, ,

Sometimes living in Japan can get surreal. There's something unbelievably and utterly magical in being able to physically see and hear an artist whose only exposure you've gotten is through online videos. It's the realization that this person is actually a living human being. A real human who thought of chords and melodies and rhythms and put them together. Someone who brought thoughts and feelings out of their brain and put it on display for the whole world to see.

I'd be lying if I'd said TK is one of my favourite artists because he isn't. There are songs that I absolutely adore and am in awe in how amazing the composition and lyrics are. Then, there are songs where I can't even be bothered to listen to for another second longer. He's a real hit and miss artist for me. But that doesn't diminish the fact that I was incredibly excited to see him live. Because I know even if not all his songs resonate with me, he is above all, a talented musician. And for sure, he'd put on a good show not for the fans or for himself but rather for the sake of music. Everything about his live was catered towards putting the music in the spotlight. It wasn't really about him, it was about how to enhance the experience of music. Through lightning effects and production design, he and his team were able to construct a different environment and mood individual to each track.

There is no doubt in my mind, that this was a high end production. Every piece of equipment from the lights to the instruments to the set design had been utilized and planned in such a precise and orderly manner. I have to give props to the lighting technicians. They did a wonderful job in helping synthesize particular moods. When it was a slow ballad, minimum lighting was used to create a faded focus. A single light bulb hung from the ceiling, a small lamp shone on the keys, and a spotlight on the artist. It felt like it had become nighttime and suddenly a quiet loneliness was brought upon onto the world. Being able to switch from an upbeat, energetic mood to a sad, solemn one isn't easy and yet the team pulled it off with ease.

Fast paced songs were accompanied with intense lights, colours from harsh reds to violent blues, from eerie greens to outlandish purples. Some songs had pictures projected onto the screen while others utilized abstract art. In the beginning, bright lights shone against a blurry mist which had concealed the performers. Its purpose to create anticipation was successful. The crowd shouted out their excitement as soon as the artists began playing and the mist dissolved.

Rarely were floodlights aimed at the audience. Only during tracks where the artist wanted the audience to react by jumping up and down or wave their hands in synchronized motions. Namely, Unravel and Fantastic Magic. Actually, the song that got the audience the most excited was not the opening theme for the anime Tokyo Ghoul. It was surprising Fantastic Magic! I guess I was misled by fans overseas. Though as some may know, the song where I got the most excited (and may have slightly hyperventilated) was Contrast. God, I love that song down to every single note.

Not just the stage lightning but the artists themselves did their best to create the best rendition of each song. TK used at least FIVE different guitars. I swear, I counted! There would be a guy running onto stage to hand him a different guitar between songs. What's more is that there was so much thought and planning into how the performers were arranged on stage. I really appreciate that the drums were not placed at the back but in the front. At an angle, so the audience could see most of the hand and leg movements of the drummer.

All in all, the timing and order and design of things -all the big and small details - left a big impression on me. It was all about presenting the music in the best way possible to give the audience an incredible and memorable experience. Honestly, this concert blew my exceptions out of the water. A concert should be an experience, not just somewhere to listen to a rendition of an album. That's something I can do on my own at home. This was on a completely different level than Twenty One Pilots' concert. The intentions of the two events are clear. TOP's was supposed to be a fun place where fans could gather and meet the artists. TK's was about creating an environment for listeners to consume music in another light.

And I mean that in the literal sense.