Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Babymetal - 2015 Trilogy

I already covered the first part of Babymetal's 2015 Trilogy in my Legend 2015 review, so now I'm going to discuss the next two major events that took place in this year which completes the Trilogy of big shows the band held in Japan, those being their shows at Makuhari Messe and the Yokohama Arena.

First up, their Makuhari Messe show, which took place on this really cool giant triangle stage, which had all sorts of pyro and smoke effects erupting from around the stage all throughout. I first noticed this on Gimme Chocolate, in which fire was erupting around them throughout, which is an effect we don't usually see during this particular song, but certainly set the stage for a fiery evening to come.

At this point it feels like there's always at least one token song per show that I have to mention being the one to get my feelings really kicking into gear and getting me all misty eyed, and on this particular occasion, that song happened to be Doki Doki Morning. Maybe it's because we're starting to get later in their years now, and yet the song is still going strong. And maybe it's because I've seen a number of those "Road to Tokyo Dome" compilations showing footage of this song being performed over the years, leading up to that inevitable event, showcasing not only the evolution of the song, but of the band as well, and how far they've come since first introducing that initial song of theirs way back when. But the further along we go, this one's starting to hit me in a much different way than it did on their earlier shows, and I'm perfectly okay with that!

We move along now, and we get to Song 4, and damn, I really wish I knew what Yui and Moa were saying to the crowd on these Japanese shows while they're running around the stage playing up to them during this song. Whatever it is, as always, they're having a blast out there, and the crowd is completely eating it all up.

Yava got introduced to the set list on this night, and I found myself oohing when the song started. Another favorite of mine to see them perform live, with an awesome ska-metal beat and some really fun choreography to match, and it did not disappoint in this initial performance. And I also like how, by this point at least, the band just keeps adding songs to the set list on these big shows as more are being introduced, yet at least as of here, they've yet to remove any of their previous songs from the set, so the shows just keep getting bigger and bigger.

As a result of introducing new songs however, that does mean that some of their original closing numbers, including Ijime, Dame, Zettai, are appearing earlier in the set than before. And, well, I neglected to mention this during my rundown of The Red Mass, but it happened here as well, so I suppose I'll bring it up now, but it does sound a bit strange when Ijime, Dame, Zettai just ends, and they don't interact with the fans immediately afterwards, as we've become so used to seeing them do after that song. The fact that they've also seemingly stopped doing encores by this point also adds into that, as they used to play this song just prior to the encore at times, so they could at least tease the crowd with a departure, but I suppose that's out now too.

But on this occasion, Road of Resistance has once again taken the closing slot. It was pretty cool to see all the girls elevated in the air on their separate platforms during this song while they were singing with the fans, and I'm pretty sure I caught Moa even getting choked up looking out at the sea of adoring fans all around. All in all, this was another excellent show, though no "See you!" from the girls at the end did catch me as curious on this particular night.

Next up, their show at the Yokohama Arena, which saw the band performing on a big stage with a massive setup behind them featuring three Egyptian sphinx structures in fox masks, making for a real kick ass setting. And I also noticed how on this night, Yui and Moa got the backs of their tutus extended out like tails on the back of them. Su's worn this style before in past shows, but it's cool to see Yui and Moa getting to sport this look as well here.

The show opened with Babymetal Death, and this time I noticed both Moa and Yui mouthing along with the death voice during this song. I love this sorta thing whenever I catch it, seeing the girls up there just really getting into their songs. Always brings a smile to my face.

And that playful level of getting into their songs definitely came into play again in a number of their other performances here, such as Gimme Chocolate, which features a particularly adorable call-and-response from the girls, and Awadama Fever, in which the girls were screaming out to the crowd at various times throughout (and like with my thoughts on Song 4 above, really left me wishing I knew what they were actually saying here!).

But then we get to Iine, and this time I noticed just how into it the Kami Band gets during the rap section, as they're all back there playing to the crowd as well now. Really, it's just so awesome seeing the whole band up there just having the time of their lives putting on these huge shows. And see, just thinking about it as I'm writing down these thoughts is getting me all misty eyed all over again.

We've got another new song on this show, that being the introduction of Karate to the set list. And like a few other notable key songs in the past, this one's introduction gets the storyline video hype treatment. This is such a cool song, with the choreography featuring a lot of fittingly martial arts inspired movements throughout, and telling this story about picking yourself up when in the face of conflict, and being able to conquer your demons.

