Header image credit: © Amuse Inc.
For BABYMETAL fans, their largest UK show to date has been a long time coming. Tickets initially went on sale last September with the initial allocation for standing tickets flying out the door! Even before I arrived at the SSE Arena in Wembley, scrolling through the latest Twitter posts shortly after 9am it became clear how much of an impact BABYMETAL has made, not just on the UK but worldwide. Die hard fans were not only queuing to access the venue from 8am (some had even slept outside the venue the night before) but the demand for merchandise was on a scale that I’ve never seen before. Giant, snake like queues bending around the SSE Arena had fans waiting for well over three hours, desperate to get their hands on the specially branded ‘Wembley’ merchandise. By the time I had arrived at the SSE Arena shortly after 7pm, the main merchandise outlet outside the venue had sold out of all of their stock and advised fans to visit the merchandise stands inside the venue which still had a surprising amount of fans queuing at both the upstairs and downstairs merch areas!
With no ‘musical’ support, DJ Daniel P Carter (BBC Radio 1 Rock Show) had the honour of warming the crowd up with a set that comprised of Marilyn Manson, Meshuggah, Jay Z, Metallica and ‘Uptown Funk’ mashed with Limp Bizkit’s ‘Break Stuff’ to name a few which even got a few metalheads throwing a few moves with a smile on their faces! During Daniel’s set, BABYMETAL’S stage was in complete darkness but you could just about make out a grey church-like structure that was the full height of the stage with three staircases positioned on the left, centre and right of the stage. As the clock hit 8.30pm, the crowd began to cheer ‘BABY-METAL’, ‘BABY-METAL’ hoping to get those house lights turned off and get the show rolling but that didn’t happen for another twenty minutes. In the meantime, inflatable beach balls were bouncing around the fans in the standing areas and even an inflatable Kangaroo was seen po-going around between fans.
As expected, ‘Babymetal Death’ kicked off tonight’s proceedings. The fans were all looking to the main stage waiting to see BABYMETAL pop up in front of them but instead three figures dressed in white were raised on a platform (as seen in BABYMETAL’S recent video release ‘Karate’) and with a loud flashbang, everyone’s attention was swiftly moved to the end of the walkway that branched out from the centre of the stage, half way down into the crowd where SU-METAL, YUIMETAL & MOAMETAL surprised fans with many that were down the front trying to squeeze their way to the end of the walkway, so they could catch every glimpse of their stars in action!
With ‘Metal Resistance’ only being released 24 hours prior to the worldwide debut of BABYMETAL’S fresh show, it was clear that the new tracks would be a little lost on tonight’s audience. That being said, it was a well balanced set comprising of nine tracks from ‘Metal Resistance’ and 8 from their debut album. ‘Awadama Fever’ has another infectious chorus of ‘Ah, yeah. Tondeke, chew, chew, chewing gum!’ & ‘Oh, yeah. Tondeke, ban ban bubble gum!’ which even if you don’t know the lyrics, you’ll soon catch on by the end of the track’s performance! SU-METAL’S vocals are packed with confidence tonight and are able to fill the SSE Arena which is no easy task!
Tonight’s crowd are 200% behind the girls in BABYMETAL, who don’t need any encouragement to throw their ‘fox god’ hands in the centre stage’s direction or raise their hands and clap along to a catchy chorus or drumbeat, which leaves SU-METAL, MOAMETAL & YUIMETAL able to concentrate on their exhausting dance routines while engaging with their audience, keeping energy levels high! Their dance choreography is executed with military precision with not a fault in sight. Wembley isn’t just a ‘dress rehearsal’ for their worldwide tour, you can tell a lot of planning has gone on behind the scenes which is also supported by a live stream with multiple cameras around the stage capturing the concert and beaming it back home in Japan to a huge arena sized crowd, which must’ve been tough for their fans considering it would’ve been around 4am local time! Snippets of the crowd watching the concert in Japan are displayed on a giant screen at the back of the stage with eruptions of huge cheers from both sides of the world!
The slight downer of the evening was that the incredibly talented ‘Kami Band’ didn’t really get time to shine during tonight’s performance. They all played to their ‘god like’ levels of musicianship but unlike previous gigs when they were able to step forward and jam while the girls took a well earned breather, this time the ‘Kami Band’ remained at the back of the stage and had to display their solos at a restricted distance. I would’ve loved to see them break free from the stage and make use of the walkway, enjoying their moment to it’s full potential and really engaging with the fans.
With the walkway dividing the standing crowd, I was’t sure if we’d see any circle pits or the famous ‘wall of death’ but boy was I wrong about that! Multiple circle pits erupted throughout the show (to many fans excitement) and during the encore, which closed with ‘Road of Resistance’, SU-METAL stood centre stage, put her arms together and separated them and the fans knew exactly what to do next! Taking a minute to take in the incredible turnout for tonight’s show, there are many flags flying from at least ten different countries which just goes to prove that BABYMETAL’S music has exploded worldwide and it’s clear to see any ‘gimmick’ tags BABYMETAL may have been subject to will be blown away after tonight’s performance.
In the short time I’ve had to soak up ‘Metal Resistance’, ‘The One’ has quickly become a new favourite, right up there with ‘Road of Resistance’. Not because it’s entirely sung in English but the dynamics of the track are so powerful, it’s guaranteed to be a new fan favourite and highlight in any upcoming shows setlist!
What’s next for BABYMETAL? World domination is still clearly on the cards and with such a slick production and performance, could Wembley Stadium be in their sights? Time will tell but wherever BABYMETAL will be, their die hard fans won’t be far behind!
Catch Me If You Can (+Kami Band instrumental)
Doki Doki Morning
Ijime Dame Zettai
ENCORE: Road of Resistance
Were you at BABYMETAL’S Wembley Arena show?? Share your thoughts in the comments below!