|Tour overview | Setlists overview | Merchandise overview | Interviews overview | Tour poem||
In early June 1999 sources close to the band were eager to confirm there were "no current plans for any gigs". One month later, on July 10th, following traditions of starting tours absolutely unexpectedly, the the gig in Braga, Portugal was announced, together with promise of USA/Canada tour in September and October. The U.S. crowd was overthrilled. The European folks who couldn't make it to Portugal -- all 99% of them -- were not.
On July 28th the Washington date was announced; then it was all quiet for about a month until end of August, when a flood of announcements started. The last date -- Mexico City -- showed up in mid-September. We are proud to remind that this site announced it earlier than the official sources.
Opening act for all American dates was announced too -- DJ Tube, who spent most of the stage time drinking beer, dancing around and generally having great time; the crowd's response was mostly hostile. The "monkey boy" performance was good (or bad) enough to be mentioned in nearly every review, if only to define time spent drinking, smoking, buying merchandise or just plain crow-counting.
The prevailing opinion was that Sisters are touring US again to boost negotiations with local distributor, absence of which was constantly given as main reason of not releasing any new material. It probably didn't help that in most US cities promotion of the show was pathetic, consisting mostly of scarce advertisements in local magazines and rare poster here and there, usually with band pictures dating from decade or two ago. Not surprisingly, most of the dates didn't sell out, and many fans found out about a gig in their local town only after it happened.
Name of the tour
One of interpretations of the name of this tour might include imagining America's geographical position from European point of view -- somewhere on the other side of the ocean, right before the huge Pacific; not surprisingly, most (European) maps picture the continent on the left edge of the planet. The tour logo also seemed to emphasize the edge-of-the-world idea.
Post-tour note in the official site confirmed this theory: "The Sisters have just returned from 17 dates at the planet edge, in the USA, Canada and Mexico".
It all started with the beginning
Technically, Braga gig was not a part of To the Planet Edge, but it already showed framework for the 1999 Sisters agenda: the setlist reminded those of previous years, but War on Drugs and Anaconda were out. Afterhours were played before Sisters entrance first and last time in 1999, and so was Alice during the main set. All most acclaimed additions to the setlist only showed up in USA (More ramblings about the setlist are in setlists overview section).
The tour opened in Washington, the city in which previous year's concert was cancelled. The gig goers witnessed introduction of both "new" songs of this tour -- live rendition of Flood I and an American classic from Golden Age, Bei Mir Bist Du Schön by Andrews Sisters, performed by Andrew's Sisters this time around. "Share water" trick was also in place.
The goers all noted unexpected change in Andrew's mood: although crowd was predominantly gothic and sad, blond Eldritch was beaming happiness in all possible directions. The most satisfying explanation for this unexpected state of mood was presence of his girlfriend (apparently, in Toronto he boldly announced that "you'll be happy to know that my girlfriend did show up"; the rumor machine has it that he met the girlfriend during the Event Horizon gig in Toronto, and was interested enough to spend a month in her place next Autumn, but the machine cannot confirm neither if that was the same female person nor if any of the above is true).
Next gig in New York continued USA tour in the appropriate manner: crowd was dead in both movements and appearance, just like the last time in the city. Train/Detonation Boulevard were played in the opening slot, where it stayed for some time.
In contrast, Philadelphia's crowd was up for it, and when they heard Sisters guitarist strumming Sweet Home Alabama on his guitar, they managed to convince the band to come back for Sister Ray with that same Sweet Home Alabama included.
Next were Boston and Toronto shows; during the latter Andrew didn't miss the opportunity to encourage Canadians to mock at the southern neighbors whose missiles are "sitting on lawn" -- which in turn sparked discussion in Dominion mailing list which is archived in this site for your reading pleasure.
Toronto radio station The Edge raised false hopes of getting live interview with Andrew himself; those patiently waiting by radios/Real Player were left without anything as Eldritch refused to give an interview on the day of a gig (the station falsely blamed delays at the border for the failure). They didn't get Andrew's interview in 1998 under exactly same circumstances. Some people never learn.
Another radio related story was associated with a Detroit show: Darren Revell off the popular local Planet 96.3 station shared so called "insider information" that the band do not play live and use prerecorded DATs instead. Those used to frequent soundchecks, totally improvised Sister Ray, songs with their unique live twist and occasional equipment failures/band's mistakes (most notably, a-capella of Stop Draggin My Heart Around was introduced when Doktor's beat died mid-song in Chicago, 1991/07/12) can understand it can not be truth: the only prerecorded sound in TSOM's shows is preshow intro music.
