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LIVE REPORT: ALICE NINE AT SUPERNOVA SYMPHONIA IN SINGAPORE (JUNE 28, 2014)

(A shorter self-censored version of this live report appears at JpopAsia)

Supernova: a stellar explosion that could briefly outshine an entire galaxy.

Last June 28, jrock fans in Singapore experienced a live akin to such a spectacle as the 5-man band Alice Nine mounted their much anticipated first one-man in the country. For a solid two hours, The Coliseum at The Hard Rock Hotel Sentosa bore witness to an explosive amalgam of musical intensity, spellbinding stage presence and a throng of eager fans armed with light rings and galaxy lights. But of course, the brightest were the ones on stage. Alice Nine, bedazzled and brimming with energy, more than delivered in their 18 songs strong setlist that featured their classics and tracks from their latest album “Supernova“.

Smoke billowing on the darkened stage signaled the start of the live at around 8PM. ToraSagaNao and Hiroto walked to their places and immediately started playing “Prelude-resolution-“. As the short song wind down, Shou waltzed in and the band seamlessly transitioned to the very apt “SHINING“. Alice Nine was clearly in their element and each member exuded distinct personalities onstage: Tora the bad boy guitarist who wouldn’t also look out of place in a hiphop gig, Saga the stoic and patrician looking bassist, Nao the playful drummer with the funky specs, Shou the Casanova vocalist whose sweeping hand gestures could rival a master magician and Hiroto the guitarist who could only be charm personified.

Barely giving everyone the chance to brace themselves, the band launched into “プラマイ (+-)“. The song about self worth really got the crowd jumping and shouting along. Shou then gripped a towel and this signaled the equally rousing “SEVEN“. As the song reached its chorus, the crowd area morphed into a swirling mass of towels.

The intro to “Kiss twice, kiss me deadly” was then heard but instead of singing, Shou spoke “Hello, Singapore! Are you ready? Are you ready? Member Introduction!“. As he introduced his fellow band members in this order: Nao, Saga, Tora and Hiroto, he encourage the audience to “Call out his name“. When it was time to introduce himself, Shou said “Call my name, call my name” then sang the first verse to “Kiss twice..” a capella.

After a “Come on, baby” from Shou, the whole band then re-started “Kiss twice…” and played the full song. Whereas in the initial songs, the members mostly stayed in their designated spots (Tora and Saga on the left, Hiroto on the right, Nao and Shou on center of course), they were more mobile on this one. At one point, both Saga and Hiroto walked towards Nao’s platform and put up one foot each. Shou faced them and swung his hips side to side, his back to the audience. Shou then turned sideways and beckoned Hiroto with his finger. Both Shou and Hiroto leaned forward toward each other until their faces were only inches apart. Shou acted as if taunting Hiroto to which the guitarist responded by planting a kiss on the vocalist’s forehead.

As “Kiss twice..” concluded, Shou began his first MC for the night. “Singapore! We have come back! We are Alice Nine“. After saying a few sentences in Japanese, Shou shouted “Are you ready, are you ready? Are you fucking ready? Next song is Rainbows“. The highly energetic song took the live to a whole new level. There was a lot of grunting, not just from Shou but also from the other members. Saga’s bass playing really shone on this song. He mostly stayed on his spot at the left side while Hiroto and Tora switched places. As Tora ran to the right side of the stage, Shou met him halfway. Shou then sang the chorus while clutching Tora’s face closely.

After a quick pause, the band segued to “KID” where Hiroto immediately got to display his guitar shredding skills. Everyone’s light rings and galaxy lights were all up in the air. As the band hoped, the crowd area had now become a glittering dance floor. No one was immune to the song’s infectious EDM vibe. But suddenly it was just Nao playing. Everyone started chanting “Hey, hey, hey“. The guitars were then heard and the mood shifted into something heavy. The next song was “九龍 (Kowloon Nine Heads Rodeo Show)” and the dancing became frenzied headbanging.

The Coliseum was then shrouded in darkness. Smoke once again billowed. Only the sound of a ticking clock was heard. It was only when Shou was passionately singing the chorus “from KURAYAMI” that the stage lights were turned on. Everything worked in unison from the lighting effects, to the band members to the response from the crowd in conveying through the song the pain of longing for someone who might as well be light-years away. There’s no mistaking the intensity on the members’ faces as they build to “from KURAYAMI’s” rousing crescendo, the seemingly haphazard beats mirroring the feeling of confronting pent up emotions.

But pain can eventually give way to hope, Alice Nine assured the audience as they followed up with the optimistic “Daybreak“. The venue was bathed in light, brighter than ever, and everyone felt comfort in the song’s message of transforming burdens into wings.

There was a long pause after the song as the band re-energized. Hiroto took the time to douse those in front with water then toss the bottle in the midst of the crowd. Shou walked backed in front and mentioned a few sentences in Japanese. He asked the audience, “Are you ok? Do you want some next song? Next song is Mebius from Supernova!“. During “Mebius“, Hiroto switch to Tora’s place at the left side of the stage – but not before sneaking up to Shou and surprising him with another kiss.

The mood turned somber again as Alice Nine readied to perform the power ballad “shooting star“. Shou tested his vocals on this one and the effort was admirable. He navigated through the song’s nuances with practiced eased and his showmanship was in full effect. As the spotlight focused on him, he stood sideways, extended his left hand with a flourish then clutched his heart after which tilted his head back slightly. He just stood there, holding the same position for quite some time, all the while just gazing at the audience hanging on to his next move. Really feeling the song, he sang the last line of “shooting star” a capella then mouthed off “Arigatou“.

Another long pause and the audience lapped it up by shouting their favorite member’s names. The shouting led to gleeful screams as Shou and Hiroto led the other members to “FANTASY“. For this song, Tora did double duty as an acoustic guitar was also mounted on stage for him to use on some parts.

The stage lights were once again dimmed. Shou shouted “Are you ready?” and everyone responded by raising their arms and swaying them side to side. Shou dared the audience “Come with us, here we go!“. Lights were on in full and everyone was whisked off to “Blue Planet“. The band moved in amazing synchronicity. All four mobile members moved to Nao’s platform from both sides. Then in perfect timing, faced forward again and purposely walked to front and center. Afterwards, it was just pandemonium. Shou mounted his platform with Tora beside him. Saga moved to the left most side of stage as Hiroto moved about. Shou left his platform only for Hiroto to take over as he did his solo. Never to miss a fan service opportunity, Shou sang the last few verses of the song while leaning on Tora’s shoulders. Both high fived each other as the song ended.

