BABYMETAL Concert in Cologne Report
Wait, JKT48Stuff reporting a BABYMETAL concert? Hold ‘yer horses people, we’re not changing our direction. Well, not yet. There are A LOT of things we can learn from this concert and the reason of why there’s a concert in the beginning. I’ll put some subtle messages on the report so that you, our dear readers and fellow JKT48 fans, can try to understand some of the most crucial points that might help our idol group to expand its wing.
So without further ado, the report:
A Pilgrimage to Heavy Metal Holy Land
BABYMETAL is coming to Europe? At the beginning, I was a little bit pessimistic. But when I heard the surprising achievement with their first album booked the first ranking in US and second ranking in UK and Germany on iTunes Store, I felt that the time has come. When it was announced they stopped at Cologne, Germany, I quickly laid my fingers to the computer to grab the ticket.
See how the power of digital music (iTunes Store) trespasses the continent, nationality and language, therefore I am very curious what is the reason to sell an album in iTunes Store but only available locally (Cough..)
At July 3, 2014, I woke up at 7 in the morning although I am in my summer holiday. From Tilburg, the city in southern Netherlands where I am currently living, I caught the train at 09.26 that brought me to Cologne (in German spelling it is written as Köln). The trip took 3 hours; including two times transfer in Venlo (the border between Netherlands and Germany) and in a station named Mönchengladbach Hbf. Around 1 PM, I arrived in Cologne and directly went to my hostel to rest my leg before the night.
From my personal note, it was my first multinational concert. I am an Indonesian studying in Netherlands watching Japanese artist in Germany. After the concert had finished, I realized it was not just a trip to watch concert. It was a pilgrimage.
Venue and Pre-Concert
According to time information in the ticket, the gate opened at 7 PM. But, I decided to come earlier to Live Music Hall at 5 PM. When I arrived, people had queued in front of the venue. Never imagine about lavish and spacious music hall or stadium. You will not easily notice that there is a music venue along the brick buildings, unless you see any queuing line around. No fancy promotional attributes such as posters, banners, pennants or flags. Instead, the big ballyhoo of “Transformers” is really stood out.
I hope for any Asian artists or Indonesian idol group that come to Europe, the venue condition does not shock them especially compared to the reception they always have in their home country or Asian countries. When we were queuing, sometimes we had to move a little to give room for cars that passed an office entrance beside the venue. Personally, I expected some outdoor venue for this concert since it is summer and Cologne was 27 degree Celsius at that time.
As I estimated before, the audience of Baby Metal concert in Cologne was 98% Western people. Most of them come from Germany and I talked to a few people who come from Netherlands.
Appearance-wise speaking, I categorized the audiences into three groups. The first group is metal heads, with printed black T-shirt furnished by metal band logo or the list of metal tours and several accessories like piercings or sunglasses. I spotted some old metal heads, men and women, presumably the same age with our mom and dad. The thing is, I cannot distinguish some young people there whether they are the real metal heads or just the posers.
The second group is Japanese culture enthusiasts contained of some girls wore Gothic Lolita outfits or some girls colored their hair like Hatsune Miku. I was in the third group that reveals no identity about group or community. I wore what I want to wear that make me keep chilling and flexible to jump or headbang during the concert.
Some Japanese fans walked around and asked all Japanese fans there to sign and write greetings for MoaMetal birthday at July 4, 2014.
There were interesting notes about some teen audiences. These teen audiences gave the impression that for Westerners, the Japanese pop group concert, even like BABYMETAL could be the family concert.
I met two Dutch-Indonesian brothers on the queuing line. They live in Helmond, also in southern Netherlands. They traveled with their parent to Cologne. Their parent waited for them somewhere in Cologne meanwhile the boys watched the concert. There were other two German brothers. Their parent drove them to venue, accompanied them in queuing line and supplied beverages and snacks to their sons.
Last but not least, a 10 years old girl (my guess) from Oost, in southern Netherlands again (OK Brabantian, next time we should arrange a group ticket instead and build a Dutch area around the venue) accompanied by her dad. Her dad was also bought the ticket and watched together with her daughter. That girl must be very proud of her dad.
When the door was opened, people rushed inside. A merchandise booth and beer stalls were still too tempting to resist. I understand how they behave, so I dashed to the front row. Alright, there were already some people stood on the front, so I took my spot two row behind the first row. But suddenly, two witty metal heads who reminds me of Bulk and Skull from “Power Rangers” realized there was a petite girl behind them and they let me to swap the spot until I can park on the first row, left side of stage (from audience point of view). The spot where I saw YuiMetal’s face clearly.
At 8 PM, the show started. The opening video was played and the screen showed footage of angel statue in Cologne. The angel statue may represent the landmark Kölner Dom (Cologne Cathedral), the biggest cathedral in Cologne with Gothic architecture style. Next, a storytelling about a holy mission that BABYMETAL carries to Western Europe. On the Western Europe – the holy land of heavy metal – the group had come to spread the metal resistance movement. Fans put the fox signs up in the air. The screen fell down, everyone was hysterical and here come the three heroines on the stage guarded by four Kami Band members. They are Mikio Fujioka (guitar), LEDA (guitar), BOH (bass) and Hideki Aoyama (drums).
The total duration of this concert was 1 hour. BABYMETAL played 12 songs and 2 encore songs. Here is the complete setlist:
1. BABYMETAL DEATH
2. Ii ne!
3. Uki Uki ★Midnight
4. Kami Band instrumental performance
5. Akumu no Rondo
6. Onedari Dai Sakusen
7. Catch Me If You Can
8. Benitsuki – Akatsuki –
9. 4 no Uta
11. Doki Doki ☆ Morning
12. Give Me Chocolate
14. Ijime, Dame, Zettai
During the concert, I remembered there was at least 4 times moshing. As far as I saw, not many fans brought red glow stick. The atmosphere was full-throttle from the beginning to the end of the concert. BABYMETAL pumped the crowd to headbanging, chanting, screaming, shouting and dancing at the same time.
As a front woman, SuMetal nailed her job excellently, although there was slight monitor problem so she cannot control her pitch at some occasions. She hypnotized and possessed the crowd with her alluring charm. Even so, the BABYMETAL name is still too heavy to be carried alone by SuMetal without her two little wings. The great appreciation to YuiMetal and MoaMetal for attractive and consistent moves on the stage also communication with audience with hand and eye gestures.
For anyone who came to this concert expecting abundant fan service, you came to the wrong concert. The concert is lack of interaction and fan services except for standard lines such as, “how are you?” and “let’s make some noise”. But regarding this is the one and only BABYMETAL performance in Germany, lesser fanservice does not mean so much. So yeah, what’s the point of having almost an hour talk session if it breaks the overall tension of the concert itself and almost bored the audiences to death?
Overall, it was very entertaining and eye-opening concert. I heard from a Belgian guy that there were some audiences that came to the concert without knowing about BABYMETAL before. They came just because their friend asked them. Ohanami, a Germany website concerned about Japanese pop culture rated BABYMETAL concert is the best one compare to One OK Rock concert in Bonn at 2014 and Maximum The Hormone in Cologne at 2011.
Here is some pictures after and before the concert as well as yours truly photos . I hope their pilgrimage to Europe can be a remarkable step for BABYMETAL career and an opportunity to visit Europe more often.
So that being said, can JKT48 do the same in the holy land of idol itself? Only time and effort will tell..
Special thanks for Steven from Ohanami.de for the great picture of me