1998/01/26, The Ancienne Belgique, Brussels, Belgium

Event Horizon 1998

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

Nice gift for Belgian fans: a free concert. Free tickets went to everyone in Reptile House Benelux database, winners of various contests in Belgium, and all Dominitoes who cared to go to Brussels, courtesy of Wim Vandepute & Co. Sven Togni, who was handling out the free tickets, was arrested by undercover cops who suspected he's selling them, only to be rescued by Sisters Tour Manager Robbo and camera man Dean.

The show featured the fourth incarnation of Sister Ray -- second time ever, one and only time this tour. Andrew's comment: "You wish you'd never asked this".

22 songs were performed in the gig -- which is highest number in years, if not ever.

The hall had marvelous live recording equipment, causing many bands record their live records in concerts in this hall. It wasn't used this time though.

Support act: Scoda Blush.

Setlist | Reviews | Sister Ray analysis

  • Intro: Fly and Collision of Comas Sola
  • 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
  • This Corrosion
  • Comfortably Numb/Some Kind of Stranger
  • Something Fast
  • Vision Thing
  • Sister Ray (with Lucretia, Walking the Dog, Louie Louie, Capricon, Ghostrider and something I can't recognize)
  • Jolene
  • Soundcheck

  • Dominion
  • Knocking on Heaven's Door
  • Romeo Down
  • Alice
  • Body Electric
  • Thanks to Steven Van Haezevelde (Steven.Van.Haezevelde@telenet.be) for gig setlist and Tobias Dorf (heartwork@wtal.de) for soundcheck.

    Setlist | Reviews | Sister Ray analysis

    Written by Karst de Jong (Karst.de.Jong@let.uva.nl) for Dominion mailing list

    Back on station, filled with some lovely memories. Thought I'd share them with you.

    Arriving in Bruxelles, and a quiet crowd stand outside the AB. Sven, baptized the central Ticket Bastard hands me a nice piece of paper with the old MR logo on it & telling me that I am a special guest. Many thanx to Sven obviously, to MR for giving us the opportunity and TW (?!) for making it happen.

    Entering the venue after a quest for cash (Belgium is a funny country, always someone on strike, this time it's the cash-collectors, which leaves you wondering, were the SoM paid?), everybody is hurdled into the foyer after the regular security check. Hitting the MR stand is up next. Shirt for me, shirt for the missus (who couldn't make it <sob>). The foyer is packed. Sisters are Big in Belgium. A large variation of leaflets is handed out. From cover bands to a 'mega Sisters fair', it is all there. Not over here. Dutch don't like the Sisters in general. Too negative, doesn't correspond with their Calvinistic frame of mind. Might be the reason why AE got himself a quiet place here in Amsterdam. Hiding among the hippy-scum. BTW, don't ask me, I've never seen him.

    Sven is a man who knows. It appears that had Andrew turned up among his followers ('you sad bastards still following me around, heh?') sometime earlier that afternoon, while some punters decided to take the trouble to stand waiting in front of the venue, next to the tour bus in the freezing cold. Who knows who might turn up, he?. Well, he did apparently. As a hooded man. Sneaking of to the bus, and no-one noticed. Tsss. Some people have nothing to do. So what do you do in a situation as this when money is growing on trees and life is boring. You follow The Sisters of Mercy where-ever they go. It is a noble quest and a attitude towards life that should be admired. Thank god though, the Sisters are not the Levellers.

    Chatting away as you do, it appears that Scoda Brush have been thwarted on stage to do their bit. I am told not to bother. I think I can make up my own mind. Bad idea. I've never been very fond of the three-piece-rockband format, except when it involves that well-known Ulster outfit, but I'm biased. The bass-player is a bit of a twat. And the drummer thinks he's in Motörhead, which is not that bad but the attitude stinks. The public is kind to them and give them a wee applause. We hit the bar.

