ONE OK ROCK Rocked Manila During Their AMBITIONS Concert

I was devastated the first time ONE OK ROCK came to the Philippines because I couldn’t go to their concert. As such, I made a vow to watch the next one. And the heavens heard my plea! After two years of waiting, the band that gave us the hit songs The Beginning, Heartache, Mighty Long Fall (official soundtracks of Rurouni Kenshin movies) returned to Manila for their Ambitions Tour!

Here are the top 10 notable rocking moments from the concert:

The Set List

They performed 15 songs- FIFTEEN! For tickets ranging from Php2000 to Php8000, that is saying something!

  1. Bombs Away
  2. Deeper Deeper
  3. Taking Off
  4. Cry Out
  5. Re:make
  6. Clock Strikes
  7. Bedroom Warfare
  8. Wherever You Are
  9. One Way Ticket [Interlude]
  10. Bon Voyage
  11. When I was King
  12. Take What You Want
  13. The Beginning
  14. Mighty Long Fall
  15. We Are

The concert lasted for approximately two hours; but because they performed one song after another, I didn’t even feel the time pass by! What’s more: you’d love how Filipinos sing along to the Japanese lyrics of their amazing songs.

The Lights

Lights and sounds play important roles in making concerts look more magnificent and the staff definitely pulled all the stops to give us this wonderful concert. Red, blue, yellow, purple, and green lights bathed the stage all throughout the concert, dramatically changing to match the beat of ONE OK ROCK’s powerful music.

The Audience’s Screams

When you hear male audience members screaming and singing along, you know that you are at a great rock concert – and that was exactly what happened. Loud female fan chants were punctured with male voices singing Cry Out or When I was King!

Their Stage Presence

Taka, ONE OK ROCK’s vocalists, lay down on the floor. He ran the whole length of the ramp. Toru, the guitarist, and Ryota, the bassist, made the stage their own, never failing to entertain the audience from different sides of the arena. Hitting the drums fiercely, Tomoya also made his presence felt. Such powerful performers you can’t help but love!

Different Arrangements for Bedroom Warfare and Take What You Want

For those who have gotten accustomed to those songs, you might have been surprised when ONE OK ROCK performed both songs in more dramatic ways. The silence that rang in the stadium in the middle of the performance of the song Take What You Want added more depth to the meaning of the song.

The Interlude!

As a big fan of their music, I enjoyed watching Tomoya, Ryota, and Toru hit and pluck their instruments to create this incredible melody for the interlude while the lights danced in crazy ways to reflect their musical style.


So much was happening on stage that even if you wanted to record the whole thing with your smartphone, you wouldn’t help but want to really watch ONE OK ROCK and absorb what they were doing. I definitely needed to preserve this once-in-a-lifetime experience, but I also wanted to remember every single detail with my own two eyes and not depend on a screen.

The audience matched ONE OK ROCK’s energy and didn’t miss an opportunity to rock MOA Arena with their screams and jumps; I actually felt the place where I was standing shake.

Two Encores! Two!

Because of the aforementioned energy, ONE OK ROCK performed two songs for their encore: American Girls (‘Philippine Girls’ was how Taka sang it, earning a riotous applause from the female population of the audience) and Kanzen Kankaku Dreamer (Perfect Sense Dreamer) I wasn’t expecting their encore to be Kanzen Kankaku Dreamer at all, an old song from their Niche Syndrome album, but it was a fantastic surprise.

“Mahal ko kayo!”

Who would have expected they would try speaking in Filipino? Who was ready for that? I definitely wasn’t. So, when all four members delivered their speeches in an albeit scripted manner, I was rendered flabbergasted while the stadium roared their approval.

“See You Soon!”

It seemed that the band appreciated the love we had for them as they reciprocated with many bows, two encores, several “I love you/Mahal kita, Philippines!” The best part was the promise that they made before leaving the stage.  Not until recently did I understand the meaning of the cliche “happy goodbye” when Taka said, “See you soon.”

Perhaps my favorite part of it all was seeing the band interact with each other, how they didn’t leave each other behind. There were times when Tomoya and Toru joined Taka to entertain the people at the mosh pit, but they also performed near Tomoya, who couldn’t move from his drumming station.

Their digital albums are ear candies, but their live performances are eargasmic treats. You have to catch the next one. And yes, we will see ONE OK ROCK in the Philippines again soon.

ONE OK ROCK performed at SM MOA ARENA on January 29, 2018, 8 pm-10:30 pm as part of their AMBITIONS ASIA Tour.

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