21st April 2022
The Sisters Of Mercy & Support: Hugs Of The Sky
Last time we saw THE SISTERS OF MERCY live at Tonhalle in Munich, the gig had been sold-out for months and the venue was packed to the roof and turned into the sauna, when the SISTERS hit the stage. One pandemic later, Tonhalle was not sold out but the band’s dedicated fans still filled the venue and many were spotted buying a ticket at the door.
Hugs Of The Sky
HUGS OF THE SKY is a band from Belgium and best described as a Psychedelic-Fusion band between playing Neo-Psychedelic Rock with elements drawn from the Limburg’s countryside. HUGS OF THE SKY came on stage at 8 p.m., the background was completely black and only a few orange sports focussed on the musicians. Since photo-time was only for the first three songs and photographers were expected to wait outdoors afterwards, I only can comment on the first three songs, which came with a nice psychedelic touch, though a bit more focus on the guitar would have served the songs well. Since we left after the third song, I can only say, that according to the applause from inside, when the band ended the set after 30 minutes, their performance must have been appreciated by the fans. https://www.facebook.com/tisots/
The Sisters of Mercy
It's been over three decades that these legends from Leeds, Britain, have released their debut, ‘First and Last and Always’ (1985). Only two more studio albums followed: ‘Floodland’ (1987) and ‘Vision Thing’ (1990). Still, THE SISTERS are celebrated as icons because of their truly timeless tunes that are gloomy and danceable at the same time: Just think of ‘The Temple of Love’, the ‘Flood’ songs, ‘Dominion / Mother Russia’, ‘This Corrosion’, ‘Marian’, ‘More’, or ‘Lucretia My Reflection’. http://www.the-sisters-of-mercy.com
Music & Performance
As soon as the sound of the support band had subsided and preparations of the headliner gig became visible, the venue started filling up with fans that were all eager to see their favourite band and having a good time tonight. The show started around 9 p.m. with ‘Don’t Drive On Ice’ (big thanks to Ravey Davey at this point for handing me a setlist after the show, for the author was so thrilled, that she might have forgotten in which order all the highlights came). The audience cheered and welcomed their favourite band in Munich and it seemed that the band was in a good mood to night and ready to give us a night to remember. The classic ‘Ribbons’ followed suit, kicking off the real party and ‘Dr. Jeep - Detonation Boulevard’ got the crowd even hotter. ‘There’s a Door’ and ‘I Will Call You’ had not been on the setlist in 2019, but it was wonderful experience to hear this song live.
‘But Genevieve’ led over with almost no break to ‘Marian’ that got the whole venue pretty Goth and the band a very loud cheering from the crowd, when the last tune faded. A short ‘Instrumental 86’ gave the musicians a platform, before ‘Giving Ground’ got the crowd moving again. The song that followed next, was an absolute killer version of ‘More’, the song that had opened the show in 2019 and got the crowd cooking immediately, and the same happened three years later at Tonhalle in Munich. When the last tune had faded, Andrew told us in German “Und ihr bekommt mehr! München!” and it was obvious, that he liked performing for the fans in Munich tonight. Compared to other shows the author saw the past twenty years, Andrew Eldritch was seen at the front edge of the stage a lot more often than in the past years. The epic ‘Show Me’ heard singing Munich all along and ‘Six Ways to Sunday’ was wonderful for tonight’s setlist.
The faces of the audience showed, that they didn’t know what to make of a reluctant and tensed band. The ice broke when The Doktor gave us the beat for ‘First and Last and Always’, Ben Christo and Dylan Smith started roaming the stage and Andrew went front and became more visible for the audience. One of the highlights was ‘Show Me’, the crowed was nearly louder than the band during the chorus. Time flew by while the band played a solid selection from the whole catalogue, with a slightly harder and more rocking live-sound than the album versions. When Dylan grabbed the acoustic guitar, I was quite curious, which of the songs coming with an acoustic guitar, would be on the setlist tonight and it seemed, that everyone around be felt the same apprehensive tension.
