Five years after their last concert in the Philippines, ONE OK ROCK returned to Manila and had an unforgettable time with their Filipino fans.
As COVID-19 closed most of the world in 2020, live entertainment was not spared as many concerts in the Philippines were canceled, one casualty being Japanese rock band ONE OK ROCK. It was a blow for many of their Filipino fans who eagerly anticipated their return. But as they say, good things come to those who wait. Three years after their canceled concert, Taka Moriuchi (vocals), Toru Yamashita (guitar), Tomoya Kanki (drums), and Ryota Kohama (bass) returned to the country as part of their LUXURY DISEASE Asia Tour 2023. And as you can imagine, the energy inside the Smart Araneta Coliseum was on another level.
A LONG-AWAITED REUNION
Five years between shows in a country is a long time. So naturally, the band had nothing but excitement for this reunion in the making. “I’m so excited. This has been a while since we performed in the Philippines, so I’m totally looking forward to it and we’re so excited,” shared the band in a backstage interview with NYLON Manila a few hours before the concert. It was a feeling that was mutual from the fans. Even outside Araneta Coliseum, fans dressed mostly in black waited in anticipation. Many wore the band’s merch and other paraphernalia, making it known that the sea of black was there for the Japanese rock icons.
It’s no secret that Filipinos have a reputation as some of the best fans in the world. ONE OK ROCK vouched for this as they’ve seen first-hand just how passionate Pinoy fans can be. “I think the Philippine fans are really emotional and it’s going to be really loud too.”
The hype was real as the excitment reached the roof of the coliseum. It was those expectations that the band looked to meet with the show. “The last time we played here, the fans were crazy and singing with us. It was a really beautiful moment for us so I really want to make good memories with them.”
GIVING A ROCKIN’ SHOW
That is what they did in a show that married top-tier musicality and dazzling production for nearly two hours. ONE OK ROCK performed some of their biggest hits like Wherever you are and Stand Out Fit In as well as slowed things down with their touching acoustic rendition of Your Tears are Mine. And while many of ONE OK ROCK’s songs give that kind of electric buzz, they point to one of their recent tracks as what gets them excited to perform live these days. “Now is the new song Make It Out Alive. It’s very Rock and Roll and the melody is very catchy, and it sounds very heavy.”
In turn, fans gave it their all as they sang the lyrics and jumped to the beat that probably caused mini earthquakes. “The Filipino fans are loud. They aren’t like other fans. They sing with us, interact with us,” is how they would describe local fans, and the concert was proof of that. The band also made sure to give the love back as the members prepared Tagalog spiels for the crowd.
STRONGER THAN EVER
It takes a lot for ONE OK ROCK to do what they do nearly every night (though they did say that they like to go to saunas and get massages after shows). But if their one-night Manila show could have lasted the whole evening, it probably would. There was a connection on display that night that can only be replicated between an artist and their fans. Luckily, Pinoy fans won’t have to wait for another three years as they shared that they are working on a new album and will come back in less time. We’ll be looking forward to that.
Nearly two decades in, ONE OK ROCK is still at the top of their game. It’s the kind of longevity that isn’t uniform among bands in the industry as the quarter continues to solidify their status as one of the best rock bands in the world. So, what’s the secret to their strong relationship? “It’s easy, equal the money.” And that’s on getting the bag fairly.
Photos by Rui Hashimoto @ruihashimoto