The Sisters of Mercy - 1998 - Event Horizon


the next one

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

January 14
January 16
January 17
January 18
January 20
January 21
January 22
January 24
January 25
January 26
 Brussels January 30
 New York
January 31
 Washington (cancelled)
February 1
February 3
February 5
 San Francisco
February 6
 San Francisco
February 7
 Los Angeles
February 12
February 13


Andrew Eldritch
Adam Pearson
backing vocals,
Mike Varjak
Doktor Avalanche
Mike Hall
nurse to the Doktor

Read overview

  • Intro: Fly and Collision of Comas Sola
  • Intro: Afterhours

  • First and Last and Always
  • Ribbons
  • Come Together
  • Train / Detonation Boulevard
  • Amphetamine Logic
  • War on Drugs
  • Giving Ground
  • (We Are the Same) Suzanne
  • On the Wire / Teachers / On the Wire
  • Will I Dream
  • Dominion / Mother Russia
  • Summer
  • Anaconda
  • Romeo Down
  • Flood II
  • Temple of Love
  • Comfortably Numb / Some Kind of Stranger
  • Something Fast
  • This Corrosion
  • Tour overview

    "Will there be something special in the upcoming gigs?"
    "Strippers, clowns and 18 elephants. I am looking forward to the elephants."
     Orkus interview with Andrew Eldritch, late 1997.

    "The Sisters will be celebrating the liberation with a small tour of Europe and America in January/February, and the release of a stonking new (Sisters) single on the day after Mr Eldritch's contract officially expires, which will be a couple of months later. Work has started on the next (Sisters) album. Normal service has been resumed."

    This was the first (semi)official announcement of the tour. The author was Sisters' representative in the Dominion mailing list, the date was October 27, 1997 and the main topic of the post was SSV and the liberation from EastWest achieved through it.

    In late September Vienna and Prague dates were announced, in late November all but USA shows were known, and late December saw tour itinerary completed. At that time many German dates had already sell out. Thousand-to-three-thousand venue format proved to be too little for the band without any record in five years and not-that-big touring profile since then.

    More practical minds are sure the tour was announced not only out of euphoria surrounding the termination of the contract but also to establish Sisters non-disappearance and thus ruin EastWest's plans of promoting SSV album as Sisters-part-two.

    This tour included first Sisters tour of USA since the 1991 venture with Public Enemy (which also was the last Sisters tour without any festival appearances until Event Horizon).

    For what it's worth, first signs of the upcoming activities were spotted at the very end of the previous Distance Over Time tour: in Rendsburg's backstage rumors stating USA tour in September and the return to Germany in December were being circulated as established fact and were not denied by Mike and Adam.


    Andrew Eldritch - vocals
    Adam Pearson - guitar, backing vocals, bass
    Mike Varjak - guitar
    Doktor Avalanche - drums, bass, keyboards
    Mike Hall - nurse to the Doktor

    Almost no changes from the previous Distance Over Time (1997) tour here. The only new member of the crew was Doktor's nurse -- person filling the position changed third time since Doktor first got a nurse in Roadkill (1996). Mike Hall was known for being good as Ereasure keyboard roadie. He didn't stay with the band after this tour -- Summer (1998) saw return of Simon Denbigh (apparently -- the lack information makes it hard to tell for sure if Mike Hall was with the band during this whole tour and when exactly did he leave).

    Mike Varjak, recruited as Chris Sheehan replacement in 1997, survived the end of the recruitment term and stayed in the band while Sheehan concentrated on his solo career as Chris Starling and several side projects.

    Additional Adam Pearson's credit for bass was earned for playing the said instrument on Romeo Down (music written by A.Pearson).

