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Over the years, we've had some good material from The Sisters Of Mercy, the "live" experience is missing something. It is missing the live performance. whilst they always had a drum machine, it is normal for bands that have bass-lines have them performed live. Only once do the audience get to see a bass guitar actually played ("Romeo Down") - and that is not even every show of the tour. The show is far too short and if it weren't for the disgusting shirts that "singer" Eldritch wears, it could be anyone on the stage - as is normal for the Sisters, the whole show is filled with the effects of the two smoke machines - the fog generator and cancer-bag eldritch himself. The "live" sound was mixed so-well it could have been a backing tape for the whole show (I saw them in Manchester and London and have received a tape from another show from a friend and there were little, if any, variance in the actual songs performed at the different venues. It would be an offence under the trades' descriptions act to say that the sisters play live these days. the only reason people go to see the puppet shows staged by eldritch is that, due to his public tantrums he throws resulting in having even less chance of getting a record deal in the UK than Dead Or Alive, no one can buy the material, and eldritch knows it. If you want to see the Sisters live, get your hands on a copy of the video "wake" - at least Wayne Hussey and Craig Adams actually played their instruments on the stage - and still do (AND give a superior performance). Just get one of your mates to go with a walkman and tape it. Play it back loud at home and it's just the same. Cheaper, too.
The Sisters of Mercy played Glasgow Barrowlands on the 2nd of September 2000. I had waited 15 years for the Sisters to come to Scotland and I was determined to make the most of this concert! The Barrowlands is an infamous concert venue and I have seen my fair share of bands there including Carter USM and Faith No More. It has a capacity of close on 2000 and reminds me of a large aircraft hangar with painted stars on the ceiling. It used to have its own weather system inside, with cloud formation at ceiling level a normal occurrence. Thankfully the ventilation system has been improved! The first hurdle was the presence of metal detectors as soon as we entered the venue. At a concert attended by mostly goths, this can prove to be a bit of a problem! Spikes, piercings, metal boots and buckles all set off the alarms. This resulted in nearly everyone having to be frisked by the security guards. The support act was a band called Sona Fariq who no one really knew much about. They turned out to be a cross between Rage Against the Machine and Limp Bizkit. The music was quite good but the lead singers attitude was a severe problem. As most of the audience were goths it wasn't really music that appealed to the majority of the audience. Therefore everyone was sitting down, talking to friends or still in the bar downstairs. As no one was paying the band a lot of attention, the lead singer started to throw full bottles of water at the audience. This along with shouting "get up and dance you motherf*****s" did not exactly encourage us to put it mildly. They were very energetic and the lead singer insisted on jumping off the stage and dancing with the few people down the front (made possible by a 10 metre microphone lead!). Thankfully they left and the stage was prepared for the imminent arrival of the Sisters. We didn't have long to wait before they appeared. Eldritch appears as the antithesis of goth - bleached white hair, white
biker jacket, white polo neck and maroon combats. Faced with an audience in a sea of black this was most amusing! But we have to remember that, according to Mr Eldritch, the Sisters aren't goth they are a rock 'n' roll band! Following Eldritch onto the stage are Adam Pearson, a regular guitarist and Mike Varjak. How could we forget the most important member of the band - Dr Avalanche the drum and bass sequencer that kicks into action with "First and Last and Always". This is one of my favourite Sisters songs and I'm off into the jumping moshing pit of bodies at the front of the stage. The crowd never stops even during the slower numbers, constant movement and hundreds of voices singing along with every word. The set included old favourites and some new material as well. The set list was as follows (I think!) - First and Last and Always Train Detonation Boulevard Ribbons Giving ground Dream Flood I Dominion/Mother Russia On a wire/Teachers/On a wire We are the same Suzanne Till the morning is gone War on drugs Summer Alice Temple of Love There were several encores as the audience would not let the Sisters go. The first encore was Something fast and Flood II and the second encore was Vision Thing when the crowd went really crazy! Eldritch kept himself to himself for most of the concert. He got on with the job of giving us a show to remember. However, he did acknowledge that it was a while since he was last in Scotland and he waved and blew kisses. He looked so happy to be back performing in front of a crowd that obviously loves him. A bit of an ego trip perhaps but we didn't care we all had a great time.