ONE OK ROCK infected me with their Luxury Disease during their concert in Singapore

ONE OK ROCK poses for their Luxury Disease album photoshoot. (PHOTO: Square One Magazine)

A redemption for the Japanese powerhouse rock quartet after a cancelled Singapore show and Asia tour in 2020.

ONE OK ROCK poses for their Luxury Disease album photoshoot. (PHOTO: Square One Magazine)

Returning to Singapore for the fifth time since their last visit in 2018, ONE OK ROCK, the renowned Japanese rock band from Tokyo, swept fans off their feet with the much-awaited Luxury Disease tour. 

Formed in 2005, the band consists of vocalist Taka, guitarist Toru, bassist Ryota and drummer Tomo. Their musical journey began to unfold in 2007 with the release of their debut album, “Zeitabukyō.” Over the years, they’ve consistently delivered a dynamic range of releases,  capturing global attention with their breakthrough hit, “The Beginning,” from the 2013 album JINSEI KAKETE BOKU WA.

Influenced by bands such as Linkin Park, Foo Fighters and The Used, the quartet’s signature sound weaves together elements from pop rock, pop punk, alternative rock and post-hardcore, bringing listeners on an auditory journey across the diverse landscapes of their albums. 

They were slated to perform in Singapore in 2020 as part of their Eye Of The Storm tour but was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Their last visit was in 2018 as part of the Ambitions Tour, creating a five-year interval that has fans buzzing with anticipation. Singapore held a special place in their extensive Luxury Disease Asia tour, serving as both the 15th and final destination after a four-month journey that began in Taipei, Taiwan.

About Luxury Disease

Album Art Covers of Luxury Disease. The white version for their Japanese release and the black version for their international release. (PHOTO: Spotify)

Released on 22 Sep 2022, Japan’s resident rockers returned after three years with their 10th highly-anticipated full-length studio album, Luxury Disease. This also marks their very first album after the Covid-19 pandemic. The band released two versions of the album, a Japanese release in their native language and an English International release. 

Leading up to the album’s much-anticipated release, the band treated fans with six lead singles, including Renegades, Broken Heart Of Gold, Wonder, Save Yourself, Let Me Let You Go and Vandalize.

With the latest entry to their extensive discography, the band returned to their heavy rock roots whilst keeping their pop-influenced sound from previous records, infusing a heavy yet harmonious resonance. Luxury Disease is a refreshing chapter in the ONE OK ROCK narrative, showcasing the band’s ability to evolve while staying true to the core elements that define their musical identity.

The title Luxury Disease directly reflects the band’s intent to revisit their roots. It is a direct translation of their 2007 debut album, “Zeitakubyō,” creating a seamless thread that ties their past and present. 

Each track tells you a different story, ranging from talking about love, city life to even losing a loved one. This album gives you a good balance of hard-hitting, fast-paced punchy tracks to melodic, meaningful and mellow tracks. 
While the star of this release is mainly the band themselves, this album also features a star-studded team of co-writers for some of the tracks. The tracks Neon, Let Me Let You Go and Renegades were co-written by Brendon Urie (former Panic! At The Disco), Ashton Irwin (5 Seconds Of Summer) and Ed Sheeran and Masato Hayakawa (coldrain) respectively.

The Setlist

The official poster for the Luxury Disease Asia Tour 2023 in Singapore. (PHOTO: Live Nation)

The Singapore Indoor Stadium sold out and brimming with ONE OK ROCK fans — affectionately known as OORers — immersed us in darkness. Eagerly and anxiously, I awaited the band’s grand entrance, only to be interrupted by the emergence of a red multimedia. This marked the concert’s start, serving as a signal for fans and myself to release our adrenaline and built-up excitement.

The crowd anticipated the band’s entrance as the multimedia plays with a sound of a ticking clock signalling a countdown till the concert starts. (PHOTO: Hazim Didie)

The crowd erupted when we were greeted by the band’s instrumentalist as they started to play an instrumental before kicking off their Singapore stop with an explosive performance of Wonder and Save Yourself off their new release. I was instantly star-struck when I first saw the four of them rocking out on stage and it unlocked so many feelings at once. It also unlocked the tear ducts in my eyes and I teared up whilst singing the chorus to Wonder.

The quartet performing Wonder off their Luxury Disease record at the Singapore Indoor Stadium. (PHOTO: Hazim Didie)

The band hypnotised the audience with their infectious performance and energy within the first two songs. The crowds were up on their feet and singing along with vocalist Taka’s impressive raspy yet melodic voice and he had the whole crowd wrapped around his finger as he commanded the stage and the whole audience.