    Name of the tour

    Encyclopaedia Britannica has this to say about event horizons (in the black holes section):

    <...> The singularity constitutes the centre of a black hole and is hidden by the object's "surface," the event horizon. Inside the event horizon the escape velocity (i.e., the velocity required for matter to escape from the gravitational field of a cosmic object) exceeds the speed of light, so that not even rays of light can escape into space. <...>

    In other words, once anything passes event horizon, there is no way back for it -- or any sign of it. Several meanings spring to mind, one of the Sisters show changing something inside of you with no undo option, other of Sisters/EastWest relations reaching point of no return: somehow seemingly unreachable horizon of the events spanning seven years and climaxing with the SSV saga -- termination of the contract -- was reached.

    One more possible allusion of the tour name might be the 1997 UK-made science fiction movie Event Horizon. The Hollywood-y production tells story of people who return from hell after seven years -- the same amount of time Sisters were fighting EastWest, according to Eldritchian Calendar (year zero for this one is Vision Thing release in 1990, not the last EastWest release in 1993).

    All in all, yet another splendid tour name.

    Habsburg lands

    The tour started without any warm-up gig that characterized the two previous roadshows. Schedule was no-nonsensically intense: three gig days were followed by one free day, only to be followed by three more gig days to start the story over again.

    First date was in Nurnburg's suburb Erlangen, rescheduled from a smaller venue in Nurnberg itself confusing a lot of people in process. Romeo Down and (We are the Same) Suzanne were premiered in this gig. No radical changes from previous tour could be spotted, in contrast to the Roadkill (1996) or Distance Over Time (1997). As all other German dates, this one was sold out even before the tour started.

    Support slots for all dates up to Brussels were given to two bands: Scoda Blush and Think About Mutation. Scoda Blush were hot new venture signed to Eldritch's Merciful Release label (merchandise stand featured their new CD) and Think About Mutation played together with Sisters in Glauchau festival in 1997 and impressed Andrew sufficiently to include them into Event Horizon schedule.

    The circus then moved to Vienna, after which all reviewers noticed crowd looking at Andrew & Co unmovingly, and Prague, where the band faced overcrowded hall (1500 too many tickets were sold) and an attempt to leave them without fee for their services. As a result, the show was the shortest one in years.

    Germany (and thereabouts)

    The next six dates completed the German leg of the tour. Reportedly, all these gigs were met very warmly, and featured very enthusiastic audience. First one of these, in Chemnitz, was the only Sisters gig to open with Romeo Down. The gig in Berlin was the first documented 1998 conflict between the band and photographers who refused to leave after their time ran up and continued blocking audience's view.

    Starting with Herford gig the tour setlist stopped variating. The Düsseldorf gig mirrored Herford's set, while Munich, which basically had the same standard setlist, premiered third and last new song -- Will I Dream.

    Hamburg show also featured problems with photographers, and had a tough crowd which refused to get entertained until well into the gig -- in contrast to crazy atmosphere in other German gigs. Setlist was slightly changed -- whole first encore of Romeo Down and This Corrosion was moved to main set. Romeo Down never return to encores after that.

    Continental Europe leg finished with a free gig in Brussels -- band's compliment for their most supportive audience. The audience hadn't let the band down and was as good as it can get -- and band returned the compliment with the only performance of Sister Ray in this tour. Other than this song, setlist was twin brother of Hamburg. Scoda Blush opened this show alone.

    US East coast (and thereabouts)

    After wholeheartedly dedicating 25 whores of Brussels Vision Thing and catching a cold Andrew Eldritch & Co flew to USA; due to the flight Andrew's cold turned into ear infection. Illnesses made Eldritch sing way too silently, resulting in low (and often inaudible) vocals and (after sound engineers turned his voice as loud as possible) often feedback during most of American gigs. To worsen the matters, the band relied on (often inadequate) in-house PAs, and several gig venues were known for poor acoustics -- most notably, in New York and Toronto. All in all, this makes the near unavailability of unofficial audio/video footage from these gigs less annoying.

    New York gig was done with Andrew struggling his illness, before calmfaced gothy audience; Orange 9mm opened this one. Next gig in Washington was cancelled after soundcheck on doctor's orders. The band with its half-recovered president played next in Toronto. The last encore of the gig was marked with question marks -- and was not played, much to the surprise of roadies who were still pumping clouds of smoke after the show was finished.

