“30 bloody years! Who would’ve thought it, eh? As we were well renowned for our, ahem, lifestyle choices, shall we say, I remember Melody Maker ran an office pool betting which member of The Mission would die first!” But survive they did – and they brought quite a few of us along with them, picked up many on the way to build one of the most loyal fan-bases around. Among familiar faces we’ve seen and come to know over the years, there are also people here from as far away as America and possibly beyond, all here to help celebrate Wayne and co’s pearl anniversary.
Thirty years is a long time for sure, but it’s been an even longer since I last clasped eyes and ears on tonight’s support. The ‘Gothfather’ Pete Murphy has been invited along to open up for this leg of the tour. Last time I saw him he was fronting seminal Goth forerunners Bauhaus.
I skived off school and somehow made it London to catch one of my favourite gigs of all time. It’s been a while, but I’m glad to report back that Mr Murphy did not disappoint. Eccentric as ever, his set was full of Bowiesque posturing, none more so than on his tribute to the great man himself, a fair version of Bewlay Brothers (although I’m pretty sure he did miss a couple of lines ). Obvious set highlight for many was the closing number, Bela Lugosi’s Dead, which came complete with Peter hurling half the set across the stage. Quite dramatic, but at the same time, fitting.
Making their entrance to the Dambuster’s theme, Wayne and co take to the stage and get the party started with a couple of early crowd pleasers – ‘Beyond The Pale’ and ‘Hands Across the Ocean’. They’re joined on stage by Evi, who provides a little bit of extra panache to some of the more delicate numbers, such as ‘Evangaline’.
Yes it’s a 30 year celebration party, and everyone is instantly fired up, but it’s not quite a greatest hits show. The band have also got a new album to push (Another Fall From Grace – which is out now). Wayne claims that the album provides the ‘lost link between The Sisters Of Mercy ‘First And Last And Always’ and The Mission’s ‘God’s Own Medicine‘.
‘Tyranny of Secrets’ has a classic Mission sound to it and ‘Met-Amor-Phosis’ sits between ‘Severina’ and ‘Tower of Strength’ as if its been part of the setlist forever. The tunes may be bang up to date, but they sound and feel classic Mission.
Of course a big part of any Mission gig is the crowd. Interactions between the stage and the floor come easy and once we hit full stride it’s more than arms that are thrown aloft in appreciation. ‘Tower’ see’s around 10 people been lofted skywards to stand atop the shoulders of friends. For their efforts we are showered in confetti and reward.
The solo acoustic version of ‘Stay With Me’ as the opener for the penultimate set is damn fine and in stark contrast to the final act. ‘Crystal Ocean’ does exactly what it says on the tin and shakes everyone down. While ‘Blood Brother’ and ‘Deliverance’ are slammed home – albeit with a slight comedy interlude as Wayne gets the lines to ‘Brother’ mixed up – with an assertive force that affirms just how and why this band have not only survived, but have also managed to expand their fanbase, stayed as true to their root cause as fame allows, and still carry on churning out solid numbers for the past 30 years.
It all ends with Wayne tossing his bottle of red wine into the crowd – it’s skillfully caught by a blonde lady sat head and shoulders above the rest – and him leading his band with genuine getsures of gratitude towards the faithful.
Many of you reading this will have seen The Mission many times. For anyone that hasn’t had the pleasure yet, check out the dates below and don’t miss the second leg of the tour when they return back to the UK next month.
The Mission continue their birthday celebrations by taking the next leg of the tour to Europe before returning to the UK in early November – see below.
TUE 11-Oct-16 PORTUGAL PORTO HARD CLUB
WED 12-Oct-16 PORTUGAL LISBON PARADISE GARAGE
FRI 14-Oct-16 SPAIN MADRID BUT
SAT 15-Oct-16 SPAIN VALENCIA REPUBLICA
SUN 16-Oct-16 SPAIN BARCELONA BIKINI
TUE 18-Oct-16 ITALY MILAN BLOOM CLUB
WED 19-Oct-16 SWITZ SWITZERLAND LAUSANNE LES DOCKS
FRI 21-Oct-16 GERMANY HAMBURG MARKTHALLE
SAT 22-Oct-16 GERMANY BERLIN POSTBAHNHOF
SUN 23-Oct-16 POLAND WARSAW PROGRESJA
MON 24-Oct-16 SLOVAKIA BRATISLAVA MMC
TUE 25-Oct-16 AUSTRIA VIENNA SZENE WIEN
THU 27-Oct-16 GERMANY MUNICH BACKSTAGE
FRI 28-Oct-16 BELGIUM WARGEM EXPO
SAT 29-Oct-16 GERMANY COLOGNE ESSIGFABRIK
MON 31-Oct-16 HOLLAND UTRECHT TIVOLIVREDENBURG (Pandora Hall)
TUE 1-Nov-16 FRANCE PARIS BUS PALLADIUM
THU 3-Nov-16 LEEDS O2 ACADEMY
FRI 4-Nov-16 LONDON O2 FORUM
SAT 5-Nov-16 UK WHITBY GOTH WEEKEND
SUN 6-Nov-16 BIRMINGHAM O2 INSTITUTE