1997/06/09, Brixton Academy, London, 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

Sisters are coming back to UK. Both this and June 10th gigs were sold out way before the dates, and the lucky bastards who got the tickets saw one of the most argued about Sisters' shows of this tour: descriptions range from "fabulous giantkilling performance" to "nothing brilliant happened" -- depends on whom you ask.

Press' reviews were hostile as ever -- there are two in this file, and both rate the gig as no good.

This was second and the last night this tour to open with Kiss the Carpet (Comfortably Numb/Some Kind of Stranger was used to open most later dates). Burn was also played for the last time this tour -- and Jolene, which graced setlists of most later gigs was introduced in this gig by crowd's wish (it wasn't in the initial setlist).

Some disappointed voices can be heard in June 10 page -- some people chose to speak about both London gigs in one review.

Support band was Cubanate.

Setlist | Reviews | Pictures | Still movie

  • Kiss the Carpet
  • Ribbons
  • Come Together
  • Giving Ground
  • Train/Detonation Boulevard
  • Amphetamine Logic
  • On the Wire/Teachers/On the Wire
  • Dominion/Mother Russia
  • Under the Gun
  • Burn
  • Blood Money
  • Anaconda
  • War on Drugs (announced as Capricorn)
  • Flood II
  • This Corrosion
  • Confide in Me
  • First and Last and Always
  • Something Fast
  • Temple of Love
  • Jolene
  • Thanks to Wim Vandeputte (wvdputte@reptile.rug.ac.be), Juan M. Bello Rivas (compugal@readysoft.es) and Robert Laffan (robert.laffan@mail.liberty.co.za).

    Setlist | Reviews | Pictures | Still movie

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

    Oh YES! This was a stormer, a fabulous giantkilling performance, The Sisters at their brilliant best. All the problems from Leeds last week have been magnificent performance.

    The Dominion Krew were in pole position by the time Kiss kicked off proceedings and the minimalist menace of the Reptile House EP was reproduced to perfection with a light show that God would kill for - a million points of light shining red for rage and bloodlust.

    The early part of the set was the same as the Joseph's Well gig with Giving Ground standing out and Under The Gun (surprisingly) fitting in well. The newly speeded (sic) up Amphetamine Logic was the first indication that we were in for something special; the furious guitars and Eldritch's angst ridden "nothing but the knife to live for" (proof in itself that the man is Kierkegaard meets Elvis) whipped the crowd up and the lights again were fabulous - if anyone's going tomorrow stand center stage for this one - the effect is stunning.

    By now the sell out crowd were well up for it and Dominion/ Mother Russia was another highlight - I can remember a sea of arms blocking out the stage as Eldritch bellowed "Mother Russia rain down down down". Train/Detonation Boulevard and On the Wire/Teachers kept the momentum going as Eldritch - barely recognizable from the affable bloke we met backstage on Tuesday (I just had to remind you all about that) - was transformed into the gonzo speed freak, striding purposefully around the stage, controlling the rabid masses with a flick of the wrist and an arch of the eyebrow. Surely no woman would dare accept the "just walk on in" taunt from Ribbons.

    An enigmatic "...and in the grand scheme of things" introduces War On Drugs. A week ago I wrote that this needed work. It's already got the treatment: the industrial backbeat is gradually cranked through the gears and by the end, Avalanche is whipping up a riot of speedfreak slamdance mayhem over which Eldo howls "let's make war on drugs" (a personal request - change war to love for the last chorus and this would be perfect). Somewhere around this point the best version of Anaconda I've ever heard was unleashed: Pearson and Varjak whip up a tornado of white noise and Eldritch screams out the "she will let it take her life away" and finally the horror of the lyric is realized. Flood II is another riot of theatrical arm movements and Corrosion reprises it's excellent sing along performance from the warm up gig.

    By now the Academy is reaching near Well-like levels of humidity and we get in no particular order Something Fast, Confide in Me, First & Last & Always and a truly sensational Jolene for the encores. Everyone is baying for Vision Thing, and such was the brilliance of the performance I thought we might be in for a Sister Ray or Ghostrider, but it was not to be. The house lights went up and we wandered home through gloomy Brixton in wonderment.

