Last September I set my alarm to wake up at 4 a.m. to buy tickets to see BABYMETAL at the Wembley SSE Arena for April 2016. They went on sale at 10 a.m. London time, so I knew I had to be ready with my card information because we fans are insane. I chose seats this time instead of standing, hoping it would be the best option for enjoying my first big BABYMETAL show. I had seen them once before in Chicago, which you can read my review of here, and see last year’s photos here.
Seven months later, I am now sitting here post-concert hoping to remember and share as much as I can. I arrived around 3 p.m. and immediately saw the thick winding queue for merch. My boyfriend and I had offered to help a fellow Redditor by keeping his bag under our seats while he was on the floor. In return, he brought us Polish snacks and helped me buy the Memorial shirt.
I was reunited with friends from the Chicago show, and finally met a few people I had interacted with or knew online. One of them was Callie from the YouTube channel CallieSakura, who makes cute unboxing videos and vlogs and has also done makeup tutorials of Su, Yui, Moa, the Kami Band and the fox mask. She was incredibly kind and had one of the best BABYMETAL costumes.
It was a relief to escape the rain and cold once the doors opened. I was completely surprised by how small the arena looked inside! We were seated in section N10, close to the middle of the arena, but it was a perfect view. The stage extended out into a smaller circle stage, and two large screens framed a set similar to the cover of the limited edition METAL RESISTANCE album. As soon as everything went black and BABYMETAL DEATH! started to play, we focused on the three hooded figures rising out of the top of the stage. But dammit, they completely fooled us because my boyfriend had to tap me on the shoulder and say “look!” because the ACTUAL girls were on the smaller stage, sparkling in their new black costumes.
Don’t sit in seats if you want to dance and jump around. No one around me was standing, and I felt like an idiot for doing so during the first song, but sat down for the rest of the show. That aside, I was absolutely entranced during most songs. Akatsuki seemed even more emotional and intense somehow, possibly because of the chilling opening piano solo and the red moon hanging brightly above Su. I wasn’t expecting her to top this with Amore, when she absolutely hushed the arena, falling to the floor mid-song with a single spotlight illuminating her. I don’t think I breathed at all during this silence.
Sis. Anger is probably my favorite song on the new album, but they didn’t play it! BLACK BABYMETAL had an opening video about how Moa and Yui had turned to the dark side, which I understood as a reference to the aggressive lyrics in Sis. Anger. Nope, they performed 4 no Uta. I love this song, but it wasn’t exactly the “evil” follow-up I was expecting after that video buildup.
The best new choreography award definitely goes to Meta Taro. I don’t know how many times I said, “They’re so damn cute!” during their performance. My German boyfriend later said that he was wondering how that dance will be received when they perform it in Germany. He said the raised fists could perhaps be misconstrued by the locals, but we both agreed that people are smart enough to know that they are not making any historical references.
Things I loved about the show:
- It was a healthy mix of the old and new album, with some surprising inclusions. I would have happily traded Iine for Headbanger, but I was ecstatic that they still performed Megitsune and Catch Me If You Can.
- The extended stage made the show even more intimate. I had no trouble seeing the girl’s facial expressions, and never had to rely on the big screens.
- The girls and band were energetic and seemed to have fun the entire time. Yui seemed especially emotional during The One, when she started noticing the various country flags.
- Speaking of the flags, that was a beautiful moment I was so happy to be a part of. I brought my Germany flag to represent my new home, and raised it as high as I could without annoying my forever sitting seat mates. What started as an idea on Reddit soon became one of the most uplifting additions to The One. The live feed of the viewers in Japan coupled with the flags showed the unification of this diverse fan base. I think it needs to be a tradition at every large show.
What wasn’t so great:
- THE SOUND. Maybe it was where we were sitting, but Su’s microphone was turned up incredibly high, and you could hardly hear any instrument besides the drums. It all turned into white noise at some parts. The bass became so heavy during one song that it vibrated the seats, and was even louder than Su.
- The show was still too closely similar to the last world tour. It felt odd to watch them perform Doki Doki Morning despite their music being more mature on the new album. I expected a different show layout, perhaps with more crowd interaction.
- I miss the red skirts. There, I said it.
I may write more as I remember details, but this is as much as I can recall. I tried my best to take photos and video during the performance and immediately post them to my social media, and I plan to do the same at the Cologne show. Follow me on Twitter @leahmoreno or Instagram @morning_ink for those updates.
Thank you to everyone who gave me souvenirs and said hi before and after the show! I plan to make keepsakes for the Cologne show, just trying to figure out what. BABYMETAL fans are the most generous and kind people I have ever met. This band has united people from all over the world for something completely unique, and I was overjoyed to share the night of April 2nd with you all.
We are BABYMETAL!