ONE OK ROCK Weekend Part 2: Welcome to Jakarta!
The boys killed it again!
ONE OK ROCK made their Indonesian debut via an intense live jam-packed with gripping moments belying the fact that this is actually their 11th stop in a whirlwind tour spanning 2 continents. I myself have barely recovered from the physically straining Singapore live but Boss Toru and the gang hardly showed signs of fatigue, running across the stage and headbanging like crazy.
The setlist is similar to that of Singapore’s but as artists feed off the response of their audience, Indonesians gifted OOR with a reception that was equally stunning as the band’s performance thus giving this particular live its own special blend of awesomeness. OORJKT had a more give and take between performer and audience.
I didn’t make it to front row this time (more on this later) but I was able to see the whole stage and it has allowed me to really appreciate ONE OK ROCK’s production in totality. For instance, I didn’t mind it before, but the stage lighting for was really good. Like during the first verse of Be the Light, soft beams of white light bathed Taka from all directions before giving way to a cacophony of yellow and blue as the song builds it dramatic tension. The lighting turned helter skelter during the really hard-hitting songs like Deeper Deeper and NO SCARED which complimented very well how the boys turned the stage into their very own playground. And watching these boys play was really a sight to behold.
I was in awe with how well coordinated their movements were. It was not as if they seemed rehearsed with proper timing and all that. The band was well coordinated in a way that there was no instance of a single member stealing the show for himself. Taka was of course front and center but from where I was, it was absolutely stunning how Toru, Tomoya and Ryota held their own. Each had their quirks: Taka liked raising both his arms wide open (his wingspan was impressive); Ryota (who’s hair was tied back for most parts of the show) tend to keep his feet far apart and when he’s really into it, appeared like he’s doing the split while pounding on his bass; Toru (who was wearing a sleeveless top) got twitchy sometimes and Tomoya banged on his drums with that adorably goofy expression of his. Seen together, their antics seemed like a response to the action of another band member. And their headbanging was in sync! It was amazing! At one point, they banged their heads in perfect unison continuously, Ryota and Toru at equal distance from Taka at the center who seemed to be directing the whole ensemble with his left arm. Ryota and Toru had each of their feet far apart, their bottoms at a very low angle and as Taka waved his left arm back and forth, their heads would follow. It was as if all three of them were jackhammering the floor. I wonder how they deal with neck and back aches because mine certainly needs tending.
The band spoke Bahasa during their MCs but Taka used English during his spiels in between songs. Ryota told everyone he liked nasi goreng and even sang a few lines from what I would later learn to be the Indonesian national anthem. Tomoya exclaimed his love for bakmi while Toru urged the crowd to go crazy. Taka made the same requests: lie low then jump for Let’s Take It Someday and for us to sing WOHOHO to Answer is Near. There was a variation though. After a few rounds of WOHOHO, Taka shifted to TARARARA which is actually pretty amusing.
With each request, the crowd responded in full vigor. Indonesian fans, hands down, are so awe-inspiring. Their response to L’Arc~en~Ciel’s live during #LarukuJKT was very overwhelming and the Indonesian live of MY HEART DRAWS A DREAM was the stuff of legends. In OOR’s live, they delivered the same passion. Hands never left the air, always swaying if not clapping hard. From the first song to the encore, the crowd sang their hearts out. Immediately after the band left the stage after The Beginning, chants of “WE WANT MORE” pierced the air and continued for some time. And then the shouts shifted to “ANKORU, ANKORU!”. Just like in Singapore, WOHOHO was also heard. ONE OK ROCK then rewarded these by coming back with Taka holding the Indonesian flag! He waved it all around before draping it on his back. Earlier he said, “Jakarta, we will definitely come back” (*squeal*) and he reiterated it with more conviction this time around. He then placed the Indonesian flag in front of Tomoya’s drums before launching into a goosebump inducing rendition of WHEREVER YOU ARE. What made it so? The audience. Good Lord, that was awesome. The crowd sang in unison, their voices ringing loud and clear that it almost drowned out Taka’s. And it did not waver, down to the final “Wherever You Are ..”. Someone upload an official video of this quick.
Taka concluded WHEREVER YOU ARE by facing Tomaya and placing his left foot over the drums. He held this pose with both arms extended wide as the other 3 finished off the song. And then all of them went to center of the stage to bow at the audience signaling that the live was really over. With that, my ONE OK ROCK weekend also reached its finale.
I am really, REALLY pissed off with how the organizers handled crowd control during entrance to the venue. It was sloppy, amateurish and overall, a direct F*** YOU to the concept of lining up.
Squeezing into the train during rush hour was a more blissful experience compared to getting inside Lapangan Parkir Renang Senayan where the OORJKT live was held. To think I actually enjoyed waiting despite the shifts in weather because excitement was in the air all throughout. It just so happened that shit hit the fan when the gates finally opened.
As I was still very sore due to Singapore’s epic moshing and stayed up all night writing the live report, I arrived 11:30AM at the venue, rather late in comparison to my 7:15AM arrival at Hard Rock Cafe in Sentosa. I was already very content with the spot I got in SG so I wouldn’t mind being a bit far from the stage this time.
As expected, many people were already ahead of me. Quite a number were just loitering around while many were slopped down in front of the entrance. I took my place at the end of the “line” and ate my brunch.
It rained after a while and still no one budged.
More and more people started arriving as the hours dripped by. Krystle and her friends arrived after lunch and by that time, an impenetrable wall of people were surrounding me so they couldn’t come over to where I was.
