2001/02/23, Astoria, London, UK

Exxile on Euphoria 2001

February 16
February 17
February 18
February 20
February 22
February 23
February 25
February 26
February 27
March 1
March 2
March 3
March 5
March 6
March 7
March 9
March 10
March 17

All that could be said about these two London gigs as a whole was said in the first gig introduction. This gig featured once again drastically rearranged setlist, opening with Temple of Love and thus promoting the idea of continuing from the spot the last gig stopped, featured the last This Corrosion this tour and was one of two to skip on Alice and Vision Thing.

The specialty of the gig was the slowed down version of Body Electric, performed publicly for the first time. The fans reaction was mostly negative, and it didn't stick for long: the version was abandoned in favor of the original one after only two more performances.

Another specialty was Andrew Eldritch in the love god mode, demonstrating his hairy chest for all to see. The view can be seen on the left pic. Ladies, please behave yourselves.

Doktor Avalanche broke down during Something Fast, just as the guitar solo was about to start. The band's reaction was trying to keep from bursting into laughter.

Support acts: Tin Star, Dave Thomas and Two Pale Boys.

Setlist | Reviews | Pictures

  • Temple of Love
  • Ribbons
  • Come Together
  • Train/Detonation Boulevard
  • Crash and Burn
  • Body Electric (premiere of the slow version)
  • Will I Dream?
  • Dominion/Mother Russia
  • Summer
  • Giving Ground
  • We are the Same, Susanne
  • On the Wire/Teachers/On the Wire
  • Romeo Down
  • Flood II
  • Something Fast
  • Capricorn
  • I Didn't Know I Loved You ('Till I Saw You Rock'n'Roll)
  • War on Drugs
  • Snubnose
  • This Corrosion
  • Thanks to Andrius Sytas and Peter Walters. Mark Reed gets a special mention for sending his setlists of the London shows to Dominion minutes after me -- it's hard to beat having an internet connection 100 meters from the venue.
    Setlist provided by Amanda Stevens, scanned by Bart Kalita.

    Setlist | Reviews | Pictures

    Written by Mark Reed (thegenius@btinternet.com) for Dominion mailing list

    There're two ways of looking at this. One, fiercely fighting against the apathy of an increasingly short sighted music industry The Sisters Of Mercy are winning the battle by virtue of the fact that they still exist and still perform. Two, unable to admit that it's over, the bedraggled corpse of The Sisters limps on, performing cover versions of their own songs, to ever dwindling audiences. There is currency in both.

    The last time The Sisters released an album they headlined - and sold out - the 12,000 capacity Wembley Arena. On the first of two nights at the 1600 capacity Astoria, it isn't even sold out. Touts are offering loose change for spare tickets because you can still walk up and buy some. However, the second night is completely sold out.

    First night sees The Sisters on full form. Whilst they seem slightly tired, and in fact, not entirely blistering as the legendary Sisters shows can occasionally be, they are still intellectual love gods in a rock n roll band.

    Night two is far better. Eldritch is obviously happier with the bands line up and seems content to present a truly united band front. The opener, Temple Of Love, even in its castrated form - rocks like a motherfucker. Adam, in sunglasses, and Chris - subtly wearing one of his very own T-Shirts proclaiming "Sex God Rock Star" take the center stage for most of the song, and Baron Eldritch, sorry, Mr. Andy Taylor, strolls on as if he just turned left and found the stage by accident. From my vantage point, up close and just near Adam Pearson, the Sisters are blinding, even if the audience aren't.

    Eldritch works the crowd like a seasoned rock trooper. He loiters around in the darkness and smoke, seemingly oblivious to stagecraft, which makes it look as natural as waiting for a bus. Second nature. He stalks the stage, hidden in smoke, and prowls around at the lip, enjoying the view, and makes smoking a cigarette absolutely captivating. However, after Temple comes Ribbons. Despite not having the frightening backing vocals of "Incoming!" it's a spiky, witty thing, and when Eldritch smiles his crooked smile, even despite his fairly friendly stage demeanor, its obvious why he doesn't smile. Those teeth look lethal. For a change though, unlike the last night, Ribbons features drums. On Thursday, half of the backing was missing.

    Next up is the firey Come Together, before the evenings absolute coup-de-grace. The blistering, shit hot, fun n funky, Train/Detonation Boulevard medley. It bumps and twists and turns, and Adam really does give the backing vocals some glorious sheen as he rips riffs out. Next up is the industrial strength riff fest we call Crash N Burn. What a song. The hall is full of nutters punching the air and yelling the words. Not bad for a song you can't buy in the shops.

