1998/01/30, Roseland ballroom, New York, NY, USA

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

The opening gig in the States was (reportedly) not sold out, and rescheduled from the infamous Studio 54 in December. The most notable thing about it was the terrible sound -- almost everybody complained about low vocals, some didn't hear them at all. No surprise here: Roseland ballroom is famous for bad sound, and the fact that Andrew couldn't sing loudly due to his illness didn't help, either. To further the technical problems theme, Mike's guitar broke during Train/Detonation Boulevard.

Another notable feature was the audience -- predominantly gothic, and, as one reviewer put it, "too cool to applaud". Or do anything more demanding than standing still, at least until the old favorites half.

New technologies gain momentum: reportedly, the gig was broadcasted live via Internet, courtesy of unspecified person. No word on where it was available or who listened though.

Many people noted that they didn't even suspect Andrew is in struggling through the show with heavy cold and problems with inner ear until next show in Washington got cancelled due to the illness.

This page features a Rolling Stone review, graciously provided by its author after I helped him with research. It's interesting to note its difference from fan reviews -- especially the emphasis on goth thing and associating the band with it. Don't bother pointing the author that Patricia didn't sing on Floodland -- he's already informed. Hopefully, the Rolling Stone version have this corrected.

Support act: Orange 9mm.

Setlist | Reviews | Links

This setlist might be (and most likely really is) incorrect. If you have access to the real thing, please take some of your time to check it and send in corrections/confirmations.

  • Intro: Fly and Collision of Comas Sola
  • First and Last and Always
  • Ribbons
  • Come Together
  • Train/Detonation Boulevard
  • Amphetamine Logic
  • Giving Ground
  • War on Drugs
  • (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
  • Thanks to Nik (neptune@skyweb.net)

    Setlist | Reviews | Links

    Written by Chris Nemier (Bacchus118@AOL.com) for The Sisters of Mercy Tours site

    I got home from the N.Y. show a couple days ago, and while I didn't think it was quite the same as their show in Philadelphia this past June, it certainly is one of the best concerts I've been witness to.

    Myself and three friends arrived at the venue around 7 to find that the doors were already opened and people were being let into the venue. After a quick detour to the merchandise table (where I picked up a 1998 tour shirt with dates on the back, and fucking nice it is too, thanks very much) it was onward to get as close to the stage as we possibly could, which ended up being front row, right in front of one of the speakers, and about 3 feet away from Adam when he got onstage.

    We stood around, smoked, and watched some of the goths wander around (and had a laugh at some of their attire, too). 8:00 finally rolled around, and opening band Orange 9mm started the night off... horribly. Boring hardcore/rap that made even Body Count look accomplished. The highlight of their set was the mic the singer was using fucking up and him not being able to sing half the song. After what seemed like an eternity, they were finally gone.

    About a half hour later, the intro music (Tangerine Dream, I think) kicked in and no one really was sure what it was until the overhead lights went off. The fog machine started up, as did the lights, and suddenly they were there, kicking the set off with the new and improved "First and Last and Always". Adam looked about the same, Mike had his hair cut shorter, and Andrew... well, he looked like a cross between the Eldritch of 1991 (leather pants, boots), an extra from Magnum, P.I. (that lovely orange shirt), sporting George Clooney's hair, only bleached. For all the world, he reminded me of a pumpkin (an Eld-O-Lantern? Hmm...), but he was still Andrew, and he's got enough money to do whatever the hell he wants.

    It was an amazing set, the only glitch being Mike's guitar going out in the middle of "Train/Detonation Boulevard" and of course, the Eldritch comments were fully in place, without quite the level of bitchiness found in PA, with a couple exceptions. (saying "For fuck's sake, cheer up" to a bunch of goths, and before going into "This Corrosion" saying " I see a smile in the front row, and that makes it all worth it"). "Suzanne", "Romeo Down" and "Will I Dream" all sounded phenomenal, with "Romeo Down" being my personal favorite. But of course, the highlight of the night (for me, anyway) was the show-concluding "This Corrosion".

