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Mighty Long Fall - Yokohama Stadium

Because today seemed a good day to get some work done I decided to be a model employee by spending quality time watching the 1.5 hour Yokohama Stadium footage. And because I’m feeling productive (which is a bit of a stretch with regard to ONE OK ROCK these days – I don’t post like I used to, y’all know that by now) I thought hey I’m just gonna go spend another hour (or two – OR THREE) writing about what I watched. SO!

A couple of my friends went there, and like what good friends do they shared the set list, they told us stories about their whole experience, and like good friends, I masked my jealousy with utter happiness. Not that the happiness was fake, by the way – but hell yeah. I was JEALOUS. Without having to hear the whole performance (and there were snippets of live footage as you may already know), I was already aware that the concert was quite awesome – but most probably because I’m biased knowing that they sang Living Dolls and Koi.

(no aibou kokoro no cupido— hey I know the song title!)

All that aside, the day has come that I finally get to see and hear the whole thing (ok not whole but most of the whole thing) and yes I will make the read worthwhile just because that’s what being a good employee is. LADIES AND GENTS DO NOT TRY THIS AT WORK.

First, is a hats off to the production crew. I mean WHEEEEW look at the size of that stadium and you can see it with EVERY.SINGLE.PAN.

Wait— what?

Every single pan of the camera. There.

This concert footage vividly reminds me of the Budokan DVD, how it looks like a music video making use of the lights, the size of the venue and the people as the “setting”. It’s less dramatic and staged, unlike ZR / JxK in YA, and it’s also more candid which I will talk more about later.

THE FREAKING STADIUM

Needless to say this is their biggest venue yet, and by god it shows. Of course it’s not a  360 degree seating, so there are empty seats behind and adjacent to the stage, but STILL. STILL!!! They filled this venue for two nights, and what can I say? It’s one thing to see it in photos— we already have way before this footage came out. It’s something completely different to feel it while watching – again, hats off to the production crew. If there’s one thing that was explicitly achieved here, it’s the fact that the crowd was SEEN AND FELT with every song in the set list. I can’t even begin to imagine if I was one of those lucky people, I’d probably cry over my pin sized head somewhere up the stands sobbing, “I WAS THERE!!!” – BUT ALAS. I WAS NOT.

PERFORMANCE

Let’s break it down.

VOCALS

For a twenty-two song set list you have really, REALLY got to give it to Taka boy for keeping his pipes well oiled and not rusty. I’m talking ahead here because we haven’t seen the Encore songs, but by the state of his vocals in KKD I’d say he’d still have it, apart from being emotional which by the way I’m not entirely sure happened. Whatever, cry or no cry I must say his vocals are A+. My personal favorite? The melodic revisions. AMAZING how just a subtle change in notes just gives a song a whole new life. The most notable ones, to me, are the ones in Nothing Helps and Clock Strikes. I did notice he was running out of steam in Koi, but I think it’s because the damn kid won’t stop running and maybe, just maybe he forgot that it’s a freaking stadium which means the stage is like, WIDE. As in really wide. He got it back in NO SCARED, and how he did that I will never know. So yeah. *kneels down and sings* “I’d like to praise you like I should”

GUITARS/BASS/PERCUSSION

I’m lumping these three into one section because I’m writing this post and you can’t make me do otherwise.

So apart from his usual hotness and I really, really HATE HIS PANTS, Toru was amazing but do not take my word for it I am PERPETUALLY BIASED whoops then what is the purpose of this review if not but to sit and gaze and occasionally wipe my drool at his amazing amazing AMAZING guitar skills DID YOU SEE THAT HAIR FLIP DID YOU SEE HIS EYES CLOSE DID YOU SEE HIM DANCE DID YOU SEE THOSE FINGERS LET’S NOT EVEN GO TO WHAT ELSE HE COULD DO WITH THOSE BUT WHOA DID I JUST aw shiet someone take my keyboard away from me.

SERIOUSLY though. Who pens their instrumentals? Nat and I have been trying to know since like, FOREVER, but apparently there’s no credits to the composers of the instrumentals in ZR and JxB DVD jackets so I think I’m not gonna get my hopes up seeing the mystery composer for all we know it’s probably just Toru and the dudes (aka everyone) who penned the whole thing and while we’re at it let’s just freaking pretend they did OKAY?

I believe I’ve calmed my socks off so let me continue.

The instrumental.

Was nothing short of amazing. Let me just stray from that a little and mention the instrumental at the beginning of the show. I don’t know if it will be the Intro track of their new album but it does seem like it, doesn’t it? It’s kinda tradition anyway, considering both ZR and JxB had begun their shows with the intro track from the latest album, just in this case we had the live happen first before the album was dropped. Anyone notice how different it is? Again, if Toru penned this (he had penned both ZR and JxB) I OFFER UP MY BODY AND SOUL I SHIT YOU NOT whoops AWH forgive me there goes my heart again. Point is, JUST WOW. That was NOT a rock track but W.O.W.