Alice Nine showed no signs of fatigue as they reached the fourteenth track for the night: “Velvet“. As soon as the opening rifts were heard, the crowd was on hyper-drive. Heads were banging in tune to Nao’s pounding on his drums. Saga also contributed to hyping the crowd even more with his second vocals. It was Tora though who stole the show as he licked his guitar.

百花繚乱 (Hyakka Ryouran)” followed and it saw the members trading places. It was Saga’s turn to spend a long time enticing the audience near the right side of the stage. Hiroto joined Tora on the left. Both showed off their guitar skills while they were back to back. As the song swelled, Tora turned his head and kissed his blonde counterpart.

Shou introduced the next song “開戦前夜 (Kaisen zen’ya)“. The lights on the audience side got brighter. Days before the live, the band encouraged attendees to “just enjoy and get excited until you are burnt out” to this song. Audience and band didn’t disappoint. It was madness on both ends. Onstage, Saga was growling and Tora was throwing his head back while raising his guitar in salute to the stars. More and more headbanging followed. Saga took his turn on the platform and Hiroto drenched the audience with water. Lights out and the main setlist was done.

Not a minute later, fans were already screaming “Ankore!”. The shouting didn’t stop up until the band returned to the stage. Shou came out holding the banner the Singaporean fans prepared for the live. Each member then took turns saying their thanks. Nao had everyone in stitches with the English part of his spiel, “My heart, my heart, my heart, cannot take it. Cannot take it!“. Tora addressed the audience with a gruff “Singapore, I’m back! Thank you for waiting!“. Saga mentioned that the Singapore audience was great then asked for more bras! As for Hiroto, his turn to speak easily received the most enthusiastic response from the crowd. The exchange went this way:

Hiroto: Singapore, tadaima! (we’re back)
Audience: Okaeri! (welcome)
Hiroto: Tadaima?
Audience: Okaeri!
Hiroto: Daisuki! (I like you!) Minna, cute! (Everyone is cute!). (points to a male audience member in front) Cool guy! Minna kakkoi! (Everyone is good looking!) It’s our tenth year! Minna Number Six, kazoko, family! (Everyone who is part of Number Six is family!) We are Alice Nine! We are Alice Nine!
Shou: (joining in) We are…
Audience: Alice Nine!
Shou: We are…
Audience: Alice Nine!

It’s interesting to note that every time Shou was chanting “We are..”, Saga would respond by crossing his arms across his face.

Finally Shou said his thanks followed by another round of “Are you ready, are you ready? Next song is 春夏秋冬(Shunkashuutou)! Sing with me! Make some noise!“.

As a fitting end to the night, Alice Nine rounded up its Singapore setlist with one of its sublime hits. Soft lights and smoke blanketed the stage to welcome “the beautiful name” Hands were clapping in unison. As the first verse was sung, arms were already held up high. The audience sang their hearts out in the chorus to express their gratitude towards the band, not only for this night but for 10 years of beautiful music. Shou ended the song with a heartfelt “Thanks so much!” then bumped his fist with Hiroto.

Guitar picks were thrown. Bottles were tossed. Then the band members exited the stage one by one as “Daybreak – instrumental-” played in the background. Hiroto was the last to leave. He went to the middle and bowed deeply for a long time. He took the mic then shouted: “Singapore! Mata aimashou! See you again. I love you!

As the audience screamed in response, one thing was made certain: Alice Nine’s star would be burning bright for a long, long time.

LIVE REPORT: L’Arc~en~Ciel LIVE 2014 at National Olympic Stadium / Kokuritsu Day 2 (March 22, 2014)

(READ DAY 1 REPORT HERE)

Allow me to begin my day 2 narrative by giving props to the staffer who we asked if we were in the right gate. Whoever you are, thank you for your patience. I knew you were saying numbers to me but my poor brain was taking eons in processing Japanese to English. Really, really grateful that after sensing my frustration (and a very awkward pause), you just said “Kochira dozo” and let Irene, Frances, Regina and I in anyway.

Much like during day 1, we had a bit of a trouble finding where we were supposed to sit. And exactly like day 1, when we get to our assigned seats, someone else was already occupying it! This time, there were 2 girls already sitting on Irene and I’s place. They were even wearing the bracelets already. Good thing the matter was resolved quickly. Our day 2 seats were so much better than the previous day! We were right above one of the VIP tents which was why I spent a good chunk of the live craning my neck to see if I would recognize someone. Unfortunately, the tent closest so to us was empty and the one next to it housed technicians it seemed.

Since today’s live would be broadcast on cinemas, there were more cameras around. There was even one directly in front of our section. Each time the camera would pan the audience, we would wave the #LArcMNL banner like crazy. We held on to that banner for the whole duration of the live. Hopefully, there would be a glimpse of it in the DVD somehow. It was also hugely advantageous that the weather was more cooperative. It wasn’t as cold as yesterday.

At around twenty minutes past 5PM, the same intro as the previous day began. I noticed that there seemed to be something wrong with the pod transporting Ken. The other 3 had a dome-shaped top while Ken’s was just blunt – as if the actual dome tapered off. Two other observations: (1) when yukkie came out, Irene and I couldn’t help but scream “acid android yukkie!”, must be the headgear he was sporting this time around; and (2) hyde was still wearing a veil but it was white this time and he looked like a blessed virgin.

Since the setlist for day 2 was similar with day 1 except for a few songs, I would only focus now on the highlights.

