It’s not often that you walk out of a concert with Johnny Rotten’s voice muttering in your head, “Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?” and still have no regrets.
You remember that whole thing about having to overcome the past and emerge as a reborn, black and gold, grown-up BABYMETAL? Yeah, that’s SO Red Night. This is Black Night, where the red crinoline fairy of kawaii was set loose in the dressing room and even added a short train to Su’s tutu and some fluffy shoulder pads. And “Onedari Daisukusen”? Say goodbye to yesterday’s self (“bye bye!”), because it’s back! And just for fun, lose Moa and Yui’s scrunchies for OD and give the new, mature BLACK BABYMETAL Minnie Mouse hair bows.
And the big earth-shaking announcement? “Be sure to drink your Ovaltine.”
We’ve been had. But we knew this going in. Let’s face it, we are a fanbase that will spend thousands to travel to another continent for a 90-minute show. Well, technically, two 90-minute shows. But even at three hours, that’s a pretty ridiculous Yen-per-minute ratio for entertainment, especially at today’s exchange rate. We’re suckers. However, we don’t go all in on BABYMETAL for KOBAMETAL’s half-baked mythology or big announcements; we do it for the virtuoso artists who perform this amazing music and are currently pulling off the best live shows on the planet.
So let’s forget about how KOBA forgot all his promises and didn’t bring us any presents for DOOMSDAY, and talk about what really melted our collective brains on Black Night: The typhoon. Seriously, one of these girls is an Ame Onna, because it’s a downpour wherever I seen them play.
Anyway, the show:
Black Night started with a triple crucifixion [Maniac: WHAT?!] and built from there. The set was the same configuration as Red Night, with a slight addition revealed as crimson lights rose to “BABYMETAL DEATH.” At the end of each of the three casket-shaped catwalks was a cross with Su, Yui and Moa gently affixed to them. They each got down off their cross and made their way center stage where they led the 55,000 member crowd in a scene that certain religious individuals’ nightmares are made of. To see “BABYMETAL DEATH” performed on this scale was truly, truly glorious, and the person working the pyrotechnics seemingly have only one instruction all night long: Just keep pounding the button marked “fire”.
Tonight saw a number of songs that haven’t been performed live in a while, including “Uki Uki Midnight.” I was incredibly happy to see this one for the first time since Yokohama.
“Meta Taro,” as I predicted back in Wembley, went over huge. For the first time, Su introduced an audience sing-along section after which the trio had the entire place in lock-step. They could have marched this whole army straight out of the Dome and onto some nefarious business (looting tomato farms?) if they wanted.
The kamishibai introducing “Sis Anger” was the darkest yet. It told of how how the gods work to suppress the enormous amounts of anger that humans naturally generate, but one god (A-Kiba, strangely enough) set loose all of this anger, which has now made its way into our hearts and is about to overwhelm them. “Sis Anger” was our opportunity to expel this anger, and it proved to be a pretty effective exercise. The interesting twist on “Sis Anger’s” performance was that Yui and Moa each got onto one of the floating platforms on the runways which transported them across the floor away from the stage. With them separated this way, the effect was that it became two solo performances instead of a joint one.
It was also refreshing to see “Akatsuki” again, and Su was sporting a new Crimson Knight cape for the occasion. Leda joined the night’s Kami lineup to provide Ohmura with a guitar dueling partner.
This was followed by the song we had been told 24 hours earlier was superfluous, “Onedari Daisukusen.” That Koba, man. Don’t trust him.
The event that followed was one that has helped complete my life: “No Rain, No Rainbow.” For two years and 10 shows, I have been hoping to hear this schmaltzy masterpiece performed live, and tonight was the night. The song was preceded by a very appropriate kamishibai (given the typhoon outside) of how the world was once flooded but the metal ark sailed through it all to El-do-ra-do (stop it Koba, I’m not even listening anymore). The true highlight came after the dueling guitar solos, when Su appeared at the very apex of the Dome on a central platform even higher than the ones used in Red Night to finish the song off.
The biggest surprise of the night came next: In the half-light produced in the wake of the soaring calm of “No Rain, No Rainbow,” the intro to “Doki Doki Morning” started chiming out on repeat. After the crucifixions, dub step, a metal Viking march, death metal, nu metal and two guitar duels, this little 8-bit ringtone had the audience going freaking batshit. When the guitars finally kicked in, Yui and Moa had joined Su at the apex of the Dome, and they performed the entirety of their first ever song atop what resembled their very own fully functional Death Star. It was appropriately symbolic as to how far they have they truly gone — from hand-me-down costumes to the top of the world in just six years. It absolutely brought the house down.
They came back down to earth for “Megitsune,” but things REALLY got interesting during “Headbangya.” During the last bridge in the song, there have previously been some interludes of, “Head-do-bang! Head-do-bang!” chants where the girls try to incite the crowd into vigorous and extended periods of, well, headbanging. The one tonight took to this to the next level. As incentive, the cameras were turned on the audience and concert goers tried to out head-o-bang each other for a length of time that ran into punishment game territory. The audience was in full catharsis mode by the time we reached the closer.
BABYMETAL World Tour 2016, Legend – Metal Resistance, Red Night & Black Night, Tour Final at Tokyo Dome, closed with “Ijime, Dame, Zettai” preceded by an extended kamishibai with several new things that they were taught by the Fox God (none of which I can specifically remember). Oh! And our neck brace lit up red this time. I’m still really, really perplexed as to why they didn’t leverage this technology any further after shelling out the bucks to hand one to each of 110,000 concert goers. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, /u/MightMetal over on Reddit found an example of what this tech can do:
6:05, good people
During the closing “We are!”, “BABYMETAL!” chants at the end, there was a moment when Su slipped on the last of the three catwalks but was stabilized by Moa. I heard later that there was fuel leak that had wet the stage there. I’m not sure how someone would know that, but Leda slipped in the same place a few minutes later, and it would explain why the pyro had tapered out at the end.
There was also some cute interplay where Su gave the mic to Yui for her to do a “We are!”, then gestured to Moa, who nodded, but Su did a “psych!” and did the “We are!” herself. Moa, being the little scamp she is, thumbed on her mic and did her own “We are!” without Su’s help. With all the hard work done, they were obviously having fun at the end.
And thus ended DOOMSDAY, with three very talented young women obviously enjoying the remarkable success that they have earned. And the announcement that BABYMETAL are opening for Metallica on their first U.S. tour since 2009 will just have to wait until the profit sharing agreement has been hammered out by the attorneys.
For reading the whole thing, here’s your reward: