1998/08/08, Eurorock festival, Neerpelt, Belgium

Summer 1998

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

late 1998
 false gigs

According to an Eurorock organizers interview Belgian newspaper Het Belang van Limburg (click here to read the article in Dutch), the Sisters played in the Eurorock festival because a certain Mr. Schuermans (organiser of Torhout/Werchter festival; he also arranged the free Brussels gig earlier in 1998) phoned them and suggested to bring The Sisters of Mercy to Eurorock (that was the first edition of the festival). The bands roster of the festival was already completed, but as having Sisters in it was very tempting idea, organizers expanded the festival into two days affair, adding three more bands in process. They didn't even talk to Andrew Eldritch.

Schuermans is known as a personal friend of Andrew Eldritch, but despite lots of rumors and his own wish to have Sisters in Torhout/Werchter, he, in his own words, can't do it until the band release anything, because otherwise he'd have hard time justifying band's addition to festival sponsors and the press.

Some days before the gig Het Belang van Limburg published an interview with Eldritch; we have its English translation right here in this site.

The gig itself was quoted by most people as being one of the best in years: band was in top form, sound quality met all standards (despite some minor mistakes), lighting rig got so big it used three control boards, and audience was as enthusiastic as it could get. All 21 songs the Sisters performed in this tour were played in the gig.

Other notable things in Belgium from the concert day: (1) very hot weather, (2) a minor train strike and (3) meeting of Dominitoes at the festival's merchandise stand.

Other artists on the same day: Anne Clark, The Bollock Brothers, Bjorn, Struggler, Red Zebra, Star Industry, Erato, Supergum plus some "unknown local bands" playing in passing zone.

The gig was released on Superrock bootleg double CD (first three songs are missing).

Setlist | Reviews | Links | Sister Ray analysis
Setlist

  • Intro
  • Comfortably Numb/Some Kind Of Stranger
  • 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
    <break>
  • First and Last and Always
  • This Corrosion
    <break>
  • Something Fast
  • Vision Thing
    <break>
  • Sister Ray (with Capricorn, Walking the Dog, Louie Louie, Killed by Death and Lucretia)
  • Thanks to Declerck Luc (luc.declerck@innet.be), Nige Lites (nigelites@hotmail.com), Olivier Kurtek (kurtek@jacta.univ-lille1.fr) and Robin Colman (sisters@village.uunet.be).

    Setlist | Reviews | Links | Sister Ray analysis
    Reviews

    Written by Chris Sampson (chris@cgs123.demon.co.uk) for Dominion mailing list

    All the best festivals are in Belgium, and this was no exception. Well organized, despite the presence of a dance tent bang in the middle of the camping area - no sleep (again!). It was hot and sunny and we all got sunburnt. The only minor complaint I'd have was that the support line-up was iffy with little of interest except for a preposterous on-stage dancer making a real arsehole of himself during the Anne Clark set.

    The Sisters took the stage to Comfortably Numb, though attentions were distracted by some idiot Belgians throwing mud at anyone building pyramids. Harsh words were said and it threatened to get ugly for a while. Anyway, back on stage another classic was taking shape. It really cannot be over-stated that this Summer the Sisters have consistently played gigs of the very highest quality: the sound is perfect, the guitarists are faultless, and Von is in fine voice and mood. For yesterday's gig the light show was expanded considerably to the extent that 2 lighting desks were needed - needless to say it looks ace. Von was resplendent in an elaborately embroidered white jacket and leather strides, Mike going for a black shirt, unnecessarily open to reveal navel and chest hair, while Adam was wearing a zip-up thing that his Mum had bought him for a Christmas present.