    Half an hour later and we guess it might be starting off. Squeezing ourselves into the right flank of the AB's 'La Grand Salle', the well-known eerie music starts to play, with all the lights on. Discussions on the origin of the introtape is made impossible by loud cheers and affiliated noise to make the AB personnel do what they should, turn it off. Tangerine Dream is my guess, concerning the intro-music I mean. Finally the lights go out. Followed by a lovely and load roar of satisfied customers. The smoke machines hiss and three figures appear. Even more noise from the audience and Adam plays the first bar of First and Last and Always. Mid through the second verse Andrew's mic is playing up. A good start is half the work, and this isn't it. Ribbons makes up for it all. The audience keeps their cool. None of the familiar jumping around and sight of swinging DM's. Strange. Lot of 'conjuring' people though. Sitting on someone's shoulder, bare-chested, sporting various Sisters related tattoos is the thing to do here. Andrew thinks it's funny, but his own rhythm is a lot more sophisticated of course.

    Ribbons is followed by a set of new songs. Come Together hasn't changed that much, War on Drugs is a lot slower but has matured more compared to the Dublin gig. It is followed by Train/Detonation Boulevard and Logic. Giving Ground is one of the favs. Seen in the light of the whole E/W affair, it might prove to be quite poignant. On the Wire/Teachers is followed by another new song which not turns out to be Will I Dream, it is kinda OK although I have to hear again to give some kind of opinion about it. Dominion/Mother Russia wakes everybody up again. Audience is still a bit 'timid' at that point. Summer brings it all to a standstill a bit. Fair is fair, I'm not that fond of that song. Anaconda with its rawness is a great follow-up. Eldritch is all over the stage and he seemingly enjoys playing the song. That is one important thing. He is enjoying himself, pulling faces to the assistant-manager, who is filming this whole get-together. Romeo Down has a great intro, is blunt and better then Summer. Most of the new songs are rather slow, except for Come Together obviously. Wonder how that is going to turn out on the album. Maybe it is all edging a bit towards pop?! Whatever. Flood II, Temple and This Corrosion round it all off for the first round. A deep bow by Mr.E. followed by loud cheers/applause.

    A return is imminent. Loads of dry ice and lights point to the ceiling prepare us for something epic. Comfortably Numb/Some Kind of Stranger is one of the weirdest combinations ever. It is perfect. The band leaves us again, and return for Something Fast. Mike has mastered playing the acoustic, last year in Dublin it sounded crap, but this time the mix is right. He is no Satriani or Vai (do we need them?) but is an axe-meister first-class. And the bare-chest might even be something for the ladies (?!). Adam is a lot more versatile IMHO, only his sustaining vocals reach cringing levels sometimes. But he is forgiven. Female backing vox are expensive and distracting, so...

    Life is improving and the Sisters play another song. The lights are dimmed, guitars changed, a coke-bottle handed over (don't drink that at once... I did... And see what has become of me...) Dear, dear. Vision Thing kicks in, hesitant some try to get into some of the familiar scenes at the front of a SoM stage, but it doesn't come to full blows. Very polite and attentive audience, in this case. The band leave again.

    Microphone standard drops, on someone's head apparently. 'You wish you hadn't done that' our leader mysteriously grins. A weird medley starts: Lucretia/Sister Ray, part of Under the Gun is incorporated and something at the end I couldn't recognize. Audience is stunned. What the hell is this? It's amazing, darlings. Wall of Sound is erected. For a minute or two Andrew disappears behind the mixing-desk left of the stage, he returns and has a wee chat with Adam & we're in for one final song. Mike is left in the dark of this unprecedented move & has already taken off his guitar, while sitting down. He quickly adjusts and joins in for this last sing-a-long. It is good-night from Andrew, it is good-night from us and that's it.

    A blistering show, everyone agrees. Next time we'll bring all of our friends. Sven goes back-stage and for all I know he is still there. Everybody hits off, while I decide to buy that new magazine to kill the time. Four hours until the next train. Complements to Dr C and his C Foundation. Great job. Mixing up page 4 with page 17 is forgiven. The story about the KLF puzzling, the MR info very enlightening and the bit about SSV very coherent (except for that page mix-up, of course). Many thanks to Wim and the rest, was a great evening. Back to more useful things now. 47 pts & counting...

    Written by Steven Van Haezevelde (Steven.Van.Haezevelde@telenet.be) for The Sisters of Mercy Tours site

    As a Belgian I always liked the Ancienne Belgique because it is small and cozy, so I thought it would be great to see the Sisters play there.

    How right I was!

