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Live-Music-Hall, Cologne, Germany
24th February 2008
The Mission & Dead Guitars

There are bands which you don’t want to say “goodbye”. But THE MISSION said goodbye, but at least graced the farewell of the band with a very last tour aptly named “The Final Chapter”. The last show of the German dates was to be held in Cologne and even though HIM played the city at the same evening, the Live-Music-Hall was pretty crowded.

Dead Guitars

DEAD GUITARS are a Scottish-Dutch-German band featuring Carlo van Putten (vocals), Ralf Aussem (guitars, loops, mellotron), Pete Brough (acoustic guitars), Sven-Olaf Dirks (bass), Patrick Schmitz (drums). /

Most critics don’t forget to point out, that DEAD GUITARS is the most misleading name for this band. The guitars are not dead; they are rather the focus of this international group and the major instrument to create their very own “wall of sound”. And although their music has a very strong Wave flavour it is not exactly dark - as song titles like “Feels Alright” already indicate. And although the band was formed in 2003 all band members are not even remotely newbies - hailing from legendary bands as 12 DRUMMERS DRUMMING or THE CONVENT all of them have already a wealth of experience. So even though most people at the Live-Music-Hall in Cologne were perhaps not familiar with DEAD GUITARS they were served a few musical legends on a plate in the support slot for THE MISSION.

Starting with a slow song, the DEAD GUITARS made clear quickly that they would rather rely on the emotional impact of their music and their perfect skills than producing a skirl in hope to be remembered. DEAD GUITARS produced a wall of sound with their not-at-all-dead guitars but their attitude is rather laid back. DEAD GUITARS is Wave Rock of the more romantic kind, with an almost hippie-esque flavour to it. Thus the perfect support act for THE MISSION’s “Final Chapter” tour, especially when you consider that the DEAD GUITARS founding members were all part of the main act’s contemporary bands. Dutch singer van Putten stated how much of an honour it would be for him to play with some of his old guitar heroes in one band - a very modest gesture if you keep in mind that van Putten himself worked with big names of the scene like members from THE CHAMELEONS or THE SOUND.

And instead of wanting all the intention for himself he preferred to ask the audience several times to give THE MISSION a warm welcome, and what an awesome show Wayne Hussey’s are going to put on. So a perfect support band in every regard - there’s hope that many THE MISSION fans will remember the name DEAD GUITARS and buy their music. And after all DEAD GUITARS were the only band of the night who will still play concerts in the future! ;-)

Music: 8
Performance: 9
Sound: 8
Light: 6
Total: 8

The Mission

In 1986 THE MISSION started as a spin-off of the original line-up of the Gothic Rock legend THE SISTERS OF MERCY. After internal frictions due to personal and artistic differences between Andrew Eldritch and the other band members, Wayne Hussey (vocals, guitars) and Craig Adams (bass) left THE SISTERS OF MERCY to form THE MISSION while Eldritch continued to perform and produce music under the SISTERS flag. /

THE MISSION began in fact to operate under the name THE SISTERHOOD, something their former band mate Eldritch was not too happy about for various reasons. So Eldritch released an EP as THE SISTERHOOD and managed this way to obtain the legal right to use the names THE SISTERHOOD and THE SISTERS OF MERCY and which also allowed him to keep up the record deal with major label WEA - something Eldritch might have regretted deeply a few years later, as a huge brawl with their record company barred Eldritch’s SISTERS OF MERCY from releasing any music since the early 1990s! THE MISSION however, completed by Mick Brown (of Red Lorry Yellow Lorry) and Simon Hinkler (of Pulp), started to play concerts under their new name, performing songs Hussey wrote for the former band but which were rejected by Eldritch. After a series of singles, THE MISSION released their debut album ‘Gods Own Medicine’ in November 1986, followed by a compilation album of their previous singles. With the much publicised legal conflict with Andrew Eldritch the band had a lot of media attention from the start, but it was the high-quality of THE MISSION’s musical output secured them increasing success, especially in their home country Great Britain, but also in mainland Europe, the US, and South America. A series of hits made it into the charts, for example ‘Wasteland’, ‘Severina’ or the massive ‘Tower Of Strength’.

In 1990, THE MISSION’s popularity hit its peak with the album ‘Carved In Sand’ and the smash singles ‘Deliverance’, ‘Into The Blue’ and especially the ballad ‘Butterfly On A Wheel’. An album with outtakes of the recording session followed later that year, ‘Grains Of Sand’, which includes the fan fave ‘Hands Across The Ocean’. Despite this massive success, the following years became increasingly difficult for THE MISSION. Band members came and left again, and many old fans felt alienated by the new direction of the 1992 album ‘Masque’- to many still rather a Hussey solo album than a full THE MISSION release. In 1996, after the release of the ‘Blue’ album, the band decided to call it a day and embarked on a farewell tour. In 1999 though, THE MISSION were reformed for a tour with GENE LOVES JEZEBEL. Thrilled by the new energy within the band and by the feedback of the loyal fans, THE MISSION continued to tour and also returned to the studio to record the albums ‘Aura’ (2001) and ‘God Is A Bullet’ (2007).