Vocalist Taka mesmerised the crowd with his breathtaking vocals during the band’s performance of Taking Off.   (PHOTO: Hazim Didie)

Right after opening up their show with energetic tracks from the Luxury Disease album, the band revisits their 2017 album, Ambitions, with a powerful performance of Taking Off with dynamic drums, distorted guitars, boomy bass and a strong vocal delivery. When I first heard the opening chords of the song, I was instantly transported back to my secondary school self and I could not control myself but to scream all of the words at the top of my lungs. 

By the third song, I was in so much awe that I was grinning ear to ear and was hit with another wave of strong emotions, a combination of gratitude and pure joy. Even though this was not the first time I heard them, this was my first time seeing them live despite their last concert in 2018 which I did not attend. It meant a lot to me especially knowing that I have waited for five years to catch them live. 

While Taka’s and the band’s showmanship was an obvious contributing factor to their explosive and eclectic performance, the trio (Toru, Ryota and Tomo) also brought their well-known musical prowess along with instrumental interludes in between songs and the flawless execution of their parts for each song which makes ONE OK ROCK a musical powerhouse.

Toru and Ryota rocking out with the crowd as they passionately play their instruments down the runway.  (PHOTO: Hazim Didie)

During the fourth song of the band’s set, Let Me Let You Go, we were treated with a well-arranged and perfectly executed instrumental break which showcases each member. It started with Tomo’s thunderous drum solo which was followed by Ryota’s low-end breathtaking basslines and then followed by Toru’s exhilarating guitar solo before jumping back into the pre-chorus of the song.

Toru shredding his guitar during the instrumental interlude in the middle of Let Me Let You Go. (PHOTO: Hazim Didie) 

The quartet also performed their newly released single, Make It Out Alive which was a collaboration with gaming giants, Capcom as they released a new mobile game Monster Hunter Now. The voices of the fans echoed throughout the indoor stadium as they sang along to the powerful yet catchy chorus of the song. 

This was one of the songs I was looking forward to as it showcases a heavier side of ONE OK ROCK which was a nod to their 2011 album – Zankyō Reference which pushed the boundaries of the Japanese Post-hardcore genre. This album was also one of my favourites from them.

Vocalist Taka rallying the audience to sing along to the chorus of I Was King off their 2017 Album, Ambitions. (PHOTO: Hazim Didie)

Apart from their over-the-top delivery of the songs, their faces that were plastered across the three huge LED screens tied in brilliantly with each song and it set a different tone and feel for the different songs throughout the setlist which was so immersive for us. Not only were they delivering in terms of musicality, but they were also delivering in terms of visuals and storytelling. This made me feel like I was sucked into their world of music and I loved the fact that I was being transported to different places from one song to another. 

The trio (Toru, Ryota and Tomo) greeted us with their respective individual speeches and expressed their gratitude to the devoted OORers while Taka took a break. Soon after, we were welcomed with another instrumental masterpiece as they commanded the stage with their instruments, each showing off their Wonder-ful instrument technicality. This instrumental interlude seamlessly transitioned the concert into the eighth song, Neon.

Being a musician, I have learned to appreciate instrumentals and I would be lying if I said that I did not enjoy their decision to include instrumental breaks. Truth be told, I was very much looking forward to it and when the time came for them to shine at what they do best, they did not disappoint. My face melted off when they surprised the audience (and me!) with their mind-blowing and mind-boggling instrument skills.

Toru struts down the long runway while showing off his phenomenal guitar-playing skills during the instrumental break. (PHOTO: Hazim Didie)

After performing energetic and upbeat songs back to back, the band took things slow with an intimate acoustic set with Taka beautifully serenading the crowd accompanied by Toru’s melodic and mellow guitar playing as they performed a stripped-down version of Your Tears Are Mine from Luxury Disease.

To me, this was a perfect way for the audience to catch their breath after they continuously infected us with their killer songs and consistently snatched our breaths away. I felt so connected to Taka and it just adds a layer of depth to his rockstar persona that was so interesting to watch, even as a performer myself.

Taka fearlessly navigates through the crowd and climbs a camera tower while singing the last chorus to The Beginning.  (PHOTO: Samantha Boey Hui Min)

There’s this saying that a good musician can be versatile and they did just that. One moment they were headbanging and running around the stage like the rockstars they are and the next moment, they are serenading you about keeping their loved one safe. I could not help but also wonder if this would be the same way Taka plans to propose to his future partner.

Vocalist Taka and Guitarist Toru sharing a tender moment with OORers after a long 5 years. (PHOTO: Hazim Didie)

The quartet then picked up the energy again with their 2013 breakthrough hit The Beginning and their 2017 hit, We Are, off the Ambitions record which led fans to erupt in excitement while filling up the indoor stadium with their voices as the band delivered a powerful yet emotional performance of the songs. 