    He kept us waiting a while, during which an eerie music (ambient?) was playing. Then suddenly out of nowhere they came and immediately lit the fuse with First and Last and Always, followed immediately with Ribbons. What a way to start a concert! The crowd got very excited, especially when some old fast heavy numbers got played like This Corrosion, Giving Ground and of course the Temple. I especially liked Flood and Anaconda (a very good speeded up version). He played another new song, called Will I Dream? (that is what the person next to me said it was called) which was good. You could see that Andy was in a very good mood, according to the different quotes he made like: "Brussels is the only place in the world where I got arrested twice... today!" He even gave a cigarette to a listener! Guess that will never be smoked.

    He came back four times and the last time he played a combination of songs for the first time, I think I recognized Sister Ray/Under the Gun/Lucretia/Romeo Down, all combined into one song. Djeezes Adam Pearson really got out of his mind on that one, jamming that guitar... Generally this was a fucking good concert and I pity the fans who couldn't be there. He played for over 2 hours, man they were over too damn quickly!

    God, I love the Sisters!

    Written by Bjorn Cassier (Bjorn.Cassier@rug.ac.be) for The Sisters of Mercy Tours site

    It was all there: a great atmosphere, a nice lightshow and the Sisters, with uncle Andy in extremely good mood, playing at their best, getting the crowd completely on their hand. The two new songs were OK and yes, like I hoped there was yet another new song! The name of the song was said to be 'Will I Dream', but a press review (Het Laatste Nieuws) wrote 'What Have I Become'. So whatever the title is, I think it's a nice one. It's in the style of the Vision Thing album with a recognizable chorus.

    'Summer' is really a cracker! Hope it will be released soon. Just one remark: Lucretia/Sister Ray/Louie Louie/Under the gun/Sister Ray/Romeo Down/Sister Ray was certainly not that great. It was the second time they played it (last gig last year in Rendsburg). While Eldritch came back for the last time he warned, with a little smile on his face, the front rows were told "you're gonna be sorry you asked for this!" and damn he was right. This version has a slow speed and lasts long enough to almost fall asleep. During the song Eldritch took his time to set up some conversations with people backstage. They'd better played the good old version 'Sister Ray/Ghostrider'. Luckily this was not the ending (like it was in Rendsburg) and they played an exciting 'Jolene' as final.

    This concert was really an highlight in the tour, a glorious day for the Belgian fans. Thanks!

    Written by Filip Bollaert (filipb@ibm.net) for The Sisters of Mercy Tours site

    The first half of the concert, all tracks seemed to be instrumental versions. There was a blond guy jumping (hm) on stage and moving his mouth, but no sound seemed to reach the loudspeakers. I'm not sure whether it was the technicians fault (to my idea the guitars were much too loud, and whipped away the whispering sounds) or whether our Mr Eldritch's voice had just disappeared. From Dominion on you could start hearing him, but it was still unacceptable for someone who's trying so hard to be professional. Maybe the bad sound quality I experienced was because we were sitting on the balcony.

    Lightshow was cool, as was the public. Because of this being a free concert with limited access, there were a lot of so to say tourists, which didn't have a positive influence on the publics enthusiasm (strengthened by the missing voice). In the end everything started to roll, and they every easily came back three times.

    It was the first time I heard the new songs, and I must say I liked them very much.

    Conclusion: I'm glad I was there, but everyone should get another free ticket, for a concert with acceptable sound quality this time.

    Written by Joeri Dillen (joeri.dillen@student.kuleuven.ac.be) for The Sisters of Mercy Tours site

    How it was: take your best orgasm, multiply by 10000... you get the picture.

    Of course Romeo Down, Suzanne, War on Drugs and Summer, but also two other new songs ("what have I become.... dream...") plus the stunning and fucking great version of Lucretia/Sister Ray/Under the gun/Sister Ray. Yes, it was just incredible. Sound was perfect, stage was perfect.

    "This is for you Bill: 25 whores in the room next door..."

    "Brussels is the only place where I get arrested twice in one day... today..." (He looked a bit spaced too, drinking that green dragon-like stuff).

    All memorabilia scanned by Sven Togni (togni@pandora.be).

    Setlist | Reviews | Sister Ray analysis | Other dates