The Sisters of Mercy - 1998 - Summer


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

June 27
July 4
 Reuterstadt Stavenhagen
July 11
July 25
ob der Tauber
August 8
August 29
September 7
 Tokyo (cancelled)
September 8
 Tokyo (cancelled)

late 1998
 false gigs


Andrew Eldritch
Adam Pearson
backing vocals,
Mike Varjak
Doktor Avalanche
Simon Denbigh (?)
nurse to the Doktor

Read overview

  • 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
  • First and Last and Always
  • This Corrosion <break>
  • Something Fast
  • Vision Thing
  • Sister Ray
  • Tour overview

    First signs of new life following the previous Event Horizon tour showed up in the Dominion mailing list on March 21 -- information leaked from Arvika festival promoters. It was officially confirmed by the promoter on March 25. Bands für Bands festival in Reuterstadt Stavenhagen was second to surface -- it was announced via on April 5.

    Two more gigs were known on April 24th: German festival index announced Taubertal festival in Rothenburg ob der Tauber with Sisters in their line-up, and Neerpelt's Eurorock festival promoters interview in Belgian papers confirmed Sisters involvement in the event. The last festival showed up on May 10 via announcement in a German concert magazine: Summer Horizon in Gelsenkirchen.

    So when Sisters' representative in the Dominion mailing list cared to formally announce the tour on May 14, all five dates were already known. The announcement letter mentioned: "Apart from Taubertal, all of these are still subject to contract." It was only on June 2 when that same representative announced: "All five of this summer's festivals are now confirmed."

    Roskilde gig was announced to everybody (the band included) 24 hours before the performance, and the Tokyo gigs possibility came and went in July/August. In the end, all dates of this tour were played in festivals -- first time so during all band's career (all previous take-the-money-and-run summer festival assaults had at least one non-festival date in them).

    The stonking new singles

    A single in April, "on the day after Mr Eldritch's contract officially expires" was supposed to release, as told in The Sisters of Mercy representative's mail to Dominion mailing list in 1997. According to Eldritch's interview for Orkus magazine in late 1997, the single was supposed to be either Summer or Come Together or War on Drugs, and was supposed to be followed by yet another one in June. According to what appeared in official Sisters site in early 2000, the first single had to be Summer (which "goes like a freight train painted in the shiniest yellows and blues"), coupled with either Adam's remix of it or an "orchestral version" of it (depends on which affiliated source you listen to) and one more new song. The site also mentioned that Sisters failed to release not two but "a trio of independent singles".

    Next time we've heard something about new singles was the VF interview with Andrew Eldritch in June 1998; the big plans were chopped down to "to release a couple of singles shortly". The original text in this site noted that "the phrase had all reusage potential for pre-summer tour'99 interview." Sadly, our prophecy was right -- Autumn 1999 saw Eldritch repeating himself: "I would hope to be putting out singles somewhere at the end of the spring." (Allstar interview).

    The saddest thing about it is that the new line-up of the band seemed to have reached their peak during this period, and most reviewers rate performances of this tour as the best one since 1993 (or 1991, or 1985, or whichever was reviewer's favorite period of the band) -- yet the line-up wasn't heard by broader audience, and isn't likely to be in the nearest future.

    Name of the tour

    No official name was ever given, but then, no official name was ever given to Roadkill/Goldkill or Distance Over Time tours, either -- both these names come from tour t-shirts. Following the tradition, we've looked at t-shirts being sold at gigs in this tour and saw Summer written on them; as Summer was also the song The Sisters of Mercy were going to put out sometime at that time, it seemed like a very fitting name. After we've called it Summer, everybody followed the example. So be it.


    Andrew Eldritch - vocals
    Adam Pearson - guitar, bass, backing vocals
    Mike Varjak - guitar
    Doktor Avalanche - drums, bass, keyboards
    Simon Denbigh (?) - nurse to the Doktor

    No changes since the previous Event Horizon tour -- although the identity of the person in the nurse chair isn't totally clear. Mike Hall served the Doktor at previous tour, and Simon Denbigh did that during the next one; I've no definite information about this tour.

    Personnel section wouldn't be complete without mentioning Adam Birch the roadie, who tortured Adam Pearson's guitar for several minutes during Sister Ray in Reuterstadt Stavangen while its owner was busy with what was described as an "emergency piss break".

    The tour marked farewell of Ian 'Robbo' Robertson, Sisters Security Chief of early 90s whose responsibilities were amended by the Tour Manager position as years went by and who described his tour-managing experiences with Oasis in the bestselling book (which has hints on his work with the Sisters). Robbo, described in UTR 12 as excuding "the charm and confidence of an attractive and sophisticated man who is also a trained killer, with appropriately imposing physical presence", chose to scale down on rock'n'roll life to spend more time with his family -- "gave up Sisterhood for Fatherhood", as Sisters' lighting guru Nigel Holborough put it. Reportedly, he had his kid(s) on the road with him this tour.

    The quick and the live

    The tour took an unexpected start when the band was invited to replase The Verve in the Roskilde festival -- at 24 hour notice. Most of the usual Sisters crew couldn't make it to Denmark on such short notice, and there were serious doubts if the logistic problems (sharpened by using the borrowed crew) will be solved in time -- until the band came on stage and presented brilliant performance.

    The setlist of this gig was chopped down to 14 songs, probably due to festival time restrains (most bands had to fit into 1 hour), thus becoming the shortest Sisters gig in years.

    Germany, Sweden, Germany, Belgium, Germany

    The tour started again, this time with most usual suspects in place, in Bands für Bands festival in Reuterstadt Stavenhagen. Most notable things about the gig was performance of all 21 songs prepared for the tour, including 14 minute Sister Ray, and having to have an additional musician on this Sister Ray when Adam's weak bladder took him off the stage during that song.

    Headlining the rainy Arvika festival was shortened down after a nearby DJ started his act without caring to notice the band playing. Taubertal Open Air festival in Rothenburg ob der Tauber saw Andrew forgetting words to Vision Thing, and Eurorock festival in Neerpelt was mentioned as being the best one of the best tour of the new lineup; all 21 songs were played in this gig. The summer assault was finished with a Summer Horizon festival in Gelsenkirchen, before and after which, as reports suggest, unreleased New World Order and unreleased demo of War on Drugs were heard coming from PA.

    They've lost and they've won

    The two Tokyo gigs in Japan first surfaced as the tickets went on sale in early August; the sales were too appalling to justify the performances, causing their cancellation. Read the gig entry for more details.

    The band didn't play any other dates in 1998, but rumors were on the high; none of them proved to be true. The closest thing to a Sisters gig was the Los Angeles affair which included, according to Sisters' representative in Dominion, "an overly opportunistic American agent unknown to the band ... attempting to represent the Sisters ... to various concert promoters in the USA" and organizing a concert which "was never a possibility ... At this time, the Sisters have no plans to play in the USA or anywhere else before 1999".

    This last promise was kept.

    All pictures on this page were taken by Wim de Nooyer ( in the 1998/08/08 Neerpelt gig; full versions are available at

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