So after Budokan, Babymetal set out on their first World Tour in 2014, and next I'll be covering a few of the shows from that tour. I would like to say however how it's a bit of a shame that Legends Y and M from this tour were apparently never released, especially seeing how they were so hyped up at the very end of Budokan. I would've loved to see a full pro-shoot of those shows, or at the very least of the two Headbanger performances where Yui and Moa got to take over for lead vocals respectively. But alas.
To start off, I want to first touch on the band's performance at Sonisphere. Their set from this festival was actually their first full set that I watched, and I've watched it at least another half dozen times since. Really, just thinking about their Sonisphere set gives me chills, and particularly thinking about Ijime, Dame, Zettai from that show has a tendency to get me choked up. Against all odds, and with so much working against them, for those girls to go out there and face a sea of die hard metalheads, most of whom had no idea who this band was, and to then proceed to win the whole crowd over is the sort of thing you only expect to see in the movies. And yet here it was, happening for real, and it was damn moving to witness.
This set was an accomplishment that put the band on the map. And I mentioned in my last review how the band hadn't quite implemented their call-and-response element just yet at the time, and yet here they were, in a foreign country to them, in front of a swarm of people who don't even speak their language, and when it came time for them to perform Gimme Chocolate, what'd they do? They got this English speaking crowd to actually sing along with them. In Japanese. And by the end of their set, they left this crowd chanting for more. If that's not just the biggest damn win, then I don't know what is.
Moving right along, the girls were on tour promoting their first album and putting on shows in a number of countries across Europe and America for the very first time. The ones I watched and will be discussing included their London shows from The Forum and O2 Academy Brixton, as well as their show back in Japan at Makuhari Messe. And while these shows were loads of fun, I honestly don't really have quite as in-depth of thoughts on most of these shows as I did on the previous ones I've already covered, so I'll mostly just touch on the things that stood out to me the most from them. For instance, to return to Gimme Chocolate again, I mentioned how I found it's placement odd at Budokan. But now, they've clearly already re-positioned it as one of their premiere songs, as it was often placed in more prominent places on some of these shows, and even closed out the Makuhari Messe show.
I also noticed something new they were doing with Akatsuki on this tour, where they were opening the song with this really soft orchestral piece with this really sweet violin playing the main tune before the song kicked in proper. I hadn't heard them do that before, and haven't noticed it in any of their later shows either, but they did this pretty consistently on these 2014 World Tour shows, and I'd be interested to see them perhaps expand on this some. We got a full piano version of this song at Legend 1997, why not a full violin version, too?
To discuss the show at Makuhari Messe again for a moment, I loved what they did with the camera work on Su's Rondo of Nightmare here, where they were looking on at her through the flames in the foreground, flickering as she stood behind them, almost as if she were on fire herself. Lord knows she certainly set the whole venue aflame with her flawless performance!
And then there was Catch Me If You Can, and man, I loved the effect they did here! The backdrop for this show was a massive LED screen, and for this song, whenever the girls did the skipping around part of their choreography, the screen would turn completely red and the lights would shut off to create a silhouette effect of the girls against the red backdrop. This was such an ingenious effect, and I think this is honestly my favorite performance of that song now because of it.
Shifting gears just a bit here now, but while still on the topic of Catch Me If You Can, let's now jump to their last show on this tour, emanating from London's O2 Academy Brixton. On this occasion, during the Kami Band's opening solos for this song, they made a curious camera choice to just keep it on the same shot without cutting away to different angles, as the camera just panned from one Kami to the next. But then once they got to the drummer for this show, Yuya Meata, he did his solo, but then at the very end, he just suddenly stopped playing, and he pointed out to the crowd.
And for a split second, the music stopped entirely, before kicking into the main song.
And that too was when the camera angle finally cut away, as the girls made their way onto the stage. And I dunno, it honestly probably doesn't sound too impressive in writing, but actually seeing it, man, that little pause that he did, and the whole buildup leading up to it, I hadn't seen them do that before, but that was just so sick! And the crowd in attendance who at it up are clearly in agreement with me!
After the band returned at the end of the show for an encore performance, just as the sounding of the gong following Headbanger at Budokan signaled the start of this tour, it also signaled its official end on this evening. But that wasn't to say that the show was over, because on this night, the next chapter in Babymetal's saga would already be beginning, as they introduced a brand new song on this unsuspecting crowd, that being the very first performance of their new power anthem, Road of Resistance, as Su-metal, Yuimetal, and Moametal carried their flags proudly onto the stage.
I found it interesting how for this early performance, it was actually all three girls who were commanding the crowd to split for the Wall of Death at the beginning. But then the music kicks in, and those three just went full throttle, riding into battle with so much energy in their movements. I love this song, and I love how into it this crowd was on this special occasion. And the best part came when Su succeeding in getting the crowd to sing along to this song that they were only now hearing for the very first time. Seriously, just thinking about it gives me goosebumps. What a treat for everyone there, and what a powerful way to both close out one chapter, and start out the next.
