Yesterday, I went to see One Ok Rock in concert in Hiroshima’s Green Arena. It’s the next day, and on the one hand I’m tired from all the standing and jumping, but on the other, I have a lot of lingering energy from the memory of the experience to expend :D I’ll talk about the concert, the direction of the band, and my thoughts, in a couple of posts.
I became a fan of One Ok Rock around August 2012, when the first Rurouni Kenshin live-action movie came out. I’d known about them before and probably liked a couple songs, but that was it…until that movie came out; and lead singer Taka’s voice and One Ok Rock’s music were so fitting for that movie that I fell in love (starting 0:43):
A couple months ago on the train to our semi-annual English teacher meetings (kencho), my friend Preeya mentioned that she wanted to go, and we bought the tickets right then. She invited her friend, who is also a Japanese teacher, and we went together yesterday to anticipate the concert while waiting in long, long lines.
The Extended Waiting Experience
I’ve waited in line for about 3 hours for a t-shirt, towel, and keychain before, so I was prepared to wait for a while yesterday, too. We weren’t sure whether the line would be short or long, because even though the concert was all sold out (I think Green Arena holds about 10,000 people, if you include standing), we weren’t sure if One Ok is officially considered “popular” or not. We were sure they’d gained more recognition from the Kenshin movie theme songs, but they still don’t seem to be a group that “everyone has heard of.”
Whether they’re more than “somewhat popular” or the fans are just extremely devoted, it took us about 3 hours to get to the front. We started waiting for merchandise around 12:45, and began lining up for the concert at around 3:30. By the time we got to the front, one of the t-shirts had sold out, as well as the hoodies. And we were in the middle of the line…
I think this is going to sound ridiculous to Americans who would never wait in line for 3 hours for a t-shirt, but this is one way that fans show support. You wait for 1-3 hours in line to pay $30 (￥3000) for a t-shirt and $15 (￥1500) for a towel, and it identifies you as a fan and a “member” of today’s concert and identifies you with everyone else as a fan ( like being part of the “club”). Even though I feel like $30 is kind of a lot considering the simplicity of the t-shirt, I still like being a part of the club (haha). You don’t have to buy the merchandise, but a LOT of people do.
I also noticed in the line that a lot of fans had on red pants or red apparel, probably to match the towels. You can look online to see what the band merch looks like before the concert, and actually, since I learned last time from my friend that you can do that, I’d looked it up, planned what I was going to buy, and planned my (simple) outfit around the colors. I also had a knapsack that I wouldn’t have to balance on my shoulder, and really comfy shoes. I’m getting better at this :)
It’s funny, but I put on makeup in the morning and once more before the concert, even though I knew it was going to be dark in the arena and I was going to sweat it all off. For work, where people see me all day, I put on a layer of BB cream to look “refreshed” and not tired, but to see One Ok Rock, where I’m going to be smooshed between a ton of people, sweaty and gross, I made sure to look my best! It doesn’t make any sense…but in my heart it does :)
To be honest, it was good for us that the t-shirts I wanted ran out. My friend and I actually didn’t like any of them, because they remind us of Black Sabbath, the Pink Floyd prism, and grunge artwork done by high school digital arts students (I was in digital art class, making that artwork sitting next to students who listened to Black Sabbath and wore the t-shirts, so I speak from experience). I was prepared to fork up the ￥3000 for the simple XXXV t-shirt (because, being cool like everyone else!), but when it sold out, even my excitement for the concert couldn’t overcome my severe dislike of most of the band goods. I mean, compare the One Ok 2015 goods to the Bump of Chicken goods from last year, or the related Weaver goods I found on the same website. Which ones do YOU want to wear? (I don’t want to look like a heavy metal fan >.<)
So, in the end, that means we waited 3 hours in line for a towel and two $5 rubber bracelets. I do like the towel, though.
We were surprised how fans waited three-something hours for band goods, and then when it came time to line up to go in to the actual concert venue, we were almost all alone in the assigned waiting spot. Weren’t people anxious to get in?–but it turns out that, unlike past concerts I’ve been to, not only was everyone grouped into “blocks” (A-1 through A-4, B-1 through B-4, etc), we also all had a number, and when it came time to go inside they actually organized us all by our number in order, so nobody really had an advantage for getting there early. Preeya has waited 8 hours to see Paramore before, so we got there early just in case, but it ended up not mattering.
We took the picture above after a few people started showing up to line up for Block C-2. It looks like I’m taking a picture of my friend, but actually, I was also getting a picture of the t-shirt the girl on the right made. The concert theme was “35xxxv” (more on that in the next post), and I think she took a simple white t-shirt and taped “XV” on the back (and presumably “XX” on the front). It was a good idea, it was probably cheap to make, and it looked better than the official band t-shirts >_<
More to come soon!