    Both Washington and Toronto gigs were supposed to be opened by Heavy Water Factory, one of support slots in Philadelphia in 1997, but the band was out of luck -- first concert was cancelled, and they were stopped at USA/Canada border while on their way on the second one.

    The Chicago date didn't feature an opener, either. Same as in Toronto, the last encore was marked with question marks in the setlist, and not played; same as in Toronto, the sound quality was bad; also same as in Toronto was the setlist; it didn't change during all USA gigs (with few exceptions).

    US West coast

    The USA leg finished with three gigs in California. Just before the tour, on California passed legislation banning smoking in all premises where alcohol is being sold, in effect since January 1st, 1998 (many non-drinking ventures agreed to ban smoking voluntarily). Andrew Eldritch is known for his fondness of smoking generally and during gig time specifically (even though sometimes it's difficult to spot him taking a whiff on stage).

    All Californian Sisters gigs were held in venues with alcohol bar; yet in San Francisco's Maritime Hall even security were spotted smoking, not to mention mere mortals and Andrew Eldritch. The first San Francisco gig was very relaxed affair, with Eldritch taking time to talk to the audience, have a nice time, and take a smoke or two. A female fan was invited onstage for a hug.

    In the words on one of the reviewers, "they had done a relaxed show on Thursday, Friday they were kicking ass and taking names." The second San Francisco gig featured alternated setlist with the only performance of Vision Thing in USA this tour -- while in Distance Over Time's only USA show Vision Thing with its assault on US politics was promoted to the opener slot to make a point. It also featured one of the few Kiss the Carpet performances, the only exclusion of Temple of Love and first ever skip of War on Drugs. Both San Francisco shows were opened by Lucky Me.

    Promoters of the Los Angeles gig took safety to heart: to say that the security check was very scrupulous is to say nothing at all. Waiting in heavy rain while line slowly moved through the search gates was an additional annoyance people had to experience before the gig. No cigarettes were let in, which didn't stop Eldritch from smoking -- and distributing the smoke sticks to the audience. It's not likely he was fined $100 for disobeying Californian laws, and even if he did, it's peanuts to rumored $30,000 the band were getting for a gig.

    A combination of Course of Empire and Lucky Me opened the last USA gig in 1998. Past and present mixed in its backstage as the new Sisters lineup which is yet to achieve the "classic" status met with the old Sisters veteran Wayne Hussey.


    The tour finished with two gigs in UK's capital; Scoda Blush opened both of them. Not much can be said about both the first London, except that the crowd was very responsive and Eldritch used the occasion to bombast English press ("Anybody figured out yet why we like to play the least often in the places where the most crap is written about us?"). Reportedly, the audience were even more responsive in the second London gig, and were rewarded with the third encore of Vision Thing and Jolene; apart from this, the show's setlist was slightly different from others and very similar to the second San Francisco date.


    "The Sisters will be celebrating the liberation with a small tour of Europe and America in January/February, and the release of a stonking new (Sisters) single ... a couple of months later. Work has started on the next (Sisters) album."

    Couple of months passed, but no single saw the light of day. Many reasons were given, none of them definite. Conversations with the tour crew revealed that no material was recorded back then.

    Not much changed several years later: the band is taking their time (apparently) recording new tracks and searching for record company with "a bit of a muscle". Euphoria generated by the SSV story, celebration of which was the official reason of Event Horizon tour, died out and gave way for quiet desperation.

    In 1996 band returned after VERY BIG pause of three years on concerts and records; SSV liberated the band after VERY BIG period of four years without any record output; as this text is being written (late 2000), the band aren't in any particular rush about anything, and no new record output is projected for anytime soon -- after all, it were only two and a half years after the liberation.

    Now excuse me, I've to listen to some CDs to remind myself why I'm still a fan.