But the wait was really enjoyable. I amused myself gawking at the OOR-inspired garb almost everyone was wearing, from shirts to caps to pins to bandannas. I just hoped the band’s management didn’t mind all these unofficial stuff going around so much. I also chatted with a few other fans stuck with me.
I was particularly impressed with the ONE OK ROCK Bandung group. They were everywhere and all of them proudly wore something that screamed ONE OK ROCK Bandung. They even led us into singing OOR songs. During the live itself, they had a giant banner facing the band.
Later on, I had no choice but to get out of the formation as I really need to pee. Fortunately, I was located near the direction towards the toilet so I was able so squeeze my way out. Even more fortunate, the band started rehearsing and the toilet’s entrance offered a good view of the stage! Thanks to my height, I saw Ryota and Tomoya without needing to climb fences.
I then went back in “line” and enjoyed listening to the rest of rehearsals. Amazingly, the band rehearsed many songs, even finishing some of them. The crowd sang along and erupted into cheers each time a song finished.
The weather turned hot (but not as terrible as the weather was in Singapore). Still, it was a bit uncomfortable. The collective sigh from everyone could actually be heard loud each time a breeze was felt.
By 5PM, everyone was on their feet. There wasn’t any space to sit down anyway. People started chanting “OPEN GATE! OPEN GATE!” The number of people has since swelled and the those in front of me had somehow tripled (WTF).
5:30PM the gate finally opened and mismanagement reigned. The moment the gate was opened, people from all directions made a beeline towards it, including those who were just loitering at the sides. Those who were in front of the supposed “line” were lucky because they were able to avoid the pandemonium (I hope). But for those who were originally just 10 rows away from the gate, we had to battle it out with people who just came out from nowhere. There was no line. Just a huge mass of people aiming to pass thru a narrow gap in the steel railings. When I finally got close enough to the “gate” 30 freaking minutes later, I saw that the guards were basically just dragging people in. And then they opened 2 more openings on either sides thus allowing those who skipped through the original “line” to go ahead.
There was also no proper waste disposal so not only was there moshing already at the entrance, there were shit tons of discarded water bottles too.
Inside the bag checking area, there was finally a semblance of control, i.e. hello line. I looked back at the railing and was glad to finally escape this:
I skipped the photo wall and was greeted by…. vast amount of space.
Inside, there were food stalls and portable toilets which was located far away from the stage. It was really thoughtful of the organizers to put these amenities up so people can hang around here as they waited for the band to show up. Then again, who am I kidding???? It would have been better if these kiosks were placed outside so people can enjoy them while waiting. I was desperate for food earlier and there wasn’t much options outside. Why can’t these be outside?
And then another major pet peeve. THE GOODS KIOSK WAS ALSO INSIDE THE VENUE. Viewers then were given the option of: buy goods upon entering and risk finding a good spot or find a good spot now and risk having your chosen good sold out. Someone from Manila requested that I buy goods for her so I lined up. I also wanted to get a hoodie and as it was not available in SG, I took my chances here.
This was the view from my spot at the line at the goods. Note how the space in front of the stage was already filled up. There was no hoodie available as well. The lady there explained that it already sold out during the earlier lives.
By the time I reached the stage area, I had this view:
Pissed off, thirsty and in need of fresh air, I gave up my spot and retreated way back to clear my head. I was in a foul mood and ready to punch just about anyone so I had to get away. I found a good space behind the control booth which allowed me to see the whole stage and observe the audience as well so I just stayed there for the duration of the live.
It turned out to be a good decision in the end because there was plenty of space for me to jump. Besides, I had the pleasure of being near two of the most unlikely concert goers: an elderly Japanese guy who danced his way to every song (he was really, really enthusiastic I found myself just watching him sometimes) and a 9 month old baby in the arms of her dad. It was obvious her mom was the bigger fan as she had her eyes glued to the stage. But seriously, while I believe in early exposure to the good stuff, this baby clearly needed to be sleeping at home and that giant ear mufflers her parents placed on her head were useless.
Another major gripe I have about the event was the sound system. It was a bit terrible. From where I was, Taka’s mic sounded so loud that it drowned out the instruments. Hence, I could hear every intake of breath he did. When Toru did his guitar solo, it was obvious that the system could use some clearing up as the sound was cracked. It did sounded that Toru missed a note but it could also be the speaker cracking up.
Finally, there was this and Jakarta actually got it right: as I was double-checking the items I bought before coming home, I noticed something different from the shirt I just bought to the one I am wearing which I got in Singapore.
Nevermind the difference in color as that’s just the lighting. The one on the right was the shirt I bought during the Singapore live, the one on the left was freshly bought in Jakarta. The Singapore shirt has a tag of the shirt brand (GILDAN) and said “Made in Bangladesh”. The Jakarta shirt doesn’t have a tag but has this printed inside: the band’s logo, tour name and the words OFFICIAL MERCHANDISE.
To be clear, I am not insinuating that either of these shirts is unofficial. It’s just that I find it odd that this difference existed. Both shirts seemed to me to be of the same quality, appearance-wise. Wash and wear would eventually determine if there is indeed any disparity in quality. Truth be told, I would have preferred it if the Singapore shirt was more like the Jakarta shirt. And of course, if only the hoodie was available in all countries!
Now, with all that out of the way, I officially close my ONE OK ROCK weekend. Thank you to ONE OK ROCK and to all of those I’ve experienced this amazing cross-country adventure with.
Next tour, I’ll watch them in Japan for sure. Until then, time to get ready for VAMPS this coming Friday.