This was the moment when I felt one with other fellow OORers who filled the Singapore Indoor Stadium. With two emotional songs being performed back to back, most of us were screaming at the top of our lungs and I could hear our voices echo throughout the indoor stadium. 

For me, the highlight of the night was We Are. With their emotional and strong performance, I couldn’t help but shed tears. 

This particular song has a very strong message of finding the light and being strong even when times are tough. To add to the emotional sentiment, this song was also one of the songs that my band performed together. To finally hear We Are live by the original artist, made me inspired to become a better musician and continue playing music. 

The quartet finished the night with Wasted Nights, from their 2019 album, Eye Of The Storm before returning to the stage for an encore shortly after. (PHOTO: Samantha Boey Hui Min)

As the saying goes “All good things must come to an end,” the quartet returned to the stage for their encore segment and performed two more songs for the audience. For the encore, they performed Wherever You Are and Kanzen Kankaku Dreamer from their 2010 album, Niche Syndrome

The encore was something that I was not excited about as it just meant that the concert and the most memorable night in my life was coming to an end despite having one of my favourite songs from the band. 

When the band played their last chord and started to say their goodbyes while collecting gifts thrown from the fans and throwing their guitar picks, drum sticks and shirts to the crowd, this was the moment when I felt that the ability to control time would be helpful as I wanted to relive the concert once again.

ONE OK ROCK bowing down to the audience after completing the concert. (PHOTO: Hazim Didie)

With just two hours, they managed to take our breaths away with their 18-track setlist, giving us a mix of their classic hits and new songs from Luxury Disease which was a treat for the older OORers and the new OORers.

Out of the 18-song setlist, three memorable songs stood out to me and they were The Beginning, We Are and Kanzen Kankaku Dreamer. Being a long-time OORer, these songs meant a lot to me as it made me remember the time when I stumbled across them and got instantly hooked on them. 

Even walking out of the Singapore Indoor Stadium, I was still met with an overwhelming wave of gratitude. Moreover, snapshots of the concert were replaying constantly in my head and it was such an out-of-body experience that it felt weird to see streetlights, the sky and even cars. Seeing my idols on stage and performing, felt more like a dream despite it being a reality. 

As a musician myself, I was in awe of their musicality and stage presence. Even though I was seated quite far away, I could feel the infectious energy that they radiated throughout the concert and the band had a fun way of expressing themselves and performing which reminded me of the times when I was on stage with my band.

Overall Verdict

From left to right, Toru, Tomo, Ryota and Taka posing for a picture at the end of their sold-out Singapore stop, celebrating the end of their successful Asia Tour. (PHOTO: Instagram/ @oneokrockofficial)

The band’s connection to the audience, Taka’s emotional yet powerful vocal delivery, the band’s musical tightness, chemistry with each other and the audience’s voices echoing together to the songs made the show unforgettable. With such a huge global fanbase of OORers, the crowd was not only filled up with Singaporeans OORers but it was filled with OORers who travelled from neighbouring countries just to catch them. 

After catching them live, I finally understood why fans are willing to catch them multiple nights in the same country or even fly across the globe to see them again. Listening to their songs on Spotify daily or watching their performances through a screen, does not match up to catching them live and it made me so mesmerised by their artistry, and artistic excellence and they held up to their artistic integrity as ONE OK ROCK. 

Knowing that I spent a lot on this particular concert, you may be wondering, was it worth spending $200 on four middle-aged Japanese men? — without a beat, I will say yes! 

Even with the long two-hour wait for the band’s merchandise in the sweltering heat and Singapore’s unpredictable weather, it was worth my money, energy and time spent.

My friends and I (left) taking a picture after the concert feeling sad that it had ended and wanting to relieve it all over again. (PHOTO: Hazim Didie)

The concert was a love letter to my younger self as it made me feel so safe and nostalgic, especially with the songs that I have been listening to since the first time I stumbled upon them in 2017. 

Knowing that they are my biggest source of inspiration when it comes to writing music and performing, this concert was also a reminder to me of the reason why musicians do what they do and that I should continue working hard on my craft. 

I cannot wait for ONE OK ROCK to return to Singapore. I would definitely and happily go to their concert again. I brought back so many core memories and it is still living in my mind. They brought their brilliant artistry and musical prowess and it was such an exciting way to end the year. It was worth that $200! 

Rating: 10/10 

PS: This concert was held on a Monday, unsurprisingly it did not feel like it was a Monday. They really took the “blues” out of the phrase “Monday blues.” Not only were we on an auditory adventure with their songs, but we were also immersed into the world of ONE OK ROCK with the inclusion of lights, lasers and vibrant multimedia.