I never thought I’d see the day when toe would grace the Philippines with their presence. My brother has been a long time fan and was the one who introduced their music to the rest of the siblings (even though I’m usually the one who listens to Japanese artists). He and his musician friends had planned on bringing toe here a few years back but their discussions with the management didn’t fall through. Thankfully, someone else was able to make it all happen, so we don’t have to go to Japan to see them (not that we can afford to right now haha).
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I’ve seen plenty of toe’s live performances online, but I wasn’t prepared for the intensity of their performance. From the start, they captivated the audience with their synchrony. Everything was well executed. You can clearly see how in-tune the guys are with each other, and you know that the moment one stops playing and is replaced by someone else, it would all sound very different.
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It was also an absolute pleasure to watch them. As their songs don’t have lyrics (with the exception of a few, and that’s with a guest singer), you would expect them to be pretty boring live. However, the guys exude such passion when they play, it’s difficult to keep your eyes off them. Kashikura Takashi is a very animated and accurate drummer, involving his whole body as he plays. Mino Takaaki and Yamazaki Hirokazu on guitars complement each other, and get very involved with the music. In contrast, Yamane Satoshi on bass is the most low-key in his movements, but makes up for it with his playing.
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I can’t remember the order of the songs they played, but I remember the following songs: I Dance Alone, I Do Still Wrong, Long Tomorrow, New Sentimentality, Goodbye (no Toki Asako though), and Ordinary Days. Before performing Ordinary Days, Yamazaki-san spoke. I couldn’t quite understand what he was saying because his words were mumbled, but I think he was telling us about the song’s background and how it was used to raise funds for those affected by the March 11, 2011 tsunami.
It was a long wait, and the band played for only an hour, but it all worth it. It was a great to see and hear toe perform. Can’t wait to see these guys again, and I really hope they do come back.
Side trip: The group’s roadie went onstage earlier. The first time he stepped out, he pointed his camera on the crowd and took a picture. The next time, he tested the instruments except for the drums. The crowd was clapping and cheering him on.