Babymetal launched their 2016 world tour with an energetic, theatrical show at the SSE Arena, Wembley last night (April 2), featuring vanishing tricks, flag parades and Star Wars tributes.

The Japanese band, whose combination of J-Pop and thrash metal has made them superstars across the globe, were introduced by a film declaring the show ‘Metal Resistance Episode IV: Reincarnation’ and laying out some of the band’s strange mythology about a “Fox God” sending “heavy metal traversing across the world” in “infinite loops”. Three masked figures in white robes then appeared on a raised stage designed like an ancient temple behind the white-faced band, only to disappear with a huge bang as the trio of teenage singers Suzuka Nakamoto (or Su-metal), Yui Mizuno (Yuimetal) and Moa Kikuchi (Moametal) appeared on a circular stage in the centre of the arena in their trademark black outfits, a rock take on the Japanese idol singer aesthetic.

Thank you for coming to see us at Wembley! We love you all and became THE ONE! #BABYMETAL #London #MetalResistance

A photo posted by BABYMETAL (@babymetal_jpn) on

The singers performed ABBA-style dance moves and synchronised pointing to the punishing ‘Babymetal Death’ before their pop side took control for ‘Awadama Fever’, which saw them mimicking traditional Eastern European dance. Their choreographed routines continued through ‘line!’ and ‘YAVA!’ until ‘Akatsuki’ darkened the tone, a show-tune ballad sung by Su-metal in a black cape, running along a flame-flanked ego ramp.

Though Babymetal premiered songs from their new album ‘Metal Resistance’ that explore more varied musical styles such as hip-hop (‘GJ!’), military anthems (‘Meta Taro’) and reggae (‘Amore’), the highlights of the show were the pure pop hits from their self-titled 2014 debut album ‘Doki Doki☆Morning’ and ‘Gimme Chocolate!!’, and a film introducing ‘4no Uta’ which gave a heavy metal twist to Star Wars imagery, complete with a Darth Vader with devil horns.

A film asking “why do people hurt each other? Who do they hurt them for?” and advocating “no more bullying forever” and, incongruously, “WALL OF DEATH” introduced ‘Ijime, Dame, Zettai!’, which saw the singers miming a kung fu fight. The main set closed with ‘The One’, featuring a slide show of the band’s UK rise, footage of the audience of “10,000 living lights of heavy metal” being streamed live to Japan and Su-metal, Yuimetal and Moametal rising from the upper stage in black robes. For the anthemic encore of ‘Road Of Resistance’, the trio paraded along the ramp waving Babymetal flags and closed the song with Su-metal hitting a huge gong. “We are going back to Japan,” Su-metal told the crowd, “but always remember we are on your side.”

Babymetal played:

Babymetal Death
Awadama Fever
Line!
YAVA!
Akatsuki
GJ!
Catch Me If You Can
Doki Doki☆Morning
Meta Taro
4no Uta
Amore
Megitsune
Karate
Ijime, Dame, Zettai!
Gimme Chocolate!!
The One
Road Of Resistance