoya’s reaction but he looked pretty happy in the photos that were taken when I was showing him his present. My friend said he had a big smile on his face too. It was funny because looking back at my photos, Tomoya was spacing out for a bit and looking towards the stage while the other three were focused on me, LoL. I think it was when I was talking in English to Taka. He was paying attention in the later photos, probably after I switched to Japanese.
As expected, Taka did most of the talking. I don’t think Toru or Ryota said anything. Taka’s English was really, really good. I mean, we didn’t have a full on conversation or anything but I still thought his pronunciation and everything was excellent. I probably took the most time out of all the people. At one point I heard the staff say aloud, “We’re going to take the photo now!” Oops. Apparently the Japanese staff was signaling the guys to wrap it up too but they didn’t really notice because they were so focused on me. I spoke with the guys for a whole minute, which is an eternity compared to seiyuu events where you’ll usually have only 3 or 5 seconds at most, and the staff will physically move you along if you take too much time.
After my M&G, I went to the stage area to get a spot for the concert. I noticed that the middle area was kept open so I asked the guy who was in front of the line if he was saving that for anyone. Apparently he was saving the area for the Japanese people with whom he befriended in line. …The ones that cut in the line. -_- I told him in a somewhat concerned tone, “Um, you know, Taka doesn’t actually really like that…” (Japanese people taking up the front.) The guy was just like, “I know. But they’re nice!” Riiight, as if that makes a difference, but hey, it’s not really my business. They actually turned out to be a bit of a nuisance to the people around them but I won’t go into detail about it. I chose a spot in the front row that was a little to the right. The stage was only about two meters away and it was a great view.
My friend joined me after she finished up and we waited around for the concert to start, watching all the other people have their meetings with the band. Several people asked for autographs, but I don’t think that was actually allowed, though the staff didn’t tell the people no if they asked. I talked a bit with the people around me and they were all nice. The Waterparks VIP people filed in later and when 7PM rolled around, the doors were open for people with general admission tickets. Oh man, the sound of people rushing in! It was like a mini stampede.
First up was Stand Atlantic. I think they’re a fun band, and their interactions with ONE OK ROCK both on and off the stage are the best. During Stand Atlantic’s set, Tomoya could be seen watching from the side and sometimes he got in close to take photos and videos. Miki, the bassist, seems to get along with the boys most, and he would give Tomoya some attention when he knew Tomoya’s camera was on him. It was fun to watch.
After was Waterparks. Their music isn’t really for me, personally. I’m glad the vocalist Awsten acknowledged ONE OK ROCK during one of the MCs and thanked the band for having them on the tour. I didn’t really notice it in Denver since I was on the second floor during that concert, but Waterparks has really… interesting… lighting choices. It’s incredibly blinding up front yet the stage is still so dark that you can barely see the band. Anyway, next was the band we were there to see: ONE OK ROCK!
They were an absolute joy to watch up close. Like, whoa! I’m so glad Taka didn’t wear his Freddie fringe pants, haha. He was wearing the jacket and jeans from the Wasted Nights MV with a black tshirt tucked into his pants, a black leather belt, and white sneakers. Oh, and that gold chain necklace he’s been wearing the entire tour which doesn’t seem to match any outfit, haha. He took off the jacket before the third song, Clock Strikes. No matter how many times you see it, it’s always incredible to experience in person Taka’s long tone during that song. He’s got lungs of steel!
I won’t go into too much detail about the concert since there are fan cams out there that people can watch, but overall it was an amazing night. Taka was absolutely flawless, as were the other guys. (My friend and I were secretly hoping Taka would mess up or something since that makes things more interesting, and Taka’s adorable when he makes a mistake, hehe.) During parts where Taka has the audience sing, such as We Are and Take What You Want, Taka loosened his left ear monitor to hear the crowd singing and then put it back in before it was his turn to sing. I don’t know why but I’ve got a thing for when Taka does this. Am I the only one who thinks in-ear monitors are cool? LoL. Near the end of the instrumental, Toru was right in front of me and I could see him mouth “f– yeah,” haha. It was interesting seeing Taka doing leg stretches in front of Tomoya’s drums during the piano introduction of The Beginning and signaling to a staff member at the side of the stage to lower the volume on his ear monitor or something during Wasted Nights. At one point he had an open water bottle and splashed us with water. Toru did too except he spit the water from his mouth. Umm… I like Toru, but not that much, LoL. Luckily it was just a small mist that barely reached us. Miki of Stand Atlantic joined the band on stage to head bang a bit during The Beginning and his little fist bump with Ryota before leaving the stage was cute.
What a night! I will never tire of watching these four talented guys on stage. They really know how to put on a show. I actually would have liked to hear more of the new songs, but I suppose they didn’t have enough time to make band arrangements for them or something. Nevertheless, it was an unforgettable concert and I can’t wait for them to come back to North America!
Here are a few shots I took during the show that I uploaded to Instagram…
- Push Back
- We Are
- Clock Strikes
- Change (Japanese ver.)
- Head High
- Take What You Want
- Stand Out Fit In
- Grow Old Die Young
- I Was King
- The Beginning