  • Day 2 was kicked off by CHASE. I find it to be a better warm up for the crowd and the transition to SEVENTH HEAVEN was smoother.
  • NEW WORLD gave way to NEXUS 4 as the eight song. It was a prudent decision to place NEW WORLD the day before as it was harder to sing and as much as I want to deny it, HYDE’s voice sounded strained during some parts of the live. In fact, his voice was hoarse in the MCs. So proud of him that he was still able to pull off BLESS a cappella earlier.
  • The L’ed wristbands! One can be deluded into thinking that second exposure to those wonders would somehow diminish the effect but nope, my jaw still dropped. The goosebumps likewise returned. Witnessing those dancing lights in person was truly a phenomenal experience.
  • When the bubble  burst at the second stage and L’Arc began their their first song there, I even went more bonkers. They were playing METROPOLIS! Such a refreshing change of pace.
  • For their last song at the second stage, it took me quite a while to figure it out. It was only after hyde sang the first lines that I was able to pinpoint it as KASOU. The arrangement was jazzy and more acoustic than the original. A week later, I would recognize it as a version they played in Hawaii as per videos uploaded to YouTube by ninjas.
  • Our seats on day 2 were closer to the second stage – so close that we could actually here yukkie’s cymbals. Still, we were crushed with envy when as the band exited, they walked right towards the stands across the stage. Hyde even lingered longer on the railings.
  • Have I ever mentioned that I have a soft spot for SHADE OF SEASON? I really do, which was why it baffles me why I wrote WILD FLOWER on my notes during the live as I was clearly singing along to “round and round and round”. It only hit me that I was wrong when J told me afterwards that he liked day 2 better because Shade of Season was one of the songs.  Great. I witnessed live one of my better liked songs from Butterfly without even realizing it.
  • I’m sure by now you’ve read about hyde flubbing his lines during DRIVER’S HIGH. I would have missed it  too if only Irene didn’t point it out seconds after it happened. But the butt grab by Ken? Oh yes, I saw it with my own eyes. Perfect.
  • Also during Driver’s High, we were distracted by staffers dragging huge grey bags from all directions which turned out to contain balloons. The memory stuck with me because one staffer placed a bag in the wrong position so he had to go back and drag it again to the right place. It was also my cue that the live would be over soon.

The last song was Anata. They also sang this on day 1 but it hit me more during this performance. It brought me back to Hong Kong where I first saw them live during the L’Anniversary World Tour. I remember the mirror ball illuminating the stage and the soft almost music box sounding background. It brought me to the time when I had goosebumps because we the audience were singing in perfect harmony. Kokuritsu may not have been as intimate as Asia World Expo but at that very moment, strangers were again as one.

The grey bags eventually released the balloons. The fireworks again lit up the sky. It was also this time when I let the tears fall. I was alright when L’Arc ended Day 1 with Niji but today was different. I cried because I had fulfilled a dream – dreams in fact. But most of all, I cried because I knew it was really over. There’s no more day 3. By this time tomorrow, all these would be a memory.

Just as I was blinking back tears, we hear hyde talking. What’s going on? Everyone froze on the spot. The screens were showing some backstage footage. Then the words “DOCUMENTARY FILMS ~ WORLD TOUR 2012”. Screams.

The screens turned blank. After which, the word “And” was shown. The screaming intensifies. Needless to say, I was desperate for another world tour announcement. Ah but not yet. The alternative was not bad after all. Everlasting would be released as a “memorial single” in August and the just concluded live would be release on DVD! I dread the waiting time for their next comeback but a cinematic release for the documentary, a new single and a DVD on the way are good enough distractions.

Until next time, L’Arc~en~Ciel. Until next time.

(And please consider visiting the Philippines soon. The #LArcMNL campaign turns 2 today!)

LIVE REPORT: L’Arc~en~Ciel LIVE 2014 at National Olympic Stadium / Kokuritsu Day 1 (March 21, 2014)

The wind was cold, bitingly so.

I stared ahead. The stage was massive. Intimidating. Beyond and around it, not one seat was left unoccupied. All eighty thousand of them.

Another frosty gust of wind hit my cheek. I closed my eyes and breathed in deeply. Just hours ago, I was battling stress at the office. I was fearful of missing my flight. I almost lost my laptop at baggage check. And just when I was to set my Out of Office reply, I realized the something was wrong with my wireless connection.

I opened my eyes, one at a time. The crowd was still there and the screens onstage were showing a countdown. This was no dream. I was really about to fulfill my wish of watching L’Arc~en~Ciel live in their home turf of Japan.

The countdown ended with a picture of a camera and the word “FLASH”. Everyone laughed. We waited some more. I fidgeted with my L’ed wristband which I suspected to be broken since it wouldn’t turn on. In fact, neither of my companions Jordy, Irene and Joanne could make their wristbands glow.

At 5:20PM, the screens lit up again. It showed some futuristic images much like those in the movie Minority Report. Then some laser device etched out the form of each member. Each form exploded as it neared completion to reveal a more defined image of the members. First it was Ken, then Leader then yukkie. Or was it the other way around? I couldn’t remember. All I’m sure was that hyde was revealed last.

As the visuals ended, four pods shot up on stage. Everyone’s breathing hitched. For a long while, the pods just silently stood there. The camera zoomed in to provide a glimpsed of the pods’ occupants.  We screamed with every focus.

And then the members came out one by one. My train of thought…”Ken, wtf????….yukkie, hnggg….OMG, green hair!….What’s taking you so long hyde? Come out already!!!…..Is he really…is that…waaahhhh…why is he wearing a veil?” By this time, all rational thought came flying out the window. They all looked ridiculous but they were back and I was so over the moon convinced now that all of these were really happening.

The familiar strains of GET OUT FROM THE SHELL was heard and L’Arc~en~Ciel LIVE 2014 Day 1 was officially on its way. The boys immediately maximized the stage’s potential by dispersing wide. May I just stress again just how impressive that stage was? There were rumors of a circular stage a day before the actual live but I doubt anyone expected it to look this way. It was HUGE and boasted of a 360deg view. The outline of four pillars with flames towered on it and the base of the stage itself was surrounded by LED screens. There were two massive screens on the left and right sides plus one in the middle. To be honest, sometimes I found it hard to figure out where to focus my attention. hyde would be frolicking on one end while either Leader or Ken would be sashaying on another part of the stage.

GOFTS was followed by a rousing rendition of SEVENTH HEAVEN. I was half expecting cheerleaders to come out but then again that’s just me pushing my luck. It was such a treat seeing Ken hamming it up with cheerleaders in the previous Kokuritsu live so I was kinda looking forward witnessing it in person. REVELATION followed quickly. Always the song that’s best appreciated live, this particular version was special because it involved us counting down to the lighting up of the Olympic cauldron. Truly a moment to be treasured. hyde even made it more dramatic by carrying the mic stand all over the stage with a huge banner attached to it. L’Arc then slowed things down with BLESS.

Afterwards, hyde delivered his first MC for the night. Alas, no one in my group understood anything that was said. Haha. Then hyde was handed his guitar so we knew right there and then which song was coming up: HONEY of course! Considering that this was a sudden live, it was understandable that the same big butterfly in the midst of gold background from World Tour 2012 was used. We also noticed that hyde struggled a bit as his long sleeve was getting in the way of his guitar playing.

