2003/04/18, Forum, London, UK

Smoke and Mirrors 2003

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Last update:

Not yet.

"Ladies and Gentlemen, boys and girls, I'm really disappointed in thy government!", - Andrew Eldritch.

Setlist | Reviews | Links

  • Temple of Love
  • Crash and Burn
  • Ribbons
  • When You Don't See Me
  • Summer
  • Alice
  • Flood I
  • We are the Same, Susanne
  • Dominion/Mother Russia
  • Will I Dream?
  • Anaconda
  • Slept
  • Giving Ground
  • First and Last and Always
  • Romeo Down
  • Flood II
  • I Was Wrong
  • Never Land
  • Lucretia, My Reflection
  • Top Nite Out
  • Vision Thing
  • The setlist might be incorrect.

    Thanks to Mark Reed.

    Setlist | Reviews | Links

    Written by Mark Aloycious (the_13th_earl@yahoo.com) for The Sisters of Mercy Tours webzine

    Turn it up!

    Another year, another tour. 13 years since the last full scale product, almost ten since the last single, and he can still pack a reasonable size gig in London two nights running.

    Beforehand in the pub got chatting to an enormous blond haired bloke from Chicago, who'd flown to München, then to London, and was off back to the States on a 6 o'clock flight out of Heathrow. Now there's dedication.

    So what was good? The support band, Oceansize, were a high pitched guitar assault - 3 guitars plus the bass - but managing to hold a tune, despite the high level of energy onstage. Even the audience liked them, and they got a decent cheer at the end. Probably will never hear of them again. The lead singer wandered past me to the bar after his set.

    Onto the main set. As much smoke as we could wish for, very purple. An almost totally shaven headed Eldritch. Gone are the flowery shirts of the late nineties, this is black t-shirt and leather jacket rock deity. He was wearing his "People's Republic of West Yorkshire" shirt at the end.

    The sawn off Temple of Love opens up proceedings, and still, as Tony James once said "rocks like a motherfucker", though it would be kind of nice, one night, to hear the whole thing, as I really miss the intro.

    New stuff fills at least a third of the set. It's easier now, a least we've grown used to the songs over the years. Will I Dream? was in there, and Susanne, and the new song, Slept makes it's appearance. "Turn me on, turn me in - I have slept with all the girls in Berlin".

    Alice was present as was Lucretia, My Reflection, with a decent enough back beat, and really got going in all the right places. Flood I was desperately beautiful, and Giving Ground was transformed from the Sisterhood's quiet to a throbbing, chugging sub industrial mother.

    Never Land is on the set - the first time I've heard it live I think. still, I've only seen them 12 times since 1990, so I'm really just starting out. And I Was Wrong crops up on the encore. There is some gentle barracking at the front, and he stands there, just grinning at us, and shrugging his shoulders he looked like he was enjoying himself, which is always a welcome thing at London shows.

    The last song of the night, the old rock stormer Vision Thing, with a change of lyric to "This War Is Wrong". A few blown kisses and a low bow and he was gone into the murky blackness behind. He will reappear from it tomorrow, and we will be there waiting.

    Less pyramid building than normal, and the mosh pit took a while to get going. Are we getting old?

    And turn it all up tonight, please? As Lemmy says, everything louder than everything else.

    Written by Don Robertson (Vonbek@btinternet.com) for The Sisters of Mercy Tours webzine

    There was a good atmosphere from the off with a fairly mixed crowd, which now seems the norm for Sisters' gigs in the UK. Support act Oceansize put in a good performance, although their set is barely twenty-five minutes long. Perhaps this is a good thing given the notoriously partisan nature of the Sisters' audience. It is a somewhat thankless task to open for the Sisters during a hall tour.

    Both smoke and crowd tension are allowed to build for over half an hour before Eldritch appears. They go straight for the jugular, opening with a powerful salvo of Temple Love, Crash And Burn and Ribbons. A good performance on the whole, although in my opinion they totally killed When You Don't See Me - I fail to recognise it until the chorus. Maybe it'll grow on me. I certainly wasn't too impressed by the revamped Anaconda back in '97, but I reckon it has improved with practice over the years.

    There were welcome renditions of Alice and First And Last And Always and the UK premier of Slept. Other than that the gig seemed to feature a rather subdued Eldritch, who appeared content to lurk behind the particularly dense smoke for most of the gig. Indeed, he didn't really come alive until the encores. After a short break he arrived back on stage and announced "Ladies and Gentlemen, boys and girls, I'm really disappointed in thy government!" Perhaps that is why he's declared West Yorkshire a Free State? (Current merchandise includes a T-shirt bearing the legend "People's Republic of West Yorkshire") Does Tony Blair know, and would he care, I wonder?

    During I Was Wrong Eldritch gets hacked off with various cheering/cat calls and uses the tried and tested utterance of "Shut the fuck up" - also available on a T-shirt near you! Apart from that he seemed relatively good-natured. Never Land works particularly well live, Lucretia My Reflection was much improved on from last year, if the Bex bootleg is any indication, and Top Nite Out was as muscular as ever. The gig was closed by Vision Thing, with a few ad-libs towards the end - a repeated refrain of "This war is wrong!" and "It's counter productive."

    All in all a fine performance that bodes well for the remainder of the UK dates. The band clearly benefits from having maintained the same line up for the past four years and judging by the varied set lists, they have rehearsed a large proportion of the back catalogue.

    Written by "Snub Nose" (go2dominion@yahoo.co.uk) for Dominion mailing list

    Having just returned from tonight's gig in London I thought I'd briefly share my thoughts on the show.

    Having bitched quite a lot about the last show I saw (Amsterdam), mainly for being a bit of a flat and jittery first show of the tour, all such thoughts were dispelled after tonight's stonker of a show.

    The London Forum is a nice venue; it's a moderate size, far smaller than the Heineken Music Hall in Amsterdam, and with better atmosphere. Stage is low, PA is big, and the bars are easy to reach.

    The support - Oceansize - were... interesting. As far as I'm concerned Sulphur - the support in mainland Europe - were ok, but basically Nine Inch Nails by numbers, whereas Oceansize were more about experimental guitar soundscapes and dynamics which seemed to keep the audience reasonably entertained.

    The Sisters seemed to take an age to arrive on stage (nearly 21:30) by which time the audience were pretty wound up and ready for the show.

    For whatever reason, from the first notes of the opening number, Temple of Love, the audience were right in with the action. The band performed strongly, the sound was good, and the audience participation ever increasing. As you might expect this fed back to the band, and Andrew in particular was clearly lapping up the crowd's enthusiasm. The lights and smoke were brilliant.

    Things only got stronger as the gig went on. There weren't many quiet periods down the front, only during more thoughtful (and smoky) moments, like Romeo Down. Alice, Anaconda, First and Last and Always, Giving Ground, Dominion/Mother Russia just roared out.

    The crowd were really into it and the moshpit just seemed to grow and grow. Events in the main set were rounded off by a marvellous Flood II.

    By the time they begun an acoustic I Was Wrong, Andrew was cocking his ear at the crowd only to leave us with a quipped "shut the fuck up" in-between verses. This acoustic version really was wonderful; gentle, subtle, but plenty as venomous as the album version.

    We were dealt a thoughtfully groovy version of Never Land, a re-worked Lucretia, and the standard Snub Nose/Vision Thing ender.

    This was a stonking show, as I'm sure anyone who was there down the front will testify. It was as good as the Leeds and Nottingham shows in February 2001 in my opinion.

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