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sistersofmercy31CK A2, Wroclaw, Poland
14th May 2022
The Sisters of Mercy

2022 is a good year when it comes to concerts. With the pandemic restrictions eased, many rescheduled shows are finally taking place. When originally announced for 28th October 2021, the concert evoked enormous interest; no surprise then, the final date (14th May 2022) - just a day before Andrew Eldritch’s birthday - was almost entirely sold out. All in all, quite a huge hall as CKA2 certainly is, was packed almost to its limits, and the audience was impatient to see if THE SISTERS OF MERCY lived up to their legend.

THE SISTERS OF MERCY, the band that, together with THE CURE, THE SMITHS, BAUHAUS, and JOY DIVISION, had a considerable influence on both the music and alternative culture, recorded only three albums for four decades, which made a powerful impact both on the independent scene and on mainstream Rock. Since 1990, THE SISTERS OF MERCY have been a concert-only project. In the Wroclaw line-up, apart from Eldritch and the Doctor Avalanche, we could see the guitarist Ben Christo and Dylan Smith, who joined the band in 2006 and 2019, respectively.

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Music & Performance
There was no support scheduled for the Wroclaw concert - the audience was asked to arrive at 7 p.m.; sharp. The stage was hidden behind the black veils when we arrived, so we could not even guess the scenography prepared for the evening. With every passing minute, the crowd was getting thicker, and one could sense the atmosphere of excitement and anticipation intensifying. The audience profile was diversified indeed - I guess the concert was as much a chance for the fans to meet up with their beloved legend as a cultural and social event, a kinda “must be” event for some. It seems the magic of the beforementioned “living legend” did its work - this way or another.

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A few minutes after 7 p.m., the veils were removed, and the concert began. The stage was arranged to have the instruments placed in the front and huge mirrors hanging from the ceiling in the back to reflect the back of the stage and some of the front rows as well. Together with the lights reflecting its surfaces, the arrangement gave a fascinating, almost Dr Caligari’s cabinet effect. There was no famous smoke machine, but the light-play and the careful choice of light colouring (blue, green, red/amaranth, and warm yellow/orange changing in some sequences) definitely helped to build a refined scenic atmosphere and enhance the effect of spaciousness of the entourage prepared. The musicians wearing glasses for most of the show and having the light sparkles reflected in the glasses gave a cool, rock effect. Altogether the visual part built upon light and shadow play, images and their reflections were very fine indeed.

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One cannot deny it was quite a dynamic show as well - Andrew Eldrich played the major part of the course; as the leading vocal, he was the centre point the whole show was evolving around. With Ben Christo and Dylan Smith being his two strong counterparts, it built a strong frontline throughout the entire show. I have always seen Andrew Eldritch as the artist having a very specific performance style - not flattering his audience too much, but still present and being the main trigger of scenic action - I felt it was exactly like this in Wroclaw. Great display of guitar mastery and contact with the audience were two significant advantages of the concert: I especially appreciated fantastic solo openings for ‘I Will Call You’ and ‘I Was Wrong’. Scenic movement and the harmony of performative interaction were a bit like a concert and a bit like a theatre play, with good music, of course.

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About the music - during the concert, we could hear the most powerful and legendary hits the band is renowned for. Sometimes the vocal line ran a bit flat, but altogether, with the support of powerful guitar lines and percussion, it kept the pace - at times lyrical, at times hard-hitting and fierce. It’s often complained that the band does not release new albums, but in fact, there were some new songs created together with the band’s guitarist (Ben Christo and Dylan Smith) past years. We had a chance to listen to them live in Wroclaw, e.g. ‘Don’t Drive on Ice’ or ‘But Genevieve’, ‘Eyes of Caligula’, ‘I Will Call You’, which was particularly enjoyed by the audience.

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There were two encores with the most popular TSOM songs, ‘Lucretia My Reflection’, ‘This Corrosion’, and ‘Temple of Love’, that truly made the crowd run crazy and the venue shake. Altogether it was a well-prepared show combining both old and new songs, an incredible scenic and light performance and an occasion to confront one’s opinion with reality and to ground it a bit. To sum up - when you go to THE SISTERS OF MERCY website, you’ll read the following:
“We are a Rock’n’Roll band. And a pop band. And an industrial groove machine.
We are intellectual love gods.
We make records, sometimes.
We play concerts, sometimes (…)”
I can only say I’m glad I could participate in one they felt like playing in the end and could dive a bit into their Rock’n’Roll.

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Setlist
01. Don’t Drive on Ice
02. Ribbons
03. There’s a Door
04. I Will Call You
05. Alice
06. But Genevieve
07. Marian
08. Instrumental 86
09. Giving Ground (The Sisterhood cover)
10. More
11. Show Me
12. Eyes of Caligula
13. Black Sail
14. I Was Wrong
15. When I’m on Fire
16. Here
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17. Never Land (A Fragment)
18. Lucretia My Reflection
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19. Temple of Love
20. This Corrosion

Rating
Music: 9
Performance: 8
Light: 8
Sound: 8
Total: 8.3 / 10

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All pictures by Karo Kratochwil
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