    Highlights included a near-perfect Suzanne and a blistering Train. War on Drugs was also outstanding. The only downside that was noted by several people was that Will I Dream is the weakest of the new songs by some margin, and it's the bland lyrics that are to blame. Vision Thing was in savage mood, and Von even remembered the words; he could hardly forget as 10,000 adrenalin crazed fans were singing along. The absolute peak though was Sister Ray. Doktor Avalanche locked into a rumbling, epic groove over which the guitarists blasted power chords reminiscent of that brilliant bit half way through Jane's Addiction's 'Three Days' . Von was juxtaposing Motörhead, Iggy Pop and what appeared to be a nursery rhymes. And on it went and the groove got deeper and groovier to the point where Robbo was seen, stage right, dancing like an untamed gazelle (you just had to be there to believe it). Magnificent.

    Quite possibly the finest performance by a rock'n'roll band ever.


    Written by Nige 'Lites' Holborough (nigelites@hotmail.com) for Dominion mailing list

    Chris: It was 3 not 2


    Written by Robin Colman (sisters@pandora.be), German translation was published in Head and Star fanzine

    There was a lot to do about this new festival. It's the first edition done by two friends who were tired of all the new festivals with 3-day existing bands and 12 stages. The wanted real music with feeling, so: back to eighties!

    There are only three good reasons not to be here tonight:

    1) You live in Japan or Australia, which is a bad reason as there were people over from USA to see the Sisters.

    2) Your mother is dying. That's a bloody good reason not to be there, although you can end her misery the day before with too much amphetamine logic and still make it to the Sisters.

    3) Your sister is getting married to a US Navy pilot and she'll live in the US for the next 20 years. You can always see the Sisters and be glad she's finally gone!

    There were support acts by The Bollock Brothers (fantastic performance), Red Zebra (great Belgian punk-wave) and Anne Clark, who used to be a great poet, but now makes some kind of techno-brew for homosexual dancers that eat too much garlic.

    Finally, everybody got ready for the Sisters. Temperature around 30 degrees Celsius, so everybody lost a few kilograms. Andrew promised to do the best he could, and that he'll try to do something extra with the lights. We'll see.

    It's not a long waiting time, it's the organization's first festival and they are already better organized than some much larger festivals that exists for years.

    It must be great. The sound here is real good, and Andrew arrives hours before he has to go on stage. The soundcheck went on great (Train was played, that's all I remember thanks to the heat), and Andrew did an interview for a Belgian newspaper that he really enjoyed playing Belgium as he always gets received very well in here. Remember, he did a free gig at the Ancienne Belgique in January.

    It's getting really dark and quiet when the Sisters enter the stage. Andrew is in a very good mood and starts with a very clear Comfortably Numb/Some Kind of Stranger. The sound is wonderful, Andrew's voice is great. He greets the audience in German and starts a well-played Ribbons immediately going over in Come Together. 6000 people were present and sang along.

    Again without interrupting the audience gets a loud mindblowing Train/Detonation Boulevard. During the intro of a very fast Amphetamine Logic Andrew mentions it's hot for him too. But he, Mike and Adam are not planning to take any rest. War on Drugs, a new song is now a classic, followed by Giving Ground, Sisterhood's masterpiece from 1986 still sounds the same, full of bass. It is and will always be my favorite Sisters song. Andrew gets more emotions into the song than James Ray ever did! James Ray was a great singer with a fantastic steady voice, but he missed the emotions in his voice, maybe because he never really liked this song.

    Suzanne needs no introduction, the song sells itself. If Andrew can sing a song like this in a way like this, he really must have somebody special in his mind. On the Wire with Cohen's Teachers shows again how good the sound is in here and how hard the guitarists have to work to follow Mr Taylor around. Mike and Adam prove here that they deserve to be in the Sisters and can give that little extra to the live appearances. Andrew has to thank the audience for the ovation he gets after this song and goes right on with the latest Sisters song Will I Dream. The song is very guitar oriented and gets better every time they play it.

    Dominion and Mother Russia, accompanied by a great lightshow and an incredible sound, and now, ladies and gentlemen, this is Summer which definitely deserves to be the new single (when, Andrew, when?). In Belgium they can already sing every word, by the time it gets released it might be a classic and not a new song.