Going back to the instrumental— I DO NOT HAVE SUFFICIENT KEYS IN THE KEYBOARD TO EXPRESS MY ALFDSJDLKFSJLAKDJFLDSAJFLKDSAFDASF

How awesome was it? Everything about it, the guitars, the bass, the drums. Each instrument was on a pedestal of their own and just how can you not just sit in awe at that performance I mean  there is no such thing as just the guitar, just the bass or just the drums because you could HEAR EVERYTHING in MELODIC AND RHYTHMIC CLARITY I CANNOT EVEN EXPRESS HOW BEAUTIFUL IT IS HOW DO YOU DO IT HOW HOW HOW

*HHHNNNNGGGGGGGGG*

I AM CALM.

Toru was his usual smut-faced (err whoops)

Toru was his usual sexy faced guitar playing so I don’t think there’s anything else I could add here other than YES MY LOVE GROWS STRONGER EVERY DAY.

On to Ryota.

This guy would probably be the most physically fit (non-clumsy) person on stage. You can see him EVVERRRRYYYWWHHHEERREEE and he’s not just plucking that bass, nope. He is either dancing, jumping, running, walking and if being cute requires energy well then yeah he sure did exert so much of that. (Sorry House Kohama he will always be a baby to me I cannot, CANNOT see him as sexy.)

He stood out so much to me during the instrumental when 1) he met in the middle of the stage to clash with Toru. Why? Because he held his own and WAS NOT UPSTAGED. You’d think the tall, hot guy towering over you during an intense moment of the instrumental would intimidate the baby boy? Not for Ryota, nope. He was AMAZING! That’s presence! *DING DING DING DING!!!!*

2) when he cocked his head for every beat of Tomoya’s drum when they all met in front of the drum set during the instrumental. Again, PRESENCE. It’s so powerful to me how he was there with.every.beat. You can only imagine how many times they had gone through the instrumental during rehearsals but it’s Ryota who just does this and I don’t even know if it’s rehearsed or not and it’s just so wildly enchanting to watch – forget Toru and Tomoya, he totally stole that moment.

Finally, Tomoya.

I have so much love for this man. First of all, I’m glad the songs with backing tracks were not heavy on the drums (remember Juvenile where there is a moment where he only pretends to hit his cymbals? Go back to JxB you’ll see it), because again, I do not have words for the skill level, the energy, the purity of his performance. As usual I miss the overhead camera, but this footage is not lacking of shots from our adorable drummer. For a venue so huge you can feel the percussion just rounding up all the sounds and making it whole – this guy has enough power to hit those drums with all his might for every song, with absolutely no mistakes (as far as I can tell), and walk away with arms still attached to his body. LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, TOMOYA KANKI. *CLAPS TILL ARMS FALL OFF*

ACOUSTIC SESSION

I don’t think anyone expected them to sing a Vanessa Carlton song, but aren’t you fucking glad they did? The band sitting in the middle of that huge crowd, starting the acoustic session with a song that no one expected them to sing gave the show an unexpected twist: silence. Save for the occasional joining of hands to clap, you can’t discount how the silence helped to focus the crowd on the band, just a small group in the middle of that population in there, with a song that so many people know (though I can’t account for the knowledge of the Japanese crowd of that song but I do know that for foreigners that song was HUGE), all eyes were front and center, and all ears tuned in – it was perfect.

Can I just say how absolutely happy I am that the acoustic Yokubou (NMS YES I KNOW THE WHOLE TITLE GIMME A BREAK) is finally going to make it to a DVD? I AM OVER THE MOON. This song has been in my favorites list for ever, and not only do I want to see it because it’s one of my fave songs, but because it’s a song where I know Taka is also strumming his guitar which is something we don’t always see (in fact the last we saw it was in the ZR Documentary). We get to see him in his glorious cream-white (whut) acoustic guitar featured on the Samurai mag and WOW NEED I SAY THIS BUT I SHALL HIS SKIN IS LIKE… GLOWING!!! DAMMIT! HOW DO YOU SKIN.

I already heard the acoustic version of Heartache and I have a penchant for percussion so I still prefer the band version and I want a LIVE band version yes please.

BACKING TRACKS AND BACKING VOCALS

I have been a critic of this since it began to be more prominent in JxB HOWEVER and I know this is like, really hypocritical of me, but given that huge ass venue, I finally understand why it’s necessary. Listen to Koi again and tell me how it would sound like without backing vocals. It would not rise from the ground. At all.

