1997/06/03, Joseph's Well, Leeds, UK

Distance Over Time 1997

March 28
 Birmingham (cancelled)

June 3
June 7
June 9
June 10
June 11
June 13
June 28
July 10
July 12
July 18
July 20

A warm up concert before the tour in Joseph's Well pub in Leeds under the name of "New Meth Experience". The gig was announced via Internet the day before, so folks started gathering early in the morning. 300 or so free tickets were handled out way before the start of the gig. Those lucky ones who got them had a chance to spend few hours in an extremely humid and hot environment watching blond Eldritch and the new Sisters lineup going through older songs, premiering the new one, taking a piss of Kylie Minough and in general trying to remember what to do when you're onstage.

Apparently, Eldritch got fed up with the gig way before it finished, aborted Vision Thing and walked out. After returning only part of remaining setlist was played. Later, Andrew summarized his impressions of the gig: "Going along to Near Meth events teaches me what *not* to do at Sisters concerts. After last night, I know only too well."

The warm-up gigs tradition, started with few "test gigs" in early 1990 and continued with Leeds gig in 1996, was stopped after this gig -- maybe because of Andrew's dissatisfaction with the gig, but most likely because of highly negative Melody Maker's (UK music newspaper) review of this show which called Andrew "atrocious impression of himself and his band's magic past" without caring to mention that what they reviewed was more a free public rehearsal than a full-quality concert. Naturally, decent British dates of the tour were skipped by both Melody Maker and other major UK music newspaper, New Musical Express.

Reportedly, a lot of people had DATs/cameras, although -- from what I've heard -- the sound recording of the gig is pretty hard to find.

Setlist | Reviews | Links

  • Kiss the Carpet
  • Come Together
  • Giving Ground
  • Ribbons
  • Amphetamine Logic
  • Under the Gun
  • Train/Detonation Boulevard
  • Dominion/Mother Russia
  • On the Wire/Teachers/On the Wire
  • Anaconda
  • War on Drugs (premiere)
  • Burn
  • Temple of Love
  • Flood II
  • Blood Money
  • This Corrosion
  • Vision Thing (aborted)
  • Something Fast
  • Vision Thing
    <short break>
  • Confide in Me

    Unplayed encore:

  • First and Last and Always
  • Jolene
  • Body Electric
  • Thanks to Spiritwalker@zoetic.demon.co.uk and Sven Togni (togni@pandora.be)

    Setlist | Reviews | Links

    Written by Robin Colman (sisters@pandora.be), German translation was published in Head and Star fanzine

    A small pub near to the Leeds University, where the Sisters played some of their very first gigs, called "Joseph's Well". That's the place where everything will happen today.

    Hundreds of people were together in front of the pub, trying to get it. People from the Sisters crew were giving away free tickets to get in and it was a real struggle. Only 250 were allowed in the hall, but there must have been at least 100 more.

    Sweat sweat sweat. I am used to sweat every time I go to see the Sisters live experience, but usually not hours before the start of the gig.

    There's the new line-up. Of course there still is Andrew on vocals and Dr.A on drums and bass, Adam Pearson on lead guitar, Ravey Davey as a nurse to the Doktor and Chris Sheehan as a second guitar. Chris is currently helping some friends out on a world tour so he is temporarily replaced by Michael. That's what Andrew told me anyway.

    The Sisters came on stage with a lot of smoke an a lot of noise. Too much smoke as one of the smoke machines had a failure and refused to work correctly. It was impossible to see your neighbor's face, and it was even more impossible to see the stage. The PA was very bad and mostly just quiet, the stage monitors were just forgotten to put in and the sound was sometimes really bad.

    Kiss the Carpet was almost great, Andrew was still blonde, Come Together sounded different, Giving Ground stays my favorite song, Logic was played unbelievably fast, Dominion was a real surprise, long time since he has played this, but it seemed to me that the new guitarist was playing This Corrosion instead? Might have been the bad PA again, I'm not sure.

    After Anaconda it was time for the first new song of the evening: War on Drugs, at last something new from Andrew's hand. The drums sounded great and I couldn't help thinking about Silver Machine from 1993. The guitarists were not really familiar with the song yet, and their guitars were mixed far too low. Andrew's monitor didn't work like it should do during the whole show: "I can't hear myself if you sing along, you're out of time and I'm out of tune..." Anyhow, the song might get great once they've played it a few times and people recognize it.

    Then there was Burn, of which Andrew only sang half lyrics, a very short version of Temple of Love, Flood II and the biggest surprise of today. Blood Money! It had always been one of the finest Sisters songs and it sounds marvelous on stage (when there's a better PA?) The highlight of today's show.

    Up to This Corrosion and then Vision Thing. The song was started but aborted very soon, Von E. said something ununderstandable and went off stage (not that anybody could see, because the smoke got more and more intense each minute). He probably got tired of the smoke, the heat and the bad sound.

    Luckily for us he reentered with much better sounding Something Fast and the retry of Vision Thing. Mightily this time.

    Only one more song was played, again a surprise. Kylie Minogue's Confide in Me. Andrew was expected back on stage for more encores but he didn't. Maybe the quality of the gig was not what he wanted? He probably just got tired of the sound, the smoke and the bad PA.

