Hedoban Vol. 13 Babymetal Korea report
Be sure to pick up this edition of Hedoban for the full report and more.
There may be hard core fans who want to see Metallica from the very front row, but there are also several thousand fans who have made there way here who want to see BABYMETAL. All that is left is for everyone to go all out in excitement.
I think it would be fair to say that to some degree or another many of the people here are because they want to know more about BABYMETAL
I seemed to recollect that I had heard somewhere that it would be prudent to, ‘be prepared for dealing with winter in Seoul’. That said, the coldness I encountered when I got off the plane following my 2 hour flight to Gimpo International Airport exceeded my imagination. On this outing I ventured out on a path that was separate from the main Hedoban overseas unit wherein I would be going on basically a forced march that got me in and out of the country in less than 24-hours. What is more, I was in the worst of conditions as I did not sleep at all the night before departing. I was somehow able to retain my sanity by getting a bit of sleep as I traveled from place to place.
I got off the subway at Seoul station which is located about 20 minutes from the airport and headed to small, tidy hotel about 10 minutes on foot from the station where I checked in. After unpacking my bags I rushed to track 1 of the subway and got on making my way to the Gocheok Sky Dome where the live show for today was to be performed. Since the subways in Korea were originally built based on technology provided from Japan they are easy for Japanese to use as well. The subway cars themselves were clean and nice in appearance. However, thinking that I could make my way to the venue using one line, I found out that the tracks separated at the Kuuichi station 1 stop before the nearest dome stop making it so I had to backtrack one station. Apparently the subway tracks branch off into differing directions when they reach this station. It is similar to the way things are set up on the Marunouchi line in Japan.
With this mishap and other occurrences I ended up finally reaching the Sky Dome at around 5:30. The periphery of the Dome just prior to opening the gates was filled with people standing in line for merchandise and staff members organizing the crowd with shouts over their megaphones. I am not sure what misunderstanding they may have had, but some booths were even selling penlights. The place was filled with a spirit of welcome for Metallica with flags printed saying Metallica lined up evenly spaced all up the slope and a gigantic Metallica flag plastered up over the main entrance.
I met up with Hedoban’s main unit and as we made our way into the venue we were met with a long winding concourse. It was a familiar and welcome sight to see similar to what we see at a Japanese baseball stadium with food and beverage booths lined up in rows. That said, the aisle was a bit narrow and there were not so many food and beverage booths to choose from. This is probably influenced by the fact that there are around 18,000 seats set up in the Dome.
The stands are much narrower than anything a Japanese person would imagine when thinking of the seating set-up at a dome type of baseball stadium. I am sure that such a close, narrow set up would provide for more enjoyment in watching a baseball game. With those thoughts in mind I descended to the ground floor using a short flight of stairs that were perhaps about half the length of those of the stairs on 1st floor of the Tokyo Dome. The artificial turf was covered with protective sheets to prevent it getting all messed up, but this was done in a very haphazard manner with areas where the sheets had already been pushed up exposing the turf underneath. Things used to be like this in Japan as well a long time ago.
I let myself relax and have a look around once I arrived more or less at the center of the standing area. It seems to me that there are not so many fans in attendance. It called to mind the way things were at the London Red Chili Peppers’ performance. The only difference is is that today’s show was not a sold-out event. I was pretty sure that even when Metallica’s show began that the stands would not be filled up.
People began to sing out in a totally instinctive way here and there. There is no way that one could film what was happening in front of us and remain calm doing so.
Even considering that though, one could not simply feel that this was an away from home show for BABYMETAL. The time schedule had been announced beforehand and so fans who were not interested in the girl’s performance would have no problem simply showing up later. And so one could only surmise that the fans showing up now were those who were more or less interested in BABYMETAL. And certainly there must be some Metallica fans who wanted to watch the show standing in the very front row. Regardless, there were many thousands of people here who came to see BABYMETAL. The remainder were here to just mosh out. The curtain on BABYMETAL’s 5th performance in Asia spread out over the 4 countries of Singapore, Indonesia, Taiwan and now Korea was now about to be lifted.
The highlight of the show was of course, ‘Karate’. The overpowering sound with the unparalleled vocals and dance overwhelmed the Sky Dome.
Amidst a rush of people that surpassed our expectations swarming toward the standing only floor moved by the power of BABYMETAL’s vocals, we were able to witness the familiar storyline taking place for the first time on Korean soil. The wave of excitement in the dome ramped up a degree or two.