    Well, don't hesitate, Andrew thinks, the Belgian beer is the best in the world, right on with the greatest hits. A very fast Anaconda, a relaxed well sung Romeo Down going over in the danceable Flood II, a short version of the cult Temple of Love and First and Last and Always all get played without two seconds of silence in between. Do you want more? "No trouble" according to Andrew, here's This Corrosion. "They proved me right, they proved me wrong".

    The Sisters walk off but it's not enough, Belgium wants tonight's stars back on stage. Something Fast starts with an excerpt from Walking the Dog, a capella, which I have heard before in soundchecks. I can't tell where these lines come from or who wrote them, but I remember Iggy Pop doing it in between songs years ago. Straight on to Vision Thing and off.

    Third time: "they proved me right..." Get ready for a great end of the night, Sister Ray. Let's hope Mike can stay on stage now! Remember Stavenhagen, where Mike got a food poisoning thanks to the canteen food in there and had to give his guitar to Nigel (roadie since 83 or so) to run to the toilet. So far all the positive stuff about Belgian food. The powerful Sister Ray gets drawn with excerpts from all kind of lyrics going from Walking the Dog over Motörhead to "needles and the damage done".

    Great show, must be this year's most fabulous show! Like I said, there weren't real good reasons to miss it if you live within 5000 km from Belgium. Everybody who was there knows what I mean, the others should find the meaning of life.


    Written by Jochen Upheber (MERCYMAN@t-online.de) for Dominion mailing list

    After spending the whole Sunday on sleeping I am finally recovered to give a short summary about what in my opinion is worth saying about the Sisters show at Neerpelt last Saturday evening.

    First of all I remember the wonderful atmosphere of the gig. Only very few reserved people, most fans simply enjoyed listening to the Sisters. Everybody seemed to sing the songs on their own. I can hardly remember a show where Andrew had such an accompaniment. Even those idiots in the first row who always gave Andrew negative hand-signs during the "new" songs couldn't change the great atmosphere.

    What a brilliant Romeo Down that was! The best one I have listened to so far. Ingeniously sung by Andrew. The song seems to get longer and longer.

    Sister Ray was also longer than in Rothenburg (this time approximately 12 minutes). This was due to a glorious final of the song - as far as I remember (I felt as if I had *** with my girlfriend, sorry) Andrew sang a few parts a capella.

    Are there still people complaining of the sound quality? There can't be any after this gig. Perfect sound!

    Altogether, I am totally glad that I made the long trip to Belgium. There is indeed something special about Belgian performances of the Sisters. For me, the gig got to the second place of my ranking about the best Sisters shows I attended. First place remains nevertheless to Rendsburg'97.

    Greetings to Wim V., Wim d.N., Sven, Sarah, Chris, Simon, Ralf, Sophie, Alexander, Robby... Nice to have met you all.

    Thanks are due to my girlfriend who bought the sunblocker. Incredible, but I didn't get sunburnt!


    From Het Belang van Limburg (10-8-98 issue), translated by Sven Togni (togni@pandora.be) for Dominion mailing list

    [...]

    It would surprise us greatly if Star Industry didn't get their name from the well-known logo of their big example Sisters of Mercy. Star Industry even sounds like the Sisters and if Andrew Eldritch saw the performance of the people of Maasmechelen, he would have been surprised without a doubt.

    [...]

