Following the release of their newest album, Ambitions, which reached #1 on US iTunes rock chart, ONE OK ROCK made their first stop on their US Ambitions tour at New York City on January 15th. Fans lined up at Terminal 5 for several hours in freezing weather in anticipation for the show. So when the doors finally opened at 6pm, fans rushed in and the 3,000-capacity hall was packed, begging for a bigger venue.
Cruisr opened the show, and played several feel-good pop-rock tunes that entertained the crowd. When it was ONE OK ROCK's time to hit the stage, the anticipation reached its peak. Fans screamed in excitement as each member entered the stage one by one, TAKA the vocalist coming out last in his leather jacket. “Let’s go!” he screamed at the crowd and Taking Off began. Fans sang along during the chorus and TAKA was characteristically full of energy, all over the stage while still remaining vocally on point.
The band directly followed with Take me to the top. However, TAKA could barely get through the third verse before the song abruptly stopped. He was concerned about the crowd in the mosh pit because overly enthusiastic fans had pushed too forward, causing a whole section of people to fall to the ground. “Are you guys ok?” he asked. He motioned for the crowd to move back and the band waited for a few moments until the crowd picked themselves back up and moved back. “Tell me when you guys are ready. Alright, let’s try again! One more time!” he announced. Take me to the top began once more, just as explosive as the first time.
The audience needed little beckoning from TAKA to sing along during the concert as the enthusiasm was at fever pitch and everyone sang along at every opportunity. RYOTA's bass and TOMOYA's drums during Deeper Deeper were a real driving force to be reckoned with. Leading up to the song’s climax, TAKA stood up on the riser with his arms spread out and then audience sang “We never we never we will not stop right here” over and over as TAKA headbanged along. The end of the song was electrifying.
Much to the fans’ delight, ONE OK ROCK continued to play more of their classics as well as songs from one of their more recent albums 35xxxv5. Clock Strikes was the perfect song to play next as the slightly slower tempo tempered the flames of the crowd while still keeping up a good pace. Everyone continued to sing along during Decisions. TORU and RYOTA switched places on stage during Decisions. While a slower song, there were many headbang-worthy moments and TORU's solo work was beautiful. Watching TORU spin around on stage was a fun sight.
TAKA finally spoke to the audience before the next song Hard to Love, “Are you guys having a good time?” He talked about their newest album, Ambitions, and how they made an American version and Japanese version. “A few songs are different but both versions are really good.” He said he wrote Hard to Love about his father. TORU switched to acoustic, TOMOYA shook maracas and RYOTA strung a bow to an interesting-looking instrument, the ViolaFon. TAKA's vocals pulled at one's heartstrings and the crowd quietened down to appreciate the moving song as they waved their arms in the air.
TAKA then left the stage after the song was finished and RYOTA took off his shirt. RYOTA, TORU and TOMOYA then jammed together to what started out as a very groovy, funk rock-influenced number. It then transitioned to very chunky and heavy music as they all headbanged together towards an explosive end. The interlude piece really showcased their strong guitarist and drum skills and musicianship.
During the second half of the concert, ONE OK ROCK brought to life more of the songs from Ambitions. Hearing the songs live added a different dimension to them. TORU's guitar work during Bedroom Warfare had more of a presence, and RYOTA banged out a really impressive solo, followed by TORU.
Even though the album was only released four days prior to the concert, everyone seemed to know the lyrics to all of their newest songs by heart. There was never a dull moment and the energy never died down throughout the concert. During Mighty Long Fall, TAKA directed the crowd to separate in the middle, creating the wall of death. “New York, push it back! Are you guys ready?” he asked. He counted to three, the crowd came crashing in to each other and it was a headbanging frenzy until the end of the song.
The crowd screamed for an encore, and the band came back out to play their final number, American Girls, a song from the American version of Ambitions. In the middle of the song TAKA took a moment to say he didn’t want to say goodbye but “I’ll see you soon” instead, promising the band’s return to the United States for more shows. At the end of the song he said “See you soon!” again. Fans screamed in response, elated to hear that.
01. Taking Off
02. Take me to the top
03. Cry Out
04. Deeper Deeper
05. Clock Strikes
07. Hard to Love
- Instrumental -
08. Bedroom Warfare
09. The Beginning
10. I was King
11. Take what you want
12. We Are
13. Mighty Long Fall
01. American Girls
ONE OK ROCK at Terminal 5, New York City
live report - 01.31.2017 19:01
A thrilling kick-off to ONE OK ROCK's US "Ambitions" tour.
© Danielle Cimafranca