    Body Electric is next, and dispatched in a menacing fashion. The song - at 112bpm, - runs at about two-thirds of normal speed, and instead of being a breakneck thrash through hell like normal, it's a dark, menacing brooding beat. It reminds me of a caged lion, waiting for its time to thrash out. Fucking stunning.

    Next up, based on a fuzzy distorted bass, comes the sleek genius of Summer. Sounds like a hit to me. If It could ever be recorded by the band and Andrew would stop asking for £3 million. And the lights come in all shades of yellows, just in perfect time with the lyrics. Shame though, its so cloudy I could swear that at least once, even on such an empty stage, Adam and Andrew collide.

    Next up is Dominion. Andrew looks genuinely pleased and points his mike out to the crowd letting them sing the chorus with a big smile on his face. Working the crowd like a good old trooper. In the meantime, as the song moves into Mother Russia, the lights slowly move to red, and everyone sings their praises to a stadium rock apocalypse or post-Chernobyl fallout. Mother Russia, rain down down down. However, Eldritch correctly reminds. "It's not going to happen. It's been a people's republic for six years."

    And onto Giving Ground, which bristles, and is absolutely begging to be a stonking b-side of the imaginary hit singles. As is the great rendition of the On The Wire-Teachers medley. Which despite, being 17th years old, still sounds great. During On The Wire (and most of the set) Adam is being stalked by an Asian girl with a video camera, and Andrew joins him on the side of the stage as he emotes, and raises his eyebrow quizzically. What I realize is that Andrew is in fact, a good old fashioned Englishman, with an eyebrow as effective and cruel as Roger Moore. Hmm, wonder if they'll accept a bleach blonde sexgod rockstar as James Bond?

    And so the set enters the final straight. Flood II is greeted with open arms, quite literally. As the set started early as Astoria will turn immediately from the Goth Batcave to the home of Camp Attack (tm - the worlds biggest gay disco) , the instant the Sisters leave the stage, they come back on to give us a special feedback version of the beautiful Something Fast. The look on Adams face, a mixture of horror and absolute, useless hysterics is priceless., as he tried to play a guitar solo and instead gets a screaming banshee wail. The band collapse in hysterics, and Adam can't keep a straight face. Andrew wanders over and the two joke about it as Adam shakes his head.

    Next up, the awesome Capricorn, and the sight of Nurse airdrumming to the Gary Glitter track. Another 10 second break, and its back to the racy War On Drugs (that guitar riff, sounds just like Confide In Me) and then the instrumental, Snub Nose, that should be the debut track on the never-to-be-released (probably) new album. Finally it's singalonga Sisters as This Corrosion flattens the opposition, and we are all turfed out onto the street to allow Britain's biggest gay disco commence on time.

    Rockunfcukinroll indeed.

    Written by Kevin de Groot (kevindg@freenetname.co.uk) for The Sisters of Mercy Tours webzine

    The evening started with a brief snow flurry and the shivering masses were greeted from the stage by the somewhat surreal spectacle of a fat bloke in a red plastic apron playing a very small accordion. This was, of course, none other than the legendary Dave Thomas slumming it as third support. His set was haunting, beautiful and wonderfully deranged. "Any questions so far?" he asked the bemused audience. I really wonder how many people actually realized who this was. Judging from the ignorant comments and heckles I suspect very few.

    Tin Star – weren't they lucky to get to play around with the Sisters light show? Robbie Williams has a lot to answer for. Nuff said.

    After the somewhat lackluster opening of First and Last and Always the night before, the Sisters commenced proceedings with a blistering Temple of Love, picking up from the peak of the previous evening from the start. This set the tone for the rest the set, with the "newer" songs bedding seamlessly with the classics.

    The slow, moody version of Body Electric was excellent with Crash and Burn and Dominion providing the peaks of the set. As always the light and smoke combinations were hypnotic with the yellows and blues of Summer producing pools of liquid radiance that you could happily drown in.

    The Giving Ground rip off that is Romeo Down brought a temporary lull in proceedings with Mr E rambling away (no doubt the transcript of these words of wisdom will be posted here in due course). But the set ended with a phenomenal rendition of Flood II.

    The glitch in Something Fast during the first encore nearly managed to destroy the eardrums of the entire audience, but the threat of "The Sisters Unplugged" was averted and the second encore concluded with a triumphant rendition of This Corrosion. SING!! And we did.

    The sound and general ambience of the Astoria was for me superior to the Forum or the Academy. This show was one of the best from the last few years. Let's hope the album is ready for the 30th!

    Written by Don F Robertson (vonbek@globalnet.co.uk) for The Sisters of Mercy Tours webzine

    Night number two at the Astoria finds the Sisters playing a more subdued set than Thursday - even Body Electric manages to sound slow compared to its usual manic rush. This would bear out the premise that the Sisters have adopted two distinct styles of set on this tour. The faster set (as no Sisters' set could ever truly be described as slow) usually contains Alice, Anaconda and Vision Thing, all of which are omitted tonight, although there are some surprises.

