PENICILLIN Sees First-Ever Collaboration With Orchestra At Tour Final



Even after 22 years since their debut, there seems to be no slowing down of PENICILLIN’s momentum, brilliance and a sense of adventure. This may be easy to right, but when you stop to think about it, it’s indeed a miraculous thing. Obviously, all the members have upped their skills with time and made their shows more and more powerful over the years, but in the case of HAKUEI, Chisato and O-JIRO, even their appearances seems to have become frozen in time. Even with that said though, there isn’t a sense that the members are always walking around with the weight of the band’s name upon their shoulders. They seem to carry a highly down-to-earth, natural demeanor and act according to their initial intentions. I was reminded about that at their live show at Zepp DiverCity on April 12 (Sat).

This is the final show of , PENICILLIN’s national tour held in promotion of their first original album release in three years, “Ruri Iro no Providence”. As the theme song for “A Space Odyssey” rings loudly throughout the hall, the members appear on stage. With HAKUEI making his appearance with a flamboyant white-feathered stole, the over-the-top fashion was an indication that our expectations will not be met with disappointment. “Inazuma”, a metallic tune pumped with PENICILLIN DNA, is the opener for this days show. Right off the bat, Chisato takes center stage and begins shredding.

With no time to waste, the song is immediately followed by the heaviest and the most chaotic tune from the new album, “Kioku no Koshitsu ~Tokeyuku Jikan~”. After putting on an explosive performance with the song, the next song in line is “Gensou Catharsis”, a single track featuring a fusion of bitter-sweet melodies and signature PENICILLIN sound. The band’s experience covering a representative popular song from the Showa era for this single has paved the roads to their numerous new sounds. The song “Himitsu no Dessert” is a rock ‘n’ roll track filled with HAKUEI’s eroticism. The song showed potential to be the next live standard tune. Although it may sound straightforward, the way all the instruments interact with each other is nothing but straightforward. Chisato, O-Jiro and HIROKI’s (Support bassist) band ensemble also draws your attention.

“This is the final! It’s a good day, isn’t it? I have a feeling it’s usually rained at least seven times out of ten (lol)”, says HAKUEI, and elicits some laughter from the crowd. The band continues to play song after song from their new album. “Princess Academy” written by O-JIRO has many highlights for drums including the part where the song makes a shift to 6/8. The grand, melodic tune “Fantastic Fantasy” accentuated by Chisato’s dynamic guitars had masterpiece written all over it with the potential to become a new addition to PENICILLIN’s representative works. In between such songs from the albums were their dramatic and decadent tracks like “Bara”. The setlist is indeed very well thought out.

The talk time saw a very familiar scene. The fans boo as Chisato, a notorious “rain person”, says, “I’m a sunshine person”. As O-JIRO jokes around about whether he could get inside a Gundam or not, Chisato asks the crowd, “So this is DiverCity, but why isn’t everyone wearing diving suits or snorkels?” The relaxed, joking atmosphere quickly changed with the following MC by HAKUEI:

“Have you all listened to our album? I don’t mean to brag, but I think we’ve got a masterpiece. We’ve celebrated our 22nd anniversary this year but our feelings towards our music and band have not changed at all. We love music and we love our band. The biggest change is that there are more people including fans around us that give us support. Thank you. Please listen to the last song from the album singing about maternal love.”

With that said, the bang proceeded to perform “Yasashii Uta” a ballad fitting for this season when the cherry blossom are beginning to fall. The show quickly picks up where it left off. Chisato and HIROKI step onto platforms on either sides of the stage in order to further excite the fans as they put on a thrilling performance of “Sei・MARIAN HURRICANE”. The crowd goes wild as HAKUEI and Chisato engage in vocal call and response during “Kaikan∞Fiction” and O-JIRO gets the fan going by standing up on the drum platform during “JUSTICE”. The band pulls the crowd faster and faster as the show approaches towards the end of the show, showing the live performance skills of a true veteran band. The main part of the show came to a close with “Tenshi yo Mezamete”, one of the fans’ favorite live tunes.

As the curtains go up to begin the encore performance, the audience cheers wildly in surprise. As the mirror ball spins around and around reflecting light, the first song off of the album, “Shonen no Tsubasa”, begins playing with an orchestra in the background. This may come as surprise for some, but this is the first time for PENICILLIN to perform with a real strings section. A soothing sound washes everyone’s hearts as HAKUEI’s warm vocals blend with the tones of the violin and cello. Carrying on with the orchestra, the band proceeds to play their big-hit tune “Romance” as a special 22nd year present to the fans.

“Lastly, let’s have one more blast!”, with those words, the band begins to play “Imitation Queen” for a double encore. The heated fans continue to call for an encore after this, which elicits the band to come back for the third time and play three more songs that were initially not on their setlist. As the show comes to its close, HAKUEI steps down onto the floor as he gives hi-fives to the fans. Chisato, who stayed on stage to the very end, says, “I don’t want it to end. I feel like I was able to see a bright blue world today. Thank you”, as he finally steps off the stage.

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