Smoke and Mirrors 2003
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Thanks to Lukasz Szymczyk.
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Written by Marika Paaver (firstname.lastname@example.org) for The Sisters of Mercy Tours webzine
I was literally "brought" to this concert, sceptically minded, with Sisters experience consisting of only having heard some songs and some stories. This fresh'n'greenness will express in this review. Read it as a non-compact, not well-organized, but free description of a discovery.
temple of love
It stucks you straight into your spots of senses, softly and hardly, just as a stream of water.
It makes you want more, in fact it makes you CRAVE for more.
All you can do is just stare stupidyfied. You're suddenly not in control of your image, you're watching him, nailed into him, mouth open, just the all emotion in you crying out "what's going on with me?" Like a sudden crash of love, which comes unexpectedly - and you're deeply in. Without believing it yourself.
You're shaking your head, wanting to wake up from this sensually imprisoning dream, but nothing helps. You're in his world now. Being raped. Actually wanting to be raped, but not being raped.
Does the review seem sudden, unexpected, out of the blue? That's how start of the concert seemed to me. It just started and in a second I was hot. And surprised.
engine slows down
Luckily - or not luckily - this feeling lasted only until the end of the first song. Crash and Burn is not imprisoning, not a spell, it's just music. Nice and beautiful.
When You Don't See Me is just some sad song - like usual pop-music, and not like Sisters at all. (Why do most pop-bands make such fast, rhythmic songs out of such sad things?)
Susanne is very beautiful song, emotional, but it doesn't' have this uncontrollable spell effect on me. I'm not imprisoned, but am able to normally watch and listen, wanting to roar, wanting to express, want to live his songs. And understand that I don't have enough face muscles to express what I feel.
Alice creates the feeling of "gimme more"- at least in that sense expresses quite well the world of a drug addict. Up and down. More and more and more, oh gimme more, I need more, c'mon, my engine is slowing down … zznnnnznn, faster, felt like needed a gas pedal during this song. :)
As the concert evolves, I feel the effect of getting used to. The sexual tension gets less intensive and I get away from his magic enough to look at him more critically: "Oh, he looks so innocent with his bald head. Like a teenager, with tiny'n'tough body, with trousers of ordinary blokes you'd meet on any street - so different from his gothic fans. Someone who wants to hide himself under those glasses like he was afraid of his audience".
Before the show I expected to see big vain show-off - and didn't get anything like that. He isn't actively, stereotypically expressing himself to the audience and enjoying their reaction. He is in his own separate world. With attitude of "OK, if you want it I can do it for you, but I don't care much about what you think. I'm just living out of your money".
His contact with audience was quite brief and subtle, which made it extremely precious for them. You should have seen the reaction of the audience after he said his modest "thank you".
And my practical me starts to wonder if in his smoke he puts pheromones - smells that makes everybody attracted to him. Why else am I so wet, with nipples searching the way out of my blouse? At least I'm sure that my sexual arousement wasn't caused by him as a man, but by the music working neurochemically through the same channels as a touch. A down-to-earth subconscious urge, hardly understandable by sober post-concert mind.
I don't remember anything of War on Drugs, Flood I, Will I Dream? - maybe was too sexually aroused and too busy finding way how to deal with my body.
Forgetting the sexual spell he had on me, I've listened to the Summer - a song that inspired my visual imaginations. A green sun, a sick sun, a vanishing sun, a convulsively contracting sun. This song reminded me a constant will to feel the beauty and warmth of the summer through glasses, green like chicken shit.
Like watching the sun through small seaweed covered illuminator. It's a sick love, sick expectation put into someone, "can make it summer and make it shine". So very artificial. Something beautiful darkened by the shade of all the neuroses and fears. Like trying to make something made-up out of something natural. Like little yellow chicken painted with silver dye, because space-girls are IN.
Despite the big intensiveness of Summer and Alice I didn't like those songs too much. They influenced me, but didn't create harmonious feeling inside.
What I liked, softly, with no conflicting feelings, were Dominion/Mother Russia and First and Last and Always. No big memories though.
I Was Wrong. All I can feel during this song is "hey, shut up, guys around". Somebody is shouting "more", somebody is clapping. How can a song have any impact if everybody is making the stereotypic movement of clapping their hands? It ruins the inner rhythm of a song, it's like clapping hands on jazz music.
I still remember the lips of him, the flower on his blouse, the electric-green light and the big expectation never fulfilled in myself from this song.
Roaring Lucretia. Raw power. Rhythm that makes me roar, makes me jump. And I feel like in more standard rock concert.
Generally, soberly, taking-togetherly, moralizingly, theoretically, psychologically analyzing: The concert is soaked with fear. Anxiety of what comes up next. The unpredictableness of your own emotion.