    The Exxile On Euphoria tour has seen a greater variance in the Sisters set lists than normal. Tonight's choice of opening song is the unusual selection of Temple Of Love. For some unknown reason the current incarnation of the band (technically dating back to '96's Roadkill tour, if you ignore Mike Varjak's substitution '97 - '99) still insists on starting the song with the instrumental break originally used to separate the 7" version from the extended 12" version. No matter how muscular or powerful it sounds I always feel slightly cheated at being deprived of the original speed freak intro. Like the run out groove on the original 12" said, "Long live gonzoid amphetamine filth."

    All of the unreleased songs are played again tonight, while the medley of Train/Detonation Boulevard makes a return. The main set is slightly shorter than normal, indicating that we might be in for something special during the encores. Encore number one kicks off with War On Drugs before continuing with the now standard paring of Capricorn and I Didn't Know I Loved You (Until I Saw You Rock'n'roll). Encore number two comprises of Something Fast (sounding much better than Leeds), Snub Nose and This Corrosion – a community sing along is not encouraged this time.

    And so for me, ends another tour, as I won't be able to make any of the European dates, but I'll always have the memory of York. Here's hoping the next tour thing isn't too long in coming.

    Written by Gary Bannister (garybannister@datumeurope.com) for The Sisters of Mercy Tours webzine

    Don't (never) normally give my musical opinion over web - too full of studentesque know-alls - however seeing various postings on newsgroups triggered my aged-thirty-four response. Postings content a la' rip off' 'not goth' 'no new stuff'.

    Well just got back from tonight's Astoria gig - tell me another group that can offer that good a deal for 20 quid and I will go to another gig this year.

    Stunning renditions of classics (apart from some sort of fuckup with encore - Something Fast? can't remember), plenty of amazing new stuff (OK, so we've heard it live a few times). I'll stop my dribble there, only to ask others, what other bands have given you this kind of show for twenty quid? Think before the ritual slagging off starts - who cares whether you think Eldritch is taking the piss, I thought that 'twas an amazing night out, what more do you want or expect?

    Finally, though Summer has improved measurably, surely if there is a single to be released it must be Crash and Burn. Perhaps, on tonight's display, Will I Dream? as double A side???

    Oh, and does anyone know if the Madhouse is still going in Hamburg? Mail me in private.

    Written by Peter Walters (pete0073@yahoo.co.uk) for Dominion mailing list

    Despite the positive things I have so far read about the London gigs, I have to disagree.

    Astoria is a bad venue in my opinion. musically pretty good, but a bloody nightmare to do anything else in (like get a drink, or use the toilet, or get back to the dance floor, or worst of all, get your coat at the end without 20 minutes of being crushed only to find you are in the bloody yellow tickets only queue!)

    But most importantly, the shows. Thursday was better; band were musically on form (apart from the Doktor stopping half way through Ribbons and then re starting again later on) and the audience were up for it, certainly for the first few songs it was going off down the front, but, as is often the case, the London audience was very mixed and somewhat indifferent.

    Friday, I feel was worse still. Audience seemed to be full of one timers standing around all through the gig and declaring their indifference. Clearly the band had noticed. Andrew even announced before Romeo Down "anyone who's bored can leave now". This, plus a questionable set list (a slowed down Body Electric, no Alice, and no Vision Thing), plus the PA fucking up during something fast didn't help at all.

    Friday, at least, wasn't a patch on Leeds and Nottingham shows in my opinion.

    Nevermind, they're still a great band.

    Oh, and the the girl with purple trousers told me the guitarists have non of the charisma of Marx and Adams on stage, and just stood still. I can't comment on that - over to you!

    Who was the stunningly sexy blonde lady with leopard skin trousers and white motor head t-shirt at Vienna? I've seen her everywhere else too, and normally on people's shoulders during Vision Thing.

    In fact I saw quite a few faces in the same part of the audience each night, they seemed to be having fun. Are you Dominion people?

    Written by Robin Colman (sisters@pandora.be) for Dominion mailing list

    >Who was the stunningly sexy blonde lady with leopard
    >skin trousers and white motor head t-shirt at Vienna?
    >In fact I saw quite a few faces in the same part
    >of the audience each night, they seemed to be having
    >fun. Are you Dominion people?

