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Hedoban Vol. 13 Editor’s talk on Metallica’s Korea show

This is only for reference purposes. Be sure to purchase an actual copy which contains this article. 

Hedoban Vol. 13

 

 

 

There is no way that we could stay silent after being mesmerized by such an overpowering and moving live performance!! 

Our comprehensive report on the Metallica&Babymetal Seoul performance. 

(Umezawa Naoyuki, Editor of Hedoban)

(Hayashi Kousei, Editing staff member of Hedoban)

Special Edition

‘Hedoban’ Editor’s round table discussion

 

It is amazing that they could put on such an overwhelming show just with their raw movements. I was totally blown away. (Hayashi)

Hayashi:

This was the first time for me to see one of Metallica’s solo shows. 

Umezawa:

Oh! Is that right? Up to now you have only seen them at Festivals and the like?

Hayashi:

The timing of when Metallica came to Japan would always for some reason or other not match with my situation, such as them coming when I was still a child, or something in my private schedule prevented me from going. Because of that I have only seen them at Summer Sonic and a few times at overseas Festivals. 

Umezawa:

What did you think of your first solo Metallica show?

Hayashi:

Oh, well, I was terrifically moved as it exceeded my preconceived ideas of what it would be like. What I mean by that is that in the videos I have seen of Metallica solo shows up to that point featured statues of Maiden goddesses, crumbling stages and other kinds of large scale production effects. That was the image I had of their shows. Even in the stage shown in the movie, ‘Through the Never’, crosses appeared on the theretofore simple stage as well as the assembling suddenly of a Goddess statue. 

Umezawa:

That is correct. 

Hayashi:

But, now with this stage all there is is a single drum set and some amps. Other than these items all there is that is set up are 5 gigantic LED screens and nothing else. The stage is totally, radically, simple. However, all they needed to produce an overwhelming presentation was to make use of these high quality visual images and more than anything, their own movements set against this total simplicity. I was in a state of shock. 

Umezawa:

So this was totally different than the Metallica you had encountered at the Festivals?

Hayashi:

Yes, totally different! Of course I thoroughly enjoyed the flavor that only Festivals can provide and the set lists they carried out, but the sense of falling deep into the world of Metallica that came across at this show was truly outstanding. It was like one was witnessing one complete tale. 

Umezawa:

Since they haven’t come to Japan since the 2013 Summer Sonic I have only seen them at overseas Festivals. This show in Korea was the best show I personally have seen since the shows in the 00’s and, no, actually it is right up there with the best shows I have ever seen by Metallica. 

Hayashi:

You would evaluate it that highly!

Umezawa:

Speaking of myself, I have been a big fan of Metallica ever since I was in Jr. High, so much so in fact that immediately after the ‘Black Album’ was released in 1991 I was so into them that I couldn’t restrain myself and went all the way to England’s Donington Park to see them play at the ‘Monsters of Rock’. 

P. 35

This was the show where AC/DC was the headlining act and Metallica went on before them. I took all the money that we had been saving up for my school excursion and used all the money to go there (laughs). For the 1991 New Year’s Eve show at the Tokyo Dome where Metallica put on a countdown performance, I lined up many times all night outside the Aoyama ticket agency located near the Aoyama cemetery in order to get front row tickets. I was that crazy about Metallica. 

Hayashi:

You sound like ‘Meat Arai’’s Arai-san, or ‘Metallica information bureau’’s thingy-san! 

 

I felt that Metallica is right now in their utmost prime! (Umezawa)

Umezawa:

Something like that. However, there was a period of time when I drifted away from Metallica as well. Metallica put out a video that was a documentary of their arena tour for the ‘Black Album’ called, ‘A year and a half in the life of Metallica’. In the documentary there was a scene of them backstage kind of behaving like they were becoming rich wearing bathrobes, you see.

Hayashi:

(laughs)

Umezawa:

With that I thought that Metallica had made it to the big time and that they had switched into what we now call Arena Metal. I was quite disappointed. 

