Hedoban Vol. 12

 

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The 3 girls appear crucified on crosses positioned on the ends of the stage runways.

BABYMETAL 

WORLD TOUR 2016

LEGEND – Metal Resistance 

Black Night

2016 September 20 (Tues.) 

Tokyo Dome 2nd day

Thus begins the 2nd day of the Tokyo Dome performances. I was able to make my way to Suidoubashi for a second time in a relatively calm, relaxed state of mind. However, once I put one foot into the arena I was met with a mood of excitement that was even greater than the previous day. With more than 20 minutes to go before the start of the show there were spontaneous waves of people clapping in unison giving the stadium a feeling of an overseas concert filled with passion. The 55 thousand fans who had had their expectations boosted perhaps by the high praises posted on SNS outlets about the 1st day’s show conveyed to one a sense of heightened excitement about tonight’s show. 

My seat tonight was positioned toward the front of the second tier of seats. Since my seat tonight is more than 10 rows further to the front than yesterday it will be interesting to see what changes this brings. Well, anyway, I was not expecting too much of difference. I am saying that because after all this the Tokyo Dome. 

Unexpectedly, the editor of ‘Hedoban’, Umezawa sitting next to me suddenly leaned over and asked, ‘What is that thing projecting outward?’. Taking a look I saw a stage set up that was the same as the day before, but upon a closer examination I saw something sticking out on the tip of one of the runways covered in some kind of cloth. 

At 7:05 the lights on the side of the audience went out, and an opening movie identical in contents with the first day began to play. Today they would play all the songs on the 1st and 2nd albums that had not been performed on the Red Night. Once the movie ended a machine gun like refrain echoed in our ears. BABYMETAL DEATH! And then, as with the 1st night’s show I thought I could see the 3 BABYMETAL girls dressed in white costumes appearing on the upper most stage. 

 

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It was then that an unexpected development took place. At the tips of each of the runways extending out from the main stage the 3 girls were each respectively crucified on crosses. What an clever style of performance this is! 

The utter coolness of this caused my whole body to breakout in goosebumps. 

The 3 girls are then transported on circular movable disks which they stand on on the ends of the runways to the center stage. And once they reach the center stage, the periphery of this stage begins to revolve and they begin to jump around as a kind of greeting to the entire audience. This entire spectacle is taken in by the crazily flying winged camera floated above the heads of the fans. The camerawork displayed by this winged camera is truly amazing. 

Next up is ‘Awadama Fever’. I was here that I realized something. The sound of the band was much louder than the 1st day with each instrument coming over more distinctly than before.  I don’t know if this was due to simply being seated in a different area than the Red Night or because of corrections to the sound system. However, regardless of which it was I was totally of the impression of, ‘I can’t believe I am able to hear this quality of sound at the Tokyo Dome’. From the stoic expression of Su-metal’s face as she urged the crowd along during the sing-along screaming out, ‘Sing it!’ I sensed that she was relaxed and still had much in reserve. 

Even though this rotating stage continues to revolve to show the girls and the band to the audience and is by its nature an uneasy set up the girls amazingly continue to perform their complicated and complex dance routines without incident. It is not only impossible under these circumstances to visually determine where exactly is the center of the stage it is also difficult to know where you are in relation to the other performers. This what is nothing short of a magical performance continues on without problem into ‘Uki Uki Midnight’, which they performed without any hint of difficulty. And in and above all, I felt that I was able to see Yuimetal smiling even more than usual. This was really evident with the song, ‘META! Meta Tarou’.  Much of this could be attributed to the character of the song, but the 3 girls were ever so seeming to have a good time with the song, ‘META! Meta Tarou’ with them showing a rapidly changing flow of facial expressions. Su-metal has stated that this is her personal favorite from the 2nd album because she ‘is so happy to have a song that the 3 of us can sing together’, and even seated far away from the stage I can tell you that her enjoyment of this song was tangibly conveyed. Meanwhile, the sound generated by the Kami band was distinct, clear and solid. The whole song was extremely cool and the entirety of the audience was unified as a single unit raising their voices as one. 

 

It is not an exaggeration to say that there is no doubt that Su-metal is getting closer and closer, step by step to becoming a prominent representative of Japan’s best vocalists.

Personally, the song which I felt had deep significance was ‘Sis. Anger’. It is so amazing to realize that the day had come where the Tokyo Dome was to be rocked by Black Metal! While I most certainly was intoxicated with the exhilaration (or should I say, sense of strangeness) of hearing a blast beat at this show, it was ‘Akatsuki’ that got my fists pumping in an excitement that even surpassed ‘Sis. Anger’. It had been a long time I had seen this song performed at a live show. And exactly because it had been such a long time since seeing it performed I was able to recognize just how different it was compared with before. What I am talking about is Su-metal’s vocals. There is more of a solid core to it than before and she is able to change the expression conveyed by her voice adjusting to the lyrics. This song is fantastic for showing the proficiency of her straight-forward, expansive and smooth vocal abilities but now with her having added an extra dimension of expressive skills to her storehouse of talents, she is invincible. 

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Further, the highlight of the interlude of this song with the twin lead was performed with a perfect victorious pose. Without doubt this was the highlight of today’s performance. 

Su-metal’s vocals in ‘No Rain, No Rainbow’ which had also not been performed live for a long, long time were also absolutely wonderful. It is not an exaggeration to say that there is no doubt that Su-metal is getting closer and closer, step by step to becoming a prominent representative of Japan’s best vocalists.

