Even though summer has come and gone, we have watched the harvest moon go by and the days when we can pass the days easily with nice weather are here.
but on this past Saturday, the red hot summer returned again. BABYMETAL finished their world tour with an overwhelming metal tidal wave. Returning triumphantly from Europe and North America, keen to show the home fans all they had learned while they’ve been away. It had been around half a year since they had done a full size show in Japan, the two sold out days at Nippon Budokan. How had they and the band improved?
From early in the morning they gathered, all dressed in black, the BABYMETAL army. The doors won’t open until 16:30 but these soldiers are here for the merchandise, some as early as 08:00. Over a hundred in fact, BABYMETAL is here. When the sale of goods finally started at one, the line marched into the open space, the area soon overflowing. Even when the doors to the concert arena opened, still people waited their turn.
When people entered the areana, music from the big four (Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth and Anthrax) rocked the foundations and the people sang in loud voices and the moshing began.The backdrop from 12months ago was a huge statue of Maria, but this time the audience were treated to a giant screen. Skillfully, the drum set was moved to the side slightly so that everyone could see the screen in comfort.
The whole place filled to capacity and my impression is that there are a lot more young fans compared with the last live show I saw. It seems that the BABYMETAL fans have diversified a lot. When Anthrax’s “AIR” had finished playing, there was an anxious few minutes before the lights went out and the whole place erupted with excitement.
Of course the first song was “BABYMETAL DEATH” As Kami-band played like beasts, thundering the music out. The screen showed a big BABYMETAL logo and SU-METAL, YUIMETAL and MOAMETAL could be seen through the smoke. The contrasting facial expressions of the girls was evident, SU-METAL and YUIMETAL gave a smart almost adult look whereas MOAMETAL couldn’t hide her broad smile.
During the break in “ii ne” SU-METAL worked the crowd sitting in the balcony “SAY HO!!” she cheered and the crowd obliged adoringly. Even these early songs, which some might have felt wouldn’t work with a live band and wouldn’t feel comfortable with the heavy metal sound, really go down well, there is not even a lingering doubt. The next song was “Uki Uki Midnight” and again, I felt the same. Surely, these early songs weren’t written with a live heavy metal band in mind right? Some of you may think this but the skill and effort that the Kami Band has gone to change little things here and there makes you believe that the songs were written with the band in mind all along. There is no questioning why BABYMETAL are so popular in the west when we see this.
And with a shout the three girls were gone, it was Kami Band solo time. Even when you think people might take a break because it’s just the solo time, not at all, people were enjoying the solo play with enthusiasm, the raw power of these gods shouldn’t be underestimated.
After the grand solos were completed, The dark piano sound of “Akumu no Rinbukyoku” began, this is a SU-METAL solo song. Wrapped in flames, SU-METAL sang from the heart and the monotone screen only added to the dramatic performance. We could all clearly see how she has improved, the singing and her beauty have risen higher than before. It is not an overexaggeration to say she has truely become a true diva of the metal genre. (not just the singing, the facial expressions, the way she controls herself on the stage are all included). The sluggish Heavy Metal industry in Japan has a bright ray of hope at last.
Up next were the comical duo of YUIMETAL and MOAMETAL performing “Onedari DaiSakusen” The screen was split into two so both girls could be seen being very cute at the same time. It’s easy to see how they have grown by looking at how they express themselves on stage and by following their eyes. To look at these girls like this, it’s easy to see that the fans that would buy anything for them has and will continue to increase (lol)
The Kami Band took the stage to do some more soloing, on the screen were images of the gods. I’m sure many people were taken aback by the transcendant skill of the GOD BAND. BOH, the bass player generated a large cheer with his tapping solo style, and then “Catch me if you can” started. MOAMETAL appeared from between SU-METALS legs in a very cute performance. How wonderful to think of dance routines like this! These three put on a comical performance and out on the floor, people made many circle pits as the whole place really heated up.
The next song was “Kimi to anime ga mitai ~ Answer for Animation with you”, they hadn’t played this in a while, the intro caused a sudden comotion amongst the fans. Amongst the people watching I think many hadn’t heard of this song before, that’s how quickly BABYMETAL are gaining fans right now.
Before I knew it, the sound of painful, heartrending piano began to play. The grand music with strings lead into “Akatsuki – Unfinished ver.” The normal guitars began to play to sound more like the usual BABYMETAL sound. Wrapped in a black and red cape, SU-METAL gave a performance of such beauty, she shone like a diamond on stage, that’s how good she was. The gods played a twin solo and SU-METAL returned, giving her all she delivered a peformance of such sheer class that she had many fans in tears.
After such a touching performance, it was time for a complete change, YUIMETAL and MOAMETAL began “4 no uta”. This song which has a lot of heavy metal history in it but with mass quantities of cuteness too had everyone enjoying themselves 100%. On the stage, the sprint to the climax of the show had begun. “Megitsune” had me drunk on the performance of the girls and again SU-METALS vocals were sublime. Having lost control of myself and fully immersed in the show I found myself copying the dances moves to “Doki Doki Morning”.
The official last song was “Gimme Choco” It was 12months ago on this very stage that they had played this song for the first time. but now it was a world rocking killer tune. We heard “COME ON MAKUHARI!! SCREAM!!!” and “WE CAN’T HEAR YOU!!” “SCREAM!” “LET’S SING TOGETHER!” Everyone was singing, the place was electric and with SU-METAL wearing a grin of total satisfaction as she moved around the stage the calls went out. “WE ARE…” and the crowd replies “BABYMETAL!!!”
During the interlude (which was rather long) the crowd called out, “WE WANT MORE!!” The calls never ended.
Out they came again, this time with “Headbangya!!”, in an instant the crowd became a perfect melting pot of headbanging, moshing and crowd surfing. And then came the message on the screens, the piano intro and the large spaces opened up by the fans. It was time for the WALL OF DEATH and Ijime, dame, zettai. The flames from the stage were so large and numerous that even the seating area was hot and exciting. The “Dame Jumps” were incredible and the show headed towards it’s conclusion. Everyone replied thunderingly to the cry “WE ARE…” with the reply “BABYMETAL!”, with the girls showing slight signs of fatigue but not letting it stop them, they made sure to reach every corner of the venue before fireworks lit up the stage.
After the sound had died down and the three girls and the Kami-Band had vanished, on the screen was an announcement. The concerts in London and New York and as a surprise announcement, a new concert to be held next year on January 10th at Saitama Super Arena. The next chapter of the metal resistance will be impossible for me to not follow.
Set List –
Uki Uki Midnight
Akumu no RinbuKyoku
Catch me if you can
Kimi to Anime Ga Mitai ~ Answer for Animation With You
4 no Uta
Doki Doki Morning
Gimme Choco Encore
ijime, dame, zettai