After having been invited several times, ONE OK ROCK was finally able to perform at DEAD POP FESTiVAL, a music festival organized by the band SiM. This would become my first festival and my second time seeing ONE OK ROCK live.
ONE OK ROCK was scheduled to perform at 6:10PM at the main Cave Stage. My friends and I took positions after MAN WITH A MISSION finished and chose a spot near the right side of the white staff tent. There were a lot of people both in front and behind us, and excitement heightened as the clock struck closer to the start time. Thank goodness the sun was beginning to set because it was a hot day.
Cheers erupted when the artist introduction video began, and that is also when people began pushing forward. We had no choice but to be pushed along. Before it started, my friends and I tried to predict which song they would open with. My guess was Taking Off and I was correct.
Taka wore a green Nirvana shirt, which seemed kind of rare. His hair was short and spiked, just how I like it. Taking Off isn’t such a high tempo song so I was actually able to see Taka most of the time. The audience sang along, of course.
Next up, cue the intoxicating bass of Deeper Deeper, and oh man, the pushing! It was worse than a packed train during rush hour. I couldn’t really move, not freely at least, and it took a lot of energy to keep from being knocked over. Needless to say, I couldn’t see a thing. At times I couldn’t hear Taka much either because the people around me were so close and they were also singing. Of course I sang too. At the end of the song Taka let out a really long shout. I couldn’t see him but I definitely heard him. It was glorious.
The next song was I Was King. To be honest, I’m not too sure why they chose this song. It’s not a very festival-like song. I think something like Cry out would have been better. We were pretty much singing along the entire time already, but as is customary, Taka had us sing the middle chorus by ourselves.
After, a familiar piano intro started playing, Taka said that he was glad that they could finally perform at this festival which was created by their friends, and that he wanted to see the scenery that they had created. No matter how many times The Beginning is played, it never gets tiring. Taka’s vocals were on point, as always. He climbed up the support frame of the right side of the stage and sang a couple verses from up high. It was during the middle of this song that my friend and I were finally able to escape the pushing crowd and get to an area farther off to the right which had some more open space. Thank God because the next song was Mighty Long Fall, and you just know that Taka is going to call for a wall of death during it. …And call for a wall of death he did. Taka made the “separate” gesture with his arms and even though by that time my friend and I were fairly over to the right, we still had to move back in order to avoid getting caught. That’s how big it must have been. Taka ended the song with a couple spectacular shouts of “don’t go.”
Before the next song, Taka talked about how he and SiM met. They didn’t hit it off right away but after talking to them for a while, Taka realized that they had a lot of similarities. Taka also explained why he was wearing green that day. Back when he first met MAH, MAH often wore green shirts so Taka had that in mind when choosing the day’s outfit, but when he looked over at MAH who was sitting at the side of the stage watching, MAH was wearing black, haha. Oops. (MAH would later comment on Taka’s Instagram that night saying that he’ll match shirt colors with Taka next time if he’s told ahead of time, LoL.)
Taka called on the crowd to sing along if they knew the next song, We are. There were so many OORers in the audience that the song echoed throughout the field. I’m really not sure if he does it on purpose but just like at Tokyo Dome (and perhaps the other Dome performances?), Taka switched the lyrics from the Japanese version to the English one once again. The first Japanese part of the song was sung in Japanese but the rest of the song was in English… It’s very odd. Taka really dragged out the “you” in the “now here to hold you” part near the end of the song which was an unexpected surprise since I don’t think he’s ever done that before.
The last song was predictably Kanzen Kankaku Dreamer. People started crowding again when it started but it wasn’t nearly as bad as earlier in the set when my friend and I were utterly sandwiched between people with nowhere to go. The audience sang every word of the song, some parts more loudly than others, and it’s always a great experience when you can sing with everyone.
That was the end of ONE OK ROCK’s set, but Taka made an appearance again at the very end of the day. Before SiM’s encore, MAH called all the performers out onto the stage to take a photo. Taka had changed into a black DPF shirt and black shorts and wore a black cap. One of the guys from MAN WITH A MISSION was in front of him as he was coming out, and it was cute how Taka playfully started petting the top of the wolf mask from behind.
Before SiM’s very last song, MAH talked about how there’s a ONE OK ROCK song called Skyfall and said that the people who were expecting it to be sung probably didn’t look at Crossfaith’s schedule because those guys were in Spain. Still, he wanted to do something special so he called Taka and Masato out onto the stage, and they all sang SiM’s song f.a.i.t.h together. I’m not familiar with the song but oh myyyyyyy Taka’s shouts! I don’t know what to say other than WOW. Taka can be an absolute beast when he shouts. He held it for pretty long too. Taka was wearing his cap when he came out on stage but he was head banging so hard that he took it off almost immediately. They sang the song twice because apparently that’s what SiM always does. (It’s a short song.) After the first time, Masato had climbed down from the stage, and Taka called him back up saying, “Sorry Masato, I know you went through the trouble of going down there, but let’s do it one more time.” Taka then added that he didn’t feel like he had sung at all, and the song started over again. Taka seemed to put even more energy into the shouts the second time around. I’m not even sure if you can call these shouts… They’re more borderline screams. Personally it wasn’t my type of song since I’m not into screamo music but oh man, Taka was incredible. I’m always amazed by his talent.
And thus ended the first day of DEAD POP FESTiVAL 2018. It had already gotten dark and was much cooler than it was during the day. Some final notes and random thoughts… I spotted Taka and Tomoya watching Coldrain’s last song from the side of the stage. Tomoya was sitting down whereas Taka was standing. He wore a white sweater, but it was so hot out that I don’t know how he could wear long sleeves. Maybe I’m remembering incorrectly but he was definitely wearing white, and a white cap too. I watched SiM from the back but my friends who were in with the main crowd mentioned that people around them were mumbling about how short Taka was. ^^; Watching people rush into the moshes was kind of cool but it’s definitely not something I would want to be caught in myself. Looking at the monitor, the crowd seemed a lot farther away from the stage than we actually were. Even from the back I could see fairly well, and it was a lot closer than, say, the back of the arena of a regular concert. I guess things just look farther on camera. There were people wearing the new white ONE OK ROCK shirts that were sold for the first time at this festival and I was wondering how some of them could be so brown already, but I guess it makes sense when you consider how much people were sweating, and I wouldn’t be surprised if a few fell in the dirt. It was pretty gross to see though, LoL.
Oh, and there were a lot of ONE OK ROCK fans. I would say over half the people in attendance either had a OOR shirt on or if they didn’t, at least had wristbands on their bag or something. MAH mentioned that it was the first time both days of the festival were sold out and that it must have been due to OOR, but then he backtracked, saying that Sunday (which didn’t feature OOR) was also sold out. Um, I think he may have forgotten that they didn’t say which day OOR would be performing in the original announcement so people either had to guess or try to get tickets to both days. ^^; I’m not trying to play down the accomplishment or anything, but yeah… Haha.
Footage of the festival will be aired on Space Shower TV in September so that’s something to look forward to. I really didn’t have a great view, or any view at all, of Taka half the time so it’ll be pretty exciting to see the broadcast. “Quick reports” are available on Eplus’ Spice website. Check here for the ONE OK ROCK stage and here for SiM. There are some really cool photos in there.
I don’t plan on going to any of the other summer festivals this year so my summer is pretty much over. Here’s to hoping ONE OK ROCK will hold a special live or something towards the end of the year!