So yeah, those are most of my thoughts that stuck out to me while watching these shows. And afterwards, I watched a brief documentary piece that was following the girls around London in the lead-up to this final show on this tour, which was completely adorable. But there was a moment in particular that stood out to me on that documentary. When they were interviewing people in the crowd who were waiting in line to get in the show, one guy mentioned how he's been a metal fan for 20-some years. He mentions how he'd only recently discovered Babymetal, and how this was about to be his third show he was attending of theirs in that year alone.
And that really got me thinking. I know way back when, back closer to my high school days, I used to be into music back then in the way that I'm into movies nowadays. I used to go to local shows at the small venues that we used to have in town, and I always wanted to be in a band and play music myself. But then, I allowed for others' negative actions towards me at the time to sour my passion for music, which gradually drove me away from the scene, as well as those aspirations.
Eventually I moved on, and I wound up falling in love with film. But even after becoming a full blown film buff, I still clearly held an affliction towards music. You can tell by just how often musicals or movies where music plays a big part in them tend to rank highly on my end of year lists, or by the sheer number of posts I've written on the topic of music in film in general. And this too is reflective in my own films, where I oftentimes place a huge emphasis on their use of music, and how that music really compliments the images on screen and contributes to telling the story.
Yet even so, for all these years, I still never had the actual love for music as a medium in and of itself, outside of its use in other mediums, in the way that I had during my high school years. For over a decade, I haven't had the desire to go to any concerts, even if it was a band I was really into that was playing nearby. And I already mentioned in an earlier post about how there's honestly very few bands anymore who really connect with me anyways. But if you go back years and years, I used to be a lot more open and active in really broadening my musical intake, trying out all sorts of different bands and genres, whereas nowadays, it's safe to say that I've found my comfort zone, and I've pretty much remained there.
However, since discovering Babymetal and watching their live shows, I now suddenly really want to go to one of their concerts. Like, I need to experience that for myself. That guy in that documentary said that their show is the most fun he's ever had at a metal concert, and I've gotta say, just watching their shows is more fun than I've ever had actually attending any show that I've been to myself. I feel like if I were to go to most shows nowadays, I would almost feel uncomfortable and self-conscious being there, especially if I found myself in the middle of the pit or anything like that. But when it comes to Babymetal, heck, just the thought of being there makes me feel alive, and it almost feels like one of those things that you've just got to experience at least once before you die, is being in the middle of the mosh'sh pit!
And I briefly mentioned in an earlier post about how I've already slipped into listening to their Sakura Gakuin stuff, which is radically different from what I'd normally be into. And for real, it's crazy how almost therapeutic Sakura Gakuin's music is. They've become my go-to band recently to just chill out and calm down and be happy. But every day I keep discovering a little bit more, and I can honestly see myself digging even further and further down this fox hole that I've found myself in, and expanding even further outside my usual musical comfort zone given more time.
This band has reinstilled something in me that hasn't been there since my high school days. A real desire and appreciation for music as a medium that had been tempered, because I allowed for my passions to be dictated by the actions of others. And I honestly felt that same feeling creeping up on me again in regards to film, how I felt I was perhaps starting to allow for the negativity of others to once again ruin my love for another passion of mine.
But there's such a passion present here with this band that really reinvigorates my own passions. And songs such as Road of Resistance only drive that point home, to overcome these obstacles that are weighing down on you, and not let them defeat you. Because people will drag you down if you let them. But now, I see these girls on stage, and I see their love, and their drive, and their connection with one another, and their connection with the fans. I see the way they really work together out there and prop each other up. And I sit here watching these shows thinking, I want to experience that in my own life.
And so now I'm making the necessary moves to do precisely that, to really work on bettering myself and my situation in life so that I might find that thing for myself, escaping the rut that I've found myself in and carving out my own path. And maybe I'll carry my own flag into battle, much like these girls who stared the odds in the face and won the day, as I enter the next chapter in my own life.
As they traveled from country to country, the girls brought flags with the band's logo on it, painted in the colors of that country's national flag. And as the tour was brought to its conclusion, their closing video spoke about bringing everyone together as The One, as they then came out waving their own flags. Our flags. They close out their shows by screaming “We are!” as the crowd then shouts back, “Babymetal!” They're not talking about the band, but everyone in attendance, and everyone watching at home. We are all Babymetal. And we are all The One.
They brought a crowd who had never even heard of them together. And even to this day their mission continues, as every day it seems they're bringing more and more people together as well, as I keep hearing about others like me who've only recently discovered them, and who similarly can't get enough of them. To where now I've found myself in the midst of quite frankly one of the healthiest, most accepting, and most positively reassuring fan bases that I've ever come across. So maybe in that sense, I've already begun to find that thing that I'm looking for, that thing that I see when I watch these three girls on stage. But that's what this tour was about, was bringing the world together, and facing the Metal Resistance head on. And how can you not be inspired by that?
And so onward we move, as we enter the next stage in the Babymetal saga, with a brand new Legend in 2015. See you!