The Sisters of Mercy - 1997 - Distance Over Time


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Smoke and Mirrors

Summer 2002 Europe


Exxile on Euphoria

Trip the Light Fantastic

To the Planet Edge


Event Horizon

Distance Over Time

Roadkill/ Goldkill


Tour overview | Setlists overview | Interviews overview | Reviews overview

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

Setlists overview

The simplified Distance Over Time setlist pattern was this:

  • Comfortably Numb/Some Kind of Stranger
  • Ribbons
  • Come Together
  • Train / Detonation Boulevard
  • Giving Ground
  • Amphetamine Logic
  • On the Wire/Teachers/On the Wire
  • Dominion/Mother Russia
  • Under the Gun (first half of the tour)
  • Summer (second half of the tour)
  • Blood Money (first half of the tour)
  • Burn (first few gigs)
  • Anaconda
  • War on Drugs
  • Flood II
  • Temple of Love
  • Confide in Me (first half of the tour)
  • First and Last and Always
  • This Corrosion
  • Something Fast
  • Vision Thing
  • This set formed by the second London show.

    Other songs were Alice (played only 3 times, thus marking its departure from setlists where it reigned since 1982 into 'nice surprise' category), Body Electric (1), Kiss the Carpet (2) and Sister Ray (1).

    All in all, 26 songs were played; compare that to 15 songs performed during the previous Roadkill/Goldkill tour (1996). Songs-per-gig factor had expanded from 14 in 1996 to 19-ish in 1997. Many shows of the tour contained 20 songs; if the band had ever played 20 songs in one concert, it was very long time ago. Later tours kept the songs-per-gig factor unchanged. Made at least some compensation for not releasing anything in years.

    All 15 songs of Roadkill soaked verbatim into the 1997 venture; these are discussed in Roadkill's setlists section. The remaining 11 can be roughly categorized into re-introduced Sisters oldies, bright shiny newbies and a new cover. Here they go:

    Something old

    Songs are listed in chronological order by their live introduction date.

    Sister Ray was the very last song played in 1997, and one of the biggest surprises of the year. History of the song starts together with band's live history: it closed the very first Sisters gig in Leeds on 1981/02/16, then was used as a closing jam (usually medleyed with Ghostrider and Louie Louie) until 1985. Before 1997 the song was resurrected only once, in 1992/08/29 Pukkelpop gig (band's last with Tim Bricheno) as a surprise encore. Dominitoe Jochen Upheber reported ultimate reason for including this song in Rendsburg gig, according to Adam: "we were all drunk". Sister Ray was played at graveyard speed with lyrics from Louie Louie, Killed by Death, Capricorn, Metropolis (all by Motörhead), Walking the Dog (Iggy Pop, among others) and Sisters' own Lucretia included. This drunk performance set precedent for more performances in all later tours (as of mid-2000).

    Anaconda's first known performance comes from 1982; it stayed in setlists until 1984. The version performed in Distance Over Time was first played in Overbombing tour (1993) -- the song is drastically sped up, and the refrain changed from repeated "she will she will..." to one long drunken "sheeeee wiiiiiiill". The song was skipped in Roadkill; after this tour it stayed in live setlists until To the Planet Edge tour (1999) (it was only performed once during the tour).

    Body Electric, first known appearance of which was also 1982 and which was played nearly until the final 1985 gig, was shortly reintroduced in 1990, then played in 1992, in 1993 summer gigs and final Overbombing tour (1993) concerts. This song was only performed once in Distance Over Time roadshow. It remains rare guest of Sisters tours to this day (which is mid-2000).

    Burn was introduced in 1983 and stayed in setlists until 1985. Before its inclusion in Distance Over Time's schedule it was played in 10th live anniversary gigs in Leeds in 1991 and 1993/12/21 London gig, the one before last Overbombing tour concert.

    Dominion/Mother Russia was played in 1990, 1991 and 1992. The reintroduction was widely welcomed, and the song was played in every Sisters concert since Distance Over Time's first.

    Something Fast, live translation of which appeared in 1990, was excluded from setlists in 1992, reincluded in Overbombing (1993), again excluded in 1996, and again returned in 1997. Same as Dominion/Mother Russia, it's included in each concert 1997 onwards, although not without exceptions.

    Comfortably Numb/Some Kind of Stranger in this form was introduced in years 1992 and skipped only during Roadkill/Goldkill tour (1996). Sisters never played this Pink Floyd cover (or any other Pink Floyd song) before, but Some Kind of Stranger was included in handful of gigs in 1984-1985. Like as in 1993, this song was used as the primary opener. It remained in setlists in later years, mostly in encores.

    Blood Money made its premiere on stage in 1997 -- 12 years after its studio debut. As it appears, SSV saga started before the tour, and Andrew's choice to play this song might be associated with the end of the seven year long war between the band and the record label for -- minor details aside -- money.

    Even more so, when the song was released in 1985 it was rumored that it's directed at WEA, with which the band had struck a deal recently (it later reshuffled Sisters to its subsidiary EastWest).

    Something new

    Fueling rumors that the stalemate with EastWest UK is about to finish, this tour presented two new songs -- band's first since 1993.

    War on Drugs (music and lyrics by Andrew Eldritch) was premiered in the first show of the tour in Leeds and underwent minor changes as the tour progressed. This song was skipped in several gigs of Event Horizon tour (1998) -- which was unusual way to treat an unreleased song. Later it was almost totally neglected in To the Planet Edge (1999), making fans wonder what is it that Andrew doesn't like about the slow and gloomy staple with a mood of imminent doom in it.

    Summer (music by Adam Pearson, lyrics by Andrew Eldritch), first performed in Manchester, Reportedly, lyrics to the song were finished minutes before going to stage for its first official performance. The song was considered to be powerful enough to be slated as the next single release (first planned for "the day after Mr Eldritch's contract officially expires", later skipped to June and finally scrapped due to "various reasons").

    Something borrowed

    Confide in Me, written by Paul Anderson/Dave Seaman and made famous by Kylie Minogue, was another song exclusive to this tour. One of theories explaining appearance of this songs link it to SSV saga -- confide in Andrew, freedom's just around the corner. Swift withdrawal of the song (it was only played five times, out of which first one was the pretour warmup, and two last ones were unplanned encores) was as unclear as swift withdrawal of another great live cover, Silver Machine.

    Around the time of the tour Jo Whiley of UK's Radio 1 asked Kylie whether she'd heard the Sisters' version of Confide In Me ("a goth version of Confide in Me"). Kylie replied in the negative, but said that she'd love to hear it. (With thanks to Oliver Duke-Williams)

    Something blue

    This tour was the farewell of Under the Gun -- after Philadelphia gig it was dropped from this tour setlist, and was only performed once since then -- in 1998/01/16 Vienna gig.

    Something Motörhead

    In the pretour Virgin Net interview Andrew Eldritch wrote:

    "As for the set, we haven't decided yet. We usually throw in a few surprises every year, but obviously our stage-time is limited and we still have to play Ace Of Spades, Capricorn, Metropolis and all our other hits. Wouldn't want anybody getting sad on us."

    Ace of Spades, Capricorn and Metropolis are all Motörhead's songs. None of them were played, but Eldritch started introducing Sisters own songs under these names (without any particular pattern), sometimes fooling them into believing that drastically reworked version of an oldie is really a new song. Lyrics snippets from Metropolis, Capricorn and Killed By Death were included in the Sister Ray medley in Rendsburg, as was Louie Louie, made famous by Iggy Pop and covered by the band whose name is an often guest on Andrew's t-shirts.

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