    This was a truly awesome Sisters performance, right up there with the NEC in June 92. The lack of Vision Thing and Gimme Shelter de-emphasizes the political nature of the band, but with Burn and Kiss and Mother Russia in the set one can have no complaints. This was a whopper. Reports from Glauchau are that the band turned in another monster performance there, and if this is the norm for this version of the band then we're in for a treat in the forthcoming weeks - sell the wife and kids to get tickets.

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

    Seeing the Sisters in the UK is always different from when they play in Germany, besides, The Sisters of Mercy have always proven that they are an indoor band. They did a lot of festivals since 1993, but seeing them indoors with their own stage, their own lights, their own PA system and less people than in a festival... Nothing can compare to Eldritch and Co. on their own territory, their own 'dominion'.

    For us Belgians London is not that far, take a boat and you're there, plus the English people are much more hospitable. You can always spent the night at anybody's place that you've met at the gig or just on the street. Sadly, I cannot say same thing about German people.

    Cubanate opens tonight after another band which I do not remember -- I didn't bother to see them anyway, and Cubanate didn't surprise me. I heard they used to be great, maybe they still are?

    The hall doesn't seem to be sold out, although I was told it did sell out. Anyway, it was very easy to obtain tickets on the streets. Masses of Sisters fans are talking and exchanging addresses, this is not Germany where fans are trying to get to the first row hours before the gig starts. Here most people wait until the Sisters are about to play.

    Kiss the Carpet is the opener again, I guess Andrew likes to change the opener every day. Comfortably Numb once again for tomorrow? The setlist looks a lot like of the previous days. Come Together sounds changed a little, Giving Ground was the best song of the night, really powerful sound, Under the Gun was faster and better, Burn was great, sounded a little like the old days again, Dominion stays surprise every time they play it. Must be Pukkelpop since they played this, and it sounds real good now, most songs sound better indoors than outdoors. Andrew's voice is mostly very good, but he's getting in trouble by the end of the show.

    This corrosion is the highlight of the night, everybody was singing and Andrew couldn't hear himself, the whole Academy went "sing this corrosion to me, hey now..." I think even the people at the bar sang along. After This Corrosion Eldy announced the end of the gig but soon returned with a big smile and a Motörhead T-shirt for what must have been the event of the night -- Kylie Minogue's Confide in Me. Andrew struggles through the great song to end doing First and Last and Faster with an Alice-intro.

    Break again. Not for long, and outstandingly good Something Fast is played, Adam does play the acoustic guitar very well. Today's show gets rounded up with a short version of Temple of Love. No vision Thing? It is known that Andrew only plays Vision Thing when he thinks his voice is still OK at the end of the show.

    Roadies are already waiting to get on stage, a large part of the audience is yelling for Jolene. "Jolene... Jolene... Jolene..." This goes on for minutes.

    Andy's back and likes it. Dave inserts a new disk in the Doktor and starts Jolene. Amazingly well, this is great, as good Glauchau's Vision Thing outro.

    It is the first time I know of when Andrew is in good enough mood to play what the public asks for. Jolene was not in the setlist, but he did it, he is getting easier, definitely. I hope the new album will come... someday.

    Later on, we meet Andrew in the backstage, the man looks very thin and white, but goodlaughs with great lyrics. I ask him to make a photo and he just answers "it depends on how much you pay me for one". Well I got it for free and had a good talk afterwards.

    Written by Lucian (ldickey@carltonbooks.co.uk) for The Sisters of Mercy Tours site

    I've been reading the reviews of this gig and of the 10th. Listen, it was a distinctly lackluster performance. The people who saw it on the 10th say it was improved. Well, I didn't see it on the 10th. Maybe it was better, but maybe also your expectations were more in tune with what you saw, having endured the gig on the 9th.

    As I heard oldie after oldie cascade out during that Monday gig, I realized that here is a man for whom the musical clock stopped at the end of the eighties. I don't count as new the minimal number of more recent songs he played - i.e. songs not yet released on record, plus Under the Gun.

    It is deeply distressing to realize, but this man, who has so much intelligence, talent, humor and humanity, has just become a touring greatest hits package. He runs short of petrol for the Merc and drags out 12-year-old songs from the vaults for easily pleased audiences. It would be okay if it was reworked, or backed by new material, but it's just stale old hits and reeks of cynical opportunism. Sure the guy has to think about his pension, but it isn't me who's going to provide for him and get nothing in return. I didn't see the Pistols reform, or the Velvet Underground and I'm not too keen on Gerry and The Pacemakers tour packages. Similarly, The Astounding Goth Nostalgia Package that the Sisters have become doesn't appeal either. It's slightly embarrassing to watch.