Hayashi:

Just because they were casually wearing bathrobes?! (laughs)

Umezawa:

That scene just kind of summed things up for me regarding them at the time (laughs). They were of course playing large scale venues around the time of ‘…And Justice For All’ as well, but it was like they were performing just the way they did at live houses only on larger scale stages. There was a sense of exhilaration that it was ‘us versus Metallica’. To this immature youth that I was at the time seeing them wearing bathrobes and flying around in their private jet made me think, ‘Ah, that is not the Metallica we know. They are now no different from Bon Jovi or Def Leppard!’. And so, I kind of fell out of grace with them for some time. I had kind of lost my passion for this gigantic band that Metallica had grown into. 

Hayashi:

I see. (laughs)

Umezawa:

If I think about it now, I realize that I was kind of a representative of what it is to be a bad fan in that I turned on them just because they had become successful (laughs). And I distanced myself even farther from them when ‘Load’ and ‘Reload’ came out. They came to Japan several times in the ‘90s and I would go the shows just out of pure momentum. I would force myself to put my opinions to the side and just sit down and watch the shows. But, when ‘Saint Anger’ came out and they came to Japan in 2003 I started to once again think that after all is said and done, Metallica is wonderful. This was a revival tour coming on the heels of all the upheaval with Jason Newsted leaving as shown in the video, ‘Some kind of monster’. It was here that I felt Metallica had returned to its original form. After that, I went to see them at Summer Sonic and the ‘Death Magnetic’ tour when they came to Japan to perform, but I wasn’t as let down as I was in the ’90’s. In fact, they seemed to get better each time I went to see them. They would perform their older songs with passion and they didn’t seem to get off kilter. But, even saying that, it did not mean that I was as moved by them as I had been before. 

Hayashi:

You are saying that they were good at putting on regular live shows, right?

Umezawa:

Yes, that’s right. That changed for me when we as the ‘Hedoban’ editing staff when to the 2014 Sonisphere  to the cover the Festival and saw Metallica’s show. I am sure the atmosphere of the Festival plays a part in this, but I felt the seriousness, the raw drive of Metallica coming through their performance. There was so much packed into the images they presented on the screen as well. And the fans around us were long time middle aged, devoted fans decked out in old Metallica T-shirts putting their arms around one another’s shoulders singing along with the band. So, including that whole atmosphere and all, Metallica’s performance at Sonisphere was truly fantastic. I hadn’t been moved like that for quite some time. I am sure that the fact that I was now facing Metallica with a more direct, head-on approach than I had long ago also played into this. But, I was more emotionally moved with this Korean show than I was even at Sonisphere. I felt that Metallica is truly at their utmost prime. 

 

One doesn’t get tired even though you are listening to such explosive, such hard music. (Hayashi)

Hayashi:

Yes! It seems like the band is heading in a direction in just the way they should be. Further, I was most surprised by how good the sound was.

Umezwawa:

It was absolutely out of this world! Even the sound coming out of the drum sound check reverberated in every organ in my body, you could say. 

P. 36

 

Hayashi:

There was a wave of excitement amongst the crowd when that kick of the drums resounded out with a response of, ‘What is this?!’. The way that dome is structured allows for a great deal of reverberation. But, I was amazed that in spite of that it was possible to put out such a clear and uncluttered sound. Once that first sound sounded out, I felt that I could give myself entirely to the show, you could say. There was after that no feeling of unease or of this being out of place. 

Umezawa:

I was watching from the most frontal standing only arena area somewhere near the back left. But, even from this position in this spacious venture I was able to hear each and every sound coming from the guitars with great clarity. And even taking that into consideration, it was possible to hear the edginess of the guitars in full detail. With the impact of this sound discovery, I realized that THIS is the sound of a band that is able to occupy the main position in Festivals all over the world! It goes without saying that Stadium Metal means spending a lot of time and energy to get where it is, but in and above that it means the ability to convey that level of quality of sound to the people in the back as well. That is what signifies ‘True Stadium Metal’. There is no way I could think other than that in the world Metallica is truly the greatest Stadium Metal band after watching this Korean show. The thing that shocked me to my core the most in terms of sound was the first riff set out by James in ‘Battery’. His riff had the sound so amazingly lined up while not losing anything in its power. It was truly amazing. 

Hayashi:

I don’t know if it was because of the way the system was set up or because the set up was so close to me, but anyway this was the most metallic sound I have ever heard from BABYMETAL. The sound was heavy, big and hard. 