    The only other things I want to add before I take off is that if anyone knows who the guy with the video camera was and what he was filming the concert for to let me know, and if anyone managed to bootleg any of the shows on the tour or anything, to get in touch with me.

    Written by Kevin Raub (KevinRaub@aol.com) for AOL's Rolling Stone Online

    Anyone who thought goth was dead (or at least confined to Midwestern high school outcasts), was not at the Roseland Ballroom for the Sisters of Mercy's first show in New York in seven years. A sea of black turned out to pay homage to Mother Superior himself, Andrew Eldritch, who was leaner and slightly less intimidating than in his "This Corrosion" days. Indeed, the voice of the Sister's has traded in his top-to-bottom jet black ensemble for a neatly cropped, bleach-blond close cut and a loose-fitting red button-down. As it turned out, he was the only one besides a few women in sacrificial virgin white that strayed from the dark wardrobe requirements. Even a guy wearing a "Break the Trend. Smile Back." T-shirt donned the evening's required attire.

    Buttressing the gloominess, a barely-visible Sisters lineup, which includes Eldritch as the only original member and a drum machine, began the night's festivities behind an incessant wall of smoke. "First and Last and Always," from the Sister's debut album of the same name, somehow emerged from the shadows. Plagued by a vocal monitor that was as inaudible as the band was invisible, the Sister's already unvaried song repertoire was made virtually indistinguishable. It wasn't until the rambunctious "Amphetamine Logic" (five songs in), that Eldritch's vocal even reared its ugly head above the music. In fact, Doktor Avalanche (the Sister's pet name for the drum machine) proved to be about the only reliable source of intelligible sound throughout the evening.

    Though there were highlights amidst the din (a hell-raising "Dominion/Mother Russia" and an as usual anthemic "This Corrosion" come to mind, but minus the haunting background vocals of former guitarist Patricia Morrison), both lacked the power and eeriness of the recorded versions. Eldritch's demonesque voice has held firm in the 11 years since the Sister's semi-breakthrough album "Floodland," but on this night, it could have used a slight case of overproduction.

    After passing on Sister classics like "Lucretia My Reflection" and "More" in the main set (although they very well could have been hidden behind that wall of smoke somewhere), the Sister's returned and Eldritch finally stepped up to the mike for an out-of-character yet ridiculously good rendition of Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb." Although muddled most of the evening, it was the first time his message came through, a message his following no doubt swears by: Goth never dies, it simply fades to black sometimes.

    My thanks go to Kevin himself for sending me the review. This review appeared in AOL's Rolling Stone Online. It should also appear in the Rolling Stone WWW site. There are no plans to use it in the print Rolling Stone magazine (online and print versions have separate contents).

    Written by Jason (vitus@ix.netcom.com) for Dominion mailing list

    My two pennies:

    New York version of First and Last and Always was the best I've ever heard, without a doubt. The lead guitar riff was the original, but not distorted. The rhythm guitar was very heavily distorted, vox were on high reverb, lights and smoke working overtime. A positive orgasm of an opening song. Ribbons was somewhat calmer, but AE came across as the nasty bastard that he is. (first outfit: black leather pants, black engineer's boots, and the black/yellow Chinese jacket.)

    Train was another highlight of the set. From my spot in the front left, I could feel the Doktor's bass and drums ripping right into my chest. Giving Ground was a low spot, AE's vocals lost under the Doktor and one verse cut from the song. On the Wire/Teachers was also a bit of a letdown, suffering mainly from a bad mix. No surprise that the first time the crowd showed any signs of life was for Dominion. A couple of surges towards the stage, lots of bouncing up and down, singing along, but not many people doing the actions. (second outfit: minus the jacket, add some kind of red shirt unbuttoned all the way, with little sparkles on the fabric.)

