"I still believe in God but God no longer believes in me"
...and with those words the 'Gods Own Medicine' album kicks off with the bands biggest ever chart hit 'Wasteland'. It got to #11 in the UK Charts back in early 1987and introduced me to the band. (both Tower of Strength and Butterfly on the Wheel got as high as #12 in the Charts but The Mish never managed to go that step furtehr and record a Top Ten hit). The album itself was in the charts for 20 weeks and got as high as #14 (for reference First Chapter got to #35. Children went to #2 and Carved in Sand to #7).
After Day 1's success and fun I was really looking forward to this gig. I remember seeing Claytown Troupe (tonights main support) a number of time's from 1989 onwards and met the band a number of times 'back in the day' so was keen on seeing them again after so long too.
Plus people started emerging from their forgotten coffins. There were a lot more familiar faces for Gods Own Medicine than for First Chapter (something that will be no doubt even more prevalent for Children and then Carved in Sand as they are also 'weekend' gigs). I bumped into a host of people including Stuart and Berry whom I've known sicne the mid-80's. Indeed I blame Stuart for getting me deeping into all the Goth shit as my 'Goth Mentor'. He was the one who introduced my young impressionable mind to Ghost Dance, Rose of Avalanche, The Marionnettes and a host of other bands back in the mid and late 80's and also organised what became my first trip to a 'goth' club at a tender age of 16 - The Catacombs in Manor House - which then became a regular haunt of mine for the next few years before Full Tilt at the Electric Ballroom and Slimelight lured me away (although by then The Catacombs was metamorphing itself into a bit of a dodgy 'Manchester Sound' Indie club which was a major reason behind our abandoning ship. Stuart's last Mission tour was the 'Children' tour which was a couple of years before I first even saw the band live!
Anyway, with a host of friends and old faces in attendence Day 2 of the Final Chapter kicked off...
The 'Gods Own Medicine' Night
As mentioned previously I used to be a fairly big fan of the Claytown Troupe. I went to their gigs, had their singles, their albums, their limited edition formats - some of them even signed. I enjoyed their blend of rock and their 'Through the Veil' CD was something I tracked down again within the last few years courtesy of ebay and still play occasionally.
Unfortunately the years haven't done wonders for them, or maybe it was just tonight. But Christian Riou's voice wasn't as sharp or intune as it was almost twenty years ago and some of the band were a bit out of key at times. Now this could be down to the lack of recent touring, they did have a warm-up gig a couple of weeks ago at Bar Monsta in Camden but I was busy and couldn't make it so don't know if they sounded better then. But this evening was, at times, a bit painful (especially so as I dragged everyone else in to see them telling them how much I enjoyed them and how good live they used to be).
They played the hits and fan favourites - 'Hey Lord', 'Prayer', 'Real Life' - but nothing seemed to grab me the way it did. I still like the CD but unfortunately they failed to recapture the magic for me this evening.
Wasteland kicked off the album tonight's gig was dedicated and it also kicked off tonights show.
Alas though, as with many bands "tricky" second albums tonights gig seemed to be the "tricky" second gig in their last four. It wasn't the album to blame - the Gods Own Medicine tracks were good/great to listen to - but more the choice of other 'hits and fan faves' they played made the whole set less upbeat than the previous night. They played more 'modern' tracks such as Evangeline (which I like) but a lot of them where slowler or just not that exciting (sorry lads).
Wayne was in a bit more of a bantering mood, talking about one or two of the songs and also informing us that after they agreed to play the 'dedicated album' nights they looked at some of the track listings and eitehr thought 'shit, we've got to play THAT' or 'Why did we make that track so complicated to play'. He also mentioned that some of the tracks he'd written had lots of lyrics to try and remember. It was really nice hearing the Gods Own tracks but the stand out track for me live was Severina witgh Butterfly on a Wheel coming in second.
Simon Hinkler obviously enjoyed himself the first night because he was back on guitar again and this time not only for the last three songs of the main set plus encores. I think he appeared about three or four songs into the set this time and stayed with them throughout.
Overall though it was a disappointing set compared to Wednesday nights opener. I know a number of the people I knew from both nights (or had met the first night and bumped into again) didn't think it was as good and a couple of friends who'd only come to this one weren't impressed. It's a shame as for many people this was probably their last ever Mission gig and on the strength of this performance I wouldn't have been tempted to buy tickets for the remaining two nights. Luckily we had a really strong opener on Wednesday though so I have a lot of hope for Friday and Saturdays gigs (not least because Children is my favourite Mission album).
Once again they played Gimme Shelter and Tower of Strength as their end tracks - which lost me a bet as I reckoned they play soemthing different.
Funny point in the evening was when my mate Neil told me that he was up on someone's shoulders (as is the want in Mission gigs - and we have had the odd human pyramid or two at the last couple of nights) when one of his testicles moved suddenly causing a lot of pain and he duly fell straight off into the crowd. This is what, apparently, rock and roll has come to :p
We now move from Gods Own Medicine to Children which is THE date of the tour I've been most looking forward to. Not only is it my favourite album but I'm making sure I catch all the support bands this evening as the fantastic Dragons are first on stage followed by Balaam & The Angel whom I've not seen live for probably 18 or so years.
Fri. 29th Feb
Dragons on stage at 7:30pm until 8pm
Balaam And The Angel on stage at 8:15pm until 8:45pm
The Mission performing 'Children' in it's entirety and other faves on stage at 9:15pm until approx. 11pm