    This was the real experience, definitely near meth experience. I can't wait for the next gig to come.

    Backstage, Andrew is giving somebody a real speech about Copyrights, the man who is listening (and turning real red) is known as Ian and has always put a lot of stuff on the Internet.

    Written by Chris Sampson (Chris@cgs123.demon.co.uk) for Dominion mailing list

    Bit of a pre-season stroll this as far as performance goes, but a top night out. Top marks for Dr C's appalling Hawaiian shirt (there are limits to this anti-goth thing and they have now been reached). Air Con wouldn't have gone amiss in there, and given that there was some mighty ticket scam going on I'd say there were at least 50 people more than the house limit in there.

    The sound mix wasn't great: PA in general too quiet and the guitars were too low in the mix. Von's monitor wasn't working so he couldn't hear himself ("I can't hear myself if you sing along; you're out of time and I'm out of tune"), and there was an almighty cock-up with a smoke machine that got stuck on half way through - you could barely see your hand in front of your face let alone the stage! New guitarist Mike couldn't see the set list and was playing This Corrosion during Dominion (was there a dedication to the internet crowd, or was I imagining things?). Despite the problems, a mighty Ribbons shook the building and a speeded up Amphetamine Logic was searing in its brilliance. War on Drugs needs work but sounds promising and indicative of a very hard-edged new direction. Burn was verging on shambolic with Von losing patience at not being able to hear himself and not bothering singing half the lyrics. Temple started half way through for some reason but a mighty sing along This Corrosion upped the tempo. After an aborted start at Vision Thing, Von mumbled something and the band disappeared off stage, not that anyone could see by then. They reappeared and sounded better for Something Fast and a savagely sarcastic Vision Thing and then made what shall be called a brave stab at Confide In Me. Wot, no Alice?

    Sarah, Ian and I managed to storm the dressing room post-gig and found Von and the boys in chipper mood going through something of a post-mortem about what was causing the technical problems. With a headline slot in front of 14,000 punters only 4 days away there was clearly some serious rehearsing to be done.

    Sarah gave Von a good grilling ("Where do you get your money from?", "Why did the Vision Thing sessions overrun?", etc.) and Von made a few "friendly" comments to Ian about the Copyright law. I found out that The Sisters have been dropped by Elektra, but as they're under an exclusive worldwide contract to Warners, they can't sign to anyone else yet. Catch 22. Top bloke, Von - very friendly and neat sense of humor.

    Sorted. Same again next year, please.

    Written by Bernard 'Dr C' Corfe (BCORFE@fs1.scg.man.ac.uk) for Dominion mailing list

    This was a phenomenal experience (near myth?) with the Sisters combining elements from their past and the present effortlessly. The VT material sat well alongside earlier stuff, and there was even space for a few of the pre-WEA songs. I'm not sure if "War on Drugs" was a new Sisters song or a cover (certain phrases I caught sounded familiar, but then that means nothing, neither way) but with a line like "Let's make war on drugs" El hasn't lost any of the urge to be ambiguous. He seemed pretty relaxed, despite being unable to hear himself, and bantered away with the crowd. Adam Pearson now gets elevated to guitar and backing vocals, the Doktor is a lot better at playing bass, and Ron Wood is the new guitarist.

    It was cool, Andy, big style.

    Written by I.J.Palmer (I.J.Palmer@Bradford.ac.uk) for Dominion mailing list

    And so it came to pass...

    ...and it was good. Another year, another (not so) secret warm-up gig. Take 300 people, issue tickets randomly. Add alcohol slowly during the day. Place in a small pressure cooker and raise the heat to an unbearable level. Add something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue (a light). Thanks Andy. Keep the 40 quid for the NEC tickets if you have it. It was worth it.

    Written by Alexander Ord (lex@quinnster.demon.co.uk) for Dominion mailing list

    Top gig indeed, hello to everyone I met for the first time.

    Ticket allocation was random, but having been there since 2.45 that afternoon i was given a ticket when it was pretty quiet.

    The new song was "War On Drugs", the new guitarist is called Mike (according to Sarah and Ian who met Eldritch afterwards) and I'm sure I've seen him round Leeds before. And was that Simon Denbigh on sequencers at the back? Fine choice of Kylie song to cover too.

    Written by "Grave Simpson" for Melody Maker, published on 1997/06/14 (an extract)

    [... T]he last time I heard Andrew Eldritch, he had a voice rather like Christopher Lee's after a particularly bad curry (compliment!), not a tuneless wail more accustomed to coming from a secretary with her finger stuck in the filing cabinet.

    Backed by a stack of inaudible programming and two anonymous guitarists who don't bother with such trifles as playing the hypnotic widdly bits in "Temple Of Love", The Warlock Of Lurve goes through his motions while The Hits lumber forth and dare anyone to recognise them. [...]

    Picture at the top of this page was taken by I.J.Palmer (I.J.Palmer@Bradford.ac.uk); full version is available at http://www.eimc.brad.ac.uk/~ijpalmer/fentint.htm.

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