Despite all the ups and downs in their career, THE MISSION have always remained to be a stunning live band, no matter if they perform in front of thousands like in their heyday or in small clubs during later periods. So everyone knew before that it would be a great show but what was much debated among the fans was if this farewell tour will be truly the end of THE MISSION, or if the band will be back after a few years like after the last farewell journey in 1996. But most fans were sure that THE MISSION really mean it, and after all things feel different than in 1996. THE MISSION decided to disband on a high, and with magnificent last tour also on a happy note.

The Live-Music-Hall - not exactly a small venue - was packed to the roof. It seemed that no fan would want to miss the very last chance to experience THE MISSION live. After a pretty weird intro the band entered the stage, starting with one of their big classics, ‘Beyond The Pale’ and followed by another very big classic, ‘Into The Blue’. With ‘Bridges Burning’ from their debut album, THE MISSION showed that they would not going to forget the fans of their earliest masterpieces, much to the delight of their die-hard followers in front of the stage. The atmosphere in the crowd was good, although Cologne audiences have a reputation to be a bit low-key and unenthusiastic. But at the front at least people were totally into it and more than happy to be part of this experience. And THE MISSION obviously enjoyed themselves onstage, and were also pleased about the attendance. Hussey made a cheeky remark that he’d like to thank everybody for turning up although Finnish band HIM (which THE MISSION supported a few years ago) performed the same night in Cologne, and he suspected that “we are all way too old” to be into the Finns’ “Love Metal”. Not the last time Hussey, who will turn 50 in May, made a tongue-in-cheek comment about (his) age.

But age means also being experienced, and not only the very professional performance of the band benefitted from this long-time experience. After the touching ‘Butterfly on a Wheel’ Hussey resolved to forget about the scheduled setlist for tonight and let the fans at the front decide what should be next - not just a nice gesture but also a big wow! How many bands are there who can play anything from their back catalogue on spontaneous demand? And it was not just a pre-planned gimmick. A quick glance on the setlist sheet at the mixing desk, and at the nervous faces of the technicians, clearly gave away that it was purely on the spur of the moment! So THE MISSION performed ‘Naked and Savage’, ‘Severina’, ‘Serpent’s Kiss’ and the Leonard Cohen cover ‘Like A Hurricane’ on request, with the previously scheduled ‘Stay With Me’ in-between. A wonderful moment! With ‘Heaven On Earth’ the band returned to the planned setlist, which was finished with the much anticipated ‘Deliverance’ - always a crowd pleaser. While THE MISSION left the stage, the fans continued to sing the chorus “Give me - give me - deliverance!” to show the band how much they longed for more. And THE MISSION still had some gems up their sleeves for a copious encore! At first Hussey returned alone to the stage, singing the slow version of ‘Garden Of delight’ accompanied by strings from a backing tape (which felt a bit odd but sounded beautiful).

The rest of the band came back on stage during the song to blend the slow version into the full version. But it got even better. Founding member Simon Hinkler, who left THE MISSION in 1990, joined the recent line-up on stage to perform ‘Kingdom Come’ with them - truly a special moment, and just the kind of special fans were hoping for. ‘Forever More’ ended the first part of the encore, and there no two other words who could better describe the fans’ desire - forever more. Well, nothing is forever but THE MISSION still had some goodies for their fans and entered the stage again, still including Hinkler, to perform the powerful ‘Blood Brother’ (from their debut album ‘Gods Own Medicine’), ‘Shelter from the Storm’ (b-side of the ‘Wasteland’ single) and THE SISTERS OF MERCY’s ‘1969’ - the most Punk-ish moment of the show and my personal highlight. It’s nice to see a band who knows what their fans want, and who are happy to deliver them. And in case of THE MISSION it just feels right and not like a cheap trick to kiss up to their fans. But there was still one song missing (well, at least one!) so THE MISSION came back for a third time. It would have been a sin if THE MISSION would not perform this very song at their very last German show ever - ‘Tower Of Strength’ - a song that never fails to impress live. Hypnotic, powerful, dark and at the same time uplifting - a worthy closer of the show! Of course some people missed certain songs from THE MISSION’s extensive back catalogue - like the old hit single ‘Wasteland’. But after more than two hours of a great performance by a good-tempered band there was no reason to complain at all.

That was it, THE MISSION are history now. Everyone who missed to see THE MISSION will regret it - but at least they will have the chance to enjoy the spectacle on DVD, as the show in Cologne was filmed for a future release. Watch out for this in 2008!

01. Intro (Dambusters)
02. Beyond the Pale
03. Into the Blue
04. Bridges Burning
05. Paradise (will shine like the moon)
06. Butterfly on a Wheel
07. Naked & Savage
08. Severina
09. Stay with me
10. Serpent’s Kiss
11. Like a Hurricane
12. Heaven on Earth
13. Love me to Death
14. Hungry as the Hunter
15. Deliverance
16. Garden of Delight
17. Kingdom Come
18. Forever More
19. Blood Brother
20. 1969
21. Shelter from the Storm
22. Tower of Strength (with Simon)

Music: 9
Performance: 9
Sound: 9
Light: 8
Total: 9

All pictures by Daniela Vorndran ( / /

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