Umezawa:

That is true. BABYMETAL’s sound was also amazing. It may have been the most METAL sounding BABYMETAL live performance of all time. The bass sounds were also put out amazingly well. 

Hayashi:

That is so true. That refined and perfected sound of Metallica combined with Metallica’s simple yet strong and solid performance made for a powerful impact. You could say that they are pushing the envelope on what entertainment is. Not only do they not leave a second to be bored, they also hit you will this explosive sound, this unbelievably hard sound and yet you are not worn out by it at all. 

Umezawa:

With those kinds of sound and those visuals you could easily watch the goings on for hour after hour. I was so happy that they were willing to play their new first and second songs in the live show as their first and second songs and I was also happy that BABYMETAL fans who saw Metallica live were going on to say that they were, ‘Amazing!’ and ‘they were the best!’. I think it is wonderful that more people will see Metallica like this and go on to be Metallica fans. Hayashi-kun, were you able to watch both BABYMETAL and Metallica from a position near the front row?

Hayashi:

Yes, I was. I was basically in the front row. The fans were also really wonderful. They participated in the sing alongs and rode along with the points where the excitement peaks and yet they did not out of hand at all. 

Umezawa:

Was there a Mosh pit going on in the area near the stage? 

Hayashi:

I was on the stage right side of things and from my point of view I could not see one. However, due to the intense fervor of the crowd there were people who fell down or started to feel bad and there were many of these people who were led away by the security staff. Also, right up near the stage there were young women who would scream out, ‘Kyaaa!’ every time James came near them on the stage. (laughs)

Umezawa:

There he is, this middle aged guy in his 50’s dressed in a jean jacket covered in Metal patches and this time he showed up also wearing boots like you might imagine an engineer wears, right? 

Hayashi: 

When I saw him wearing leather pants from where I was near the stage, I was totally blown away!

Umezawa:

The only one that could not only look good dressed out like that, but come across as a ridiculously cool Metalhead in his 50’s is none other than James. I can say without fear of overstating it that the ‘Metallica of now’, including their new album is the greatest of all time. Of course there will be those who say that ‘no, it is the Metallica of the 90’s that is the best’, or that their early years were the best and yet now that they are in their 50’s they are at their strongest both mentally and physically and they are at their peak with the sound they are putting out and the presence they bring to the stage. There is no band or even groups of bands that can stand their own against them. They play the key position in major overseas Festivals and sell out solo concerts with crowds of 50 thousand or more people. That speaks mountains as to their strength. Since they have not played in Japan outside of some Festivals for the past few years I feel that the degree of their strength has not been properly conveyed. But, seeing this live performance burned into me the inescapable fact that the ‘Metallica of now’ is stronger than any Metallica in the past. 

Hayashi:

It is true that no one can stand as their rival. 

Umezawa:

They are without rivals. They seem to be peaking with each generation. They peaked in their 20’s and then went on to a bigger peak in their 30’s and yet now in their 50’s they are reaching their biggest peak yet. 

P. 37

They are tough. Of course it goes without saying that each time they put out a new release there will be people debating whether it is good or bad, but when you seem them live that all goes out the window, right? 

 (laughs)

Hayashi:

That is so true.  (laughs) Whether they bring out an old song or a new one, the crowd will go wild, and that is an amazing accomplishment in and of itself. I really felt that they are overwhelming. 

Umezawa:

Their ability to raise the excitement of the crowd depending upon whether they know the song being performed or not, of course if they know it they will go all out, but they know that even if the crowd doesn’t know it, with this gigantic screen and hearing the music they will be moved by the song even if they are in their teens.  There is no band out there that will move the hearts of so many age groups as does Metallica. And what is more, the members themselves are not swayed by factors such as these in the slightest. They do not break from their hard established stance to any degree. 

 

Even if you were not thrilled by the new songs, you would be totally excited with them seeing this live show. (Umezawa)

Hayashi:

This show was so simple, but the set was so firmly set up and in place, James was so metallically suited up and we had the new album behind it all. It seems when you look closely at all of this like we are returning to the roots, the starting point of Metallica. It felt to me that they were doing what they really like and were bringing to life what they really love.