What I like about YS is that the backing tracks were not overpowering, and from what I could ascertain, percussion was not heavy in the backing tracks. Seriously, I’ll let Tomoya’s arms fall off than allow any more of the Juvenile-like shit because percussion is TOO HARD to fake. You can pretend to be hitting kiddo but if the cymbals are not moving then you got a little problem there. Since we didn’t see any of that here can I just say this DVD already has my name on preorder even though it’s not on preorder yet? LOL

On the topic of backing tracks and vocals we MUST MUST MUST touch on the title track of the damn concert: Mighty Long Fall. I don’t know if I’m the only one who feels this way, but this song is not as glorious recorded as it is live. The obvious reasons being that there’s just too many manufactured components of the track. The whole track being so powerful when you’re listening to the recorded version simply does not and will not ever translate on stage, unless perhaps you can get a mini orchestra of sorts(?) to fill out those notes that the guitars/bass/drums can’t and were not meant to fill. Add up to the fact that the song is only mid-tempo, and if not for the pyrotechnics and the savior of a chorus this song is good— but only just.

This is basically where plenty of fans who critique their new songs come from. The organic sound, the “band” sound is something that is best seen, heard and felt live. When you start making songs that have too many techniques that were not produced by instruments that where it falls short of sounding at par, if not better, than your recorded material. That, as we know, is another discussion entirely, but just to prove a point, in my opinion, the live version of MLF certainly drives it home.

CANDIDNESS

This footage showed me how much these guys enjoyed playing live. I always see this in short bursts for every DVD, and I might be wrong of course, but just reeling from the emotions of this live I definitely noticed how much more HAPPY their faces looked. Less serious, all smiles and if they were nervous they just accepted it and went on with the show—it’s like there’s no expectations here. Just the guys giving their all. I especially appreciated the return of non-choreographed moves. If they choreographed anything here, I did not notice it at all, and it that’s their intention then good job (I did see the usual head bobbing or crip walking but nothing looking too rehearsed). Obviously I really, really did not like JxB’s choreographed antics *rolls eyes* sorry but it’s just so staged and unnatural BUT hey let’s shut up about JxB.

Again, the smiles during the acoustic session between Tomoya and Ryota were enough to make me melt, and though I missed the times where Toru would shout at the crowd “Ikuzo!” or some other scratched version of a scream, it’s pretty obvious here that his voice isn’t enough to rise above the playing instruments and the crowd altogether. It was just too big, too loud, and I understand baby come here lemme kiss u

Little Things

CAN I JUST SAY that I LOVVVEEDDD Toru’s instrumental in Re:Make. I mean jeeezus wow this is the third revision of that riff and STILL, STILL managed to make it so fucking awesome I don’t even care how many revisions you do (and how fitting to the title as well LMAO) keep it going babe. #shotthroughtheheart

TOMOYA IS A GEM how could you not unhear when he backs up Taka’s vocals URRGGGHHH I HAVE LOST ALL ABILITY TO CAN.

AGAIN, Ryota running around in all directions it’s just so awesome AND my favorite part in KKD when the three of them joined in the platform in the middle (next time Tomoya’s drum set needs to move up front okay) just gave me chills AND OMG TAKA RUNNING TO THE AUDIENCE AGAIN IN THE FINAL NOTES OF KKD HOW DO YOU SING MAN HOW CAN YOU BE ALIVE???

Decision is a track that I hate and love for the same reason. I hate it because it sounds like Safetysuit’s Believe. I love it because it sounds like Safetysuit’s Believe. Even the lyrics are in the same wavelength of empowerment and shit, but like most OOR songs, hearing it live just makes it all the more special. Also did I tell y’all I’m in the music video LMAO.

LIVING DOLLS!!! ARRGGGHHH!!!! FLKDAJFSLKJFLAKJFLAKFJLKDFJALKJFDLKFJDFALKDJFLKJDFA LIVING DOLLS!!! ARRRRGGGHHH!!!!

Everyone should all stare at Tomoya during Mikansei. Because he’s fucking adorable that’s why.

I must say, the united jumping in Let’s Take It Someday and the beautiful BEEAAUUTTIIFFUUULLL performance of Clock Strikes are just one of the reasons why this footage is pure gold. Let’s not forget we have yet to see the sea of cell phone lights during Be The Light, anddd the songs during encore, not sure if we’ll get another documentary but why the heck not IT’S NOT LIKE Y’ALL HAVEN’T EATEN UP MY LIFE SAVINGS SIGN ME UP FOR THE NEXT PURCHASE OKAY BETH OUT.

5

There is only one thing on this earth more powerful than evil, and that’s us.