    So Eldritch has problems with his record company. So he's producing trance records (allegedly). Yeah, well, in the meantime, the Sisters have died artistically and no-one has noticed.

    Written by P.L.Unger (P.L.Unger@bolton.ac.uk) for Dominion mailing list

    yayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy! Well stuff the witty reviews, all I can say is i had a brilliant time at the three shows i saw (Leeds, London (9th), Manchester).

    I've never seen the Sisters live before, so I can't compare them to previous line-ups, but I thought they worked incredibly well together - Eldy bouncing around on stage, while the two guitarists just stayed where they were on stage - perfect counterpoint. Eldy was so good, his whole performance interpreted the music perfectly (the way some bands' front people move sometimes seems so out of phase with the music...)

    The atmosphere was great. I dunno how out of tune we were on the 2nd ;} but the 9th... Who needs backing singers with a front row like us? :> It's lovely to be part of a huge crowd all singing and shouting with the band - even better when the band so obviously enjoy it too... Eldy looked like he was really having fun!

    Written by Chris Ingham for Metal Hammer (?) magazine (extracts)


    The evening's pedestrian mood is set with the swelling 'Kiss The Carpet', before gently slipping into the sublime 'Ribbons', which is all well and good for the gothy contingent, but leaves the rock kids weened on Type 0's thunder and Manson's industrial fuzz more than a little bored.


    ...a truly awful rendition of the Beatles 'Come Together'...*


    Thing is, cover versions have (major hits aside) always been nothing more than distractions designed to amuse or aural reference points for gullible audiences lost in hero worship, so when used as centrepieces for a gig four years in the waiting, the value for money tag kinda loses its shine.


    Its only in the dying moments of the set during 'Dominion/Mother Russia', 'This Corrosion' and the drug fuelled 'Temple Of Love' that things truly take a turn for the better, as the main man realises that casually struting around in the dry ice isn't enough and shifts his creepy little frame to the front of the stage for the first time in years for a display of showmanship.

    Marks 3/5

    * Sisters' Come Together is written by Andrew Eldritch and isn't remotely similar to Beatles' song.

    Written by Marla Linder (mlinder@concentra.com) for Dominion mailing list

    This is going to make me very unpopular but I can't keep shut about it.

    If you have tickets to the Philly show. Don't read this.

    I went to the Brixton show on June 9 and was vastly disappointed. I won't give song by song discourse (even I'm not interested in it), and I thought a few songs were just fine.

    But there's the rub. Just Fine. Nothing brilliant happened. I enjoyed Dominion and Flood, but where was the big sound? I wanted to be assaulted by it. Cubanate did it. CUBANATE DID IT. (But didn't you think the "I'm a commie, I'm a junkie, I'm a queer, who the fuck are you" (or whatever) was inane?

    And as for Andrew himself - well, he moved around a lot, he sang, but his performance was, indeed, perfunctory (to borrow another's word). I expected some passion. Some thrill. Some shivers.

    It felt rather dead, rather quiet.

    Between songs, my friend turned to me and said "God, I hope they don't do Temple of Love". I asked why, he said "Cause I don't want them to ruin it." They did. And they did.

    Ok, ok, settle down. I realize you all think I'm looking very negatively at the whole experience. But damn it - I truly believe that AE's brilliant. Thoroughly brilliant. I expected more, and I'll bet that if he looked at the whole thing with a cold eye, it would leave him cold, too.

    On may way into work this morning, I listened to part of Some Girls Wonder By Mistake and it blasted me away again, as always. And my car stereo sucks.

    All right, flame away, call me names, send me letter bombs, computer viruses. Disagree even. I expect it, and I'll be looking for the silver lining that I know will be presented to me by the throngs of the faithful. You will try to change my mind.

    Noone asked, but I'm telling...

    Written by John A Fotheringham (jaf@yrl.co.uk) for Dominion mailing list

    Marla Linder:
    > I went to the Brixton show on June 9 and was vastly disappointed. I
    > won't give song by song discourse (even I'm not interested in it), and I
    > thought a few songs were just fine.

    On the whole I agree with you. The June 9th gig was the only Sisters gig I ever came away from disappointed.

    Luckily I saw them again in Manchester 2 days later, and that was a much better show, so I wouldn't despair just yet.