Umezawa:

They are not unnecessarily trying to outdo themselves. They are not shouting out, ‘We are the latest and greatest in Metal!’, or attempting to do something new just for newness sake. There were times in the past where they were experimenting with new things or it seemed they felt they had to do something different from their previous albums, but now they seem to be just going all out with what they have in a nonchalant attitude. Their publicity shots show this attitude as well. Their recent Twitter posts and Instagrams often show them smiling away. I feel that that shows them as ‘the Metallica of the present’. 

Hayashi:

One gets the distinct feeling that they are having fun at what they are doing. 

Umezawa:

Yes, yes that is it. Said in a good way, it seems they have leeway in what they are doing. Those who were not too impressed with their new songs and album I am sure changed their feelings when they heard them perform at this show. I am sure that if you are someone who loves Metal that even if you were not thrilled by the new songs, you would be totally excited with them seeing this live show. 

Hayashi:

The atmosphere of this live show was just oozing with fun that the band members themselves were having.

Umezawa:

I think that is true. Metallica is a band that has its high points and its low points. They have had members die on them, they have had members leave, members who go to therapists, they have tried working with orchestras and have do Lou Reed type things. They are a band that has walked an incredibly dramatic path with countless undulations, but the Metallica that they are now is firmly settled and relaxed in what they do. 

Hayashi:

They are calm and relaxed and yet extremely strong, you could say.

Umezawa:

They are at their peak in power. It was like James had grabbed all of us who were pontificating in the manner of ‘this is not the real Metallica’, or Metallica is finished!’ by the neck shouting at us, ‘just stop it with your verbal nonsensical garbage!’. One got the feeling that they were kind of saying, ‘enough of that, just come watch us perform live’. Of all the live shows I have seen of Metallica this one in Korea where I felt the power of ‘the Metallica of the present’ was the one that most reverberated through my whole being. And because of that I hope that they will as soon as possible perform in Japan to reach even one person who will see and experience ‘the Metallica of the present’ which is ‘the greatest stadium Metal’ out there. 

Hayashi:

I truly feel that was as well!

Big four: Mission accomplished!

Well… it seem that during his journey through Summer Sonic 2014, Dave Mustaine have take the time to do a little photo with our kawaii metaller and fiercely post it on his own Twitter account!

So the Big Four, Anthrax, Metallica, Slayer and now Megadeth, is now accomplished! So now, which band would you like to pose with the girls? let us know in the commentary section bellow!

Update 1

BABYMETAL will promote Metallica Through the Never film in Japan

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BABYMETAL the unique kawaii Japanese idol heavy metal band had released a short video message to help promote the Japanese release of Metallica movie. The film “Metallica Through The Never” opens in Japan on 22 Nov 2013.

AFAID 2013: Special Roundtable Interview with BABYMETAL

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This year’s Anime Festival Asia (AFA) Indonesia was held on September 6-8 at Jakarta Convention Center.

JpopAsia Indonesia Team had an opportunity to meet the guest stars through a press conference prior to this event, including May’n, Aya Hirano, Eir Aoi; also had a special roundtable interview with fripSide, Kalafina and BABYMETAL.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wWx4laZsmMU

Here is the BABYMETAL interview.

Q: Last August, BABYMETAL participated in Summer Sonic 2013 and met Kirk Hammett, Metallica’s lead guitarist. What do you feel about that?
A: It was the first time we met, and even though it was really brief, we were appreciating each other. When Metallica was on stage, we watched their show and when BABYMETAL was on stage, he watched our show.

Q: What was the best experience you got from Summer Sonic 2013?
A: Last year, we also attended Summer Sonic, but we didn’t perform at the main stage. We watched Momoiro Clover Z performing on stage in front of around 10,000 audiences and we hoped that someday, we could perform on that stage too. Finally, this year our dream came true.

Q: What was your first impression on Indonesia?
A: Pretty interesting, especially because the roads are very crowded with so many vehicles. We also have tried some Indonesian food like satay and star fruit juice.

Q: Moa and Yui are active members of Twinkle Stars, Mini-Party, and BABYMETAL itself. How do you manage the time to do each group’s activity?
A: It’s nothing special because we (Moa and Yui) really love music, so we enjoy doing each activity.

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