Ave Babymetal – Live Legend 1999 1997 Apocalypse (2013) DVD Review

Posted: June 29, 2017 in Babymetal, Classic Rock, Cool stuff, General, TV & Movies

Not available in Europe, I had to hunt down the second Babymetal DVD (still have to get my hands on the very first) “Live Legend 1999 1997 Apocalypse” on import. 2013 was the big buildup year for Babymetal on the Japanese market. No longer a school project, although Yuimetal and Moametal was still part of Sakura Gakuin (until early 2015), Babymetal was now a serious enterprise. Featured on this DVD we find two concerts, the first having been captured at the NHK Hall in Tokyo (capacity, 3,800) on June 30 2013 and the second at the Makuhari Messe Hall (Capacity 9,000) on December 21, also in Tokyo. No opening acts. First show was dedicated to Yuimetal and Moametal (the date was close to their birthdays) and the second celebrated Su-metal (dito). This explains the slightly weird title of this DVD, since Yui and Moa was born in 1999 and Su in 1997. This being from 2013, you have to paus and consider how young they were. Not that you can complain. The girls were already complete professionals.

The first DVD (1999) includes the following track list: 1. “Babymetal Death”, 2. “Iine”, 3. “Answer For Animation With You”, 4. “Uki Uki Midnight”, 5. “Chokotto Love”, 6. “Love Machine”, 7. “Onedari Daisakusen”, 8. “No Rain, No Rainbow”, 9. “Catch Me If You Can”, 10. “Doki Doki Morning”, 11. “Megitsune”, 12. “Ijime, Dame, Zettai”, 13. “Akatsuki” and 14. “Headbanger!”.

“Babymetal Death” will always be a strong opening track and they certainly go for broke here. “Iine” is happy as hell and very very catchy. The obscure track (featured on both nights here) “Answer For Animation With You” is a nice surprise and I quite like it. “Uki Uki Midnight” has the crowd going again bigtime and then we hear Elgar´s “Land Of Hope And Glory” as some weird animated Babymetal mythology on Yui and Moa takes us to the special event of the evening, celebrating their birthdays (this is repeated but for Su on the 1997 DVD). So you get two songs here that has probably never been performed since. “Chokotto Love” and “Love Machine”, both pretty decent songs in my opinion and certainly well executed here. These were picked to represent the year 1999. “Chokotto Love” (performed by Yui) and “Love Machine” (performed by Moa) were songs originally released by Petitmoni and Morning Sesumi the year they were born. Here they get the full Babymetal treatment and you have to wonder how many pop songs there are out there that Babymetal could have a go at (how about a Tribute album some day, just for the hell of it?). By the time they launch into “No Rain, No Rainbow” the Kami Band (all dressed in white) is on stage. Not sure who hid in the black skeleton jumpers during the first songs, or if it was even prerecorded to some extent, but here is the real deal. This is true Power Metal and the theme continues in “Akatsuki” in which Su is the Queen of Kawaii Metal, posing like she has done it for decades. It really is quite extraordinary what they pull off at this early point in their career. The mayhem continues with the finale, as they wrap up proceedings with “Headbanger!”. Su striking heroic poses with her glittering mini mikestand, Yui and Moa shooting off smoke and confetti with slightly sinister looking guns (see Yui on top image). Looks like it is a lot of fun though and it certainly is a good visual. The Metal party is coming to an end and the public laps it up. Clearly, Babymetal is taking things to a new level. Throughout the show, we have had little bits of animated mythology thrown in (the instrumentals had not yet been introduced so the girls really had to work like crazy) and this evening ends with the promise of the concert for Su-metal on December 21 at the big Makuhari Messe Hall. The audience love it, it is quite a move. My guess is that many decided on the spot to attend that gig too.

Set list of second DVD (1997): 1. “Ave Maria” intro and “Headbanger!”, 2. “Doki Doki Morning”, 3. “Iine”, 4. Tamashii No Refrain”, 5. “Uki Uki Midnight”, 6. “Gimme Chocolate!!”, 7. “Answer For Animation With You”, 8. “Megitsune”, 9. “Ijime, Dame, Zettai”, 10. “Onedari Daisakusen”, 11. “Catch Me If You Can”, 12. “Headbanger!”, 13. “Akatsuki” and 14. “Babymetal Death”.

The intro here is beautiful, and “Ave Maria” sees the girls walk out on a stage with a huge statue of the virgin Mary towering behind them (shades of Metallica, but this is Babymetal´s vision). The stage is indeed spectacular. We have to stop and ponder how unique it is for a band to play in front of 9,000 with a monster stage like this before the first album. The show begins with a surprise, as “Headbanger!” is performed in a techno kind of style (it is referred to as the “Night of 15 mix” on Wikipedia), not what you would expect. Not my cup of tea but things are quickly back to normal as they head into “Doki Doki Morning” and “Iine”. Then Su has her birthday moment and she picks a song from 1997 by artist Yoko Takahashi called “Tamashii No Refrain” as her cover. Good song too. “Uki Uki Midnight” follows and then the crowd is treated to “Gimme Chocolate!!” (the official video matches what you see here to a large extent, as they used this film for it). Clearly, this is history in the making. “Ijime, Dame, Zettai” includes some violent headbanging and it looks like Moa is in some pain but soldiers on. Come “Onedari Daisakusen” the Kami Band is on stage (I guess they used these shows to introduce them) and the set ends strongly with “Catch Me If You Can” before some additional animated mythology (this time about Su) leading into “Akatsuki”. It all ends on a high note with “Babymetal Death” performed with Su being crucified on stage in a very ritualistic piece of theater. I know that some religious fundamentalists have tried to make something out of all this but this is Japan, it is not to be taken too seriously. Come the finale, the virgin Mary statue falls (or half of it slides off). Very powerful image. Then the audience is informed that Babymetal will not only release their first album in February (2014), but they have booked not one but two nights at the super prestigious Budokan. The crowd must be in awe at this spectacular announcement. This way of doing things has continued. On the second night at the Budokan in March 2014, the audience was informed that Babymetal was leaving Japan for new adventures elsewhere. This was done in a spectacular way that was then continued on the introduction of the “Live In London” (2014) DVD. It goes on and on, it is all very beautiful and emotional (I admit I have shed a tear or two watching the Budokan finale, it touches me deeply for some reason).

All in all a spectacular release and I was slightly surprised to see just how good they were even in 2013. Not sure why this one has not been released in Europe since it is of some historical importance (not to mention how good it is). I have to assume that export sales from Japan are looking good though. But at some point Babymetal need to have all their stuff out there. This is the stuff of legends after all.

See the official trailer for this DVD here. Watch “Headbanger!” reaction from the 1997 show here (muted sound but adorable).

(Thank you Kalle for your support)

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Comments
  1. […] on this blog: “Live At Tokyo Dome” here, “Live Legend 1999 1997 Apocalypse” here. “Live At Budokan” […]

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