That said, through no fault on the girls' part, this wasn't the strongest introduction for this song, as something appeared to be off with Yui's and Moa's audio, like the volume on their mics had been dropped quite a bit or something. However, by the time Su was helping Moa and Yui back to their feet near the end, sure enough they won me over all the same, taking to heart the message of this song and allowing for their physical performances to power through the technical issues at play here.

Moving on, we get to Megitsune, and I'd just like to note how by this point, you can definitely tell just how much Su's voice is really maturing now, and it always seems to be during Megitsune where this maturation really stands out the most to me. And also on this occasion, there was a moment where Su just kinda stops for a brief second to look out to the crowd, and she gives this real genuine smile as she's just taking it all in. Again, moments like this, these small little human moments sprinkled into their otherwise highly pre-planned performances are part of what makes this band feel so special.

Some other sporadic things that stood out to me on this show included this really sick aerial shot during the fight dance sequence in Ijime, Dame, Zettai, and for Headbanger, while the girls may not have had smoke guns on hand this time out, the giant sphinx statues behind them had their back, as they proceeded to breathe out smoke through the mouths of their fox masks, which was just a real awesome effect. And as we've come to the conclusion of yet another year in Babymetal's saga, this time, rather than Headbanger, it was after Road of Resistance where they sounded the gong to bring this chapter to a close, and start anew once more.

... But of course, we still weren't done yet. This show finally saw them adding enough new songs to where some of their older ones couldn't be fit on the show, so that sadly meant no Song 4 or Akatsuki on this evening. However, Karate wasn't the only new addition being introduced to the set on this show, as the girls had a truly special moment in store for us, with the debut of their new song The One.

After being built up for about a year, The One finally made its debut in grand order. Just hearing the majestic tune starting up in the lead-in to the actual performance, as smoke continued to billow out of the fox masks, was already getting me choked up. Triangles have been a consistent element during this whole Trilogy, and so the girls stepped out, all wearing these shiny cloaks, and keeping in with both the triangle element, as well as the Egyptian theme of the setting, they entered a triangle-shaped pyramid platform, which was then raised into the air and floated above the audience as they were taken for a ride all over the entire arena, and performed the song looking out over the fans below them.

I've seen this performance before on its own, and I've always thought it was nice. But now seeing it again here, with the context of its full year of being built up to, yeah, it hit me pretty hard this time around. And that's something I've noticed quite a bit as I've gone back and watched all of these shows, catching up on this band from the very beginning. The more I learn about this band, and the more I follow their journey up to these key milestones in their career, the more they really pack a wallop.

Similarly, as highly as I spoke of their Legend 2015 performance of Road of Resistance, that performance never really hit me as hard as it did after I had the full context leading into that particular show. And so now when I hear that performance, well just recently when I was merely listening to that performance playing in the background while I was working on other things, it still legitimately drew tears out of me. And that same thing I've found happening on a lot of their songs now in a similar way, and this was certainly the case for The One on this show as well.

This was also an early version of the song, where half of it was still being sung in Japanese, as opposed to fully in English, which was a little weird, as I've become so used to the English version. But even so, this was still a spectacle to behold, and a truly marvelous performance of this song that was written for and about the fans.

So there you have it, the Trilogy is now complete! And while I'd still probably say that Legend 2015 was the best of these show, parts 2 and 3 were still fantastic shows in their own right. And keeping in line with the element of threes, their final show of this Trilogy ended with three major announcements, including the announcement of their second album, Metal Resistance, as well as their next major shows in the coming year to take place at Wembley Arena and the Tokyo Dome. So join me, if you will, as we move onto those major events next!

And now, on a bit of a personal note, but I had vaguely alluded to making a big move in my life in some of my earlier Babymetal reviews, and let's just say that this past week, I went ahead and made that move, moving across the country and keeping busy getting myself situated, so I've been a bit more preoccupied than I normally would have been. I actually watched these shows over a week before I was even able to get around to sitting down and writing my review for them, so you'll have to forgive me if the reviews at all appear perhaps any less detailed than I would have personally hoped.

But needless to say, things are looking pretty good as far as my present prospects are concerned (and I promise I'll stop speaking so vaguely about everything at some point!), so it's looking like this move was for the best after all. And as far as my reviews of these shows are concerned, I certainly intend to continue to keep up with them, as I'm way in too deep and can't stop now, though they'll perhaps be a little more spread out moving forward. But we'll see! See you!

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