    Haha... yep. Seems Isabelle made quite an impression

    Written by George Carless (kafka93@home.com) for Dominion mailing list

    > Astoria is a bad venue in my opinion. Musically pretty good, but a bloody nightmare > to do anything else in (like get a drink, or use the toilet, or get back to the dancefloor,

    I don't think it's as awful as all that. The bars were reasonably equipped and it took me no time at all to get served. The loos are easily enough reached. The dancefloor's a bit of a nightmare, true -- not helped by the stairs which are rendered invisible when covered by people. But that's part of being in the main standing area; there's always upstairs for people who don't fancy it. And I found getting stuff from the cloakroom to be pretty painless and fast.

    I do agree that the London audiences were relatively lackluster, compared with Leeds and York at least; still, it's not all that surprising that many people don't know the new songs. And even there, people did seem to know more than they have at the US shows I've been to.

    I think that London gigs draw a difference audience from those in the North, generally. For starters, southerners seem less open to getting elbows in their faces from those in the moshpit. I don't think there was a sense of indifference at either show, though -- my impression was that people were getting into it far more than at some Sisters gigs I've been at in the past.

    I think it's a good thing that the Sisters are still willing to experiment; I liked Body Electric and while I'm not sure it's a keeper, I don't think it can do any harm to try to mix things up a little and see what works. I think the Leeds show edged London out - I've not seen the Sisters play in the North before - but I still didn't feel they were going through the motions, and I think that by the end of both London shows things had warmed up and Eldritch was reasonably happy with the result.

    And I don't know how anyone can say the guitarists are lacking in Charisma after witnessing "Snub Nose" - although I think Chris needs to change his shirt a little more often.

    Cheers to those who made sure I didn't fall over. There was never any danger, honest. ;)

    Written by Elizabeth and Manda (booies@ashtray.co.uk) for Dominion mailing list

    We'd just like to say that this was one of the best British legs we've ever witnessed, and there have been many.

    The only low points were (of course) the transport system, Nottingham city center being like the quatermass experiment (the sign post concept has not reached them yet). Also we were unfortunate enough to forget our ice picks, making it difficult to extract ourselves from the barrier at Friday's Astoria show (did anyone else find it colder indoors than out?).

    Thanks to the sisters for helping us to rediscover the art of air drumming to a Glitter beat. We're sorry we couldn't get the cheer leader pom poms in with us, maybe next time.

    Everyone who is going on to further dates have a great and safe time. Dave, they did it, a hell of a good game. One down.

    Written by Daran George (DARAN@thesparky.fsnet.co.uk) for Dominion mailing list

    Last night was my anniversary too - my 10th sisters gig. Will I go to the next? Hell yes, but I think of the former splendor and the now pale comparison.

    Going through the motions pretty much covers it.

    Yes, it's a great night out but the contents are a bit like a box of chocs you've had too many times before: one or to new ones and lots of strawberry crèmes that you don't mind but are not that great.

    Now I know we don't have a direct line to the gods here but its time A.E. got his thumb out of his arse and got the new (now old) stuff on vinyl (sorry showing my age) and created some really new tunes.

    He can do it. We know he can. He knows he can and we'll love him for it.

    Written by Tina von Stein (t_von_stein@hotmail.com) for Dominion mailing list

    Another silly story for you: I managed to get my camera into the venue in London. One of the security guys found it in my little bag and wanted to take it away, but I told him something like: "oohhh, I am a tourist from Germany and I did some sightseeing today and I took pictures at Buckingham palace (that was the first thing that came into my mind) and that's why the camera is still in my bag and of course I have no intentions to make photos inside" and this stupid blabla really helped, he let me take the camera inside!

    Now here is the really silly part of the story: I took one picture during the concert and THEN I TOTALLY FORGOT ABOUT THE CAMERA!

    Written by David Roberts (DRoberts@ubminternational.com) for Dominion mailing list

    Anyone else think that the security at the Astoria was a little, shall we say, "over zealous"? I only just managed to get my jacket on both occasions, and having some neo-Nazi with a loudhailer telling you to fuck off out pronto is not my idea of an ideal way to round off what were (in both cases) fine evenings. OK, the London crowd were pansies compared to oop North, but those precious souls who reckon it was too violent really are getting too old for this kind of thing. I hear Paul Simon's doing the rounds sometime soon...

    I've heard Snubnose live about 6 times now and can't help but think it sounds like Public Image by P.I.L. (but without the vocals, of course). Anyone else care to comment?

    Written by Gary Naylor (Gary@fourth-floor.co.uk) for Dominion mailing list

    > Loved the humor behind the choice of intro music for York - The Shirelles 'Will You Love Me Tomorrow'.

    A truly excellent choice as intro. It was funny to see the goths in the makeup, singing along to it and grinning =p.

    Picture taken by Bart Kalita; bigger versions are here.

    Setlist | Reviews | Pictures | Other dates