    Anaconda'97 brought on another mass sing along, and the backing vocals have gotten much better. I think his mic was turned down. ;) Flood II was a smoke clouded coolly lit monster of a song. All the high notes hit, Varjak on acoustic not having to look at AE for cues, and a few more hands in the air. Temple of Love? Nothing outstanding about it, particularly with half of it cut. Time to replace it from the lineup. Comfortably Numb/Some Kind of Stranger was another one done up in style. The guitar solo was top notch, as were AE's moans and screams. This Corrosion was probably the high point for the crowd's energy. Lots of dancing about, singing along, fists in the air fun.

    Pointed barbs:

  • "Yes, yes, yes, we are the Sisters of Mercy, a rock and roll band"
  • "Cheer up, for fuck's sake!"
  • "You all don't have to pretend that you're on medication"
  • Introducing Amphetamine Logic: "...blame this song on an overdose of pseudoephedrine"
  • Pointing to a girl in the front row: "I see one person smiling, that almost makes it all worthwhile."

    Overall, it was a good show. The new songs, particularly Summer, War on Drugs, and Romeo Down are excellent. The band seemed comfortable on stage, except when Varjak's guitar broke (during Come Together or Train, I think.) and he stood still looking at Andrew. That blemish aside, things went smoothly throughout the shortened set, and it looks like it will be another good tour of North America for the Sisters.

    Side note: there was some guy walking around in the barrier, and on the wings of the stage with a hand held video camera. Any thoughts/suggestions as to what might be in the works?

    Written by Nik (neptune@skyweb.net) for Dominion mailing list

    Doors opened at 7 or so, by 8:10 pm Orange 9mm (poor-man's Rage Against the Machine) was on stage warming up the place, all 50 of us. By 9 pm the place was packed and at 9:30 enter the Sisters.

    The sound was really good although Von could have been louder. Perfect performance, perfect vocals (even the high notes in Numb). The whole show seemed very rehearsed. Not that this is bad, it almost seemed the band was showcasing. By the third track the mix was really good. The lights were great, especially for Come Together, Ribbons, Summer and Flood.

    Highlights on the show: the new songs. Suzanne is fantastic, Summer and War on Drugs have gotten better, especially War on Drugs when it starts picking up tempo up to the ending. Romeo Down is vintage Sisters, a little Flood II, a little Afterhours, and was the a little bit of the bass from tools sober sneaking in there. The only questionable track is Will I Dream. It sounded a little too much like a Vision thing out-take, maybe it will come together on the album. Numb/SKOS and Suzanne were worth the $27.50.

    Highlight outside the show: the homeless fella with the sign, "Need money! for beer, pot and hooker".

    > The only other things I want to add before I take off is that
    > if anyone knows who the guy with the video camera was and
    > what he was filming the concert for to let me know

    Back by the sound board was another video camera along with a Sony(?) stereo mic. I also noticed two DAT machines in the rack of audio equipment. As for recording from the audience I don't know about it, I got frisked pretty good going in, and I every purse got a good look through.

    Von quotes of the night: "It's so much better when I can hear it" (after Come Together) and "Cheer the fuck up will ya".

    Low lights, limp, dead crowd. No wonder we didn't get Jolene.

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

    I saw the Sisters of Mercy in June'97 at Brixton in London. When I got stateside, I wrote a note to this list stating a high degree of disappointment. I panned them.

    On January 30, I saw them again at the (soldout) Roseland show in NYC and today I have flattering things to write.

    I went to the show expecting to hate it (sorry), but I had the time of my life (thank you). My three friends and I were unable to stand still during the show. We were right up front, but drastically stage right -- the sound and view was great, and we even found a little elbow room.

    So - some relevant points -

    1. The girls ARE a rock and roll band
    2. They are a damn good rock and roll band
    3. The new sound and songs are great. I enjoyed it as much (if not more gasp) than the previously released stuff
    4. That said, On the Wire was, well, amazing
    5. I believe A. would agree with me that the crowd looked infinitely better than that at Brixton. I at least wasn't embarrassed to be among them
    6. The crowd was dead and generally unappreciative. They thought they were too cool to applaud.
    7. In Brixton the crowd sucked equally as much.

