“Where Dark and Light are One”
- Event: BABYMETAL World Tour 2018
- Date: Tuesday, May 15th, 2018
- Location: The Tabernacle, Atlanta
Intro: Metal Resistance Ep VII
Despite it being Tuesday at 4:00 pm, there was already a long line forming in the Centennial Olympic Park district in anticipation of BABYMETAL. A diverse crowd of older metal-heads and cosplaying youngins found themselves deep in conversation about the new lore introduced with the tour. Many were wearing black and/or red, the band's usual color choices when it comes to their wardrobe. It had been announced that Yuimetal would not be able to make the American Tour, and some wondered if that had something to do with the promised introduction of 'The Chosen Seven'. With cryptic images on Instagram and a video describing seven metal beings from the dark side, no one was sure what the Fox God had planned.
Security was tight with purse checks and pat downs but the line moved quickly once the doors opened. The merch line was instantly long but with the 8 or so bars throughout the Tabernacle, you didn't have long to wait for a drink. The lowest level was where the merchandise was set up consisting of many shirts, keychains, hats, and flanked by two bars. The smoking area was also located just outside, separated from the inside by a thick flap. Going up one flight led you to the main floor. The floor above that was for VIP members with comfortable chairs and still above that was the balcony seating with regular theater-style chairs with bars on each floor.
Being that the concert was sold out even with the venue's capacity of 2,600 people, it was packed and many were relegated to the balcony before the show even started. Despite metal fans being known for their rowdiness, it was a generally polite crowd, respectful of the all-ages nature of the show. Some people were drinking but weren't causing a scene, and many taller fans allowed shorter fans closer spots to the stage. Everyone was excited to see the kind of show BABYMETAL would put on with 1/3 of their members missing and in light of the new prophecy being whispered about online.
Performance: Behold the Metal Spirits!
At about 9:10, a video similar to one that had been used to introduce the Metal Resistance Ep VII saga began playing. Images of portals, imposing spirits, and dark and light mixing together in an otherworldly way captivated the audience. A deep voice playing over the video explained that light and darkness cannot exist without the other and that these seven metal spirits called the Chosen Seven were ordered to descend from the Dark Side by the Fox God. The voice explained that these spirits do not necessarily exist on the same plane, nor could the audience know when, where, or how they would manifest. Possibly left with more questions than answers, the video ended and the music began.
As the curtain dropped, the crowd erupted into applause and cheers. Fox hand-signs were raised to welcome the followers of the Fox God. 4 mage-looking girls in black garments, imposing pointed hats, and black facemasks waved impressive staffs. After "IN THE NAME OF" was over, the lights went out. Despite not moving much, their movements were so powerful and captivating that everyone was eagerly anticipating the rest of the show. When the lights returned, Moametal stood in the back with two backup dancers and Su-metal at the front in slightly different outfits than they had been in before. The crowd went wild upon hearing the new song that had been released to herald the 2018 tour, "Distortion". Everyone was singing along to the 'whoa whoa whoa whoa's and a lot of people were either raising their arms or headbanging.
They continued through their set list and they never lost energy. Each song had impressive, fast-paced choreography that left you amazed at Su-metal's and Moametal's endurance. The white-faced Kami Band played powerfully as always. It felt like you were being struck by the chords and your heart accelerated with the music. The harsh vocals against Su-metal's sweet yet commanding voice were just the dissonance everyone was anticipating.
"Megitsune" was especially well-received as there are many easy parts for the audience to join in and sing or yell along. With its mysterious and melodious vocals accompanied by blood-curdling screams and heavy bass, "Megitsune" got the crowd super hyped and a mosh pit that had been threatening to form the whole time erupted. For a song that has more Japanese sound and lyric inspiration (as it references Japanese fox spirits and reimagines the Japanese folk song Sakura's melody in a most creepy, enchanting way) it really resonated with the crowd. Again fox-hand signs were aggressively thrust into the air.
Towards the end, BABYMETAL took a short break which they surely needed after such vigorous dancing and non-stop singing but it was a nice moment for the audience to recharge as well. Emotionally and physically spent, we waited patiently for BABYMETAL to return. They came back with "Road of Resistance" and Su-metal, Moametal, and the backup dancers did a flag routine with a black-and-white image from the Distortion single of the eclipsed sun. Then, when it got to the heavy part of the song, the crowd started jumping and shoving each other again in a second wave of energy. BABYMETAL finished off the night with a powerful performance of "The One", bringing the everyone back together again. The English lyrics helped reach everyone to create a greater sense of unity with the primarily English-speaking crowd. Its rather calm start had almost a hypnotizing effect on the audience but once the heavy guitars kicked in, the crowd responded with lots of cheering and screaming. Once the lights turned on and the show was over, everyone was tired but pleased despite the relatively short length of the concert at just about an hour.
Outro: A World of Opposites that Creates a Unique Balance
Whether it was through slow uniform motions of staffs or flags or fast-paced jumping and arm movements, BABYMETAL had the crowd at their mercy. They didn't address the crowd. Instead, they appeared as high priestesses sharing their wisdom with the common people desperate to hear their words. Despite being rather young, they commanded the audience's attention and put on an excellent performance. No one could deny their power and intensity and as diverse a crowd as it was, everyone left feeling good.
Through the lights and visuals, it really feels as if you're being shown something from a different plane of existence from the Kami Band's corpse-like makeup, the costumes worn by the girls, and the intermingling of darkness and light. Illuminated by dark red for a more powerful feel, white strobe lights for intensity and fog sweeping across the floor added to the spiritual feel surrounding BABYMETAL's music.
One special moment was when they played "Gimme Chocolate!!" which is an old and very well-known song. Both old and new fans were familiar and excited for the cute and simple lyrics with the heavy metal music pounding their ears. While Su-metal and Moametal hadn't been very close to each other for most of the concert, their choreography played off each other and the result was adorable. It's incredible how they can go from child-like attitudes to a full-on commanding presence, but it's that dichotomy that makes them such a fun and incredible band to see live.