When the first riffs of ‘I was wrong’ became audible, the audience cheered quite loud and once more I have to admit, that I rarely saw someone posing so cool while playing acoustic guitar. The stage was illuminated with white light and once more the SISTERS proved, that they are the masters of fog, shadow and light. Ben’s solo was excellent and underlined the longing mood of the song, that is so energetic at the same time. ‘When I’m On Fire’ followed next and ‘Here’ marked the end of the regular set, that consisted of rare gems and brilliant highlights tonight. So far, THE SISTERS OF MERCY had been more than generous with their time and their skills and so the cheering was very loud, when the band left the stage and the choruses demanding an encore were even louder. When the SISTERS came back on stage it got even louder to become almost death silent immediately, for nobody wanted to waste a second full of music tonight.
The encore started quite Goth with ‘Something Fast’ and the singing crowd almost drowned out Andrew’s vocals. Ben once more gave us a wonderful guitar solo part and Andrew really surprised me by remaining front and facing the audience, instead of walking to the back of the stage. The guitar players got their great moment with the intro of ‘Alice’ and changed standing spots several times during the song, the guitar hook lines are really strong in this live version and Ravey Davey showed us, what a Goth and Psychedelic song is capable of coming to get the crowd dancing, while they were asked to provide the “Hey, Hey, Hey” at designated points by Andrew. Without a break, the Doktor led over to ‘Lucretia My Reflection’ and the Munich crowd banged their heads and sang along, while Andrew made sure to create an enormous tension with the leading vocals underlined by short guitar hooks and merciless beats by the Doktor until he let the crowd break loose and Ravey Davey made the Doktor giving us a dancing beat, people danced, rockers provided the “Hey, Hey, Hey” while the band was illuminated in wonderful blue light; it was a s if the pandemic never happened and Munich simply continued dancing from the point, where the band had left them in 2019. Once more the band left the stage Andrew telling us “Vielen Dank” in German, but Munich wanted more, a lot more!
A short break later, Ravey Davey kicked the Doctor to life, Ben and Dylan hit the green illuminated stage and with hard riffing they introduced ‘Temple of Love’ and as soon as Andrew started the vocals, Munich sang along and some moshed a tiny bit further back. And from now on, Andrew Eldritch made sure, Munich would go even wilder and obviously enjoyed doing so. When the intro of ‘This Corrison’ started he said, “It’s about time…”, when the Doktor gave us the beat and Ben played a really cool guitar intro, I saw an Andre Eldritch that became the show master he had been when the author was app. 20 years younger… making the Munich crowd to give their best coming to vocal, dancing and rocking performance. The short guitar bridge parts gave the live version of this legendary song a really cool Rock touch, while Ravey Davey made the Doktor giving us a dancing beat. Munich sang, danced and rocked as if there was no tomorrow and the sisters gave everything on stage.
An then it was over and nobody wanted the SISTERS to leave us. Andrew thanked us and everybody came front to receive the crowds cheering and applause. The only thought on the authors mind was “I want more”. The setlist had been an amazing one with favourites and songs that had not been played live for a while, but this legendary band has so many fan favourites, that they hardly fit on one setlist. It was one of the best shows the band has delivered the past 20 years or so and while Dylan Smith had been eyes suspiciously by the fans during his first tour with THE SISTERS OF MERCY, he was welcomed warmly this time and is obviously a full member of the band nowadays. A thing that I highly appreciated was, that Ravey and Ben came into the media pit, giving picks and spare setlists to the waiting fans. I also appreciated, that the stagehands set to removing the setlist and folding back the gaffa, to give them to the fans, without being asked. Touring is still tricky during the ongoing pandemic, but the SISTERS found a great way to make their dedicated fans happy.
And at least this time, the staff of the venue showed a bit more mercy, waiting for the fans to get their setlist or pick, before kicking out the crowds by pulling a rope through the venue and gently pushing people out. THE SISTERS OF MERCY will be touring in Europe until the end of May, check their website for dates and tickets and make sure you don’t miss the fun. The band will also headline at M’era Luna festival in Germany this year, so make sure you won’t miss this event in August.
01. Don’t Drive On Ice
03. Dr. Jeep - Detonation Boulevard
04. There’s A Door
05. I Will Call You
06. But Genevieve
09. Instrumental 86
10. Giving Ground
12. Show ME
13. Six Ways To Sunday
13. I Was Wrong
15. I’m on Fire
20. Temple Of Love
21. This Corrosion
Total: 9.8 / 10
All Pictures by Christian W.