HONEY was followed by the triple-threat of WINTERFALL, NEW WORLD and READY STEADY GO. The first song was very apt since by this time, temperature was dropping precariously. RSG likewise used recycled effects from previous world tour. At this point, I remember whispering to Irene that somehow, I find the whole live subdued, like it was lacking the spectacular. I’ve always dreamed of watching a live in Japan because compared to when artists perform overseas, they tend to go more all out when performing in their own country. With this live so far, I had yet to experience anything that was truly jaw-dropping.

Then the stage went dark.

The screens began to project the CMs for the members-produced goods. They were adorable.

  • First up was the one for yukkie’s tumbler. It featured Doala reminiscing about the chocolates which yukkie also produced from the past lives. Shot partly in black and white and featured cutesy moments, it was really such a sweet ad. Best appreciated if you happen to see already the yukihiroxDoala calendar pre-nup album.
  • The CM for Leader’s Mukimpo Gun for me is the funniest. It had a Men in Black theme and positioned the Mukimpo Gun as a very formidable weapon. Heck, I applaud the voiceover talent for saying MUKIMPO in such a gruff and serious manner. The CM ended by the camera panning back and revealing that the stoic MIB agents in fact paired up their suits with ballet tights. Both agents then proceeded to hit each other with the gun while doing silly moves.
  • Ken-chan’s ribbons could have been the most practical of the goods, if not the most bizarre. The CM for it was equally as polarizing. The setting was in some seedy place. Two guys were doing arm wrestling with one guy obviously at a disadvantage. A young boy counseled the losing guy to use the magic ribbons and immediately said guy gained immense strength.
  • Finally, the award for the “Huh? What was that all about?” went to the CM for hyde’s skull shirt. It featured a young girl performing a short ice skating routine. She did her final spin and text mentioning hyde producing the shirt she was wearing was showed. That was it.

Subsequently, a video of a woman instructing everyone to wear the poncho was shown. She even amusingly demonstrated how to not wear the poncho. Once everyone was wearing the poncho, a strange sound was heard. It was as if something was bubbling up. We also noticed that the smaller platform located at the opposite side of the stadium across the main stage was somewhat pulsating. It was glowing and a huge balloon seemed to be emerging from it. The balloon eventually morphed into a sphere covering the platform. Strange shapes began to appear on it. They seemed to be a world map. Immediately, my mind began to chant “world tour? world tour?”. Images of the world map gave way to a huge eyeball moving around the sphere. The sphere then split in the middle to reveal the band inside it.

The intro of 4TH AVENUE CAFE began and then…I got my spectacular. The L’ed wristbands came to life on their own and immediately, the whole stadium was bathed in soft light. Because of the poncho, the whole audience became a blank canvas and the L’ed wristbands the dashes of colors. My mind was totally blown that I actually didn’t recognize 4th Avenue. I told Irene, “Hey, this song is really REALLY familiar. What’s the title again?”. Naturally, Irene stared at me incredulously before responding.

As the song ended, hyde began another MC. He made an extravagant display of how he could “control” the L’ed wristbands. He would swing this large glowstick and immediately, the wristbands would change their light color. I would learn later on that he said something along the lines of “this is why your tickets were expensive” 🙂

The band performed Mirai Sekai next. I was over the moon. When I saw them in HK at the start of World Tour 2012, I bitched about them not performing the newer songs. Here 2 years later, L’Arc finally catered to my whims. Anata followed and it had a fairly long intro.

The stadium again went dark. We heard strange noises for the second time and we noticed whales “swimming” across the stands. Ken performed his guitar solo and obviously the epic MY HEART DRAWS A DREAM was next. Memorable moment: the awkward pause during the chorus as neither hyde nor the audience sang the “my heart draws a dream” part 😀 It had always been that the audience would sing “yume o egaku yo” and hyde would answer with “my heart draws a dream” but apparently this time, he wanted us to sing that part too.

Our adrenalin levels shot up immensely as L’Arc followed suit with CHASE. By this time, they were already back at the main stage. Then came XXX. The way the L’ed wristbands transformed the stadium to a glowing sea of pink was jaw-dropping. Thank you very much L’Arc for making me eat my snarky comments earlier.  I would never forget this.

WILD FLOWER and DRINK IT DOWN came next. For the latter, they had flames shooting up from all directions. Each time this happened, we would scream More! Those flames were real life savers. The temperature had really gotten so cold that as much as I wanted to sway my arms around, I had to keep my hands balled up inside my pocket as I fear they would just fall off.

hyde spoke again and even if I couldn’t understand much, I sensed that something historical was about to happen. L’Arc would be performing a new song which they haven’t released before! The first time I heard EVERLASTING, I thought it was written by yukkie. Turned out, it was penned by Ken. Either way, I loved how anguished it sounded.

EVERLASTING was followed by another big surprise. BLAME! I couldn’t believe my ears! It was such a joy hearing this song live.

What came afterwards made me regret I didn’t pursue my Nihonggo lessons after college. Ken delivered his MC and based on the bursts of laughter one after the other, he was being downright hilarious. I was only watching his expressions and already I couldn’t help but giggle.

L’Arc then performed CARESS OF VENUS, DRIVER’S HIGH and LINK. As with past performances of Link, Leader had his moment. He traded shouts of “Ogenki” and “Wassoi” with all of us. And have I already mentioned that his orange outfit glowed in the dark? Leader did well in his impression of a fluorescent carrot that night.

Day 1 capped off its surprisingly generous setlist with NIJI. It was beautiful. I was about to lose my battle with the cold but the magnificent sight before me gave me warmth. From where we sat, we could see all of L’Arc~en~Ciel performing their signature song. Around them, dancing lights in rainbow colors and above them, the glorious Tokyo skyline. Blissful. Sublime. And as the fireworks went off, resplendent.

To think this is only day 1.

blessed be

I really thought 2013 would be hard to top up but as it turns out, it is only the opening salvo.

Already 2014 is shaping up to be a badass year, even so much better than the previous.

In a few days, I would see L’Arc~en~Ciel live again. In their own turf Tokyo, Japan. Yes. I am finally going to Japan and I will see my favorite band perform in one of the grandest stadiums in the world. Twice.

(Perhaps even VAMPS? Please HYDE let me win that invite to #VAMPSLIVEINTOKYO!)

Fast forward to June and I will then see Alice Nine in Singapore. I even get to take a picture with them. 6 shots! I’m so giddy with excitement.

And the year is barely out if its first quarter.

THANK YOU THEE.

As always, watch out for my live reports!!!