In Chicago, local electronic band TSR-80 was the only additional warm-up act of the USA leg (with Tube still doing his thing in between other acts). The crowd was reportedly once again dead both by the attire and the behavior, and Adam unexpectedly spoke up between songs ("Hey, we like Chicago!").
Minneapolis crowd (21 years or older or with fake IDs only) was much more active, and the band happy as ever; this time a warm-up act -- Otis Lee Crenshaw -- was announced together with the gig itself and marketed as part of the show, but for unclear reasons Otis didn't share his "bourbon-soaked, trailer-park philosophy of life" with Sisters audience.
Keeping with wavelike pattern of crowd activeness, Denver's crowd was pretty inactive once again. This gig's page includes a nice and warm story of meeting Andrew after the show which is well worth reading.
West coast gigs started in San Francisco, in venue twice as big as in Event Horizon times, but back then there were two shows in the city. Same as back then, Andrew ignored the Californian antismoking laws (no smoking in bars/clubs with alcohol served). A highly negative review of the show raised yet another stir in Dominion, best mails of which are also in this site.
Los Angeles and most other remaining gigs mirrored San Francisco's setlist. This wasn't the case in Anaheim though: rare jewels Anaconda and War on Drugs were both played to those who chose this gig instead of the first day of the neighborhooding Coachella festival, which in addition of Underworld, Chemical Brothers, Plastikman, Roni Size, Juan Atkins, Derrick May, Art of Noise featured both Morrissey and Marr (off the Smiths) performing on the same stage, albeit at different times.
Nearly half of Anaheim gig was played with house lights on, due to triggered fire alarm and early curfew baring band from postponing the show. In the words of Eldritch, "it's amazing the difference a cigarette can make".
The last US west coast gig was in Las Vegas' House of Blues, thus setting another tradition: off three remaining US gigs, one was in another HOB outlet, and Atlanta's venue was former House of Blues. Reportedly, Viva Las Vegas wasn't played.
Lost Wages city gig was followed by the long and not really exciting 40 hour bus trip across USA to the east coast. First gig over there, in Atlanta, featured an active crowd and a distant feeling of deja vu as Andrew sang Giving Ground, the A-bomb in mid-80s Sisterhood wars, to a bloke sporting Mission 1988 tour t-shirt.
Few weeks before Sisters arrival south of east coast was fearing hurricane Floyd, one of the hugest to threaten USA; it settled down long before the band came, but stormy weather was still prevalent when they played in Fort Lauderdale and Orlando. The latter date was in the middle of Disneyland, sparking tons and tons of jokes, most notably, "Welcome to Disneyland" shouted by a fan in middle of the concert. USA, or, as Eldritch called it in the Club Motor interview, "very, very violent Disneyland" leg of the tour ended there.
Down the Mexican way
In 1985, when the band was stuck in LA for a couple of days, Andrew took the time to go to Mexico for a few days together with John Martin, the tour manager. Apparently, this trip inspired the Mexican references Detonation Boulevard and numerous anecdotes in Eldritch private repertoire. The rest of the classic band chose to spend the time in Disneyland instead. The final gig of this lineup was less than a month away.
The 1999 band did both things: after Disneyland they turned the Mexico way and finished the tour in Mexico City with a stormy gig including the by-then standard setlist, flavored with Comfortably Numb/Some Kind of Stranger and the Sister Ray jam. This was their first gig in the country. An earthquake in the city several weeks before that reportedly was just a coincidence.
...and your trust lies broken
In late 1998 The Sisters of Mercy Tours site wrote about the latest developments of Sisters history for the Summer'98 tour page):
By June'98 the [future] plans were chopped down to "to release a couple of singles shortly" as Andrew stated in the VF interview at this period; the phrase had all reusage potential for pre-summer tour'99 interview.
Sadly enough, we were right. No new releases showed up, although something is still blinking on the unreachable horizon -- in Allstar interview Eldritch stated: "It will take us another six months to finish [the new album], and then shop it around. I would hope to be putting out singles somewhere at the end of the spring". The reusage potential is still present.
On several US dates Andrew's final farewell was "see you soon, very soon".
Must be good if it isn't followed by yet another tease tour with more
or less the same setlist, no new releases and another bunch of
All pictures on this page were taken by Elizabeth Victoria Bouras (email@example.com) in the 1999/09/23 Washington gig and are being used by kind permission; full versions are available at http://www.psychotica.net/evb/sisters.
This webzine copyright © 1997-2005 Andrius Sytas
Credited material copyrighted by stated authors