    We saw Andrew Eldritch walking backstage in leather pants, heavy boots and a Motörhead-T-shirt and a disgustingly colorful flower-shirt over the T-shirt. Yes, we even saw him having fun with fellow band member wearing a paper-made 3-dimensional 'cinema2000'-glasses. Eldritch even wore the same clothes on stage, but an overused smoke-machine made it almost invisible. They opened with Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb" that changed without our knowledge into their own classic "Some Kind of Stranger". It were mostly the old songs like "Logic" and a weak "Temple of Love". "F&L&A" and in a bit "Dominion/Mother Russia" that gave the concert some level. Unless songs like "War on Drugs" shouldn't have been performed. They better had played out the retro-card completely. Like closing the set - after the publics favorite This Corrosion - with "Sister Ray" by Velvet Underground, something the Sisters also did on tour in 84-85. Now all they need is a drum computer with artificial intelligence and "Alice" back in the set, and Eldritch & Co are back in the Premier League.

    The picture says: Andrew Eldritch in a flowery shirt that you couldn't see at Eurorock due to too much smoke on stage.


    Written by Arne Moll (arnemail@dds.nl) for Dominion mailing list

    I also went to the Eurorock concert (first time I saw Sisters live!). I must say it was even better than I thought it would be. Definitely the best concert I know of them, including all the many bootlegs I have, plus a great lightshow.

    Here are some quotes of AE:

    "Oh shut up, I don't think it was that beautiful!" (First words he said to the audience, after Comfortably Numb/Some Kind of Stranger)

    "Dit is de plaats (plek?) waar ik van hou" (=I love this place, in Dutch).

    "You better get this one right, or there will be trouble" (before Temple of Love)

    About the nursery rhymes he was quoting in Sister Ray, it sounded extremely familiar (Alice in Wonderland?).


    Written by Peter Copman (tram@skynet.be) for Dominion mailing list

    Excellent gig, in my opinion. Von's voice (what happened with it?) could for once be heard, you could hear there was the bass line (although I would prefer that camel on stage) and AE was in an good mood. 'Goeienaovond', and then, 'Shut up, you're not that beautiful!'

    Classic playlist, i.e. with two encores: FALAA and This Corrosion, and as a second, Something Fast, Vision Thing and Sister Ray (Said). The new songs seem to be elaborated since last time I saw them in Dour (don't know about the AB gig in Brussels, didn't have a ticket) and I must say they're quite good, really. War on Drugs, Suzanne, Will I Dream, Romeo Down and Summer, they all went by, alternated by the well known 'hits'. No Alice. I really hope someone taped this gig, man, I think it was wonderful.

    'SILVER BUTTONS ON HIS BACK!'


    Written by Wouter Declerck (luc.declerck@innet.be) for Dominion mailing list

    Just got back from the gig at Eurorock in Neerpelt! It was truly a great concert. A lot of sun - expensive drinks - and the great music by our favorite band. A big HELLO to all the fantastic people from this list I've met at the festival.


    Written by Ian (ian@alice-temple.demon.co.uk) for Dominion mailing list

    Other than a few brief mentions, I've yet to read a good word said about Mike either. His performance at Eurorock warranted more than a passing mention of him turning up and performing. The end of Sister Ray seemed to be a case in point, long after someone had turned off the drum machine, Adam had packed up and gone (presumably to attack the rider before anyone else), Mike refused to give up a rather nice note of feedback he'd discovered. Seemingly oblivious to Von's many attempts to wrap the whole thing up with a final "just like Sister Ray said...". Puts an end to any "Bastard Overlord" and "hired hand" doubts that anyone had about the new line up, no...


    Written by Raf Toninato (osm10@siemens.be) for Dominion mailing list

    [In the soundcheck?] I overheard one of the people at the mixing desk that AE wanted Walking the Dog included in the SR lyrics, and that the Lucretia part should come next. So they were complaining about the length of the song, and that they had to cut and paste a lot. So what they did was adding some guitar feedback while AE was saying/singing WtD instead of including the lyrics into the sound itself.

    Brilliant hah, and by the look (a smile) on Andy's face you could tell he liked it!

    So since this was on tape, the complete show was pre-recorded as well. No wonder the sound was excellent, isn't that right Sven?


    Press pass scanned by Jochen Upheber (MERCYMAN@t-online.de), newspaper by Sven Togni (togni@pandora.be).

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