LIVE REPORT: MIYAVI “SLAP THE WORLD TOUR” LIVE IN KUALA LUMPUR (February 22, 2014)

On stage, Miyavi croons KIMI NI NEGAI WO but my eyes were drawn to the single tear streaking through the cheek of the elderly Japanese woman to my left.  In front of us, a Malaysian teen clutches at the barricades not moving an inch, eyes transfixed in front as a group of Singaporean girls behind me struggled to contain their excitement. My friend who flew all the way from the Philippines clutched my arm tightly. Miyavi has preached about unity and share in love. True enough, in that powerful moment, irregardless of either race, gender or generation, we were one.

Last February 22nd, Miyavi kickstarted his much-anticipated world tour with a high-octane live in the city of Kuala Lumpur. The venue: the brand spankin’ new (and very much well ventilated) Mega Star Arena.

The live began past 8PM with the screening of the trailer of Unbroken, the Angelina Jolie-directed biopic of Olympic runner Louis Zamperini where Miyavi would be be having his big Hollywood debut. Already there’s no doubt that fans would be flocking to catch this movie when it lands in theaters in December as every time Miyavi appeared onscreen the hall erupted into screams.

The promo clip for the SLAP THE WORLD tour was then showed and not long after, local act Bunkface appeared to warm up the already restless crowd. To their credit, Bunkface performed a capable 4 song set enhanced by strong stage presence and good sense of humor. They even led repeated chanting of “Miyavi, Miyavi”.

The man himself didn’t keep the fans waiting too long as he stepped into the now darkened stage in true rock star fashion: decked in mostly white with a long cape trailing behind him. The spotlight revealed the cape to be actually a banner in which fans wrote in their messages earlier.

Miyavi began his 2 hour performance with aptly enough, DAY 1 from his current self-titled album. Immediately the crowd went wild as fists were pumped in tune to the beat. Upping the ante was the rapid transition from STRONG to CHASE IT to the breathtaking SECRET. Others songs from his latest album (he performed all tracks with the exception of FREE WORLD) were all received with escalating enthusiasm.

In addition to the emotionally charged rendition of KIMI NI NEGAI WO mentioned above, Miyavi also performed older songs such as WHAT’S MY NAME, SELFISH LOVE, and FUTURISTIC LOVE. His take that night on CHILLIN’ CHILLIN’ MONEY BLUES was a standout as it displayed his mastery of different styles after wowing us with the Spanish guitar-esque elegance of GUARD YOU just a few songs earlier.

In between songs, Miyavi regaled us with pep talk. As with his lyrics, he urged the audience to keep pushing forward in life with chins proudly lifted up.  He also spoke about the value of self-improvement. His MCs were always peppered with words of encouragement. Miyavi could actually make a lucrative sideline as a motivational speaker 🙂

And then there were the light moments which made the live even more endearing. Early into the live, Miyavi stopped his intro and sheepishly admitted that he made a mistake. He said it has been quite a while since he performed live and then he made “that movie”.  The live had to be paused briefly again when Miyavi had to take his special candy for this throat. He was after all still recovering from the surgery he had last Christmas. During this time, he directed attention to Bobo. The boxer clad drummer refused to speak but Miyavi egged him on. He relented by whispering “Xièxiè” to the microphone. Everyone laughed and Bobo, after being counseled by Miyavi, leaned into the mic again and said “Terima kasih”.

The funniest bit happened during the encore MCs.  As he thanked Bobo, he recalled how certain “rumors” were spread about them. His spiel went something like this:

Always us two men on stage, Bobo and I, that we were mistaken to be gay.  Can’t really blame them as I used to wear too much make up with the hair and was wearing see-through outfits. But let me clarify it right now:

Not gay.

I mean, I’m not saying that there’s something wrong with being gay. It’s just that even if I am gay, (points at Bobo), I WOULDN’T CHOOSE HIM.

Yep, Miyavi threw Bobo under a bus and it was freaking hilarious. Bobo just retaliated with a deadpan look.

The live ended with Miyavi promising to come back and to keep on improving. The rest of the audience was ushered out as holders of the meet and greet passes were asked to line up at the side of the venue.

The meet and greet was actually very orderly. Fans were allowed to enter in groups of five but would the face Miyavi alone (save for the staff and crew). Its only flaw? Me.

You see, because I was so disoriented and awkward that night, this happened:

Me: Hi, I’m Nerissa from the Philippines!
Miyavi: Oh Philippines! I also want to go to the Philippines. (gestures as if asking me how to spell my name)
Nerissa: N-e-r-i-s-s-a. I look forward to seeing you live in the Philippines someday! (grabs CD then starts to walk away)
Miyavi: (couldn’t understand well what he said but it sounds like “Tell everyone”)
Nerissa: (confused) Yeah, sure. (walks fast)
Miyavi: (as told by my friend) o_O

I still had much time left to speak with him but as I got strangely paranoid that I would be dragged out by security, I foolishly cut our interaction too short! I walked out on Miyavi while he was still talking to me! Argh. But as another friend said, at least I made an impression right? As rock stars are more used to fans mobbing them, I bet it’s rare they encounter ones who couldn’t hardly wait to get out of their sight asap. ORZ. Then again, it’s just another memory from this live which I wouldn’t be forgetting for a quite a while.

Thank you Miyavi for an astounding night. Until the next live! Really looking forward seeing you in Manila. I promise to not walk out on you again! My nerves should know better by then!

Thank you #Malaysia! ツアー初日マレーシア、無事にROCKED ON!!!!!! w/ @bobodrums #SlapTheWorldTour2014

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LIVE REPORT: VAMPS at Hyper Wave Festival in Jakarta (November 29, 2013)

OMFG. We were THIS close to HYDE. He was like only 15 feet away! And those pants! Blessed be those pants. Any lower and they should be censored! But we could totally see HYDE’s abdominal muscles rippling as he languidly glided on stage! And yeah, v-muscle galore! adaflkjd;ljdf;ad;fk;adfkaldfkadjsfla;sdkf;asdkf’afdhfl;ajdf;adf;ad’kf;ad

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And now that we have the spazzing out of the way… on with the actual live report.

I arrived at the venue around 5pm and was very much pleased that the venue looked more organized compared to how it was during the OOR live barely a week ago. I was also overly relieved if not a tad surprised that the line was tolerably short. Granted that there were 3 ticket classes: VIP (where I was), Festival and Regular, the fact that only about 20 people separated me from the entrance made all the agonizing I did all day seemed useless. (I couldn’t take the day off from the office because we had training that I myself organized.)

Still, my relief was short-lived for mere minutes after I arrived, intense thunder and lightning happened. Pretty soon, heavy rains were upon us. This was no drizzle similar to what happened during OOR but still no one was giving up their spot even after the parking lot started flooding a bit.

