It’s already been ten years since Babymetal came from the Land of the Rising Sun to gift the world their rather… unique take on metal. At first, taken for a novelty act, over the last ten years the band has proven time and again that this is far from the case. And now they celebrate their ten-year anniversary with a performance at the world-famous Budokan Arena.
The performance is taken from shows over two nights in April this year. Opening with a video of the do’s and don’ts at a gig during a pandemic, but they are encouraged to clap and stamp due to the lack of a “metal voice”. After a nice build-up that includes the blessings of the Fox God, and really enforces that, at its core, what this gig and what Babymetal is about community, camaraderie, and celebration. Babymetal take to the 360-degree stage and you see the Budokan crowd lose its collective mind as they open with “Ijime Dame Zettai”.
The mixture of the choreographed dance routines mixed with the amazing sound of the guitar riffs as the band jams its way through the song gives the atmosphere a whole other level and the audience, though smaller than in The Before Times, you wouldn’t be able to tell that from the noise they make. Having the 360-degree stage clearly gave the audience a real sense of being part of the gig.
“Give Me Choco!!” Comes roaring to life after some nice back and forth with the crowd where they soon have them eating out the palm of their hand. Vocalist Sumetal has the charisma and stage presence of a born entertainer and the amazing vocals of a superstar. A slight drawback to this song is that Moametal and the unnamed other member of the group’s vocals seem to disappear in the mix for large portions of the song.
The set progresses nicely with a very impressive light show and a ton of fire to make the most of the amazing stage. They have come up with a clever way to allow the members to catch their breath between songs, as videos are shown as almost like a hype package for the crowd, to get them clapping on the intro to “GJ” and once again the band sounds amazing. It is a real shame you don’t really see too much of them other than the odd quick shot here and there as they really put on an impressive performance.
It’s time to slow things down with “No Rain No Rainbow”. Su-metal gives an amazing vocal and surprising piano performance, which I was not expecting. You can feel the pure emotion with this song, and I’m sure it was felt by those in attendance as well, I’m certain some of them were brought to tears.
The gleeful roars of the crowd are ever-present through the remaining songs including fan favorites “PA PA YA” which has everyone bouncing in their seats and waving towels around in frenzy. The final three songs of “Megitsune”, “Karate”, and “Head Bangya” are all screamed word for word by the audience, and you can’t but helped get swept up in it all as your eyes and ears are battered in a sensory assault that will have you doing the wave along with the audience.
It’s a crazy ending before we are treated to an encore of “The One” and finish up with a bang of the gong or ten in this instance on the “Road of Resistance”.
In ten years, Babymetal, in their very unique way, have created something that has brought a lot of people together as one and created a lot of joyful memories, be it with the Metal Resistance or in the Metal Galaxy, I hope they will continue to do so long into the future. Where will they go from here? Only the Fox God knows.
The DVD of the performance will be released digitally and on CD on October 1st, 2021.