I've been into The Mission since 1987 when I was 15 years old and heard 'Wasteland' for the first time on the radio. I was already into 'goth' music to a certain extent courtesy of The Sisters of Mercy, Siouxie & the Banshees, The Cure and a sprinkling of others. The Mission had been around for a year at that point and I soaked up their First Chapter and Gods Own Medicine albums loving every second of them. I've seen them live in London on pretty much every tour since their 'Carved in Sand' tour in 1990 and have drunkenly gotten onto their tour bus before now and rambled incoherantly at a bemused Wayne Hussey (before realising where I was, sobering up and quickly scarparing).
Now, 21 years after I first got into them and 18 years since I started seeing them live, we come of The Missions Final Chapter. The last four live dates. All at Shepherds Bush Empire in London with each dedicated to a particular album and it's b-sides plus assorted 'favourites' from across their catalogue. Each date is supported by different bands.
Last night was Day 1 of this Final chapter.
'The First Chapter' Night
The Sisters of Murphy
I'd heard of The Sisters of Murphy, they've been around for years (circa 1997) but I've never seen them before and knew very little about them apart from their name was a pisstake on The Sisters of Mercy. Being the support on the first night of The Mission gigs I was determined to catch them and actually see what they were like. I'm really not sure what I was expecting (maybe - just maybe - I should have gone and checked their website or found something about them in advance) but it wasn't what I got.
The Sisters of Murphy are a Sisters of Mercy Tribute Band.. and they are absolutely fantastic.
Mainly dedicating themselves to the 'First Last & Always' Album and the early EPs (Alice, etc) they played a fantastic set full of fan favourites and great songs. Many of which you won't hear at the official Sisters gigs when Von Eldritch needs to a few extra pennies to keep him in his lifestyle needs.
Beyond the mix of classics they also played the 1992 version of Temple of Love (complete with female singer) and Vision Thing from the 1990 album of the same name.
Have I said they were fantastic? Good, because they really were.
In fact they were heads and shoulders better than the last few Sisters of Mercy concerts I've been too.
Their sound was better, their stage presence is better, the set choice is better and the lead singer can still sing (thus not having to worry about cloaking his voice with 'sound issues').
I would love to see The Sisters of Murphy live again and with a full set. London promoters - try and get them down here! Christ, I'd be willing to co-fund the expenses on that one to help make it happen.
Given the choice between seeing Von Eldritch or the SMurphs if they were playing on the same night - I think I'd probably go with the SMurphs now... and this is from someone who travelled to Los Angeles to see The Sisters twice at The House of Blues a few years ago.
What can i say. This is their week. Their tour. Their farewell. Their gift to the fans.
A dedicated night for their first ever album - The First Chapter (1986/7)
We were treated to some songs that haven't been heard at a Mission gig for probably the best part of 20 years alongside some of the classic songs that have been die-hard favourites and must have's at their shows.
Favourites in the set were Serpents Kiss, Garden of Delight, Gimme Shelter with Like a Hurricane and 1969 above them with my favourite of the night being the awe inspiring and emotional 'Wake'.
They played the best part of 1hr 45min and mixed the First Chapter songs with some of their other 'hits' and 'favourites'. Tracks like Deliverence, Beyond the Pale, Afterglow, and one of the remixes of Tower of Strength. Simon Hinkler (who left the band back in 1991/92) joined them on stage for the last three songs of the set plus the two encores (six songs in total). It was really nice seeing him back on stage with them and it does make me wonder if we'll see anyone else appear over the next few nights
This evening see's us move from The First Chapter to God's Own Medicine (my first actual Mission purchase) with Claytown Troupe in support. It's going to be an emotional four days but four days which will hopefulyl be with me for many years to come.