He made me afraid of him. His songs arise a dark terror inside you, which you cannot recognize, classify, of find reason for it, maybe of darkness, maybe of loneliness, maybe of being misunderstood.
Fear is the most intensive emotion, they say. The strongest one. It dominates over all others, including joy, anger, curiosity. The most frequent behavioral outcome of fear is stiffening. Several times during the concert I felt nailed into my position and not able to move.
At the same time you feel that beneath his glasses he is also afraid. It comes out in his voice. In the meaning of his songs. He's fighting some fear through his songs, defeats it through power, music, showing off, through complicated lyrics, through shouting, through rhythm.
His fight-defense emotion best expresses through his voice. He sings in low tone - and the low tone voice is always more persuasive than one with the higher octaves. Children might ignore their mother's screams, but one word in father's low sinister voice quiets them down. He HAS the sinister father's voice.
Stretching, sssshhizzing, and even yodeling at the same time - one wouldn't believe it's possible to do those things at the same time, but well, he did. I've loved it. In Romeo Down, in Flood II. Pushing-and-pulling-and-keeping-me-hooked. In fact Flood II song was one of the favorites.
Sssssssss like he says, he IS a snake, he literally IS one, a good actor creating such a good visual image. On some moment he reminded me lord Voldemort from Harry Potter series - looking and feeling powerful without a powerful body. It's much more powerful if you don't know where the power is coming from.
The other thing is unexpectedness of his voice. One moment it is vanishing, fading and then bursting out again - similarly to Sinead O'Connor. You lose his voice into the rhythm, and then it comes out as painfully as ever.
did you like it?
"Well, did you like it?" I didn't know what to answer to this most common after-concert question. A big part of my concert-emotion was not "liking", not "enthusiasm" and not "loving" the music, but "wondering", "surprise", "frightenment", "anticipation" and yes, "fear". Liking something is not a strong emotion, you can just hear music and get a good feeling, and in that sense I couldn't say that I've liked the concert. But it did leave strong impression, and it did have a huge impact on me.
For remembering something, one usually needs more intensive feeling than liking. One needs a feeling of conflict. I know how it works in relationships (love-hate relationship is more passionate than love-love one), how it works in advertisements (put a nice flower in a garbage can and you'll attract'n'sell), now I know how it works in Sisters songs.
Written by email@example.com for The Sisters of Mercy Tours webzine
There were no mirrors and very little smoke.
The gig itself was what I had expected. Technically, no performance, a live-and-tape show with Doctor's dominating the output. The vocals were impossible to understand at first, but got better with time.
I liked the opening choice, could have only been better with a backup from Ofra Haza (got it somewhere on tape, Von?). Alice was good, too. The Floods and most of the Floodland stuff sounded very nice, Doctor playing the keyboards and guitars sometimes ;-)) I did not like the new Lucretia rendering, though. I Was Wrong acoustic was a good step off the otherwise all-alike versions of most songs. Missed Doctor Jeep, but The Gift piece was a nice surprise.
As for the ones that have not been released on studio albums, I liked Susanne, War on Drugs, Summer, Romeo and Slept. Looking forward to quality studio versions!
Finally, something about the audience. The people under the stage were OK, but I've seen too many blank faces, moving there and back, and guys talking on their mobiles to feel comfortable. Too short and too seldom (the previous gig by the TSOM was in Poland in 1991).
Von closed the show with: 'This war......this war is......., this war is..... WRONG!'
Great show, Von seeming to be in a good mood and being a little bit surprised by the warm welcome.
I've just got up from bed, after a long night train trip from Warsaw. I'm listening to a bootleg I've made, and still thinking about the show.
There were about 3000 people, about 30% of them were hardcore goth type, while the next 30% were couples around 40 :-) what a mix.
Sisters had a warm welcome, but people seemed to enjoy only the songs they are familiar with. For example during Alice everybody shouted and, jumped, waved their hands etc. and during the next song, namely War on Drugs most people just stand and listen.
The sound was quite good, but sometimes one couldn't hear Von's vocals. The lights were amazing. The guitars were amazing. Avalanche is God. :-) Lucretia kicked ass.
I hope to see them in Poland again:-)
The gig in Warsaw was great. Semi-unplugged version of I Was Wrong (just Von, guitar and bass) was excellent.
Pity that Sisters have come first time to Poland after 11 years.
Funny thing is that in the end of the show Von was saying three times: "This war is...." and due to bad English fluency in Polish population no one got it, so I guess he got pissed, finished himself: "This war is wrong" and the band left the stage and of course didn't come back. Does anything similar happened somewhere else?
There were some afterparties but to one was only one bus going there, bloody crowded, second was supposed to have some movies from concerts.
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