It is amazing to think that this can be said of her now and yet she is still in her teenage years. She has an incredible future in front of her. I would like to add here that it the song presented just before this Black Babymetal’s ‘Onedari Daisakusen’ served perfectly as a bridge into this song. It was a nice demonstration of good teamwork. 

When the intro for ‘Doki Doki Morning’ started up with the girls bathed in a pink colored light, a roar from the audience boomed out with an emotional tone that we had not heard up to the point. The Dome was packed over these 2 days with both new and old fans alike. This roaring of the crowd echoing through the Dome was an interesting mixture of the expression of various differing feelings about this song that symbolized the initial stages of BABYMETAL. 

It was here that I felt something was a bit different from the usual with Su-metal. Perhaps you could say that her way of singing seemed to be focused more on singing in a cute manner than usual and with her voice kind of slightly jumping and floating around there were occasions where her voice got a bit drowned out by the music. I felt like I was peering into one aspect of her process of learning through trial and error. 

 

BABYMETAL is accelerating at a pace and with a momentum that exceeds the dreams of these girls. This (The Tokyo Dome) is not their final destination. 

The 3 girls seemed to be having a fun time throughout the whole show but it was especially apparent and really stood out that that was the case with ‘Megitsune’. The girls usually perform this song with sharp, cool expressions on their faces – it is kind of the trademark style of performance for ‘Megitsune’.   Today was totally different. In stark contrast with the cool feel of the red and white lighting that moved in a coordinated flow with the sound, the 3 girls were performing with radiant smiles on their faces. What’s that?…’All women are actresses’ <Onna ha Joyuu, yo>? No, no way, at least for today these girls are throwing that aside and enjoying this show at the core of their being. This is most definitely not acting that is going on on-stage. Pretending to not be content with the crowd egging them on with ‘Everybody, clap your hands!’ <Su-metal>, ‘Come on, you can do better than that, can’t you?’ <Yuimetal>, ‘I can’t hear you at all!’ <Moametal>, in fact I am quite certain the girls were completely satisfied and happy with everything. While this happy mood was pervasive throughout the Dome, we could also see up on the giant monitor screen views of the fans going absolutely wild taken from cameras behind the Kami band. The perceivable gap between the two was quite an awesome sight to behold. 

With the following song, ‘Hedobangya!’ a phenomena occurred that was exactly the opposite of what we saw with ‘Megitsune’. Amidst a scene that resembled nothing other than a religious ceremony with 55 thousand fans shaking their heads wildly in every nook and cranny of the Dome, the camera focused in for an extended amount of time on a single fan who was going all out repeatedly do a ‘Dogeza Hedoban’ <bowing all the way to the floor while sitting on your heels> while raising a ‘Juuonbu’ towel, which served as the launch pad for BABYMETAL, as he did so. I believe it is correct to look upon this as a symbol of maximum respect for the long time fans coming from not only the 3 girls but from the whole BABYMETAL team. While this caused people throughout the Dome to burst out in laughter, it was actually a very heart warming scene. 

 

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The final song was ‘Ijime, Dame, Zettai’. Before the performance of the song began there was the traditional Kamishibai, but this one was a longer version than had come before that really emphasized the message contained in the song. 

Tonight the neck corsets worn by everyone emitted a red light which became the red backdrop for Yuimetal and Moametal to bathe in as they sprinted around the stage. With the use of these long runways this became more of a full fledged track and field race than a short dash.  The Dome seats shook in a monstrous quake during the Dame Jump phase of the song as 55 thousand fans all unified as one heading into the end of this curtain closing song. 

With the final BABYMETAL call the girls were brimming over with faces showing refreshed smiles indicating their happiness with having performed to the full extent of their capabilities. It would be fair to say that these smiles encapsulated their thoughts and feelings over these 2 days. By the way Moametal was jumping and dancing around I am sure she was especially happy. 

The girls walked slowly as if to soak in the sensation of walking on these 3 runways as they waved at the fans who had become witnesses to this historical event. Doing so, Su-metal suddenly slipped and fell down and was somehow helped up by Yuimetal and Moametal who were having been drawn into almost falling themselves somehow managed to stay on their feet. 

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Overcoming this, the 3 girls huddled up and walked on as one. I am certain that this is exactly how they have overcome hardships and made it to where they are now. I felt to me as if I was watching the last scene of a movie depicting the joys of teenage life. 

Following this and in conclusion, the girls made their way to the top of the circular tower where Su-metal lavishly struck a gigantic metal gong bringing the show to a close. The low reverberation of the gong ringing out signaled the conclusion of the 4th chapter of the Metal Resistance as surely as it signified the ringing in of an announcement of the next new step to be taken by BABYMETAL who has already pioneered a pathless road for us. 

BABYMETAL has up to now pulled off so many accomplishments that most people had considered as being beyond the realm of the possible. In fact, just a few days ago it was announced that they would be doing an anime version of BABYMETAL in a joint venture with a Hollywood based company. This was in fact something that Moametal had stated 3 and 1/2 years ago in an interview as one of her dreams for the future. It goes without saying that at the time she said this there was no talk of doing a joint venture with Hollywood. BABYMETAL is accelerating at a pace and with a momentum that exceeds the dreams of these girls. This (The Tokyo Dome) is not their final destination. This is not their final destination. Stories that no one other than the Fox god are privy to will continue to become reality for BABYMETAL into the future. 

This is a syndicated post. Read the original at Babymetal/Sakura Gakuin – All Things Japan2016-12-23.