    I cannot state strongly enough that this was quality fun music. It may have little to do with the Sisters of Mercy as we know them, but that's ok - let's evolve with them. We have a great legacy - SGWBM, FALAA, Floodland and VT - and we can listen to the recordings forever.

    I hope this tour will bring in the die-hards and introduce them to a new evolution of the Sisters. As you see them on this tour, remember that you don't have to know a song to enjoy it. Open your feet to the beat. And show your appreciation, damn it.

    I will be satisfied if I never hear Temple, Corrosion or Flood again live - if that will secure production of more.

    Andrew - I applaud you.

    Written by Alex Smith (Alex_Smith@timemagazine.com) for The Sisters of Mercy Tours site

    The triumphant return of the Sisters of Mercy (their first NYC appearance since July 24, 1991 with Public Enemy at Radio City Music Hall, I believe), should have been a more momentous occasion. The original site for this event was slated to be Studio 54 (where they also played in '91, then dubbed "new Ritz") but was later moved to the reprehensible Roseland Ballroom (sometimes derisively referred to as "Pose-land"). The end result was a little underwhelming and depressing.

    A great percentage of the blame can go to Roseland itself, with its ill-conceived layout and appalling sound system. To be quite honest, I've NEVER had a good time at Roseland, and have vowed on numerous occasions never to return. But, this was the Sisters.

    Everyone else will undoubtedly write to this site with setlist info, so I'll leave that bit out. Personally, I would love to hear more material from "First and Last and Always"-era Sisters (my favorite incarnation of the band), notably "Walk Away," "Black Planet" and "Marian," but that, apparently, is a tall order. I'm sure some obsessed little gothling will e-mail me with some vitriolic reason for this, but the fact remains; it'd be nice to hear'em. "Adrenochrome" would be cool too, but I'm not holding my breath.

    Another annoying factor, as might've been expected, was the huge goth contingent of the crowd, with a surprising amount of teenagers (where are they coming from? the band hasn't had an album out since the early 90's!). Andrew himself laments this point, as his onstage contempt is positively palpable. Though never accused of being a cheery fellow, Andrew seems to hold a great deal of malice towards his American audience, which was also well in evidence at the Philly "Dark Harvest" show this past summer. I can understand his spite towards this crowd (some dressed up in ridiculously pompous Elizabethan finery), but at the same time, he's not doing much to move away from the aesthetic that attracts them. I'd love to see Andrew and Co. drop the dry ice shtick and just strut on out and play the music.

    Gripes aside, the new stuff (what we could make-out) sounds vibrant and punchy, which is a good thing. Here's hoping they'll streamline the bugs out of the system and come back to NYC again (at a more suitable venue) to show us how it's properly done.

    Oh, and love the Motörhead t-shirt.

    Written by Damageisit@aol.com for The Sisters of Mercy Tours site

    Had no idea Andy was a bit under the weather until I heard the Washington gig was cancelled. I have seen the Sisters four times now and clearly where they play has as much to do with their performance as any other influence.

    I felt the venue was actually a good size for a band like the Sisters but the acoustics were poor. Hearing his vocals was not easy, even the songs I knew well. Overall I had a great time, because I know that they were/are a clever and amusing entertainment service.

    The crowd however were a complete nightmare. The usual quota of funeral going lookalikes were there. I even contemplated going dressed in white jeans, white shirt, knowing I would stand out. However I also had plans to go to a swish nightclub later on so knowing it would effect my plans with possible chance encounters I chose blue and black instead (and a bobble hat).

    Where do all these sad teenagers come from? Would they ever understand the lyrics? Yes, First and Last and Always contains depressing themes but there is so much more to it than that. Find inspiration in his words not black clothes and apparent miserable lives.

    Looking forward to the new records.

