BABYMETAL World Tour 2015 in Toronto
Submitted by guest contributor Johann Manzano
On May 12th, BABYMETAL made history as the first mainstream idol group to hold a concert in the city of Toronto with their performance at the Danforth Music Hall as part of their 2015 World Tour. The blog post announcing the first tour dates and venues was made February 10th and tickets for the Toronto concert went on sale February 13th giving fans lots of time to get ready to mosh’sh.
I can’t say I was much of a BABYMETAL fan before the announcement. My online idol fan friends were quick to comment on them when they debuted and while I like metal as a genre and idols are very important to me, I didn’t warm up to them at all. In 2014, BABYMETAL performed in Montreal (relatively close to Toronto compared to say, Japan) but due to my lack of interest and the distance, I didn’t bother. Since they were announced for Toronto, I had no excuse to not attend.
I took the day off work to line up on the morning of the show and arrived at the venue at 11AM and was approximately 30th or so in the VIP line. I, also, met up with 2 local idol fan friends for the first time. I shouldn’t have been surprised at how many people were wearing – THE ONE – t-shirts but I was. There were many fans in BABYMETAL hoodies and t-shirts, carrying various goods, flags, and the like. A few notable characters include Tomato-kun, who I believe was in Mexico and I later saw in pictures at Chicago, the bald French guy with the complete head paint job resembling the Bassist of Kami Band, including the “Toronto” on the back of his head. There were few cosplayers but those I saw pulled it off very well. The most notable one was a little girl, approximately 5 years old, accompanied with her parents.
Early on in the line experience, people started handing out Canadian Kitsune Dollars. At about, 3:30 VIP signoff occurred and the passes and passports were handed out. At 4:00, starting with the VIP line, we were given merch booth access though, Toronto didn’t have as much inventory as pictured at other shows.
VIPs were supposed to be allowed entry at 6:00 but actual entry didn’t happen until about sometime after 7:00. Getting in was pretty simple; there were the usual security checks, no food or water, chemical-type glowsticks were not allowed by security had no problems with my King Blades. The original event stated the performance was to start at 8:00 but the official BABYMETAL twitter account later tweeted an updated start time of 8:30.
Uki Uki ★ Midnight
Kami Band Performance
Akumu no Rondo
Onedari Dai Sakusen
Catch Me If You Can
(with Kami Band performance)
4 no Uta
Give Me Choco!!
Ijime, Dame, Zettai
Road of Resistance
As with most North American concerts involving idols, there’s a lot more emphasis on getting pictures and videos and getting as close as possible to the front causing a lot of pushing and phones in the air and views to be blocked. I’m not very tall at a below-Canadian-male average of 5’7” and spent most of my time unable to see. I managed to make it approximately 3-5 rows from the front, in the left center. I ended the show maybe 7-8 rows back just off center. Since most of the people towards the front of the venue were more focused with pictures, videos, and the sort, there wasn’t a lot of crowd participation. I looked back periodically and noticed more metalheads and the moshing bunch towards the mid center of the pit. They did small WoDs at the appropriate times. I regret not joining them.
Audio-wise, being in the pit is sensory overload. I regretfully forgot to bring earplugs to balance out the excessive noise but overall, it was fine. If I had to nitpick, I’ve never really been a fan of how Su Metal sings the intro to Akatsuki when doing it live but no big deal. Given the less than ideal experience in the pit, a better review of the musical performance can’t be given but there were no noticeable weak spots. Everything sounded like their DVD concerts except you were actually in the pit to experience it.
The award for the most interesting happening at the concert goes to the the actions of the little 5 year old cosplayer’s parents. When I first saw her and her parents walking up and down the line, I was thinking, I certainly hope she’s up in the mezzanine / balcony, except once we got into the venue, I saw her and her parents in the pit and was like… oh, OK. I forget about all of that during the show until about 3/4ths of the way through and I’ve been pushed all over the front middle of the pit. I end up seeing the little girl again and she’s on her dad’s shoulders, complete with (what looks to be) industrial-level earmuffs. The dad’s pretty big and looks to be handling any push pressure from behind but the mom was full zone defense in front of the father, facing them, stiff arms spread out, slight bend in the knees, prepared for anything and everything that could bring harm to her daughter. She did not appear to be concerned about the show at all. Kudos to those parents enabling their child to see such concerts.
The video that played as an introduction to the concert describes BABYMETAL as “Traversing across continents – Breaking language barriers – Transcending generations – Unifying the world with a new type of HEAVY METAL”. With the success that they have received worldwide in such a short amount of time relative to some other Japanese acts that have tried to make it big globally, I’d say that BABYMETAL has definitely met their goals as described: they have had two successful World Tours across many continents, in countries that don’t have strong Japanese populations, watched by children and first time concert goers, and metal heads and veteran concert goers, transcending many generations. I really hope to see more of them on an international level and hope that they can find the time to get back into the studio and put out more material.