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Ubrellas were hardly useful so we had no choice but to buy uber expensive plastic bags in the shape of rain coats.

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We at the VIP hardly felt VIP no more because our line was situated at muddy terrain. Later on, we would end up walking through shallow flood water then even through more mud. I ended up watching the live with slushy feet. My shoes were barely recognizable after all the abuse. Buy hey, all for the love of HYDE.

By around 6:30, we were finally allowed to enter the concert grounds. Everyone was gunning for the spot directly in front of HYDE but Yoan, Rej and I ran instead at KAZ’s side. There were much lesser people there so we get to enjoy front row view.

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At this point, I just want to clarify that there seemed to be no effort on the security’s part to hinder us from taking a few pictures which is why this post would be filled with them. There wasn’t also any announcement, to the best of my knowledge, that picture taking was not allowed. But no, I did not record full performances. If I want to see VAMPS through a screen, I should have just saved my shoes from ruin and watched a concert DVD at home.

There were 3 acts before VAMPS. The first of which was DJ Han (?) from Japan.  I wasn’t able to catch his name but noted that he always added the “from Japan” when referring to himself 🙂 He had the audience warming up to his remixed versions of Coldplay, Linkin Park and Oasis songs.

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Next was P.R.I.D.E. This band had nice stage presence and eclectic in their choice of songs. After an English song which was unfortunately, I was not familiar with, they performed rock covers of 2 Michael Jackson songs, one of which was Earth Song. Very cool. For their second to the last song, they had me jumping in glee upon hearing the first few bars. I shouted “Clock Strikes! Clock Strikes!!” during which the vocalist pointed at me and had a laugh. Hearing an OOR song during a VAMPS gig even if it’s just a cover? Still surrealistic.  Plus it brought back feels from the OOR live earlier. P.R.I.D.E. ended their set with a song that had people shouting “Indonesia!” several times.

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Then came Pee Wee Gaskin. By this time, the audience was overly excited to see VAMPS which could perhaps explain why the reception to this band was somewhat lukewarm. And then the vocalist just had to trip over a wire or something even before they started their first song. Unlike P.R.I.D.E., Pee Wee Gaskin performed their original songs (I think. The songs were all in Bahasa Indonesian). Halfway through their set, some people were already shouting “We want VAMPS”. This guy beside us even shouted repeatedly “Haido, hayaku hayaku onegaishimasu” to that effect. Sorry dude, but that was just very rude of you. After playing for about 30 minutes, Pee Wee Gaskin concluded with another song which, lo and behold, had chants of “Indonesia!’ in the lyrics again.

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Finally, VAMPS right? Right? No. What followed was a meticulous setting up that seemed to last forever 🙂 VAMPS crew began their overhaul by blowing smoke on stage. Disinfectant? Just kidding. Then they stripped and fastened stuff here and there. The stage had some slippery parts because of the rain so the crew scrubbed, dried and made hazard-free the whole thing. Some last minute sound checks then some guy turning his flashlight on and off as a signal to the folks at the projectionists side and they were off the stage.

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9:25PM came and the damp clothes and muddy feet ceased to matter. VAMPS was at long last on stage.

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The boys opened the show with yay LIFE ON MARS? Each had their own little platforms but fortunately for us, KAZ, Ju-Ken and most especially HYDE shuffled places once in a while.

The first time HYDE glided in front of us, my heart leaped to my throat.

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My initial impressions upon seeing VAMPS up close: the ever stoic KAZ could be very loquacious when he lets his guitar speaks for him while both Jin and Arimatsu did their best not to blend in with the background. Ju-ken, on the other hand, was quite the attention grabber and had the most “wild rocker” presence of the four.

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As for HYDE, I couldn’t quite place it but it seemed to me that for the first half of the live, he was a bit detached and – please don’t hate me for this – performed rather idly. He sauntered across the stage like a lazy feline with the confidence of someone who knows that he could just stand there reading a laundry list and the audience would still lap it all up.

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LIFE ON MARS? was followed by what I actually expected to be their opening song DEVIL SIDE and then REDRUM. Around this time, HYDE shouted Jakarta a lot and the sound was distorted making his voice eerie and there were echoes too.

What came next was VAMPS’ latest single REPLAY. This got us really hyped up.

AHEAD intro. Still from #VAMPSJKT. I should really get to writing the live report by today.

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VAMPS followed it up with a subdued rendition of THE PAST and MY FIRST LAST before having everyone bobbing their heads to VAMPIRE DEPRESSION.

Then came HYDE’s MC. He said something about eating I think because the audience just started shouting “Nasi goreng! Nasi goreng!” and then about devouring some fans.

HYDE's MC #VAMPSJKT

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The energy hiked up exponentially when VAMPS segued to HUNTING. It was also when HYDE also uttered the most quotable quote that night: “Where’s malam?” 🙂 He’s actually saying “Where’s my lamb?” but it came out sounding as if he’s looking for the night as malam translates to evening in Bahasa Indonesian. And yes, I finally sensed the naughty, overwhelmingly sexual and hyperactive stage presence of HYDE that I had been missing.

Then the live just went full throttle. The audience has gotten really wide as well. We were all jumping as VAMPS moved from AHEAD to ANGEL TRIP (in English!) to TROUBLE. It was really a head-scratcher for me when VAMPS opted to do a cover of this song but hearing it live made me appreciate it. It was really fun jumping along to each “Oh, oh, we’re in trouble”.

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The band closed off their main set with the infectious LOVE ADDICT.

Right after they exited the stage, we immediately shouted “Encore! Encore!”. The band took their time coming out so we moved on to “BANG ON STOMP EVERYBODY!” That proved to be the magic words as VAMPS kicked off their encore with REVOLUTION II

BANG ON! STOMP EVERYBODY!! #VAMPSJKT

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REVOLUTION had us all shouting and stomping so it was a relief that VAMPS opted to mellow it down with SWEET DREAMS.

Short clip of SWEET DREAMS from #VAMPSJKT Good night everyone!

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VAMPS afterwards gifted us with another entry in our wishlist: MEMORIES! Just like Angel Trip, they performed this song in English.

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Insanity then ensued as they closed the show with SEX, BLOOD, ROCK and ROLL. It was a song that could go on and on but of course it didn’t. Still it was a very satisfying ending. VAMPS Live at Hyper Wave Festival started with a slow burn but ended with everyone on fire. And for his parting words, HYDE gave an endearing promise: “I’ll see you soon.”