    Written by Keith Johnson (johnson@swnetworks.com) for The Sisters of Mercy Tours site

    First let me say, that regardless of what my opinion of the show was, I will always be a fan of the Sisters. I absolutely love listening to them.

    However, Friday night was one of the most disappointing concerts of my life. And I don't know who to blame. Myself and my friend were standing about ten feet in front of the sound board for the entire show. And not once, NOT ONCE did we hear the vocals. The mix was absolutely horrendous. I could not believe how bad it was. And I felt so bad for Andrew and Co because I have to believe that they weren't aware of the problem.

    I am not exaggerating when I say I could not hear the vocals at all. It was like the mix was backwards. Mostly I heard the drum machine, then the bass then some guitar and then only what sounded like deep mumblings. Totally incomprehensible. Unbelievable. I just couldn't believe how amateurish it was. And for $28.50 US as well.

    When I came into work this morning, I spoke to some other friends who went to the show (swnetworks is an entertainment news network) and they said the same thing: (1) horrible show, (2) couldn't hear the vocals.

    Written by queenofgotham@mindspring.com for Dominion mailing list

    > However, friday night was one of the most disappointing concerts of my life.
    > And I don't know who to blame. Myself and my friend were standing about
    > ten feet in front of the sound board for the entire show. And not once, NOT
    > ONCE did we hear the vocals.

    I have to disagree about the concert being a disappointment. Yeah, the sound was poor, especially in the back half of the Ballroom. I meandered around the room, was near the sound board at one point and decided it had to sound better somewhere else. I ended up off the corner at stage right, just at the edge of the ballroom floor. The volume level was definitely too low all around, but from my vantage point, not only could I hear Andrew, but I could really see him as well. That was an unexpected treat, in more ways than one.

    I never would have guessed he was under the weather from the sound of his voice (aside from his comment regarding the medication he was on). I thought he sounded at least as good as on the recordings, sometimes even stronger

    I was somewhat peeved by the number of people who seemed more interested in talking amongst themselves than listening to the band (but being a classically trained musician, I have rather stringent ideas about that in general!), but it seemed to me that the crowd did their share of singing and being appreciative. Maybe it was just the section around me. It did seem that he spent more time over in our corner of the stage than on the other side, which was where the VIPs had their own holding tank on a side stage.

    As I really never anticipated seeing the Sisters perform live, I really appreciated the concert, having previously been on the wrong continent at the wrong time. And while I thought $28.50 for standing room was highway robbery before the show, I thought it was worth every penny afterwards.

    I can't wait to see the results of all that camera action - one mounted by the sound board and two guys being very subtle about on-stage filming. They frequently disappeared into the smoke in which Andrew cloaked himself.

    Written by Fizzig13@aol.com for Dominion mailing list

    Andrew was in rare form, but the audience didn't seem to want to move. Being front & center, it was apparent the symbiosis that should have existed between band and audience was not in operation, through no fault of Von's. Still, credit where it's due, not everyone in the audience was an extra from "Day of the Dead".

    Incidentally, the guy behind me in the crowd was broadcasting the show across the 'net via live audio. No idea how many people were listening to it that way, but I'm sure someone was able to catch it.

    Written by Robin (Xiphoid@banet.net) for Dominion mailing list

    The crowd was pretty unenthusiastic, but I don't know about way in the back (people usually talk a lot back there). At least there wasn't any moshing and smashing. It was a treat to actually be able to watch and enjoy the show without worrying that my ribs would crack on the barricade and then the barricade would break causing 1,000 people to fall on me (I was surrounded by large friendly men from Atlanta). I agree that the smoke was a little overdone though.

    Written by mariwarner@aol.com for The Sisters of Mercy Tours site

    I love SOM, but that concert was a rip off, the worst sound I have ever heard at any concert. I was looking forward to hearing Andrews sing, I mean really sing, soul churning SOM songs but ended up listening to noise.

    I will still see them again and again until I get it right.

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