    The differences? The sound on the 9th was lousy, the set had too many slow songs all together at the start of the set, the old faves were played too fast, and his voice got lost in the mix. Some of this may have been down to where I was standing.

    At Manchester I was in the center in front of the mixing desk, which gave me optimal sound and light show position. Add to this a radically reworked and better balanced set, a(nother) new song, and a slight slow down on Train, and the difference was marked.

    People here say that the second night at Brixton was better still (I missed that one).

    > CUBANATE DID IT. (But didn't you
    > think the "I'm a commie, I'm a junkie, I'm a queer, who the fuck are
    > you" (or whatever) was inane?)

    Yeah. Especially the second time they did it :)

    > Between songs, my friend turned to me and said "God, I hope they don't
    > do Temple of Love". I asked why, he said "Cause I don't want them to
    > ruin it." They did. And they did.

    Now that was perverse. Playing effectively the second half of the 12" version and denying us one of their better and best known intros.

    Written by Alex Whitehead (A.J.Whitehead@newcastle.ac.uk) for Dominion mailing list

    Marla Linder:
    > Dominion and Flood, but where was the big sound? I wanted to be

    Volume was a problem, you've picked up a valid point there. I didn't expect to be able to have a perfectly audible conversation at the front of the hall in the middle of the songs. Even though they were very nice punks-on-speed I was talking to.

    I think you can forgive the lackluster start to the gig on the part of a slight case of nervousness, this not exactly being a experienced touring band. After a few songs they picked themselves up a lot, god forbid but Andrew seemed to be enjoying himself towards the end.

    Oh well. I thought it was a very strong performance. They just need to turn it up a bit.

    > Cubanate did it. CUBANATE DID IT.

    Cubanate did it indeed. And then they did it again. And again. Strange how as a support band you only need to loop one song for half an hour. I suppose no-one cares since they're only really passing time waiting for the headliners.

    Written by Andrew Mueller for 1997/06/19 issue of UK daily Independent, typed in by Ian Carter (I.S.Carter@shu.ac.uk) for Dominion mailing list (an extract)

    It's unclear whether the author is referring to this or the next (June 10) Brixton gig).

    [...] Floodland provides the highlights of the show, of which there are depressingly few. The 3 piece band are almost invisible in the dry ice and the performances are perfuntory. Eldritch's throaty baritone is all but inaudable drowned out by Doktor Avalance, the Sisters drum Machine and other surviving founder member, whose ego is begining to run away with him. The Sisters Of Mercy are floundering. It only comes together once on Dominion/Mother Russia when the sound problems suddenly sort themselves out and the light show turns in a bravura performance. [...]

    Written by Juan M. Bello Rivas (compugal@readysoft.es) for Dominion mailing list

    Marla Linder:
    > At the Brixton gig, they searched men, but let women sail right
    >in. How silly is that? Good thing I was carrying and not my mate ;)

    I was carrying a medium-size bag on my back and the only thing they did was touching it a bit without opening it. (And thus I managed to pass the camera). B-D

    ...And I'm a man.

    Written by Velissarios Valsamas (vel@ath.forthnet.gr) for The Sisters of Mercy Tours site

    First of all Cubanate were very good. Good sound, no mistakes and an almost perfect appearance. They finished about at 20:35 and then we had to wait for about 45 minutes until Sisters appearance. This happened at about 21:20 and they begin with the classic "Kiss the Carpet". Great sound, great appearance and much fog... In other words, what everyone wished to see there. The audience was calmed, no problems or troubles. Eldritch was impressive and dynamic. To say the truth I was expecting to see him more tired but I was wrong.

    This concert was a great experience for anyone who loves Sisters. At last, the great surprise. I already knew the songs which Eldritch will play (from Leeds songs list). I didn't get surprised even with "War on Drugs" and "Confide in Me". I was expecting them. But I really get surprised when Eldritch listen to us (yes I was the one from 3-4 which were shouting JOLENE JOLENE JOLENE...) and they played "Jolene"! And it was a real surprise because they didn't play in Leeds or Woodstage.

    After Jolene, there is something to say about Eldritch. Time hasn't won him yet.

    Picture at the top of this page was taken by Juan M. Bello Rivas (compugal@readysoft.es); full version is available here.

    Setlist | Reviews | Pictures | Still movie | Other dates