I will DEFINITELY see you again soon. Let it be in the Philippines please.

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Random memories from the live:

  • the Japanese fan who wore a VAMPS bikini for the entire duration of the show
  • HYDE and Ju-ken throwing bras to the audience. HYDE even put one on top of his hat.
  • Two of KAZ’s pics landing behind me. Yoan’s friend competed hard with another fan for the first one but effortless caught the second one. And he also won the meet and greet raffle earlier! Lucky guy
  • THIS SONG. It must have played a gazillion times that night so it still haunts me up to today. Honestly, I sometimes find myself singing it out of the blue.

Now good luck your way getting that song out of your head 🙂 Here are more VAMPS porn snapshots as a countermeasure:

P.S. Please don’t repost them somewhere else without credit ne? Learn to source.

 

LIVE REPORT: ONE OK ROCK Start Walking the World Tour Live in Singapore (June 30, 2012)

Either it was really fate or we were just really BLESSED (yes, the L’Arc fan in me just cannot resist making those song references XD)

Sat and I arrived at the*SCAPE in Singapore gawking at the VIP line and wondering where the heck the line for the poor souls at GA went off to. We visited the venue the day before so we knew that the GA line should be just opposite that of the VIP’s.  After loitering at the merchandise booth where surprisingly there was no line at all, we finally got the sense to ask where we should line up. Turned out all we had to do was walk a few steps from where we were already standing. Toinks. Good thing for us, the line at GA was not yet very long. We settled then to our spot and braced ourselves for the 4 hours to go before gates open.

Waiting didn’t turned out to be an exercise on patience. There was a threat of rain earlier (hence why the GA line was transferred) but it gave way to conducive weather. We passed the time trading stories and contemplating on which merchandise shirt to buy. Also briefly talked to a guy who said he travelled from Malaysia and that he has been an OOR fan for more than 3 years. Now that got me a bit worried. To be honest, I’ve only been listening to the band for less than 2 months and have yet to own an album of theirs. Grooveshark and YouTube were my supportive friends during my getting to know you stage with ONE OK ROCK. They made me familiar with a number of songs but the tracks which I can sing along to were barely a handful. Ok, so just maybe one and it’s the song which really drew me into the band: Liar.

Crew from AFA (or was it J-Live?) came over and filmed us. Twice. The instructions were pretty simple: just act excited. No acting needed for that, mister. We really were excited, giddy even! After that, we finally came face to face with Yaone whom we knew online. She came with good tidings: KOI milk tea and my L’Arc poster from their live 2 months prior. Time then went even faster. Sat drew anime version of us and we traded stories even more. Next thing we knew, staff was already telling us to stand up and get ready.

Getting inside the venue was such a breeze. Kudos to J-Live for being so organized. They let in people by batches, VIPs first (of course) and then us at GA a few persons at a time. Right on the dot, almost everyone was inside Warehouse. The live was sold out but crowd was hardly stifling.  Ours was a good spot, just 3 lines from the barricades separating GA from VIP and right between the places of the vocalist and guitarist. In other words, good view of Taka and Toru. Score!

Another plus points for everyone: the live started promptly at 7pm. The stage lights erupted with blinding brilliance but our eyes couldn’t get any wider as the boys appeared on stage. Now you have been warned earlier that I am not familiar with all their songs so I won’t be able to describe each performance in detail. No official setlist had been released as of this writing but according to my two sources, it should be more or less like this:

  1. CODA
  2. LOST AND FOUND
  3. Never Let This Go
  4. 皆無
  5. Re:make
  6. 世間知らずの宇宙飛行士
  7. アンサイズニア
  8. Mr.現代Speaker
  9. Liar
  10. Wherever you are
  11. C.h.a.o.s.m.y.t.h.
  12. Let’s take it someday
  13. NO SCARED
  14. 恋ノアイボウ心ノクピド
  15. 完全感覚Dreamer

encore

  1. じぶんROCK
  2. 内秘心書

(source: http://www.tumblr.com/tagged/one-ok-rock?before=1341078704 and http://untestsubject.tumblr.com/post/26225400853)

The energy of the live was so unbelievable! And it was mutual. Both band and audience fed off the exuberance of the other. There was earnestness in ONE OK ROCK’s performance that we the audience couldn’t help but be drawn to it. The moment the first note was played, our eyes and ears were totally theirs. Arms were outstretched and palms and fists were reaching out into the stage as if it was the very cradle of existence.

Taka was one hell of a vocalist. Imagine a hyperactive kid who had yet another sugar overdose and who happened to be really, really good at singing and you have Taka. He was bouncing around the stage, head-banging, arms flailing all the while seemingly never missing a note. We couldn’t see Tomoya at all but our ears told us that he was banging those drums with full vigor. Ryota and Toru, on the other hand, made a smashing pair. The two of them headbanging with Taka was a sight to behold. Such energy! Such passion! Such talented good-looking boys (spazz)!

Their MCs were also amusing. Speaking in a mixture of Mandarin, Japanese and hell yeah English, they regaled us with their thoughts of Singapore. Taka’s English was really good and he moderated the flow of introductions very well. Ryota was wearing a USS shirt and in his MC he showered poetics on Singapore and even sings a bit a Mandarin song. Tomoya was next and he didn’t even made an effort to conceal that he was reading off a script! He was so nervous it was adorable. Last but not the least was Toru and his was the most engaging. He spoke about being sad for not being able to see the Merlion as it was under construction. But he, as the other members professed too, was really happy to play for the Singapore audience.

In the middle of the set, a familiar tune was strummed and I was instantly livid. Holy shit, it’s Liar! Finally, a song I can sing along to in its entirety!!! And sing I did and even more. Call me biased but the stage lighting was even much better for this performance. Every time the chorus hit, the stage would be bathe in red light and then it would explode like a celestial collision. After that, ONE OK ROCK took us back to earth with a gut-wrenching rendition of Wherever you are. It was very poignant and Taka allowed the audience to sing bits of the songs. To L’Arc fans, this should be the OOR equivalent of MY HEART DRAWS A DREAM. It was that emotional, at least for me. And then while we were still reeling, Taka asked someone from the audience to translate his MC. The next song, he said, was written for a good friend and as he saw everyone there as his friends, the song now was for all of us. I could have sworn I hear sniffles. That could have been me stifling a sob. The song? C.h.a.o.s.m.y.t.h. Our minds? Totally blown.

