This issue of the free Korean magazine HOTTRACKS features a report of the 7th StoryConcert tour, which took place between December 2010 and January 2011. The article also contains some photos of the live performance.
A million thanks to HIS MASK, who translated the article!
―a world of fantasy music.
Sound Horizon 7th Story Märchen Live
After I happened to hear about it some years ago, Sound Horizon -who call themselves a Fantasy Band-’s music has always seemed special to me. Actually, Sound Horizon is a one-man band where Revo, the leader, commands it and makes all the music. He completes his albums by inviting many singers and musicians that fit his music concept. The albums, which convey Revo’s unique concept of the world inside, tell stories just by themselves. Sound Horizon unravels the stories through lives named ‘Story Concerts’.
Following the release of the Prologue Maxi Single <イドへ至る森へ至るイド(Ido e Itaru Mori e Itaru Ido)> in June 2010, Sound Horizon has released a new album, 「7th Story Märchen」, on December 15th. Inspired by the German fairytales by the Grimm brothers, this album has been very successful, ranking 2nd place in the Weekly Oricon Charts just after BUMP OF CHICKEN‘s new album. Specifically the limited edition of this album, as if to celebrate the seventh story, displays the Chinese character ‘七’ when opened, and also contains a 77-page booklet made by Yokoyan, the illustrator. The credits, all written in German, are also a unique factor of this album.
Among the live performances they had held in Tokyo and Yokohama in late December of 2010, I was able to see the lives held at the Tokyo International Forum on the 29th and 30th of December. Since I had seen their performances in both June 2009 & 2010, it’s my third time attending their concerts. However, since the previous ones I saw were non-regular concerts called ‘Celebration of Revo’s Inception’, in which a mix of popular songs were sung. I was very excited because it was my first time attending a ‘Story Concert’.
Even at a time when plenty of time was left till the concert, many fans were already crowded at the Tokyo International Forum. Everyone was standing in line to buy concert goods. Among all the goods, the most amusing thing was the passport. Sound Horizon issues a fake passport from Sound Horizon Kingdom. And at each live performance, fans enter the concert hall after pressing the stamp on the visa pages. As they enter the concert hall, they are becoming citizens of an imaginary country.
At last, the live performance began. Since this was a story concert in which performs the albums are performed in the original order of the tracks, the first song performed in this live was <光と闇の童話 (Hikari to Yami no Douwa)>, the first track of the Maxi Single. Märchen, who is Revo’s alter ego, appears and sings about the event that becomes the very start of all the following ones. Although I felt it was a pity that Marty Friedman, a guitarist who had performed in the concert in June, hadn’t come this time, various stage props such as the well, the beautiful dance moves of the dancers, the band consisting of 5 people and the strings all became one and provided interesting sounds and sights. Elise, a doll who appears with Märchen, showed the artificialness of a doll by using the famous VOCALOID character Miku Hatsune. In the next song, Elizabeth ―a character played by Joelle― appears. It is <この狭い鳥籠の中で (Kono Semai Torikago no Naka de)>, a song in which Joelle’s unique singing stands out. Next was <彼女が魔女になった理由 (Kanojo ga Majo ni Natta Riyuu)>, a song in which MIKI’s passionate singing and acting skills stand out. Since MIKI played almost all the bad characters throughout the concert, she was the busiest star in this live.
After a short conversation between Märchen and Elise, the songs of the new album 「Märchen」 were finally performed. As I said above, this album’s theme is based on the German fairytales written by the Brothers Grimm. With the concept of the seven sins added to this, the revenge tragedy is performed. In <宵闇の唄 (Yoiyami no Uta)>, the first song, Märchen and Elise appear and introduce the main characters that will appear throughout the performance. Things such as the outfits made to fit the illustrations perfectly and Beethoven’s ‘Ode to Joy’*, which was sung by all the members when it came out all of a sudden right in the middle of the song, were impressive. Then, the seven stories started with Märchen and Elise’s introduction. <火刑の魔女 (Kakei no Majo)> is a story of a nun’s revenge, and uses the well-known tale ‘Hansel and Gretel’. Not only was the beautiful singing of the main character played by Kanami Ayano good, but the acting of the children also was excellent.
In the next song, <黒き女将の宿 (Kuroki Okami no Yado)>, REMI, a female singer who sang with her great voice in the previous two albums, and Jimang, who is an important person in Sound Horizon, took the main roles. After Jimang had appeared on stage in a hilarious shape, he was cheered throughout the song as he leaded it. The motif of the next song, <硝子の棺で眠る姫君 (Glass no Hitsugi de Nemuru Himegimi)>, was brought from ‘Snow White’―the famous story of envy. Tomoyo Kurosawa, who had participated in the ‘6th Story Concert Moira’ as a child actor, played the role of Snow White and showed us her cute acting and singing. MIKI displayed the true spirit of playing the villain by being the Queen, and Jimang played yet another funny character. The prince was Yume Suzuki, who had never participated in SH before, showed off some handsomeness even though she was a woman. I felt as if I was watching a performance by the Takarazuka Revue**.
Next was <生と死を別つ境界の古井戸 (Sei to Shi wo Wakatsu Kyoukai no Furuido)>, a song in which Ceui, an animelo singer, played the main role. The song’s story was borrowed from ‘Mother Holle’. Surprisingly enough, the one who acted as Mother Holle was Azumi Inoue, the person who sang the theme songs of ‘My Neighbor Totoro’ and ‘Laputa: Castle in the Sky’. Unlike the other songs which themes were rather a bit depressing, this song felt light and refreshing. The following song, <薔薇の塔で眠る姫君 (Bara no Tou de Nemuru Himegimi)>, was about pride and was based on ‘Sleeping Beauty’. The famous animelo singer Mikuni Shimokawa, who had visited Korea in 2008, played the main role and showed stunning singing and acting skills. Though the story was a well-known one, Sound Horizon’s unique music and fabulous stage added some fascination to it.
In <青き伯爵の城 (Aoki Hakushaku no Shiro)>, Revo used the rather bloody story of ‘Blue Beard’. Akio Ohtsuka, who had narrated with his manly voice in the June concert, plays the role of the villain impressively. In the last of the seven stories, <磔刑の聖女 (Haritsuke to Seijo)>, Joelle, who had sang in <イドへ至る森へ至るイド (Ido e Itaru Mori e Itaru Ido)>, again played the role of Elizabeth and let her splendid voice shine as she sang a very sorrowful song. And when Märchen met Elizabeth and found his memories, the story was near to its conclusion. 「Märchen」 ended with <暁光の唄 (Gyoukou no Uta)>, a song sung by Revo dressed up as Märchen. The encores and the funny introductions of the members were bonuses of the live concert that was already perfect. The whole performance came to an end as fans sang the official anthem of Sound Horizon Kingdom: The Glory Kingdom.
In this concert, the unusual form of music, dancing, and acting blended into one was very entertaining. The most impressive thing was that the acting and the music were enjoyable and of a high quality, as if they were ones of a musical. Since they have lots of Korean fans, I hope someday that I’ll be able to see their unique performances in Korea.
* Beethoven’s ‘Ode to Joy’ ―Though the original text said ‘Schiller’s ‘Ode to Joy’’, I took it as a mistake and corrected it. As a translator I know I shouldn’t fix the contents of the article, and though I know the fact the part of Beethoven’s song that had been sung in ‘Yoiyami no Uta’ had lines from Schiller’s ‘Ode to Joy’, the SH crew sang Beethoven’s song, not cite Schiller’s poem.
** Takarazuka Revue ―A Japanese all-female musical theater troupe based in Takarazuka. All the roles, including male roles, are played by women. More info here.