The highlight of the show was of course, ‘Karate’. The overpowering sound with the unparalleled vocals and dance overwhelmed the Sky Dome. I was heretofore of the feeling that the Korean crowd was rather docile, but once things got going I was witness to the amazing, fervent excitement of the Koreans. As soon as the members appeared on the stage there were smartphones being raised all around the crowd as people struggled to get images of their first glimpse of BABYMETAL.
The first song was ‘BABYMETAL DEATH’. One was unable to not let out a ‘Ohhhh!’ of excitement due to the loudness of the performance sound. It was an explosion of sound that was clearness itself. I can not comment on how things were at the back of the dome, but at least in the arena area I can say that the state of affairs was of the optimal condition. The people who were raising their smartphones for pictures were now raising their fists in approval. Many of the people were well acquainted with the songs and were moving in accordance with the music. Other than these people there were those spread out over the audience who were calling out in excitement instinctively with the show. There is no way that anyone could be calming trying to film this performance in light of what was going on on stage.
What was interesting about this was that the people in charge of filming the show had obviously not done any kind of preliminary research and were totally unable to deal with what they were showing on the screen (speaking in detailed terms, I am referring to the persons in charge of switching the camera views). It was a total mess with them showing Yuimetal when Moametal was singing and vice versa Moametal when Yuimetal was singing.
But, this is something that can not be avoided perhaps. Before the performance of ‘Catch me if you can’ was the traditional Kami band solo. However, with the Bass Kami being covered by another musician for the day there was a bit of a strange feeling about the performance, but that was most likely just because I was not used to it and the 4 members went on to lay out a wonderful, new groove.
I felt the 3 girls put on a performance that exhibited a sense of leeway in their expressions. And that is not too surprising. But, that is just so, they have now learned so much about the meaning of, and their roles, in performing as opening acts for these big artists by accompanying the Red Hot Chili Peppers in heir UK tour. Their performances were even more stately and dignified than ever before.
Su-metal enticed the crowd to, ‘Show me a big circle pit’ along with Yuimetal and Moametal depicting the image of a large circle with their hands and arms. It was here that there was a bit of a mistake. Su-metal mistook the take in to the last chorus of ‘Oni-san Kochira’ and was 4 beats off. In the interim between songs the girls realized, ‘Ah, we screwed up!’ and their grimaced faces were truly cute. However, the 3 girls did not drag this mistake along with themselves. The vocals in ‘Megitsune’ were fantastically clear and far reaching and they went on to totally mesmerize the audience with heretofore untold levels of cute smiles and amazing performance with ‘Gimme Choco!’. They were unwavering in their performance.
The highlight of the show was of course, ‘Karate’. The overpowering sound with the unparalleled vocals and dance overwhelmed the Sky Dome.The unification of the people in the venue in the call and response section was of the highest level and fans were going wild raising their voice in exhilaration responding to the song.
Metallica was as to be expected even more amazing than this.
Each note of the final song, ‘Road of Resistance’ stimulated the venue as we headed into the end of the performance bringing those of us in the standing area to an ever deeper state of enthusiasm. The dignified introductory guitar riff floating out throughout the Sky Dome announcing the coming of Metallica was truly fantastic. And along with this, the vision of the 3 girls as they exited the stage shown on the giant screen was absolutely ethereal.
I think it can be safely stated that BABYMETAL’s first Korean performance was a success. When the show ended there were groups of people who were hugging each other due to the excitement (at a glance I thought they were Japanese) and there were girls wearing patch ridden jean jackets who were dancing crazily throughout the performance- something I have never seen in any other countries.
I was in such a high state of excitement because of the degree to which BABYMETAL had been so well received – even more than I had imagined – that I was amazed that Metallica could go even beyond this. The level of excitement and enthusiasm of the fans went way beyond even what I had just experienced making the venue feel like it was taking place in South America, leading me to believe that the 4 Metallica members would not feel too bad about this show not being sold out. They put on a performance that didn’t make one think that this was their first day of a World Tour and totally enthralled their audience. The screen which was of a scale the likes of which I have never seen before was truly effective and despite not making use of other special effects, the depiction of the 4 performers on this screen was enough to totally overpower the audience. There are certainly very few venues in Japan that would allow for this to be used.
The overpowering, explosive sound and performance of this band that envelops the audience while showing the band members to be having a good time attests to the broad appeal of the Metal genre. I was under the impression that Korean Rock fans loved ballads, but that does not seem to be the case. I am very envious of the unchanging fervor of the Korean fans.
- BABYMETAL DEATH
- Catch me if you can
- Gimme Choco!!
- Road of Resistance