Sisters Of Mercy

by Jill and a bit of Jo

Manchester Academy
4th May 2006

“OK hippy scum, here it comes”

Well, having managed to miss yet another support band we rolled up to a surprisingly full Academy. It’s certainly one of those gigs where the majority of the audience have gigged and aged together. Everyone is very polite and a bit too concerned about their failing knee joints to put up too much of a fight as we squeeze our way through to the front. Sadly the mosh pit isn’t without its hazards. Flanked by knots of genuine hardcore Sisters fans, including a fair showing from the Heartland contingent, is a pocket of absolute idiots, determined to cause havoc, touch up the girls and push the lads around. The sad thing is that I have Sisters T-shirts older than some of these fools. Kids and beer! Tchah!

So the lights dip, the intro track booms up, and …well, I love the smell of dry ice in the evening! Then the band are on stage, and we’re swirled around like the buoys in Falmouth harbour, riding the waves of the crowd, but no sign of Andrew Eldritch … but hold on … the fog on stage parts for a moment, and there he is, already halfway through the opener ‘Crash And Burn’. How many other people didn’t see him come on? And the sound is just awful! The vocals are far too low down in the mix, the drum machine programming is lacklustre and the two other band members appear to be on automatic pilot, playing along to a sort of Sisters karaoke.

OK. It’s not a bad show once you accept the fact that it’s going to be a bit of a struggle to work out what the band are playing. An interesting choice of songs. The opener is followed by a personal favourite, ‘Ribbons’ (‘Pain looks good on other people. That’s what they’re for …’). Not many early numbers on show, it must be said – there is still a bit of a Wayne Hussey taboo – but there’s one or two of the first few singles in evidence, particularly the very welcome inclusion of ‘Anaconda’. ‘Dr. Jeep’ segues into ‘Detonation Boulevard’ and ‘Dominion’ into ‘Mother Russia’. ‘’Lucretia My Reflection’ is a popular choice, and the opening notes of ‘Alice’ are the start of an ecstatic four minutes that has everyone front of stage bellowing along and struggling to keep on their feet. Eldritch interacts with the crowd very little, a disappointment for those who remember his acidic asides of the 1980’s gigs.

They leave the stage for the first of two encores, returning with ‘Never Land’ and a thundering ‘This Corrosion’. The second encore climaxes with a sublime ‘Temple Of Love’, which Eldritch deems to be a fitting point to leave us.

Was it a £20 gig? I wouldn’t say so. I’m glad I saw them, but I’m not sure that I would want to again, notwithstanding Eldritch’s own threats that this tour will be his last. My Gig Mate commented that ‘Temple’ was the track that got him into the Sisters, so it felt a fitting point to leave their live world behind. He’s probably not the only one there. An interesting exercise in nostalgia tonight, and an enjoyable one – we all got battered and sweaty – but a reminder of how far off the present day band is from the glory days of the 80’s.

Jo’s bit… Norwich UEA, May 6th
yes.. indeed. I must concur with that. There were a lot of reports of really bad sound on this tour. Personally, I was DEAD excited to be going to see them at last. First time was at Reading 1991, and I still have the T. This was the 25th anniversary tour, not some usual run of the mill tour, and I wanted hits. I wanted to jump about to the songs, not just cos it was the Sisters. I was spellbound, but even so, I felt that the tempo was too slow to start, that the mix of songs wasn’t varied enough.. For me, 1991 was better. I gloried in Alice, and Temple, and the rest, though…

Yar boo sucks to the Sisters anoraks. I wanted Silver Bullet, not a starters pistol. You can’t rest on your laurels.

Love is always over in the morning. The black wind can carry you away, too, Von.. but thank you for all the good times.