At one point during the live and I forgot for which song, Taka made us go “Eh?!” by asking everyone to sit down. There were a lot of uncoordinated movement and losing balance but Taka was firm “I want you to sit down…. and then jump!” I wasn’t even sure now if our feet landed back on the floor after that. Everyone was so high, literally and figuratively. And Ryota was no longer wearing a shirt! Boom.

Taka then announced that they were down to their last song. We were naturally reluctant to let them go. As we wait for the encore, some started singing WO-OHH-OHH from アンサイズニア which Taka made us repeat over and over again when they performed the song earlier. The band then came back, Ryota still shirtless and the rest still sigh, fully clothed. Taka did change though to the Singapore exclusive tour shirt. They played two more songs and then it was over.

Getting out of the venue was also very organized. We went to the merchandise booth to buy a shirt and then ran outside to catch a glimpse of the band as they leave the venue. It was a wait peppered with excitement and false starts. A number of times, we thought it was already the band coming out but it was only a staff member. One security basked in the spotlight and pretended to part of the band. He was hamming it up for the cameras and made us all laugh. Not for long though for as soon as the band came out, it was every wannabe paparazzi for his or herself.

Tired and hungry, Sat, Yaone and I scampered over to Somerset to look for a place to eat. We settled for Ramen Play and ate our ramen in peace, each lost in our own thoughts and probably replaying the live in our heads. Sat was determined to have a taste of Singapore Sling that night so we decided to go to Marina Bay Sands next. But before we left, I got a message from my close friend Berto that he can finally meet with me tonight (he stood me up the other night) so we waited for him. When we told him we want to drink Singapore Sling, he recommended that we go to Raffles Hotel instead as it was there where the famous cocktail was born.

The four of us stayed at Raffles Hotel until they kicked us out because they had to close already. Sat was finally united with hyde’s nemesis, the Singapore Sling while Berto and Yaone told us stories of their stay in Singapore. The discussion afterwards went from personal to profound. The other patrons left one by one and the reggae band has packed up but we were still in deep conversation. Finally, the waiter just politely asked us to leave. Since Chijmes was just around the corner, we decided to just transferred there. BEST. DECISION. EVER.

We walked around Chijmes admiring the whole courtyard. We took Polaroid shots that didn’t even captured the view and there were a lot of teasing. While looking for a place to stay, Yaone suddenly drew us aside and said “It’s ONE OK ROCK!” I turned around and true enough, the big party at the next table included the band. I couldn’t suppress a shout and their staff members casted a bewildered look at us. We then casually strolled to the next table and acted natural. Berto and Sat took off to order us beer. Yaone and I did our best not to stare. Toru was in my line of sight and I was milking the opportunity for all it’s worth. For some reason, Berto and Sat were taking too long. Yaone and I were actually contemplating approaching the band but in the end we decided not to intrude their privacy. We just contented ourselves throwing sly glances their way.

Finally, our beer arrived. At the corner of my eye, I saw Taka leave their table. I didn’t know what pushed me to say it but I grabbed Sat’s collar and whispered to him “You may want to go to the restroom.” Sat gave me a confused him look but I just widened my eyes at him and gestured to the restroom. Finally he complied. As he was entering the restroom, Taka came out. I was observing the whole episode as it unfolded. Awkward moment between them. Then Taka saw Sat was wearing the Singapore live shirt. He said Whoa! They were a bit far so I couldn’t hear a thing but Sat must have said that we were at the live. He pointed at our table then it was Taka pointing to our table. Next thing I knew Taka was walking towards us. I elbowed Yaone and kept repeating “holy shit!”. Taka was in front of me and he was extending his hand. I closed my jaw. Blinked a number of times. Finally gathered my wits. Took his hand and said “We just saw you live earlier. It was a great show!”. He said “Thank you” then walked to my side of the table. I told him I flew all the way from the Philippines to see them and that Sat was from Canada. Taka said, “Canada?” then he turned to their table, called the attention of this band mates and said “Canada!”

What happened next will be forever replayed in my head for all eternity. In slow motion.

All the members of ONE OK ROCK were suddenly at our table. I didn’t know where to look! It’s like they were everywhere all at once! Introductions were made. I was gushing. Sat was blushing. Yaone was tweeting! Berto was a pleased spectator. Taka asked me how old we are. It turned out he was about the same age as Sat. I told him I hope they will visit the Philippines someday. He said “Sure. We’ll do our best”. I countered that we’ll be ready. Next, I got lost in Toru’s eyes. Such nice facial features. He was very reserved but he can say nothing and I would still be contented. Meanwhile Ryota and Tomoya were the most enthusiastic. I told Ryota I liked his abs but it seemed he didn’t understand it. Tomoya said they were still learning English. I said it was ok. Then Ryota asked in Japanese if I understand the language. I replied that I know a little. He asked why. I said so I can understand your songs. He and Tomoya spazzed out. I was spazzing out too. I was able to converse in Japanese with ONE OK ROCK! There were a lot more handshaking after that. The boys introduced us to their bosses. One of them suggested that we take pictures. Yes, it was them who suggested we take pictures! Their manager, I believed, volunteered to take our picture. And then they all went back to their table.

Sat, Berto, Yaone and I exchange looks that said all of us were still processing if whether the last 10 minutes or so did happened. It must have been a while since we snapped out of our catatonic state. We filled up our mugs to the rim and made an extravagant toast. Cheers! The four of us talked some more. My phone was close to dying so unfortunately I couldn’t document the event in real time. Yaone said some of our online friends had already heard of our good fortune and that mentions of disbelief and congratulations were pouring in. Heck, ONE OK ROCK and their staff were at the next table and we still can’t believe that we actually talked to them. We downed our beer. Challenged each other on who can finish theirs first. Sat won. Boo. Then we exchanged banter again.

Around 3AM, the people at the next table turned to leave. Wonders of wonders, the band members returned to our table to say good-bye. What have we done to deserve such good karma? It was a huge effort not to hanaji right then and there. We exchanged a few words again. And then I asked if we can have their autograph. They complied. Taka was such a sweetheart as he was the one passing around our notebooks to the other members. There were more gushing until finally the promise to meet each other again, whether it will be in Singapore or in another country.

We waited until the whole band and their entourage left Chijmes and then collectively let out a LOUD scream! All the emotions we were holding back came out in full force. WE JUST TALKED TO AND SHOOK THE HANDS OF ONE OK ROCK!

I have the pictures and their autograph to prove it. But up to this day, I still can’t believe it has happened. I can pinch myself until it hurts just to prove even to myself that it was no dream. But then again, there is nothing left to bleed. My heart can’t take this anymore.

Until the next live.